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The Team

Samantha Rufo, President

Visionary, Storyteller, Intuitive, Demanding, Fun, Passionate, Curious, Computer Geek, Hostess, Skier

Sam is a catalyst. She started nxtConcepts and myMarketingGuide.com with a mission. This mission is a collaborative mix of strategy, communications, design and technology that are the company's cornerstones. Sam's penchant for great strategy, big ideas and up-tempo client service is ideally suited to the vigorous, entrepreneurial environment that small businesses operate in. 

Samantha started working in the ski industry in 1996 as the Marketing & Sales Director at Mad River Mountain, OH. For 7 years she was an active force in creating integrated marketing & technology programs. Many ski runs and an armful of awards later, she won a reputation for pushing the boundaries of traditional marketing thinking and program development.  In 2004 she transitioned from her management position at this Peak Resorts facility to President of nxtConcepts. She has successfully managed hundreds of campaigns using both traditional and new media. Including: targeted loyalty programs, Millennials, Gen X & Baby Boomer programs, group programs, frequent guest programs, first time programs, joint marketing programs, and internet marketing programs. 

As the President of nxtConcepts she has been the driving force behind developing the company's goals, objectives, policies, and initiatives for the short term and long term growth and profitability of the organization. Besides keeping a hand in the day-to-day work, she also directs the business development, marketing, sales, and human resources.

Samantha is a great believer in giving back to the community. She has served on the Board of the Greater Columbus Habitat for Humanity as the PR Director, the Columbus Chapter of the American Marketing Association as the VP of Communications, and is currently the President of Social Media Club, Columbus.

In addition to working with clients, she is also a published author and an active and outspoken public speaker on Interactive Marketing.  Interested in having her speak at your business or event?  Find out more here.

 

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Stewart Jensen - VP & Partner

Adman, Analytics, Keen Eye, Creative, Sailor, Skier

The consummate "adman", Stew has a passion for building brands that push creative boundaries without sacrificing the core positioning that connects them to their audiences. Analytics and key performance indicators are never far from mind. Converting brand interest into sales results through clear pathways to purchase is always a priority. A keen eye for detail and a refined aesthetic has made him a strong creative ally for both clients and the designers he works with.

The outdoors and snowsports have been an integral part of Stew's life, literally since birth. Growing up with a father in the ski industry, Stew lived at various resorts in New York and Vermont. He started riding in a backpack with his father as an infant and ended up on his own skis by 18 months old. Stew attended a ski racing academy while in high school and has worked as both a ski rep and a ski instructor while in college. With the desire to follow in his fathers footsteps, Stew went to University of Vermont and focused on Ski Area Management with a minor in Small Business Management. After graduating in 1990, Stew's first "real" job was working at Stowe Mountain Resort in the sales and marketing department. After nearly 4 years at Stowe, the desire to pursue advertising and marketing on the agency side lead him to his current career passion.

Stew starting out in the ad agency field at Shark Communications in Burlington Vermont. After 3 years as an account executive at Shark, the desire to learn more and pursue bigger challenges led to a move to Boston. Starting out at Harpell/Martins, Stew thrived in the agency community in Boston and within 1.5 years had become the director of client services at DavisPartners. A whirlwind series of mergers with Greenberg Seronick and O'Leary and Allen + Gerritsen found him as V.P. and a strategic lead for the largest independent Ad Agency in New England. The desire to be close to the mountains and a second child on the way brought Stew back to his beloved Burlington where he joined Propeller Media Works, a local web development boutique, and focused on digital marketing.

The opportunity to join nxtConcepts will allow Stew to continue helping clients build powerful brands while leveraging a much broader and comprehensive suite of services to get their messages efficiently to market. nxtConcepts proven track record of satisfying customers and resulting high retention rates was particularly pivotal in driving the decision to join Sam. Stew looks forward to helping grow nxtConcepts’ capabilities in digital, resort marketing, and web strategy and solutions. In his new position, Stew will spearhead nxtConcepts’ business development efforts and the marketing of the nxtConcepts brand.

Client vertical experience: Resort and Tourism, Healthcare, Technology, B2B, Financial, and Consumer brands.

Sample Ski Clients: Killington VT, Mount Snow VT, Hunter Mountain NY, Schweitzer ID, Valdez Heli-camps AK, Stowe VT, Whiteface NY, Bolton Valley VT, Waterville Valley NH, Sunday River ME, Bromley VT, Gunstock NH, Peak'n Peak NY, Mountain Creek NJ, Shawnee Peak ME, Ski Vermont VT, Haystack Club VT, Windham NY, Burke VT, and Trapp Family Lodge VT.

