Leadership

Hating sheep is hard work. It's about art and science. Certainty and hunches. Tenacity and flexibility. SHS is led by individuals who have a knack for helping SHSers (and clients) balance those forces to engineer strategies, ideas, products, applications, experiences, events and companies that are genuinely remarkable.

  • Rand Mikulecky - Managing Partner, Kansas City
  • Sam Williams - Managing Partner, Wichita
  • Tom Bertels - Managing Partner, Wichita
  • Lynell Stucky - Managing Partner, Kansas City
  • John January - Senior Vice President-Executive Creative Director
  • Ali Mahaffy - Senior Vice President-Director Brand Management
  • Jim Vranicar - Vice President-Director Brand Contact
  • Scott Flemming - Vice President-Creative Director
  • Lathi de Silva - Vice President-Director Brand Reputation
  • Brock Campbell - Vice President-Group Director Brand Management
  • Scott McCullers - Vice President, Public Affairs, Washington, D.C.
  • 7 Ways to Hate Sheep - The Values That Lead Us.
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Rand Mikulecky

Managing Partner, Kansas City

Rand has been with SHS for more than 25 years. In that time, Rand has worked with many of the agency’s most successful accounts including Borden Cheese, Cargill, Cessna Aircraft, Coleman and Merial Limited. Today, Rand is responsible for fostering great agency/client relationships and ensuring that the agency team has the resources needed to drive our clients’ businesses. Rand might be an account type, but he has a family full of creatives. His wife was a partner in a nationally renowned graphic design firm; his son is an award-winning photographer; and his daughter is an aspiring dancer. They must rub off on him because even our executive creative director will admit Rand has some pretty good ideas from time to time. Conversation starters with Rand: golf, cigars, golf, airplanes, golf and Wisconsin football.

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Sam Williams

Managing Partner, Wichita

Sam grew up in Alaska. Seeing the forces of nature at their untamed best can teach a guy a few things. Such as, when powerful forces shift, change is inevitable. So you may as well do what you can to make them work in your favor. CFOs are expected to be conservative. But no one embraces change more than Sam. To that end, it was Sam who, years ago, led SHS to a head start in the digital world. And it was Sam who helped drive us from traditional silos to our integrated team structure. Today, Sam is working on innovative compensation ideas that maximize the value SHS provides for clients. He’s also a dedicated community leader who, in his spare time, runs marathons and flies airplanes. Yeah, he’s manly like that.

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Tom Bertels

Managing Partner, Wichita

Tom joined the Navy right out of high school and became an air controlman. Later, he went to work for the FAA as an air traffic controller. But, as he’ll tell you, Ronald Reagan had him fired. So what does one do after a high-stress job like that? Advertising, naturally. With his advertising degree in hand, Tom managed accounts for numerous companies including AlliedSignal Aerospace (now Honeywell), Beechcraft and Duncan Aviation. He even started his own Kansas City-based agency, which merged with SHS in 1997. Tom is the leader of the band, both literally and figuratively, in Wichita. Not only does he oversee the management of our Wichita-based operation, he also leads a more than decent garage band.

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Lynell Stucky

Managing Partner, Kansas City

Lynell loves learning about what makes people tick. Why do they buy steaks? Or cheese? Or aircraft engines? It's this intrinsic curiosity that has driven Lynell to build a vast and eclectic music collection that, as a notorious night owl, he listens to until the wee, wee, wee hours. Why should you care? Well, turns out, Lynell does his best thinking after 2 a.m. Whether he's listening to Chet Baker, Joni Mitchell or Massive Attack, few strategic challenges survive one of Lynell's late-night think tanks. During the daylight hours, Lynell works with our brand strategists to help set the brand positioning and strategic direction for SHS clients. It's also worth noting that Lynell spent part of his career in product development at Pizza Hut. He's partly responsible for the now infamous KenTacoHut, for which we hope you'll forgive him.

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John January

Senior Vice President-Executive Creative Director

John sent some film, unsolicited, to the Sci-Fi Channel. They called back and asked for a campaign. John told one of the largest companies in the world that they needed homemade signs on telephone poles. They listened. John created a podcast. Business Week wrote about it. John’s creative work has been featured in The One Show, Communication Arts, Creativity, Archive, Print, The U.S. Ad Review and at the national ADDY® Awards. Today, as our executive creative director, John leads the charge for creative excellence throughout our organization and has a penchant for working quantum physics into dinner conversation whenever possible. When he’s not working with brands, he’s talking about them on American Copywriter, an Ad Age Power 150 blog, or on the American Copywriter podcast, which is one of the first and most influential advertising podcasts in the brief history of its genre. Occasionally, people have questions for him.

