where it started

How It Started vs. How It’s Going

Written by | Tagged RA Culture,

June 30, 2021 | The Family,

We wouldn’t have been able to celebrate 40 years in business without our incredible team—both past and present. We’ve had 72 employees since the company was founded in 1981 and are proud to boast a 14 year average employee tenure (but many have been with us much longer!). Let’s take a look at “how it started” and “how it’s going” for some of our most seasoned RA team members.

Dave Rosenberg: With RA since 1981

How it Started

Well, my first days AT Rosenberg Advertising were actually the first days OF Rosenberg Advertising! When I started the business in April 1981 with one account, one person (me), an office for $95/month, one phone, and a small desk, it was all new, fresh, scary, and exhilarating! I was learning how to actually own a business, how to find freelance help so I could service the one account that I had, and how to acquire more clients. Also, I felt a sense of “anything is possible” and that was a tremendous and liberating feeling to have. Luckily as the years went by, I was able to add to our team, build our capabilities, and I was freed up to focus on the big picture—growth, keeping our clients happy, and building a winning company culture.

dave rosenberg

Can you spot our current team members—Dave Rosenberg, Dave Simon, and Connie Ramser?!

How it’s Going

Now, I am at the final years of a well-crafted transition period that has led to Melissa and Austin running the company. I think my role is more of a coach now and I absolutely love it. I love this company and couldn’t be any prouder of what we were and what we have become!

dave rosenberg

Dave Simon: With RA since 1983

How it Started

I started working for Dave fresh out of the Army, as his first employee. I was 22, soon to be 23, and single. We only had a few accounts, so the job started out as part-time (I was also the night desk clerk at the Shaker House hotel), but soon morphed to full time. Rosenberg Advertising was in an office the size of a walk-in closet with just enough room for Dave’s desk, some file boxes, and a drawing table for me. Yes, a drawing table, not a desk with a computer. I did pencil layouts, mostly for the Plain Dealer, and they did the typesetting. I had gone to school for graphic design, and that’s what I did in the Army as well, but my advertising experience was limited. Thankfully, Dave took a chance on me, and here we are now, 38 years and counting.

dave simon

How it’s Going

As I said, 38 years and counting. I’ve been married almost 32 years, with three kids. The youngest just turned 21, which was…alarming. My job has changed some over the years. I’m been creative director for quite awhile now (along with Kara), and I still do my share of graphic design. Increasingly, I also do a lot of writing for the agency—radio and TV commercials, blog posts, website copy, whatever is needed. I’ve come to really enjoy this part of my job—there’s always something new to learn! Working for Rosenberg Advertising all these years and being a small part of its growth and success, has been a dream job that I’ll be forever grateful for.

dave simon

Connie Ramser: With RA since 1987

How it Started

I was anxious to start my first job out of college at Rosenberg Advertising on Dec 7, 1987, after having a summer internship in sales at the Plain Dealer and working under Dave’s dad, Stan Rosenberg, who was the fearless (and slightly feared) leader for the Retail Sales Department at the time. The entire summer I kept hearing about his son, Dave Rosenberg and what a “cool” guy he was—not just from his dad but from the other sales reps.

connie

Connie’s internship at the Plain Dealer working for Dave’s dad led to her job at RA!

There were only two “layout artists” at the time I started (Dave Simon being one of them), a secretary, Dave, and myself to handle the accounts. I had a cubicle next to Dave’s and honestly, when he set my up at my desk I had NO idea what to do next. It was easy to listen to his morning calls to all our accounts and I learned mostly by example and by attending meetings with Dave when he visited his clients. My first few accounts were the Brown Shoe Group (Connie shoes, Naturalizer, and Faflik) and the US Merchandise Account. Boy, did I get a lesson in negotiating from these clients! But I loved them and they were good to me.

I spent a big portion of my day driving back and forth (in my little red Fiero) to Alliance printing on Broadway to take layouts that Dave Simon or Joan (the other artist) had created to have them typeset. And then once typeset, I would take the ad proof to show the clients, then back to Alliance with changes and to get the final camera ready ad so that it would be ready when the PD pick up guy showed up. Back and forth all day long it seemed! We were mostly all print advertising when I started. There were no computers, or fax machines for things like this back then. And our “car phones” didn’t come til later. Often I would have a car full of shoes or jewelry to bring back to the office for Dave to illustrate (no stock art to speak of).

Fridays were the best as we would end the day early for a game of in-office basketball “P.I.G.”

connie desk

August 1992 with a colleague’s little boy. Rosenberg has always had a family atmosphere!

Eventually, we got our first opportunity to make a media buy and produce a TV commercial (Fashion Town at Eastgate) and the entire agency was involved and abuzz! This opportunity created a need for someone to become skilled at media “other than print” so I embraced the challenge. Dave sent me to “school” by having me spend lots of time with various media reps who taught me all about buying media for TV, billboards, and radio. It was a ground zero education but I loved it.

As time went on, we began to acquire more and more accounts that needed a broad spectrum of media options or vendor programs and I loved getting to work on a new account! Some of my favorites were World of Sleep, Earlywine Furniture, Lucky Shoes, Bryant Heating and Cooling, Discount Drug Mart, ICI paints, and The Husqvarna Viking Company. With each account came a new challenge. The re-branding of Ambiance and Marhoffer Auto brings many fun memories.

