You hire an agency for its expertise. Whether that’s in brand strategy and creative development or in research, media, PR, content marketing, or 1:1 marketing, the experts should be put in a position to lead. But no individual or partner can do their job in a vacuum without a high degree of collaboration.
At Nelson Schmidt, we believe the best client/agency relationship’s are founded on a mutual understanding of goals, clearly defined roles and responsibilities, and accountability for the quality of the input each individual contributes. And when such partnerships click, there’s nothing else like it!
Below is a sampling of the people that comprise the NS team — professionals that offer you a diverse set of capabilities and draw upon different points of view to help enhance your team’s marketing efforts.
MEET OUR TEAM
Daniel H. Nelson, Jr.
President & CEO. Ring Leader. Lover Of Life.
Just about everyone calls him Nelie, but no one calls him lethargic. Always on the go, both professionally and personally, Nelie’s long list of career achievements is only rivaled by his litany of hobbies and activities. A graduate of Stanford University and a Bay Area resident during the Internet’s infancy, Nelie has always had a knowledge and passion for digital communications and technologies. But his professional interests and experience run the entire marketing gamut. From commercial photography, creative direction and account management to planning, strategy development and brand consulting, Nelie has immersed himself in just about every industry pool you can think of. After more than 20 years in the business, Nelie purchased Nelson Schmidt Inc. from his father, Dan Nelson Sr. (or just “Senior” if you see him in the hallway) in 2012, and has continued to propel our agency on an upward trajectory ever since.
After wearing all those hats, you’d think Nelie might spend his rare free time catching up on a little rest. But when he’s not burning the business end of the candle, he’s living life to the fullest, hunting, fishing, boating, diving, skiing, golfing or volunteering as a rescue diver for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. Nelie is also an active leader in the community, serving as chairman of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee’s Maritime Committee, which produces the free LIVE @ the Lakefront summer concert series in the Rotary Amphitheater at Discovery World.
Chief Operating Officer. Proficient Angler. Red Wine Admirer.
Cody takes a sensible, almost poetic approach when it comes to ensuring quality and profitability within the agency. Let’s put it this way, if Nelson Schmidt were a winery, Cody would be both the grapes and the vintner. His favorite thing about NS, you ask? The people – “Gotta love the people you work with or it’s not worth working.” Cody is also a big advocate of getting everyone on board when it comes to the creative process by exploring multiple insights that go deep below the surface–to get the big idea, not just the first idea.
When the working hours come to a close, Cody likes to get out on the water or into the woods. Whether he’s fishing, hunting or enjoying a little soft rock from back in the day (Insert Ambrosia song here) he’s always keeping his eyes open to welcome new, diverse principles. Basically, He’s “never holdin’ on to yesterday.” (Okay, you really have to look up Ambrosia now).
Chief Creative Officer. Advertising Geek. Bike Fanatic.
Mike often says, “Creativity is the most powerful weapon in business today.” So he uses his role as Chief Creative Officer to spread the love and importance of creativity across the entire agency and with its clients. He’s also a self-described advertising industry geek, always on the lookout for the newest thinking, latest technology, and any other differential advantage he can bring to the agency’s work.
Mike’s a bit obsessed with his work (you’ll usually see him in the office by 6:30 a.m.), but he does try to get away from it all and clear his mind with another obsession: bikes. He’s into gravel, mountain, and fat biking. But his all-time favorite way to unwind is to get in the woods camping with his wife and two dogs.
Oh yeah, and if you get Mike talking about BBQ ribs, you won’t be able to shut him up.
Chief Marketing Officer. Marriage Broker. Endorphins Devourer.
Chris acts as somewhat of a matchmaker – helping connect what NS is all about to what marketers need from the ideal agency to support and enhance their efforts. He really enjoys being part of an agency that has the abilities, and desire, to serve international clients. When he’s not convincing marketers of our awesomeness, you can often find him chasing that runner’s high (which actually helps him to think more creatively, so run, Chris, run!)
Human Resources Director. Dog Lover. NS Lifer.
