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Pasquale Trozzolo to Release Book of Poetry Inspired by Pandemic

Trozzolo Communications Group founder and Executive Chairman Pasquale Trozzolo is adding a new title to his resume – published poet. 

His debut poetry chapbook, “Before the Distance,” is now available for presale ahead of its Dec. 1 release date. All proceeds from the presale will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Semiretired and looking for his next adventure, Pasquale picked up a book of poetry, and a new pursuit was born. Pasquale hit the books to learn and even enrolled in an online poetry classes from Oxford University. When the pandemic struck, and he started to share what he calls “Virus Poems.”

Pasquale’s poems examine a longing for whatever normal once was, and feature themes of escapism, friendship, yearning and sorrow. They ask the questions we’re too scared to ask ourselves and return to the same question: Why?

When Pasquale’s granddaughter’s high school graduation was postponed this past May, he wanted to cheer her up. He wrote a poem titled “Graduation,” bound the poem with a group of others and presented it to her as a homemade book of poems.

The graduation gift was popular among friends and family and Pasquale shared it with a handful of publishers. He received an offer from a small independent press to publish his first book, “Before the Distance.” He is already working on his second book of poetry.

You can learn more and preorder the book at The Poetry Box.

Trozzolo Named Agency of Record for NCM Associates

Trozzolo put the pedal to the metal the last few months and is entering Q3 with the title Agency of Record for NCM Associates. Partnering with top leaders in the auto industry is a perfect fit for Trozzolo. After all, our founder was an avid racer and is a car collector.

With headquarters in Kansas City, NCM Associates provides 360° solutions for the auto industry through the United States and Canada. Major offerings include consulting, training, software and data solutions. Founded in 1947, NCM is 100 percent employee-owned. It helps businesses in the auto industry maintain profitability, prepare for challenging economic times and stay nimble when times are good.

“We are proud to add NCM to our best-in-class client roster,” said Angelo Trozzolo, President of Trozzolo Communications Groups. “We have a penchant for cars, so their focus on auto dealers and manufacturers is something we are very excited about.”

Trozzolo’s partnership with NCM has had a fast and furious start. The team jumped right in to quickly fulfill creative needs for a leading automotive business publication. Trozzolo is also building a comprehensive marketing plan for one of NCM’s top assets, the NCM Institute (NCMi). NCMi courses are led by industry veterans with expertise in topics that help dealerships retain talent, manage teams and run a top-performing operation.

“From the outset, Trozzolo was our clear and unanimous choice,” said Paul Faletti, President and CEO of NCM Associates. “In every interaction, they sought to understand. We were looking for a partner that would challenge us and not just say or do what we might like to hear in order to earn the business. That level of confidence resonated with me and my team.”

NCM Associates is joining clients such as the Kansas Speedway, Westlake Ace Hardware, Children’s Mercy, Boulevard Brewing Co., the University of Missouri-Kansas City and many others on Trozzolo’s best-in-class roster.


“As we got to know the folks at NCM, it became clear how smart they are and how superior their consulting services and product offerings are,” Trozzolo continued. “The potential in front of NCM is enormous and we look forward to helping them achieve that potential.”

Trozzolo Named Public Relations Agency of Record for Boulevard

Trozzolo Communications Group is tapping a keg as it announces a partnership with Boulevard Brewing Company as its national public relations agency of record.

As PR agency of record, Trozzolo will handle media relations, including strategic planning, executing press efforts, helping Boulevard maintain and build its brand as a leading craft brewer, and amplifying the story of Boulevard’s side hustle, passion project and creative playground, Boulevard Beverage Co.

“When I was young and idealistic, I thought that, in order to be considered a ‘real’ agency, you needed an airline, a car brand and a beer,” said Angelo Trozzolo, president and CEO of Trozzolo. “I have since matured and changed my perspective of what defines a ‘real’ agency, but we’re a third of the way there!”

Boulevard Brewing Co. is one of the largest specialty brewers in the Midwest. Its brands include Unfiltered Wheat Beer, Pale Ale, Space Camper and Tank 7, and its beers are available in 41 states and 11 countries. Boulevard Beverage Co. represents a step outside of the sandbox, pushing boundaries and exploring new territory in a drive to deliver the best and most interesting adult beverages, including Fling Craft Cocktails and their newest innovation, Quirk Spiked and Sparkling, a line of hard seltzers hitting the market in June.

“We are excited to partner with Trozzolo,” said Natalie Gershon, vice president of marketing for Boulevard. “As a brewery dedicated to ‘moving beer forward,’ we admire Trozzolo for taking the same approach to their work. We’re eager to collaborate with them in developing successful efforts that elevate our entire portfolio.”

Trozzolo’s partnership with Boulevard kicked off in April and the two hit the ground running as they announced Fling Mojito—the seventh addition to the Fling family—and an alliance with PlayStation to commemorate the release of the upcoming game, The Last of Us Part II, with special-edition packaging and exclusive giveaways.

“Boulevard is a pillar in Kansas City, not only for the beer they brew and the beverages they’ve concocted, but for the good work they do in the community,” said Joshua Brewster, vice president of public relations at Trozzolo. “It’s an honor and privilege to partner with this iconic Kansas City brand, and I’m excited to help continue to tell their story.”

