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A Strong Minute
An “Old Fashioned”
John Paul Strong, Owner
Studied at Harvard Business School for Executive Management and Leadership.
CrossFit fanatic who enjoys grueling, intense workouts.
Carries 3 cell phones and reads more than 400 emails a day.
Spends 130 days a year in client dealerships constantly seeking new methods to generate traffic.
Passionate writer who has authored 2 books, more than 120 newsletters and over 1,000 blogs – all on the automotive industry.
Believes in continuous improvement and that nothing is possible without great people in an organization.
Loves spending time with his wife and 3 kids; when not working is either wake surfing, cooking or playing with cars.
Mike Strong, Partner
Has more than 40 years of experience in the advertising business.
Opened his first advertising agency – one of the country’s first exclusively automotive agencies – in 1977 with a desk, a phone and phone book.
As a partner with GM in the early 1980s, he was instrumental in developing the company’s dealer association program for Tier 2 advertising.
Built an automotive marketing empire that has placed more than $2 billion in media and worked for thousands of dealers.
Is a serious outdoorsman and has bird hunted all over the world; also enjoys saltwater fishing.
Has less serious hobbies including race car driving and big game fishing.
Enjoys spending time with his 2 granddaughters and grandson when he’s not traveling.
Josh Bradish, Vice President of Dealer Direct
Has 20 years of retail experience – from lot porter to founding member and partner of XtreamService – in the Hendrick Automotive Group.
Considered an industry expert by numerous dealer organizations, distributors and Honda/Acura.
Responsible for leading and growing XtreamService to more than 650 dealerships and $12 million in billing.
Road Warrior who travels from the east coast to the west coast (and all the areas in between) on a weekly basis.
Family man to wife Holly, and two boys Avery and Jackson.
Off-hours can be found at little league games or riding the trails of North Carolina on his mountain bike.
Bill Marefka, Vice President of Strategy
Has 33 years of experience working with automobile dealers.
Has seen everything from oil embargos to tsunamis.
Worked with every franchise from a single-point Chrysler dealer in Chicago to 400 Chevy dealers from Maine to Mississippi.
Has seen the Strong business move from newspaper to fiber optics.
Formally learned about marketing from the University of Akron, Claritas, The Wharton School and a SOHIO gas station in Stow, Ohio.
Informally, it's his keen people watching skills at little league games, high school football, choir concerts and ladies shoe sales at the mall.
Knows that selling cars is a noble profession -- nothing happens until somebody sells something.
“The only source of knowledge is experience.” ~ Albert Einstein
Sheila Grandy, Vice President of Advertising Services
Over 17 years of advertising industry experience.
Negotiated over 185,000 bonus spots for Strong clients last year.
Spent her junior year in college as an exchange student in Fukuoka, Japan.
Received the 2012 AAF Birmingham Ten Award for Mixed Media.
Traveled on 7 cruise trips since 2006 (42 cruise days) and is currently searching for the 8th destination.
She can be found on the treadmill at 4:45 AM every morning walking an average of 4 miles.
After baking almost 500 over the last 20 years, she has perfected the best pound cake, hands down.
Gayle Rogers, Director of Digital Marketing and Chief Marketing Officer
15 years of experience in automotive advertising, from Tier 1 to Tier 3 in Detroit, Atlanta, Raleigh and Birmingham.
After creating millions of visits for our dealers, he still loves the challenge that digital marketing presents every day.
Much to the dismay of his family, he is an avid watcher of the beautiful game (soccer).
He enjoys running, mountain biking and listening to podcasts. It’s the efficiency of getting exercise and learning something new at the same time!
He likes to create new things for the sake of being better than he was yesterday. “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” ~Peter Drucker
If he’s got the extra time, building furniture helps to calm his mind.
More than anything, he loves being a father and a husband. Their favorite thing to do is travel to new places or the beach.
Robin Smith, Chief Operating Officer
Has 20 years of experience working in advertising; 11 years in marketing with the largest publishing company in the U.S.
Chief cook and bottle washer to 70 employees and 8 departments within 17,000 square feet.
Has hired an average of 1 person per month at Strong in the last 36 months.
Once performed the Heimlich Maneuver on a co-worker at a company dinner.
Can often be found at sons’ youth baseball, basketball or football games.
First car was a 1978 Chevrolet Monte Carlo with white vinyl bench seating and ejector seat switch.
Mother of 2 teenage boys and as a result, frequent purchaser of air freshener.
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