DALLAS–After negotiations to become owners of Albuquerque, N.M., agency Strascina & Partners fell through, Steve McKee and Pat Wallwork have teamed up to form a competing shop: McKee Wallwork.
McKee will act as the agency’s president overseeing account planning and creative–the same duties he held at Strascina–while Wallwork will handle planning and buying duties as media director.
No clients have been inked yet, but McKee said he is already prospecting 150 businesses across the country in hopes of stirring some interest. ‘Between us, Pat and I have worked at five different shops, ranging from hot local agencies to major multi-nationals,’ said McKee. ‘We’ve seen a lot of good things and we’ve seen what not to do.’
If the pair succeeds in getting their agency off the ground, the result would be a fourth full-service player added to an already diminutive local advertising scene that includes Rick Johnson & Co., Strascina & Partners and Kilmer & Kilmer. Little breathing room was gained from last year’s closing of Competitive Edge, since the automotive marketing agency held most of its accounts outside the region.
McKee and Wallwork both resigned from Strascina & Partners after talks fell through on a proposed buyout of the $10 million agency from chairman Peter Strascina. Although a price was worked out, McKee and Wallwork could not arrange conventional financing and turned down Strascina’s offer to finance the deal.
With no staff or clients on board yet, both principals have only their own backgrounds to showcase. McKee, a 12-year veteran, spent seven years at Strascina after working at shops like Phillips-Ramsey in Phoenix and Della Femina Mc-Namee in Los Angeles.
Wallwork has been in media for 21 years, including a stint at Procter & Gamble, where she worked on network buys for approximately 50 of the company’s brands.
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