Trozzolo Communications Group is Kansas City’s leading marketing communications agency and works with clients across all industries – from health care, law firms and business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies and brands to nonprofit and government entities.

Rallying a community together, while apart

Trozzolo PSA campaign calls on KC to do their part

In the first few days of March, we all had parades to attend, basketball teams to cheer for and family members to visit. On the 10th, no one could fathom canceling these plans, but by the end of the day on the 11th, the entire landscape had changed.

Statements released on Wednesday had quickly been changed by that next morning, and coast to coast, businesses were being shuttered by the hour. Employees from all industries retreated to their homes, laptops in tow. Home internet providers have probably never had such stress on their network.

In what felt like a matter of days, the coronavirus COVID-19 had wreaked havoc across the nation.

As communications professionals, we’ve been following guidelines closely. From a personal health directive, yes, but also how our government, financial institutions and health care experts have communicated the delicate situation to its stakeholders.

If a business were to come to us for counsel with the pandemic as their situation, where would we even start? Well, we’d try to define our audience, gather all of the information and identify what obstacles we’re facing. We’d bring that outside perspective we provide our current clients to position their businesses above the rest. We’d get super specific, conduct audience research and go full steam ahead.

But this is one of those rare times when we’re talking to everyone, everywhere, all the time. We truly don’t, and can’t, know everything about the situation, and even if we did, it could change the next time we check the news. Not that that’s an excuse, but this would be a long, broad creative brief, which we try to avoid 

The one thing we do know during this time of uncertainty is we can use our talents for the betterment of the community. It’s our duty as a local business, community members and as healthy individuals to help spread the important messages in Kansas City and beyond.

When we’re not providing advice for our clients on how to navigate the pandemic, our teams across the agency are collaborating on how to fight this war. We’re sharing stories of our personal experiences, critiquing other companies’ messaging and holding each other accountable. Out of these conversations have come engaging representations of the simplest and most important messages in our current situation.

Taking our personal drive to defeat this thing, we tapped some of our best assets – our diverse group of creative thinkers, our award-winning public relations strategists and our health care marketing expertise – to develop something great to help spread the word and help us get through this TOGETHER.

Our latest passion project (and crisis-processing tool, if we’re being honest) is an ongoing series of propaganda-style PSAs for the Kansas City community and beyond. With subtle, yet eye-catching, animation and a personal stake in the game, we’ve been using our free time to spread the word through social media (which has seen a major increase in usage, no surprise there).

We’ve been sorting through all of the information available to find the most important things that our family, neighbors, LinkedIn connections, estranged Facebook friends and Instagram stalkers need to know. From social distancing to proper sanitization technique, we just want everyone to take this thing seriously.

The Trozzolo team is grateful for continued workflow, supportive colleagues and good health. But in this time, we are especially grateful for the opportunity to use our talents and resources to support the community. If even one person sees our message, it can make a difference in the big picture.

That’s what we care about most. 

If we’re going to defeat this thing, we have to help each other. We have to hold each other accountable and spread the word with what we do best. It’s going to be longer and tougher than we want it to be. We’re going to get bored, anxious, scared, depressed, inconvenienced and tired of our normal lives being disrupted. But this is our new normal. At least for now. And for as long as it takes. We will beat this evil COVID-19 thing. We’ve always rallied together to do whatever it takes to defeat every evil at our doorstep. And we’ll do it again this time.


Trozzolo named digital agency of record for Westlake Ace Hardware

New digital creative campaign, website on the way for national brand with local headquarters

We’ve shined up our tool belts, sharpened our lawn mower blades and finally tightened all the loose screws around here because Trozzolo Communications Group has been named digital agency of record for Westlake Ace Hardware. For a Kansas City-based communications firm with reach across the country, it only makes sense to sign on a client with similar structure and values. 

Headquartered in Lenexa, Kansas, Westlake has been in operation for more than 100 years and operates more than 130 neighborhood stores throughout the country. In addition, Westlake has opened or will be opening a total of 11 stores in California in 2019 and 2020.

Trozzolo will be responsible for increasing brand awareness and boosting sales nationally through social media, paid search, local listings and a handful of additional, cutting-edge digital advertising technologies.

“Our partnership with Westlake is already off and running, with the fast-paced nature of retail and how important they are in their communities,” said Director of Integrated Channel Delivery Josh McCoy. “We’re excited to team up with a national organization with headquarters in the KC metro. Our digital tools will help support continued growth from various angles."

In addition to managing Westlake’s digital presence, Trozzolo will be revamping Westlake’s website to integrate into today’s ecommerce-driven landscape and differentiate Westlake from other big-box hardware stores.

“We’re definitely looking to incorporate the latest e-commerce technologies into Westlake’s new website, but we’re also looking to show customers that we’re different,” McCoy continued. “Westlake’s upgraded site will really set them apart, whether it’s by highlighting their staff, promoting commercial business or providing DIY projects for the kids.”

