Over the years in business, people come and people go… Typing that felt like the beginning of a George Strait song. 🙂 Sometimes you work people off the team based on your core values or culture, or sometimes just for job performance issues. Other times people choose to leave, and those have always been the hardest for me as an owner, especially when they were such a great fit and outstanding performer.
At The Marketing Squad, we’ve always had good success with retention. We have used a consistent hiring process, operated by our Core Values, and put a lot of focus on the culture we’re building. We don’t always get it right. No one does. But we’ve done pretty well if we’re grading ourselves.
Now back to the ones that got away. Those are ones that I honestly always envision coming back, especially if I thought the departure wasn’t meant to be. Sometimes even I have to recognize that the timing or life circumstances of a situation just make departure the wise and right thing to do. I never want to hold someone back. I do tell our team somewhat jokingly, “You know you can never leave right?” That’s because they become like family to me and I really love to watch them grow as we grow.
When it came to Judson Kovasckitz leaving about this time last year, the owners understood completely. He had moved to a new city. He gave it his best college try to work remotely from Charlotte. We weren’t set up as well at the time to support him in that way and a change made sense. Jud, as we call him, made a jump and gained some great experience with a new employer.
In my mind, I was always keeping an open door to the possibility of Jud coming back on board. I’ve got another one we lost over the years, and not a week goes by where I don’t think about a path for that former Squadstar to come back on board. Heck, we’ve got a former teammate in Texas, and I’d like to see our paths cross again.
With Jud, the thoughts in my head became a reality on January 2, 2019. Jud has rejoined The Squad after a 1-year departure. He’s jumped back in alongside our current amazing designer Emily and he’s getting to work with one of the best, our Creative Director, Kevin Peterson.
Jud allows us to have multiple designers (3) that can serve our 28 ongoing partner and program clients with digital and non-digital graphic design, while also dividing up the load of websites, logos, and branding projects. At any given time we had 15-30 projects happening in 2018.
After we stayed in contact during 2018, some things starting to happen at The Squad that made sense to reconnect with Jud. He was looking to get back in our team workflow, he had desires to stay connected to friends and community in Louisville, and he was excited about the possibilities of The Squad entering the Charlotte market.
Which brings us to our next topic. Fulfilling our long-term vision to take The Marketing Squad to two additional cities in the U.S. Our goal was never to jump over to Nashville, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Lexington, or any city we could service from Louisville. We have a few clients in each of those cities right now, along with Boston, San Francisco, and Texas. We can work with and service clients virtually anywhere, however, having boots on the ground in Charlotte allows us to really have a presence and serve that area.
Last year we brought on Marshall Fall, as our VP of Business Development and he’s originally from Asheville and Charlotte, North Carolina. He takes trips down to visit his family often and now he’ll be strategically building relationships and The Squad brand in the Charlotte market. Tag teaming with Jud to grow The Squad presence in the Charlotte area is going to be an organic process in 2019, with no formal plans yet for physical office space.
We’ll have a lot more to share about Charlotte in the coming months. Stay tuned. One thing is for sure, though, we won’t lose focus on operations and clients in Louisville as a part of this process. It’s why we’ve waited 10 years to attempt this.
To wrap this post up and get back to the original intent, I’d like to give a hearty “Welcome back!” to Jud. We are very excited to see how this expands our ability to serve our clients. It also takes our meme game back to a place we can be proud of.
For those who don’t know Jud, he’s such a great dude. He has a quick wit and great sense of humor that grows on you quickly. If you’re in need of a punch line or a laugh, then Jud will supply your needs. But, he’s also just as likely to drop a wisdom bomb on a room. Jud is a strategic thinker and that influences his approach to design. Jud likes podcasts and keeps up with culture just enough to make light of it. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, but he takes your results very seriously. He’s the oldest of 5 siblings and comes from a very creative family. He and wife Michelle love to take in good food and experiences whether they are in Charlotte, Louisville, or Portland, Oregon.
We’re glad to have Jud back on the team and we’re excited to see where 2019 takes us in Charlotte.
P.S. Jud will be making 8 strategic week-long trips back to Louisville in 2019, with the first one right around the corner. And Marshall will be visiting him about the same number of times in Charlotte.