If you stay in the same place long enough you realize how far you’ve come. On February 1, we’re leaving our home of 15 years, 1025 Vermont Avenue, to new offices across the street at 1100 Vermont Avenue NW on the second floor.
I built two companies at 1025 Vermont: BatesNeimand with my good friends Ross Bates and Armando Molina Bou, and then Neimand Collaborative, with equally great colleagues Dave Clayton and Sarah Hutchinson.
It took every cent we didn’t have to build out 1025 Vermont for a firm that was more a vision than a reality. Ross would have been happy with folding tables and milk crates for desks. Somehow Armando and I prevailed on Ikea furniture, Aeron chairs and colorfully painted walls. Unfortunately, it took us an entire week for Armando and me to assemble all the furniture. Ross never forgave me for the expense and Armando kept saying, “Why do I let jew get me into these things?” It’s strange, but Armando’s English is perfect with everyone but me.
But it was worth it. The other day Kristen took down all the industry awards won by BatesNeimand and put them into a binder album that I equated with an urn for cremated remains. A lot of great people worked hard to win those awards, competing against the top agencies in DC and the best design firms in the country. So many talented people came through here to make an impact on electoral politics and policy. They have gone on to found their own companies or work as top professionals in their fields.
Shannon Rosenthal and Armando Molina Bou have been my two constants across the companies. I wanted Neimand Collaborative to be a small, boutique firm that created social impact. Shannon took one look at a half empty suite of offices and promptly went looking for compatible tenants while I was busy recruiting our greatest asset, Dave Clayton, and convincing him that there was something called social impact marketing even if nobody knew what it was. Shortly thereafter we hired Sarah. On her second week of work I found her staring at our company logo in the reception area and asked her what was up. “I’m just wondering how you’re going to fit my name in there without it being too long. Maybe we can get rid of the Neimand part.” Two weeks later she asked me to send her to graduate school. “This is graduate school and I’m paying you to attend so get to work,” I told her. She hasn’t stopped since, and has worked with Armando to build our firm’s formidable creative capabilities.
Shannon found us the perfect tenants in our friends Jean Statler and Tom Nagle who were starting Statler Nagle as industry marketing experts. Dave Richardson, Jon DeWitt and Anne Aldrich also moved in with their Artemis Strategy Group. Our three new firms grew up together. There’s nothing like having a question about research, branding or marketing and being able to go down the hall to talk to the smartest people in the business. They paid me to go to graduate school, but don’t tell them because Jean will hit me up for reduced rent.
We eventually outgrew a conference room that was below zero in summertime and Death Valley in the wintertime. Our once quiet building also became the home of a nursing school and our hallways soon became clogged with young women and men struggling to become health professionals, often in a language that was their second or third. There were a lot of tears around test time and tuition payments. They needed more space and so did we.
Shannon found us the perfect place just across the street at 1100 Vermont Avenue, on the second floor above the 7-11. Being a mere ten feet above Corn Nuts and Slurpees keeps you real. As usual, Shannon did an incredible job of managing every detail and making things happen on time and budget. Armando lent his keen design eye for the right colors and textures as well as provided lectures about the need to use coasters and keep our hands off the walls, which he accented with cascading felt. We have an entire floor that is all ours, an expanded conference room, showers for our runners and bicyclists, and state of the art climate control that we are hoping will win the approval of Kris Perry, our client and neighbor down the street at First Five Years Fund, who claimed that our previous conference room moonlighted as a CIA black site for illicit torture. Best of all, our friends Statler Nagle and Artemis Strategy Group have come with us.
While our move from 1025 to 1100 Vermont is probably no more than 55 yards, it seems like it took a long time to get there. We’re going to keep moving forward and help you do the same. So change your address books to Neimand Collaborative, 1100 Vermont Avenue NW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20005—and come by for a visit any time.