R+K partners with AgTech Nexus USA in Chicago

R+K partners with AgTech Nexus USA in Chicago

Agency President and CIO Jeff Walter to moderate conference’s Innovation Spotlight

With Chicago quickly becoming a hotbed of technology, it’s a welcome surprise that AgTech Nexus USA is making their Midwestern debut and hosting their conference series in our own backyard. Perched on the cusp of industrial advancement and the gateway to agricultural production, this combination of a tech hub situated in the midst of a modern farming operation creates opportunities for both farmers and startups alike.

The July 22-23 event, which traditionally draws the likes of venture capital investors and agribusiness executives, features workshops including How Ag Tech Has Increased Efficiency in Row Crop Production; Investor Perspectives: Which Technologies are Ready to Scale and a Keynote Executive Interview: The Role of the American Midwest in Shaping the Future of Global Agriculture, as well as a panel discussion on The Bridge Between Sustainability and Profitability. Ultimately, it’s a dynamic approach to the marriage of ag and tech and all that it encompasses.

This year, Rhea + Kaiser and Marketing to Farmers are delighted to be participants in AgTech Nexus. On Tuesday, July 23, R+K’s President and Chief Integration Officer Jeff Walter will be moderating the Innovation Spotlight: Fostering the Next Generation of AgTech Entrepreneurs. The panel will provide the audience with an opportunity to learn more about the millennial ag tech market, the obstacles they have faced, gains they are earning and how they are changing the game through their everyday practice.

“We’re really excited to be able to partner with AgTech Nexus. We’re so passionate about the ag tech space and how our clients are integrated with it. To be able to see the foundations of tech from the beginning and hear feedback from and have that interaction with farmers and producers is an opportunity that we could not pass up,” said Walter.

This year’s event includes hands-on demonstrations and exhibitions, which provide an opportunity to see and experience technology as it’s happening. In addition to investors and technology and agribusiness executives, AgTech Nexus welcomes farmers and producers to get a broad audience perspective and to gauge how technology is disrupting ag across the board. More than that, it’s looking forward to a productive event that explores the ag tech conversation in a compelling and progressive manner, which gets to the heart of issues facing farmers and producers and how ag tech is part and parcel to their solutions.

R+K is proud to be a partner for this event, co-hosted by AgTech Nexus and the Illinois Soybean Association. We thank them for the opportunity to bring this event to the forefront of Midwest ag marketers and producers.

To participate in AgTech Nexus, click here to register and be sure to use the discount code RK15 to save 15% on your registration fees.

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R+K announces changes in executive management

R+K new executive management
R+K new executive management

R+K announces changes in executive management

New roles effective August 1

Rhea + Kaiser announced today new executive management positions that will go into effect on August 1.

Diane Martin, who has been with R+K for more than 30 years and president/CEO since 2010, is stepping into the newly created role of Chief Strategy Officer.

“Earlier this year, we announced we are restructuring Rhea + Kaiser to better meet the needs of our clients and to give our staff more opportunities,” Martin said. “Looking at how everything works, including executive management, is part of that restructuring. This is a natural evolution for the agency, and one we’re very excited to implement.”

Effective August 1:

Diane Martin President/CEO at Rhea+Kaiser

As Chief Strategy Officer, Martin will assist executive management with client, prospective client and agency strategy. This includes formalizing the agency’s communications planning processes, evaluating strategic planning tools and identifying resources.

Stephanie Heusuk Chief Operating Officer at Rhea+Kaiser

Current Chief Operating Officer Stephanie Heusuk will take on the responsibility of Chief Executive Officer, responsible for the long-range planning and sustainability of the agency. A 22-year R+K veteran, Heusuk started at R+K in account management, leading healthcare and commercial banking accounts. She has been Chief Operating Officer since 2010.

Jeff Walter Executive Director of Account Management and Planning at Rhea+Kaiser

Jeff Walter will move into the newly created role of President/Chief Integration Officer. Currently the SVP/Executive Director of agency management and planning, Walter’s new role will include ensuring integrated teams and integrated services across all agency business.

Angel Kelpsas

Angel Kelpsas, current Director of Finance, will become the Chief Financial officer. In addition to financial management, Kelpsas’ responsibilities will include oversight of compliance with government regulations, human resources, business technology and facilities management.

Steve Rhea, owner and co-founder of Rhea + Kaiser, will remain as Chairman of the Board.

“I’m excited to see the continued evolution of Rhea + Kaiser and I think we have a bright future,” Rhea said. “We repeatedly hear companies say they need agencies to be more nimble and flexible while still delivering smart, integrated solutions. This restructure helps us deliver just that kind of practice for clients.”

