Jackson is not your typical marketing agency. That's what most marketing agencies say, of course, but here, it's true. We were lucky enough to begin our story with one of the largest brands in the world: Ford Motor Company.
Larry Jackson helped manage Ford's product launches, dealer meetings and PR events in the 1970s. In 1980, he was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and started Jackson-Dawson in Detroit, Michigan, where our growing team specialized in dealer training and product launches for the auto industry.
In 1987, Larry moved back to his Southeast roots and opened what is now Jackson, expanding into integrated marketing communications and beyond the auto industry. Michelin North America became our first Greenville office client, and remains a partner today. A decade later, in 1997, Michelin approached us about joining forces to sell tires and support their motorsports teams. We said yes, of course, and opened our Motorsports and Events division.
Today, we are more than 100 people strong. You can find us working hard throughout America on any given day. Maybe we're launching a new product in Dallas. Or facilitating a ride-and-drive in New Orleans. Or mapping an off-road race in Baja, Mexico. Or maybe we're huddled in a conference room, surrounded by hundreds of ideas on a dry erase board, trying with all of our might to find that one nugget that will help a client kick their competitors' teeth in. Ideas that move.
Jackson exists to help our clients solve marketing challenges. It might be to reposition a brand, launch a new product, generate quality leads, activate a motorsports sponsorship or get media attention by throwing toilet paper during a press conference. Some challenges are large; some are small. All are important. So, steeped in our DNA are intuitive abilities that help us solve client challenges.
We are committed to service excellence regardless of scope and scale. Having a servant's heart—which is born of a true concern for our clients, our coworkers, our partners and our vendors—is critical to our success. You can't fake caring or serving. And it must show in the way we work with our clients and with each other.
Over the course of the past 25 years, we've learned a very simple secret: do the right thing to help your clients grow, and the rest will take care of itself. By helping our clients solve their problems and servicing them the way they want to do business, we have seen their brands grow, our relationships last for decades and our business thrive.
Chances are, no matter what industry you're in, Jackson has touched it in some fashion. Our associates have worked on some of the largest brands in the world. Some on the brand side, understanding the world from a client's perspective, while others cut their teeth at agencies in New York, Chicago and Detroit.
Alissa comes to Jackson from an ad agency life as a media buyer, and also has experience in research and account planning for advertising sales. She is a Furman University graduate (go Paladins!) with a bachelor's degree in communication studies and Spanish. She has retained the skills of one of those degrees. Her interests outside of work include running, hiking, reading and hot power yoga, which sounds frightening. Alissa loves pizza, Dave Matthews Band and the New England Patriots. Her personal motto is "work hard and be nice to people." In Spanish, Alissa translates that to "una limonada por favor."
Prior to joining Jackson in 2013, Blake worked as a traditional artist, helped plant a Bible-based church and ran a one-stop web shop as both an interactive designer and full-stack developer, working for clients such GM, BMW, Noxzema, Avaya and Soul Train. Yes, that Soul Train. Eventually his work in Adobe Flash (may it rest in peace) became so in demand that for three years he worked almost exclusively as a Flash developer, designing and developing a wide variety of richly animated user interfaces. All this experience eventually brought him to Jackson as our lead front-end developer and UX strategist. Outside of work, he delights in his wife, Amaris, and continues to lead his church as an overseer and teacher.
Chad is creative director and a copywriter by trade. Luckily, he is a much better writer than whitewater kayaker. (Ask him about the stitches.) Before joining Jackson—for the second time in his career—Chad worked as senior writer on accounts such as Uniroyal Tires, Dunkin Donuts, Wachovia Sports Marketing, Greenville Drive baseball and BMW Performance Center. He hasn't hit the whitewater in quite some time, however, as he's busy chasing his two rambunctious boys around the house.
Chris holds a bachelor of science in Integrated Marketing Communication and a minor in sarcasm, both of which come in handy in his position as the Interactive Services Manager. His prior agency experience, combined with his knack for development and planning, make him your go-to guy for all things interactive. His portfolio includes work with brands including BI-LO, Bojangles, BMW Performance Center and Uniroyal Tires.
Darrell knew his calling at age eight, when his father brought home a De Tomaso Pantera from the Ford test track. Vroom vroom. His love of all things engines, events and marketing was born, and it intensified every summer as he accompanied Jackson (then called Jackson-Dawson) on Ford and GM product launches across North America.
Since then, Darrell has been actively involved in most every account on the Jackson roster in a variety of positions, including Account Executive, Account Supervisor and Vice President. In 1997, Darrell was instrumental in starting the Jackson Motorsports division and has been actively involved in day-to-day operations since. Engines, events and marketing.
Today, Darrell's responsibilities include overall management of daily operations, long-term planning and directing Jackson's strategic vision and senior level client relationships. His responsibilities outside of Jackson include graciously taking orders from his wife, Alicia, and trying to keep up with his son, Gage, who plays football, lives and breathes sports, and is the official football stats guru of the Jackson family.
