Paige Lawson, 30 Community Relations Coordinator | Numerica Credit Union
As a child, Paige Lawson learned her philanthropic spirit from her parents. They were both educators: her father a passionate, spirited shop teacher and her mother an even-keeled, empathetic special education teacher. Her father was always mentoring underprivileged students on construction sites and on the basketball court. She remembers her mother exposing her to volunteer opportunities such as serving food at Women & Children’s Free Restaurant, handing out Hoopfest player packets, and tagging along to donate blood every eight weeks—something she now does with her husband.
“I think watching how my parents give back, both in their jobs and in their free time, is what made me want to give back to the community, too,” Paige says.
Paige went to college at Washington State University, where she discovered her love of event planning through serving on the Student Entertainment Board and internships at a wedding venue and the athletic department. When she graduated, she returned to Spokane and her old job at The Onion. Paige was able to volunteer at a school in Tanzania before returning to a job at KXLY. She loved the live music, events, and being on the radio, but also realized her passion for philanthropy helping with the Coyote Country Food Drive, St. Jude Kids Radiothon, and 92.9 ZZU’s Christmas Wish.
Paige describes her position in community relations at Numerica Credit Union as a “dream job.”
“It’s hard to believe I get to make a career out of giving back and encouraging employee volunteerism throughout the region,” she says.
Paige helps oversee and execute Numerica’s sponsorships and charitable giving. She loves what she gets to do to support nonprofits, small businesses, and the general community.
Zach Kuhlmann, 34 President/Owner | Zero dB Communications
At 19, Zach Kuhlmann met with his Washington State University counselor, expressing that he felt like he was wasting his time. A friend who is now his business partner told him about a guy from their hometown who was successful.
“I’d never even heard of fiber optics,” Zach says. “I talked to him, and two weeks later, I packed all my stuff up and moved to Southern California to start this new job for twelve bucks an hour.”
Zach lived there for almost seven years before moving back to the Northwest. For a time, he went to Seattle but didn’t like living there.
“Quality is everything we’ve been taught in this industry, and there weren’t a lot of reputable companies there,” Zach says.
He had decided to leave the industry. Zach and his brother opened a bar, and Zach’s plan became running the bar. He received an opportunity to install the 4G for Verizon Wireless, and the company he did the job for said, “You’re going to either work for us or do the splicing here in Spokane.”
He was passed up for a different candidate for project manager, but three months later, a man asked him to be ready to have a company up in about a week. That was how, at twenty-six, Zach started Zero dB. About four months later, he called his best friend to join him, and the rest is history. Zero dB provides engineering, construction, splicing, and testing as it relates to fiber optic structures and systems for all home, business, internet providers, and cell phone service providers throughout the western United States. Fast internet is key to a thriving economy, and has never been more important with many offices going remote.
“Seeing people succeed is the biggest reward to the job,” Zach says.
Randi L. Johnson, 39 Social Security, Disability Marketing and Business Manager | Gravis Law
While in law school, Randi L. Johnson wanted to work in environmental law, but in 2007, she started social security disability work in New York and found her passion. She moved to Seattle in 2009 to continue that work, but in 2010, she went to a smaller firm, adding a focus of disabled veterans. When she had her first child in 2012, she and her husband decided to move to his hometown, Spokane.
“I was just trying to figure out what mom life and lawyer life look like together, so I started a business that became a law firm,” Randi says.
That business was Lilac City Law, and in her capacity as managing attorney, she helped people navigate social security benefits, and helped parents of children with special needs navigate estate planning.
“I think it’s really important to meet them where they are. Our services are not transactional,” Randi says.
Families can often be overwhelmed with a “fire hose” of information, and that is why she focuses on building a relationship, Randi says.
In the last month, Lilac City Law transitioned to joining Gravis Law. In her new position, Randi is looking forward to bringing that personal touch to clients countrywide.
Recently, Randi became a certified end of life doula and hopes to change people’s viewpoint about grief.
“Our society makes us uncomfortable to see someone else sad, mad, yelling, or crying,” Randi says. We want to hand them a tissue box, which is a silent way to tell someone to stop crying. We tell ourselves, ‘Well, I’m just trying to be helpful,’ but if the person wanted the Kleenex, they could have gotten the Kleenex.”
Trevor Meek, 29 Partner/CEO, COO | Tumble Laundry Company, Wondery
When Trevor Meek and his wife Tahney Meek decided to purchase Tumble Laundry, they assumed it would be recession proof. When the economy was strong, the dry cleaning side would be more profitable, and when the economy was poor, the laundromats would bring in steady income. He did not expect that theory to be tested six months later.
