Day 425

WE DID IT! As of tomorrow evening, we've officially completed The Great Agency Adventure and although it took 14 months to get here, a part of me wishes it could continue for another 14.

For the past few months, I’ve constantly found myself wondering how best to close out this unbelievable journey. I’d write down some ideas here and there, but they were all deleted out of frustration. I just couldn't come up with a summary that gives this tremendous experience the curtain call it deserves. There’s too much to discuss; too many people to thank.

I’ve met so many wonderful individuals across this great nation of ours and connected with thousands more via social media. I’ve found friends in places I’d only read about in books. I’ve seen sights that some only experience through pictures. This project has been a dream come true and I hope everyone enjoyed taking part in it. That’s why I’ve decided to use this blog to highlight the individuals that helped make #TGAA not only possible, but incredible. If there’s one thing I learned time and time again, it’s that friends make all the difference. Friends are a constant that transcend boundaries, borders and state lines. Friends open up your world, introduce you to new things and stand by you regardless of where you are.

So, while I know this list is available on the “Great People” page of the site, I wanted to include it in my final #TGAA blog as well. Everyone below deserves an endless amount of praise, because they helped make this entire thing happen and I’ll never forget that.

Connie Taylor — John E. Taylor — Louis Maldarelli — Peter Gargiulo — Tim Horak — Andrew Brienza — Tom Albrighton — Shawn Webster — Joe Meadows — The lovely individuals at Kreative.com — Birch Norton — Brittany Birkett — Chris Jungjohann — David Oakley — Dion Hughes — Jason Schwartz — Jim Harper — Kim Berndt — Laura Kubinski — Leila Thabet — Maureen Morrison — Rufina Chang — Steve O'Connell — Tim Dyer — Tim Zeller — Vera Fischer — Alison Strickland — Barbara Levy — Dave McMurray — Monica Saylor — Kelly White — John R. Taylor — Tom Lix — Jillian Kurvers — Mark Gross — Juan Sanchez — Theresa and Dennis Balogh — Kyle Klein — Becky Gorman —Orlando Rosas — Holly Jee — Bria Topper —Alison Murphy — Zack Kinslow — Allan Kneale — Kristina Jansons — Jared Scott — June Leddy — Dave Batista — Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Smith — Jared Wicker — Ben Whitla — Jeremy Borthwick — Andy Primeau — Josh Sims — Richard Shideler — Josh Teixeira — Scott Niejadlik — Marita Stapleton — Josh Deane— Tim T. at This Advertising Life — Levi Patterson — Scott Huber — Davis Cox — Stephen Swift — Ryan Work — Ashley Riehlin — Miranda Fung — Rebecca Gibson — Ceci Menchetti — Grace Gordon — Luke Carrell — Jillian Pavsner — Melanie Hope — Nicole Ghobrial — Jacob Wilson —Alexandra Skae — Melanie Niklas — Fiona Callaghan — Jay Newell — Garrett Close — Kristen DiLandro — Kristen DiLandro — Benjamin Arnold — Connor Rose — Roxanne Oliver — Charlie Glover — Dan Kleinman — Daniel Stein — Todd Taylor — Woodbine — Ben McCool — The great people at DesignTaxi.com — Allison Berger — Dan Orlando — Jillian Wong — Pete Norwood — Rafael Oliveira — Meg Dibley — Andy Joos — Bryan McGee — Vic Carreno — Doug Keith — Allison Berger — Steve Red — Kelsey Kovalcik — Annie Heckenberger — Mark Likosky at the Philly Egotist — Farheen Aqueel — Jason Sicilliano — Abbas Naqvi — Ray Bartkus — Daniel Harris at