Welcome to the Virtual Speaker Series, blog edition.
I am blessed to have a talented and diverse professional network. 2020 taught me so many valuable lessons, one specifically focused on supporting and promoting local businesses. I recently started a virtual speaker series with my friends and connections, giving them a platform to share their brand story, their personal story, and also allow YOU to learn more about THEM!
First up, Ty Coil, Marketing Manager at KAM Manufacturing, and Stephanie Dawn. In her interview, she talks about the history of KAM and Stephanie Dawn (spoiler alert: WOMAN OWNED BUSINESS). Ty also shares about how the global pandemic required a huge pivot for KAM/Stephanie Dawn and the development of PPE to serve the high demands of our medical community. She goes on to talk about how product changes require research and testing before implementation. Ty also makes great points about cross-training, being versatile and a team player. You can watch the interview in it’s entirety, below.
About KAM Manufacturing / Stephanie Dawn
- Name: Ty Coil
- Title: Marketing Manager
- Email: email@example.com
- Phone Number: 855-238-6580
- Website: www.kammfg.com, www.stephaniedawn.net
- Follow on social media:
A little bit about Ty
What were you like in high school?
Bubbly, outgoing, energetic, team player, creative & helpful! 🙂 I was very active in HS, class officer, clubs, athletics (track, cheer), arts (art, band, choir, drama). It was important to me to be very involved in school, from the classroom to relationships with my peers, staff & coaches. I was (still am) very outgoing, social, determined & eager to learn as much as possible. I took great pride in being attentive to my grades & school work and layering the arts (band, choir, drama & art) and other club/group activities. I enjoyed making friends with those in my class, and also not in my class.
What inspired you to pursue your career of choice?
I grew up with art, my family has always been artistic. I got to see & experience a more traditional side – oil painting, acrylic, stylized/freehand, crafting. My mother, grandmother, aunt & father have all been very talented in their skills. I enjoyed growing up, seeing the art side of life. An artist will see the world very differently, textures, shapes, colors, shading, subjects, perspective… as much as I enjoy & respect the traditional style of art, I knew that there was still untapped art that I was not exposed to. I wanted to pursue art for my career, I was just not into the traditional style. We had a visit at school from a college in Ohio, I was a sophomore. I remember sitting in class, taking notes, feeling so excited about the school, programs, and this style of art that was called “graphic design”. Fonts, colors, shapes, text, illustrations, photography… I knew on that day that this is what I was going to do. I did a lot of research, planning, learning & shifted my goals as I was eager to pursue this career. I had that feeling, that WOW feeling. I knew this was what I had been looking for.
A career, graphic design, that was shifting from strictly hand-drawn to work all created on the computer, I was so scared that I had to go to a school where one of the main focuses on the degree is the ability to perform work on a computer. The funny thing about this, while in HS, the only computer experience I had was signing up for computer time to type papers that were needed for class. I came from a family that had a tight budget, growing up this way, you learn to be thankful & appreciate all things. A computer was the farthest gadget away from our lifestyle, I was thankful to have “basic” skills.
Graphic Design has so many levels, but the part that draws me in the most. ALL the layers it takes to make the point. From the layout, colors, font choices, photos, text, the skills to put them all together… it all takes on an experience that the customer/viewer can take in. The design creates a feeling, a mood, an experience and it requires the ability to make all of these work cohesively together for the end result.
Tell us about your education and professional history?
I graduated from Lincolnview High School, located in Van Wert, OH, Class of 2001. I have a HS Diploma with an emphasis in Art & College Prep Classes. ( I took as many art classes as I was allowed!)
After graduating HS, I moved away from our beloved “farm town” to get a taste of city life. Moving to Kettering, OH (outside of Dayton) I then attended the School of Advertising Art a very structured 2-year program with no electives (athletics, organizations), but my degree option allowed me to take business/art history classes in the evenings. I graduated in 2003 with an Associates’s Degree in Graphic Design & Business with Honors, was a class officer for our class, and was fortunate to have been given an internship with a local agency my first year.
Following college, I have had a great experience in my career, which is why I feel my skills are so developed to this day. I have been a designer at local print shops, freelancing for clients, lead designer for local businesses with in-house art departments, member of the marketing team for Speedway Corporate offices, a photographers assistant/graphic designer for a photographer, the marketing manager for the Van Wert County Fair, and now with my current position, Marketing Manager for KAM Manufacturing INC/Stephanie Dawn.
What encouraged you to work at your current company / How long have you been with your current company?
My resume is very lengthy & rightfully so as it has all prepared me for where I am at today. I have done the internship for no pay & plenty of hours just to see what it is like to work in the marketing agency, I have worked at small print shops, in-house art departments both for small businesses & at the corporate level. I have worked at a photography studio where I was able to learn posing, lighting techniques, technology, photo editing & creating staged sets for photoshoots. I have joined organizations, networking groups, volunteering opportunities & events to create a great reach of individuals that can help me & others in business/life. I have also been a cheer coach for many years coaching all ages of kids from elementary to high school for sports & competitions. I have been a part of a local nonprofit group board of directors that has helped our local community. I have freelanced on my own, working with Advertising Agencies that are out of the area & also started (and is still operating) my own graphic design business called “Real Cre8tive”. I was also fortunate to be the Marketing Manager for the Van Wert County Fair, & then had the opportunity to pursue, KAM Manufacturing INC. as their Marketing Manager.
