John Lenz

LENZ views leadership broadly and encourages leadership development among everyone on our team. In this series of interviews, several of our leaders reflect on their principles and practices, and on the lessons in leadership they’ve learned along the way.

John Lenz is a vice president and managing partner at LENZ. He is also president of Georgia Smoke BBQ. Before joining Lenz, John attended Oglethorpe University, where he was a starting pitcher on the baseball team. He joined LENZ in 1992.

Excluding colleagues at LENZ, who taught you the most important lesson that guides your leadership at LENZ today? What did you learn from them?

Jerry McCollum, then CEO of the Georgia Wildlife Federation, once told me a version of that old story about a “post turtle.” When you see a turtle balanced on top of a fence post, you know he didn’t get up there by himself.

I think his version of the story was a little kinder than how it’s usually told. But I liked the way he told it. He was very successful and had done a lot of good for the Georgia environment. A man at the top of his field. But he always remembered the post turtle, and he told me, “People helped me get to where I am.”

That has always stuck with me. To get somewhere, yeah, you need your own initiative. But there are a lot of other people who have worked to get you to whatever position you’re in. I always remember that as a lesson to never forget that I’m not all by myself in this thing. There’s no way I could be where I am without the help of a lot of others.

What is an important lesson about leadership that you learned from a client?

The best leaders I’ve worked with aren’t kings or queens of their companies. They might have more experience than everybody else, but they surround themselves with smart people. They ask for feedback and listen to it for a diversity of thought before they make a call.

I’ve made many mistakes where I was handling something I’d seen before, so I thought I already knew exactly what to do. And often I made the wrong call because I wasn’t listening to something someone else was trying to tell me. Giving too much weight to my own experience and not enough to others.

As a leader, if you can open up enough to listen and really process other people’s perspectives, if you can meld it with your experience… that’s when you make your best decisions.

What impact that you’ve made on the world through your leadership at LENZ feels most meaningful to you?

I think it would have to be our impact on the people who have worked here and who work here now, and their families.

LENZ is a place where people can really grow in their careers and not have a ceiling. I’ve done so many different things here. We give people that flexibility. You can say, “I’m interested in photography.” Well, we’ll get you a camera and some classes.

We support people and help them support their families.

It’s the people… the people who have benefited from working here. And I’ve benefited from working with them.

What is a belief or opinion you have in your field that most people in your field don’t share?

A lot of people in our field fall in love with tools, with data and other statistics before considering the first thing that should be checked off the list: creativity.

They start thinking you need a Facebook campaign, you need a Snapchat whatever. They think you need a billboard, a TV campaign. All without first coming up with great creative that makes the client’s investment really pay off.

They waste clients’ money and produce some really bad creative.

Creative that makes sense for the client should come first.

Is all my creative like Garrison Keillor’s? All the kids are above average? No, there is a bell curve of what everybody produces. But you always have to strive for that appropriate creative idea before you start talking about anything tactical.

Oftentimes in this world, when there’s something bright and shiny and new, people go for that, just to do that without thinking. You always have to ask first, “Does this really make sense for the client?”

Fast forward as many years as necessary. You’re leaving your present role, whether for a promotion or a job change or retirement. What advice would you give to the next person who fills your position?

I would not have been able to retire if it weren’t for years and years of working with talented people, and smart clients who had the vision to hire us and trust what we were trying to achieve.

Make sure you surround yourself with the best people, and make sure they have the freedom to blossom into whatever it is they should blossom into. Help them in the best ways you can. Help them get to wherever they want to go.

DeKalb Surgical Associates, P.C. came to Lenz looking for a new logo and site design that would stay on-brand, but elevated; they wanted a site that was user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing for patients and a new logo that was more reflective of the group’s services.

With those goals in mind, see below for Lenz’s new site design for DeKalb Surgical along with what the site looked like before. Also pictured is the new logo compared to the old one.