Martin added that this change will be a shift for her outside of the office, too.

“Personally, this opportunity also lets me focus on areas of most interest to me. In the office, that’s strategy. Outside of the office, it’s a chance to spend more time with my husband and grandchildren. They have always been patient with me, but especially over the last nine years.” Martin said. “I might be stepping down from my role at Rhea + Kaiser, but I’m definitely not stepping out of R+K.”

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R+K promotes two

R+K promotes Patty Blystone and Michelle Nickrent
R+K promotes Patty Blystone and Michelle Nickrent

R+K promotes two

Agency continues to boost professional development

Rhea + Kaiser announces the promotions of Patty Blystone to Senior Accountant and Michelle Nickrent to Account Manager, Public Relations.

Patty Blystone promoted to Senior Accountant

Patty Blystone has been contributing to the success of R+K since 2012. Her responsibilities include accounts receivable, accounts payable, and client invoicing, in addition to billing and reporting for R+K’s video production facilities. In her promotion, she will now take on the agency’s Bayer account, as well as reporting and coordinating with the agency’s Account Management + Planning department.

“Patty’s willingness to take on new tasks and master them, her dedication to accuracy, her always helpful attitude and her many professional skills make this a very merited promotion,” said Director of Finance Angel Kelpsas. 

Michelle Nickrent promoted to Account Manager, Public Relations

Michelle Nickrent recently celebrated her second year at R+K. Michelle joined R+K as a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She quickly took on responsibilities within the agency’s Bayer account in their Cereals and Horticulture divisions, as well as coordinating Bayer’s Grain for Good program and running R+K’s Farm and Food Kids Camp. In addition to pitching and arranging interviews, Michelle produces content, maintains client communications and will now take the lead on internal and client-facing projects and initiatives.

“Michelle has embraced cross-department integration. She exhibits an eagerness to learn that one doesn’t often see. With her infectious laugh, positive attitude and ability to talk with anyone, she is also one of the most receptive people I have ever met,” said Associate Public Relations Director Amy McEvoy.

Congratulations to both Patty and Michelle!

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R+K wins regional agrimarketing awards

Best of NAMA Regional Awards
Best of NAMA Regional Awards

R+K wins regional agrimarketing awards

Agency recognized for advertising, public relations and digital excellence

Rhea + Kaiser has earned recognition for client and agency work from the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA). The agency recently received regional Best of NAMA awards in the areas of advertising, digital and public relations.

“It is always an honor to receive awards for great work, but it is even more so when it comes from your industry peers,” noted R+K President/CEO Diane Martin. “We’re particularly proud to see recognition for our digital and social media campaigns, as that is an area of more recent growth for R+K. We’re also really happy to see acknowledgement across our clientele.”

The agency earned first place and merit awards for the following:

CATEGORY COMPANY ENTRY TITLE
Radio Ad – Series Bayer Delaro “Raise the Bar” Radio Series
Television Ad –Single or Series Bayer Delaro “Raise the Bar” TV Commercial
Direct Mail – Directed at Farmers, Growers and Ranchers – three dimensional Bayer Cotton/Soy One-to-One Direct Mail
Corporate Identity Bayer Delta First Logo
Advertising to Agribusiness NAMA NAMA Region IV Best of NAMA Awards Show Creative Campaign
Media Relations Bayer Lubbock Showcase
Events – Customer Bayer FiberMax One Ton Club/FiberMax Maximizer Club Events
Events – Customer Bayer Stoneville Legacy Club
Events – Internal Rhea + Kaiser Rhea + Kaiser Recharge
Internet Website FS FS System Website
Social Tactic Teralytic Teralytic Social Campaign

Category: Radio Ad – Series
Company: Bayer
Entry Title: Delaro “Raise the Bar” Radio Series

Category: Television Ad –Single or Series
Company: Bayer
Entry Title: Delaro “Raise the Bar” TV Commercial

Category: Direct Mail – Directed at Farmers, Growers and Ranchers – three dimensional
Company: Bayer
Entry Title: Cotton/Soy One-to-One Direct Mail

Category: Corporate Identity
Company: Bayer
Entry Title: Delta First Logo

Category: Advertising to Agribusiness
Company: NAMA
Entry Title: Region IV Best of NAMA Awards Show Creative Campaign

Category: Media Relations
Company: Bayer
Entry Title: Lubbock Showcase

Category: Events – Customer
Company: Bayer
Entry Title: FiberMax One Ton Club/FiberMax Maximizer Club Events

