Former Martin Exec Returns to Rhode Island to Open Shop BOSTON–Tracy LaRoux wants to turn the spotlight back on Providence, R.I. The former account executive at The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., returned to the state where she lived during high school to open a new shop called The Link Agency. LaRoux is founder and chairman; David Waselle is chief design director; and Donna DePetrillo is chief operating officer. Waselle had run a graphic design business in Chicago, and DePetrillo recently sold a jewelry design business she had run for 15 years in Providence. Once the agency secures a major piece of business, LaRoux said, an executive creative director at a New York shop and a Rhode Island native will join the outfit. Providing media buying and planning resources to the agency will be Prime Media of Warwick, R.I. Prior to Martin, LaRoux worked on Procter & Gamble at Leo Burnett in Chicago. “Having gone from a big agency in a big market to a smaller shop in an even smaller ad market, I realized it doesn’t matter where you are. If you do good work, clients will come to you,” LaRoux said. Buoyed by that, the red hot economy and the desire to return to Rhode Island, LaRoux relocated and is now looking for office space. “Our goal is to be a bit virtual,” she said. “Project management will be in Providence, but we intend to work with creative resources wherever they [are].” She said Providence lost its place in the national spotlight when Leonard/Monahan closed in 1998. Bob Pagano, who started an agency in Providence in 1986 that 10 years later he moved to Boston, believes Link’s virtual business model combined with its location could keep the shop down. “What I told her is that as long as she wasn’t looking to build the next powerhouse, she could probably do it,” he said. Like most small agencies, part of LaRoux’s pitch is that senior-level managers will work on all accounts. Links’ pricing will be competitive, about $150 an hour vs. the $250 an hour charged by larger agencies for senior talent. Early jobs include project work for Wrangler and Lender’s bagels, and Rhode Island clients Context Media and Rite Solutions.