May 7, 2008

Dear Entrepreneur of the Year,

As PR and Promotions Manager at ThomasArts, I nominated the mechanical bull-riding, diet-coke guzzling, marketing savant - the one and only Dave Thomas, President and CEO of ThomasArts- for the 2008 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. (unbeknownst to him, of course) Well, as it turns out, he's been chosen as a finalist. CONGRATS Dave, submission below.

Since the 1930s, movie-makers have created blockbusters that glamorize the advertising industry. “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” (1967), “How to Get Ahead in Advertising” (1989), and “Renaissance Man” (1994) are among the many films where main characters work in the field. Typically, these advertising executives are characterized as charismatic leaders in sharp suits but with dull perceptivity, deep pockets yet shallow ethical character, concerned only with their own financial success.

Dave Thomas, founder and president of ThomasArts, is the atypical advertising executive by Hollywood standards. His commitment to excellence suggests that the only way to “succeed in business” is to create a trusted partnership, give one-hundred percent and work harder than your competitors. His exemplary character, reflected in charitable donations and loyalty to employees and clients alike, demonstrates that getting ahead in advertising takes more than a good idea - it takes dedication to your goals and most importantly your ethics. Through strategic planning, creative concepting, production and executive meetings, Dave has demonstrated his vast array of talents as a leader and contributor to the ThomasArts team- a true Renaissance Man.

He began his career as a band teacher at Sandridge Junior High in Roy, Utah. As a young father supporting a family of three boys and talented musician, he played his trumpet at various clubs and events in the Salt Lake area. His business prowess and natural musical ability lead to an invitation to play for advertising jingles, then to compose and create the jingles. Dave’s hard work and enthusiasm culminated in the founding of his own agency, Thomas Philips Clawson in 1982. Only seven years later, it was purchased by EvansGroup, after which Dave served as CEO of their western offices, and again purchased in 1998 by Publicis. In 2003, with his talented sons Brett, Troy and Matt, Dave founded ThomasArts. At its conception, Dave prophesied the company would never grow larger than “ten or fifteen” employees. Today, ThomasArts employs 127 individuals in its California, Utah, Ohio and Minnesota Offices. The success of ThomasArts is wholly due to Dave’s excellent leadership.

In September of 2007, I began to work as a member of the ThomasArts team. While sitting in a morning status call, for United Healthcare – a ThomasArts client and Fortune 30 company - I was approached by a kind-faced man, clad in worn denim and work boots. With a booming voice and hearty handshake he welcomed me to the team. Approximately ten minutes later, I learned that this enthusiastic individual was indeed Dave Thomas, CEO of ThomasArts. I was surprised by his warm, casual manner and accessibility. My experience in the business realm cultivated a culture of executive isolation. At ThomasArts Dave has worked to establish a teamwork mentality, where it is quite common for executives and partners to sit side-by-side with account coordinators to complete a task or project. Through observation and personal experience I have seen first-hand Dave’s immense contributions to ThomasArts, the community, the advertising field, his creative talents and unwavering integrity.

Throughout the course of the day, Dave’s consent and opinion are sought on a number of projects. Rarely will you find him sitting as his desk- as he is actively involved in the day-to-day planning and projects occurring at ThomasArts. If Dave is not traveling to meet with clients face-to-face to build relationships and better communication, he can be found in the “upstairs conference room” creating strategic plans for various clients; settled snugly onto the couch in our multimedia department critiquing and contributing to the creation of television and radio spots; perched over the shoulder of the media planners reviewing market plans and media rates, or leaning on the desk of art directors thanking them for their hard work and dedication. His contributions to ThomasArts are immeasurable. Furthermore Dave’s work and dedication has bettered the advertising industry. Through the trusted partnerships Dave builds with clients, he seeks to provide value in every dollar that they spend and help them to achieve their goals. This philosophy coupled with the quality of services provided has elicited numerous accolades not only to ThomasArts, but the industry as a whole, restoring the faith of clients who felt underserved and overcharged, overpromised and under-delivered by other agencies.

As a leader and supervisor, Dave encourages each of his employees to achieve balance in their lives, - to put family first, work hard, play hard and find ways to serve. His leadership is not hallmarked by verbal encouragement, as Dave is a man of action who leads through example. Outside the walls of ThomasArts Dave contributes immensely to his community. He serves as the Chairman of Board of Trustees at Salt Lake Community College, serves on the boards for The Kidney Foundation, The Deseret Foundation and The Arthritis Foundation and participates in the local Chamber of Commerce. Dave visits local universities and colleges to speak on his business experience and encourage students to continue to apply themselves. He has held a number of service positions in his local community, and contributed to the international community through his work on the 2002 Winter Olympics hosted in Salt Lake. He gives not only of his time, but also of his gain. In 2007
ThomasArts made significant charitable donations to causes including:

The Road Home
The Children’s Center
The Huntsman Cancer Institute
Junior Achievement
Best Buddies
The Arthritis Foundation
Second Harvest Food Bank (Orange County, CA)
Sharing & Caring Hands (Minneapolis, Minn.)

Furthermore ThomasArts pledged $250,000 in charitable donations and employee time to serve Utah communities, in partnership with Zion’s Bank and their charitable contributions.

Just as J. Pierpoint Finch in “How to Success in Business Without Really Trying,” rose from window-cleaner to executive status, Dave Thomas has grown from band-room teacher to founder and CEO of ThomasArts. His action-oriented leadership and hands-on approach have yielded success for his business and employees.

Here's to you, Dave!

1 comment:

Alison said...

Oh man. I suck at my job.