Associated Integrated Marketing CEO Bill Fialka is out as agency eliminates position

WICHITA — Most people probably didn’t notice when Bill Fialka took over as CEO at Associated Integrated Marketing – and that’s how he liked it – but now he’s gone.

“The position was eliminated,” says Shawn Steward, vice president of client service and public relations.

He won’t say if Fialka was fired.

“I’ll let people draw their own conclusions on that.”

Fialka didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

Steward says the agency is restructuring. He and three other vice presidents will manage the company. They include Dave Stewart, vice president and executive creative director, Luke Gutschenritter, vice president and group account director, and Kim Weprin, vice president  of finance and human resources.

“This is not a financial decision,” Steward says. “This was a proactive decision to better allow us to operate more efficiently.”

He says, “We essentially saw a lot of duplication of effort at the management level. We felt that by eliminating the CEO level of the agency … we’re just getting the management closer to the client level and just streamlining across the board.”

Steward says the agency’s board of directors made the decision.

Fialka has been CEO since January 2010. He followed much more high-profile CEOs, including Mike Snyder and Bruce Rowley most recently. Fialka, though, deliberately avoided media and other attention.

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Associated adds Springfield, Mo., office and changes names

Associated Integrated Marketing's new Springfield, Mo., office is in 1,300 square feet at the 100-year-old Mulhollan-Kelley Building across from Founders Park in downtown Springfield.

WICHITA — Associated advertising, which will now be known as Associated Integrated Marketing, is adding a new office in Springfield, Mo.

“This is our first office outside of Wichita in our 65-year history,” says public relations director Shawn Steward.

The office will be staffed by three people from the Springfield area that Steward says Associated staff knew through previous business relationships.

“We knew that we wanted to find digital resources to bring in house,” he says.

That includes offerings such as web development, social media, mobile marketing, interactive applications and coupon services that Steward calls essential to effective marketing.

He says in the past, the agency — like many other agencies — has sometimes hired freelancers to do that work.

“We’re at a tipping point, I think, where it makes sense for us to bring this type of specialized, highly skilled resource in house,” Steward says.

The Springfield office will have three employees addressing that kind of work:

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Wesley Medical Center drops Associated, hires Rowley and Ablah for advertising

UPDATED — It was at about this time last year that Wesley Medical Center took its advertising account from Howerton and White, which had it for about five years, to Associated.

Now, Wesley has jumped from Associated to the new Rowley and Ablah agency.

No one with Wesley Medical Center, Wichita’s second-largest hospital, would comment on the switch.

Jeff Ablah and one-time Associated CEO Bruce Rowley (who wasn’t at Associated when it had the Wesley account) formed their new Rowley and Ablah agency early this month, and Ablah says landing Wesley shows “tremendous trust.”

“Obviously, we would wear it as a badge of honor to have a client such as them. There’s no question about that.”

Two Associated representatives also are commenting.

“We’re proud of the work we’ve done for Wesley over the last year,” says Shawn Steward, Associated’s director of public relations.

He says Wesley representatives indicated the agency helped the hospital “make great strides.”

He’s not sure why the hospital chose to switch agencies.

“They honestly didn’t give us any direction in the notification.”

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You don’t say

“Security needs to be extra tight that night to keep Kanye from bum-rushing the stage.”

Associated public relations director Shawn Steward’s comment on this blog after hearing Taylor Swift is coming to Intrust Bank Arena