Westlake Ace Hardware is joining clients such as McDonald’s, Halls, Children’s Mercy Hospital, Enterprise Bank & Trust, Kansas Speedway and many others on Trozzolo’s best-in-class roster.

The National Law Journal Names Proventus Best Legal Marketing Agency in the Midwest

Proventus included in Hall of Fame, No. 1 in all 5 marketing-related categories

The National Law Journal released its fifth annual Best of the Midwest awards in its widely read NLJ 500 edition, awarding top honors to Proventus, Trozzolo's legal marketing division, in all five marketing categories for the second consecutive year.

Proventus was named the No. 1 agency for law firms in the categories of Legal Marketing & Branding, Integrated Law Firm Marketing, Social Media Consultancy, Crisis Management Firm and PR Agency. In addition, Proventus was recognized as a Hall of Fame honoree, which comes as a result of sustained reader support for these honors over the course of several years. 

“We are particularly proud of this recognition given that our agency got its start in the Midwest, and we could not be more grateful to the clients, colleagues and friends who supported us for this honor,” Proventus President Burton Taylor said. “Each time we receive this type of accolade, we are reminded that we would not be doing what we are doing today if not for the wonderful support of our clients, whether based in the Midwest or in another U.S. or international market.”

The National Law Journal has recognized Proventus as a leader in legal marketing in three of the five years since launching the awards program. Similarly, Proventus has been recognized by other industry leaders, including Lawdragon magazine, which has named Burton Taylor among the Top 100 legal industry consultants for three consecutive years. Lawdragon is publisher of the highly regarded Lawdragon 500, which honors the top legal minds in the United States. Based in Kansas City, the agency is also proud to have been recognized by Missouri Lawyers Weekly as a top legal marketing service provider, as well.

Proventus: A Marketing Partner for Growing Your Firm’s Business

Proventus Consulting is a marketing, public relations and business development consultancy that serves legal industry clients across the nation. We leverage our in-house law firm marketing experience to develop and execute on strategies that drive business development outcomes and grow businesses. Whether through our coaching programs or as an ongoing marketing resource, our team partners with clients ranging from law firms to legal technology companies on cost-efficient and effective strategies that increase visibility, strengthen brands and reputations, enhance relationships and generate new business.

Trozzolo’s Media Team Dominates Media Mix Awards

Agency was the star of the show, bringing home majority of team and individual awards

You just can’t buy recognition like this. But if you could, Trozzolo’s media team would be the ones to make it happen. At the annual Media Mix Awards Banquet, an event that celebrates media planners, buyers and sellers, Trozzolo took home several awards including Agency Campaign of the Year and Agency of the Year.

“Our media team has transformed our agency, and we’re so honored for the recognition by Media Mix,” said Angelo Trozzolo, president and CEO of Trozzolo. “We pride ourselves on employing people with tenacity, knowledge and passion, which allows us to deliver the best client outcomes.”

The Campaign of the Year award was given to Trozzolo for the agency’s work on the Children’s Mercy “LOVE WILL” campaign. Two members of Trozzolo’s media team were awarded individual honors, as well. Rhonda Kakie was named Agency Support Professional of the Year. Shelley Porter was recognized twice, winning Agency Media Director of the Year and the Media Pioneer Award. 

Porter joined the agency when Kuhn & Wittenborn Advertising merged with Trozzolo in 2015, and combined has been with the agency for 32 years. She said she strongly believes in building lasting relationships with media representatives and members of her team.

“I couldn’t do my job without the support of everyone at Trozzolo,” said Porter. “It really is a team effort, and I’m so grateful that I was chosen to receive these two awards. I speak for our entire team in that each of us enjoys coming to work every day and doing what we love.”

Prairie Dog Named Agency of Record for Children’s Mercy

Trozzolo Communications Group’s health care division, Prairie Dog, has been named agency of record for Children’s Mercy Kansas City. As the agency of record, the firm will handle integrated advertising and marketing efforts, which includes strategic planning, media planning and buying, creative strategy, concepting, design and creative production.

“Children’s Mercy is the type of client you dream of working with,” said Angelo Trozzolo, president and CEO of Trozzolo. “The work they do is meaningful to many families, both locally and beyond. We are honored to be a small part of their great work moving forward.”

Children’s Mercy is one of the nation’s top pediatric medical centers and consistently ranked as one of the nation’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report. The organization works to improve the health and well-being of children through comprehensive family-centered health care, clinical and psychosocial care and research.

“We are delighted to begin our partnership with Trozzolo,” said Laurie Ellison, vice president and chief marketing officer for Children’s Mercy. “We have long admired their work across many industries, including health care. We look forward to working together to create new, insightful and compelling advertising that tells the remarkable stories of the patients, families and staff of Children’s Mercy.

Trozzolo’s partnership with Children’s Mercy kicked off April 2018, the same month Prairie Dog, Trozzolo’s health care division, celebrates its 10th anniversary with the agency. Prairie Dog was founded in 1996 and was acquired by Trozzolo in 2008. Prairie Dog provides health care marketing solutions to hospitals, health systems and health care organizations across the United States.

