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.
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.
Senior Project Manager. Task Master. Peace of Mind Proponent.
Alison’s vast and varied agency experience provides her with a deep knowledge of the parties and personalities involved with moving projects through an agency. It’s a perspective that teams appreciate and clients count on. When asked what motivates her to continuously help crank out campaigns, she had this to say:
“I like the collaboration and teamwork involved with getting a project from point A to point B and there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing a final product based on smart strategy and great creative. Oh and of course, making sure our clients are happy.”
When not instilling confidence in her clients and coworkers, she surrounds herself with friends and family as well as creative interests such as music, art, books and cinema.
“I’ve always thought creatively, but critically as well. It’s a balance. In finding that balance, I also enjoy walks in nature and meditation.”
Thanks for striving to find calm in chaos, Alison. And giving us a piece of your peace of mind.
Digital Developer. Creative Coder. Flat-White Espresso Aficionado
Zach is one of those guys who dreams in ones and zeros. As a devote of all things digital, he puts his deep understanding of Full-Stack Development to work solving complicated client commerce concerns with his capacity for creating incomparable code. When explaining what he does, Zach puts it this way:
“I focus on finding solutions that are code-efficient and contribute to the quality of the objective. Software development challenges what it means to be creative and pushes innovation through logical expression.”
Outside of the office, Zach likes to, well, get out. He believes traveling and new experiences are great ways to expand his horizons.
“I have had the opportunity to snowboard in the mountains of Kitzbühel, Austria and explore the terrain of Colorado. You have to be willing to face the un-known. Stepping outside my daily routine is a great way to re-focus and inspires me to be creative. Of course, a flat-white espresso doesn’t hurt either.”
Creative Director. Experience Enhancer. Dad Joke Enjoyer.
Rachel is the epitome of someone who challenges themselves to do better and learn more. And in the “that was so last nanosecond” world of digital, those are some pretty good traits to have. As a creator and leader of other creatives, Rachel believes it’s crucial to understand her own abilities while striving to draw out the talents of others. It’s a philosophy that manifests itself in how she creates experiences for clients and customers.
“I’m an advocate for users when in all interfaces,” says Rachel. “I believe in uncovering and implementing the best digital and web technologies, software and processes in order to create the best experiences and outcomes.”
When not making the delivery of data more delightful, Rachel is into floral arranging, interior design and enjoys playing with her boys. And even though she’s a mom, she’s a huge fan of dad jokes. So she left us with this:
“How do you make a tissue dance? Put a little boogie in it.”
Not bad, Rachel. Or um, S’not bad. S’not bad at all.
Chief Marketing Officer. Relationship Builder. Sucker for Six Strings.
At Nelson Schmidt, John goes all out to expand current and new customer relationships, maximize strategic alliances nationally and internationally and build our agency’s brand equity. When asked about his theory on orchestrating success, he had this to say:
“I love collaborating with an inspired and dedicated team, helping clients define, develop, implement and measure effective solutions that exceed expectations.”
John’s nearly three decades of industry experience has involved a blend of agency and brand marketing leadership roles. As a musician himself, one of the more interesting chapters of his life was as CMO at Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., aka Summerfest.
“I love music and outside of the office I still like to write and record,” said John. “I do seem to have developed a bit of a problem collecting guitars though. But I am working on it.”
Hey, in business or music, as long as you keep turning things up to 11, we don’t mind.
Writer. Knitter. Possible vampire.
Erin comes to us with a wealth of writing experience. She also has a background in qualitative and quantitative research, which means she’s an expert at gathering, selecting and writing content with laser precision. This combination makes Erin a very special content specialist.
Mark Twain’s adage summarizes Erin’s writing philosophy: “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ‘Tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
Outside of the office, Erin is an award-winning knitter. She won a 2ndplace ribbon at the Wisconsin State Fair in 2018 and has her eye set on a blue-ribbon prize in 2019. Erin also loves to travel all over the world, but she doesn’t go for typical tourist traps. One of her favorite vacations was to Transylvania, which raises a lot of vampire-based inquiries.
Senior Account Executive. Problem Solving Practitioner. Donut Devotee.
Amanda has made a career out of leveraging in-depth knowledge of her client’s business and industry trends to champion successful development and activation of communications plans… Which is a long way to say that she’s an incredible problem solver. When asked to describe her skills as a solutions supplier, she said this:
“Account people are the go-to question receivers, but you also have to ask the right questions. Asking the right questions is the only way to understand the why in order to provide a solution.”
Whether it be with clients or colleagues Amanda also prides herself on making connections and bringing out the best in others.
On the personal side, she proclaims a passion for donuts and gummy bears and when asked if she ever thought of bringing her two favorites together, Amanda had this to say:
“I’ve heard of places making gummy bear donuts. But that’s not a connection that should ever be made and it certainly wouldn’t bring out the best in either. But on second thought…”
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?
Public Relations Senior Account Executive. Storied Teller. Christmas Ornament Opportunist.
Tony began pursuing his passion for storytelling as a journalism student and reporter at Marquette University. Since then he’s added public relations, social media, analytics and digital content development to his long and impressive resume. When asked about his thoughts on how the industry has evolved over the years, Tony had this to say:
“How stories are being told changes rapidly thanks to the advancement and creation of new media. My desire to keep up fits with my drive for success and interest in sustained learning.”
When not crafting communications for clients, Tony follows auto racing, catches cooking shows and enjoys traveling.
“A few years back I started collecting Christmas ornaments from every city and country I’ve traveled to. Every year when I decorate the tree, they bring back a lot of wonderful memories.”