Mrs. Lynne Chamberlain is Nelson Schmidt elite. She’s been walking through these agency doors for over 30 years (she was hired when she was 8). Lynne is a fan of the many different personalities here at NS, and that’s a good thing–seeing she’s head of HR and all. She is responsible for planning, directing and coordinating the administration functions within the organization. Lynne is always upbeat and in good spirits. Her life philosophy speaks to her magnetic spirit:
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, do more and become more–you are a leader.”
When Lynne switches off ‘work-mode’ and turns on ‘fun-mode’, she and her husband like to hop on their Harley and take off up north to hang out at their cottage with beloved family members. And if Lynne is having quiet time (aka if no one else is around), she’ll enjoy her favorite dish (Pasta Bolognese) while watching her favorite reality show. Now, she won’t tell us which show, so we’ll just have to assume it includes dogs, roses, challenges and boozy drama. Wait. Isn’t that every reality show?
IT Director. Whisky Taster. Bitcoin Trader.
Spencer is the agency “tech guy.” For those that don’t speak tech, we’ll have Spencer explain what he does in his own words.
“If it plugs into a wall, I manage it.” Well said, Spencer.
When he isn’t dealing with agency tech issues or babysitting his non-tech savvy coworkers, Spencer enjoys building electronics and eating chicken paprikash and mint chocolate-chip ice cream. Wouldn’t it be cool if he took his love of electronics and built a robot that could make both mint chocolate-chip ice cream and that Hungarian chicken dish? If the robot could also distill whiskey, we’re sure Spence would have a new best friend.
Developer. Caf-fiend. Raw Fish Fan.
As a developer, John is passionate about integrating creativity into computer programming. He describes his creative process as a foundation of strategic thought inspired by natural instinct. John fuels this process with large doses of caffeine and heavy metal.
Whether he’s working, skateboarding or playing the guitar or keyboard, he lives by these words, “fall down seven times, get up eight.”
If you want to hear more sage thoughts from John, invite him over for sushi or to play video games. Or, better yet, a video game about sushi.
Office Administrator. Carbonation Wrangler. Liz Lemon Lover.
As an Office Administrator, Aidan is in charge of lots of important things that keep our Madison office running, from assisting teams with projects to billing. But her most crucial task just might be keeping the fridge stocked for the entire Madison team’s unusual and insatiable thirst for La Croix. Who knew it was possible for people to drink that much flavored sparkling water?
To Aidan, being creative is all about making order out of chaos. Which is fitting, seeing she has a hyphenated first name, Aidan-Bailey, rather than bothering with the chaos of a middle name.
Outside of work, Aidan is a non-discriminating TV aficionado (yes, even reality TV), with a life philosophy best represented in a quote from Liz Lemon, “Yes to love, yes to life, yes to staying in more.”
Account Planning & Management Director. Baker. Cheesecake Maker.
As an account director, Becky builds harmonious relationships with NS clients. When she’s not leading her team, Becky enjoys getting outdoors and participating in summer activities. When the winter season falls upon Wisconsin, she watches movies and bakes (quote, “cheesecakes are my specialty”). Her creative philosophy speaks to the creativity in all of us:
“Good ideas can come from anywhere and everywhere–be open to explore ideas both independently and as a group.”
If you want to get on Becky’s good side, load up a gift basket with red wine, sweatpants and lasagna. You’ll have a friend for life.
Account Supervisor. Dessert Devourer. Horse Rider.
Sarah is our Account Supervisor, meaning she’s an expert at finding creative solutions to business problems for successful results – creative being the key word. It doesn’t take much to activate Sarah’s creativity, her philosophy being,
“Creativity is all around us. It can come from anybody and takes many different forms.”
When Sarah isn’t thinking about creative solutions, you will likely find her practicing dressage or jumping fences (which we thought meant shopping and hurdles, but apparently has to do with horse training). Sarah also enjoys spending quality time with friends and family who know that a favor only costs four special words – Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée.
Digital Producer and Project Manager. Water Warrior. Positive Thinker.
The perfect movie quote to describe Brooke is “just keep swimming.” As our Digital Producer and Project Manager, the days can get hectic. But the two things that keep her flowing are positive thinking and water. Brooke’s life philosophy is,
“Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.”
