Bob McKernan | President
Bob McKernan joined Blue as President in July of 2003. Prior to joining Blue, Bob was a partner at Smith & Harroff, Inc., a public affairs advertising and communications firm, where he served as creative director of multiple award-winning campaigns. Throughout his career, Bob has provided communications counsel and creative services to a wide range of corporate and association clients, including the American Petroleum Institute, Walmart, Monsanto, the American Iron and Steel Institute, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and many others. He also has extensive experience in electoral politics, developing strategy and creating advertising for a number of successful congressional and statewide candidates and Republican Party organizations.
Contact Bob here.
Chad McGinnis | Executive Creative Director
Chad McGinnis serves Blue as Executive Creative Director and has been with the firm since March 2004. With more than 25 years’ experience in advertising and public affairs, Chad provides strategy and creative services to Blue’s clients. Prior to joining Blue, Chad was director and Washington market leader for Marsteller, where he managed the firm’s Washington, DC practice and created advocacy advertising and collateral. Chad is also a former vice president of Smith & Harroff, Inc., a public affairs/ advocacy advertising agency. He created award-winning campaigns for clients including the Nuclear Energy Institute, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and American Paper Institute. Chad began his ad career in the Chicago offices of Leo Burnett Advertising.
Contact Chad here.
Nancy Wright | Senior Vice President
Nancy joined Blue in May 2009 as Senior Vice President. She brings her expertise of over 20 years of advising corporations, associations and non-profits in the fields of communications, strategic messaging, creative production, public affairs and advertising. Nancy has helped create a variety of image and advocacy campaigns for clients such as API, American Heart Association, ACR, GMA, Monsanto, PhRMA, SHRM, Auto Alliance and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among others. Her work has won Addy, Bronze Sabres, Communicator, Marcom and Telly awards. In addition to her ad agency experience, Nancy worked at communication firms, a digital news start-up and various broadcast and video companies.
Contact Nancy here.
Gailanne Grosso | Creative Director
Blue Creative Director Gailanne Grosso brings more than three decades of experience creating award-winning campaigns on behalf of leading consumer brands and non-profits. Gailanne has served as a senior creative leader at agencies including Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi and Young & Rubicam.
John Verzemnieks | Senior Art Director
With over 25 years of experience in advertising, John Verzemnieks has created work for a wide range of clients. His extensive film and print experience has helped his clients launch new brands, while helping other well-established products and companies maintain their successful position in the marketplace. John’s work has not only achieved measurable results, but it has also been recognized in advertising awards shows like The One Show, New York Art Directors Club and Best in the West; and in typography awards from TIGA, Print, Art Direction Magazine and The CA Design.
Kathy Coffey | Art Director
Kathy Coffey joined Blue in 2013. Her responsibilities include concept development and art direction for various advertisements. Kathy creates smart, clean visual solutions for clients. She has designed ads for many clients ranging from the American Heart Association to SHRM to NACDS Foundation to the American Petroleum Institute. Prior to Blue, Kathy worked at a design firm in Virginia on a variety of projects with clients ranging from restaurants to non-profits. Kathy’s creative work has earned awards from HOW Magazine, Graphic Design USA, MarCom and the Davey Awards. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from James Madison University in 2010, with a BFA in Graphic Design.
Contact Kathy here.
Dave Neal | President, SMS*
David Neal founded Strategic Media Services (SMS)* in 1996 after more than 15 years of experience in advertising sales, planning and media buying in New York, Boston and Washington. With a national reputation for political and issue advocacy communications, David has also built an expertise in strategically planned, sales-driven consumer marketing campaigns. SMS’s client base includes consumer, trade, issue advocacy, nationwide political campaigns and corporate advertising. Prior to SMS, David was Executive Vice President at National Media Services, working primarily on political and issues campaigns – both at the national and local levels. David has been a commentator and consultant to NBC Network News, the Wall Street Journal and numerous trade journals.
Diane Bancroft | Executive Vice President, SMS*
Diane manages, supervises and coordinates all media planning and buying activities, including directing all post-analysis reports, for all accounts. Some of these accounts: Biotechnology Industry Organization, National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC 1996-2006), National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC 2008), API and Monsanto. Prior to joining SMS, Diane worked as broadcast media buyer for Giant Food, Inc., where she not only negotiated and bought radio and television commercial time, but was also responsible for the research and planning necessary for the advertising campaigns in Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Frederick, Fredericksburg, Salisbury and Charlottesville.
Stephen Szostak | Senior Buyer/Planner, SMS*
Stephen performs an essential part in researching, developing and implementing media plans for a wide variety of clients across all mediums: TV, radio, print and online. He has taken his experience executing buys, placing over $60 million in more than 40 markets, to the research and planning level. Stephen applies his multi-market, multi-media knowledge to help develop effective, efficient media plans for SMS’s clients. Prior to SMS, Stephen worked for the ABC affiliate in Phoenix, KNXV-TV, starting as an assistant in the sales department, ultimately to become political producer.
Neil Williams | Account Director, SMS*
Neil plays multiple positions at SMS, buying and planning across all media platforms as well as serving as an account manager on political and trade/industry specific campaigns. He’s also one of the agency’s “boomerang” employees, having first started working with SMS in 2002 before moving to a full-service agency specializing in advertising and design for professional services companies. Neil graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Vermont.
Jessica Murray | Digital Media Specialist, SMS*
Jessica specializes in digital advertising, and in this role she advises account leads on their clients’ digital plans. This includes researching, developing and implementing digital media placement. Additionally, Jessica manages the campaign progress and results reporting. In addition to her digital work, she contributes to television, radio and print placement. Jessica has been with SMS since 2008. She graduated with honors from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.A. in Communication. As an undergraduate, Jessica interned with both the Department of Commerce and the Department of State.
Michelle Irvin | Media Buyer, SMS*
Michelle works alongside our various account teams to plan and execute the purchase of print, digital, broadcast and radio space for our clients. Her role also includes projects such as media analysis, market research and end of campaign reporting. Prior to SMS, Michelle worked with agencies in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Louisiana State University. Michelle has been with SMS since 2014.