Meet the Ascedian: Brent Kaufman

brent kaufman director of client strategy

What makes Ascedia special? Our people! Every week, we'll introduce you to a member of our team so you can get to know us a little better.

NAME AND TITLE

Brent Kaufman -- Director of Client Strategy

MY TYPICAL WORKDAY

In a word: Variety. There’s an art to balancing the needs of clients, prospective clients, coworkers, business partners, and keeping up on the rapid change in the digital space. A previous boss told me she thought we were good at our jobs because we were a little ADHD. Being able to quickly switch gears and keep multiple details moving helps me get through many conflicting priorities more effectively.

HOW I CHOSE MY CAREER PATH

I knew I wanted to do something where you could plan and create things. I thought about being an architect, but learned that graphic arts was a better fit. I started my career with a degree in commercial art and worked for a global consulting firm in their technology consulting group. I loved the variety of challenges, client cultures, industry sectors and the team members that come together to solve problems and create more effective businesses. The business consulting and digital marketing agency models are similar. 

MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT WORKING AT ASCEDIA

Ascedia has the right mix of creative, development and marketing skills in house. That and the management vision for measured growth in a growing industry is attractive. My favorite thing about Ascedia would have to be the environment – for me that’s a combination of the people, location – a vibrant part of the city - and the challenging and rewarding work we do to help clients grow their businesses. 

EDUCATION

Bachelor of Science in Commercial Art from the University of Evansville, Indiana (Go Purple Aces!) and Harlaxton College U.K.

HIGH SCHOOL MASCOT

Warrior

FIRST JOB

I waited tables in high school at a restaurant in a converted barn -- the salad bar was built into a converted horse trough!

BEST PIECE OF CAREER/PROFESSIONAL ADVICE I'VE RECEIVED

Listen to the veterans in your industry -- they’ve been there. You don’t have to do it the same way but why start from scratch when you can build on proven experience?

PERSONAL HERO

My grandparents. They left their country and families to start out in a whole new world to build better opportunities for themselves, then my parents and now my kids. That must have taken guts. 

FAVORITE MILWAUKEE HANGOUT

Club Charlie’s in the Third Ward. It’s close to places I’ve worked and a familiar place to catch up with coworkers past and present, clients and to meet interesting people.

LAST BOOK READ

Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandin

PERSON I'D MOST LIKE TO MEET (LIVING OR DEAD)

Frank Lloyd Wright. I’ve read some not so flattering things about him as a person but I’m amazed at the unique, timeless appeal of his work. I actually owned and renovated a property he designed and built in Oak Park, Illinois before I moved to Milwaukee. 

FAMILY

Three kids, a boxer and a cat. Greta is sophomore at American University in Washington D.C., Augie is going to University of Montana - Missoula in the fall and Lily is in middle school in the Kettle Moraine school district. All five of them keep me hopping and are endlessly rewarding at the same time.

WHAT I DO IN MY SPARE TIME

I’m a yard ranger and binge watcher. I find it rewarding and therapeutic to work on the yard and landscaping. I have a friendly competition going with my next-door neighbor to see who gets the lawn mowed first each week. (I do a better job of edging, in case you were wondering.) I balance the yard work out with some binge-watching time – Netflix, Hulu, Amazon... their original programming is getting really good.

SECRET TALENT

Tile work – I’m on my second wet saw. Once when working on-site at a client for several weeks in the Atlanta area, I was staying with my sister and her husband and coming home on weekends. They were commenting on how dated the kitchen counters were, so I FedEx’d my wet saw down there, redid their kitchen countertops with marble tiles one weekend then FedEx’d the saw back home.

MOST MEANINGFUL ACCOMPLISHMENT

Raising three great kids. They all amaze me and make me proud in such different ways.

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