On August 4th, Triad will celebrate its 25 years in business. This milestone has made me think of the many people whose efforts have contributed to the development and sustaining of this organization. Over the next three weeks, I will be highlighting 25 people who have played key roles in Triad’s history.
Limiting the number of people that we acknowledge to 25 has been particularly difficult, and I certainly want to thank all of the people with whom Triad has worked – employees, clients, and suppliers who are not specifically mentioned. Without your support, this agency would have never reached this very significant anniversary.
25 Contributors to Triad – A Gallery
Contributor #12 – Kenny Wood and Whitney Bouterie – K&B Industries
Creating a new identity for a well-respected company is always a daunting task. However, working with Kenny Wood, the president of the company, and Whitney Bouterie, the marketing director, the task was a very satisfying venture. Both Kenny and Whitney clearly communicated their thinking in a manner that allowed the Triad creative team to focus in on answers that both reflected the true nature of K&B and was motivational to the company’s various markets.
This branding assignment extended to a wide range of marketing tasks, including advertising development, literature creation, public relations efforts, and a wide range of digital activities. Through each and all of this work, we could always can count on the candor and cooperation of Whitney and Kenny.
Honest and forthcoming, and aware of the power of marketing for their company, Kenny and Whitney have been significant contributors to this agency.
Contributor #11 – Don Vogelsang – General Manager of LEWCO Drilling Equipment
The LEWCO product line begin with high horsepower mud pumps used in oil and gas drilling applications. At the time LEWCO was being formed, industry giant National Oilwell Varco (NOV) had over 80% market share in high-horsepower mud pumps. Don launched the LEWCO line of mud pumps based on 5 characteristics that made them superior:
- The LEWCO pump sported a fabricated and machined crankshaft that was inherently balanced. By comparison the NOV pumps used “wobbly,” failure-prone cast crankshafts. LEWCO pumps ran so smooth that one could balance a quarter on their decks while they were running at full horsepower.
- All LEWCO mud pumps employed more bearings than the competition, and the bearings used on these mud pumps were of the highest quality.
- LEWCO mud pumps featured pump-driven lubrication, which was superior to NOV’s dated gravity system.
- The LEWCO mud pumps also featured alloy steel gears and pinions for long life, a very big improvement over the mild steel gears and pinions found on the NOV mud pumps.
- All LEWCO mud pumps were pressure tested at full horsepower, a first in the industry.
Don allowed Triad the freedom to campaign the marketing effort for the mud pumps, with consistent focus on these 5 key points of difference.
After three years of aggressive sales and marketing efforts, LEWCO had garnered in excess of 60% market share in high horsepower mud pumps.
Don was a great client for whom to work – he was open in the level of input he provided, he was willing to take chances, he was aggressive in his approach to the market, and he listened (while not always agreeing).
All of Triad liked, and more importantly, respected Don Vogelsang.
Contributor #10 – Bob Brown, Owner of Berry-Brown Advertising and Mentor
Bob was one of those unique people who, while being very talented, never took himself too seriously. While he was quite capable of making a point when a change was needed in some area of the Business Group, he was able to make his point while allowing the person’s sense of dignity to remain intact. I can still remember how everyone at the Business Group would absolutely light up when Bob would visit.
I owe a great deal to Bob Brown, and I was lucky enough to have been able to tell him as much. Being somewhat self-effacing, Bob sort of brushed off my comment, but I believe that deep down he understood how I felt about him.
Contributor #9 – Ryan Bonner, Alcoa Fastening Systems (now Arconic Fastening Systems)
Ryan is an absolute fastener marketing maniac. He understands the technology of advanced engineered fasteners and the many factors and considerations that drive the specification and purchase of these specialized products.
Until recently, Ryan operated out of a company office in Indianapolis. We would normally meet in person in our offices once a month, although sometimes the meetings were held in Indy. Those meetings would usually include 20+ agenda items, and together we would plow through them in a focused and efficient manner. Ryan was one of the special clients who always liked a good idea. Several of those ideas were award winners that delivered outstanding results. I think Ryan and Triad both take pride in those efforts. However, there were times when we would present something that Ryan didn’t particularly like, and his usual response was, “Well, I don’t hate it.” Hearing that response always told us to go back to the drawing board.
Alcoa (and Arconic) Fastening Systems was a great client for Triad for many years, and Ryan had a great deal to do with that fact. So, he is, indeed, a key contributor to our 25 years.
Contributor #8 – Carlos Kenda, Client and Friend
If you want to know where the oil and gas industry is going from a drilling and production perspective, one conversation with Carlos would clear any questions you might have. From his days of building NOV’s operation in China to meeting the needs of today’s artificial lift industry with wireless monitoring equipment, Carlos is one of the oil and gas market’s true leaders.
Carlos is, indeed, a man of the world, with contacts throughout the Far East, the Middle East, and even in former Iron Curtain countries. His international connections are so broad, Julie Gardner (former creative director at Triad) termed Carlos, as an “international man of mystery.”
Today, Carlos’ company, Bright Automation, is setting new standards for reliability in wireless pumpjack monitoring equipment. He saw a market need based on cable issues associated with conventional measurement equipment and applying the latest in solar-powered wireless technology, provided a reliable, cost-effective solution.
More than an outstanding businessman, Carlos is a great friend and supporter of Triad. More than once he has introduced the agency to people who became clients. And on a personal note, one of my favorite things is dining with Carlos at Perry’s in Houston. Carlos does know how to enjoy the finer things in life.
Contributor #7 – Gary Bradbury and Bill Prikryl “The Old Men of Triad”
Both Bill and Gary were looking to provide 3 – 4 more productive years before they took retirement. I knew Gary from his days as a Senior Account Director at Berry-Brown Advertising, and Bill… well, he was my brother, so I knew him reasonably well.
