Randy is a long time advertising agency executive and business owner.
Creativity and the Agency
Prior to starting his own advertising agency, Randy was the creative director for several Midwest agencies. His background was in art direction and design, but for these other agencies his primary role was as a copywriter.
Moving to Madison, WI to work as the CD for an agency, he soon left to start a freelance business that quickly turned into a successful, full-service multi-million dollar company. His small agency “punched above their weight”, working on national and international projects and programs for companies that included Charter Business/Spectrum, Firestone, Fiskars, General Casualty/QBE, John Deere, Kimberly-Clark, Oscar Mayer, OshKosh B’Gosh, Rayovac, TDS Telecom, and others.
The agency was recognized with over a hundred creative awards (including multiple “Best of Shows” and “Judge’s Choice” awards), Adweeks Media Plan of the Year Award, and also a public relations Best of Show award from the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA.) Randy’s work has been in industry publications that includes Ad Age, Adweek, Communications Arts, How, and Print, along with a number of “best of” industry books. He is a contributing author to the books “Designers in Handcuffs” and “Idea Revolution.”
With his business partner and wife Cindy, Randy took his freelance design business and turned it into a multi-million dollar advertising agency. In 2015, Randy formed a new company with Cindy, the Sugar River Trading Company, taking over the manufacturing and distribution of the 100-year-old McNess Home Products brand. The Furst-McNess Company was an agency client at the time and had seen its agricultural division grow from $150 million in annual sales to over $300 million a year in a five year period. The home products division was less than one percent of their business and was losing sales every year. Randy and Cindy acquired the home products brand and doubled the sales within five years. (See a pattern?)
As a side note, Furst-McNess Company is now positioned to become a billion dollar agricultural company.
In 2020 Randy started working as a fractional CMO with Paustian Auto Glass in the Milwaukee area. An agreement was in place that if he could help them move from their previous sales mark to more than double that mark, he would earn a percentage of that company. Randy rebranded the company as Nextech, rewired their marketing efforts, and the benefits and growth were seen right away. Recently that sales goal was met and the owners decided to buy out Randy’s business shares at this time as they are positioned to double their sales again within the next year.
Note: we never reveal numbers for private companies unless it is already public knowledge. Sales data and projections for Furst-McNess Company is/was available online.
Randy is a graduate from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Art. He also has an Associate Degree from Blackhawk College, Moline, Illinois where he was an all-conference baseball player.
As mentioned earlier, Randy’s business partner and life partner is his wife Cindy. (Their son Trevor works with them.) Randy and Cindy live south of Madison in the picturesque rolling hills of southern Wisconsin, surrounded by wooded conservancy grounds and farmland. Their home is known for hosting music jams and house concerts.
Randy is a self-taught musician (guitar and keyboards) and an audio engineering enthusiast. His original piano song called “Crosscurrents“ recently reached number six on the One World Radio Music charts (a British/European music website.) He has written and performed a CD called “Spirit World“ with his uncle John Gunter, who plays Native American flute. (Available on all streaming services.)
Randy collects artwork, with a special interest in the photorealists as well as WPA artists. He tries to find time to create some of his own art. More often than not he’ll have a camera on him and is contemplating spending retirement years as a photographer.
Currently Randy is working on two books, one is a young adult fiction book that he is collaborating on with his grandson. The other is a business marketing book geared towards “challenger brands”, helping smaller businesses compete with bigger companies. Both should be available in 2023.