Feel free to call him "DJ." We do. DJ is responsible for Jackson's client-facing departments, including the Account Group, PR, Media, Market Research, Consulting & Strategic Planning, Business Development, Motorsports and Product Sales. So yes, he's busy. He's been at Jackson for 10 years. Before Jackson, he was brand director at Michelin and director of marketing for Umbro International (where he worked with agencies including DDB Needham, The Martin Agency and Goodby Silverstein & Partners). DJ is known as our resident "sports nut." Not only was he a sports writer for four years, he named his son after the Baltimore Orioles stadium ("Camden" for all of you sports‑challenged readers).
David oversees the accounting and finance of Jackson. His additional responsibilities include oversight of human resources. Before joining Jackson, David helped Adidas America enter the North American retail market. (He was there from Store 1 to Store 50.) David is a married father of five busy children, which makes him a busy father. He gives time to help organize two charitable golf tournaments when not following his children to basketball and volleyball courts. He is also a financial counselor in his church.
When he's not out looking for good food and live music, Eric is working as the Facilities & Warehouse Operations Director at Jackson. Since joining Jackson in 2001, he has held roles in marketing, sales, operations and logistics. In addition to his extensive motorsports knowledge and expertise, this former barista can make a mean cup of joe.
Evan got his motorsports start at a young age, and his experience with some of racing's top brands makes him a valuable asset on the team. He has worked on both sides of the wall and brings extensive race knowledge to his position as IMSA Sales Director. He has an affinity for anything with a motor, but his boat, Stormy, is by far his favorite mode of transportation.
When Jason doesn't have a coffee cup in his hand, you can find him running triathlons (yes, he does that for fun, eight times to be exact) and supervising accounts to ensure the best client relationships and experiences in the industry. His storied background in sales and marketing gives him the edge he needs to propel his clients forward, time after time.
Jeff helps develop and drive marketing, operations and event strategies for key clients as the Motorsports Marketing and Operations Director at Jackson. Having been the Senior Manager of Corporate Partnerships and Marketing for the International Motorsports Association, he brings extensive knowledge and over 15 years of experience to the team. When Jeff is off the clock, he likes to mountain bike and fly fish. His hobbies might make him sound rough and tough, but the fact that he is the father of a DoxiePoo named Izzy quickly dispels that idea. He'll say she belongs to his wife and daughter, but we know better.
With 15+ years of administrative and event experience, Jennifer makes the perfect Event and Travel Director at Jackson. She's been with Jackson since 2006, and her laidback, versatile personality has allowed her to contribute in various roles since then. She doesn't hang glide, zip line or rappel anymore, but she has become an off-roading enthusiast, jumping behind the wheel whenever she can to chase that adrenaline rush.
Jim's career began in the Midwest with a 13-year tenure at Fletcher/Mayo/Associates., a wholly owned subsidiary of DDB Needham Harper Worldwide. He started out as part of the creative studio team, then moved into a production role. He then made a long-distance career move to a sleepy little southern town in South Carolina named Greenville. Twenty-two years with The Bounce Agency should tell you a lot about Jim's long-lasting production tenacity and professionalism. Jim then moved on to Jackson where his continued success of 5+ years is still evident. Jim has countless years of experience in B2B and B2C.
Before John Love joined Jackson as a Vice President, he founded and served as President of EMC Strategic Communications, a Michigan-based communications firm that specialized in motorsports, automotive, sustainable mobility and design. EMC worked for clients like Atlas Van Lines, Miller Brewing Company, Marlboro, Michelin and BFGoodrich, and that is the short list. John brings valuable knowledge and experience to the Jackson team, having served as a board member of the Society of Automotive Analysts and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. When he isn’t handling all things motorsports, he loves spending time with his wife and two daughters.
John loves telling stories through video and sound. His first love was working in graphics and animations and he started at Jackson more than 10 years ago as a production assistant providing equipment setup for video and television shoots. Now as Senior Producer, he oversees video and other digital content creation for Michelin Truck, Michelin Earthmover, Sage, Hyster and TBC. His favorite films are Lawrence of Arabia, Citizen Kane (of course) and Batman & Robin (kidding).
As a Jackson associate creative director, Jordan is not only responsible for the look of an ad but is also part of a creative team responsible for developing the big idea that drives every look. A graduate of Bob Jones University with a Bachelor of Science degree in graphic design and a minor in business, Jordan has created award-winning work for Jackson clients including Hyster, Michelin Truck, BFGoodrich, The Palmetto Bank and Big League World Series (which won an Obie Award in 2014). Jordan is always trying to stay ahead of the curve, whether it's learning a new programming language or staying up to date on current and progressive design and advertising trends.
