J Mark Cropp Joins Junction to Manage Pennsylvania Office

Junction Creative Solutions (Junction), an Atlanta-based strategy firm, expands its team to include J. Mark Cropp, Executive Director, Business Development & Partnerships NE. Mark, a veteran sales professional and a natural entrepreneur, joined Junction in early 2011 and has worked efficiently to develop business relationships during a period that has seen the company grow at an unprecedented rate.

Mark brings more than 35 years of experience as a successful entrepreneur and former senior executive at an International Fortune 500 company. His background in strategic business consulting, sales, and marketing adds immense value to both existing and prospective clients. Mark’s expertise spans various industries including finance, travel and hospitality, manufacturing, construction, real estate, and retail.

Julie Gareleck, Managing Partner, Junction, says “Mark is an incredible asset to Junction, bringing great knowledge of how a business thinks and functions.  Simply put, he’s been on the other side of the table as an entrepreneur. We anticipate Mark being able to generate a host of new business, continuing to drive our client base in the Greater Mid-Atlantic region.”

“The inventive solutions that Junction offers for businesses and entrepreneurs the ability to grow and thrive. Most business owners aren’t specialists in areas like strategic planning, marketing, and interactive solutions.  Junction simplifies the process enabling companies to maximize those channels,” says Mark. “I look forward to building relationships with organizations in need of Junction’s services and helping to sustain the incredible growth of their businesses.”

Tamika Stewart Joins the Growing Team at Junction Creative Solutions

Junction Creative Solutions (Junction), an Atlanta-based strategy firm, adds Tamika Stewart as Project Manager to its growing team. Tamika brings more than 5 years of experience in account management in the interactive advertising industry with demonstrable achievements throughout the course of her career.

“Tamika has a blend of traditional and interactive advertising account management experience,” comments Julie Cropp Gareleck, Managing Partner, Junction.  “She’s proven to be an effective project manager leading multi-million dollar accounts…. greatly contributing to profitability and on-time performance.  We look forward to her continued success with our clients and at Junction.”

Tamika’s background in traditional media serves as a unique perspective on strategic marketing and interactive executions.  Her knowledge and experience working on blue-chip accounts like AT&T and DELL will be useful as she steps into a lead role with the Yahoo! Inc. account at Junction. Tamika works closely with the senior operations team to implement streamlined workflows across business segments.

“I am excited to be a part of a firm that creates effective solutions for businesses, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies,” says Tamika. “I am eager to work with the growing team and the clients at Junction.”

Junction welcomes Tamika to the team!

Richard J. Eydt Joins Junction As Executive Director of Business Development & Partnerships

Junction Creative Solutions (Junction), an Atlanta-based strategy firm, expands its team to include Richard J. Eydt, Executive Director, Business Development & Partnerships. Richard (Dick), a seasoned executive, joined Junction in February 2011 and led the company to achieve record growth in Q1.

Dick brings more than 30 years of experience as a successful marketing and senior sales executive working for some of the most noted Global Fortune 500 brands. His consultative approach adds immense value to clients looking to create more sustainable practices to maximize performance and growth. Companies in his portfolio include: Starwood Hotels, Marriott, Hertz, Virgin Atlantic, UPS, American Express, Mastercard, Kraft, Pitney Bowes. MetLife, New York Life, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, Deloitte, Dassault Falcon Jet, Ricoh, Tiffany and Siemens.

Dick’s efforts have contributed notable achievements for Forbes Magazine, AdWeek, Harper’s Magazine, Rocket Media, American Lawyer Media, and the Donovan Group.   In his new position, he will be responsible for identifying and securing business development opportunities and partners to expand Junction’s portfolio.

“After talking with Julie Gareleck about Junction’s vision, client commitment, portfolio, and results, I knew this was a special company and wanted in,” said Dick, Executive Director, Junction.   “Junction has smart, hard working team members, all with integrity and a single focus to do what’s best for the client. Junction is a is good fit, allowing me to leverage my sales and marketing skills, consultative approach, and extensive contact list of Fortune 500 companies.”

