We have some huge news to share. Huge. Probably the biggest news I’ve ever shared on this blog and I’ve written over 115 posts (wow!).

Two of St. Pete’s finest digital agencies — Big Sea and ThinkTank — are merging.

Our combined teams will offer twice the creativity, twice the development firepower, and twice the marketing prowess.

We have already welcomed our 12 new colleagues into our offices at 1970 Central, and a few of the original Big Sea’ers have headed to what we lovingly refer to as “Big Sea East” (the former ThinkTank office) in downtown St. Pete’s Priatek Plaza. Although ideally we’d be housed in one location, we’re going to add this to the list of “to do’s” to tackle in the new year (we certainly do love this amazing office.)

Two new business partners will join me at the helm: Joe Hamilton will be joining Big Sea as CEO, and Dzuy Nguyen will assume the role of CTO. I will be running our marketing, content, and design — my passions! — as CMO. Our teams fit together like a puzzle, and we’re already angling to grow and build on the momentum we’ve created in the past few weeks as we’ve started our integration.


making-waves

What does this mean for you, our dear clients and prospective clients?

This has — so far — been a fairly seamless transition, but you may notice a few new names and voices during our meetings.  We share the same core values, so we will continue our commitment to providing thoughtful, strategic services with integrity.  We’ll be responsive, committed to the work we produce and to your goals — as always.

We are already beginning to include some of the ThinkTank talent (complements to our own in every way) into our projects and accounts. We’re now working with a proprietary and innovative SEO approach performed by a talented marketing strategist, and have added two killer developers to help with our web dev load. We’ll be getting our new team members up to speed on HubSpot, the Big Sea marketing tool of choice, and we’ve already started organizing a dedicated support team to handle all maintenance requests.

We provide a unique breadth of skills and services to the Tampa Bay area, and we’re proud to call St. Petersburg our home while we work with our larger regional and national clients.

And what does this mean for me?

This is a huge change for me — and I’m ready. The past ten years running Big Sea myself have been filled with highs and lows, as with running any business. While my education is in strategic communication and my experience is in marketing, I had to teach myself about human resources, about management, about the sticky balance between cash flow and payroll, about how to run a tech team and deal with development woes. When it comes to marketing and communications, I excel. But all of those other arenas? I could hold my own, but it never felt comfortable or easy.

I’m ready to share that responsibility with experienced, smart professionals who don’t just squeak by — they excel in those arenas.  They are two of the most intelligent and kind people I’ve met. I can’t wait to share the difficult decisions and big wins.  To share the adventure that is owning, nurturing, and growing a business.

I am eternally grateful to the clients who’ve stuck by my side (some for the past 10+ years) as I’ve grown Big Sea from the desk in my living room to the tiny office on Beach Drive, to the team of 22 strong that we are today. I hope that I’ve made your decision to invest in me and in Big Sea a proud one, and that we can continue to serve you and your businesses into the future.

Please reach out with any questions, comments, or complaints (or, maybe keep those to yourself for now). I’m eager to hear your thoughts.

P.S. If you’d like to read the press release announcing our merger, enjoy.

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December 8, 2015
For Immediate Release
Contact: Andi Graham
727.386.8031 ext. 7001 / andi@bigseadesign.com

Two Leading St. Pete Marketing and Design Agencies Announce Merger

ThinkTank Joins Forces with Big Sea Creating New Tech Focused Jobs

St. Petersburg, Fla. [December 7, 2015]—To meet rapidly growing demand, Big Sea, Inc. has more than doubled in size as the result of a December 1st merger with ThinkTank, Inc. The technology-focused business strategy, marketing and design firm launched a decade ago by Andi Graham is now home to 22 creative professionals and is expected to grow again by 20 percent in the year ahead.

Under the new organizational structure, Joe Hamilton will take the reigns as Big Sea’s chief executive officer; Graham will assume the role and responsibilities of chief marketing officer; and Dzuy Nguyen will serve as the firm’s chief technology officer.

“Our skillsets complement one another’s so well, which is why the merger came together so naturally,” said Joe Hamilton, CEO of Big Sea, Inc. “We asked ourselves why are we competing against each other when as a team, we can accomplish so much more. Separately we had strong businesses; together, we can lift our agencies to a national level.”

The merged Big Sea, which now counts the City of St. Petersburg, American Stage, University of Tampa, TBARTA, Stetson University College of Law, and Mote Aquarium among its lengthy client roster will continue to offer creative strategy supported by exceptional design, development and marketing services.

“When we set out to launch a new website, it was refreshing to discover that the type of high-level expertise we needed to better tell our story was right here in our own backyard,” said Stacy Alexander, Assistant Vice President for Community Relations and Communications at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. “Big Sea facilitated an impressive strategic redesign of our website, leading to new engagement in our marine conservation efforts.”

Committed to preserving its reputation as a Bay Area employer of choice, Big Sea offers family-friendly flexible schedules, continuing education opportunities and pays 100 percent of the cost of its employees’ health, dental, life and disability insurance premiums. This dog-friendly workplace boasts arcade games and a ping-pong table, various art installations and custom mural by local artist Bask. Employer sponsored art shows, craft beer making, community service projects and other assorted field trips are also regular occurrences for Big Sea employees.

“The merger of these two dynamic companies exemplifies the growth of St. Petersburg’s Creative community, one of the city’s core target industries,” said Sean Kennedy, Economic Development and Greenhouse Manager at St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. “Their commitment to developing both talented people and a great community make them a perfect match for each other and for St. Petersburg.”

 

About Big Sea

Big Sea (BigSeaDesign.com) partners with successful entrepreneurs, business owners, and marketing teams around the world to provide branding, strategy, design and development services that grow to meet increased demand. Now entering its second decade, Big Sea remains steadfast in our commitment to fostering a workplace rich in both integrity and innovation.

About ThinkTank

ThinkTank (ThinkTankConnect.com) authors thoughtful strategies infused with strong business, technical and creative acumen. The company culture is one of community building through growing successful organizations. To that end, ThinkTank mentors and invests in startups, and has a robust program for supporting non-profits such as Habitat for Humanity, American Stage, First Friday and Children’s Dream Fund.