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Marketing Firm Celebrates 40(ish) Years In Business


January 31, 2022

CONTACT: Shawna Ford, Brand Specialist at Simantel
309.550.4880 |


PEORIA, Ill. — Peoria-based advertising and marketing firm, Simantel, is celebrating 40 years of business, providing local, national and international companies with the strategic consult and go-to-market support they need to give life to their businesses.

As an agency that sits at the intersection of B2B and B2C buyer’s experiences, the company brands itself as an industrial consumer marketing firm, supporting hardworking brands that build the world. With a strong client base made up of heavy equipment manufacturers, including Fortune 100 firm, Caterpillar, the agency offers expertise in industries such as agriculture, construction, energy, mining, and logistics.

Jim Simantel founded the company in 1980, but did not incorporate until 1982, making the anniversary date a little fuzzy. To honor this grey space, the company has built a marketing campaign dubbed “40(ish)” – to acknowledge the quirky culture employees and clients have come to expect in working with the firm, along with the idea that marketing is a fun mix of logic, emotion, and intuition, further supporting the idea that the firm is a little “ish” by its very nature.

Throughout 2022, Simantel plans to support the 40(ish) campaign by unveiling new monthly events, content, contests and celebrations for employees, clients and the community to enjoy.

Current company owners, Tim Leesman and Misty Dykema, are long-time Simantel employees and say they are honored to be at the helm of the celebrations.

“Working for Simantel has been such an amazing, rewarding and humbling ride. We’ve grown so much, and we couldn’t be prouder of the entire Simantel team. The growth our clients and staff have afforded us allows us to continue to deliver a great employee experience while bringing value to our clients, innovating new solutions and doing amazing work while remembering to have fun and enjoy the ride.” said Leesman.

The growth he references has been slow and steady. A firm that started with just a few creative talents, now employs over 100 strategy, creative and technical thinkers and doers including fulltime remote workers across 14 states. And, yet – they remain ever-focused on their central Illinois community.

“While we love hardworking brands, we also align ourselves to organizations focused on building up the quality of life for their consumers. This includes a focus on health care, insurance and financial services firms, higher-education and more – especially those making an impact right here in the heart of Illinois,” said Dykema. “We’re currently supporting the growing health care network in our region, and we have the opportunity to touch so many corners of society, leveraging our skills to change hearts and minds. In a way, our work is unlike almost any other discipline in business. We really do get to live our mission — believing that inspired ideas can change everything if given the chance to try.”

Leesman and Dykema have been with Simantel for nearly 20 years, and owners of the company since 2015. They purchased the business in full at the end of 2021, from long-time leaders Susie Ketterer, Kevin McConaghy and Maggie Misselhorn. Today, they are supported by a tenured executive team that continues to fuel the company’s success.

“So much has changed in the digital marketing industry since we first began our work,” said 15-year company veteran and Executive Strategy lead, Erin Bowald. “We got our start by helping organizations build aspirational brand strategies and sell products and services through new product introductions, trade shows and trainings. Today, we still do that . . . but we’re also helping companies map better consumer experiences and deliver digitally-enhanced programs that align every aspect of the buyer’s journey.”

In addition to growing service lines, the company has taken learnings from the past four decades, and intentionally made a shift to becoming a thought leader in the agency world. As members of organizations such as the Advertising and Marketing Independent Network (AMIN) Worldwide, the company’s leaders have influence and connections across the globe. They have even begun a podcast, “Marketing Sweats” that tells real-life stories of the hardworking brands they serve.

The positive light Simantel shines on Peoria is also present in their philanthropy. The company has devoted service hours to several causes including Easter Seals of Central Illinois, the Central Illinois Red Cross, EP!C, Bradley University, Family Core, Junior Achievement, Big Picture Peoria and more. In addition, each year the firm adopts several families, most recently supporting Pleasant Valley School District by donating over $10K in gift cards last year. They have also started an endowed scholarship fund with Illinois Central College, supporting diversity, equity and inclusion by honoring minority students interested in a marketing career.

While awards are not the company’s focus, they have been recognized by AdAge, Hermes Creative, The Telly Awards, and more. Most recently, their video work (in partnership with client, Caterpillar) was featured at the Boston Film Festival.

To find out more check out our anniversary page or contact us here.

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