Swanson Russell is led in our Lincoln office by our partners, Chief Creative Officer Brian Boesche and Chief Executive Officer Dave Hansen. In Omaha, we are led by Executive Vice President and Managing Director of the Omaha Office, Tracy Stanko. Here’s a little bit more about all of them.
Partner/Chief Creative Officer
I grew up in the agency business—namely this agency. It all started in 1980 when I landed my first gig in advertising after graduating from the University of Nebraska. As the official agency “go-fer” I was responsible for everything from making deliveries, dashing to the Greyhound bus depot to send out ad materials (hey, no one had even heard of Federal Express back then), restocking the cans of Spray-Mount and helping to proof keylines with the “secretaries.” Occasionally I was asked to go buy cigarettes and take the boss’ Lincoln Continental through the car wash. That’s a trust that has to be earned.
Somewhere along the way I told the folks here I’d like to try my hand at copywriting and was given an IBM Selectric and the job of Junior Copywriter when they fired the other poor sap that had that job. A career was born. Copywriter. Creative Director. Chief Creative Officer. I’ve even served as my own Account Executive a time or two.
Thirty-some years later I’ve had the pleasure of being part of (and now leading) an amazing group of dedicated and talented professionals. I’ve worked on some of the best clients in the business (and a few of the worst) from small startups to Fortune 500 titans. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, is that you never stop learning: about target markets; about new ways to connect with them; about being part of a team; and about doing the kind of work that keeps you coming in the door each morning.
It’s been a good run. I think I’ll stick around awhile.
Partner/Chief Executive Officer
I have had the good fortune in the past 35 years to split time on both the client and agency side. Having begun my career in Financial Marketing, I have a great appreciation for the many issues a marketing/advertising professional has to deal with. Things such as the CEOs or other management members writing copy, or asking for their two favorite concepts to be combined into one (that no longer makes sense). Or asking why our client cannot approve the best of the three concepts presented (while not wanting to tell us that the wife of the CEO did not like it) and the many other pressures faced that have nothing to do with interactions with the agency. Also, as a new business person, I find it interesting to note that now I compete with some of the past agencies I've hired and fired. Small world indeed.
Over twenty years ago, I was actively recruited to leave a smaller ad agency to join Swanson Russell. And I have never looked back. These have been some of the best professional years of my life. To see a company grow from some 40 employees to over 150, and to work with some incredibly talented individuals that keep me “young” and more “with it” has truly been rewarding. And to work with several Fortune 500 companies such as Textron, Rain Bird, Scotts, Gateway Computers and Briggs and Stratton has been a privilege.
Today, as one of the owners, my primary responsibility boils down to creating an environment where our staff can grow professionally, personally, financially, and enjoy each and every day. Sounds a bit simple, but I take on this role very seriously. The best agencies are created by the best talent. Without great talent, we don’t attract and retain great clients.
I am an active member of the AAAA’s and participate in a forum of other agency owners to share best practices and discuss the challenges we all face. A graduate and member of the Board of Directors of a liberal arts school, Nebraska Wesleyan University, I have two daughters; one working for a major digital firm in Kansas City and the other just starting her career with a travel and tourism ad agency, also in Kansas City. The proverbial apple didn’t fall too far.