“Over the past 22 years we’ve had the pleasure of working with top-tier hospitals and medical centers across the country,” said Jerry Hobbs, president of Prairie Dog. “Being able to partner with Children’s Mercy, a hometown hospital that we admire, means a great deal to our team.”

Trozzolo Communications Group is Kansas City’s leading marketing communications agency and works with clients across all industries – from health care to law firms to business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies and brands to nonprofit and government entities.

Trozzolo Launches Video Production Division, Welcomes New Staff

Trozzolo Communications Group is pleased to announce the formation of a new video production department. The department will offer a wide variety of video services, from smaller projects all the way to a full-blown commercial production. It will allow the agency to continue to address the evolving needs of its clients, including producing more cost-effective content for websites, as well as the ability to shoot and edit projects internally.

Matt Blume, Video Production Director

Matt Blume joined the agency as video production director, overseeing the video production department. Blume has worked in the video production industry for 15 years, touching brands such as AMC Theatres, Modelo, Applebee’s, Cerner, Gatorade, LinkedIn, AT&T and many more.

“We know efficiency is the name of the game. We can create videos from pre-production through post, completely in-house.” Blume said. “Our goal is to be prepared for any style of video and then react quickly to create it.”

Other additions to the Trozzolo team include:

Josh McCoy, director of integrated channel delivery, joined the agency to oversee Trozzolo’s digital operations, which includes development, analytics, search engine optimization, paid search and social and more. Josh joins Trozzolo from Vizion Interactive, where he served as lead strategist. He also chairs the Kansas City Search Engine Marketing Association, and he served in the U.S. Army for six years, including a tour of duty in Iraq and Kuwait.

Jennifer Hollingshead joined Trozzolo’s healthcare marketing division, Prairie Dog, as account vice president. Before coming to Trozzolo, Jennifer served as the interim vice chancellor of marketing communications for the University of Missouri, and prior to that role she led the marketing team at MU Health Care. 

Ross Martin joined Trozzolo’s legal marketing division, Proventus Consulting, as a public relations strategist. Ross brings a strong background as a former journalist. In his latest role, he served as editor and publisher of the Platte County Citizen. He is perhaps most famous for coining former Royal Billy Butler’s “Country Breakfast” nickname. Check it out here.

Anna Evans joined Trozzolo’s creative team as a senior art director. Coming from VML, Anna brings a diverse background and plenty of major brand experience, including Ford, Bridgestone, QuikTrip, Gatorade and Sprint.

Caity Heffernan joined Trozzolo as a senior account executive. Caity comes to Trozzolo from InQuest Marketing and brings a strong strategic and retail background.

“Our founder and my father, Pasquale Trozzolo, always said ‘we don’t hire, we collect people’ and that philosophy holds true in our company to this day,” said Angelo Trozzolo, president and CEO. “Each person we welcome into the Trozzolo family has an important skillset that we know will help deliver the best results for our clients.”

Trozzolo Founding Member of Kansas City Diversity Initiative

It is no secret that diversity in the advertising and communications industry is lacking. Tired of just talking about it, a group in Kansas City is taking action and launching The BrandLab KC. Trozzolo is proud to be a founding partner of this initiative.

The BrandLab started in Minneapolis with a vision of a marketing industry that thrives on the insights and creativity of people with diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

This starts in the classroom, in high school, introducing students to a whole world they often do not know exists. The BrandLab guides and prepares these students for creative careers, through college and, eventually, to the workforce.

The results in Minneapolis have been remarkable. While there has been interest in starting The BrandLab in other cities over the years, no city has been able to muster enough interest and initiative to take action – until now.

A local board is currently being formed, with a goal of hiring a Kansas City executive director in the spring. The program will launch late summer 2018. 

Trozzolo is committed to improving diversity in our industry and is excited to be among a small group of firms in Kansas City taking the lead.

Visit http://www.thebrandlab.org/ for more information on The BrandLab.


Trozzolo Communications Group, Kansas City’s leading marketing communications agency, is on a winning streak. The agency has seen significant growth in its client roster at the beginning of 2018.

“Our team works extremely hard, both for existing clients and on new business ventures, and it’s a great feeling to kick off 2018 on a high note,” said Angelo Trozzolo, president and CEO of Trozzolo. “Our unique approach to solving business challenges, coupled with integrated service offerings across all marketing disciplines, is really resonating with organizations.”

Recent client additions include best-in-class organizations across all industries, including in Trozzolo’s Prairie Dog healthcare vertical and Proventus Consulting legal vertical. New clients include:

  • Halls Kansas City, legendary local brand and flagship department store.
  • The Henry W. Bloch School of Management at UMKC, Kansas City’s leading business management school.
  • Enterprise Bank & Trust, offering comprehensive financial services in the Kansas City, St. Louis and Phoenix metropolitan areas.
  • McDonald’s Great Plains Co-Op and McDonald’s Greater Tennessee Valley Owners Association, two regional McDonald’s owner co-ops, bringing Trozzolo’s support to 475 individual restaurants in the Kansas City, Nebraska and Tennessee areas.
  • Lee Health, the largest healthcare system in southwest Florida, with more than 100 locations.
  • MultiCare Health System, a seven-hospital healthcare system based in Tacoma, Washington.
  • H.E. Williams, Inc., commercial lighting manufacturer based in Carthage, Missouri.
  • Myers and Stauffer, an accounting firm with 35 years experience working with state Medicaid agencies.
  • The National Marine Manufacturers Association, a leading trade association that serves the recreational boating industry.
  • Woodside Village, a new Westwood, Kansas, town center comprising the Woodside Health & Tennis Club, luxury apartments, retail shops and public space.