Huh. Even Tony’s ornaments have great stories to tell.
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.
Marketing Operations 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?
Associate Creative Director. 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.
Senior 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.
VP, Account Planning and Management. Consummate Collaborator. Well-Reasoned Risk Taker.
As a creative, results-driven advertising and marketing executive with 15+ years agency and global corporate experience spanning multiple industries, Angie’s capabilities are practically endless. She focuses on generating positive outcomes and has a track record for building lasting client relationships and high-performance teams. When asked how she does it, Angie had this to say:
“I generate successes through my belief in the power of collaboration, a desire to always be learning new things and having an entrepreneurial spirit.”
When not working, she also likes to explore the unknown and expand on her experiences. Five-star hotel or a camper in the woods? Yes. A concert with a thousand fans or a hole-in-the-wall music joint? What the heck. Angie’s comfortable stepping outside comfort zones.
“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”
In life and on the job, keep pushing those boundaries and moving forward, Angie.
Senior Project Manager. Coordination Mastermind. Biker Who Means Business.
Heather has a unique background consisting of marketing, creative and administrative roles. In addition to her project management prowess, she is also a talented photographer and retoucher. Skills that got her into one of her first gigs at Harley-Davidson and on to her first motorcycle.
“I enjoy riding my 1994 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200CC,” said Heather. “But don’t ask me about all that mechanical stuff… I just love to get on and rip!”
When not enjoying the open road or her guilty pleasure of watching re-runs of MTV’s The Challenge, she’s all business. She cultivates relationships, maintains budgets, implements efficiencies and ensures accountability in order to provide a high-quality final product.
“Being in everyone’s business to ensure a project is produced on brand, on time and on budget is my business,” says Heather. “My philosophy is to chase the passion and trust that through good intentions and great choices everything will fall into place.”
Keep chasing that passion, Heather. Either in the office or on the road.
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.
Account Supervisor. 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.
Digital Media Manager. Content Creator. Hero of Home Teams.
Jared joins us from the legendary clothing company, Legendary Whitetails where he was responsible for multi-million dollar digital advertising initiatives. In his role at Nelson Schmidt, Jared will put his digital expertise to work meeting the differing goals of a wide variety of clients. When asked how he hopes to accomplish his goals, Jared offered this: “Problem-solving as a group brings more ideas and different perspectives. Good ideas can come from the most unassuming places, so it’s best to keep an open mind.” When not developing digital media solutions, he likes to spend time with his wife and kids as well as watching the Badgers, Brewers, Bucks and Packers. Go Wisconsin!
Content Writer. Former Reporter. Possible Future Professor.
Jake got his start as a writer working for newspapers. Before joining us he was a reporter and producer for the USA Today Network. Before that he was a research assistant and opinion editor. So if one were to state that Jake likes to get his story straight when telling a great story… Well, that would be an understatement.
“My job here is to write, edit and package compelling content that furthers our clients’ marketing and business goals,” says Jake. “I love telling stories and figuring out the best way to tell them.”
When not producing prolific prose, you can find him hunting, fishing, cooking, playing guitar or maybe even making balloon animals which he learned at a Scholastic Book Fair.
When asked what he’d do if he weren’t in marketing, he had this to say:
“I’d probably be a pretentious English professor. I have a whole closet of cardigans and a shelf of books I haven’t read to prove it. In all seriousness though, I think I would teach literature.”
There’s that passion for the written word again. Although, one wonders if he combined literature with one of his other hobbies. Balloon Animal Farm, anyone… No?
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.
Marketing Communications Manager. Content Creator. Glutton for All Things Gluten-Free.
Emily’s career path is quite diverse. She has experience in social media marketing, advertising, communications, sales and event management in companies ranging from a two-man powerhouse to 20,000 employees. A background almost as varied as her many nicknames (See below.)
Emily’s job here is to create content to help Nelson Schmidt accomplish its marketing goals. She uses her advertising, marketing and communications skills to promote the agency and is the right hand (wo)man to our Chief Marketing Officer concerning business communications. When asked what she likes best about her work, Emily had this to say:
“I enjoy the challenge of working with the ever-evolving social media industry. I enjoy creating authentic relationships with our audience through social media and it’s my goal to help close the authenticity gap that has saturated social media.”
When not filling the authenticity gap with the authentic, Emily enjoys filling herself with gluten-free, dairy-free burgers.
“Because of unfortunate allergies, I’m on a quest for finding the best burger of this type in all of eternity.”
We hope you find it someday, Emily. Oh, and by the way, here are some of her nicknames. (We hope you didn’t skip the rest of her story just for this.) Emily’s nicknames: Sparkles, Unicorn, Mermaid, Rapunzel and Hazelnut.
Designer. Worshiper of the Wow Factor. LaCroix LoVer.
Anna wakes up every day excited about what she’ll get to create and how she can bring to life a client’s message in a visually powerful fashion. It’s a passion for generating engaging work best exemplified by a quote from one of her favorite designers, Milton Glaser who once said that there are three responses to a piece of design — yes, no and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for. When asked about her own design philosophy, Anna had this to say:
“I believe that great design makes ideas and concepts feel more concrete and helps everyone see the bigger picture.”
Outside of work Anna loves being outside. Whether it’s hiking and biking, waterskiing in the summer or snow skiing in the winter, Anna is pretty much into any and every seasonal sport. She even admitted that she once went cliff diving. On the more subdued side she also enjoys cooking and going out for a good brunch… washed down by a LoVely LaCroix, of course.