At work, Brooke positioned her desk so she could see the lake from the view. As someone who grew up water skiing, boating and spending family time at their cabin on Lake Tomahawk, water is a vital element that keeps Brooke motivated, creative and helps her see the big picture. Fun fact – Brooke used to live in Florida where she could be on the water everyday if she wanted but gave all that up for winters in Wisconsin and quality time with her young niece and nephew.
Group Creative Director. Teacher. Closet Chef.
From shooting short films in grade school to producing family vacation slideshows to writing songs for his high school band (rock on, Patterns), if a story needed to be told, Jeff was on it. Since discovering in college that one could actually create for a living, he has gone on to craft engaging stories and win awards for brands in banking, healthcare, insurance, motorsports, retail, tools, travel and probably more… but who’s counting. When it comes to guiding principles or a life philosophy, Jeff believes this:
“Solve problems by any means necessary and use my powers to try and make the world a better place.”
When not on the job, Jeff enjoys teaching young wannabe art directors and copywriters at a portfolio school of his own creation (with fellow Nelson Schmidter, Scott Lawson), speaking at colleges and participating in local ad club events. To unwind, he likes to chill with his wife, hang out with his dog and cook crazy meals… not necessarily in that order.
Production Director. Awarded Actor. BBQ Eater.
If you walk by Jason’s office, you might hear the echoes of “Take a Chance on Me” by ABBA–admittedly one of Jason’s guilty pleasures. Jason likes getting in the mix here at NS. The flexibility within the agency doesn’t keep Jason tied down to his desk and collaborating with the team helps him produce timelines and budgets for concepts crafted by the folks in the creative department. Which brings us to his creative philosophy:
“No matter what the budget or timeline anything’s possible”
When Jason isn’t taming the production beast, you can find him with his family and attending their athletic extracurricular activities.
Videographer. Wearer of Many Hats. Badass.
Olivia comes to us with extensive experience in creating marketing videos and broadcast content for a wide variety of both domestic and international clientele. Her expertise lies in every area of production including conceptual development, budgeting, crew and talent acquisition, camera operation, editing and motion graphic animation. Whew, talk about a one woman wrecking crew. Perhaps that’s why when asked about her life philosophy, she characterized it as this:
“The sun never sets on a badass.”
When Olivia isn’t capturing and creating stories in moving picture form, she occasionally partakes in her guilty pleasures of chicken and waffles, and chocolate and wine. Not all at the same time, mind you. But if she did? Now that would be badass.
Media Manager. Passionate Gardner. Popcorn Popper.
Owning the title ‘Media Manager’ at Nelson Schmidt means Maria must be both focused and resourceful when negotiating media buys. What keeps her stoked at work? That’s easy. Maria appreciates having the ability to be flexible with her schedule and working with a solid group of advertising individuals. Maria is an easy-going spirit who enjoys life–one day at a time.
When Maria pushes her media mind aside, she’s likely to ice up a couple of Coors Lights, grab her fishing pole and get outdoors. And when it’s time to relax, you might find Maria chillin’ in front of the television and coaxing her husband to prepare his ‘famous’ grilled chicken. I mean, c’mon. You can’t watch The Bachelorette on an empty stomach now, can you?
Designer. Evader of Routines. Beer Baroness.
From banner ads and app interfaces to exhibits and brand identities, Sarah is a designer who does it all. She pulls her design inspiration from the world around her, always switching up her daily routines to be influenced by new surroundings.
Sarah likes to say, “life’s about balance.” And she lives up to it.
She loves watching horror movies, hiking with her dog and listening to movie scores at full volume. Sarah also loves beer. Like really loves beer. She drinks beer, has her own homebrew brand and is on the Board of Directors for New Barons Brewing – Wisconsin’s first cooperatively owned brewery.
Public Relations Account Executive/Writer. Film Buff. Cubano King.
Scott Hansen is the guy with the words. Simply put, he describes his job as “helping clients through written projects on a fundamental level.” As a writer, Scott’s creative philosophy makes sense,
“If you think it, you should say it. Don’t hold on to ideas. Feel free to express yourself.”