Trevor served active duty for five years and is now in the Army Reserve as a Captain. He was impressed that the previous owners offered free funeral flag cleaning but wanted to take it further—offering discounts to veterans, first responders, and seniors seven days a week. For the entire month of November, Tumble Laundry is cleaning uniforms for free and taking twenty percent off dry cleaned uniforms to active first responders and military personnel in the county.
Tumble Laundry was not Trevor’s first business foray. In 2016, his friend from Ferris High School started Wondery, which sells outdoor clothing and accessories for women, and Trevor became a partner and the COO.
Trevor met his wife Tahney while working at Shopko. They dated for six months before Trevor left for the Army. The relationship was long distance for about a year until they married.
“It was just one of those when you click, you click,” Trevor says.
The couple have two daughters. Their youngest was born on July 29th. She came early at twenty-seven weeks and is currently in Sacred Heart’s NICU.
Soon after Elliott was born, Trevor and Tahney closed on three more locations in the Bozeman, Montana area, closing on the additional locations nine days after Elliott was born, Trevor is confident that “God has a plan and we know he will not throw anything at us we cannot handle.”
Dr. Rachae Bell, 35 Founder and Owner | Clear Chiropractic Spokane
Dr. Rachae Bell sees chiropractic care as a tool in fighting the opioid epidemic, as more and more people seek answers to their pain through less invasive means through referrals from primary care physicians, physical therapists, neurosurgeons, and others in health care.
“If we don’t work together, I think we’re doing a disservice to our community and our world because health is multifaceted,” Rachae says.
Her practice opened in July 2013, and she recently opened a second location in Mt. Spokane. Expansion is important to Rachae because of patients who travel long distances—a barrier to ongoing care.
Rachae said that by the time she sees a patient, they have often “hit a wall.”
“They say, ‘I’m tired of being pushed drugs, I’m tired of this just covering up my symptoms,’” Rachae says.
She recalls one patient who came to her with debilitating migraines. She had blackout curtains in her house, and her doctor told her she couldn’t conceive because of her medications. After two months under Rachae’s care, she was off all medications, and at three months, she conceived.
“The husband held up a picture of the ultrasound on his phone, and he said ‘This right here is because of you, and I want you to know that,’” Rachae says. “When you can give life back to somebody who can then give life to another human being … it’s very rewarding, but also humbling.”
Rachae looks forward to continuing to grow and expand and to bringing upper cervical specific chiropractic care to the Pacific Northwest.
Nik Armitage, 38 Co-Founder, Attorney | Armitage & Thompson, PLLC
When Nik Armitage was in high school, he says no one would have predicted he would become a lawyer, himself included. He thinks people often associate the profession with the TV version of a lawyer—someone who is argumentative and confrontational. People would describe Nik as a problem-solver capable of putting himself in others’ shoes—assets that are key to the way he practices personal injury and insurance law with his partner, JJ Thompson. The two met in law school at Gonzaga University and have essentially worked together since, forming their own firm in 2017.
“The spine of who we are is based on trust, friendship, and hard work,” Nik says.
Nik says he was drawn to this area of law because when people “come to my office, maybe in the thralls of the most difficult and troublesome times in their entire lives—financial strain, hurt physically, and the emotional turmoil that goes with all those things—that can be daunting sometimes. But when you help somebody through that and see them past those problems, it’s extremely rewarding.”
Nik says the most important part of his job is helping people tell their story.
“When somebody has been through something traumatic, the way our system works is that they have to stand in front of twelve jurors that they’ve never met and explain what they’ve been through,” Nik says. “If we can’t help them step outside of their comfort zone, then the story isn’t going to be told effectively, and we’re not going to get those twelve jurors to be with us.”
Cassandra Miasnikov, 25 Founder, CEO | Selene Marketing
When Cassandra Miasnikov was in college, she was taking a lion’s share of engineering classes, and many of her peers were men. She was dating an engineering major, and when they went to parties, she constantly heard things like, ‘He’s the smart one and you’re the pretty one,’ or ‘He’s the nerdy one and you’re the fun one.’
“I was like, well, why can’t you be nerdy and fun?” Cassandra says, laughing.
Cassandra credits her grandma, a law school student shortly after WWII, as an influence. Cassandra supports the Red Cross for two reasons: donating blood is an easy way to make an impact, and its founder in 1881 was a woman—Clara Barton.
