WE ARE CENTERLINE
We are a content marketing agency with a passion for resolving complex communications challenges with strategic and creative digital content.
Centerline is 100% organic.
It’s how we’re built, and how we approach our relationships. We’ve grown from two employees to over 80, all without a single loan or investor, and we’re still taking on crew.
Oh, and we’re eco-friendly, too.
We are who we are.
We’re a random but talented bunch driven by industry savvy and wickedly creative minds. Around here, we count on insight from every member of the team. You may see a 3D motion designer talking business strategy with a VP. Or a director helping improve the project management cycle. But what you’re sure to find is the fresh, compelling content we create.
It's not about what we do.
It’s about doing it better every time. From staying ahead of digital technology trends to reducing our energy footprint, we think it’s our duty to evolve. That’s why we’re constantly innovating how we work and what we produce.
Our standards are pretty high.
We live for accountable creative strategy driven by a fierce competitive streak. Because we don’t want more of more, we want more of better.
That goes for our people, our clients and our work.
We’re looking for a long-term relationship.
Once we deeply understand your communications challenges, we align ourselves with your functions and processes to work like an extension of your in-house marketing team. The longer we work together, the more efficient we become — ultimately creating economies of scale by removing the learning curve that comes with each new project. Working this way has enabled us to form decade-long client partnerships. And we're cool with that.
We treat your money like our own.
We're problem solvers who live for finding innovative, creative ways to distill and deliver the most complex messages. But we also know every business has constraints — so we share your obligation to create effective content quickly and within the boundaries of your budget.
Our work is never done.
We craft the strategy, write the scripts, direct the shoots, create the animations, design the sites and develop the code. But we don't stop at content creation, we follow projects long after execution. We want to know: How well did the tactic work? How can we do it better next time? We bring a unique approach to corporate communications — this approach is what sets us apart.
We love coming to work.
Nestled in Raleigh's Glenwood South district, our 30,000 sq. ft. renovated warehouse space is home to some of the sharpest minds in the industry.
It takes a lot of human fuel to create kickass digital content, so we work hard to keep our team comfortable and happy.
Our office houses a green-screen studio with full production and sound design capabilities, ample open work space to collaborate and the best design and animation technology in place so we always have the right tool for the job.
We really like each other.
Our people have mastered the art of blending raw talent with hard-earned industry chops. And luckily, we all like each other enough to share a drink (or two) after the work is done. A fully stocked kitchen and bar (complete with Guinness on tap and a pretty darn good wine collection) along with a few other perks and necessities keep the creative engines running smoothly at high RPMs.
Leading by example.
Senior UX Designer
When I was six years old I watched Nadia Comaneci win gold in the Olympics. In my eyes, she was not just a gymnast, she was a moving work of art. I wanted to be able to do what she did, so I spent hours everyday after-school teaching myself gymnastics in my backyard. I quickly discovered that the success of any move can depend upon the smallest gesture, like the flick of a wrist. Years later, when I studied art and design, I saw the same principle at work there: the difference between an ordinary product and an extraordinary one can consist in just the smallest details.
Today, my focus is to find those small details that can make all the difference between an ordinary user experience and an extraordinary one. At Centerline, I work with an amazing group of strategists, writers, designers, developers, filmmakers, and managers who can teach me, and help me to spot those details for our clients.
Associate Creative Director
With an oil painter for a mother and a photographer for a father, I never had a chance of becoming anything but a creative type. Some of my earliest memories include the smell of photo fixer and gesso — and seeing my parents glow when they froze a perfect moment in time.
Eventually I realized that a frozen moment could tell a thousand stories, depending on who was looking at it. It was my first lesson in context. At Centerline, context is my full-time job. Every day, I work with some of the smartest and most creative people in the industry. And everyday, I’m inspired to do more. Do better. Discover and create context around every story by asking, “who are we talking to and why should they care?”
By tirelessly chasing that answer, I can help my team build and deploy strategically solid and cohesive stories that become conversations —and ultimately, help make our clients make a difference.