Bill handled the PR, media buying, and database marketing effort for the agency, adding a level of detail and sophistication to these areas. Gary served a wide range of functions including account service, production management, and traffic. Both Bill and Gary were active members of the company’s management group.
These two were both hardworking and strong in their belief in the future of Triad. Gary has moved into a very good retirement, and Bill passed away several years ago. However, both of them will be remembered for their contribution to Triad.
Contributor #6 – Julie Gardner, Creative Director
In 2004, it became apparent to me that Triad needed to “up” its creative game. We had always been a very strong marketing agency, but I felt that to continue to grow we needed to bring our creative services in line with our marketing expertise. Julie Gardner was the key to meeting that objective.
Julie came to Triad from a B2C background, having most recently worked for Travelocity. I made it clear to her at the outset that she was walking into a very different creative world. As was her style, Julie jumped into the Triad creative effort with both feet. The quality of the agency’s creative product improved significantly, and before we knew it Triad was winning numerous awards for the work it produced.
Julie was much more than “just a creative person.” She understood the agency business and was particularly beneficial in the area of client relationships and new business. She also served on Triad’s management team for a number of years, adding a different perspective to the operation of the agency.
Contributor #5 – Waynette Ray, Account and Office Manager
Waynette joined Triad in the early 2000s, bringing with her a much more sophisticated approach to our accounting process. Through her 13+ years at Triad, Waynette played a number of roles within the company…in addition to her primary financial role. Waynette often assisted in production and traffic management, and even provided some back-up account management services. In addition, she served on the Triad management team for a number of years.
While a very serious businessperson, Waynette would surprise you with her sense of humor and willingness to move out of her own box.
After having worked together for more than 13 years, Waynette and I sometimes (rarely) had our differences, but I always knew that I could count on her best efforts, her integrity, and her loyalty to Triad.
Contributor #4 – Marty Mauer, Fibergrate Composite Structures
Triad had been working with Fibergrate Composite Products for a year when Marty Mauer came on board as Director of Marketing. After the company was sold to Cortech (a PE firm), the account really took off. I remember at one time, Susan Worthington, who was the AE on the account, had 27 active jobs on the roster. These jobs, most of which were multi-page literature projects, could not have been completed in a quick and efficient manner, if Marty had not driven the projects internally.
A newly minted MBA, Marty was a great combination of professionalism, competency, and self-effacing modesty. One could not ask for a better client.
Contributor #3 – Dan Eckermann, LeTourneau Technologies
We began working with LeTourneau’s Mining Group, which manufactured the world’s largest front-end loaders. What a great product line to market!
Soon after, we began working with the Marine Group, which built the first offshore rig and was the market leader in jack-up rigs. Then in 2003, LeTourneau formed the Drilling Equipment Group, which also became a client. In 2006, Triad had the opportunity to brand the entire group of LeTourneau companies, which turned out to be a very rewarding effort.
One quick story that speaks volumes to the quality managerial style and quality of Dan. In 1999, our contact in the Mining Group was becoming increasingly difficult, playing games and beating up our account executive on a regular basis. It seemed that the more our AE worked to satisfy this client, the worse the situation became. After I learned the details, I immediately called Dan to ask for a meeting. That evening I drove to Longview to meet with Dan, who stayed late to see me. After spelling out the details of the issue, I told Dan that we were a young organization, and it would be difficult to turn our back on a great account like LeTourneau, but I was prepared to do just that.
I didn’t have to…Dan accurately read the situation and immediately took steps to remedy the situation. Triad worked another 9 years with LeTourneau prior to its being sold to Joy Global.
Today, Dan remains a good friend.
Contributor #2 – Geralyn Harvey, Miltronics
I had significant experience in the instrumentation business, having worked for a major measuring device company, TN Technologies, for a number of years prior to starting Triad. Since I was contractually obligated to not work with TN Technologies, I started out by searching for a similar instrumentation company. I found one in Arlington, TX, Miltronics. The director of marketing at Miltronics was Geralyn Harvey. Geralyn was not only a very savvy B2B marketer, but also a great person with whom to work.
Triad worked with Miltronics for several years, and even produced our first digital program for this client in 1995…a touch-screen activated, interactive instrumentation selection program housed in a kiosk. We developed this program for the 1995 Instrument Society of America Show in New Orleans. I remember all-too-well working with a programmer in a steamy tradeshow venue (the AC is always turned off during set up), just trying to get the device working properly. Eventually, we prevailed, and our interactive program was one of the hits of the show.
Geralyn eventually was married and moved to Seattle. I have yet been able to locate her and thank her for believing in this young, start-up agency.
Contributor #1 – Rhonda Anderson and Susan Worthington
So, I am beginning with two people listed together as the agency’s first contributor…call it poetic license.
Rhonda was Triad’s first employee (albeit part-time initially, before moving into a full-time role). Having moved over to Triad from a small printing shop she owned with her husband, Rhonda covered a number of functions for the start-up agency – accounting, production management, and general operations management. Rhonda’s ability and willingness to take on a number of jobs, combined with her positive outlook, made her an outstanding asset for the company.
Susan Worthington had worked for me when I operated Berry-Brown’s B2B division, The Business Group. From my time working with Susan at The Business Group, I knew that I could count on her to provide a high level of quality and responsive account service. Early Triad clients knew that they could count on Susan working on their behalf…always able to be counted on to do what she said she would do.
Triad started with my occupying a single office in an executive suite. When Rhonda was hired, I rented another office, which Rhonda later shared with Susan. According to Susan, “We didn’t get a lot of work done, but we did get to know each other well.” Susan was right about getting to know each other well, but wrong on her “work” comment. In reality these two played a great role in helping Triad to get off the ground.
– Tom Prikryl, President & CEO