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Ali Mahaffy

Senior Vice President-Director Brand Management

Ali is the kind of person who makes coming to work fun every single day. Not because of her charm (although she is very charming), but because she is an expert at getting to know clients’ businesses and making sure the agency is living up to clients’ expectations. She’s a formidable strategist, a tenacious defender of smart thinking and a true ambassador for the SHS brand. Somehow, she finds the time and the energy to be a community leader, too. She was recently selected by a panel of her peers to be part of the prestigious Women Who Mean Business group. Ali came to SHS from H&R Block in 2001. She immediately made the creatives insanely jealous by flaunting the Gold CLIO she won as part of the team that launched Block’s new logo and identity standards system in 2000.

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Jim Vranicar

Vice President-Director Brand Contact

Jim is likely the world's foremost authority on late-'90s post-punk music, but that's not why we hired him. Jim's skill in media strategy and planning helped transform Sonic Drive-In into one of the most successful restaurant chains in the country. Jim also has the persuasive powers to get great strategy sold through multiple layers of stakeholders. When it was time for SHS to find a new director of brand contact (most agencies call it media), our list was exactly one name long. Fortunately for us, Jim was agreeable. Since that time, Jim has touched every brand in the SHS stable. We think we're lucky to have him, and we know our clients agree.

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Scott Flemming

Vice President-Creative Director

With Scott Flemming, the American Dream of starting out in the equivalent of the mailroom and ending up at the top is alive and well. More than a decade ago, Scott came to SHS as a lowly package designer. But his tireless drive and vast creative talents wouldn't keep him there for long. Within a year, his advertising was featured in Adweek. And with a steady stream of hits in prestigious national and international publications including Advertising Age, Archive, Communication Arts and Creativity (to mention a few), promotions followed in short order. Today, Scott's considerable talents inspire other creatives to constantly be on the lookout for big ideas across the media spectrum. And then to execute them in strategic, yet beautiful, ways. When he's not successfully building brands for SHS clients, Scott enjoys drawing robots and spending time with his wife and children.

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Lathi de Silva

Vice President-Director Brand Reputation

For Lathi, Planet Earth is one giant global playground. A native of Sri Lanka, Lathi has immersed herself in the diversity of cultures the world over, giving SHS an even richer viewpoint when it comes to global affairs. Lathi leads the agency's mission to provide strategic public relations for clients in both business-to-business and consumer segments. Lathi also heads up the agency's own communications efforts for local, regional and national exposure. Lathi's expertise includes brand reputation and crisis management, social media outreach, and brand building through integrated campaigns. She is accredited in public relations and is a former president of the Kansas Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. At home, she enjoys relaxing with her husband, Paul, and officiating lightsaber duels between her two young boys, Luc and Ian.

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Brock Campbell

Vice President-Group Director Brand Management

This Springfield, Mo., native worked his way up from a production intern to a full-fledged account guy who can still wield an X-ACTO™ knife with ninja precision. Brock cut his marketing teeth working on the retail side for Walmart, the largest grocery retailer in the United States. So, it's only natural that he would help lead our food business accounts. While Brock can grow facial hair faster than ZZ Top, his real talent is growing brands. Something he's done quite well for the past several years at SHS with Cargill Meat Solutions. When he's not hanging out with his wife, April, and his daughter and son, Careena and Garrett, he's been known to call teammates pretending to be a client with an impossible deadline. (Normally, we don't encourage the torture of staff members, but this is all in good fun.) Bottom line? Brock is definitely on the list of people you want on your team.

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Scott McCullers

Vice President, Public Affairs, Washington, D.C.

On his way to grad school, Scott detoured for a temp job on Capitol Hill, delivering copies of bills to Senate offices. A couple of decades later, he's still delivering on The Hill. Delivering powerfully influential public relations and advocacy work, ever since his early days with Senators Daschle and Reid. And later as managing director at a leading D.C.-based communications firm. "Advocacy is telling the best story. And not always on a national stage. Real grassroots work is developing people on the ground to go to the local media." His national-award-winning PR work for SHS client Pratt & Whitney tells a story: It takes a lot of energy to grow the network and be top sheephater in Washington. So does surfing, skateboarding and keeping up with twins Henry and Caroline. Well, after all, sometimes you just have to stop and smell the cherry blossoms.

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7 Ways to Hate Sheep

The Values That Lead Us.

Be Collaborative: Collaboration and integration rhyme. Sort of. Work together.

Be Curious: Never stop learning. Never stop asking questions.

Be Odd: How can you expect to stand out if you don’t try new things?

Be Passionate: Care about what you do to a fault. Every day. 

Be Critical: Good is the natural enemy of great. Challenge yourself. Challenge your teammates. 

Be Smart:  You’re intelligent. So is your audience. Don’t insult them. 

Be Pure of Heart: Do everything for the right reason and success will follow.