Agency veteran Steve Renier is working to recruit and retain talent in his new role as senior vice president for talent at Minneapolis-based Broadhead, the largest independent integrated agency in Minnesota.

Broadhead’s independence weighed heavily in his decision to join the agency, Renier said.

“The independent piece of Broadhead just provided more of an opportunity for impact,” Renier said. “That’s what everybody wants in their career.”

At Broadhead, Renier rejoins former Martin Williams colleagues including Beth Burgy, who is president, and Jeff Tresidder, senior vice president/executive creative director.

“There are a lot of familiar faces [at Broadhead] and trusting them and knowing that they’ve had a great experience here and getting to know Dean [Broadhead] and his hopes for the growth of the agency was pretty attractive,” Renier said.

Renier was associate director of human resources when he left Martin Williams, part of the Omnicom Group holding company, after 23 years. He then moved to Periscope, where he was human resources director for three years until Wisconsin-based Quad/Graphics Inc. closed on the purchase of that agency in January.

Renier, who joins Broadhead’s leadership team, said one focus will be on “the philosophy of always being recruiting.”

That means working to get to know potential candidates and how they might fit into the agency rather than just receiving applications whenever positions open up.

Broadhead, with 90 employees, is a full-service agency representing Fortune 500 clients including Boehringer Ingelheim, Cargill, the Mosaic Co. and Bridgestone Firestone.

Last week, it said it would acquire St. Paul-based Kohnstamm Communications, an agency known for launching new foods and food innovators.

Q: What are your responsibilities?

A: Anything and everything within our HR world. It’s about recruiting top talent, absolutely. It’s employee relations and helping to develop the organization as a whole whether it be a benefit offering, a training offering or whatever it might be.

It’s making sure that we’re competitive in the marketplace in all things. It’s part of being a really strong culture here. Anything I can augment or suggest to be part of that strong culture. None of these things were broken prior to me coming here. Hopefully I’ll be able to put a new lens on things and with different contacts and different connections and different experiences that will be beneficial.

Q: What’s different about Broadhead as an independent agency?

A: Dean has that entrepreneurial spirit. If we’re going to change something we can make changes and we can hopefully fail fast if we fail at all. We can focus on us and changes that we want to make for the betterment of ourselves and our growth.

Q: What are your goals?

A: To continue the great work we do for clients. We want to continue to be a place where our top talent wants to stay. We want to be a place where top talent outside of these walls wants to come, whether that’s for our reputation, our great benefits or our category.

Q: What would attract new talent to Broadhead?

A: The independent piece is huge. Dean started an [employee stock ownership plan] a year and a half ago so we do have employee-owners here.

We’ve got an exceptional benefit offering from having the opportunity to have the company contribute to a 529 [college savings plan], a school loan repayment plan or a parking benefit. We’ve got 11 or 12 things that people can use discretionary money for.


Todd Nelson is a freelance writer in Lake Elmo. His e-mail is