Julie decided at age 13 that she wanted a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management (because what 13-year-old doesn't?), and she has been planning trips and events ever since. Since joining Jackson in 2000, she has managed events for BMW Manufacturing Co., Michelin, BFGoodrich and Volvo, just to name a few. When she isn't planning or coordinating, you can find her cheering on the Miami Hurricanes, managing her children's club soccer teams or beating her Super Bowl-winning brother in football. Go Julie!
Kasey brings valuable leadership skills to Jackson’s account team with her management experience on both the agency and corporate side of the world, including corporate stints at Zaxby’s and Denny’s. When Kasey’s not working on our clients’ businesses, you’ll probably find her doing things with her three children or cheering on her Clemson Tigers.
Kevin is a true Detroit export. He still roots for the Tigers, Lions, Wings and Pistons—when there's actually something to cheer about. With more than 25 years in the marketing communications business, his passion has not waned a bit. (You can hear him cheering on a project from down the hall.) He has four children, including a set of twins, and he's a closet gourmet chef. (Though the jury is still out on that one.)
Wrangling, encouraging and instructing are things Kristie GraySmith has mastered during her 35-year-long dance career and over her two decades of human resource management. She has managed thousands of people in varying fields, from law firms to electronic companies and eventually in the automotive sector. Whether it is an eight-count or a timesheet, Kristie has a way of teaching, training and acquiring talent that helps others reach their goals.
To find Larry, try looking 10,000 feet above you. He doesn't fly as much as he used to, but he's a registered pilot who learned to fly after his service in the United States Army. In fact, Larry started his 41-year career in the communications industry with the U.S. Army's Public Information Office, where he was awarded the Army's Commendation Medal. From the service, Larry moved on to Ford Motor Company where he worked in public affairs and motorsports and then to a company owned by Bell and Howell where he was responsible for managing Ford's dealer marketing and training.
In 1980, the entrepreneurial bug bit and Larry co-founded Jackson-Dawson in Detroit, a company specializing in dealer training and product launches for the auto industry. (The prime rate was 21%, so it was perfect timing!) In 1987, Larry moved back to his Greenville roots and opened what is now Jackson. He is very active in the Greenville community—both professionally and with Bible–based ministries—and loves spending time with Betty, his wife of 42 years, and his three children and four grandchildren.
Please call her "Mo." (Everyone else does.) Mo has been at Jackson for 13+ years and supervises Michelin Truck, Michelin Earthmover, Michelin Aircraft (Mo loves tires) and Habitat For Humanity accounts. She also leads all Jackson Hands On Greenville initiatives and participates in Big Brother, Big Sister (she's had a little sister for six years). When she's not working, you can find her at the beach on her stand-up paddleboard. Oh yeah, Mo once managed a dude ranch in Colorado, but don't tell her we put this in her bio.
When he's not climbing mountains on his bike, he's climbing ladders in the creative world. Myles' start as an Interactive Designer led him to the User Interface Design Supervisor role and then to Senior Art Director. It wasn't long before he shifted gears again and became the Associate Creative Director of Digital at Jackson where he collaborates with the interactive team to create digital solutions for our clients. We have a feeling he hasn't reached his peak yet!
There's not much Nate hasn't done at Jackson. While he is currently serving as the Program Director, he has had roles as the IMSA Tire Inventory Manager, the Program Manager for the Volvo Construction Equipment Tour and the Program Manager/Lead Demo Motorcycle leader for BMW Motorrad, and that is just the short list. He was even selected as an Up and Comer in the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame, but that is much less impressive than his ping‑pong skills.
Sam is in his element when he's around fast cars and race tracks. From Event Specialist to Operations Manager to Program Director, Sam has earned his stripes in the motorsports industry. When he isn't managing IMSA programs you can find him casting lines and waiting for a big catch.
Scott has held financial executive roles with Coldwell Banker Caine, IMI Resorts and The Cliffs Communities and has been a CPA since 1992. Most likely, you cannot outthink Scott. And you most definitely cannot outrun him. Scott has completed more than 35 triathlons, including four Half Ironman distances. Fun fact (for us, not him): Scott once shattered his collarbone while filming a commercial as the "body double" for professional cyclist George Hincapie.
Todd is one of our many gear heads who has more than 15 years of experience helping clients trackside. Prior to joining Jackson, Todd managed BFGoodrich Tires Motorsports, after which he led a variety of motorsports programs for his own clients for more than five years. His knowledge of mobile marketing, motorsports and sponsorship activation has helped clients, such as Volkswagen, Scion and Mazda leverage their involvement with both automotive and brand enthusiasts. In addition to having a love for things that go zoom, Todd has a passion for the outdoors and serves on the board of a non-profit men's ministry that does 60-70 hunting and fishing retreats each year.
"Yo," as all the cool kids call her, is the Accounting Director at Jackson. She has been responsible for handling expense report reimbursement, credit card reconciliation, journal entries, daily banking and more for almost 10 years. She is good with numbers, but some things just don't add up...like an accountant with a motorcycle license. Please wear your helmet, Yo!