“Finding the right agency partner is a critical step toward differentiating our brand in a very crowded industry,” said Karen Loiterstein, senior vice president of marketing at Enterprise Bank & Trust. “Trozzolo's capabilities make them uniquely equipped to bring innovative, integrated solutions to what we’re trying to achieve. I am confident in Trozzolo’s abilities to expand our presence in our target markets.”

Proventus Consulting joins forces
with Trozzolo

Legal marketing agency reinforces industry expertise with depth

Trozzolo Communications Group is pleased to announce that Proventus Consulting has become a Trozzolo company, enabling the two groups to combine their shared interests, expertise and resources to position Proventus as the legal industry’s leading marketing and public relations consultancy.

“This is an integral part of our long-term business plan,” said Angelo Trozzolo, president and CEO of Trozzolo. “In addition to our focus on Kansas City and Midwest-based organizations, our agency is emerging as a valuable resource to clients within multiple national verticals. We have had tremendous success in the health care vertical with Prairie Dog, and the addition of Proventus gives us similar footing in the legal category. We are pleased to welcome to our team one of the strongest PR and marketing groups in the legal industry. It’s the perfect fit for what we continue to build at Trozzolo.”

In 2003, Trozzolo merged with public relations firm Blades & Associates to form one of the region’s first fully integrated marketing agencies. In 2008, the agency added Corporate Communications Group to strengthen its strategic consulting and crisis communication practices. That same year, Trozzolo acquired Prairie Dog, a national hospital marketing firm. And in 2015, Kuhn & Wittenborn Advertising merged its operations into Trozzolo.

In acquiring Proventus Consulting, Trozzolo Communications welcomes a five-year-old legal marketing and PR group that has been recognized by The National Law Journal as the No. 1 Public Relations Firm for Law Firms in its inaugural Best of the Midwest rankings in 2016. Led by Burton Taylor, Proventus will continue operating under the same model that has proven valuable to the legal community since its inception. Taylor will continue to serve as president of Proventus and will join the Trozzolo executive team.

“As a Trozzolo company, Proventus Consulting is excited to serve clients in the same manner and with the same passion – in fact, the Proventus name will not change nor will our mission to serve as the industry’s leading legal marketing and PR agency,” said Burton Taylor, president of Proventus Consulting. “That said, we now have the experience, support and strength offered by Trozzolo, which is an agency we have long looked to as an industry leader. We admire the company for its success in growing a family-owned business into a 65-member team that serves clients across the nation.”

Proventus’ team will move to Trozzolo’s Gee Whiz Factory in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, and retain its Denver, Colorado, presence.

Trozzolo Named Best Advertising Agency

In its annual Best of Business Kansas City Awards, Ingram’s Magazine readers chose Trozzolo Communications Group as Best Advertising Firm (Small). Trozzolo has received this honor each year Ingram’s has included this category.   “We’re proud to once again be voted the best small agency in KC by Ingram’s readers. This is a big deal for us and we’d like to thank our clients, associates and friends for their support,” said Angelo Trozzolo, president & CEO.  Ingram’s is a leading business publication covering commerce, industry and economic development news in Missouri and Kansas. The expansive annual “list” issue features top-rated restaurants, service businesses, tourist attractions and more.

In its annual Best of Business Kansas City Awards, Ingram’s Magazine readers chose Trozzolo Communications Group as Best Advertising Firm (Small). Trozzolo has received this honor each year Ingram’s has included this category.

“We’re proud to once again be voted the best small agency in KC by Ingram’s readers. This is a big deal for us and we’d like to thank our clients, associates and friends for their support,” said Angelo Trozzolo, president & CEO.

Ingram’s is a leading business publication covering commerce, industry and economic development news in Missouri and Kansas. The expansive annual “list” issue features top-rated restaurants, service businesses, tourist attractions and more.

Josh Brewster Named a 2017 NextGen Leader

The Kansas City Business Journal’s fifth annual class of NextGen Leaders included a face we know well at Trozzolo. He’s in every meeting and on every call, never missing a beat. So, it’s only fitting that our vice president of public relations, Josh Brewster, identified #hustle as his personal hashtag for the KCBJ feature. 

Josh leads our Kansas City-based clients in myriad different industries and is involved in every step of the process. From spearheading new business efforts to matching brands with the perfect teams for their strategy and creative goals, we see his hustle and leadership daily. Not to mention his after-hours roles as a father, coach and involved community member.

The goal of the NextGen Leaders program is to identify those in the Kansas City business and civic community who are beginning to exert their influence through leadership at their companies, on nonprofit boards or through other community involvement. The program aims to connect them with each other, the KCBJ readership and influential leaders in Kansas City.