As a French major with a minor in business, I always imagined I would end up as a professor or, perhaps, an ambassador. But then I landed a job at a consumer promotions agency and felt an immediate connection with the creative, solution-driven environment. Now that I live the agency life, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Growing up, I was the kid who was never afraid to ask questions (which got me into trouble more times that I can count). Fortunately, my unquenchable thirst to know “why” has turned out to be an extremely valuable asset, as I’m reminded with each project that it takes asking the right questions to find the right solution.
I thrive in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment and that’s why Centerline is the perfect home for me. At Centerline, we are constantly changing and evolving, which pushes my team and I to always find the best solutions for our clients. Our ability to see the possibilities in problems — the design in chaos — and the path to the finish line is what helps us bring our clients continuous success.
Cait Vlastakis Smith
Director of Strategy
I once raided my dad’s Craftsman tool chest, fished out the tools I needed and turned my family’s wok into a snow sled. (I was promptly grounded.) I still do this today, except I use digital tools to transform communication challenges in to user-centered experiences and meaningful messages. I’m fascinated by how people think and am constantly chasing down a deeper understanding of how technology is shaping the way humans communicate, interact with and absorb information online. As an unyielding user advocate, I believe the interconnected fields of decision science, user experience and content marketing are blowing the doors open to unprecedented opportunities in digital communication.
With roots in storytelling, business strategy and ux design, I collaborate with exceptionally talented colleagues and clients to design memorable brand experiences built on empathy, user research and business goals.
Executive Creative Director
I’ve always been an artist and a designer, driven by the power of communications — specifically, distilling complex information down to a simple idea or design. With a strong background in establishing brands and engaging conversations, the importance of making emotional connections and delivering value and not just information has always been a driver in what I do.
As a creative director at Centerline, I lead an agency full of problem solvers, so the question is never “can we?” but always “we could…” Discovering new solutions to age-old problems both in execution and delivery of the work is how we roll, and having a fluid process and collaboration of strategy, departments and client relationships is how we make it happen.
Director of Strategy
I’m an active listener, a problem-solver, a mediator and an advocate for people. I like to describe my role to others as the middle man between clients and end users, defining and achieving both business goals and customer expectations within the same project. How? It’s simple: by listening, and by asking the right questions.
While attaining my Master’s degree in Technical Communication at NC State, I studied the relationships between people and technology and the science of how people make decisions. I spent a few years designing digital communication before I realized that it’s the “why” behind design decisions that interest me more than any one-off polished end-product.
Some might call me an over-analyzer, but it’s this ongoing curiosity of human behavior and fascination with how people interact with technology that helps me to maintain a high-level view, ensuring different elements of a project–messaging, design, content, and technical–come together to create a memorable experience for an audience.
Creative Operations Director
Since a young age I have loved storytelling and technology. My goal was to become a 3D artist, but I hit a slight snag. In the words of a post-production professor, “everyone in this room is creative, artistic, and has a story to tell, but you are learning how to shoot and edit video because you can’t draw.” I edited my first short film in 9th grade and the rest is history.
The most challenging and rewarding thing about this industry is that it is constantly evolving. I work hard to maintain my status as an expert in video and post-production technology, always researching and pushing to find innovative ways to make Centerline better. The members of my team are extremely skilled, experienced, and just as driven. My expectations for them are almost as high as their expectations for themselves, and that’s how we do amazing, thought-provoking work.
Executive Account Specialist - IBM
As long as I can remember I’ve been surrounded by media and communications. When I was younger, I helped my father choose photographs for multimedia slideshow presentations, and I adjusted lights on video shoots. My production days turned into a successful film- and video-editing career. I still have a meticulous eye (and ear) for the smallest editing issues. The move to project management was a natural progression — I even keep a spreadsheet at home for weekly camp schedules and school lunch inventories. At work, I immerse myself completely in a client’s business. It gives me a deeper understanding of their communication challenges so that together we can overcome them.
As a principal at Centerline since the beginning, I’ve had the good fortune to work with extremely creative and resourceful people. Everyone here is driven to do good work. To continually evolve and take on the unpredictability of the industry and the digital space — and at the end of the day to say, “I created something that tells a good story”.
