Grant Pace, who recently joined independent Conover Tuttle as partner and executive creative director, has picked up lessons in each of the five cities he's worked in through his career.
But he points to an Outward Bound program in the Baja region of Mexico as the experience that most changed his outlook toward both business and life. "I'm putting my sleeping bag down, and I see tarantulas," said Pace, 43. "The tour guide was like, 'Oh yeah, they don't hurt you.' You think it's all about dealing with Mother Nature, but in the end it's about dealing with human nature."
Pace becomes the first full-time ecd at the 20-person Lynnfield, Mass., independent, which will now be known as Conover Tuttle Pace. He oversees a staff of about 10 and will work across all agency accounts, including the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Mass Development.
"What [they're] asking me to do is to bring a more creative culture into the agency," said Pace. "They had been doing more PR. They wanted to expand and get bigger and get a little more [creative] recognition."
Pace began his career in his native Kansas City, Mo., as a copywriter at independent Muller + Co. He most recently was president of Mercury Advertising in Raleigh, N.C., which he founded in 1998 and which now becomes a Conover Tuttle office.
He got a big break after joining D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles in St. Louis in 1988 to work on Ivory Snow. He started hanging around with the teams on Budweiser and wound up writing spots for the 1989 "Bud Bowl."
Pace subsequently worked on Miller Brewing business at Backer Spielvogel Bates in New York and on Audi at McKinney & Silver in Raleigh.
"He's got a great mesh of experience and enthusiasm and a national reel," said Conover Tuttle partner Chip Tuttle. "He gives us a dimension that we just didn't have."