Category: Events – Customer
Company: Bayer
Entry Title: Stoneville Legacy Club

Category: Events – Internal
Company: Rhea + Kaiser
Entry Title: Rhea + Kaiser Recharge

Category: Internet Website
Company: FS
Entry Title: FS System Website

Category: Social Tactic
Company: Teralytic
Entry Title: Teralytic Social Campaign

The annual Best of NAMA awards honor the best in agricultural communications for the past year. Awards are presented across six regions and in 62 categories covering advertising, public relations and digital for agribusiness and non-agribusiness audiences. Regional first place and merit winners are eligible for national Best of NAMA awards. NAMA will announce the national awards during its annual Agri-Marketing Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, April 10-12, 2019.

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R+K invests in business development director

Gino Tomaro - Business Development Director
Gino Tomaro - Business Development Director

R+K invests in business development director

Position primed to boost account growth

Rhea + Kaiser welcomes Gino Tomaro as Business Development Director. 

Gino will manage R+K’s new business process and efforts from end-to-end to secure new accounts, while also working collaboratively across the agency to help our current clients move their business forward.

“Gino brings strategy, integrated marketing and a solid understanding of metrics orientation, which align nicely with R+K’s strengths,” said R+K President and CEO Diane Martin. “But we’re possibly even more excited about his energy, collaborative approach, proactive nature and his we-win-together attitude.”

Gino joins R+K from previous business development roles at LKH&S Advertising, Tribal Knowledge Marketing and SCHAWK!. He also brings a solid account management background from his roles at Maddock Douglas, MARC USA, Campbell Mithun and Italia Advertising. He has worked with brands such as Carrier/Bryant HVAC, Case New Holland, Kmart, GE Lighting, Moen and Sears.

R+K Media Team Advances in Media Buying and Planning

Debbie Cozzi - Media Buyer and Sarah Sikorski - Digital Media Planner/Buyer
Debbie Cozzi - Media Buyer and Sarah Sikorski - Digital Media Planner/Buyer

R+K Media Team Advances in Media Buying and Planning

Agency continues to advance digital development for clients through tech expertise

Rhea + Kaiser has added Debbie Cozzi to its Media team as a Media Buyer and promoted Sarah Sikorski to Digital Media Planner/Buyer. 

Debbie Cozzi - Media Buyer

Cozzi is a veteran media planner and buyer who has spent parts of the past two years as a freelance media buyer for the agency. Prior to joining R+K full-time, Cozzi was a long-time media planner/buyer for Brian Keith Advertising.
“Debbie is a seasoned media professional and a real asset to our media team and the R+K family,” said R+K Media Activation Director Michael Hurt.

Sarah Sikorski - Digital Media Planner/Buyer

Rhea + Kaiser also congratulates Sarah Sikorski on her promotion to Digital Media Planner/Buyer. Sarah began at R+K in April 2017 as a Digital Media Coordinator. Since then, she has grown the digital media department to own R+K’s in-house expertise and knowledge around digital ad specs, capabilities and available formats for clients. She will be responsible for assisting the agency’s planners and analytics team with client campaign analysis and recommendations, as well as supporting plan strategy and recommendations.

“This promotion results from a clear need to recognize Sarah’s great work, obvious smarts, amazing productivity and the very high value we place on all she’s done for the agency,” said Associate Media Director, Grant Cassiday.

R+K Welcomes three to growing roster

Three new hires at Rhea + Kaiser
Three new hires at Rhea + Kaiser

R+K Welcomes three to growing roster

Agency talent continues to develop

Rhea + Kaiser welcomes Account Supervisor Cheryl Winkelman, Senior Copywriter Ryann Flynn and Public Relations Assistant Account Manager Erica Ballmer.

Cheryl Winkelman

Agency veteran Cheryl Winkelman has returned to R+K as an Account Supervisor, Account Management + Planning. Cheryl Winkelman will oversee the agency’s Indiana Soybean Association and Indiana Corn Marketing Council accounts and select brands of the Bayer CropScience business. Cheryl began her career with both R+K and Bayer shortly after graduating from the University of Missouri. After four years here, she transitioned to positions with Leo Burnett and Gyro, before returning to Missouri. She has been in agricultural sales for the last several years with Timac Agro, gaining additional experience in the seed treatment market. Cheryl will be based remotely in Alexandria, Missouri.