Senior Art Director
From an early age I knew I wanted to create things. I was always drawn to art and had the good fortune of hitting my stride just as computers and digital technology were becoming faster, cheaper and more widely used. I loved combining video and graphics to make things move, and the first time I saw my work on the “big screen” was probably the greatest moment of my career to date.
At Centerline, we’re constantly coming up with ways to innovate and stay ahead of trends in spite of limitations in technology. I rarely get the impression that things are stale; there’s always a new challenge to tackle. To that end, my focus is sharing my expertise with my team (the guys doing the heavy lifting). I guide them along through the journey of each project making sure they use their talents wisely and efficiently. Although, they’d probably say I mostly use my ninja-like skills to sneak up behind them and watch their work in progress.
Executive Creative Director
Part director, part writer, and the former lead singer of a touring punk rock band, you could say I have a different way of viewing the world. It’s a perspective that was sparked by growing up in a home filled with abstract art. And it was further honed by living in places like Vienna, Norway, Spain, Los Angeles, and Boston. All those different cultural inputs influence my unique way of capturing stories through the filmmaker’s lens.
My films are my way of exploring new ideas and using narrative as a tool to convey them — and they have been featured at festivals and galleries around the world. I put my passion to work daily at Centerline where I’ve written and directed thousands of customer testimonials, event videos, and product demo animations. In 1997, I was hired as the first employee at Centerline Digital. I feel fortunate everyday to be a part of a company that is innovative and passionate about exceeding clients’ expectations. At Centerline, my team and I blend experimental techniques with storytelling threads to deliver compelling pieces that ensure our clients are happy and successful.
In the early days at Centerline I was a project manager and a self-taught editor. I also managed everything from human resources to accounting to overall operations. That was 10 years ago. Now that we’ve grown from a handful of people to around 80, I use that experience to keep the business running smoothly.
Before Centerline, I helped lead my college basketball team into the NCAA tournament (go, Furman!), earning co-MVP honors in the process. I’m still committed to my team’s success. I take a lot of pride in our culture and work environment — my team and I are continually learning and working to solve the new challenges that each day presents.
Associate Creative Director
To me, there is nothing more motivating than seeing an audience have an “ah-ha” moment… to witness a transformation as a story unfolds. As a creative-minded problem solver specializing in dynamic media experiences, I strive to craft those moments through art and technology.
At Centerline, I get to collaborate with talented people in many different roles to help enhance customer experiences and ensure our clients’ stories are memorable. I help drive the development, planning and successful execution of concept-driven video campaigns and special events – whether it’s designing a seamless experience across a multi-display projection spanning 150′ or a quirky museum installation. The technology will evolve over time; but the craft of delivering a powerful story remains fundamental for creating a memorable experience for audiences.
At age seven, I dropped out of the girl scouts. It didn’t make sense to me that the troop always followed a parent’s lead and spent hours doing arts and crafts. It was at that moment that my parents realized I didn’t do so well with activities that involved “going through the motions” or following someone else’s lead. So they helped me join a competitive soccer team, where I quickly fell in love with the game for its emphasis on strategy, perseverance — and of course — taking actions into my own hands.
After graduating with a bachelor’s of journalism from the University of Missouri, I returned to my home in Denver to immerse myself in the growing ad agency market and quickly learned how to maximize my clients’ budgets, delivering a unique blend of strategy and efficiency. And over the past 10 years I’ve used that knowledge to manage integrated marketing campaigns for clients in a variety of industries, including: telecommunications, healthcare, IT and entertainment. At Centerline, I hold myself accountable for identifying the best, innovative mediums to engage audiences and create brand success for my clients.
Assistant Account Director
Although I started my career in television, my current role as an Assistant Account Director isn’t that far off from my beginnings. Each role has required the ability to not just communicate quickly, but effectively. At Centerline I get to spend my days finding companies that would be the perfect fit as a partner to Centerline – growing and developing our relationships with them so that we can help our clients achieve their business goals and attain long-term success. Viewing prospective clients as partners enables us to create working relationships that are rooted in more than delivery of assets, but rather in shared growth and development.
