Current position and responsibilities: I’m the founder and CEO at BRANDed Management. BRANDed is a full-service brand management and public relations agency, providing marketing and brand management to athletes, celebrities, professionals, products and opportunities. I’m basically a sports agent and my responsibilities include assisting with the procurement of endorsement deals, contract negotiations, brand marketing strategy, public relations and commercial branding opportunities for the personalities we represent. I represented a professional athlete for a number of years before stepping out on my own to start my own business with the knowledge and tools to guide clients through the lucrative world of entertainment/sports marketing.
Major project/achievement of the past year: I think most business owners would just be happy to still have the lights on (laughs!). I started my business in January 2010, in the middle of this recession. Now heading into my third year, my focus remains on my clients and what we can accomplish for them. Working in the fast-paced environment of the sports and the entertainment industry means extreme highs and lows. In this sector, nothing is guaranteed and deals fall through ALL the time.
While getting my second booking on NBC’s “The Today Show” was a big high for me in 2011, the hardest part of our job is securing commercial sponsorships. We were able to close a multi-year sponsorship deal for a young women by the name of Shannon McIntosh. Shannon is someone I identified when I resigned by position with Indy 500 driver Sarah Fisher. We have been grooming Shannon to be the next female racing star and with our new endorsement deal with TrueCar.com, we are well on our way.
Why did you choose marketing/PR as your career: I’ve always loved advertising and the idea of selling a person as a BRAND. Everyday there is a new fad, a viral video, an emerging sports star or celebrity and I always felt I had a knack for developing a brand by leveraging these new fads. I see so many personalities out there whose brand hasn’t been developed and I wanted to Brand these Brands. That’s where BRANDed eventually emerged. Has your BRAND been BRANDed?
How did Butler prepare you for your career: Butler prepared me in many nontraditional ways. I grew up on a large working grain and livestock farm in Central Illinois. This experience instilled in me a strong and motivating work ethic but it also somewhat sheltered me from the world. When I came to Butler I was a country boy stepping into a major metropolitan. Butler was a stepping-stone to experience the world. I suppose the most important thing I did at Butler were my internships. The business department required us to do two internships; I did five. I would not be where I am today had I not done internships, especially the one I did in NYC at MTV Networks. Butler also gave me a platform for leadership on campus, whether that was when I served as the concert director within SGA or Greek life through my fraternity, Phi Kappa Psi, where I served as vice president. Butler also put great emphasis on representing those that have come before us. In any industry you stand on the shoulders of those who have come before you, and at Butler, we were taught to represent and carry the torch with dignity and professional class in whatever it was you choose to do. I never wanted to be a prisoner to a job and feel as though Butler gave me the fervor and confidence to pursue my dreams of starting my own business. Butler gives you the courage to dream and explore the possibility of your wildest aspirations on your bucket list.
Most memorable experience(s) at Butler: It’s really taxing to pinpoint the most memorable experience at Butler, but it’s probably all of the people I met while at Butler over any “particular” experience. I didn’t think I’d have to go four hours from home to finally meet my sister on a new level of friendship. My sister is two years my senior and was a Mechanical Engineering major at Butler. She really initiated me to life at Butler and even introduced me to the professional athlete I’d come to represent. Secondly, being part of Phi Psi. I never had a brother growing up, so becoming a part of a close-knit brotherhood was a rewarding experience and I met some of my best friends through my fraternity. Third, the professional relationships I developed with my professors: Dr. Craig B. Caldwell, Dr. Kathryn King and Dr. Deborah Skinner. Having “peers” who have “been there and done that” proved to be very important mentors for me while at Butler and now in my professional career.