DETROIT: Finn Partners has hired Mike DeVilling as senior partner in the firm’s Detroit office.
He joined the agency on September 25, reporting to Dan Pooley, managing partner.
DeVilling will be the most senior staffer in the firm’s Detroit office, overseeing 18 staffers. He will lead new business development and client service and counsel. DeVilling will also focus on content, media relations, and issues management.
"We started talking to [DeVilling] several months ago as we were coalescing our experience in technology, automotive, and mobility," said Pooley. "He comes with a deep background in all of these areas and really knows southeast Michigan and that industry."
DeVilling joined Finn Partners after more than nine years running his eponymous consultancy, the DeVilling Group, in metro Detroit, working with clients across the country in the automotive, nonprofit, real estate, and personal finance sectors. It specialized in media relations, social media, and content marketing. Clients included Experian Automotive, Elio Motors, and Kinloch Partners.
DeVilling said the firm is in talks with several of his former clients to see if they want to hire Finn Partners, but declined to identify the companies.
Finn Partners’ former senior partner in Detroit, William Nowling, joined Lambert Edwards & Associates in August as partner and MD, leading its Detroit office. Before joining Finn Partners in 2014, Nowling was the spokesman for Detroit’s municipal Chapter 9 bankruptcy process.
Before launching his own shop, DeVilling was on the management team at John Bailey & Associates Public Relations, rising to EVP in 2006. He led automotive client relationships at the firm, including the North American International Auto Show.
Earlier in his career, DeVilling was director of corporate communications at Cars.com and served on the management team at Eisbrenner Public Relations after launching his career at Casey Communications.
"The automotive industry is going through a lot of rapid changes with car companies switching to electric and autonomous vehicles," said DeVilling. "There is an intersection between automotive and technology. This agency is well-positioned to navigate the comms challenges an automotive company will find breaking into tech or vice versa."
Pooley has overseen the Midwest region for Finn Partners for the past eight years. He said the firm has grown by double digits yearly in the market and has expanded its team from 15 to 50.
"Last year, we reported $7.1 million in fees," said Pooley. "This year we are projecting growth of 7% or 8%, adding teams to the Midwest."
The agency reported $77.7 million in revenue in 2016, up 8.7% from the year prior, including $73.2 million in the U.S.