Joseph Takach, CEO and founder, guides the overall creative direction and management of Meridian Group and Launch Interactive. A recipient of numerous awards for advertising excellence including AAF’s Silver Medal Award for Lifetime achievement. Joe knows what it takes to produce effective, results-driven advertising. He is a past President of the Advertising Federation of Greater Hampton Roads, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Virginia Beach Vision, Chesapeake Bay Wine Classic Foundation and Champions for Children. On the rare occasions when Joe’s not in the office, he often escapes to a local golf course or the islands with his family. Joe’s true passion for the advertising business results in a “Whatever-it-takes” attitude that drives Meridian Group.
Elizabeth took over the helm of The Meridian Group after spending her earlier days marketing national brands like Verizon, Sprint, and US West, with specific expertise in online marketing and website development. She was Director of Marketing for Homes.com, where she built marketing programs to increase sales productivity and to cost-effectively drive more homebuyers to Homes.com. Prior to Homes.com, Elizabeth was a Senior Marketing Manager with Washington Post. Newsweek Interactive, the interactive division of The Washington Post Company. There she developed online advertising programs, email marketing initiatives and brand awareness campaigns. Today she oversees an experienced team of developers, programmers, designers and social marketing specialists in guiding our clients through the constantly evolving world of interactive marketing. She is a graduate of William and Mary and has two growing daughters who are also constantly evolving.
Terry was the original co-founder and President of Kelley, Reilly & Smith Public Relations served as the public relations division of Meridian Group 22 years ago. Terry left the company in 1994 for the sports management business. He was an integral part of the creation of TeamLink in Atlanta where he served as Senior Vice President of Business Development. Under his guidance the company became the world’s largest sports information system and revolutionized the way information moved around the world to the nation’s media through web-based platforms. He returned to Meridian in 2004 after working with some of the biggest names in national media and sports administration and continues his relationships with many of them. Terry oversees all public and media relations efforts for the agency’s clients and leverages his large network of media contacts to garner the positive attention they deserve. It’s no secret that he remains an avid sports fan and his golf game isn’t too shabby either.
Director of Finance and Administrative Team Leader Brenda Rust brings invaluable leadership and over two decades of accounting experience to Meridian Group. In her role as financial director, she prepares timely and accurate financial reports for the agency’s management team and applies her problem solving skills to survey comparison reports that help direct the rest of the agency’s various teams. Brenda’s previous accounting experience, ranging from the construction industry to sport boat sales and repairs, provides a solid foundation for her position at Meridian Group. No stranger to long hours and multitasking, Brenda also manages human resources for the agency. When she’s not crunching numbers she is either cooking up a storm for her family or keeping Joe in check.
As a project manager, Bill brings along 25 years of advertising and public relations account management experience to Meridian Group. Bill’s responsibilities include overall strategic planning, coordination and implementation of integrated marketing strategies, day-to-day client communication, monitoring trends, and providing detailed ROI reporting and analysis. Before joining Meridian Group, Bill served as an account supervisor for a number of Virginia based agencies, where he managed clients such as Ferguson Enterprises, Norfolk Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Virginia Arts Festival. Bill is a graduate of Old Dominion University where he received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in Marketing and a minor in mass communication. When he’s not coordinating interviews or traveling the country you can find Bill somewhere on the Chesapeake Bay.
As Account Manager for Meridian Group’s corporate and public relations clients, Erin brings her precise attention to detail and high level of enthusiasm to the agency. She handles the day-to-day management of some of the agency’s most active clients. Although she spends a great deal of her time managing marketing efforts for the number one brand of outdoor power equipment in the world, she also oversees a number of accounts that focus on the more leisurely side of life. Erin’s disciplined approach to brand strategy allows her to manage the details without losing sight of the big picture. A graduate of Elon University with a bachelor’s degree in corporate and broadcast communications, Erin’s cheerful attitude and outgoing personality combine with her experience to produce superior client service skills. When she manages to escape from behind her desk or iPad you can find her on the beach with a cold beverage in her hand or headed to Vegas for another girl’s trip.
