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.
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
All LEWCO mud pumps employed more bearings than
the competition, and the bearings used on these mud pumps were of the highest
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
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
All of Triad liked, and more importantly, respected Don
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
On the heels of receiving the American Marketing Association’s “Marketer of the Year” honor in Energy Marketing for the DFW region, Triad B2B Agency has earned three new Communicator Awards. The awards were presented by the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts, honoring Triad for work on behalf of three of the agency’s clients.
Award of Excellence
The Communicator Award of Excellence was given to Triad B2B Agency in the category of Marketing & Promotion, for its “Bit in a Box” direct mail campaign for Ulterra Drilling Technologies. Ulterra is a leader in drill bit technology for the oil and gas industry. The Award of Excellence recognizes Triad’s entry as best in the field.
Awards of Distinction
Triad also received two Communicator Awards of Distinction for its client work. An Award of Distinction was given to Triad in the category of Corporate Identity for its work for HMI Cardinal. Cardinal is a national powerhouse in shower enclosures, artisan glass, and commercial glazing.
A second Award of Distinction was earned in the Print Advertising category for Triad’s B2B print campaign for Portfolio, an acknowledged innovator in automotive reinsurance.
About the Communicator Awards
The Communicator Awards, now in its 25th season, is the leading international awards program, recognizing big ideas in marketing and communications. The Communicator Awards receives over 6,000 entries from companies and agencies of all sizes, making it one of the largest awards of its kind in the world.
Triad B2B Agency, also in its 25th year of business, specializes in B2B marketing communications. The agency is active in a wide range of markets including oil and gas, aerospace, building materials, financial services, automotive, industrial distribution, control automation, healthcare technology, supply chain management, food and beverage, and more.
Triad B2B Agency of Dallas has been honored as a finalist in the American Marketing Association’s 2019 Marketer of the Year Awards. The agency is being recognized for its work in the Direct Mail Marketing and Energy Marketing award categories.
In the Direct Mail Marketing category, Triad is being celebrated for its “Bit in a Box” campaign for Fort Worth-based Ulterra. The campaign was devised to raise awareness of among difficult-to-reach corporate level decision makers. The campaign consisted of a 4-color, laminated carrier box containing a scale-model Ulterra drill bit and a 4-color brochure. Messaging highlighted the record-breaking performance of Ulterra drill bits in the Permian’s Midland and Delaware basins, while emphasizing the company’s unique capabilities in the areas of engineering, manufacturing and support.
In the Energy Marketing category, Triad is being recognized for an integrated Advertising and Public Relations effort in support of a major new product launch for client Ulterra. The integrated marketing effort included print advertising, public relations, and in-depth feature articles developed in conjunction with leading trade publications. The product launch of the SplitBlade drill bit broke company records for market penetration, sales, and total feet drilled within the first six months.
“Having the opportunity to work with great clients is always the best reward, and the thing that keeps us inspired on a daily basis,” says Tom Prikryl, President and Founder of Triad B2B Agency, and a 40+ year veteran of the B2B marketing industry. “Being celebrated as a finalist at the American Marketing Association’s Marketer of the Year Awards Gala is a great recognition of the high-impact work we are doing for our clients.”
The awards will be announced at the Marketer of the Year Awards Gala, hosted by the Dallas/Fort Worth Chapter of the AMA on May 2nd.
About Triad B2B Agency
Triad specializes in B2B marketing communications. Founded in 1994, the agency is active in oil and gas, aerospace, building materials, financial services, automotive, industrial distribution, control automation, healthcare technology, supply chain management and more.
I was amazed, when in college, by how many of my peers knew what their major would be while in their freshman year! I did decide, but even today I find myself fascinated by so many areas of discipline and enjoy exploring new realms that I joke I have yet to decide what I’ll be “when I grow up.” When you approach new opportunities and possibilities in this way, it is not unusual to experience resistance and skepticism by those who have trained and studied in a specific discipline. I strongly believe the ability and desire to learn new things are paramount to happiness and fulfillment, and contend any organization that embraces this perspective is better off for five main reasons.