Other Clients: Marriott, Best Software, BlueCross BlueShield, Fletcher Allen Hospital, SAM Magazine, EatingWell Magazine, Burton, Arrow Fasteners, Orvis, Revision Eyewear, Synergy Software, Vermont Public Radio, Line Skis, Solidworks, Redington Fly Rods, Crystal Springs Resort, Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Dale of Norway, and Special Olympics Vermont.

Stew is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Burlington YMCA and the University of Vermont Alumni Association (Chair of the Vermont Chapter). He enjoys spending time with his wife and two boys sailing on Lake Champlain in the summer and skiing in the winter.

 

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Jim Rufo - Operations Director

Loyal, Follow-thru, Spreadsheet Master, Mixologist, Golfer, Skier

Jim keep everything moving at nxtConcepts.  Whether its invoices, trade shows or processes, he makes sure to see it through until the very end.  Another University of Dayton graduate, he hung around a few years longer to go to Law School. 

A dynamic, creative, and results driven professional offering 25 years of experience in the beverage alcohol industry. Demonstrated skills in organization, team building, programming, planning and project management. Excellent communication skills with individuals at all levels. Self-starter with the ability to set realistic priorities and complete multiple, complex projects simultaneously. Skilled in marketing, business and product development to improve market share, increase revenue and profitability. Successful experience stimulating growth through the transmission of vision into reality, mission into action.

He's the "go to" guy for alcohol and beverage management.

 

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Dominic Russo - Creative Director

Artist, Dad, Ideas, Values, Spirit, Tenacious, Boy Scout

Dominic is responsible for spirited creative. He has twelve years of agency experience and over twenty years of experience in advertising and graphic design. His unique background which includes print, photography, corporate identity, web, and broadcast makes him a seasoned Creative Director. Dominic's inspirational fountain is fortified daily by his wife Christine and his four "highly creative" children.

Dominic received his BFA from The University of Dayton, and his Post-Baccalaureate in Education from Cleveland State University. Dominic's painting work has been show cased in The May Show (Cleveland Museum of Art) as well as local galleries. His advertising work has been awarded an Addy by The Cleveland Advertising Club. He's a contributing member of AIGA Design Education Association, which comprises educators at the college & postgraduate levels who address issues of curriculum, school accreditation, program development and teaching standards; as well as The Icograda Education Network (IEN) which brings together the worldwide community of graphic design educational institutions - for exchange, sharing, collaboration, and advancement of teaching methods and research opportunities.

 

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Bill Gavin - Media Buyer

Storyteller, Spark, Planner, Candid

Bill builds custom radio and tv networks designed to take advantage of the top rated media outlets in each market that fit each client's demo and footprint of their trading zone. "Bill knows radio".  Here's just a few of the places he's been before we knew him.

  • Director of Sales, Radio Networks, Midwest at Clear Channel Corporate
  • General Sales Manager at CBS Radio
  • General Sales Manager at Jacor Communications
  • Sales Manager at Jacor Communications
  • Account Manager at Nationwide Communications

 

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Shawn Hilyard - Marketing & Social Media Manager

Ideas, Energetic, Self-Reliant, Organizer, Spirit, Skier

A New Jersey native, Shawn knows details and how to keep a project on track. 

Need to track social media?  Need a Facebook landing page app?  No matter what the detail, Shawn always has it under control.

 

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Justin Turner - Sales Director

 

Born in the Bronx , raised in New Jersey, schooled in California, Justin now calls Ohio home.  His Dad even had a farm in upstate NY. That meant in the summers he'd take on the job as a farmer (he can shovel cow crap with the best of them). It was college that called him to the West Coast to go to UCLA on a wrestling scholarship.  But his wife Molly that brought him back to NJ and eventually Ohio.  Justin's sales experience is quite impressive.  When he worked in the steel industry, he was used to closing million dollar deals.

Justin keeps the sales programs and materials on track for nxtConcepts.  Famous for his 30 minute sales calls and very high close ratios, he's fond of reminding us, "Just say your piece and SHUT UP."  Justin's experience and talent are evident in the tremendous sales growth nxtConcepts has seen since his arrival.

For questions contact us  888-215-0820 .

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