MindFire Communications, Inc.
Grill the Arsonist – James Patrick S.
December 7, 2020 | Inga Rundquist

James Patrick Schmidt joined the MindFire crew after an agency stint in Chicago. In the years since, he has become a valuable asset to MindFire and our clients. He’s got the sweet-talking skills you need as a media buyer and the strategic thinking smarts to pull it all together. But the real question - does he have what it takes to survive the hot seat? Read on…

James Patrick Schmidt

Tell us something we may not know about you.

People probably don’t know I’m an Eagle Scout. I have also been a member of the Optimist Club of Silvis since I was 18, and I just finished my term as President.

On the personal side, I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Jean, and we have two children – Bryan and Patrick.

What does a day in the life as MindFire’s Media Arsonist look like?

The short answer is that I decide where our clients’ ads are going to appear. There are so many options for media, and it’s become so fragmented that I spend most of my time thinking strategically about how to reach customers across all platforms – print, digital, billboards or anywhere else.

I’m thinking big about the best placements for our clients while also making sure we stay within budget – and managing billing and relationships with all of our media partners. Usually, I spend about half of my day on the phone and the other half in Excel spreadsheets. Lots of people find those two things scary, but I feel like I’m built for this.

Would you rather: Fly or take a road trip?

Whichever is going to be fastest and/or cheapest. My family loves to travel, so we’re usually trying to spend as many days on vacation as we can – even when it’s just a long weekend!

How’d you end up at MindFire?

I attended the Missouri School of Journalism at Mizzou and spent a few years as a journalist before transitioning to agencies.

I was a journalist in the late aughts, working as a newspaper designer. Between the job market and the fact that I wanted to stop working nights, I just kind of stumbled into a job at an ad agency in Chicago. Now that I’m responsible for buying ads, I like to think I just moved to a different spot on the same food chain.

Coming to MindFire was a stroke of luck. I grew up in the Quad-Cities and decided to move home after my first son was born. Coming from Chicago, I wasn’t sure how many media strategist jobs I would find – but MindFire had a job opening and it’s been a perfect fit for me.

If you could only listen to one genre of music for the rest of your life, what kind would it be?

Ska music. It has my five favorite things about music all wrapped up in one happy-go-angsty package:

  1. Sweet horn sections
  2. Awesome background vocals
  3. Hawaiian shirts
  4. Big bass lines
  5. Kick-ass cover songs

Reel Big Fish’s “Take On Me” is an example.

Favorite part about your job?

Getting a paycheck. And that’s my serious answer. My second favorite part is how engaged MindFire is in the community and how they encourage me (and all Arsonists) to make a difference in the Quad Cities and the world. Volunteering and community involvement are very important to me, and MindFire makes it easy with how supportive they are.

Best way to wind down after a long work day?

Usually playing video games or going for a swim (or hopefully both!). Unless I don’t have to go to work the next day, then I’m probably getting ready to go snowboarding or kayaking depending on the season.

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