When she decided to start her business, Selene Marketing—which helps clients with digital marketing and modern web design—some thought she should partner with a man.
“Some of it was just genuine concern, like if I have a client who starts yelling or saying inappropriate things, I would have a guy to back me up,” Cassandra says.
But Cassandra wouldn’t want a client like that anyway. She is proud to run an under-thirty, female-led business, which received outside recognition. The Stevie Awards, started in 2002 to recognize contributions of companies and business people worldwide, chose Cassandra as a judge for the women in business subset. Cassandra enjoys the fact that it allows her to provide constructive feedback to the entrants.
“As opposed to just saying ‘This is good’ and ‘This is bad,’ you can say, ‘This is a really cool concept, here’s how you can build on it,’” Cassandra says. “There’s a little bit of that women helping women aspect to it, which I love.”
Cliff Poffenroth, 38 VP Private Banker | Washington Trust Bank
In a year’s time, Cliff Poffenroth might work on about twenty small business loans. For a three-week stretch at the beginning of the pandemic, he secured around eighty Paycheck Protection Program loans.
“I think the way the bank handled it, it was truly all hands on deck, and I think that was a testament to the bank,” Cliff says.
Cliff started his career in banking as a teller at Liberty Lake in 2005. His favorite part of his current position is the way the bank is able to provide a “one stop shop” for its clients.
“I get to do everything from opening mom, dad, and kids’ checking accounts to handling their commercial building loan,” Cliff says.
Cliff also enjoys seeing business from inception to success in the community.
“To see them continue to grow, and come back and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to start a second location,’ or ‘We’re going to need more funds for inventory,’ I think that it’s so neat to be a part of something like that,” he says.
Cliff has spent a lot of time coaching youth sports, and he compares this transformation to coaching athletes.
“It’s very similar in a sense to the kid who you see as a freshman, and you see them as a senior, just to see the growth,” he says.
Cliff also spends a lot of time volunteering for various charities, including Habitat for Humanity, Big Table, and Ronald McDonald House. He and his wife Lindsee have three children, and they have volunteered for Ronald McDonald House as a family.
“I think it’s good for the kids to get involved early,” Cliff says.
Travis Johnson, 39 Owner | Johnson’s Custom Jewelry
Travis Johnson’s love of jewelry design started when he was at Central Valley High School and he took an elective in jewelry making, which he says was a great creative outlet.
“We just made simple sterling silver and copper things, and I ended up taking it again as an elective later that year,” Travis says. “My coach’s family owned a jewelry store, and I showed him some of the things I made.”
The company had a position for high schoolers doing ring resizing and chain repair, and Travis took the spot.
After high school, Travis attended Western Washington University for two years to study business, but ended up leaving to attend a jewelry school in Southern California.
His business, which used to be a bench in his garage, is now in the same building where Dodson’s Jewelers used to be. When people see the storefront, they already expect jewelry.
“When we were doing the remodel in there, we had the floor all ripped out and the cases covered, and we still had people coming in, looking for a jewelry store,” he says.
It’s meaningful for him to be a part of the joyful moments in people’s lives—picking out an engagement ring or buying something for a special occasion.
“I still get amazed when people come in and ask us to make something for them, or they want to purchase a piece of jewelry that we have,” Travis says. “There’s so many options for people to make those purchases, and so it’s really an honor when they trust us to help them with that.”
Dr. Leslie Blevins, 36 Founder and Child Psychologist | Enilda Clinic
Leslie Blevins wants people to know that taking care of your mental health is not only for when you are under duress, but also a part of wellness that everyone should embrace. Her goal is to help parents build strong, healthy relationships with their children. She believes in evidence-based treatment, and education is the core of her practice. She created the Enilda Clinic Resource Library, providing children’s and parenting mental health education online for free.
Leslie says that, growing up in rural Alabama, she realized how stress, poverty, and childhood misbehavior can create poor self-esteem in kids.
“I lived that,” Leslie says. “I was tested for special education. I didn’t qualify due to high scores, and that meant I wasn’t offered supports for the original difficulties that led to testing.”
She helps parents practice intentional parenting strategies.
“That way, those automatic parenting behaviors that they learned in their childhood they don’t want to repeat can be changed,” Leslie says. “It’s about giving parents the tools to change the generational repetition of learned behaviors.”
Leslie wishes this support had been available to her parents.
“I needed someone who understood what I was going through and could guide my family even though it didn’t affect me academically,” she says.
