ROYAL OAK – Lisa Vallee-Smith, the co-founder of Airfoil Communications, has reorganized her 18-year old PR agency under a holding company that she will lead.

Vallee-Smith will now serve as CEO of Airfoil Group, overseeing the business strategy for both Airfoil Communications and Airfoil Digital. Twelve-year Airfoil veteran Keith Donovan, former senior vice president, steps up to become president of Airfoil Group. In addition, Sharon Neumann, previously senior vice president of finance & administration, has been promoted to chief operating officer of Airfoil Group.

Keith Donovan

“We are in the first year of a three-year strategic plan that aims to expand Airfoil’s services offering and satisfy our clients in three ways,” said Vallee-Smith. “First was the creation of a digital marketing agency that both builds on and diversifies away from traditional public relations offerings. Next, we restructured the delivery and leadership of core services to create efficiencies and accountability for both internal and external stakeholders. And lastly was the creation of a new holding company, Airfoil Group, that will seek out and invest in additional services, technologies and people to accelerate the business amid sweeping industry changes across the marketing spectrum.”

Vallee-Smith said the customer experience has changed since she launched Airfoil with Janet Tyler in 2000. The ways customers now work has shifted from paying a monthly retainer, to paying for projects.

“Our customers now operate more like pop-up stores,” she said. “They start small and build from there. So we are now more focused on specialized services.”

What are the next targets of opportunity for Airfoil? Vallee-Smith said it could be an acquisition of a complementary agency that provides additional client services not yet in the Airfoil portfolio.

The reorganization, announced Monday, also has generated new leadership opportunities for other key agency members, including:

• Amy Bryson holds the newly-created role of senior vice president of content and social media strategy. In this role, Bryson will lead the social, content, and creative specialties at the agency, including copywriting, design, influencer marketing and branding.

• Leah Haran is in a new role as senior vice president of strategy and media relations. In this role, Haran will lead media relations initiatives, focused on insight-driven strategies and research. This specialty area includes media relations, spokesperson training, press tour management, and crisis management.

• Jeff Lutz is in the new role of vice president of client experience. In this role, Lutz will focus on the overall staffing, planning, management, program execution and satisfaction of accounts and projects.

Earlier this year, Jon Pielak who had worked for Vectorform, and he has completed projects for a federal government agency, was named President of Airfoil Digital.

“For many years, marketing functioned at the top of the traditional funnel. The massive transformation of the marketing industry — everything from marketing technology and digital platforms to an increasingly consolidated news media landscape and shifts in non-traditional media buying – ushered in a new era for our agency and a need to diversify to address the changing needs of our clients,” said Donovan.

“Airfoil Communications, together with its peer agency Airfoil Digital, offers services to address the entire business spectrum, from generating awareness to driving purchase decisions and customer loyalty for fast growing, dynamic technology businesses.”

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