New site design:

Old site design:

New logo:

Old logo:

Interested in learning more about how Lenz could help elevate your brand and business? Contact us here or give us a call today at 404-373-2021.

Lenz proudly sponsored the 2018 Top Doctors Reception, presented by Atlanta magazine. The reception was help June 21 at the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead, and celebrated the physicians in the “Top Doctors” issue. Lenz had an on-site presence at the reception, and had a great time celebrating the doctors being honored, including many of our clients.

Congratulations to all the top doctors. We’re already looking forward to next year!

Check out a few more snapshots of the night below.

Lenz was a proud sponsor of the Second Annual Georgia Smoke Mexican Crawfish Derby, which raised $4,100 for Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC), a non-profit committed to providing durable medical equipment at little or no cost to adults and children with injuries and disabilities.

On May 5, hundreds gathered at the Briarcliff Woods Beach Club and went through 350 pounds of authentic Cajun-cooked crawfish and Mexican food! The event proved to be a great success and Lenz is thrilled to have been a part of it.

John Lenz, Vice President of Lenz Marketing, is also the founder and co-owner of Georgia Smoke BBQ, the best BBQ catering in Atlanta.

Check out more pictures of the event below!

By Richard Lenz

A personal hero of mine, Jerry McCollum, had a plaque on his desk that no one could miss when you came into his office. It read DO MORE. The former President and CEO of the Georgia Wildlife Federation is a living example of how much you could get done if you just DID MORE.

At Lenz, we are always trying to DO MORE in a variety of areas. Do more for our clients, do more for our employees, and do more for our shareholders. Also, from Day 1, we’ve always tried to do more for our communities. It is central to our mission. Early on, I understood that the purpose of every business is to earn a customer, serve their needs, and make a profit for shareholders and employees.

But what if you did all that, and also worked to improve the world we live in? Why not?

Roughly eight years ago my business partner Mike Killeen wrote, recorded, and released an album titled “Poverty is Real,” featuring a song by the same name. His belief, which I agreed with, was that poverty was a singular driver of many human conditions and problems, whether you were discussing healthcare, crime, education, homelessness, or even the environment. We both also agreed that as a popular issue, poverty is about as unsexy as it comes.

After releasing his album, he decided to try to DO MORE about the issue and try his hand at activism. A non-profit was established, eventually branded as Amplify My Community. The basic concept was to use live music events to bring public interest and fundraising to the issue of poverty, i.e., try to make the issue sexier through music! You come to a great show and your money goes to fighting poverty.

I was appointed as chairman of the Advisory Board, and as a donation, myself and my business partner John Lenz decided to put the full weight of Lenz’s marketing resources, skills, and networks into the effort, because we thought this was a way Lenz could DO MORE for the community.

The organization, run by volunteers, produces great shows and fundraises through the business of ticket sales, sponsorships, merchandising, and food and beverage vending, all of which passes through to a handpicked charity in a particular community.

Over the years, we’ve “Amplified” Decatur, Nashville, Asheville, Charlottesville, Athens, Atlanta, and Suwannee, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars, which has gone directly to effective, hands-on charities in those communities that work to alleviate the effects of poverty and homelessness.

On Saturday April 14, the Amplify Decatur Music Festival returns to the downtown square with arguably the best lineup we’ve ever had at any event, top to bottom, with The Lone Bellow, The Jayhawks, Amanda Shires, Parker Millsap, and Dwayne Shivers. Those who came last year to see Lucinda Williams will remember a magical night on the square.

Not content with just an outdoor festival, we are doing more with additional musical events over the same weekend at Eddie’s Attic, which has supported our efforts for the last seven years going back to the days of Eddie Owen, who helped us put on our very first Amplify show. New ownership has been generous as well, and the weekend’s shows are worth considering. Friday night’s show features the very talented Jared and Amber, Saturday night’s “Sirens of South Austin” show has Rebecca Loebe, Grace Pettis, and Betty Soo bringing their great songs and three-part harmonies. Sunday night, we have the Amplify Decatur capper with a Townes Van Zandt VS. Steve Earle tribute night, which will be a barn-burner.

