WE’RE A CREATIVE, INTERACTIVE & MARKETING TALENT RESOURCE

Happy Anniversary to…Us!

This month, smartdept. inc. is celebrating our 15th anniversary! It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since we began our lives as smarties back in Seattle, with just me and Michelle. Boy, have we have come a long way! We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, and in between we’ve managed to accomplish a number of positive things that relate to staffing – like matching more than 3000 creative professionals with more than 500 of our clients! And, while not quite related to staffing, we witnessed the Cubs win a World Series.

We would not be here today (still going) without YOU, our amazing clients and creatives. You are (all) the reason we keep those creative wheels turning. So, as I wipe a tear from my eye, thank you for the past 15 years and cheers to 15 more! High fives all around (or a fist bump if you prefer)!

For fun, we decided to look back and pick our top 15 highlights from the past 15 years. And yes, there will absolutely be a Cubs World Series win in there! Enjoy!

from the desk of Eric Pairitz, smartdept. inc. Principal

Happy Anniversary to…Us!

 

This month, smartdept. inc. is celebrating our 15th anniversary! It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since we began our lives as smarties back in Seattle, with just me and Michelle. Boy, have we have come a long way! We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, and in between we’ve managed to accomplish a number of positive things that relate to staffing – like matching more than 3000 creative professionals with more than 500 of our clients! And, while not quite related to staffing, we witnessed the Cubs win a World Series.

We would not be here today (still going) without YOU, our amazing clients and creatives. You are (all) the reason we keep those creative wheels turning. So, as I wipe a tear from my eye, thank you for the past 15 years and cheers to 15 more! High fives all around (or a fist bump if you prefer)!

For fun, we decided to look back and pick our top 15 highlights from the past 15 years. And yes, there will absolutely be a Cubs World Series win in there! Enjoy!

15th-anniversary

 

 

from the desk of Eric Pairitz, smartdept. inc. Principal

 

 

Happy Holidays, It’s Nice to Meet You (and Other Fun Traditions)!

From the desk of smartdept. inc. Principal: Eric Pairitz

The holidays have returned once again. And, just as in years past, I made the most of my opportunity to fill our environment with holiday cheer. The tree is back, the lights are up and the stockings are once again hung by the front door with care. But this year’s celebration had a new twist. For one thing, we doubled up on the parties! “Wow, party animals,” you’re saying to yourself. Well, maybe. But actually, smartdept. Vice President Matt Crook (sdVP for short) and I made a visit with a purpose — to Tulio’s restaurant in downtown Seattle to celebrate the season with our wayward team.

As some of you are finding out, the Seattle smarties have two new teammates. Yira Martinez and Hannah Schwartz (or Yannah, if you want to go the celebrity couples route) joined our team just after Thanksgiving. These ladies are professional, passionate about creative, and eager to find new opportunities for people in the Pacific Northwest. We’re very excited to have them aboard.

Exactly one week later, we enjoyed Christmas party #2. This time, it was Penrose Brewing Company in Geneva, Illinois. The fine folks at Penrose opened their doors to our Chicago team and treated us to a brewery tour and access to a private room, which was lined (wall to wall) with barrels of beer. Yeah, it was pretty cool.

Once more, I’ll take “Getting to know you” for $1000, Alex! The new additions in Chicago in 2015 include our HR Generalist, Angi Budnick, and Jaime Sklar and Nina Strolia, who joined our recruiting team. In addition, we extended an invitation to our trusted in-house creative catch-all, Jamie Brizzolara. Even though we were familiar (by now) with their work, it was great to get to know them (and a couple of their spouses) in such a quaint and laid back setting.

Finally, we added another first to the holiday docket this year. At the request of Chicago’s own Jaime Sklar, we held a gingerbread house building competition. I’m calling it, “The smartdept. inc. First Annual Gingerbread House Building Competition.” Yep, came up with that one on my own. Who won? Maybe you should decide.

Happy Holidays!

Cupcakes Change Lives

From the desk of Seattle recruiter, Beth Miller

I’ve always been a firm believer that cupcakes change lives. This sentiment became a reality as smartdept. inc. partnered with Food Lifeline for Food Frenzy, Food Lifeline’s summer fundraiser.

Last year for the fundraiser, our Seattle office hosted an open house and the raffle prize was a fabulous painting by our very talented principal, Michelle Pairitz. This year, we decided to take a different route, and host a bake sale. We invited our neighboring offices in our building, our clients, candidates, friends and families to drop by for a treat.