IWG — Gordon Young at TheDrum.com — Philip Di Salvo at Wired.it — Jason Schoch — Drew Shaman — Cristen Capron — Mike Borell — Nick Nemeth — Danny Gassaway — Ashley Reker — Mary Gross — Maggie Deininger — Emily Haney — David Hamrick — Fran Taylor — Curtis Petraglia — Matt Mroczka — Ben Santoriello — Matt Rubel — Jennifer Faull — Kenya Madyun — Eliza Carney — Lindsey King — Adam Oldfield — Claire Oakley — Geri Holmes — Ben Couvillion — Mandy Young — Kelsey Taylor — Blaine Loyd — Hallie Miller — Laura Drangmeister — Martin Wilford — Ben Colar — Warner Russell — Michael Phillips — Andrew Lebowitz — Casey Latiolais — Sara Latiolais — Jeff Rifkin — Sarah Rockwell — Holly Whitfield — Jake Houvenagle — Dave Scott — Parker Gibson — Rick Hecke — Monica Castello — Darrick Hays — Wesley Hoffman — Javier Leiva — Kevin Kelly — Matt Reedy — Joe Stephens — Archie McKinlay — Claire Wasserman — Jon Copp — Tony Biaggne — Heather Durham — Craig Miller — Ben Ruggiero — Aleksa Westwater — Gary Hudson — Amado Carrasco — Louis Feider — Kyle Goethals — Jeff Canzona — Angela Vitzthum — Luke Hausman — Eric Guth — Aleksa Westwater — Bob Berg — Judy Oskam — Eric Fawcett — Kevin Hughes — Eric Fawcett — Lotti Anderson — Danielle Fullerton — Bill Roden — Debbie Fischer — Heath Rudduck — Dustin Naugle – Matt Thompson — Elyse Ash — Sam Johnsrud — Russ LeBlanc — Perry Morris — Maria Roepke — Heather McCollum — Brian Skalak — Chris Spong — Andy Sims — Tim Letscher — Eric Husband — Victoria Sullivan — Russ LeBlanc — Mary Funk — Briana Chenkin — Olivia Claypool — Zoe Cooper — Kristen Humphrey — Daniel Alvarez — Carson Barker — E. Gigi Taylor Ph.D. — Larry Coffman — Amanda Wood — Jim Haven — Phil Shigo — Matt Peterson — Elise Drake — Hilary Lee — Gage Mitchell — Michelle Taraba —  Alison Tintle — Jaclyn Hardgrove — Chelsea Nybo — Jaime Diskin — Benj Burke — David Alkire — Nicole Gleadle — Chet Ford — Ryan Hammill — Ryan Mitchell — Jake Ferrigno — M'Elena Holder — Anna Taylor — Maria Scheleen — Lauren Willoughby — Erin Leach-Kemon — Ben Waldron — Rob Rosenthal — Maschell Cha — Josh Schield — Barry Amundson — Travis Fulton — Katelyn Kerns — Ann Kaleshnik — Craig Schommer — Dave Becker — Lenny Self — Chad Wallace — Duncan Alexander — Scott Carver — Adam Shaylor —  Simeon Roane — Buck Wise — Jesus Cameron — Ursula Tran — Christine Hurty — David Bird — Miranda Maney — Patrick Maravi — Alex Grinton — Steve Babcock — Lee McKenna — Shane Ginsberg — James Gassel — Michelle Sjöberg — Michelle Maben — Jacqui Abel — Karin Djelaj — Matt Dimmer — Ryan Scott — Joanna Mostov — Aaron Thompson 

As for my blog, I’ll continue to update it once I’ve had some time to reconnect with my family (I haven’t seen them in over a year after all). I’m not sure what’s next for me or where I’ll end up, but until I figure all of that out I can’t consider the project over. So, be sure to stay tuned as we begin the next chapter.

I hope to see you again soon,

-Steve-

Day 204

If there’s one thing I can tell you about Boxing Clever, it’s that they’re very serious about their music. That's why it seems so natural for them to operate Boxing Clever Records, their own in-house label that features an eclectic mix of bands such as Mohicans, Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship and the Vanilla Beans. Then again, that love of music is also how the agency forged partnerships with the likes of Vintage Vinyl and the slew of bands they’ve create work for.