Ryann Flynn

Ryann Flynn joins R+K as a Senior Copywriter. An award-winning creative with a background in ag marketing, Ryann was previously a copywriter with Bader Rutter and Jacobson Rost. She has worked with clients including Comcast Sports Net, MillerCoors, Pfizer Animal Health and Dow AgroSciences. Ryann has a bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University and is a certified art director from the Chicago Portfolio School.

Erica Ballmer

Erica Ballmer joins R+K as an Assistant Account Manager, Public Relations. Erica is responsible for coordinating projects, managing timelines, creating content and communicating with clients. She is working with Bayer CropScience, the Indiana Soybean Association and the Indiana Corn Marketing Council. Prior to joining R+K, Erica was a graduate research assistant with the Purdue University Department of Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication. She completed internships with the Office of the Wisconsin State Assembly, Representative Amy Loundenbeck, CNH Industrial, and the University of Wisconsin Extension: Wisconsin Dairy Youth Program. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a master’s degree from Purdue University.

R+K Expands Creative and Media Teams

News - Melissa Sears and Paul MacNerland
News - Melissa Sears and Paul MacNerland

R+K expands creative and media teams

Agency continues to flourish with new additions

Rhea + Kaiser welcomes the addition of Associate Creative Director Paul MacNerland and Media Assistant Melissa Sears.

News - R+K hires Associate Creative Director Paul MacNerland

An alumni of agencies JWT and Element 79, R+K Associate Creative Director Paul MacNerland has produced and executed advertising campaigns for clients including Ritz Bitz, Lunchables, Cricket Wireless and Harris Bank. In addition to his design and illustration talents, Paul has also received gold-medal recognition for his work in interactive design. Self-described as “a creative unicorn with an indefatigable attitude,” Paul is a graduate of DePaul University.

“Paul is a keenly insightful thinker and elegant craftsman. Everything he touches comes to life with a spark of humanity and artistry,” says Senior Vice President and Executive Creative Director Martha Porter Fiszer.

News - Media Assistant Melissa Sears

R+K also welcomes Media Assistant Melissa Sears. Melissa comes to R+K from Public Media Marketing Inc., where she was a traffic coordinator. Prior to that position, she held a variety of communications internships with Kathy’s House, Moon Landing Inc. and the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Manfred Olson Planetarium. As a Media Assistant, her primary responsibilities include generating media orders, gathering media kits and managing media close dates and reconciliation spreadsheets. Melissa has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.

R+K Promotes Marcy Miller to Media Supervisor

R+K Promotes Marcy Miller to Media Supervisor
R+K Promotes Marcy Miller to Media Supervisor

R+K promotes Marcy Miller to Media Supervisor

Rhea + Kaiser congratulates Marcy Miller on her promotion to Media Supervisor.

Marcy joined R+K seven years ago and has been an exceptional asset to the media team ever since. Her contributions to the agency’s Bayer and GROWMARK accounts include leading data-driven media strategies and guiding clients on the fiscal choices with the greatest opportunities for success.

“Marcy has her client’s interests in mind, and that’s why she is a champion,” said R+K Executive Media Director and Head of Media Services Allison Saegebrecht. “She’s smart, kind and collaborative, and that’s what makes her an irreplaceable asset.”

R+K welcomes two new interns

Interns Marissa Kurtock and Lydia Matteoni
Interns Marissa Kurtock and Lydia Matteoni

R+K welcomes two new interns

Both will have applied learning opportunities as they participate in agency projects.

Marissa KurtockMarissa Kurtock comes to Rhea + Kaiser as a Video Production Intern from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. A 2018 graduate, Marissa majored in telecommunications with a concentration in digital video production, and minored in creative writing.

At R+K, Marissa will assist Video Production Specialist Patrick Barkley with filming, video editing and motion graphic design.

Lydia MatteoniLydia Matteoni also joins the agency as a Public Relations Intern from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). She is a dual baccalaureate in journalism/public relations and marketing, and will be graduating in August 2018. Prior to starting at R+K, she worked as a digital media assistant for Gazette Media & Marketing and was previously a social media intern for 535 Media LLC in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

At R+K, Lydia will assist the PR department on content development, social media and creative writing.

“An internship is a great opportunity to enhance your skill set in a real-life environment. Sure, you want the work experience to add to your resume when looking for that first job. Use it also to learn more about the industry that interests you or the type of work you want to do,” said Greg Lammert, internship supervisor and Senior Account Supervisor, PR. “More than that, an internship can help form the foundation of your professional career. Developing a work ethic, learning how to work with others, showing initiative. Those are skills you can take forward into your first job and beyond, and that type of experience is immeasurable.”