“Where all think alike nobody thinks very much.” – Walter Lippman
Reason #1: Shake Things Up a Little
When you are watching a play unfold in front of you – whether football or theatre – you are able to see a wider perspective. The trick is to not approach your fresh perspective as Monday Morning Quarterbacking, but in fact to challenge the way things have always been done with appropriate reverence for foundational principles. Insiders may be too steeped in the organization’s past practices to envision new approaches, and therein lies the outsider’s value.
Reason #2: Excuse for Asking Questions
I cannot tell you how many times I have spoken up to ask a “stupid” question when everyone else acted like they understood … only to discover many people didn’t understand, but were hesitant to unveil their ignorance. When you have been in an environment long enough, it is often viewed as unacceptable to ask a very basic question. When you are an outsider, it is expected. Take advantage of this and ask those questions! By doing so, you are giving others an opportunity to learn something they were supposed to have known all along.
Reason #3: Apply “Foreign” Principles
When I worked for General Motors, the Japanese methods of continuous improvement were embraced – Kaizen means “change for the better.” This constant, continuous improvement is a mindset that can be applied anywhere, at any job.
This works not only for principles and philosophies, but sometimes tools and techniques. What works at a law firm to improve processes may also work at an advertising agency.
Bringing someone on board from another industry or profession is practiced all the time … it’s called Consulting!
Reason #4: Brainstorming
In order to truly brainstorm, everyone must agree there are no bad ideas. This is a tough one, though, when an outsider doesn’t have the same background as most of the team and doesn’t speak the same “language.”
A team that truly embraces brainstorming will encourage participation by EVERYONE … especially those with varied experience.
Mark Strand, captured these feelings in the opening lines of his poem, Keeping Things Whole. “In a field, I am the absence of field. This is always the case. Wherever I am, I am what is missing.”
David Burkus, a Forbes contributor, put it this way:
“As individuals grow in their expertise, their opinions about what won’t work may grow because of past experiences trying similar ideas and failing. Those with enough expertise to generate an idea, but not enough to dismiss it untried, end up testing more ideas and, even though most still fail, every once in awhile they discover an untried idea that leads to disruptive innovation.”
I have enjoyed the opportunity to be a “connector” through my exposure to and experience in various industries. For example, a client looking to trademark their branding appreciated the fact I could connect them with an intellectual property attorney. A diverse set of competencies and backgrounds can also provide a unique perspective to identify opportunities to enter new markets, target a different type of client, and develop professional relationships and cooperative agreements.
I guess I will always be an outsider of sorts. I am thankful for the discomfort in order to enjoy the benefits.
An effective company must have a strong foundation of principles on which it is built, principles that will ultimately define the company.
When we mindfully apply our core principles, we can be assured that we are moving our business in a direction that is aligned with our goals.
We have Five Guiding Principles that form the basis of our company:
The First Guiding Principle is that Our only limits are those we impose on ourselves™. These words have become more than a motto for Triad. It is a belief system. We as an organization are focused on pushing through any possibly self-limiting barriers, which will fuel our improvement as a marketing agency.
Our Second Guiding Principle is based on our specialization in B2B marketing. This specialization plays a key role in assuring that we serve as an effective B2B agency for our clients.
The Third Guiding Principle is based on our “client-centric” approach to business. Our team is fully focused on meeting our clients’ marketing needs. Supportive of this principle, we see our success being reflective of our clients’.
Taking a serious, non-frivolous approach to our clients’ marketing efforts is the Fourth Guiding Principle comprising the foundation for Triad. We understand the impact that an effective marketing program can have on the sales success of our clients, and our efforts are directed by that understanding.
The Fifth Guiding Principle, and perhaps the most important of the all, is the belief that the most important job of B2B marketing is supporting the client’s sales effort. Whether it’s selling a company’s brand, a product, a service, or a point of view, the first job of B2B marketing is to sell.
For Triad, identifying our Five Guiding Principles has been a key to our development as a company. The better we define what we are as a company, the better we execute as a service provider to our clients.
However, we fully understand that being fully aligned with company principles will always be a journey, not a destination. So, every day, we follow our Five Guiding Principles in working to improve on the services we provide our clients as well as the overall operation of our company.