David “Rock” Schafermeyer
Senior Art Director
When I first saw the opening credits of the movie Se7en, I knew wanted to be an animator. Since then, I’ve spent my career creating animations and motion graphics for corporate video, Web, narrative film, television and interactive experiences. As one of the original Centerliners, I’ve spent more than 12 years honing my design style for clients like IBM while managing a multidisciplinary team of animators, editors, composers and 3D artists. I consider myself lucky to have found a career that lets me use my creativity. This industry is built on the unexpected, and my team lives for finding unconventional solutions for our clients’ communication challenges.
At home, I spend time improving my lifestyle by cooking and eating healthy foods. At Centerline, I continually push my team to raise the industry bar by building distinct, hardworking visual executions for video and multimedia projects with a focus on clean, precise design, and an emphasis on readability and dramatic motion.
Senior Business Strategist
For the past 20 years, I’ve been brewing my own special blend of strategic thinking through experience as a business analyst and as a digital marketer. It gives me unique perspective from two fronts. First, I’ve worked to dissect business plans from the outside, helping companies overcome big, sticky internal operations challenges. Second, as a veteran practitioner of digital marketing, I’ve helped top brands think differently about how they package themselves outwardly in order to get the right information to the right audience at the right time.
Most of my biggest and best ideas come when I am 35,000 feet up in the air – in the clouds. I like to think it’s because I enjoy getting altitude above a problem and thinking about it at a higher level. I spend my time at Centerline helping companies imagine farther and consider the benefits of the fringe and to think about their business in new ways – but always in a way that captures more value, more revenue or more customers.
Director, Activation Strategy
I started my career in technology and consumer public relations. For years, I managed global PR and sales teams, from Mexico City to Milan. I like to think I’m a good problem solver — I’m also a kickass speed-reader and I play a mean game of catch. I transitioned to marketing because I wanted to be more involved in the strategy behind the content, creative and messaging.
At Centerline, I work with incredibly smart, fun, talented and all-around-rad people that make me want to be MORE awesome every day. I work side-by-side with strategy, creative and project management teams to help define our clients’ short- and long-term needs and develop and execute communication strategies that support those business objectives and marketing goals.
Group Account Director
I got my first taste of commercial and digital production at BBDO in Atlanta where I got to work with some of the biggest brands in the world. I was immediately hooked. I’m a little schedule-obsessed, with a love for structure, so the need for organization and attention to detail suited my type-A personality just fine. But there’s another part of me that craves the creative mindset: collaboration, brainstorming and completely out-of-the-box thinking. In marketing, we have the opportunity to use strengths from both parts of the brain, which makes it an industry like none other.
Today, my focus is on building and maintaining strong internal and client relationships. At Centerline, I work to help my team read and understand our clients’ needs, and then go above and beyond to surprise and over-deliver for both existing clients and those on their first project. Producing beautifully creative work that effectively overcomes communication challenges is the best part of the job. That and working with some of the smartest, most creative people I know.
Executive Account Manager
On my wedding day, I put forth an order: No one comes to me with problems, only solutions! Admittedly, part of this statement was because I didn’t want the added stress. But more so, it’s because that mirrors my solution-driven approach to life. I address problems by finding answers, not by dwelling on the problem itself. And I use this drive and methodology to identify the best, innovative solutions for my clients.
A few of my first jobs in life — like working as a barista and a retail associate — taught me a thing or two about customer service, anticipating needs, and the importance of paying attention to detail. After that, I added PR experience while working with a variety of clients in healthcare, finance, business and IT. Those diverse experiences enable me to successfully lead client projects while mitigating potential landmines along the way. Over the years I’ve come to realize that the busier I am, the better I perform. At Centerline, my team and I work to uncover clients’ business goals, gain a strong understanding of their industry and focus on the nitty gritty details that make a project a success.