“I am very happy to have Dick as an integral part of our firm. He is committed to developing and maintaining client relationships,” comments Julie Gareleck, Managing Partner, Junction. “His unique approach aligns with Junction’s mission ultimately contributing to measurable sales growth in just 3 months.  Dick’s insight and leadership is an asset to our clients and our internal team.”

Join us in welcoming Dick to the team!

“Going Global” is the new “Going Viral”

I remember that fateful morning of September 11, 2011 when two planes had hit the World Trade Center. I was at work.  One of my co-workers was listening to the radio. Instantly, we were intently focused on the silver box (yes, the radio) because the office didn’t have a TV.  We listened to the news unfold as it was reported.

Nearly 10 years later, the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death circled the globe within seconds of the official word of his death.  The report broke before the President finished his remarks, let alone made it to the podium. It’s being called a media frenzy – a social media frenzy.

Facebook’s Osama Bin Laden is DEAD Facebook page received more than 150,000 “Likes” within 2 hours, nearly 300,000 “Likes” by morning. Surely the number has tripled by the time this blog post has been published.  Twitter was abuzz with nearly 4,000 tweets per second during President Obama’s speech. Per second!?

Social media has certainly been linked to its fair share of controversy with inaccurate reports, stories, etc. However in this instance, the sheer power of social media connected global audiences with unprecedented quickness enabling the world to discuss this historic news.  Adam Ostrow said it best in a blog post that social media has become a “real-time discussion board.”  And to no surprise, we all have a lot to say.

We’ve surpassed viral…and gone global.

The Rise of Outsourcing in China?

Suzhou, the second city on our tour, is considered one of the best tourist cities in China.  Aside from cultural and historical relevance, Suzhou’s economic development recorded the highest rate of growth since 2003.  We visited the Suzhou Industrial Park which is an important cooperative between the Chinese and Singaporean governments which is responsible for generating 15% of the city’s GDP.  Although manufacturing is still a prominent industry, so is the rise of services more so outsourced services.

The Suzhou Industrial Park Institute of Services and Outsourcing is the 1st of it’s kind in China. The campus resembles that of the research triangle and yet the talent base reminds me of SCAD.  The institute positions it’s talent in the areas of Digital Media, Animation Design and Production, Information Technology Development, Finance, and Business.  Seemingly they will become a leader in outsourcing talent in these areas.

It’s clear Suzhou is growing and innovating. Despite the massive buildings, manicured lawns, and sprawling technology parks, I sense that it’s a work in progress.  Will Suzhou become the leader in outsourced services or will it become a pre-fecture city that fades over the next 10 years? Only time will tell.

Blogging from China: First Stop Shanghai

Shanghai: A city with 23 million people, overbuilt but still building. A city where minimum wage for a factory worker is $1.15/hour (approximately), not even enough to live off of.  A city where energy conservation is a priority as a think layer of smog drapes over the city like a blanket.  A city much akin to Chicago only 3 times the size of NYC.

The longer you look, the more entrenched you become in the oddities, extravegance, and lackluster of this place and its people.  Therein lies the opportunity.

As an invited guest of the Great Idea Summit and Delegate of China, I have the unique opportunity to share ideas on growing an entrepreneurial community and investing.  Its a rare glimpse into the business climate  and the opportunities in which this culture seeks.

It is my hope to share this incredible journey with you over the next 8 days….more to follow.



The Tsunami Effect on Technology

While it may seem a distant tragedy, the global nature of contemporary business means that the earthquake off the coast of Japan and its attendant destruction very much impact us as consumers of technology that is manufactured in Japan. Believe it or not, that list is considerable. Endgaget’s intriguing post “Japanese quake will likely affect the global supply of gadgets” explores this topic. Reuters and The Wall Street Journal weigh in similarly.

It’s not merely the manufacture of components that is to be interrupted, but the supply of electricity to major markets in the country will be rationed; dramatic reduction in electricity production is a result of the explosions and attendant nuclear contamination of the Fukushima power plant. Gizmodo provides a synopsis of developments on this topic.