How it’s Going

Since I started Rosenberg, I have gotten married and have had three kids! After my first child, McKenzie was born in 1997, I cut my days down to 4 so I could spend Fridays with my little girl. I was very involved with the agency and Dave had given me a title of VP of Account Services. That meant a lot to me and I wanted to keep going but when my second daughter, Olivia, was born in 1999, I decided I should take a step back to be home with my children. However, Dave asked me if I would manage the Drug Mart account “from home,” which was pretty much unheard of at the time!  I agreed and in 2002 my son, Mark was born. My mom and grandma helped me with the kids as the goal was to make this a 2 day a week job (haha). 26 years later and I am still managing this account from my home office but I no longer need help watching my kids (or do I?!). The Pandemic work situation was “business as usual” for me.

Technology has changed everything, needless to say, but the our agency’s culture and philosophy over the past 33 ½ years with the way we take care of our clients has not faltered. The people I work with have become my family. And that is how I can proudly answer people when they ask how I could possibly have stayed at the same company for so long!

connie fam

Marisa Himes: With RA since 2002

How it Started

I learned about the job opening at RA through a coworker of mine at the time whose girlfriend worked here. I was ready for a new challenge and can even remember what I wore to my first interview with Dave! My job during the first couple years at RA consisted of bookkeeping, media support, HR, and general admin work (I still do much of this today!). I remember feeling very welcome starting on my first day. Everyone was super nice and Robin, who was training me, took me out to lunch.

marisa

How it’s Going

So much has changed for me during my time with RA. I got married, started a family (two kids and several pets!), and have moved a few different times. My job responsibilities changed too—after working here a couple years, I started taking on more account management tasks and coordinated many of the retail catalogs that we produced each year. These days, my time is spent on accounting and operational work plus managing our luxury watch client.

marisa and fam

Melissa Sattler: With RA since 2005

How it Started

It started so amazing! I had just gotten married a few weeks before and wanted SO badly to be back at an agency. When I saw the NEWSPAPER(!) post for the job, I knew it was meant for me. Thankfully, Dave agreed after I insisted he meet with me! One of the best parts of how it started was meeting my officemate, Kara. We started about a month apart and have been such good friends now for over 15 years—I’m so grateful to have her in my life! I did nothing but design, design, design all day long, mostly for retail clients, and I loved it.

Kara and Melissa
Kara and me volunteering with the Rosenberg Advertising team at the Boys & Girls Club!

How it’s Going

It’s very, very different! I never could have imagined that I’d one day be an owner of this great company, that I’d find a lifelong friend and mentor in Dave, that I’d be partners with two great guys that feel like family, or that I would grow to spend so little time on design! Over the last 15 years, the thing I’m most proud of is having played a role in reinventing the agency over and over again. In 2005, we didn’t do websites in-house, there was no such thing as social media, and no one had even thought of digital advertising, or email marketing. We all had flip phones! Being a part of figuring out these new mediums, overcoming challenges, incorporating new services into our offerings, and building an amazing team to deliver so much value to our clients has been incredibly rewarding.

rosenberg group

Kara McKenna: With RA since 2005

How it Started

After my first interview with Dave Rosenberg, I knew right away that Rosenberg Advertising was the place I wanted to work. I loved the house on Detroit and I could tell Dave would be a great person to work for. After my third interview, I was feeling less hopeful and went home and cried to my boyfriend that I didn’t think I was going to get the position. However, I was really excited when I got a call from Dave with an offer the next day! I began working at RA in July 2005 as an art director.

My workspace was on the first floor of the house basically in the same area I am in today. The first projects I worked on were an invitation for an event at Alson Jewelers with the Cleveland Browns and a watch catalog for Watch Connection.

A few weeks after my first day, another designer was hired—Melissa! We clicked right away and have been good friends ever since. We were both so happy to be working at RA and to leave our miserable corporate jobs behind. Since then, we have shared so many milestones together, including becoming moms!

kara

How it’s Going

Today, I am married to my husband KC (that boyfriend I cried to after my third interview) and we have 2 boys and a home in Fairview Park. My title is now creative director and I’ve worked with a variety of clients in different industries during my time here. I also still work with some of the same clients I did when I first started! I’m in the same office area but in a different room toward the back of the office. RA is still an exciting place to work and I feel so fortunate to be a part of this creative team for the last 16 years. I’ve grown so much both as a person and as a designer thanks to the support I have received here. I love that even though we are constantly evolving as a company, the same dedicated, creative environment remains at the heart of Rosenberg Advertising.

mckenna family

Austin Rosenberg: With RA since 2010

How it Started

Well, it technically “started” with “bring your kid to work day.” When I was really young, I often tagged along with my dad to work and sat in Connie’s office so she could help me make paper airplanes to throw at him (thanks, Con!). You also may or may not have seen my family and I on the cover of our client, Lucky Shoes’, catalogs back in the day.

lucky-shoes

Awhile later, I started “temporarily” helping out while some of the RA employees were on maternity leave. Those two months of temporary help very quickly turned into 11 years!

Side note: Connie had the BEST toys in her office and she had a mirror that laughs when you look at it. At some point in my adult life, she gifted me that mirror!

dave austin

How it’s Going

Turns out that temporarily helping out was one of the best decisions I have ever made! I’ve been with Rosenberg for 11 years and now help run the company. It’s extremely rewarding and I love it!

austin

Abby the Dog: With RA since 2016 (that’s nearly 35 dog years!)

How it Started

My duties at RA mainly involve trash inspection (can you believe nobody was doing that before I arrived?!), human-sitting, and making sure the couch doesn’t float away. When I first started, I was only part-time because my mom didn’t want me to wear out my welcome…

abby

How it’s Going

…but it turned out I was indispensable! Nowadays, I work from home a lot more often to keep my human company. Thankfully, she understands the importance of a good couch. 🙂

abby

When you work with us, you get access to a full (fun!) team of marketing experts. Get to know the Rosenberg Advertising family!

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