#Hustle on, Josh.    

Pasquale Trozzolo Wins American Advertising Federation's Silver Award

"Tell me who you go with, and I'll tell you who you are." It’s an old Pasquale Trozzolo adage, translated from its Italian origins and delivered with wisdom. Those lucky enough to go with Trozzolo were beaming with pride as he accepted the American Advertising Federation's 2017 Silver Medal Award.

The American Advertising Federation’s Silver Medal Award was established to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions to advertising and who have been active in furthering the industry’s standards and creative excellence. Pasquale Trozzolo took home the prestigious honors in 2017, with a packed house of family and friends in attendance. 

The AAF recognized Trozzolo for his entrepreneurial spirit, venturing out to create a newsletter shop and building it into a marketing agency and consultancy with deep ties to the local community and a penchant for pushing buttons. 

His reception was laden with references to a competitive streak a mile wide, and a deep dedication to family. With Trozzolo being a former racecar driver and current business partner to his son, Angelo, you could say the proof is in the pudding.

The night celebrated two other talented individuals for their achievements. Jordan Bell of MMGY Global won Young Professional of the year, and Katy Hornaday of Barkley was named Creative Professional of the Year. After congratulating his fellow honorees, Trozzolo graciously accepted the Silver Medal Award, dealing credit in large portions to his family, friends and talented team.

After a night of handshakes, applause and pictures, it's safe to assume that Pasquale Trozzolo did what he typically does with his trophies: put it in a box somewhere and continued to push forward. Going with only the boldest and brightest, and delivering wisdom in spades along the way.

Trozzolo: Community engagement must be top of mind for brands

For brands, community engagement must be top of mind. It's a vital part of public relations and the strategic outreach plan, said Josh Brewster, vice president of public relations for Kansas City-based Trozzolo Communications Group. Not only does it create stronger relationships between brands and their consumers, it also attracts and retains talent, he said.

But for some companies, community engagement can seem "really cumbersome," he said. They fall into the trap of casting a wide net, believing they must be everywhere, he said. But fostering community engagement doesn't have to feel like a "giant beast."

Here are Brewster's tips:

Identify your communities

Brewster describes community engagement as "making an impact in the places your company and employees matter most."

A university community, for example, isn't solely comprised of students and faculty on campus. Its community also includes alumni, board members and mothers and fathers, he said.

Companies should identify communities and opportunities that fit inside their wheelhouse and ones that align with the company's principles. It's about finding the right fit.

"If you're an employer of high schoolers or college students, it may not make sense to focus on a fundraising event for senior living," he said. "But it does make sense to get involved with high schools and colleges with career prep," he said.

Don't get stuck in a rut — be open to to new opportunities for community engagement, Brewster said.

Those opportunities could range from charitable giving to strategic partnerships to neighborhood cleanups.

"It's about how to make an impact in your community," he said.

Another key is quality over quantity, he said.

Establish your purpose

"Why do these communities matter to your company? Where does your company fit in to your communities and how can you help?" Brewster said.

It starts by asking in your communities, he said. If your company wants to help a local school, ask the school what it's missing and how you can make a difference.

"Everyone is looking for help, and companies oftentimes are the ones to help most effectively because they have manpower," he said. "We all know that doing good is such an important part of a company's culture, and especially with the millennial culture, everyone's wanting to make a stronger difference in the community. Establishing your purpose is the best way to get that going."

Empower your employees

It's easy for a company to buy tickets or buy a table to support a charity event, but what's often overlooked is empowering your employees to be brand and community champions, he said.

Give them the resources and time off to volunteer, he said. Organizing group activities also is a plus.

"It's that human element that is really important when it comes to community engagement," Brewster said.

Employees are the company's heartbeat, he said.

"Employees are drawn to work-life balance. They're drawn to corporate social responsibility. They want to do good," Brewster said. "If a company makes it one of their key purposes to make an impact in the community, there is no doubt you will attract stronger and happier employees. Also, people want to work for companies that do good, so it will no doubt improve your company's awareness and your company's reputation. People want to work with companies that do good; it makes them feel good about their partnership, so it's a win-win for everybody."

KC group introduces matchmaker job board for employers and people with disabilities

Jennifer Hertha was tired of “being marginalized and told I can't do something."

Hertha, a woman with disabilities who uses a wheelchair, said there's a danger when employers overlook capable workers out of fear or misunderstanding. Fortunately, Hertha found an employer at UMB Bank who looked beyond a physical first impression and recognized her abilities.

She's now helping to screen — and hire — others at UMB. But she knows she's fortunate.

“Eighty percent of persons with disabilities are not served by the existing employment system," said Rob Hoffman, executive director of the Greater Kansas City Business Leadership Network, a business-to-business group.

The network, which exists to encourage employment of people with disabilities, this month launched a new job site named SHiFT to help match people with disabilities to job openings.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last year that only 17.5 percent of people with a disability were employed in the prior year. That compared with about 65 percent of people without a disability.

