Creativity is our lifeblood. Big creative ideas open doors to solve your business challenges in unexpected ways. Our creativity is fostered by a collaborative culture built around 3 principles: Ability. Agility. Humility. We’re at our best when we combine deep category expertise with an attitude that embraces change and an open-mindedness to the best ideas, no matter where they come from.
The business landscape is more dynamic and is changing at a faster pace than ever before. We all feel it, and understand the critical urgency to keep up. We won’t solve your business challenges if we bring ideas that worked years ago. By infusing our team with capabilities that aren’t found in typical agencies, we’re able to think of solutions that go beyond the typical agency scope and approach.
Chief Executive Officer
Ron is CEO of MERGE Chicago and the MERGE Network, which also has offices in Boston and Atlanta. He has transformed the network to meet the needs of today’s rapidly changing marketplace by building an agency with an uncommon combination of capabilities in technology, creativity and strategy. Ron’s day-to-day problem solving philosophy is “Face it. Figure it out. Fix It.” He has brought together top talent across all disciplines to create a unified agency team that believes in the importance of collaboration to get results that build a client’s business. Ron has been recognized with many agency awards including Chicago Agency Person of the Year for his industry leadership.
Chief Marketing Officer
Chris focuses on growing the agency, using our uncommon capabilities to help clients transform brands and strengthen customer relationships. He sets the strategy and direction for working as a unified network across our offices. Chris is the ultimate ultra-business athlete. He brings to work each day the grit and tenacity he’s honed as a competitive runner and cyclist. He loves living outside the comfort zone, and uses his agility and passion to drive companies forward. He has helped launch start-ups as well as revitalize brands – from mid-sized companies to Fortune 500s.
President & Chief Creative Officer, Chicago
Kevin Houlihan is known for his relentless creativity and business common sense. He leads a growing team of talent working across categories on all types of assignments. Kevin brings humility, practicality and know-how to every project. Getting to the finish line is not only more rewarding but always more fun when Kevin’s around. His advertising philosophy is that collaboration leads to bigger ideas: The more open the dialogue between clients and agency, the greater the freedom to challenge thinking and build powerful selling ideas
President & Managing Director, Chicago
Kellie is comfortable with complexity, significant challenges and the need for change. She oversees client service, leads new client partnerships, and maximizes team effectiveness. Kellie is known for transforming something strong into something superb. She identifies the right approach and creates a collaborative environment that delivers results and client growth. Her 20+ years of experience in integrated marketing communications, strategic planning and brand development infuses high-performing solutions across industries and consumer segments.
Chief Technology Officer
Riley directs our technology initiatives, from consulting to architecting industry-leading and status-quo breaking solutions. He fluidly guides our clients in navigating the complex, multi-faceted requirements and objectives enterprise-level implementations demand. Riley isn’t your typical tech leader. His understanding of design thinking, his passion to do more with integrated technology to achieve brand goals, and his easy partnership style make him invaluable on any initiative. The firm he founded in 2003 has become the core of MERGE’s capabilities and vision.
Chief Talent Officer
Kerry Griffin leads the network’s People & Culture. She oversees learning & development, recruiting, performance management and benefits. Kerry is passionate about identifying talented people across diverse skillsets and growing careers. Her background in client service means she understands how work gets done. She partners with teams to find the right talent to deliver the best possible results. She also drives our processes and employee programs so that workdays run smoothly and our culture bonds us, yet reflects each office’s unique personality.
Chief Financial Officer
Troy oversees finance and operations across the network and works closely with the Chicago leadership team. This former Wall St. analyst knows how to tell a story with numbers. He is hands-on and collaborative, helping our agency teams across disciplines and clients strategically drive businesses forward. Troy has led the transformation of companies across categories and is especially at home in the digital space. He also has been a C-suite advisor to private equity firms, corporations and boards, and was one of the original equity analysts associated with the Google IPO.
EVP, Head of Design
Lauren leads strategic design by elevating brands through thoughtful, curated visual systems that bolster our tech solutions and push beyond the expected. With a pulse on design trends and best practices, Lauren creates powerful user experiences that connect design thinking to the full touchpoint ecosystem. She makes every interaction meaningful, looks to simplify and fine-tune, balances functional and emotive drivers, and pushes for nuances that make for uncommonly delightful moments. The firm she founded in 2003 has become the core of MERGE’s capabilities and vision.
EVP, Media Director
Bob leads all media activity, overseeing our planning and buying capabilities. He works closely with our creative, strategy and technology teams to deliver innovative solutions that engage consumers at every turn – from mobile to social to traditional media. Bob knows what it takes for clients to thrive in the ever-evolving media landscape. His expertise in digital media, data analytics and performance marketing inform his thoughtful, often ground-breaking solutions for clients. Ad Age named him a Media Maven for his forward-thinking about the industry.
EVP, Managing Director Strategy
Laura oversees our digital and marketing strategy. She is a passionate leader who can identify a brand’s vision and bring it to life. Laura enjoys the challenges of transforming businesses in unexpected ways that accelerate growth. She’s earned her reputation as a strategic brand builder through 20+ years of category expertise that ranges from technology to healthcare to financial. Laura is also a sought-after speaker and commentator. B2B Marketer and the Executive Club of Chicago are some of the many organizations that turn to her for her dynamic points of view.