Consider how Libya, which ships just 3% of its oil to the United States, stands at the center of a crisis that we consumers can witness at the pump. Prices seem to increase daily.

And how about the crisis of faith with the safety of nuclear power? While the United States relies on nuclear for about a fifth of its own power production, countries like France and South Korea are more highly invested than even Japan. The manufacture and distribution of much more than technology is at risk.

We can minimize the inconvenience of a more expensive or even unavailable iPad 2, but the tumult of recent events – from freedom fighting to natural disasters – brings these issues to life.

While our access to technology may be highly interwoven with global issues, technology may also help connect uswith solutions. Telecom companies are offering free calls and texts to Japan from the United States. Even online gamers are joining in the effort.

Today, our thoughts and concerns are focused on Japan and the people suffering as a result of natural devastation. As was shown effective with Haiti, consider using your everyday technology to make a donation to organizations aiding in the recovery effort. Just be careful when you do so.

Entrepreneur Readiness?

Businesses start somewhere – more often driven by an entrepreneurial passion.  The transition from employee to entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart.  Statistically, many entrepreneurs fail.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010 more than 96,000 companies closed its doors after an even more devastating loss of 400,000 companies in 2009.

Don’t let the numbers deter you from launching a new business venture, but rather assess your entrepreneurial readiness:

Insight: Have you thought your idea through?  Have you identified the value for what you propose for your customers? Have you researched your idea?

Ability: Analyze your personal and professional abilities.  How will your skills enable you to execute on your idea?

Risk: Are you making a calculated risk or a foolish one? Is the risk more than you can afford to take?

Endurance: Are you prepared physically and mentally to launch a new business?

True entrepreneurs will attest to the fact that if being in business for yourself was easy, everyone would do it.

Carl House Introduces a New Online Presence

Carl House, the event venue of the southeast, located between Atlanta and Athens, unveils a new online experience capturing the essence of the traditional antebellum-style home.  The new website is rich with content including photos and videos highlighting the breadth of event offerings at Carl House.

“When a bride walks the grounds at Carl House, there is an energy in the air, an atmosphere quite unique.  We wanted to create that experience online that allowed brides to set foot on the property virtually,” said BB Webb, owner, Carl House.  “We are committed to providing the best facility for events whether a wedding, corporate event, or special celebration.  The new website allows us to showcase all that we have to offer.”

Visitors to the new site are able to quickly navigate areas of the website to learn about hosting an event at Carl House.   The property tours and videos take users through the facility.  The information all allows visitors to plan an event down to the very last detail from food to floral arrangements.  The facility has received accolades including: Best Reception Site by AtlantaBridal.com; Best of Wedding Venues by The Knot Magazine; Best Place to have a Wedding by Gwinnet Magazine; and Bride’s Choice Award by WeddingWire.com.

“BB had an incredible vision when she built Carl House so it was important that we transferred that vision online. We put ourselves in the shoes of her customer,” said Julie Cropp Gareleck, managing partner, Junction Creative Solutions. “We greatly enjoyed working with BB and her amazing team at Carl House. We wish the team much success in the New Year!”

To visit the new site, visit www.carlhouse.com.

About Carl House

Built in 1903, Carl House was the centerpiece and home to the owner of a large and thriving ornamental plant nursery. Its original Southern garden plan has been restored with the addition of an exquisite gazebo under which many of the best and most beautiful wedding ceremonies in the South have been held. This authentic piece of Georgia history is situated on four manicured acres that are surrounded by over 30 acres of the original pasture land property giving Carl House a plantation atmosphere with all the amenities and a luxury ballroom with covered porches.

Announcing Junction’s 2011 Entrepreneurial Series

Happy New Year from Junction Creative Solutions!

In 2011, Junction will offer an entrepreneurial blog series focused for entrepreneurs looking to start a new business.  Each month, Junction will discuss topics that span the start-up process from ideation to launch.   Throughout the series, we will highlight entrepreneurs who are moving through the process and the unique challenges they face.

Junction looks forward to sharing knowledge with the entrepreneurial community and the opportunity to learn from each other!