The government's Current Population Survey also found that the unemployment rate of people with disabilities — those actively seeking jobs — was double that of people without disabilities. And workers with disabilities were more likely to be self employed and more likely to work part-time than workers without disabilities.

The new job board “is different from a regular job board because it's set up to help both parties pre-screen," said Hoffman. “It doesn't ask what a person's disabilities are, and it doesn't target jobs specifically for the disability community. It just markets jobs that can be done by the people who self identify as candidates."

Web developers at Trozzolo built the site, which was made possible by a $175,000 grant from the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council.

Human resource officials at a few Kansas City-area companies helped the business network design the web-based system that provides two ways to connect — one for employers and one for job hunters.

The employer side asks recruiters to provide detailed descriptions of posted jobs and ratings for their physical and environmental demands.

The applicant side asks job hunters to rate their own capabilities in such areas as mobility, stamina, work pace and lifting as well as their communication abilities and the basic education and skills that would be asked of any applicant.

“We're certainly going to use it," Mary Beth Majors, director of talent acquisition at UMB Bank, said of SHiFT. “We can highlight teller positions, call center roles and other openings through a direct link to the disability community without having to go through social service agencies."

Majors, the human resource official who saw Hertha's potential and promoted her, is deeply involved in the Greater Kansas City Business Leadership Network because of her conviction that many good workers are being underused or ignored. Majors hopes other corporate recruiters will share her belief that the SHiFT job board will make good employment matches.

In order to sustain SHiFT, companies will be charged to post job openings beginning June 1; their postings are free until then to introduce the job board. Posting is free, and will continue to be free, for applicants.

“Our goal is to be a service that taps into the talents available within the disability community," Hoffman said. “We want to assist the employment of job seekers who are unemployed or underemployed."

The job board is one part of the business group's year-round efforts to encourage employers to find and hire people with disabilities. The group doesn't guarantee a job match, but through its education programs, it tries to eliminate employers' misconceptions about the costs or difficulties of employing people with disabilities.

SHiFT also includes a “library of inclusion resources" in the Kansas City area.

Trozzolo Honored with National Public Relations Award

Trozzolo Communications Group recently won a Silver Anvil Award at the 2016 PRSA Silver Anvil Award Ceremony in New York City. As the only local agency honored at the ceremony, the agency’s award recognized its accomplishment in reputation and brand management for long-time client TouchNet, a Lenexa- based technology company.

For more than 70 years, PRSA has collected a team of national judges to award only the best work based on research, strategy, execution and evaluation. The PRSA Silver Anvil Award is the most coveted award in the public relations industry.

"It’s an honor to be recognized for our creative approach to business challenges and be named among the distinguished strategic communication firms. We especially thank our client for the opportunity to enhance its reputation and collaborate on ways to make a meaningful impact for their business,” said Jeff Madden, brand strategist at Trozzolo.

TouchNet, a Trozzolo client for more than a decade, was acquired by Heartland Payment Systems, a Fortune 1000 company in 2014. Trozzolo successfully managed communications following the acquisition and helped fuel the growth of the campus solutions division.

“The work touched every aspect of our agency, including internal and external brand strategies, digital, advertising, event planning and community relations,” said Angelo Trozzolo, president and CEO of Trozzolo. “We’re especially proud of our impact on TouchNet’s goals.”

Moving On Up

The best views in the house are now taken. After nearly five years in the Gee Whiz Factory, we have expanded to our fourth floor, thanks to continued growth.

“We predicted growth would necessitate needing the fourth floor within five years. Our staff size is now nearly 50 percent larger than when we moved in,” said Angelo Trozzolo, president and CEO. "With that goal behind us and with space to accommodate another 50 percent growth in staff, the future has never looked brighter.”

Over the past several years in the Gee Whiz Factory, we have been fortunate to continue to collect and retain a talented team as well as garner best-in-class clients. Most recently, we have been engaged as public relations agency of record for McDonald’s Heart of America Co-Op and agency of record for University of Missouri Health Care, among others.

"We love our home in downtown Kansas City, and are proud to be part of its growth and success,” said Trozzolo. 

Why Gee Whiz, you ask? Learn more about our Gee Whiz Story.

And, read more about our expansion from The Kansas City Star and Kansas City Business Journal.


Prairie Dog|TCG takes on awards season

In the world of healthcare marketing, it’s awards season. And, while we don’t run to our televisions to watch the red carpet arrivals and the acceptance speeches, it is an exciting time for our Prairie Dog|TCG team – and a good reminder of a strong team doing great work for our clients.

The Healthcare Marketing Report sponsors the annual Healthcare Advertising Awards, in an effort to recognize excellent work in the field of healthcare marketing and advertising. In its 33rd year, the awards are the oldest and largest healthcare advertising awards.

Prairie Dog|TCG received 19 awards from annual awards competition, including five Gold Awards for the following:

  • Anne Arundel Medical Center in the New Media category.
  • Baptist Health in the Radio Single category.
  • Cottage Health in the Radio Single category.
  • Valley Health in the Total Integrated Campaign category.
  • Billings Clinic in the Television Series category.

