FARMINGTON – The slick TV commercials airing for Aetna Insurance or UnitedHealthCare aren’t always produced in New York or Los Angeles.
They could just as well be a product of ThomasArts in Farmington, which celebrated its 10th anniversary late last week.
From a humble start in the basement of founder Dave Thomas’s home, the multi-media company now has clients that include those national insurance providers ђ and other brands known across the country.
Utah accounts include Zions First National Bank and Garff Automotive Group, among others.
From its 200 West two-story building near the Stephen’s Cocoa banner, the firm houses 100 local employees and has four satellite offices in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Minneapolis.
“We’re one of the only agencies where you can mix brand, digital and marketing,” Thomas said.
The interview with the Clipper was conducted just minutes before the 10-year celebration, for which far-flung employees were flown in.
The offices, designed in bright, vibrant colors and spaces by Thomas’s wife Kathi, was abuzz with energy.
It seemed to exemplify the culture of ThomasArts. Thomas, who calls himself CEO and problem solver, alluded to.
“Whether we’re mounting the mechanical equivalent of a raging bull, taking a shot to the head as part of a surprisingly intense session of human foosball or going to extreme lengths to win the annual Halloween costume contest (a pulley system to hoist an employee dressed as a condor), we know how to cut loose when the time is right,” information on the firm’s culture at its web site, thomasarts.com said.
“I’d say the average age of our employees is 30. We treat them as extended family. There is a lot of energy, talent and intelligence,” Thomas said.
There are typically up to a dozen applicants for every position that opens up, Thomas said.
“We’re as fast-paced as any agency in New York or Los Angeles, he said.
“As each employee comes on, they’ve taken a sense of ownership as theirs,” Thomas said. “We’re heavily into self-management. We give employees a lot of flexibility to do their jobs. They know their responsibility and roles and have to get that accomplished.”
To illustrate the company’s vision, he took a quote from Thomas Edison: “Vision without execution is hallucination.”
Similar to behemoth Adobe, which recently opened its offices in Lehi to much fanfare, everyone at ThomasArts shares an office, Thomas said.
Even the founder’s suite has an open wall. That accents the firm’s family start and continuation.
The founder’s son Troy, chief creative officer and officer of the president and problem solver, sits within earshot of his dad.
Another of the Thomas sons, Troy, brought writing expertise, brother Matt brought film and motion, and brother Brett came with an art background, their father said.
Anne Wood is part of the management team.
“I was interviewed for the job in the (Thomas) basement. He (Dave Thomas) handed me a box, said this is our clients’ work.”
She organized that and has been continuing to learn, overseeing organizational matters ever since, she said.
The New York native spoke of “Dave’s great ideas” that spawned the firm’s growth and development of its own culture.
It’s customers notice.
“They are tremendous, a perfect fit for us,” said Brian McCaul, vice president of product management at Zions Bank. “They are not just a client, but a full partner to the bank.”
Thomas, a vibrant 62-year-old, sees the company growing from a big player regionally to a mid-sized national agency player.
And he intends to be along for the ride. “I’m not a golfer,” he laughed.