We hope you can join us this year for what will be an awesome evening of beautiful music, delicious food from Decatur’s best restaurants, and outstanding craft beer. If so, you will be DOING MORE than entertaining yourself, but also helping our community.

Lenz recently helped Sundial Charter Tours develop a new visual identity and website.

Sundial Charters is a nature and charter boat company located on Tybee Island, Georgia. They offer daily and year-round trips that include dolphin watching, crabbing, cast netting, fossil hunting, birding, light tackle fishing, hiking the barrier islands, and salt marsh ecology.

Interested in working with Lenz for your design and branding needs? Contact us here today or give us a ring at 404-373-2021.

Lenz recently partnered with Avant Gynecology, formerly known as McDaniel and Durrett, to launch the practice’s new brand identity.

From creating the practice’s new name to developing its logo and website, Lenz aimed to ensure that the practice’s high quality and professional reputation was well represented.

Check out the new Avant Gynecology brand, business collateral, and website!

Interested in working with Lenz for your design and branding needs? Contact us here today or give us a ring at 404-373-2021.

Not all physical therapists find themselves equally at home in the board room and the locker room. Strategies for both reside in the playbook belonging to Dr. Dale Yake, CEO and founder of PT Solutions Physical Therapy.

In fact, Yake’s journey toward physical therapy and entrepreneurship began in the late 1980s while playing football at Allegheny College in western Pennsylvania. It all started with a crushing knee injury during gameplay.

“My own rehab opened my eyes to how powerful physical therapy was,” Yake told the Atlanta Business Chronicle in an interview published last February.

This led to an interest in the craft of PT and rehabilitation. During his collegiate and post-graduate years, Yake worked in various physical therapy capacities, from treating high school athletes to serving as a trainer for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

After receiving a master’s degree in physical therapy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a doctorate in physical therapy from Rocky Mountain University in Provo, Utah, Yake huddled further into the world of professional sports.

For the next decade and a half, Yake worked with the St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Lighting, Miami Dolphins, LPGA golfers, and a laundry list of other teams, individual athletes, and sports organizations.

In 2003, Yake felt called to start PT Solutions, a physical therapy practice serving patients from all walks of life. Business began to blossom quickly.

PT Solutions has grown by 166 percent over the past three years, moving up this year to No. 2,203 in Inc. magazine’s 5000, as one of the country’s fastest-growing private companies. Today the practice boasts locations in 12 states, including more than 40 in the company’s home state of Georgia.

While Yake’s playbook continues to evolve, the athlete inside him refuses to take the bench. An avid runner, cyclist, and swimmer, Yake has competed in more than six dozen triathlons, and four Ironman endurance races. And he channels his expertise and insider knowledge as a regular contributor to The Sports Insider with Dan Kamal, an acclaimed weekly radio show on 92.9 FM, The Game, the most listened to sportstalk station in Atlanta and the Southeast.

“Whether it’s in business or on the playing field, the key ingredients to success remain the same,” Yake said. “Growth, passion, and resilience are at the top of the list.”

By Richard J. Lenz

When the Atlanta Business Chronicle ran a profile of me, the headline stated that I was a “serial entrepreneur” of new businesses. I made the joke that there was an editing error and they meant to print that I was actually a serial “killer” of new businesses!

Even when it goes well, you feel overwhelmed and endangered when you start a business, which is usually greatly under-resourced in terms of money, human capital, time, and expertise. Over time, I have learned that almost all great ventures have started that way. Then it comes down to the grit, curiosity, confidence, and focus of the team – and some luck. Paraphrasing Darwin, “It isn’t the smartest or strongest species that survives, but the species that is best at adapting.”

Lenz has survived for 26 years because we’ve adapted, evolved, and created “line diversifications” as the MBAers say. When I’m asked for my “elevator speech,” I need a really long elevator ride to explain the diversity of what Lenz does to advance our clients’ businesses. Everyone is looking for simple answers – and who isn’t? – however there’s a lot to discuss. Marketing as a discipline has changed so much that while the clients’ goals are the same, the tactical skill set needed to get there is much different and broader than when we started.

