Fahlgren Mortine: Agency Business Report 2013

Fahlgren Mortine reported a solid 17% bump in revenue last year landing the agency at $12.4 million.

Principals: Neil Mortine, president and CEO; John Fahlgren, US chairman
Ownership: Independent |
Offices: 11, including July 2013 opening of Boise, ID, office
Revenue: $12,397,732, all in the US
Headcount: 69

Fahlgren Mortine reported a solid 17% bump in revenue last year landing the agency at $12.4 million.

Fifty-two percent of that business came from current clients and 48% from new business. A key area of growth was the firm's public affairs practice, which doubled earnings year over year.

Account wins included Capital University, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Nova Southeastern, and J.R. Simplot, an agriculture company. The Columbus, Ohio-based firm attributes some of last year's revenue gains to a renewal of its pact with Ohio to support tourism efforts via public relations.

Despite a lack of growth in its investor relations practice, IR is still a valuable service for some of Fahlgren Mortine's clients.

"A lot of companies go to New York City for this type of business," says Neil Mortine, president and CEO. "We're keeping it for our publicly traded clients. For them it's an important part of what we do."

First quarter 2013 was slow for the company which Mortine believes was partly due to companies taking longer to decide after an RFP process and because companies are also facing decreased budgets.

Recent weeks have seen an uptick with some organic growth in contracts with the city of Columbus, OH.  The agency also got some work from Crown Equipment, North Dakota Department of Commerce, and the Dayton Power and Light Company.

Expansion and acquisitions are also a key priority this year.  The firm has identified several verticals it succeeds in. These include economic development, an umbrella term the firm has given to tourism and lifestyle related PR, as well as technology, retail and education.

In June, the firm opened its first office in the Western part of the country in Boise, ID. The firm chose this city as its first post because of a commitment to global food and agribusiness conglomerate, Simplot, to have resources on the ground. Fahlgren Mortine also wanted to be closer to California-based client, CareFusion, a global medical technology corporation.

Other Western locations are being discussed. "With more of a physical presence out West we have a chance to expand our tourism practice dramatically," says Mortine.

Even without a formal office in those areas, the firm came close in recent years to winning lucrative Nevada and New Mexico tourism contracts.

When assessing potential acquisitions, ensuring a cultural match is key, says Mortine.

"We believe in blowing off steam and having some fun in the office," says Mortine.  "People work hard and play hard. We call this profitable fun."

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