ABOUT R+K

We don’t acquire deep insights without asking provocative questions—questions that inspire our clients to think differently about their brands. The answers fuel our curiosity and ignite the ideas that help us deliver customer-focused solutions. It’s how we’ve worked since 1978, when Rhea + Kaiser was founded by Steve Rhea and the late Van Kaiser.

PHILOSOPHY

We listen to our clients and their customers, hearing not just what they say, but what they mean.

We call it “tending the fire”—using insights to ignite relationships.

We inspire our clients to think differently about their brands and the people who use their products, seeing their brand from new perspectives.

CLIENTS

What generates creative thinking and builds rewarding relationships?

Collaboration, insight, idea generation and a commitment to shared success.
 

NEWS

Rhea + Kaiser Promotes Walter to SVP, Adds VP Group Account Director

September 16, 2014

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (Sept. 15, 2014) - Rhea + Kaiser (R+K) announces the promotion of Jeff Walter to Senior Vice President (SVP), Executive Director, Account Management + Planning (AMP), along with the addition of Andrea Bonney as Vice President, Group Account Director.

As SVP, Walter oversees account management and strategic planning for the agency and is the lead client contact for all accounts. He will direct agency-wide brand positioning efforts and be responsible for business development with new and existing clients. Walter, who resides in Wheaton, Ill., remains a member of the R+K Leadership team. He joined R+K in 2000 after graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor's degree in agricultural communications. Walter succeeds the retiring Cheryl Muzinic.

"Jeff has been a valuable contributor to R+K's success since joining the agency 14 years ago. He embodies our agency values of curiosity, courage and ingenuity," Rhea + Kaiser Chief Executive Officer and President Diane Martin. "Jeff works closely with our AMP staff to bring pioneering strategic thinking and fresh perspectives that create new opportunities for our clients and the agency."




Bonney follows Walter as VP, group account director. A member of the agency's leadership team, Bonney will be responsible for overall client management and strategic planning on several accounts, including Bayer CropScience. Prior to joining R+K, Bonney was a vice president and group account director with Energy BBDO working on Bayer Animal Health and Bayer Healthcare Consumer Care brands. Bonney, who lives in Naperville, Ill., earned her bachelor's degree in marketing from Northern Illinois University.

"Andrea brings a proven track record of leading globally recognized clients, particularly those with technical products in regulated markets, along with strong strategic and collaboration skills," said Martin. "We welcome Andrea's leadership, creativity and energy to the R+K family."



Rhea + Kaiser Adds Senior Brand Strategist and Senior Art Director

December 06, 2013

NAPERVILLE, Ill. - Rhea + Kaiser (R+K) announces the addition of Megan Henry as senior brand strategist and Richard Whitfield as senior art director.

"Megan and Richard bring an exceptional level of strategic thinking and execution to bear for our clients," said R+K President and Chief Executive Officer Diane Martin. "Both are highly accomplished in their field. Their curiosity and deep insights are a great fit with R+K's commitment to create new opportunities for our clients and brands."

In her new role as senior brand strategist at R+K, Megan is responsible for leading account planning and strategic development for all clients. She collaborates with R+K's integrated teams on brand strategies, communications strategies and creative platforms. Prior to joining R+K, Megan has been a senior brand planner leading strategy development for First Midwest Bank, JMB Insurance and the Chicago Cubs. In addition, she has provided brand consultation for Sara Lee, McDonald's and Walgreens. Her agency experience also includes working on such leading brands as Dell, General Mills, Procter & Gamble, State Farm and Kellogg.



Richard brings a true global perspective to his role as senior art director at R+K, with over 20 years of experience working for clients such as Toyota, Motorola and Capital One in their Europe, Middle East and Asia markets. He strives to bring clients closer to their customers through robust propositions and benefit lead strategies that work across all media to improve brand reputation and market share. He has provided cutting-edge creative for a diverse range of clients including Capita, BT, Orange, England National Rugby and Abbott Laboratories.