Jesse studied Digital Arts &amp; Design at Full Sail University, Winter Park, FL, and Advertising Design at Virginia Beach Tech Center where he was one of two designers from the United States selected to represent our nation in an International Logo Design Competition. He brings a solid understanding of design to an interactive world where code outweighed visual communication. After surviving a number of jobs with smaller web design firms he has joined The Meridian Group for the long term. Jesse has worked in many facets of design, including print, motion graphics, and interactive design is adept at translating abstract concepts into practical solutions. On nights and weekends he spends his time pretending to be a legendary blues guitarist.
In her role as Account Manager, Lindsay’s attention to detail and hard-working demeanor allow her to efficiently and effectively coordinate campaign development, perform qualitative and quantitative research, and coordinate with marketing and public relations teams to ensure all strategic and tactical initiatives are produced on time. Lindsay has also played a leadership role in developing brand strategy, positioning and packaging for a number of emerging consumer beverage companies. Prior to joining Meridian Group, Lindsay served as a marketing representative for Hoffman Beverage, where she executed all aspects of promotional campaigns and managed social media activities. Lindsay is a graduate of Old Dominion University with a bachelor’s degree in communication, with a focus in public relations.
Jordan leverages the creative, and content creation power contained within The Meridian Group to provide clients genius marketing solutions. Whether she’s overseeing a website redesign or a full-court advertising campaign, she provides transparent communication and does what it takes to boost KPIs.
Upon graduation from Old Dominion University, Jordan began her agency career navigating the ever-evolving trends and tech of the social media industry. When she’s not at the office, you can find her surfing off Sandbridge beach or sipping a cocktail with friends.
As a Digital Marketing Coordinator, Kerry is at the front lines of our clients’ digital communities. She manages Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest accounts, in addition she writes blogs for several agency clients. Part of managing these different accounts includes constantly engaging, participating in weekly Twitter chats, Google+ communities and more. Kerry keeps an eye on the social world and easily adapts social marketing strategies with the ever-changing rules taking place across all platforms. When she’s not eyeball deep in the social swamp, you can find her hanging out with her two dogs in front of the TV.
In her role as Public Relations Counselor, Amara leverages her communications background to support multiple clients and progress media relations. She found her home at Meridian after a summer internship where she learned the importance of hard work and enthusiasm. She has a bachelor’s degree in communication studies concentrating in public relations with a minor in human resource development and instructional technology from James Madison University.
Through her education and work experience, she discovered her passion for PR while working with sports organizations and non-profits. When Amara is not hard at work, she can be found hiking the great outdoors or inside consumed by a HGTV marathon.
Merrill’s passion for public relations and marketing has developed through her work in communications, social media and sales. She joined the agency after working at a local non-profit organization managing their social media platforms and marketing to expand the organization’s service area. Merrill received her Bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University where she enjoyed the mountains and more than 300 days of sunshine a year. After college Merrill moved to Virginia Beach where she has been enjoying the beautiful beaches and warmer weather. In her spare time, Merrill loves running at First Landing State Park, watching Dateline or spending time with her family and boxer, Lily May.
As an Art Director/Designer, Christina brings passion, innovative thinking and a fresh outlook to her designs for every client she has the opportunity to work with. Before becoming a part of the Meridian Group team, Christina honed her skills in brand management and creative, conceptual thinking through positions at Bohlsen Restaurant Group and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York. She is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design. After a few years in New York, she decided to make the move to Virginia to enjoy warmer weather and some southern hospitality. In her spare time, you can find Christina enjoying a nice glass of wine, diving into her next DIY project, or spending time with her family and Siberian husky, Nellani.
