Fahlgren Mortine: Agency Business Report 2014

Fahlgren Mortine posted organic growth of 9.1% in 2013 for revenue of $13.5 million.

Principal: Neil Mortine, CEO
Ownership: Independent
Offices: 15 wholly owned in the US
Revenue: $13,531,971
Headcount: US: 74

Integrated Columbus, OH-based Fahlgren Mortine posted organic growth of 9.1% in 2013 for revenue of $13.5 million. It kicked off 2014 by acquiring travel and lifestyle boutique firm Turner PR, which billed $3.3 million last year.

Fahlgren’s growth was split equally between new business and organic expansion, with 70% of clients on a retainer basis. Turner, which has offices in Denver and New York, retained its identity and operates as a wholly owned subsidiary.

Turner’s clients include the Utah Office of Tourism, Riviera Maya Destination Marketing Office, K-Swiss, and New Era. Fahlgren works with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, Ohio’s tourism office, and Kent State University.

Further acquisitions
Fahlgren’s strategy is to grow in vertical markets where it is already strong. To that end, CEO Neil Mortine is eyeing further acquisitions this year in the travel and tourism, technology, agribusiness, and healthcare spaces.

Mortine wants to remain independent and knows he needs to expand his global footprint to do this. The firm currently delivers international work via contacts in the IPREX global agency network, but Mortine is "exploring other options as well."

In 2013, Fahlgren brought on Ed Miller from Honda as SVP, national media relations director, and Melissa Dykstra returned as EVP of corporate communications. The firm opened a Boise, ID, office last July – its first location in the Western US – and hired John Curtis from agency client Scentsy as SVP and MD.

Like many regional agencies, Fahlgren is part of a larger $24.5 million (2013 revenue) integrated marketing communications firm that includes an ad agency. Mortine characterizes his firm as a "Midwest shop that does national work through its 15 offices."  

It works with companies including Cardinal Health, McDonald’s, Kroger, Victoria’s Secret owner L Brands, Sherwin-Williams, and Emerson Electric. In 2013, it added McDonald’s co-ops in Florida and South Carolina, as well as Intel, Elmer’s, Savannah College of Art and Design, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Losses included TechColumbus, EmTech, and Charity Newsies.

Staff turnover was low, at 11.2%.

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