About ten years ago, I thought there should be a radio show in the Atlanta market that focused on healthcare. It took three years for the idea to become reality. Thanks to help from our friends at WSB and sponsors like Georgia Urology, our radio show The Weekly Check-Up with Dr. Bruce Feinberg is now in its seventh year of existence, and wholly owned, produced, and promoted by Lenz.

We were not content to just have one show because we had other ideas. So, we started a sports talk show as well as another healthcare show in Tampa.

Still restless, I thought talk radio in Atlanta needed a general business show. So, last December, we launched Lenz On Business, which features yours truly interviewing figures from the world of business, government, and the arts who live and work here in Atlanta or are connected in some way. The program, sponsored by Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, is a mix of useful “how-to” tips and inspirational stories, meant to entertain and enlighten. It airs Saturday nights at 6 on 95.5 FM and AM 750 WSB. If you miss a show, you can find archives with bonus podcast content on the Lenz on Business website.

Who knew that in a few short months, we’d already have recorded shows that featured Atlanta’s new mayor, a Beatle, and a Stone – as we’ve been trying hard to give our audience some worthwhile content. The very first show featured the two competing Atlanta mayoral candidates days before the final runoff. Not too long after, we had Ringo Starr. Yes, that guy. We’ve also had fascinating entrepreneurs from a wide variety of fields, and business experts from academia, courtesy of Goizueta Business School.

Coming up, we have a Rolling Stone: the amazing Chuck Leavell, who lives near Macon. (If you want to argue with me that he’s not a Rolling Stone, well, he’s been working with the band, on their albums and touring with them, for the last 37 years, which is longer than Bill Wyman.)

Leavell, a wildly talented Zelig of music history, has played on some of the most beloved records in music history and performed on the biggest tours to cross planet Earth, with the Allman Brothers, Stones, Eric Clapton, Dr. John, John Mayer, Indigo Girls, Black Crowes, George Harrison and many, many more. And when he’s not doing that, he’s a nationally known environmentalist and acclaimed tree farmer, who works in many ways to find practical solutions to conservation issues. He’s also the author of four books. The first question I plan to ask him is, when does he sleep? Tune in to hear his answer!

Mark your calendar! The 2018 Atlanta Science Festival will be held March 9 – 24 and will feature more than 100 events across metro Atlanta, plus one big party: the Exploration Expo at Piedmont Park on March 24! Lenz is the marketing agency of record for the festival, and a Gold level sponsor, providing marketing strategy and consultation, advertising, public relations, graphic design, and social media services. It’s all done to promote Atlanta’s annual celebration of technology and science.

Here’s the event booklet, designed by Lenz and  packed with the festival schedule, event details, and more!

Just in time for this year’s festival, Lenz also gave Atlanta Science Festival’s website a major upgrade! Check out the new design below!

Lenz recently introduced the festival mascot, A.L.E.X. who joined us at the 2018 Atlanta Science Festival kick-off party, hosted at the Delta Flight Museum. We loved seeing our beloved, pink astronaut come to life and interact with event attendees. Here are some pics from the occasion.

The Atlanta Science Festival welcomes people of all ages to explore the science and technology in Atlanta and to see how science is connected to all parts of their lives. Scientists and educators from museums, local schools, universities, and companies will uncover mysteries and explain discoveries in a variety of hands-on activities, facility tours, stimulating presentations, and riveting performances to expand the community of science enthusiasts and inspire a new generation of curious thinkers. Over the course of the festival, 100+ activities and events will be held that are suited for young children to adults. To close off the celebration, the Atlanta Science Festival will host the Exploration Expo in Piedmont Park, Atlanta’s biggest interactive science event that is free and open to the public on March 24th.

To learn more, visit the Atlanta Science Festival’s website!