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About Rhea + Kaiser
Rhea + Kaiser is a full-service, integrated marketing communications agency driven by curiosity, courage and ingenuity. By leaning in and listening to our clients and their customers, we acquire the insights needed to ignite new ideas that open windows of opportunity for our clients and inspire them to think differently about their brands. This bold approach to delivering customer-focused solutions has enabled R+K to build strong relationships with clients that possess a commitment to shared success in such industries as agriculture, education, equipment and health care. To learn more about how R+K opens windows, we invite you to explorer this site or contact us at 630-505-0100. For career opportunities, visit the Careers page or check out our LinkedIn profile. Follow R+K on Facebook or on Twitter at @RheaKaiser.

Press Contact
Rob Merritt
Rhea + Kaiser - Vice President, Director of Public Relations
630-955-2525

Rhea + Kaiser Announces Key Staff Promotions

August 22, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Staff Also Join Agency

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (Aug. 17, 2012) - Rhea + Kaiser has recently promoted four current staff and added seven new staff to the agency following recent account growth and diversification.

"Our recent promotions and new staff additions are a result of our growing integrated communications opportunities with our clients," said R+K President and CEO Diane Martin. "It is an honor to recognize outstanding performances through promotions and look forward to their contributions in their new roles. It also is exciting when we get to add highly accomplished professionals to our agency team."

Jim Myers has been promoted to Creative Director. Jim, who has been with the agency since 1986, is an award-winning creative mind with an extensive background in the agriculture, real estate, healthcare and technology industries. In his new role, he will be the creative lead on the agency's Bayer BioScience and Selective Herbicide brands, Novus International and Sandvik accounts.

Laura Boynton has been promoted to Senior Account Supervisor. She is the day-to-day account leader on the agency's GROWMARK and Valley Irrigation accounts. Laura joined R+K on a full-time basis in April 2011, after a brief period as an account management and planning consultant for the agency.

Jodi Carreon has been promoted to Senior Account Supervisor, responsible for leading the Bayer CropScience Herbicide, Fungicide and Insecticide Brands accounts. She has been with R+K since June 2008, serving in a variety of account management and planning roles.

Sarah Lenkaitis has been promoted to Account Manager. She is the day-to-day account service contact on the agency's Bayer CropScience BioScience Brands and Novus International accounts. Sarah joined the agency in January 2011 as an Assistant Account Executive.

Scott Pettit has joined R+K as Creative Director. He will be the creative lead for the agency's healthcare and education clients. Plus, he will also lead creative teams for the agency's nonprofit clients and some of its agriculture brand accounts.

Erin Eckerman joins the R+K team as a Senior Account Manager. In her new role, Erin will be the day-to-day manager on the Bayer CropScience Herbicide brands team. She has previously held communications positions in the agriculture and healthcare industries.

Mark Gaspar has been hired as a Copywriter on the R+K Creative team. Mark will be providing copywriting for such clients as Bayer CropScience, Novus International and Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

One year after completing her R+K summer internship, Monica Arcaro has rejoined the agency as an Assistant Account Manager, providing account support for the Bayer CropScience account teams. Monica graduated this past May from the University of Dayton with a degree in marketing.

Meghan Mahoney joins R+K as a Public Relations Assistant Account Executive. In addition to agency internal and external PR roles, she is providing PR support for many of the R+K's clients. Meghan has communications experience in the construction equipment and healthcare industries.

Mary Hull has come on board as a full-time Production Manager. She will heading up production work on the Bayer CropScience Selective Herbicide, Insecticide and BioScience brands at R+K. Mary had previously been a production consultant for the agency since May 2011.

Patty Blystone has been appointed as Accountant. She joins R+K with 15 years of accounting experience in the software, manufacturing and moving industries. Patty earned her accounting degree from Elmhurst College and has a teaching MAT from National-Louis College.

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About Rhea + Kaiser
Rhea + Kaiser is a full-service, integrated marketing communications agency that prioritizes customer intelligence and measurement. We're highly collaborative, creative problem-solvers who help clients solve their communications challenges and find better opportunities to build their businesses. Our portfolio includes leading agriculture, animal health, equipment, business-to-business and business-to-consumer clients.