VP, Director of Operations
Larry oversees our creative and technology activity. He directs creative staffing and planning for the agency and works closely with leadership so that our cross-functional teams can access the best talent across the network. Larry has a holistic understanding of the agency business, which helps him find smart, fast ways to resolve conflict and identify solutions. His no-nonsense, no-drama approach, gained from 30+ years of experience, keeps projects running smoothly, teams motivated and earns everyone’s respect
Andrew works closely with the Boston office’s leadership team to keep ahead of the rapidly evolving creative, media, and technology ecosystem. He provides clients with insightful strategic guidance and thoughtful brand experiences. Andrew understands the power of trust. Under his direction, the office has created and now issues the National Trust Indexes. They help companies measure Trustpoints, identify gaps and take action to improve results. He’s applied this expertise to overseeing a broad range of financial services and healthcare accounts.
EVP, Strategy + Analytics
Stephanie Rogers oversees the Media and Analytics staff as well as contributes strategic direction and thought leadership to our clients. Contact Planning combines audience insights, media planning & buying, and measurement & analytics to optimize every point of contact between consumers and a brand. Stephanie always has her eye on the future of media, finding innovative ways to connect with any audience, anywhere. We can always count on her to help us build strong teams, establish service offerings, and manage a large work flow.
EVP, Managing Director
Pat oversees the Life Science Practice and Business Development for the Boston office. His team is responsible for strategic oversight for the life science clients as well as day to day account management. With an MBA and 20 years of client side Life Science experience, Pat’s a natural for the role. He’s held Sales and Marketing Leadership positions at Johnson & Johnson, Bard, and Hologic. He believes in the power of big ideas, but knows how to pressure test those ideas against a client’s reality to ensure the strategy can be implemented with results delivered. His experience also includes Medtronic, Roche, Olympus, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Cardinal Health, and B. Braun Medical among others.
EVP, Chief Creative Officer
As Chief Creative Officer at MERGE Boston, Bob leads our Creative and Production groups in creating focused, differentiating and informative communications, delivered in highly engaging ways that continually meet or exceed client goals. Bob believes in our teams, our clients and trust as the ultimate differentiator in a digital age. He helps clients turn isolated touchpoints into integrated trustpoints, creating human connections that increase promoter scores and drive business performance.
Tom oversees the Atlanta office’s business strategy and growth, client relationships, finance and operations. He helps healthcare organizations define their digital strategy and deliver the tactical experience and resources to succeed online. Tom is always looking for ways to develop intuitive digital design and innovative technology that work as one. He founded AVID Design in 1996, which combined with Dodge Communications in 2017, and is now part of the MERGE network.
SVP, Strategic Services, Marketing, Operations
Deckon brings experience in healthcare communications, media relations and brand marketing to her role at MERGE Atlanta. As senior vice president, she serves as the chief strategist for her team, overseeing many of the firm's longest tenured clients as well as some of its most established brands. Throughout her career, she has managed a number of successful, award-winning communications programs for clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Deckon's extensive knowledge of the healthcare industry and in-depth experience in the B2B space enables her to develop a true understanding of her clients' needs and provide the strategic counsel and oversight needed to achieve their unique business objectives.
EVP, Strategic Services, Technology
Keir joined MERGE Atlanta in 2011 and brings a strong background in Healthcare IT and more than twelve years of web and application development experience. Having also worked in academic research and government environments, he understands the unique challenges facing hospitals in today’s digital age. Keir’s priorities include, overseeing the development of new applications and web products, heading a team of talented developers and programmers and working directly with clients on technical requirements and functionality. Keir began his career as a freelance graphic designer in the late 1990s and graduated with a degree in graphic & web design from Florida State University.
SVP, Strategic Services, Digital, UX
Mark joined the MERGE Atlanta leadership team as VP, Digital Strategy. Most recently the Director of Digital Strategy & Web Marketing at Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), this important expansion of our leadership team will make a significant impact with our clients. Mark will enhance the partnerships we have established with our many clients in the healthcare industry and expand the depth of digital strategy services we offer. With a PhD from Carnegie Mellon University and nearly two decades of experience leading digital teams with a strong focus on digital strategy and UX, Samber adds strength to the MERGE Atlanta team across several key areas, including the user experiences (UX), multi-channel marketing tactics, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Content Management Systems.
SVP, Account Director
A formal professional hockey player and avid outdoorsman, Chris makes things happen. With experience managing multiple pieces of business and leading the development of client strategies, brand platforms and business plans, Chris has demonstrated a remarkable ability to anticipate client needs and act fast to meet them. Always up for a new adventure, Chris spends his off hours skiing, hiking, biking, kayaking, running – really anything that keeps him outside.
SVP, Strategic Accounts
Just as some bridges are feats of engineering genius, the bridges Shannon builds are made to last. Championing innovative ideas, forging strong relationships, and leveraging a strong multidisciplinary background all make her a great builder. Relying on remarkable instincts and intuition make her a master architect. Bridging the distance between ask and outcome are just the tip of her talent. With her strong creative streak, Shannon helps us bridge the distance between advertising and art.
Innovative. Dexterous. Inspiring. Never settling for mediocrity, always pushing creative limits. Rich has an uncanny ability to perfectly blend science and creativity to deliver the right story to the right customer and exceed brand expectations. A native New Yorker, Rich spends much of his free time pondering the Midwestern custom of cutting a round pizza into tiny squares.