Over the course of our two-day sale, we had a few “repeat customers” coming back for another slice of Meghann’s pistachio cake. Overall, we raised $1,062.00! Every dollar we raised equals five meals for Food Lifeline’s programs – that’s 5,310 meals for hungry kids!

For the second year in a row, smartdept. inc. secured first place in the “Per Capita – Kitchen Sink Category” (Professional Services, Technology, Marketing). Overall, Food Frenzy raised $620,000 this year, and it continues to be an honor to be a part of something that’s making a tangible difference in our community.

Thanks to everyone who donated via our Crowdrise page and stopped by our office to visit and pick up some treats during our bake sale!

 

Welcome to the 5-Year Club, Meghann

From the desk of smartdept. inc. Principal: Eric Pairitz

meghann_five year club

“Meghann Francis Kern” is what we affectionately call her (to her face). But you might know her as the Branch Manager of the smartdept. inc. Seattle office!

Now, we can include “5-Year Jersey Club member” in the list of ways you can search for her on LinkedIn. On June 22, 2015, Meghann Francis became the second smarty in two months to garner the coveted 5-year jersey. Although it doesn’t come with a jelly-of-the-month club membership, it’s still something to be proud of.

I knew almost immediately, during our very first conversation, that Meghann would be a great fit for our environment. She was hired without staffing experience to be the Creative Consultant for our Seattle office. Meghann is a fast learner, and a short time later was promoted to a senior position. Over the years, Meghann has continued to display not only good business sense, but also outstanding leadership ability. These qualities earned her the opportunity to manage the Seattle branch — and her willingness to take on new challenges opened up the opportunity to change her focus from recruiting to business development, where I’m certain she’ll once again succeed with great enthusiasm.

Meghann, congratulations on this great accomplishment, and thank you for everything you do for us here at smartdept. inc.!

 

Smarties participate in Food Frenzy and look at one of the Food Lifeline programs it helps support

Our ongoing partnership with Food Lifeline has been very rewarding to our team. We continue to be inspired by the staff and volunteers at Food Lifeline that work day in and out to find new ways to feed hungry families. And this year, thanks to the wonderful staff at Food Lifeline, we got a look into the newly expanded Kid’s Café Program. This summer program brings meals to children who normally rely on the free or reduced lunch programs in Western Washington schools. With the help of many volunteers and staff, along with and fundraising efforts like Food Frenzy, kids from 1 to 18 are able to fuel their summer fun at 18 sites across Western Washington! The growth of the program is allowing more and more children to be served healthy meals every day. This June, the program served 12,298 meals and snacks over the first two weeks of operation. That is almost as many meals in two weeks as they served all of last summer – nearly 1,230 meals every single day! That’s exciting stuff, folks!

“Last week I went out to a Kids Cafe site. It was a Friday and after the kids were done eating and getting ready to go home, Sarah the site supervisor put out all of the fresh fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste over the weekend and let the children know that they could take as much home as they wanted to eat over the weekend. I watched as almost a dozen children ranging from 5 to 13 years old ran to the fresh produce and began to fill the plastic shopping bags with food. One little boy came up to me and very excitedly told me how much he loves apples. It’s been a very rewarding experience to see first-hand how our Kids Cafe program is benefiting children throughout Western Washington.”

– Stephanie, Food Lifeline Kids Cafe Coordinator

If you want to learn more about the Kid’s Café program, here’s a wonderful cartoon that illustrates how the program works.

Meantime, you can help out this great program! This year, as part of the Food Frenzy fundraising competition, our Seattle smarties decided to mix things up (quite literally) and have a bake sale (July 13 and 14) as part of the fundraiser. If you happen to be in the Seattle area, specifically Pioneer Square, you can stop by, say hello and get a sweet treat courtesy of our in-house bakers and The Seattle Cookie Lady. And, if you’re not in Seattle, you can still support Food Lifeline. Check out our crowdrise page to donate for a virtual treat.

 

Getting Ready for Our July Fundraiser to Support Food Lifeline

From the desk of Seattle recruiter: Chessjuan Monk

1,290 lbs has little meaning when placed all on its own, but when talked about in regards to keeping children from being hungry after school, and its correlation to providing 1,075 meals for the hungry in Western Washington, it really does bring a heavier significance than just weight. Last Wednesday, June 24, I had the pleasure of volunteering with my new Seattle team at Food LifeLine’s food distribution warehouse in Shoreline. Being able to be part of an amazing organization that is providing such a great service to the community was priceless, and I’m looking forward to helping fundraise for this awesome group July 10-24.