Even if you were walking into the Boxing Clever for the very first time, you’d be hard pressed not to notice the musical influences strewn throughout the office. From vintage record players and concert posters to stacks of LPs and RUSH memorabilia—you can immediately tell everyone here has music on the brain. I will say however, that unlike many of the other agencies I’ve visited thus far, BC doesn’t have music pumping through their space. Instead, you’ll find everyone rocking out to their own collection, whether it’s through a phone, a laptop or their own personal Crosley. It does create a different vibe to the office, as it did at RedDeluxe, but you'll still find it rare to be hit with any bout of silence while you're here.

As I also found out last week, this agency’s musical pedigree runs deeper than I ever could’ve imagined. It turns out that many of the creatives here used to be in bands of their own. In fact, Partner and ECD, Jim Harper, sat behind the kit for quite a few outfits back in the day. As someone who used to be in a few bands myself, it’s pretty interesting to swap stories about different shows and venues, especially considering the generation gaps at play.

I truly hope there are big things in store for Boxing Clever Records, because not only do they have the creative prowess and skill to make bands shine; they have the most important element of all—passion. So, I encourage everyone to check out their web store and grab an LP or two. My time here has certainly renewed my interest in vinyl and I think if you spend a little time on their site, it’ll do the same for you.

-Steve- 

Day 155

Court Square

New Orleans, I had an absolutely wonderful weekend with you. The ride was long, but the experience was well worth it. And even though I wasn’t able to find Boz Scaggs or Eric Clapton, I did happen upon the Bourbon House for some crawfish and caught a jazz performance at the Little Gem Saloon. I hope to visit again someday, because you really know how to throw a party. I'd have a lot more to say about my time with you, but some things just shouldn’t be blogged about. So, let’s move on shall we?

After 2 days of non-stop travel, I officially arrived in Memphis on Saturday night. While this is stop 6 of #TGAA, it also stands as the first city on my journey I’ve never visited before. I have high hopes for my time here, but I should admit that night one did not go well… at all. My train arrived an hour late and while walking to the apartment, I got caught amongst the hordes of Beale Street partiers, fresh off night 2 of the Beale Street Music Festival. Once I finally made it to the AirBnB, I was met with broken Internet, a towel-less bathroom and a bed that lacked any sheets whatsoever.

I called my host, only to find they had seemingly fallen off the grid, even though we were chatting as I walked up to the building. Since I was unable to shower, sleep or surf the web, I finally contacted AirBnB to weigh my options. I have to say they really won me over with their response. After sending out a single tweet, they asked for my phone number and called me up within 5 minutes. They arranged a hotel room and offered to put me up there until I could get things under control. So around 2am, I got checked in and managed to catch a few hours of much needed rest.

Anthrax @ The Beale Street Music Festival 

When I awoke the next morning, I received a call from my host who apologized for everything and promised the issues would be taken care of immediately. Having now been able to breathe a sigh of relief, I set out to explore the city for a few hours. If there’s one thing I can tell you from my stroll through town, it’s that this city truly loves and celebrates music. Its presence is everywhere you go and it fills the city with a unique and powerful vibe. That afternoon, I headed to the final day of the Beale Street Music Festival, where I got to see bands like The Dandy Warhols and Anthrax take the stage. I even had some time to check out the various stands, shops and tents that gathered as part of the festivities. The park itself is a beautiful green space and it’s only a short walk from where I’m staying. So, I can already tell you that I’ll be jogging through it at least a few times while I’m here. Honestly, there are a lot of awesome places nearby, including Court Square, Main Street and Autozone Park. I feel like I really hit the jackpot with my location, as it looks like I’m going to enjoy a true downtown experience.

In addition to all of the other great sights in the area, I’m also only a 5-minute walk from RedDeluxe, my agency for the month. While I can’t wait to begin my tenure there tomorrow, I’m also a bit nervous because I’m not sure what to expect. Out of all the agencies I’m visiting, I think I’ve had the least amount of contact with them. That’s not a bad thing by any means, but it does leave me very interested to discover what kind of culture they have and what the office is like.

As for today, I plan on walking around my area to check out some more of those awesome places I was talking about. If this weekend was any indication of what my time here is going to be like, I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings… as long as there’s towels.

-Steve-