Thank you to each of you for taking the time to celebrate my retirement this evening with my family and me. I also appreciate Don Mitchell’s wonderful and mostly accurate introduction. Amongst my list of achievements, he did forget to note that I am also responsible for the short-lived, though much loved, Flip-Flop Fridays. Had we not also chosen to move to speakerphone conference calls just a month into that initiative, I have no doubt that we would all still be enjoying the gentle sounds of hundreds of flip-flops slapping the tile floors of Ace Enterprise once a week.
Since announcing my retirement, I have noticed that many of you have started asking me thought provoking questions, clearly out of respect for my wisdom and experience. Things like, “Mark, where do we keep the spare keys for the copy machine,” and “Mark, who will get your parking spot?” In an effort to ensure that my legacy is secure, I thought I would take a moment this evening to share my acquired knowledge with each of you.
The question I have most frequently been asked by some of our younger associates is what the advertising industry was like when I first started at Ace. While our industry has seen drastic changes over the last few decades, none was as personally significant as the decision to move away from cave paintings towards the ever more popular billboard advertising. Though I am proud to lay claim to several memorable billboard campaigns, perhaps my most popular billboard was that of Havana Pest Control’s giant cockroach on a toothbrush. I am sure there are those amongst us who remember the front-page headline that screamed, “Bug Billboard an Eyesore!” Fortunately for my ego, Sean David, head of print marketing at the time, tried to convince me that “bad press is better than no press.” Though that turned out not to be the case, it was still kind of him.
Ace Enterprise really started hitting its stride as we started to emerge as the number one marketing firm to handle the Small Business Market television ad campaigns. I recall the first time Steve Dittmer and I ever produced a commercial spot together. Both of us thought the other had cast the role of Man #2 for a local mattress company. When we realized that neither of us had, we decided that since Steve had high school drama experience, he could play the role. So for three days Steve spent most of his time laying down on the job.
Advertising has changed dramatically over the years, and Ace Enterprise has not only managed to stay up with the times, but to also act as an industry leader time and time again. Most recently, we were one of the first companies to understand the value of Social Media Marketing. We have been an industry leader in helping develop SMM campaigns for some of the top corporations in the nation. As a result, I was proud to let others know that I worked for the Fastest Tweeters in the West.
As I leave Ace Enterprise to pursue travel and enjoy time with my family, I will take with me the Ace Enterprise belief in being forward thinking, of always being willing to take a risk. I will take with me many wonderful friendships and fond memories of shared achievements. I will also be taking with me the poster from the break room of the cat hanging from the tree with the words “Hang In There,” written underneath, because I’ve always been amused by that. Thank you to each of you for your kindness, support, and a fantastic thirty years.