Leslie prefers children to come to her when they’re younger because “the parent-therapist team then creates a more efficient therapeutic process due to the child’s behavior not yet being set in stone.”
The child will not change their behavior until the environment changes first, Leslie says.
“I would say for me, I’m looking at that little kid and seeing myself there,” she says. “I just want that little kid to have the best chances. And, I want that parent to feel good about themselves.”
Dr. Laura Young, MD, 34 Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgeon | Northwest Women’s Care
Dr. Laura Young is making it her mission to ensure women do not endure pain in silence.
“Most women I see in the office confess that someone has told them it’s normal, just something you have to deal with as a woman, but generally that’s not the case,” Laura says.
Laura has noticed that when she validates her patients’ pain, she can tell they visibly relax.
“You tell them this is not all in your head, it’s not crazy,” Laura says. “It’s certainly no way to live, either.”
Laura has a passion for improving health care in Native populations, sparked by a rotation at Indian Health Service during her residency. Laura reached out to American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to do research about how the opioid epidemic was affecting Native communities and maternal care, work she completed during a rotation in New Mexico. Once that was completed, they asked her to join the Committee on American Indian/Alaska Native Women’s Health.
“What I found is that there’s not a lot of research out there on Native women’s health,” Laura says.
One of Laura’s goals for her practice is to make her services more accessible to Native communities.
“I’m hoping to venture out to provide services in person,” Laura says.
Laura also has colleagues in Oregon who are working to get Native individuals who are younger—high school or college—who are interested in health care to offer shadowing or put them in touch with people who can help them stay in the health care field to work locally.
“I don’t want women to think they’re alone or without hope,” she says.
David Pendergraft, 35 COO | McConkey Auction Group
David Pendergraft could probably go by “Pendo”—his nickname playing basketball at Gonzaga University—and get by fine. Basketball these days is relegated to coaching his kids’ teams, but he learned a lot about life from playing sports as well as growing up in the country.
“You did things right, and you put in the hard work, and I think those life lessons last a long time,” David says.
After college, David “cut his teeth” at Next IT software, and three years later, went back to Gonzaga to get his MBA. Now he works for McConkey Auction Group—the company provides auto remarketing services—as the COO. He still has a bit of his competitive nature from his days on the court.
“It’s that red-headed fire,” David says, laughing. “I’ve definitely learned to temper it a bit, but at the same time, I think that’s the beauty, when you talk about transferring things you’ve learned in sports or who we are as people into the business world.”
Through the company, David participates in a variety of charity work, including Union Gospel Mission.
In its work with the homeless population, David says he thinks UGM does “a tremendous job in providing that bridge, but doing it in a healthy way to where it’s done with love and respect.”
The company also helps with the Bite 2 Go program, as well as Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery.
“They’re such hard times for people, and it’s such an unsurety,” he says. “The importance of saying, ‘Hey, there’s resources, we’re here with embracing arms,’ that just speaks to what we believe in, and what the importance is.”
Arthur J. Whitten, 28 Deputy Investment and Banking Officer | Treasurer of Spokane County
Arthur J. Whitten works for the tax collecting office, but the department also invests tax dollars to earn investment income—of the $1.3 billion invested, they are projected to earn about $22 million in interest this year—which supports local public services.
Sometimes that initial investment takes the form of government-issued bonds or debt issued by federal agencies, such as Fannie Mae.
“We like to say we’re really one of the only—if not the only—areas of government that can actually return revenue without raising taxes or fees on the public,” Arthur says.
That investment can also be local investment, allowing them to provide support for many important projects large and small.
For example, in the beginning of September, ESD 101—which is support for many schools in Eastern Washington—approached them about financing to purchase of PPE for schools.
“They’re a win-win-win, because we get a better investment return than we might from, say, a U.S. Treasury, the agency benefits because they get a better rate than they would in the open market, and the tax payer wins because whatever that public project was gets delivered at a lower cost,” Arthur says.
A memorable project for Arthur was when Fire District 2—which serves the Fairfield area—needed a medical gurney upgrade. At the time, the fire department told the treasurer’s office that they were the only county fire district that performed its own medical transports.
“This was a service they were really proud of as an all-volunteer fire district, and they have a really small budget,” Arthur says. “That really stuck out to me.”
Ashley Gorman, 36 Corporate Merchandiser | Huckleberry’s
At ten, Ashley Gorman used her Caboodle as a briefcase and made her friends put memos in her inbox in her bedroom/office or play restaurant with aunts, selling crayon-fries and burritos—baseball cards rolled up in a lunch bag.
