What dreams are made of: Talking to Thomas Lee

Jacob Downey, Lily Stone

He/Him, She/Her

Editor-In-Chief, Treasurer


English major, football player, marketing firm senior partner, ‘from conquering the world… to getting you that big promotion’, Plymouth State alum Thomas Lee’s love of writing has made The Clock’s ’96 News-Editor a man of many hats.

Growing up in New York City, what sold Lee on PSU was “…when I went up to visit and I had pulled up to the campus for the first time having grown up in the city and this beautiful valley surrounded by mountains and everything was so green, green and wide open and fresh air. I was in love”.

Lee joined the Clock his sophomore year after “…the captain of my football team happened to be a sports editor and he was like I didn’t realize you were an English major and we started talking and he goes hey, listen, we’re always looking for sports writers at The Clock would you be interested?”

Lee ‘gave it a shot’ and by graduation, he “…really fell in love with being a reporter and everything there was about it. From writing feature articles where I could be creative to tracking down some hard-hitting stories on campus. There was a big hazing incident that I wrote about with the lacrosse team, and covering some of the big championships at the time like our women’s soccer and our ski teams” By graduation, his by-line was attached to stories including “Plymouth Outlasts Coast Guard In Mud” and “Panther Football Exterminates UMD 33-0”, even breaking away from sports coverage with “Government Elections Keep Heads Above Water”.

With a robust assortment of articles under his belt, Lee has fond memories of playing around with headlines, stating, “We had an executive editor, she was really good at catching the headlines and if they were inappropriate she would change them on us, but there was one time where I slipped a headline through that was completely inappropriate and of course, it was published and professors on campus saw it and some professors thought it was funny and others were not happy about it all and it caused a little bit of a firestorm.”

The Clock – 1996

After college Lee was hired by the Carrol County Independent here in New Hampshire and later the Metrowest Daily News, then Middlesex Daily News, in Framingham Massachusetts. While covering a ‘huge project’ of the Mass Water Resource Authority, Lee’s diligence would make him “one of very few reporters they [were] interested in working with”. By age 25, he would serve as their Press Secretary working on the media-facing side of major public works projects such as the construction of the Deer Island Treatment Plant and Integrated Water Supply Improvement Program.

In 2007, Lee would join 451 Marketing, a digital marketing agency founded in 2004 and named for Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” under the idea they were ‘too hot for paper’. “I came aboard and started the Public Relations department in the company which kind of evolved. As the internet became more and more ubiquitous in people’s lives we rebranded about 5 years ago to Zozimus”, another literary reference true to Lee’s roots as an English major. In Roald Dahl’s “Big Friendly Giant”, “zozimus” is the substance dreams are made of, “so the idea is that we are an agency that exists to help our clients realize those dreams. We are a full-service digital marketing agency, from public relations, social media marketing, online advertising to research, strategy, and data analytics. We work with clients as big as a Fortune 500 companies to start-ups just getting off the ground and we work in a lot of different industries not just in the United States, it’s exciting and a lot of fun”. Some notables include organizations across New England ranging from Mass Maritime Academy to HP Hood (of blimp fame).

Lee represents perfectly a question we have all asked ourselves: What comes next? Lee believes there is a lot more pressure on students now than there was thirty years ago. He has seen his interns and even his own children through the trials and tribulations of the modern young person. His message to anyone still unsure of their place in the world is to “Put yourself in the best position to succeed a year at a time. You may not know 100% what your career is going to be but you have a pretty good idea of where your strengths lie and to work towards that but take opportunities to expand your knowledge. So focus on getting some real-world opportunities when you can even if it isn’t 100% what you’re studying. Don’t stress over knowing exactly what you’re going to do 10 years from now, focus on what you’re doing tomorrow or next year and take the opportunities as they are presented to you”.

Today Lee works as a partner at Zozimus and can often be found on campus giving back to his alma mater, as a classroom guest speaker and alumni panelist as well as supporting student scholarships and other initiatives.