With the arrival of 2017 comes a renewed sense of energy for Dallas-based, independent advertising agency Firehouse. As the company makes plans to celebrate its 20th anniversary, the agency is taking a fresh look at its leadership and organizational structure to aggressively position itself for the years to come.
“Not many agencies make it twenty years and beyond. We’ve been able to make that happen by being nimble, focused and open to doing what’s right to meet the needs of our clients. These adjustments are simply the next evolution of that mentality,” says Mark Hall, who founded the agency in 1997.
The adjustment to the Firehouse leadership structure means new roles for three of the four partners and greater responsibility and involvement for a dynamic group of director level talent.
In addition to Mr. Hall, who takes on the role of Chief Executive Officer, partner Steve Smith, who has led the strategy department for 11 years is now Chief Operating Officer and will lead the shop’s day-to-day management. Also, partner Tripp Westbrook, the agency’s Executive Creative Director for nearly 10 years, will add the role of Chief Marketing Officer to build business relationships and tell the agency’s story to clients who understand the value of creativity and crave new thinking. Doug Miller remains in his role as partner and Chief Financial Officer.
Mr. Smith goes on to say that “These adjustments not only play to our strengths and help keep the agency focused on the things that matter, but they also create room and opportunity for our next level of leadership to have greater influence and impact on our clients’ businesses.”
That next level of leadership includes Principal/Group Creative Director Greg Hunter, Principal/Media Director Nichole Kirsch and newly named Principal/Director of Strategic Planning Trae Watlington. Hunter, who joined the agency from Mother NY in 2010, will take on a larger day-to-day role in managing the creative department and its caliber of work. Kirsch, who’s been with Firehouse since 2009, continues her leadership and innovative blending of both traditional and digital media with creative execution. Watlington, a former innovation director at Anomaly who joined Firehouse in 2015, will lead the agency’s strategic team and continue to drive strategic integration across disciplines.
Mr. Westbrook added, “Ultimately, this is about aligning our talent, resources and processes to be even better at the things we do best – deeply strategic and unconventional thinking that results in highly creative ideas and executions. These are qualities that are unique and can’t be commoditized. It’s what our clients love about us and have come to expect from us.”
From Left to Right: Nichole Kirsch, Greg Hunter, Steve Smith, Mark Hall, Trae Watlington, Tripp Westbrook, Doug Miller