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ADsmith owner sets succession plan in motion

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Last edited 2:18 p.m., Nov. 7, 2018

ADsmith Marketing & Advertising owner Angela Smith found her successor after years of searching.

Smith last month appointed Ken Taylor as president of the company. Smith, who kept her eye out for a successor for nearly six years, continues to own and work at the advertising firm she founded in 2000. She switched to a client-focused, “big-picture” role she hopes will give her more free time to spend with family and volunteer with local nonprofits.

“I’m still in very good health at age 60. As long as that remains in place, I enjoy getting out and coming in every day,” she said. “I would look first at Ken as a possible successor in ownership. We do have a plan in place, if something happens to me, that he would become the owner.”

Smith hired Taylor in January as senior vice president of marketing strategy. Taylor previously worked for 16 years at Noble Communications Co. When it was purchased in summer 2017 by Pittsbugh-based agency Gatesman Inc., Taylor said his growth opportunities at the company involved moving to Chicago or Pittsburgh. 

“It wasn’t really in my plans to move,” he said. “I never thought I’d be in the position to run a small agency. Everything seemed to line up — right place, right time, so to speak.”

Taylor said the company has between 30 and 40 regular clients, depending on the time of year, that contract with ADsmith to chart their ad buying strategies, largely in television, print media or online. The company also produces video advertising, which Taylor said is a growing segment. He declined to disclose annual revenues.

Starting off as president at the end of September, Taylor said he plans to hire to bring ADsmith’s staff count up to 20 from its current 16.

“We’re looking to make sure all of our marketing plans are grounded in strategy,” he said. “We are looking at updating our process for developing strategic plans for clients.”

Taylor also said he was looking for a new challenge after working with national companies, mostly manufacturers, at Noble for more than a decade.

“Once I got into it and realized the personal gratification from helping small businesses succeed and getting into the Springfield market and understanding all the movers and shakers and the people who are building this community, it was a much different look for me in the world of business,” Taylor said. “I have a background on working with national accounts, and I’ve got the opportunity to apply that knowledge to small businesses and think more strategically.”

ADsmith ranked second on Springfield Business Journal’s annual list of the area’s largest advertising agencies, based on its 16 employees. The list was published Oct. 22. 

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