Throughout my career, I have also freelanced, and have done this since High School. What is that? Basically freelancing is a per contract/job basis working with individuals/businesses/organizations designing graphics, print, logos, photo edits, etc. You are not an employee, but you are your own boss/designer with the hopes of a great connection with a return for more work, then consistent work. The ability to build your clients, book the job, continue to network & learn… you are the one responsible for making your workload happen – no one else. (Learn more about the difference between employee and contractor on these blogs: The Difference, and Confusion Surrounding Independent Contractors)
I began my working relationship with KAM/SD as I was approached by Sticky Rammel, who at the time was the marketing manager. He was looking to get some help designing/creating some new email advertising graphics and signage. He was given my name/number and we began a working relationship. The jobs started small, as you need to see if the working relationship is good, also the style & work was fitting for the client. This relationship continued, and more work followed. After a couple of years, KAM/SD was a top client for my freelance schedule/business. An opportunity came about to take on more work, only this time it would be offered an in-house, onsite full-time position for the Marketing Manager, as Sticky was also moving in a new direction. I have been onsite with KAM/SD since 2017 but began working with them in 2014. That would be almost 4 years/7 years.
What is the biggest challenge in your career?
Most recently, COVID. Like so many that this has affected, COVID definitely caused me to think differently & adapt. The business for KAM & Stephanie Dawn has been interesting in the fact that a new way of advertising & promotions, has taken a turn. All the elements that advertising professionals know & live every day, are constantly changing, but COVID has forced us all to rethink how we can promote.
You must always be a forward thinker, out-of-the-box, a different perspective, provide passion behind the purpose. Every second that ticks by, all things become outdated. Something new is always happening, a new upgrade to your program, a new tool to use for your editing program, new contact for that media company you have worked with… being able to adapt to change is also a challenge.
COVID has caused the need for us to pursue digital advertising on an entirely new level. I have learned so many new things that will complement the knowledge & skills that are required to be a player in the game of e-commerce, branding & advertising. Just like the layers of knowledge & skill that are needed for graphic design, add another layer… digital. Promotion planning across social media platforms, websites, apps, mobile phones, television & radio all require attention to detail, forcing a more planned campaign to drive results. From the colors used, headline, font choices, photo, videos, testimonials & interactions. The days of print (brochures, handouts, cards) are not dead but are slowly going to the wayside, especially with so many being “green” or adapting to a minimalist lifestyle, it really causes you to get creative with your marketing. Graphic Design is not “dead” just adapting to a new way of life.
Share a professional success.
“I will own my own business one day. I will bring the ability of amazing design to businesses that are eager to use it & grow their own efforts.” I knew this growing up, and it became more apparent as a student in High School. I wanted this dream so badly. The ability to be your own boss, your own talents on display & used by others to gain advancements in their own businesses.
In 2011, I began my own freelance, graphic design business called “Real Cre8tive”. Real Cre8tive helps businesses by designing cre8tive solutions for your marketing & advertising needs. This is done by providing cost effective solutions, delivering on time & not only meeting, but exceeding the customers expectations.”
Along the way, I have been able to use my wide range of work experience, meet & network with some of the best in business. I have been able to challenge myself with different needs & goals from clients. My work experience has helped me to develop my skills, be observant of trends, build my network of connections, collaborate with others, offer insight & goal setting. All of these things combined help to create the timeline for each & every job. I continue to work with clients, producing print/media graphics, billboard designs, logo work & more while being in my current position at KAM.
Tell us about your family.
I am married and have 2 children! 🙂 My husband, Nick, & I… are both each other’s “High School sweetheart”. We both graduated HS from Lincolnview (1999 & 2001). We were married in 2004. We will be celebrating 17 years of marriage, and 22 years together!
Nick is a career mail carrier for the USPS and has been with them for over 20 years. He is a great leader at his job and brings an element of “take no crap” that I value wholeheartedly & wish I had more of that myself. He is full of character & plenty of 1 liners that keep me laughing every day. He works hard for himself & his family. He enjoys rock music, sports, basketball & football, being outdoors & riding his motorcycle. Our daughter, Kendall is a lovely 14-year-old 8th grader who is smart & works hard. She loves to be creative, is a cheerleader, runs cross-country, and has a big heart to be a helper and to include all of those around her. Our son, Zander, is a rowdy, athletic 12-year-old in 6th grade. He is strong, smart & fast. I say fast as he loves to run & is competitive. He enjoys playing video games, basketball, and running cross country. As for myself, I am a stickler for a clean house & keeping things tidy, I enjoy listening/dancing/singing music of all genres, being outdoors, I have a love for animals, also motorcycle riding, attending kickboxing classes & watching sports.
What is one thing no one knows about you?
At some point, I would LOVE to be a motivational speaker! This is a feat that does not come easy or lightly, especially in the COVID era & the fact that I do get very nervous when speaking in front of others – but I still enjoy the rush! I would love to be able to just fill up a room with some perspective, optimism, thought-provoking ideas, team bonding, and of course some laughter!