“It amazes me how much that ten-year-old girl had it figured out,” Ashley says.
But her road to being the corporate merchandiser for Huckleberry’s—the natural grocer owner by Rosauer’s—was not easy. As an only child of a single mother, she was left alone frequently. In sixth grade, her mother went to prison, and she spent the rest of her childhood moving from one relative’s house to another. She saved money working at McDonald’s and moved out of her grandma’s house senior year of high school.
There was a competition at McDonald’s, which caused Ashley’s manager to notice her.
“I realized when I put effort in he started looking at me as someone who had potential.” Ashley says.
Sixteen years ago, Ashley moved to Spokane from the Tri-Cities area to attend Eastern. Her first job with the company was as a checker at Rosauers on 14th and Lincoln. From there, she moved to front end manager in Missoula, to running the deli department back in Spokane, and to Huckleberry’s as an assistant store manager.
“Within a month, the store totally changed me,” Ashley says. “I was looking into all kinds of things that weren’t on my radar before, and I fell in love with it.”
She called it being “Huckified.”
“I’m tasked with making sure Huck’s stays who we are,” Ashley says.
These days, Ashley’s mother has become her biggest cheerleader. She was maid of honor at her wedding, and the two have never been closer.
Ellie Getchius, 32 Facilities Director, President | The Milling Center, St. Maries Youth Roots, Inc.
In 2010, Ellie Getchius and her family moved to St. Maries, Idaho.
“We moved to this area just because it is so great,” Ellie says. “It’s tight knit, it has a lot of outdoor opportunities. But we would always utilize the Kroc Center in Coeur d’Alene, our once a week trip, and it was so nice to have that resource. We wanted something similar in St. Maries.”
When her father passed away in 2016, he left her a sum of money, and she wanted to honor his memory.
Ellie’s father was a dream big guy who loved children.
“It seemed really fitting to go for this far-out dream of remodeling a building, and trying to make it into something that could be used by community members,” she says.
The project began in April 2017. The demolition took a year, and the remodel another.
“We don’t have business experience in starting something like this, or even a nonprofit background,” Ellie says. “It’s been a big learning curve.”
They planned for the Milling Center to have its grand opening on March 21, but the pandemic had other plans. They postponed the opening date, and were finally able to open on June 1. For now, enrollment is slow, but Ellie is confident things will pick up once the virus is contained.
“It’s been slow, and that’s OK,” Ellie says. “It’s given us a lot of time to adjust and adapt.”
Jared Webley, 37 Public Policy and Communications Manager
In 2016, when Jared Webley took his job with the county, he dealt with a fire storm his first week, and was surprised Jared about his position’s role in emergency services.
“My eyes were open to how important our public servants are when it comes to emergency situations in our community,” Jared says.
With the pandemic, this has never been more apparent.
“It was very frustrating at first because there were a lot of answers we didn’t have,” Jared says.
The joint information center was activated in March, resulting in twenty communication professionals gathered for six to twelve hours a day, every day, for at least two months.
“It can be very difficult navigating relationships and priorities for each organization,” Jared says. “While there were some difficulties for sure, in the long run, I look back on it as a very positive experience.”
Jared enjoys that, on any given day, he could be thrown on a variety of tasks—distributing information about voter registration, making a video about road improvements, and anything in between.
After college, Jared worked for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers for five years—three years in her congressional office and two as her campaign director. In 2009, he married, and decided he wanted a career less dependent on elections. He went to work for the public relations firm, Gallatin Public Affairs.
Jared wanted to do work that would make his community stronger and saw working for the county as a great opportunity.
“I really started to identify with the value of helping our community, and I thought moving over to the county would be one way for me to continue my mission to make this place a better place for my family to live,” Jared says.
Scott Lea, 37 Owner | Wild Dawgs, So Clean, SLJB Properties, SKIL Holdings, BB and Punkin, The St. Bernard
Scott Lea realized at fourteen that college was not going to be his path. His grandma cleaned commercial buildings in Spokane Valley for extra cash, and he decided to help her for a cut of the money. This planted the seed for his first company, So Clean. Scott learned how to run a business over ten years.
“That was my learning curve for the trajectory of my life, figuring out how to manage people and work with people,” Scott says.
In 2013, Scott and a longtime employee noticed the vacant building which is now Wild Dawgs. Scott’s plan was to make it into a noodle restaurant, but quickly changed gears when a Pho restaurant opened right behind him.