Press Contact
Rob Merritt
Rhea + Kaiser - Vice President, Director of Public Relations
630-955-2525
rmerritt@rkconnect.com

DePaul and R+K win 'Best in Show' for brand campaign

April 03, 2012

NAPERVILLE, Ill. - April 4, 2012 - DePaul University and Rhea + Kaiser have earned "Best of Show" honors from the Higher Education Marketing Report "Educational Advertising Awards" program, which honors outstanding work in the field of educational marketing and advertising.

The winning entry is the new "Greater Perspective" brand campaign for DePaul, which challenges people to see beyond the obvious and make insightful observations about ordinary, everyday objects - a challenge that directly reflects DePaul's teaching approach that encourages students to see their studies, communities and world through a wider lens. The campaign also won two merit awards for individual print executions, "Tree" and "Apple."

"This campaign articulates how our students are uniquely prepared to contribute, collaborate and succeed," said Gwyn Friend, associate vice president for marketing communications at DePaul. "Considering the quality of work produced by our peers, we are honored to accept these awards."

The Higher Education Marketing Report annual Educational Advertising Awards program is the largest competition of its kind in the United States. Of the nearly 3,000 entries submitted, only 18 were recognized as "Best of Show."

"It's certainly a thrill to have your work named best of show by the industry your client serves," said Robert Landa, VP/Executive Creative Director at Rhea + Kaiser. "To successfully dimensionalize DePaul's approach is especially rewarding."

To view the award-winning brand campaign, see our Ideas section.

About DePaul

With more than 25,000 students, DePaul University is the largest Catholic university in the United States and the largest private, non-profit university in the Midwest. The university offers approximately 275 graduate and undergraduate programs of study on two Chicago campuses, three suburban campuses and several international locations. Founded in 1898, DePaul remains committed to providing a quality education through an emphasis on service learning and personal attention.

R+K promotes two to Vice President

March 15, 2012

NAPERVILLE, Ill., March 15, 2012-Rhea + Kaiser has promoted Jeff Walter to Vice President, Group Account Director, and Kathy Sedlacek to Vice President, Director of Finance.

"Jeff and Kathy embody what makes R+K successful - smart thinking, outstanding knowledge of our clients' businesses and an unwavering commitment to delivering great work and results," said Diane Martin, president and CEO of Rhea + Kaiser. "We're thrilled they accepted these new opportunities."

Jeff joined R+K nearly 12 years ago working on the Bayer CropScience business and has led the Bayer CropScience business in its entirety since 2010 in his previous role as Group Account Director. Among other accomplishments, Jeff led teams that launched LibertyLink® soybeans and Balance® Flexx and Ignite® herbicides. Jeff has a bachelor's degree in agricultural communications from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Kathy, previously Controller, Accounting, joined R+K in 1988 and has been a member of the agency's management team since June 2010. She will continue to manage all accounting functions and to guide R+K on the path of continued financial strength and growth. Kathy earned a B.A. in business, major accounting, from Governors State University in University Park, Ill.

"These promotions recognize the accomplishments and contributions Jeff and Kathy have made to R+K and represent their continued success and leadership on behalf of our clients and our people," added Martin.

R+K names Rob Merritt VP, Director, Public Relations

February 15, 2012

Rhea + Kaiser has named public relations professional Rob Merritt as VP, Director, Public Relations, effective immediately. Rob will lead public relations strategic planning and project implementation for all clients; oversee public relations new business efforts; and foster and build the agency's public relations team.

"Rob has an exceptional track record of developing award-winning PR groups within integrated agencies," said Diane Martin, president and CEO of Rhea + Kaiser. "We're confident his strategic, contemporary and creative approach to integrated communications will yield a powerhouse PR team at R+K and success stories for our clients."

Rob, 49, brings more than 20 years of public relations and integrated marketing and communications experience to R+K, most recently serving as senior vice president/director of public relations with Cramer-Krasselt in Chicago, where he led successful PR initiatives for national brands such as Sealy, AirTran Airways, Crocs, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse, Heinz, Kenmore.com, Porsche, TransUnion Interactive and University of Phoenix.

