A Conversation with Adam Bartimmo, Vice President, Director of Delivery

  • Categories:

    Agency News, Inspiration

  • Date:

    June 11, 2019

A Conversation with Adam Bartimmo, Vice President, Director of Delivery

Agency News, Inspiration

Wray Ward is thrilled to welcome Adam Bartimmo, an exciting addition to our team. Adam has a track record of producing world-class products, lead generation marketing campaigns, websites and marketing automation implementations, but his innovative mindset and strong leadership impressed us even more.

So, what drives Adam? I sat down with him to get to the bottom of that question and learn more about his vision for our newly created service area and our agency. From hot kitchens to human connections and silver bullets to sound strategies, our conversation made one thing clear: he has what it takes to deliver Better Performing Work.   

Welcome home, Adam.

You haven’t always worked in marketing. Talk about your early career and how it shaped you.

AB: I started out in the restaurant business. After getting my business management degree at Johnson & Wales University, I worked as a line chef in New York City and Rhode Island.

It’s hot in the kitchen. I served two masters — the executive chef and our customers who wanted a good experience. It was trial by fire, but I learned how to be part of a team and handle quick-turn requests. Meanwhile, I faced a lot of egos and worked a lot of late nights. I usually got off the train at 3 a.m. just as the Wall Street crowd climbed aboard to head to work.

In the early 2000s, I left the line to get into business consulting. Although I worked from home most days, occasionally I’d work out of my clients’ offices. One of my clients was a small advertising agency in New Jersey. I’d drive through Manhattan to visit their office, passing some of the world’s great agencies on the way. I felt the pull. Finally, in 2004, I decided to go to the agency side. I wanted to be part of a great team, and I knew advertising could give me a new challenge every day. I loved that about the industry.

You have a project management mindset. Talk about that. 

AB: I really believe project managers are the thread that connects a whole team and their clients. They keep things moving and in the right direction. Great project managers bring a unique intelligence to the table — they’re not just executing everyone else’s intelligence.

Think of it like a racing team. You’ve got a team manager, plus a crew chief handling operational stuff on the ground. That crew chief is the project manager. They aren’t driving the car, but they connect the driver to the pit crew and make sure things fire on all cylinders.

Project managers don’t drive strategy. They make sure strategy is executed effectively, on time and on budget. If the client says, “I want to paint the sky purple,” the project manager’s job is figuring out how to do that, whether it means releasing purple balloons or painting the sky.

What kind of leader are you?

AB: I have a tactical mindset out of the gate, but in any project or partnership, that mindset quickly transitions to relational. We’re all people. And if we want to work effectively, we have to accept that we’re human. That we make mistakes, and that we can learn from them. And, we have to feel a human connection to what we’re doing. 

I really believe in culture, and I’m not talking about office parties. People have to work really hard at culture, because they can’t see it or touch it or scope it. And as a leader, I emphasize it. When things are going well, it’s easy to rest on your laurels. But you have to stay hungry and focused even when you’re riding high.

The great culture they have developed here is one of the reasons Wray Ward attracted me.

Are state-of-the-art tools a must?

AB: I’m a champion for delivery and the tools needed to make it happen. Tools make a big difference, but they aren’t a silver bullet. Especially in the digital space, which is growing by leaps and bounds, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest tools. You’ve heard about tech for tech’s sake. Well, it’s the same with tools for tools’ sake. Good tools can help you do your job, but before anything else, you have to have good habits.

This is how adoption happens. Even the best tools won’t happen without good habits. Instead of using our energy to establish good habits once we get the tools, we should establish those habits first, so we can effectively choose and use the right tools.

What are some other characteristics of agile teams?

AB: At a high level? Always look forward. See not just what’s directly ahead on the racetrack, but what’s around the bend. Don’t just talk about what’s happening this week. Understand what’s needed next week. Understand your level of risk at any point in the process and know how to mitigate it. Prioritize communication, monitoring and accountability. Stop and think before making your next move. Take a holistic approach. Give your client a seat at the table, which helps ensure an output everyone can agree on. Accept that change is inevitable. (And when the client is involved in the process, they’ll trust your ability to adapt and adapt with you.)

Drilling down, always make sure the project scope is clear, including sending notes and next steps directly after every meeting. It’s the little things that count. All in the name of delivering on time and on budget. 

Why are you excited to join Wray Ward?

AB: I talked about culture earlier. I love this agency’s culture. It’s inclusive, and everything we do is meaningful, from our relationships with our clients and each other to our design aesthetic and approach to strategy. Even our office layout and color scheme.   

I love that I’ve been accepted into this special place for what I bring to the table, and I’m excited to get started.

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