— 12.10.15 —

SHS Partner Lynell Stucky Retires

Strategist and storyteller brought marketing discipline to SHS 25 years ago.

  • December 10, 2015

SHS Partner Lynell Stucky Retires

lynellstuckycolor_news_detailStorytelling is a marketing buzzword in 2015. Yet at Sullivan Higdon & Sink (SHS), “storytelling” for brands is nothing new, thanks in large part to Lynell Stucky, who spent the last 25 years weaving brand tales for the firms’ clients.

Stucky, one of three managing partners at the branding firm, is retiring at the end of December 2015. Stucky’s transition continues a well-planned succession of leadership at the 145-person branding agency.

A Newton, Kan., native, Stucky, 63, joined SHS in 1991 as the agency’s first director of marketing. At that time, SHS only had one office in Wichita. Although it was thriving, it needed to find a competitive edge. According to retired SHS founder Al Higdon, hiring Stucky was momentous in the agency’s history because he was the first to formally bring the concepts of market research and strategy to the creative process.

“He was reading BrandWeek magazine before I knew what a brand was,” said Higdon. “Lynell was always a measured, thoughtful, strategic thinker. He added a dimension in marketing we didn’t have but very much needed.”

“I was charged with bringing new thinking to the agency – client-side marketing thinking. Along the way, I fell in love with agency life,” said Stucky.

SHS managing partner Rand Mikulecky says Stucky helped transform SHS. “When I think of game-changing moments for SHS, Lynell has been at the core of so many of them. He uprooted his family to move to KC in 1999 to help grow our office, and he was part of big client wins that broke the ground for us to enter new categories that have taken our company to new heights,” said Mikulecky.

Stucky reflected on the decision that designated him the initial head of SHS’ then fledgling Kansas City office. “I took on such a wider role of responsibility focused on growing an office, developing people and winning new business and creating new jobs,” said Stucky. “Then, win after win, it drew our team closer together. Those were some defining years.”

The agency will continue to be managed by managing partners Tom Bertels and Rand Mikulecky, and co-CEOs John January and Ali Mahaffy, who oversee the agency’s three offices in Wichita, Kansas City and Washington, D.C. Supported by a leadership team comprised of five vice presidents, they work closely with the agency principals to help manage the $126-million agency. The team’s most recent hire was a vice president of finance.

A lifelong Formula 1 race car fan and a stickler for pristine audio, Stucky will find both a source of entertainment during his off time. When asked about what’s at the top of his list come retirement, he said, “I may learn to solder and build my own tube amplifier for my stereo system. And I can watch all those late-night Formula 1 races live. I’ll enjoy it because I know the agency is in good hands.”

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