Sitting at my desk looking out my office window, I see Caterpillar’s worldwide headquarters and the company’s logo shining in the sunlight.

Thirteen years ago, I — young, green and eager — started my career by working for Big Yellow’s mining division. Born and raised in this town, I had no idea, until I was on the “inside”, the magnitude of good this company did not only for our community, but also the world.

And while it wasn’t long before my career took me to the agency side of the business, my relationship with Caterpillar continued. The projects, relationships and successes our team at Simantel has shared working with this company for more than 30 years are hard to describe in words. Our enduring partnership is nearly unheard of in an industry that claims client turnover is every 4-7 years.

Driving trucks the size of a house. Seeing dozers deliver laser light shows. Holding photo shoots inside the depths of a mine site. Riding shotgun with truck drivers and talking engines. Navigating a locomotive down Las Vegas Boulevard. Running alongside a kangaroo during a Dealer event in Australia. These are the experiences our employees have had working for this amazing organization.

Really, truly…I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. That’s why the announcement of plans to move the company’s headquarters was difficult to hear. But I am confident in the resilience of our community and our company. It made me think hard about how to lead effectively through the ever-increasing change of pace in business. The evolving competitive landscape, advancements in technology, heightened employee expectations — everything can change with little or no notice. But it’s the way we react in those times that separate the mediocre companies from the best.

There are certain pillars we lean on as we move forward, regardless of the curves of the road.

  • We know brand and values matters. In the age of digital and technology expertise, the discipline of “brand building” seems to have taken a back seat. Instead, we hear words like precision marketing, demand generation, a 360-view of the customer. Yes, those things are important, and we do focus on those things. But in times of change, it is important to know what we stand for and what kind of emotional connections we want to create with our employees and clients. For Simantel, our most basic values include: living for the challenge, believing we are better together, and having heart for our community and our work. We will always build on the foundation of who we really are.
  • We will leverage our expertise. Our company has more than 35 years experience working-hard for hard-working brands. Not only that, but we know the hard-working customer. The guy and gal that are at work, before dawn most days, working with their hands to build our world. We know them because we’ve talked to them a lot and spent time watching what they do. We have gobs of data on how they want to be served marketing messages, and we know there are a lot of companies out there that need to market to these workers. So we’ll leverage what (and who) we know and build on that experience.
  • We won’t stop seeking the best talent. It doesn’t matter the business climate; smart people want to work with smart people. And, we’ve built our business on hiring smart, passionate, creative people. To attract these folks, we have to continue to push forward with new ways to work. We now have more than 100 employees in 10 states and an agency network that gives us working partners around the world. We’re not afraid to innovate with new work arrangements. And we will continue to be where we need to be, recruiting the best talent around.
  • We will continue to invest in data and technology. In uncertain times, some companies pull back on investing. Of course, no company should be frivolous. But for our business, we always ask ourselves, “What’s the most important thing we can do right now?” And, inevitably data and technology investments rise to the top because of the efficiencies and insights these investments can create for our clients. We’re still focused on big ideas, but we’re continuing to expand into more of a data and technology company everyday. Like most companies, this trend is one reality that we’re embracing and moving full steam ahead.
  • We value collaborative partnerships. In the agency world, “frienemies” has become the new norm. Consulting firms, media companies, publishers, and creative shops are blurring the lines between traditional offerings, many times competing for the same piece of the pie. And, we’re fairly certain this newfound level of collaboration is not unique to marketers but all businesses alike. We’ve always held steadfast in our belief that with clear roles and responsibilities, we can work with many types of companies. The truth is we always want to do what’s in the best interest of our clients. We can’t think of a better way to earn our clients’ trust than to just do the right thing – and if partnering with similar companies helps us achieve that mission, we’re all for it.
  • We seek out new opportunities. Finally, there is a tendency in business to “stay the course” in tough times. What we’ve always told clients is that times of adversity can uncover opportunities you couldn’t see before. This requires adaptation in order to take advantage of adjacent lines of business. For us, even minor changes in viewpoint have reaped big rewards. For example, when our clients aren’t spending on marketing, they’re working on internal processes, training or development. Strategies for communication are necessary too, so we use our skills and tools to meet those needs where we can. We will identify emerging and timely needs, and pivot our abilities quickly to remain an important partner to our clients.


As I sit here looking out my window, I come back to thinking about the connection many companies have in our region…and how change effects us all. It serves all of us well to step back, take a deep breath and think about how to lead effectively.

For Simantel, we’re choosing to stay focused and confident. We’re encouraging other companies to be equally committed to growth and embrace the fearless attitude needed for success.

We won’t stand still, and we hope you don’t either.