Prior to Cramer-Krasselt, Rob served in executive leadership roles at Brunner, Inc. and MARC USA, both in Pittsburgh, and at Barkley in Kansas City, Mo., where his clients included brands such as Dow, CITGO Petroleum Corp., Farmland Industries, Moen, Rite Aid, Sprint, Vulcan Chemicals and Zippo.

Rob has extensive experience in brand planning, media relations, media training, event marketing, community relations and events, social media program implementation, external and internal corporate communications, executive media and presentation training, speech writing, national crisis communications, and Corporate Social Responsibility program development and management.

Rob earned a Bachelor of Science in journalism degree from the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. In addition to his career in public relations, he owns Merritt Distributors, LLC, an Illinois wine distribution business.

R+K co-founder Van Kaiser 1943 - 2012

January 10, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NAPERVILLE, Ill., Jan. 10, 2012

We are deeply saddened to announce that John V. (Van) Kaiser, co-founder of Rhea + Kaiser, passed away this week. He was 68. Van's creative prowess and contagious humor grounded and inspired the agency and our people. The business is stable and running business as usual. Steve Rhea and Van have long had plans in place for an orderly transition. Our hearts go out to Van's family and friends.

Department name change amps up R+K

November 14, 2011

NAPERVILLE, Ill., Nov. 14, 2011-The renaming of the Rhea + Kaiser Account Management and Planning-or AMP-department, formerly known as Account Services, reflects the team's role as comprehensive account leaders who provide smart, strategic counsel and cultivate big ideas.

"Our work has always been much more than servicing day-to-day account details," said Cheryl Muzinic, director of the Account Management and Planning department at Rhea + Kaiser. "We needed a contemporary department name to communicate the full scope of our capabilities and responsibilities both to clients and internal teams."

The 12-member AMP team unveiled its new name during an agency-wide celebration late last week, and AMP leadership is informing clients this week. The announcement follows a thorough review process that included determining the new department moniker, contemporizing individual titles, and updating the department's mission, philosophy and vision statements.

"Our clients should expect the same outstanding brand planning and account management they've become accustomed to with R+K," said Diane Martin, president and CEO of Rhea + Kaiser. "The new name AMP simply underscores our ongoing commitment to lead and advocate for creative solutions that drive business results and build meaningful partnerships with our clients."

The R+K AMP team includes Kimberly Bergmooser, Kim Berns, Laura Boynton, Jodi Carreon, Paul Durham, Julie Dykstra, Jim Haist, Neil Johnson, Sarah Lenkaitis, Cheryl Muzinic, Jeff Walter and Claudia Zellmann.

Rhea + Kaiser marks 30 years of success with GROWMARK, Inc.

October 31, 2011

NAPERVILLE, Ill., Oct. 31, 2011 - Rhea + Kaiser is celebrating 30 years of successful marketing communications on behalf of GROWMARK Inc., a regional cooperative providing agriculture-related products and services, as well as grain marketing, in more than 20 states and in Ontario, Canada.

"We have a strong client-agency chemistry with GROWMARK that leads to open and honest dialogue and, ultimately, great work," said Diane Martin, president and CEO, Rhea + Kaiser. "We look forward to many more years of helping GROWMARK achieve communications success."

R+K provides ongoing support as a brand marketing consultant to GROWMARK, which over the past 30 years has expanded retail operations into Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Ontario, Canada, and expanded wholesale operations into Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, South Dakota and Minnesota.

"Rhea + Kaiser's deep understanding of and appreciation for our business and our customers are the foundation of this long-term, successful working relationship," said Krista Wolf, manager, brand strategy & marketing communications for GROWMARK Inc. "R+K has evolved with us, helping us successfully conceptualize and clearly communicate our brands over the years."

