6665 N. Sidney Place, Milwaukee, WI 53209
Industry: Marketing and advertising
Number of employees: 40+
Annual revenues: $8.4 million
Education: Associate degree in applied arts, graphic design, Milwaukee Area Technical College
Family: Wife – Lindsay; daughter – Sophie; sons – Carter and Cooper
What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
“To better integrate GS Design’s print and digital services, we underwent a complete restructuring in 2010. The restructuring combined our digital and print creative teams, put a greater emphasis on our strategy offering, solidified our technology team, and improved client service coordination on large accounts. With this change we also created a more formalized management team. The results have been phenomenal for us and, ultimately, our clients.”
What’s new at your company?
“This year GS Design is celebrating 25 years in business, a tremendous milestone for our co-founders, Jeff Prochnow and Marc Tebon, and the entire GS team. In coordination with the celebration of that milestone, we rolled out a whole new brand platform that better reflects the organization GS is today – a nationally-recognized branding, design, and digital agency that has a reputation for exceptional creative and can offer our clients the benefits that come from working with a single agency for their marketing initiatives. The rebrand effort is the result of our entire team collaborating to create something that truly represents us. We’re incredibly proud of it.”
Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
“We do intend to add new positions. We see opportunities to further develop our strategic team, specifically in the areas of digital and marketing strategy. We also see opportunities to deepen our technical and creative teams with additional developers, designers, and writers.”
What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
“Our greatest challenge has always been navigating the rapid rate of change in our industry. New technologies and marketing tactics are constantly appearing, and our challenge is to stay ahead of the curve to ensure we can help our clients best determine what new things will have the greatest impact on their business.”
What’s the hottest trend in your industry?
“Take your pick. Mobile and tablet devices, augmented reality, social, location-based, crowd-sourcing, co-creation, generosity marketing. Ours is a constantly evolving world, with new trends appearing daily. We’re also helping our clients understand the profound behavioral and expectation differences that exist between millennials and previous generations and guiding adjustments to their marketing communications, as necessary.”
Do you have a business mantra?
“We believe that great work comes from great working relationships. We focus first on people – both internally and externally. We’ve proven that building great relationships by being trustworthy, genuine, respectful, collaborative, and nice encourages great things to happen.”
From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“The creative and business geniuses at Pixar. Their intense focus on masterful storytelling and impeccable craftsmanship is a thing of beauty. And their core belief that building strong, long-term teams results in the best work possible is a core belief at GS as well.”
What was the best advice you ever received?
“Improve by 1 percent each week and over the course of a year, you will have improved by more than 50 percent. I love this idea – small, manageable, continuous improvements add up to significant gains in the long run. Just keep improving little by little and over time you’ll be amazed by how far you’ve come. Manage the top line (your people, your strategy, and your products) and the bottom line will follow. Focus on getting the right people working closely together on the right strategy and the right products, and financial success will follow.”
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?
“It wasn’t funny to all parties involved, but a few years ago GS Design was responsible for shutting down the Kenosha post office. One of our annual self-promotional campaigns was misinterpreted as actual bio-hazardous waste. Liquid leaked from one of the packages, setting off a panic. We received a call from the postmaster general days before the holidays inquiring about the nature of our package, and notifying us they had closed the post office till further notice. They didn’t find the misunderstanding funny at all. It certainly made for a memorable campaign though.”
What do you like to do in your free time?
“With a 2-year old and twin 10-month olds, free time is not easy to come by. But time spent with family and loved ones is the best time of all.”