Scott has no problem sharing his thoughts when it comes to one of his favorite activities – watching movies. As a film critic hobbyist, Scott is always at the theater – probably like every other day. If you need any suggestions on what to watch on your next movie night, just ask Scott. Another thing Scott critiques? Cuban sandwiches. They better be authentic and they better be good.
Director of Media Services. Passionate Reader. Animal Lover.
As the leader of integrated media strategy, planning, buying and optimization at the agency, Laura is always asking, “what if we could?” Nothing stops her from reaching an audience in the most impactful way possible. The Effie on her shelf is proof of that tenacity.
So is her favorite quote from Nelson Mandela, “I never lose. I either win or learn.”
Away from work, Laura is a hockey mom and animal rescuer. With a home filled with chinchillas, bunnies, a bird, a snake and bearded dragons, it’s no wonder her other passion is Pinot Noir.
Assistant Media Strategist. Exercise Aficionado. Tone Deaf Singer.
As an Assistant Media Strategist, a typical day for Ted is never typical. He could be creating a media strategy, digging into data, or deploying a digital campaign. Which suits him just fine. Because Ted is an explorer in his personal life, too – always venturing into new areas of Milwaukee to discover an interesting shop, restaurant, or park. Followed by another Milwaukee favorite – an ice-cold Miller Lite.
When it comes to creativity, Ted says, “The sky is many shades of blue. There are many unique ways we each view the world and creativity is fostered by fresh and different perspectives.”
Those deep, creative thoughts often come to Ted after running 5ks, 10ks, and half marathons (and hopefully soon a full 26.2). The only time you’ll see Ted idle is when he’s practicing his guilty pleasure of singing along to the radio. But his zero musical talent means you’ll be needing that ice-cold Miller Lite.
Account Planning & Management Director. Chicken Eater. Cartoon Observer.
Jim’s job has two parts. One, he’s solving our clients’ problems to get them where they want to be, and two, he’s helping to create and lead a fun, supportive culture that gets things done. A true leader, Jim’s job description matches up to his life philosophy,
“When one man, for whatever reason, has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.” – (Jacques-Yves Cousteau)
When Jim gets a break from leading our team, he enjoys spending time with his family. You’ll either find him getting active outdoors, in the kitchen feasting on his grandma’s chicken paprikash or on the couch with his son, watching their favorite cartoon, Peppa Pig.
User Experience Design Director. World Traveler. Lifelong Learner.
As our User Experience Design Director, Sabrina is basically master of the web. User experience, graphic design, web development, search marketing strategy – she does it all. Even as a master, Sabrina still strives to learn more. Her creative philosophy is,
“Never assume that you know everything, you never will, so keep learning.”
When Sabrina isn’t learning the latest tricks of the trade, she’s probably on a trip. She’s visited 24 countries so far and still has others to check off her bucket list. Her favorite? Well, you’ll have to ask for yourself.
Grant Kleaveland Kupczak
Marketing Intern. Hammer Slinger. Helping Hand.
We’re not kidding when we say Grant is a very important intern. He spends his days assisting the business development efforts of the agency through our digital channels. So our future is literally in his hands.
When he’s not here, you’ll find a tennis racket, guitar or hammer in his hands. In fact, he’s already remodeled a bathroom and a basement.
It all fits in with Grant’s self-described philosophy of helping whoever with whatever whenever I can. Which also fits with his favorite quote by Robert Ingersoll, “We rise by lifting others.”
Graphic Designer. Soccer Player. Pig Admirer.
When Robert isn’t telling us about the many different eyebrow rings he wore before his marriage, he’s combing typography and images that create custom designs for our clients. Robert appreciates the collaborative atmosphere at NS, it helps get him in a zone that dares him to constantly push boundaries. It speaks to his life philosophy:
“I’ll try anything once.”
Really, Robert? Anything? This should make for some fun times on the second floor. When Robert isn’t making pretty pictures at NS, he spends time with his wife and three lovely daughters, taking stunning photos and drinking craft beers.
Group Creative Director. Indian Food Partaker. Board Skater.