Check out some of R+K's work for GROWMARK here. And for more information about GROWMARK, visit www.growmark.com

About GROWMARK

GROWMARK, Inc. is a cooperative providing agriculture-related products and services, as well as grain marketing in 31 states and Ontario, Canada. GROWMARK owns the FS trademark, which is used by affiliated member cooperatives. More information is available at www.growmark.com


R+K's thought-provoking brand campaign for DePaul University brings teaching philosophy to life

September 13, 2011

NAPERVILLE, Ill., Sept. 13, 2011 - Rhea + Kaiser's (R+K) new "Greater Perspective" brand campaign for DePaul University challenges people to see beyond the obvious and make insightful observations about ordinary, everyday objects-a challenge that directly reflects DePaul University's teaching approach that encourages students to see their studies, communities and world through a wider lens.

"This campaign needed to evoke the many student, faculty and urban perspectives that shape a student at DePaul and truly differentiate the DePaul experience from its competitors," said Jeff Steinhouse, creative director at R+K. "To dimensionalize DePaul's approach, the campaign brings the viewer into the thought and teaching process of the classroom, challenging them in a way that is uncommon and unexpected for higher education advertising in the Chicago market, and across the country."

The "Greater Perspective" campaign is intended to reach current and prospective students, alumni, faculty, and local civic and corporate leaders. It features two television spots, two radio spots, outdoor bus shelter posters and print advertising.

"R+K has worked with DePaul for five years and has developed a deep understanding of DePaul's commitment to academic quality that prepares students for a global career marketplace," said Gwyn Friend, associate vice president for marketing communications at DePaul. "This campaign articulates how our students are uniquely prepared to contribute, collaborate and succeed."

The campaign runs in September and October this year, and will run again in January and February 2012. Details of the media flight were not disclosed. Campaign components are available for viewing at: http://www.depaul.edu/emm/adCampaign.asp.

Creative Credits: Developed by Rhea + Kaiser, led by VP, Executive Creative Director Robert Landa and Creative Director, Jeff Steinhouse. Directed by Sandro with Cap Gun production company. Edited by The Whitehouse. Recorded at Bam Studios. Photography by Shapps Photography.

About DePaul

With more than 25,000 students, DePaul University is the largest Catholic university in the United States and the largest private, non-profit university in the Midwest. The university offers approximately 275 graduate and undergraduate programs of study on two Chicago campuses, three suburban campuses and several international locations. Founded in 1898, DePaul remains committed to providing a quality education through an emphasis on service learning and personal attention.

Rhea + Kaiser Adds Technical Writing Emphasis

September 09, 2011

NAPERVILLE, Ill., September 9, 2011 - Rhea + Kaiser has announced it is expanding its areas of agency services to formally include technical writing.

"We have always valued and embraced technical writing at R+K," said CEO Diane Martin. "It's time to use our expertise in this discipline to garner greater value for both the agency and our clients."

This new area of emphasis allows R+K to accomplish several core objectives. Foremost, it allows R+K to integrate technical writing directly with client business objective and strategies; provide market knowledge on best practices and benchmarks; and inform, develop and implement technical writing projects.

Heading up this area is Ben Potter, who has been promoted to Manager of Technical Writing. Potter has worked for R+K since 2005 in various public relations roles, driving core communications initiatives for several key clients. Martin is confident the new area of emphasis will have a "viral" quality that will positively affect the entire agency.

"We fully expect that Ben's analysis, collaboration and expertise, along with his writing and editing skills, will create greater consistency and foster strong technical writing across the agency," Martin said.

According to Martin, focusing on areas such as technical writing and digital strategy further positions R+K to remain in a constant state of discovery and maintain momentum heading into 2012 and beyond.

About Rhea + Kaiser
Rhea + Kaiser is a full-service advertising and public relations agency that prioritizes customer intelligence and measurement. We're highly collaborative, creative problem-solvers who help clients solve their communications challenges and find better opportunities to build their businesses. Our portfolio includes leading agriculture, animal health, equipment, business-to-business and business-to-consumer clients.