“I was like, ‘Well, I guess we’re sticking with hot dogs,’ which actually turned out great because there’s virtually zero competition, and it’s an easy product—easy to cook, easy to teach, and easy to come up with cool new recipes,” Scott says.
With his fantastic business partner, Lauren D’Arienzo, he co-owns commercial property on Schweitzer, a restaurant within that building called the St. Bernard, and a holding company for management of AirBnBs in that area.
Scott continues to build other companies, and his reasons for this are nontraditional. He has talented employees and wants to retain them, so he creates opportunity. He loves watching managers thrive without him, and instead of barking orders at employees, he believes in “shifting to a model of love.”
Glenda Mendoza Creager, 39 Intake/Case Analyst | Northwest Fair Housing Alliance
While working in human resources at a hotel in her native country, Nicaragua, Glenda Mendoza Creager met her now-husband, Spirit Creager, who was designing maintenance for the same hotel. The intention had always been to stay in Nicaragua, and the couple did for ten years. While they were vacationing in Miami in 2018, however, a social insurrection in the country erupted as they were leaving, and they decided to move to Spokane, where Spirit was from.
They moved in the dead of winter, and the city was a shock to her system. To meet more people, she began attending church and volunteering at Our Place, a community outreach organization that provides food and other services, while also taking ESL night classes through Spokane Community College, where she met her friend and teacher, Christina.
Christina helped her find her first job at SNAP, where she was able to help people with housing needs and electricity.
“It changed the way I think because we don’t have programs like this in my country,” Glenda says. “Just to see how grateful people were brought me satisfaction. I loved giving to my community and helping Spanish-speaking people also, who may not have been helped.”
From there, Glenda took a job with Northwest Fair Housing Alliance, where she had already done volunteer work. She’s determined to make a difference in others’ lives while continuing self-improvement.
“I’ve had a lot of angels, helpers since I’ve come here, and I guess I want to be an angel for others,” Glenda says.
Joe Gellatly, 38 CEO | Medcurity, Inc.
At a time when the health care system is being stretched thin, Medcurity provides software to help health care organizations protect patient information. With telehealth booming, the company helps organizations navigate privacy and security requirements. When coronavirus first hit, business slowed, but in the summer, business leveled as health care organizations needed help serving people remotely and enabling employees to work from home, which can open opportunities for cyberattacks or lost information.
“It can be really frustrating and overwhelming for health care organizations, and it’s certainly not the main reason they got into the business,” Joe says. “It takes away from patient care. We heard over and over again from health care leadership that this is a huge headache, they don’t have any time to work on it, it’s a big risk.”
Joe founded the company in 2018 with Amanda Hepper and says they worked together on everything from the beginning. They hired their first employee in 2019 and now have thirteen employees. He says he also owes a debt of gratitude to his wife, Bonnie, whom he met at Whitworth University. “Bonnie and I have done various entrepreneurial activities through the years, and she’s been extremely supportive. When you’re thinking about leaving a good job to pursue something like this, it’s very helpful to have a supportive spouse that says, ‘Yeah, let’s do it. Let’s take it on and see what happens,’” Joe says.
Tony Baird, 35 Co-Owner, Chief Strategist | The Woodshop
Tony Baird’s career thus far has been marked by taking great leaps of faith.
His first job was working for a now-defunct radio station. From there, he went to work for KXLY in sales. Starting sales in 2008 when the economy was taking a deep dive was the ultimate training ground, he says. He could see that many people chose to pursue a lifetime career at KXLY, but he didn’t want this for himself.
While at KXLY, Jeremy McGee—who owned three businesses at the time—became one of his clients. As he got to know Jeremy, “I got to see that not every successful business person is sixty years old and gray,” Tony says. “He was just a couple years older than me.”
They had a wonderful working relationship, and he went to work for Jeremy. They noticed clients were asking for marketing advice, and this planted the seed for what would become The Woodshop, a full-service marketing and design company.
The company is now thriving. Tony wanted his children to see nontraditional paths to making a living. His six-year-old is becoming aware that the family can spend a day at the lake, and dad only has to jump on his laptop for a few hours.
“My wife works a normal eight-to-five job, so he’ll start to see some more of the differences,” he says.
Tony prefers a collaborative relationship with other agencies in town.
“There are some that are heritage, and I look at them and all of the cool stuff they’ve done, and I do see a future where that’s going to be us.”
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