Denise K. Myers is the Media Director who spearheads media research, planning and buying of traditional and non-traditional media for a variety of accounts. Her 12+ years of planning expertise ranges from a national to a local perspective, from automotive, professional services, retail/gaming, hotel/hospitality and B2B niche marketing. Denise is a strategic thinker and storyteller capable of generating meaningful audience insights and developing innovative campaign ideas. She earned her undergraduate degree at Loyola University in Maryland, and her MBA at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
Christopher Newport University graduate from Loudoun County, VA. I grew up in the sticks but am a beach girl at heart! I started my professional career in Radio Promotions then moved on to agency life after graduating college. As a member of the media team I assist in marketing client brands in creative and effective ways across multiple platforms. I am a lover of good food, music and craft beer! When I am not at work I can be found at the beach or watching Real Housewives.
As the new Executive Assistant at Meridian Group, Devon Williams plays a very diverse role within the agency. In addition to working alongside Joe, she coordinates company events, assists with hospitality needs and handles a variety of other internal affairs. Devon attended college in Pinehurst, NC, graduating with a degree in Respiratory Therapy and has also worked in customer service for many years. Despite her Virginia Beach roots, she is a country girl at heart and when she’s not working, can be found enjoying the outdoors with her two beagles puppies!
Dave Flatley is Meridian Group’s Senior Web Developer. He’s been building websites and applications for Fortune 500 corporations as well as small start-ups since 1999. At Meridian Group, he's responsible for building, maintaining, and monitoring new and existing client websites, databases, and applications as well as providing nerdy advice in general.
Dave is also a published technical author who's created many highly visible articles, sample applications, and examples for the Adobe Developer Connection, and Zend Developer sites. When he’s not coding, he’s either playing guitar, reading, drawing, grilling, mountain biking, fishing, or hanging out at the beach with family and friends.
Liz joined the Merdian Group as an Account Manager, and drives strategic growth for clients through effective communication, loyalty to brand positioning and exceptional attention to detail. Her experience managing global campaigns allows her to provide strategically-sound solutions through all phases of a project, from proposal and conceptual designs, to implementation and assessment. Liz’s commitment to extensive analysis allows her to provide further recommendations that will deliver results.
Prior to joining Meridian Group, Liz implemented international partnerships with the world’s leading airlines and online travel companies. She is the recipient of multiple Travel Weekly Magellan Awards and Business Travel Awards for her work in the online travel sector. Liz graduated Magna Cum Laude from American University in Washington, DC. In her free time, she can be found outside: playing in the sand, snowboarding, golfing, SCUBA diving, riding motorcycles, or enjoying local cuisine and wine in a remote corner of the world.
Emily learned the ins and outs of agency life after completing a summer internship with Meridian Group. She now serves as Public Relations Assistant and assists the PR team in generating media coverage for a variety of clients. Emily is a graduate of Old Dominion University where she obtained a degree in English and a minor in Communications. In her spare time, she loves traveling to new cities, hanging out on Sandbridge Beach, and enjoying a cold craft beer.
After spending nearly 20 years as a news anchor and reporter, Vanessa transitioned her broadcast communication skills and broad, multi-platform media experience into the Public Relations realm. She now serves as a Public Relations Counselor for The Meridian Group. As part of the PR team, Vanessa helps to both foster positive ‘brand recognition’ and develop strategies to generate media coverage for clients all while growing relationships with contacts. Vanessa prides herself on community involvement and philanthropy and looks forward to continuing her support of the many local non-profits and foundations with which she’s been involved over that last decade in Hampton Roads. When not working the phones to pitch a story, you’ll find Vanessa serving as MC for local events, enjoying red wine, karaoke, the beach, CrossFit, and cooking up new and unique Paleo recipes.
Amber Kennedy joins Meridian from the Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Newport News, where she served as the Director of Marketing responsible for public relations for nearly three years. Prior to that, she spent seven years as a reporter, copy editor and page designer in newsrooms in Harrisonburg, Staunton and Williamsburg. She graduated from Christopher Newport University with a bachelor’s degree in English with a Journalism concentration and a minor in art history. In her spare time, Amber loves admiring and creating art, eating cheese in all its forms, and guessing the clues on Jeopardy.