Associate Creative Director
After realizing my hopes of obtaining full time employment as a Ghostbuster were not likely – I turned towards my backup: filmmaking. I got my first video camera in the 3rd grade and haven’t stopped since. I attended UNC School of the Arts and majored in Filmmaking. Since graduating I have written, produced, and directed content for clients such as: National Geographic Channel, Food Network, Discovery Communications, and Travel Channel.
I have a passion for multi-platform storytelling. Digital media has given many different stages and outlets to communicate and I enjoy figuring out the best platforms for the right stories. At Centerline, I love being able to collaborate with amazing talent to figure out the best solutions for our clients. My approach is to identify the key points and takeaway of an idea, and transform that into content that is pertinent to the target audience.
Vice President - Account Management
There are a lot of misconceptions about what we do in this industry (and I attribute most of them to Mad Men). But to me it’s all about watching ideas grow and develop, and ultimately using those ideas to solve clients’ communication challenges. I started out on the creative side of those challenges — writing, editing, motion graphic design and multimedia production. This experience helps me see both the creative and business sides of projects, so our team can guide them from budget and workflow through execution.
A big part of my job today is building marketing solutions and driving strategic growth through client partnerships. At Centerline, we believe the most important thing to maintaining these relationships is listening so that together we can uncover effective solutions.
Founder & CEO
As the founder of Centerline, I consider myself fully accountable for the creative direction and quality of content that Centerline delivers. But my true expertise is problem-solving — specifically using both the right and left sides of my brain to find creative solutions to big business issues. Here at Centerline, we combine strategy and media elements to create compelling, immersive experiences that generate traffic and awareness. The chance to do that better every day keeps me coming to work.
Before founding Centerline in 1996, I was a power generation engineer for General Electric, providing energy solutions in developing countries of the Pacific Rim. Today I continue to expect the unexpected and work to always raise the bar for what we deliver to our clients.
Operations Manager, Accounts
While I started my career in graphic design, there are few things that I love more than a well-organized spreadsheet (like Post-it® notes, Sharpie® pens and amazing coffee). So I consider myself a true right- and left-brain person. Before joining the agency world I worked in higher education in various roles within marketing and communications. Now that I live the agency life, I have the best of both worlds: working with creative and project management teams. And I wouldn’t trade the daily opportunities for collaboration between my team and our clients for a lifetime supply of Post-its.
My team has described me as “sassy with a sprinkle of Southern charm”, so I work hard to live up to their expectations. I also strive to be both a leader and a mentor. While I am constantly multitasking at work, the concept took on a whole new meaning when I became a working mom. At Centerline, I share my commitment and intense work ethic with my team so we can create compelling digital campaigns and assets that resolve our clients’ toughest communication challenges.
Group Account Director
I guess you could say my background is pretty diverse — I double-majored in business management and microbiology. So naturally, I took a year off after college to focus on photography and work with horses. When I decided to get a “real job”, there was a production/office assistant position open at Centerline. Nearly a decade later, I’m still here — working to master the nuances of IBM’s business model, as well as the marketing needs of the various (and plentiful) IBM divisions.
I love that we have the daily opportunity to switch between right- and left-brain approaches to solve communications challenges from a variety of different angles. At Centerline, we believe that forming strong partnerships with clients is the only way to achieve their marketing and business goals. So with my unique blend of experience, an eye toward creativity, a tight grasp on budgetary concerns and old-fashioned common sense, I guide accounts to measurable success.
Vice President - Strategy/Creative
Watching TV as a kid, I used to run to the bathroom during the shows so I could make it back for the commercials. Those days launched me down a path that included layout and writing for the college paper; communications strategy for political campaigns; marketing strategy and graphic design for Gensler (a global design and architecture firm); and the implementation of new programming, animation and design techniques for Centerline.
Today I specialize in content marketing strategy and building digital deliverables to execute those strategies. But it’s about more than just creating killer digital content. At Centerline, we help clients succeed in the digital marketplace using a three-pronged approach: strategic (message creation, brand strategy), tactical (design, development), and analytical (measurement and adaptation). This experience-tested approach allows me to build campaigns that are both well-designed and effective for clients like IBM, DuPont and CEI.