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Grill the Arsonist: Meet Kristin
September 6, 2016 | Robyn Riley

Kristin Stires, MindFire Communications, brand Arsonist

This month we’re grilling Texas native, Kristin Stires. We convinced Kristin she was destined to become an Arsonist about three years ago. Shortly after, she and her husband packed their bags, loaded up their two fur babies and headed to the Quad Cities! In this edition, we talk about her extensive knowledge on large construction and logging equipment, Texas stereotypes, funny MindFire memories and her advice for rookie marketing professionals.

How did you end up in your line of work and here at MindFire?

My journey to MindFire started 1,000 miles away in Waco, Texas (yes, home of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” show!). I attended Baylor University in Waco, where I got a bachelor’s degree in journalism/public relations with a concentration in marketing. I later earned a master’s degree in communication from the University of Oklahoma.

I started my career in non-profit as the marketing coordinator for a United Way chapter. I later transitioned to being the assistant director of marketing and communications for Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business.

I met my husband Dave, who was in the U.S. Army; we got married in the middle of his deployment to Iraq and got stationed at Ft. Sill in Lawton, OK. Three years later, he transitioned out of the military, and we ended up taking jobs in the Quad Cities (he’s originally from the Chicago area). I’ve been in marketing for more than a decade now, so I think that’s been a good career life decision. J

Describe your family’s reaction when you told them you had become an official Arsonist!

My supportive husband said, “I’m so proud of you! Wait…you’re a what?” My two fur babies, Einstein and Emerson, were excited that mom got a job and would be able to afford their treats and spoiled lifestyle. My sister and brother (both live in Texas) were still trying to confirm exactly where Iowa was on a map.

A lot of the clients you work with manufacture large construction, mining and logging equipment. You’ve probably learned a lot about these big machines! What’s it like being a walking encyclopedia about excavators and haulers?

It’s crucial to know as much as possible about the clients we work with. However, stuff like diesel particulate filters, auxiliary hydraulic lines and emissions standards aren’t always the coolest conversation starters. So most days, I keep this trivia in my back pocket and use it to support and better our clients’ brands. But you never know when it might also come in handy if I get on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” And if you get on the show, I’m happy to be your “Phone a friend” lifeline if you need me.

You’re from Texas. What’s the biggest Texas stereotype you’ve come across and most importantly – what’s a doohickey?

I don’t know what a doohickey is…is that a Texas stereotype? There are lots of stereotypes: cowboy boots, cowboy hats, belt buckles, big hair. Personally, I’m on a mission to get all Midwesterners to adopt saying “y’all” instead of “you all” or “you guys.” It’s way more efficient! I know y’all secretly agree.

You’re done with work for the night. What’s your ideal way to kick back?

Most days, I try to find a way to validate my FitBit’s existence. I go to spinning and Zumba classes at the Y, or I like to walk my dog Emerson with the hubs. Also, a good glass of vino or margaritas at Los Agaves never hurt anyone…so I’ve heard.

Share your funniest and/or most memorable thing that has happened at MindFire.

Day three of working at MindFire:  I could barely remember my laptop login password when I was sent on a photo shoot for construction equipment (which I didn’t know much about yet) and had to get through Baltimore traffic to meet up with the rest of our team. It was fast and furious but a good time. I guess it was part of my MindFire initiation… baptism by fire! Ironically, we were just back on a shoot in Baltimore last week. Ah yes, memory lane.

You and your hubs recently started a small business called True Position Manufacturing. What’s the biggest small business marketing advice you have?

When you’re involved in a start-up, you get to build a brand from the ground up. It’s exciting, but how do you market something when it doesn’t totally exist yet? You first have to understand who you are and who you want to be as a business. It’s so important to have your business pitch nailed and be able to clearly communicate it to others. You can begin with word-of-mouth marketing as you build your brand identity and marketing collateral.

Believe it or not, there are many fools out there who want to start a career in marketing. Any pearls of wisdom you can share with them?

Learn how to be adaptable! In marketing, every client is different; every project is different; every day is different. Marketing planning is essential, don’t get me wrong. But be aware that Plan A rarely works. Get ready to adapt to a Plan B, Plan C…or something you may not even know exists.

Check out Kristin’s mugshot and meet the rest of our team of Arsonists!

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