Interview with the partners of PCP

Q: Tell me about your career path. What did you study in college? Did you always plan to go into this field?

Amy (A): I majored in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and Public Relations. I graduated college in the middle of the recession and was only 1 of 5 in my class who already had a job in my career field. #Blessed

Mike (M): No! I wanted to become a sequential artist and draw comic books. I spent the two summers prior to enrolling at SCAD attending sequential art classes on the Savannah campus. Ultimately, I graduated with a BFA in Illustration from SCAD which provided my first introduction to advertising and commercial art.

Dave (D): Not at all, though I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur. In college, I began as a business major. During my second semester I took a photography class as an elective and gained exposure to an artistic community and graphic design program that I fell in love with. Since then, the blending of art and technology has been the backbone of a career I never even considered before taking that single photography class.

Q: Why did you decide to start/join PushCrankPress?

A: In 2019, Michael and I decided that we wanted to grow our family. In order to have a better work/life balance, we made the decision for me to join the PCP team. I had the pleasure of working for a family owned business for 13 ½ years prior to joining PCP. I had some great mentors that I worked with everyday. I was able to gain a wealth of knowledge and utilize it in the day-to-day operations of our agency.

M: In the beginning it was always about investing our time creating art, culture, and friendships. Several initiatives from the early 2010’s eventually merged and grew into what PCP is today but the core remains focused on solving problems with art and communication.

D: Mike and I met during my senior year of college and we had many discussions centered around building a creative agency in Dothan. Lacking most of the resources to actually get an agency off the ground, our paths diverged and we each went out to build our careers. Fast forward 15 years or so… I ran into Mike while picking up a takeout order from Mexican Connection. When I learned that he had actually gotten a local agency up and running, I knew I wanted to find a way to play some role in continuing to build what he started.

Q: What’s the story behind the name PushCrankPress?

A: PCP originated from a series of backyard BBQ’s that turned into making awesome things such as the infamous “Don’t Meth With The Cook” aprons. When we realized that there was a market for quirky t-shirts and other ridiculous apparel, we decided that we would apply for a contest that the DDRA was holding. The winner of the contest received 6 months free rent in an incubator retail space also known as “The Nest.” Low and behold we won and had to get a legitimate business license in order to move in. The rest is history.

M: We started silk-screening prints, posters, and t-shirts in an old warehouse back in 2009. Initially, we didn’t have any professional equipment so we cobbled together frames, tables, and hinges to make our first print station. Most of us are (or were) avid bikers and we used an old bicycle crankset to push the printing heads into a new position after pulling a print. The name “PushCrankPress” came from pushing the crankset over and over.

D: I’m still not sure I’ve gotten the real story…

Q: What’s your philosophy behind working with a client?

A: It’s all about creating compelling stories that showcase the client. If you do good work that you are passionate about, the rest will fall into place.

M: What’s work?

D: One must truly understand the problem to develop a viable solution. An open discussion and flow of ideas is necessary for any project’s success.

Q: What sets PCP apart from other agencies?

A: We are the only full service digital agency in the Wiregrass that has a full staff under one roof. You can walk in and meet with the designer that is working on your business cards, the developer that is coding your website or the social media strategist that is tracking your competitors to put your business on top. While working remotely in a different city may have its personal benefits, nothing compares to the in-person collaboration as a team and the “all hands on deck” approach that PCP provides to our customers.

M: Our focus on education and our goals for helping to foster local culture and talent are unmatched in this area of the country.

D: We’re a true full-service agency whose leadership has a vast array of experience that ranges from wildly creative ideation to the nuts-and-bolts of production, from complex international projects to simple local campaigns. If you have an idea, large or small, we are equipped to develop a solution.

Q: What’s one of your favorite projects/campaigns that you’ve worked on?

A: Do I have to name just one? Visit Dothan’s Top Chef Campaign, Fanaticon, Yard Party for Art….all for different reasons

M: I can’t pick one

D: There are several that come to mind… but I think Visit Dothan’s Airport Wall, WMA’s Yard Party for Art, and the Fanaticon Campaign are all at the top of my list. Each had a nice blend of technology and art that make them stand out in my mind.

Q: What are some of the key things you have learned about running an Ad Agency?

A: Treat your employees well enough so that they want to stay but train them well enough so that they can leave. It’s important to have a great team that works well together. The creative vibe is key and we have some great folks that bring Brand New Ideas to the table every single day.

M: Pay attention to the pronouns you use … the one you need to remember is ‘we’. Give people restrictions – you can’t “think outside of the box” if you were never in one to begin with.

D: It’s all about relationships. Both internal to our team, and between our team and our clients. Yes, it’s also about creativity, productivity, and ultimately project success… but those things are natural results of a team that works well together and maintains a good flow of ideas with our clients.

Q: What is something that people might not consider when thinking about hiring an agency?

A: Oftentimes people think that an Ad Agency is going to be too expensive for their business. We work with our clients to customize a budget to fit their needs and overall goals. We consider ourselves an extension of their marketing department and want to be involved in all aspects of their marketing to keep their brand consistent. It’s a win-win. We get to do cool work and you get 9 employees instead of just 1.

M: It’s important to consider an agency a part of your internal team. We want to work with partners.

D: Agencies are an amazingly efficient way to gain access to a wide breadth of knowledge, skills, and expertise that very rarely exist within an in-house marketing department. We’re a toolbox that you can reach into at any time to find the perfect tool for the job you’re trying to do.

Q: What’s your coffee order?

A: French Vanilla Latte, hot please!

M: I’ve always appreciated the sting of the ‘48 hour blend’ but I’ll take a latte, please.

D: Cold brew when it’s hot out and regular black coffee when it’s not.

Q: What’s a book that you always recommend?

A: All Marketers Are Liars Tell Stories

M: I’ve given away more copies of “The Richest Man in Babylon” and “Trust Me, I’m Lying” than anything else I can think of to date.

D: Sad to say I’m no longer the voracious reader that I once was… I still enjoy flipping randomly through “Where the Sidewalk Ends”.

Q: What’s your perfect binge-worthy TV show?

A: I don’t have a lot of time for TV these days but in my previous life, House of Cards.

M: I’m not sure … but if I ever wake up in front of a TV it’s always on penguins.

D: Lately it’s been “60 Days In”. The most recent season based in Etowah County, Alabama will certainly hold your attention.

Q: Is a hotdog a sandwich? 🤔

A: Is a quesadilla a sandwich?

M: Yes. Merriam-Webster recently updated their entry on sandwiches to include “two or more slices of bread or a split roll …” which puts hotdogs firmly in the sandwich territory. The more interesting thing to consider might be whether or not it’s also a taco.

D: It’s an age-old question that makes an excellent topic for debate. What’s your position? I’ll argue against it.

Posted: Sep 22, 2021