In addition, the Prairie Dog|TCG team won 14 Silver and Merit awards for various campaigns and projects for hospitals across the country.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for our work. But more than that, it’s an honor to be on this team,” said Jerry Hobbs, president of Prairie Dog|TCG. “It’s exciting to dive into these brands every day, and develop campaigns that really impact our hospitals and the patients that walk through their doors.”

Beyond the Healthcare Advertising Awards, the team received five Aster Awards, a medical marketing awards program hosted by Creative Images, Inc. The recognition includes Gold Awards for Baptist Health’s Urgent Care Direct Mail Campaign and MU Health’s Microsite Project.

“Our team’s commitment to giving our clients their best work every day is undeniable. These awards are proof of that commitment and the excellent work they develop day in and day out,” said Angelo Trozzolo, CEO of Prairie Dog|TCG.

A factory comes to life

The Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City shared Trozzolo’s story of renovation at the Gee Whiz Factory. It’s hard to believe it has been more than four years since move-in day. And now, in just days, the sound of hammers will be heard once again as the agency expands to the fourth floor. Hello, Growth! Read all about it here –


Kuhn & Wittenborn merges with Trozzolo

Kuhn & Wittenborn, a household name in the Kansas City advertising industry, has merged its operations with Trozzolo Communications Group. With the merger, Trozzolo gains several new associates from Kuhn & Wittenborn, adding significant talent and capabilities to its team.

Whitey Kuhn, founder of the agency, joins Trozzolo’s board of directors, and Julie Robinson, Kuhn & Wittenborn’s senior vice president, joins Trozzolo as senior vice president/account group director and a member of the agency’s executive team. The new associates will join the team at Trozzolo’s Gee Whiz Factory.

“We have respected the work coming out of Kuhn & Wittenborn since we opened our own doors. When this opportunity presented itself, we knew it would be a great fit for all of us,“ said Angelo Trozzolo, president and CEO of Trozzolo. “We are humbled Whitey has entrusted us with his clients and staff, and are excited about what this means for the future of our agency.”

Kuhn & Wittenborn, founded in 1978, has long been an established and respected firm within the Kansas City advertising community and beyond. The agency has worked with a broad range of clients, including Government Employees Health Association, Kansas Speedway, the Vanguard Group, Assurant Employee Benefits and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research.

“As we began exploring options for our agency’s next phase, it was critical to find a cultural match,” said Kuhn. “We have admired the Trozzolos for many years. The synergies between our agency cultures are amazing, and our combined strengths will mean expanded capabilities for both agencies’ clients. I can’t imagine finding a better partner than Trozzolo.”

In 2003, Trozzolo merged with public relations firm Blades & Associates to form one of the region’s first fully integrated marketing agencies. In 2008, the agency added Corporate Communications Group to strengthen its strategic consulting and crisis communication practices. That same year, Trozzolo acquired Prairie Dog, a national hospital marketing firm.

With each of these mergers, Trozzolo has added significant talent and expertise to both its staff and its board of directors. The board includes Becky Blades, founder of Blades & Associates; David Westbrook, founder of Corporate Communications Group; Phil Smith, founder of Prairie Dog; and now, Whitey Kuhn.

“Our board of directors is quickly becoming a Hall of Fame of Kansas City business leaders and communicators. It’s exciting for me to have such a strong group of mentors to help strengthen our business and create an impact for our clients and our community,” said Trozzolo.

Trozzolo continues to attract top, senior-level team members

Creative powerhouse returns to Kansas City; Experienced CFO joins the team

Paul Behnen and Rachel Lupardus, CPA, join Trozzolo Communications Group’s executive management team. Behnen is Trozzolo’s new senior vice president/executive creative director, and Lupardus joins as chief operating officer/chief financial officer.

"As we continue to grow, the collection of top-drawer, senior talent becomes more and more important. These team members are helping us not only remain sustainable but thrive. Our future is very bright," said Angelo Trozzolo, president and CEO of Trozzolo.

Behnen leads the creative group and will play an integral role in new business development and crafting the future of the agency, as well.

"I am looking forward to working for a passionate, independent advertising, public relations and branding leader in the heart of the country," said Behnen. "Kansas City is a creative hub, and is at the helm of the great things happening in our industry."

He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and 30 years of experience. He has served as executive creative director for notable national brands including Spirit Airlines, Krispy Kreme, Nikon, Coca-Cola, GE and IBM, to name a few.

In addition, Behnen creative-directed the successful E-Trade "Talking Baby" campaign through two Super Bowls. His work has been recognized by Cannes, Clio Awards, All Communication Arts Annuals, The New York Art Directors Club, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA TODAY, Adweek, Ad Age, and Creativity Magazine, among others.

With more than 20 years of financial and accounting experience – first as a controller, and the last 12 years as a chief financial officer ­– Lupardus brings a wealth of knowledge and strong leadership to the team. She was named a CFO of the Year by the Kansas City Business Journal in 2010. As a member of the agency’s executive management team, she oversees all financials and directs all operations.

"Growth starts from within – by improving what you have to prepare for what comes next," said Lupardus. "I am excited to work with our team and continue to make Trozzolo a sustainable, significant business in Kansas City."