Rhea + Kaiser Celebrates New People, Promotions & Clients

July 15, 2011

It has been a busy year at Rhea + Kaiser, to say the least. The agency hired seven new employees, promoted four and began work on two new accounts since March 2011.

"Whatever the channel, tactic or discipline, we start by putting our best people on the task at hand," said R+K CEO Diane Martin. "We're confident we have found the right group of great people who will live up to our high standards."

Recent hires include: Laura Boynton, account supervisor; Paul Durham, management supervisor; Julie Dykstra, account executive; Pete Hlavach, digital strategist; Jeff Steinhouse, creative director; Jennifer Taylor, project manager; and Maria Zubb, production artist.

"We also have promoted several employees in response to, and in appreciation of, the great work they continue to do at this agency," Martin added.

Recent promotions include: Neil Johnson, management supervisor; Amy McEvoy, PR senior account supervisor; Jack Vos, creative director; and Claudia Zellmann, senior account supervisor.

Other recent highlights for R+K include working with Novus International Inc. and the AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF). For Novus, the agency is developing a marketing asset management tool. For CHF, R+K is engaged in consumer media outreach to raise awareness of the nonprofit foundation and ultimately drive donations for its research-funding mission.

"We're thrilled with the momentum and where we're headed this year," Martin said. "Each of these changes has offered us additional opportunities to generate great ideas that lead to great work."

Rhea + Kaiser bolsters team with 11 GREAT new people

February 11, 2011

NAPERVILLE, Ill. - Feb. 11, 2011 - Nearly a dozen marketing and communications pros with diverse backgrounds in account services, public relations, media and project management have joined the R+K team. The expansion follows the agency's acquisition of new clients and expanding partnerships with several current clients.

"We're always looking for great people who have the critical strategic focus needed for our success and the success of our clients," said Diane Martin, CEO of Rhea + Kaiser. "We're pleased work is steadily increasing enabling us to attract individuals who are smart and passionate about what we do and about our clients' businesses."

Recent great additions to the R+K team include: Jayma Appleby, senior account executive, PR; Kim Berns, senior account executive; Diane Chastain, project management lead; Sarah Galdi, assistant account executive; Karen Harley, media buyer; Greg Lammert, senior account supervisor, PR; Christina Leggio, media accountant; Marcy Miller, senior media planner; Stephen Samelko, account executive; Rebecca Silva, assistant account executive; and William Rongey, senior account executive.

"We're optimistic about 2011," said Martin. "We have great clients who value the thinking our teams are bringing to the table and who are empowering us to do great work on their behalf."

In addition to the new hires above, there are several open positions still waiting to be filled. Interested? Check out the Careers section of our site.

What creative approach works best on radio?

October 19, 2010

By Robert Landa, Rhea + Kaiser

Published in the October 2010 issue of AgriMarketing magazine

The short answer: Create a story that engages, gets the listener's attention and ties to the brand idea in some way; give the details and then get out.

But on further thought, asking what creative approach works best on radio is a little like asking how long a piece of string is or what color I should paint my walls. There are a million things to consider. Is it a new brand? Does it have unique attributes? Do we need to educate or remind? Does the brand allow for a humorous tone (always a good way to go on radio to draw the listener closer)?

We are finding that :30s that are single-minded work best. They can be engaging and deliver one idea really well. The :60 format seems to drag on, no matter how clever the creative. But, because the :30 isn't half the price of a :60, the question will always exist of whether that's the best spend for the client. Our answer is always: Is it good for the consumer?

As consumer attention spans and tolerance for advertising continue to shrink, shorter-form spots are becoming much more popular with consumers and advertisers, especially in categories where messages are easy to communicate. Essentially, it forces advertisers to get to the point faster and to leave less time for the consumer to tune out. Radio stations have been able to take advantage of this cultural shift by retaining the unit cost for the shorter-form spots.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the :30 guideline (see: how long is a piece of string).

We are strong believers in the produced vs. announcer-read spot. While an announcer-read message is an excellent way to quickly connect to a local event or situation, an announcer-read spot can blend in to the broadcast because the voice doesn't change. A well-produced brand spot will stand out in that sea of sameness, and allow for almost 100 percent control of how the message will be delivered.