If you get a chance, sit down and buy Clay a Ketel One (with soda, twist of lemon) and dive into his many passions, one of which is playing tunes. He’s an accomplished musician who has toured and recorded with many national acts. He plays in a killer band that performs locally. Steely Dane is a respected tribute band that spills the smooth grooves. This is probably what inspires Clay’s life philosophy:
“Make a life, not a living.”
We got deep and asked Clay what helped him get in a creative mindset, he answered quickly, “Contemplate one thing of beauty every day”–and then we added–“then you go back, Jack, do it again.”
PR Account Supervisor. Fur Mama. Thin Crust Pizza Advocate.
As resident PR Account Supervisor, Nicole’s creative advice is to “never be afraid to voice your crazy, out-of-the-box ideas.” One of her crazy, out-of-the-box ideas? Drinking iced coffee year-round—even in winter. It gives her the energy she needs to serve as the middle woman between client and media and curate the best of our clients’ stories to help share them with the world.
When she’s not enjoying a cold cuppa joe and brainstorming with the rest of the PR team, you’ll find her hiking alongside her fur baby Bandit, traveling to music festivals, and taking her own life advice: “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
Creative Director. Outdoor Reveler. Mountain Dew Quaffer.
Scott, AKA ‘The Candy Man’, is known to lead the other creatives in developing engaging and visually stunning storytelling pieces. He’s also been known to deal out sweets to fellow sugar-addicted co-workers. So, yeah…he’s popular here. Scott uses his surroundings to get the creative boost he needs. Music. Movies. Life. It all complements his personal philosophy:
“Man is defined by what he does when he thinks nobody is watching.”
When Scott isn’t giving creative direction to the other ad savants, he gets lost in bad B movies and video games. He also appreciates the outdoors. His poetic adventures allow him to take spectacular photos. No lie. His Instagram is on point.
Project Manager. Coaxer of Creativity. Highway 61 Revisitor.
As a project manager, Sarah gets to tell people what to do and when it’s due. But she’s not only process-driven. Sarah also always pushes teams to think more creatively by taking the stance of a 3-year-old and asking, “why?”
And to keep the work moving at the agency, she stays inspired by her favorite words from Bob Dylan, “The only thing I knew how to do was to keep on keeping on.”
Keeping on going to Dylan concerts is also one of Sarah’s favorite things to do. She’s been to more than 30 so far.
Marketing Automation Specialist. Comic Nerd. Pit Bull Mom.
Kristi’s role gives her the opportunity to work in many different aspects of digital marketing with many different people, helping everything come together in a cohesive plan along a customer journey. This collaborative approach suits her perfectly, because Kristi believes having open dialogues about challenges and solutions is the best fuel for creativity.
She also finds creativity by being not just a fan – but a true fanatic – of everything from Marvel, DC, Harry Potter and Disney.
Outside of work, you’ll find Kristi hanging with her daughter, playing soccer and cuddling her three pit bulls. Plus, trying to stay warm after just moving back to Wisconsin from Austin.
Daniel H. Nelson
Chairman. Legend. Oenophile.
Senior, as he’s called around campus, is the former owner of Nelson Schmidt and current owner of legendary status in the world of advertising. At the height of his long and distinguished career in marketing, Senior purchased Nelson Schmidt (formerly the Ken Schmidt Company) in 1988. Throughout the next quarter century, he built the agency into a premier B2B powerhouse. After selling NS to his son in 2012, Senior continues to collaborate with the management team as chairman, helping develop and nurture growth opportunities for both agency and clients.
And if you ever want to hear his gripping tales of advertising’s good ol’ days, the key to Senior’s story vault can be found inside a bottle of fine red wine. As a connoisseur, he’ll probably be able to tell you a few stories about the vino as well.
Public Relations Director. Passport Stamp Collector. Outdoor Explorer.
As PR Director, Amy is responsible for bringing our clients’ stories to life. With our diverse repertoire of clients and the varying stories to tell, it’s fitting that Amy’s creative philosophy is,
“Getting out of my comfort zone is my comfort zone.”