Creative Director and self-proclaimed Problem Solver, Jeff possesses a unique ability to see both sides of the advertising equation. He spent over 4 years with the agency, immersing himself into a variety of business segments including travel and hospitality, consumer products, B2B and a few cause marketing efforts. After several years building brands for a large corporate entity in Virginia Beach, he's now back home for his second tour and couldn't be happier.
Being in the corporate world for "too long," has given him a newfound appreciation for the diverse work and clients he gets to work with on a daily basis. His focus includes brand strategy, concept development and interactive solutions backed by research and data with measurable results.
When not at the agency, his time is spent doing anything outdoors. The writings of Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone, whose book "Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude," has laid the groundwork for keeping frustrations to a minimum in his conquering yesterday's technology: old Chevy pickups and building vintage Harley Davidson motorcycles.
James’ strengths lie in his ability to cross disciplines without the baggage of a rigid personal style, and this versatility has seen his work used to drive advertising, branding, editorial, digital, and packaging projects. His experience as the Brand Marketing Creative Design Intern for Nike at their world HQ in Oregon allowed him the opportunity to help elevate one of the most recognizable brands in the world. He brings a problem solving approach to every design problem in order to provide the most effective solution possible.
A vivid imagination, keen eye for detail and desire to create first brought Nathan into the world of video and film. Since then he’s enjoyed over 10 years of post-production experience for a wealth of advertising, corporate and governmental clients - working in your backyard and across the globe. Thrilled by the exciting, ever-evolving media & technology landscape, Nathan seeks to push the limits of media that Meridian Group can provide to clients
There’s a perfect word out there for everything and Grant is on a mission to discover each and every one. Imbued with a love of writing and storytelling, he puts his passion to use creating inventive and compelling content for all of the agency’s clients. Before his time at the agency Grant did freelance work creating social media posts, blogs, and website copy for clients in Richmond, and was previously a Project Manager for an agency in Virginia Beach.
Outside of the agency Grant continues to hone his creative skills in the form of writing graphic novels and short stories. He is also a fan of all things media related and enjoys discovering new music, movies, television, and games. As an avid fan of the band Muse, he regularly attends concerts and can talk about the band and their music at length when prompted. When he isn’t in the house Grant can be found exploring new places and things around the state and looking for exciting new trips or adventures.
As a project manager, Ashley is responsible for facilitating client marketing campaigns from concept to delivery. Prior to joining Meridian Group, she worked as a video producer creating content for local and national brands.
Ashley has a passion for the creative business. She labels herself a collector of stories and is always up for an adventure. While she has a habit of hopping around the world, she always returns home to Virginia Beach.
You can spot her around town sweating it out at hot yoga or hanging on the water with friends.
Crystal manages traffic and production for a multitude of the agency’s clients with an expertise in print after spending several years in the commercial print industry. Her vast knowledge of prepress, printing standards and promotional products allows her to ensure client deliverables exceed all quality, cost and deadline expectations. Besides just keeping track of our projects, from quoting to billing, her knowledge of print and design programs have made her an overall valuable asset. While she isn’t in the office, she enjoys spending time with her family at her son’s soccer games, the beach, or wherever they decide to venture.
As a Public Relations Assistant, Sarah utilizes her passion and positive attitude as she generates media coverage for clients. Before joining the team at The Meridian Group, Sarah gained experience in community relations, marketing and event planning through positions at the Norfolk Tides Baseball Club and the United States Collegiate Athletic Association. Sarah graduated from Old Dominion University with a Master’s in Education with a concentration in Sport Management. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys attending as many country concerts as possible, cheering on the ODU Monarchs and hanging with her golden retriever, Chief.