In regard to the ever-popular call to action: Remember what you are asking a consumer to do when you include a call to action. Radio is a passive medium. Typically, the listener is driving or working in the office or shed. It's one thing if you're asking the listener to stock up now or visit a showroom; but it's a taller order if the call to action is to go to your Web site. One option is to coordinate the search campaign and encourage the listener to search online for a key word or phrase to engage, learn, experience or participate.

So, the long answer is this: Create a story that engages, gets the listener's attention and ties to the brand idea in some way; give the details and then get out.

An interview with R+K CEO Diane Martin

October 11, 2010

In her first interview with Chuck Zimmerman of AgWired, Rhea + Kaiser CEO Diane Martin talks about what's new at R+K, including recently launched Innovation Days for employees, enhanced digital offerings and opportunities to join the R+K team. Listen here:

R+K promotes Jeff Walter to Group Account Manager

June 23, 2010

Jeff Walter, a 10-year veteran of Rhea + Kaiser, has been promoted to group account manager, leading the agency's Bayer CropScience business.

In his new role, Walter oversees communications strategy and ensures that R+K recommendations and work product align with Bayer business objectives. Walter most recently served as management supervisor leading the nonselective herbicides, cottonseed, fungicides, and corn and soybean portfolio businesses. He has worked on the Bayer CropScience business (current and legacy) since joining R+K in 2000.

Among other accomplishments, Walter led teams that launched LibertyLink® soybeans and Balance® Flexx and Ignite® herbicides. In addition, Walter played a key role in repositioning and launching a new brand identity for FS Brand Seed, for R+K client GROWMARK, Inc.

"Jeff absolutely embodies everything that has made Rhea + Kaiser successful," said Diane Martin, president and CEO. "He brings smart thinking, outstanding knowledge of his client's business and an unwavering commitment to delivering great work and results. We're thrilled he accepted this new opportunity."

In addition to his experience at R+K, Walter brings a unique insight into the agriculture industry gained from personal experience growing up on his 2,500-acre family farm in DeKalb, Ill. He has a bachelor's degree in agricultural communications from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Diane Martin named President/CEO of Rhea + Kaiser

June 17, 2010

Diane Martin named President/CEO of Rhea + Kaiser
Management team expands to include COO
and client services, digital experience leads

NAPERVILLE, Ill. - June 17, 2010 - For the first time since the agency's founding 32 years ago, a new leader is at the helm of Rhea + Kaiser.

Diane Martin, a 24-year veteran of R+K, has been named president and chief executive officer. She succeeds agency co-founder Steve Rhea, who will remain as chairman of the board. Rhea and agency co-founder Van Kaiser retain full ownership of the agency.

"This was a critically important decision for Van and me, and Diane emerged as the clear choice," Rhea said. "Diane best understands our agency, our culture and where we have to go in the future as a leading independent agency. In particular, Diane understands what it takes to successfully serve our clients and align with their business priorities."

Martin said Rhea challenged her to define the new agency model going forward.

"My top priority is anticipating and managing change, while also painting a vision of the agency's future and empowering employees to get there," Martin said. "I am fortunate to inherit a rich history in R+K, but I understand that the client service business is about continually looking forward and anticipating the new."

Martin displayed that philosophy quickly: In the same meeting earlier this week where Martin was introduced to R+K employees as the new president, she announced several additions to the agency's leadership team:

Wes Meador has been named as director of digital experience. In that role, Meador will be responsible for strategic planning and implementation of digital communications across all R+K client brands. Meador joined R+K in 2008 as associate media director, and has played a key role in shaping the agency's digital evolution over the past two years, facilitating the integration of digital competencies across practice areas and delivering innovative digital solutions for clients including DePaul University, Central Garden & Pet and Bayer CropScience. Prior to joining R+K, Meador served in media leadership positions for Chandler Ehrlich Advertising and archer>malmo advertising, both in Memphis. Past clients include ServiceMaster (Terminix, Merry Maids, TruGreen and ServiceMaster Clean), Valent USA, Applebee's and Kraft Food Ingredients.