As a Switzerland-born Aussie now living in America, that philosophy is more than obvious. Traveling to new lands is a passion of Amy’s but when she isn’t traveling the world, she’s likely exploring the great outdoors in her own backyard and discovering that Wisconsin is the coolest state of them all.
Account Executive. Traveler. Ballet Dancer.
If you see Kim bebopping around the agency, odds are she’s going to have a smile on her face, a cup of coffee in her hand and some random 90’s R&B tune playing smoothly in her head. And that’s No Diggity (see what we did there?). With Kim being the liaison between client and creative, her work philosophy speaks well to the elements of her job:
“It’s important to strive to find the why in whatever you’re doing and stand for something.”
When Kim isn’t exploring the mindsets of NS clients, she’s outside–camping, hiking and enjoying apples and peanut butter in the comfort of nature.
Creative Director. Boy Scout Supporter. Prized Elvis Impersonator.
As one of the fine, outstanding Creative Directors here at Nelson Schmidt, Jason helps lead the creative department in finding unique marketing solutions that will enrapture the NS client roster. When he needs a creative boost, he relies on his past experiences and an inspirational quote from Francis Atterbury (we had to look him up, too):
“It’s attention to detail that makes the difference between average and stunning.”
Once Jason puts aside his thinking cap for the day, he and his wife enjoy spending time with their two sons who are actively involved in the Boy Scouts. When Jason isn’t scouting, he’s likes discussing the science behind the perfect Swedish Meatball.
Controller. Food Enjoyer. Money Cruncher.
Cristy has probably the most noted job here at Nelson Schmidt. She’s in charge of everything financial within the agency. Expenses. Profits. Wait. That means our paychecks, too. Did I mention Cristy is very charming? She appreciates the many different personalities that make up Nelson Schmidt, which can speak to her creative philosophy:
“Keep it balanced.”
When Cristy is not taking care of the agency numbers, she enjoys eating a lot of food and spending time with her family.
Account Coordinator. Mexican Food Aficionado. Part-Time Instagram Manager.
Amanda plays a key role in our effort to ensure client satisfaction. As Account Coordinator, Amanda works hard to support to the accounts team and generate successful outcomes. It makes sense that her life philosophy is,
“Never dream for success, work for it.”
As hardworking as she is, Amanda knows when to take a break. After a long day, you can find her sipping red wine, chowing down on Mexican food and picking the best looks for her dog’s Instagram – #YorkiesofInstagram
Office Administrator. Dog Lover. Former Yooper.
Allysa is the glue that keeps the agency together. As our Office Administrator, she calls herself our “go-to gal.” From accounting support to proofreading our final work, Allysa ensures that everything here runs smoothly. Though her job is busy, Allysa’s life philosophy is,
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
To live up to that, Allysa, a transplant from Upper Michigan, loves to explore warm Milwaukee by taking her dog to different parks and enjoying our many festivals, shows and new restaurants. In winter months, you’ll find her vegged out on the couch watching old 80s and 90s comedies – recognize that quote from anywhere?
Account Executive. Athletic Warrior. Margarita Maven.
Ask Emily about her job, she’ll tell you she’s a problem solver. As an Account Executive, Emily works hard to not only make sure our client’s needs are met, but also provide solutions to issues they weren’t aware they had. Her creative philosophy is,
“There’s never just one solution to any problem. Don’t be afraid to try something new because what is right today, might be wrong tomorrow.”
Emily is the all-around athlete at the office. She’s in both kickball and volleyball leagues, actually enjoys working out, and was a dancer for 20 years. When she does decide to unwind, it’s usually with a margarita or two, while watching the game – literally any game, except tennis.
Public Relations Account Supervisor. Extroverted Invert. Reality TV Spectator.
As PR Account Supervisor, Alex considers herself a storyteller, community builder and content creator – all necessary elements for leading our clients’ public relations efforts. Alex’s creative philosophy is right in line with her job description,
“Speak to your audience, not at them; and ask yourself how you can add value to their lives.”
Alex is a self-described extroverted introvert. In other words, after a long day of being a social butterfly, the only company she wants is that of a Spotted Cow and KUWTK (or The Bachelor, whichever’s on.)