A.J. Busé 

Faculty, The Modern College of Design
Chair, AAF Eastern Region; Member, AAF Nashville 

Each year, the American Advertising Federation acknowledges the exemplary commitment to District Leadership with the Pat Martin Excellence in District Leadership Award. This year’s honoree is A.J. BUSÉ, a 28-year veteran of the organization. 

A member since 1992, he is a member of AAF Nashville where in 2000, he was named volunteer of the year for work done to enhance the professional organization, specifically in the area of advertising education. He then went on to serve six years on the local board, eventually becoming president and achieving Lifetime Member status. Although he remains a local club advisor, following his term as president, A.J. quickly accepted critical volunteer responsibilities in AAF District 7.

In 2007, A.J. received the AAF District 7 Otis Dodge Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to the District. Later that year, A.J. was elected to the District’s Executive Committee. He served with great success through the multi-year succession plan and was installed as Governor for the 2012-2013 year, after which he took the opportunity to focus on his two primary passion projects within AAF: students and the American Advertising Awards.

Passionate about the advancement and recognition of students in advertising, A.J. graciously established the District 7 Student American Advertising Awards Best of Show fund with a $5,000 donation. Each year, the student winning Best of Show receives a cash prize as a result of fund originally seeded by him. This seems fitting for a man who has gone on to teach and serve as AAF Chapter Advisor at Middle State Tennessee University and now at The Modern College of Design. During his tenure at both, he has led student teams in the AAF National Student Advertising Campaign to great success. Additionally, during his tenure at MTSU, District 7 awarded him the 2019 Donald G. Hileman Educator-of-the-Year Award. 

A.J. served as a primary resource for the District 7 Awards Steering Committee, working each year (2013-2019), to help promote, host and deliver and a successful competition and gala, yielding the District’s single largest source of revenue.

Others were quick to acknowledge A.J.’s devotion to AAF. As his Governorship was coming to an end, he was unanimously elected to the AAF Council of Governors Executive Committee, eventually serving as chair and national board member during the 2015-2016 term. During this four-year commitment of support to all Districts, he continued to diligently serve District 7. To this day, he remains an ex-officio member of the District’s Executive Committee and is the current AAF Eastern Region Chair.

Speechless at the news of being named this year’s honoree, A.J. is known to many as a hard-worker, confident in accepting challenging roles yet humble and selfless in his approach. 

“I’ve had the privilege of serving alongside A.J. for my entire tenure on the District 7 Executive Committee. His absolute passion for students is inspiring. I’ve leaned on his historical knowledge of the District many times and know he always has the best interest of our District in the forefront of his mind,” District 7 Governor Sarah Jones said.

The Pat Martin Excellence in District Leadership Award is designed to honor the legacy of the late Pat Martin and will be awarded to a member of the AAF who exemplifies Pat’s work by making outstanding contributions to his or her District. 

By definition of the award, its criteria and his decades of service to AAF and District 7, A.J. Busé was an obvious choice to be this year’s recipient.

“His tireless efforts are well documented. Whether lobbying against taxation on advertising, serving on the national American Advertising Federation Board of Directors, working to develop student scholarship opportunities or championing diversity and multicultural initiatives, he has worked on a multitude of events, programs and in the development of numerous training modules. His contributions to District 7 are tremendous,” said Mary Lee, nominator and AAF District 7 board chair.


Recipient, 2020 Pat Martin Excellence in District Leadership Award

Last Updated: May 2020