Cheryl Muzinic, already an agency vice president, has been named as director of client services. In this role, Muzinic will set agency standards for client service and work with R+K account teams to deliver excellent strategic thinking, work product and measurable results. Most recently, Muzinic served as group account manager for R+K's consumer business, overseeing the DePaul University and Central Garden & Pet accounts. She will continue to oversee those pieces of business. She joined R+K in 2005 as a management supervisor on the Bayer CropScience account. Prior to joining R+K, Muzinic spent more than 25 years at two worldwide agency networks, BBDO and FCB Advertising, in Chicago. Her past clients include the National Potato Promotion Board, ICI Glidden, Kraft Foods, Wm. Wrigley Jr. and the Illinois Bureau of Tourism.

Stephanie Soesbe has been named as the agency's first chief operating officer. Soesbe, a 13-year R+K veteran, most recently served as director of organizational performance. In her new role, she will oversee key business functions for the agency. Soesbe began her career with R+K on the account side, working for clients including Motorola, Nicor Gas, Bayer CropScience, Detroit Medical Center and MidAmerica Bank. Prior to joining R+K, Soesbe was marketing manager for Professional Exposition Management Company (PEMCO).

Soesbe, Muzinic and Meador join the agency's leadership team, which also consists of Patsy Comella, vice president, director of media; Jim Haist, senior vice president, group account manager; Deron Johnson, vice president, director of public relations; Robert Landa, vice president, executive creative director; and Kathy Sedlacek, controller. All report to Martin.

Prior to being named president, Martin served as vice president, group account manager for 10 years. In that role, she led accounts for a varied base of clients including GROWMARK, Inc.; Merial Ltd.; NanoInk, Inc.; Pfizer Animal Health, Companion Animal Division; and Valley Irrigation. During her tenure at R+K, Martin helped establish R+K U, an agencywide training and professional development initiative designed to instill and reinforce best practices. Martin also led the 18-month effort to rebrand R+K in 2007, as well as the development of R+K's strategic planning model, the R+K Brand Creation Model.

About Rhea + Kaiser Marketing Communications
Now in its 32nd year, Rhea + Kaiser is a full-service marketing communications agency headquartered in Naperville, Ill. From the first idea to the final report, R+K's value offering to clients can be summed up in two words: Uncommon Sense. The agency's portfolio includes leading business-to-business, agriculture, equipment, animal health and business-to-consumer clients. For more information, visit www.rkconnect.com.
ARCHIVE | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010
  • Rhea + Kaiser Adds Senior Brand Strategist and Senior Art Director
 
  • Rhea + Kaiser Announces Key Staff Promotions
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  • DePaul and R+K win 'Best in Show' for brand campaign
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  • R+K promotes two to Vice President
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  • R+K names Rob Merritt VP, Director, Public Relations
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  • R+K co-founder Van Kaiser 1943 - 2012
 
  • Department name change amps up R+K
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  • Rhea + Kaiser marks 30 years of success with GROWMARK, Inc.
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  • R+K's thought-provoking brand campaign for DePaul University brings teaching philosophy to life
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  • Rhea + Kaiser Adds Technical Writing Emphasis
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  • Rhea + Kaiser Celebrates New People, Promotions & Clients
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  • Rhea + Kaiser bolsters team with 11 GREAT new people
 
  • What creative approach works best on radio?
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  • An interview with R+K CEO Diane Martin
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  • R+K promotes Jeff Walter to Group Account Manager
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  • Diane Martin named President/CEO of Rhea + Kaiser
 
 

CAPABILITIES

Rhea+Kaiser is a full-service integrated marketing communications agency. Translation: Whatever the channel, tactic or discipline, we ignite the ideas that integrate our clients’ brands into their customers’ lives.
  • Advertising
  • Digital Engagement
  • Brand Strategy
  • Connection Planning
  • Media
  • Event Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Design
  • Sales Promotion + Collateral