If you’re in the Seattle Pioneer Square area, remember to stop by July 13 and 14 for our smartdept.inc. Seattle bake sale!

seattle-smarties-2

Inspiration In the Open Air

Ethan Jack Harrington is a plein air painter who lives in Seattle, Washington. Plein air is a French term meaning “in the open air” and is used to describe the act of painting outdoors (I Googled it). Raise your hand if you’re from Seattle and have walked past a guy with his easel set up in the middle of a busy sidewalk. THAT’S ETHAN! I knew you knew him.

One of my first memories of starting the smartdept. inc. was walking down the street in Pioneer Square, and seeing Ethan working on one of his amazing paintings—right there, out in the open. We chatted about how Michelle and I were also artists, and we certainly appreciated his entrepreneurial spirit. Well, a baker’s dozen of years have passed, and you can still see Ethan out there painting in the open air. And, if the outdoors aren’t your thing, you can visit his gallery in the Pike Place Market (because it’s inside).

Alas, If you’re too impatient for a chance meeting in the street or just too busy to visit the market, you can check out his online gallery at ejakart.com. Give it a look! Maybe you’ll be inspired like Michelle and I were, oh so many years ago.

– Eric

What Inspires Meghann Kern? Target Meals for Minds

Last Thursday afternoon marked our second volunteer adventure this year with Food Lifeline in Seattle. In the past we’ve worked in their warehouse repacking food for outgoing shipments, but last Thursday we had the opportunity to walk students and their families through a make-shift grocery store we helped set up at Northgate Elementary. Target Meals for Minds is a program that helps get groceries into the hands of elementary students in our surrounding schools. At our busiest we had students, anywhere from 5-10 years old, lining up with their parents, or patiently waiting by themselves, to walk through our assembly line. Some kids were in a hurry to catch their school bus so we rushed them through our line stuffing their backpacks and grocery bags with as much food as they could carry on their own. I have continued to be inspired by the staff and volunteers at Food Lifeline that work tirelessly to find creative solutions to get food into the hands of hungry families.

We were excited to have our neighbors (we share an office floor) from PlaceFull, Ben Kappler and Adam Lang, join our Food Lifeline volunteer efforts. Ben, Adam, Beth and I were on a highly trained team dubbed “the bag-ettes” – which is a really cool way to describe being on a grocery bagging team. We look forward to our next adventure with Food Lifeline!

smartdept. inc. Seattle | Food Lifeline | Target Meals for Minds

smartdept. inc. Seattle | Food Lifeline | Target Meals for Minds

Meet With a smartdept. Seattle Recruiter and Experience Pioneer Square Culture

We’d like to think of ourselves as trendsetters at the smartdept. inc., or even mildly psychic. So when The Seattle Times stated over the weekend that Pioneer Square is in the middle of a “not-so-quiet renaissance” we weren’t surprised!

Our Seattle office is located right smack dab in the middle of what’s becoming a bustling foodie’s haven and artist’s dream (galleries galore). Our building houses Bar Sajor on the main level, The Pharmacy (speakeasy) in the basement, Temple Billiards, and of course, your very own creative and marketing talent resource.

After a visit to meet with one of our recruiters, you can explore our happening neighborhood and get inspired! #smartdeptinspires

Click here to read The Seattle Times article.

 

Seattle Event Tonight- AIGA Shmooze on the Eastside

Thursday, February 10, 2011 – Stop by and make connections with other Eastside designers (of all kinds) at our casual get-togethers. We’ll swap ideas, vent about impossible deadlines, share inspiration, and have a laugh. This time we’ll meet at Lot N° 3 in Bellevue Towers. Enjoy their great menu, espresso, or something stronger to drink — with people who get what design is about.

Attention Seattle Smarties!

“Seattle GiveCamp happening Jan 14-16, 2011 – NEED YOUR HELP!”

Seattle GiveCamp is a weekend-long event where technology professionals from designers, developers and database administrators to marketers and web strategists donate their time to provide solutions for non-profit organizations.

 If you know a charity or non-profit that needs a new website? Or needs help to escape those Excel spreadsheets and get a real donor database? Or trying to figure out how to build their social media presence?

…if so, then please let your favorite local charity know about National GiveCamp happening early next year!

Also if you are a designer, web developer, database administrators, marketer, web strategists, or something in between or all of the above PLEASE join the Seattle GiveCamp’s team – all you need to do is apply.

Charities apply here:  http://bit.ly/gaw7qi

Volunteers apply here: http://bit.ly/dGepKs

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