Recently, we welcomed Pete Levine to the Civilian team as our new Director of Client Services. His processes and presence have already made a positive impact in the short time he’s been here, so we sat down with Pete to learn more about his experience, what drew him to Civilian, and if he had any advice for those pursuing a career in Client Services.
Where are you from?
I am from Springfield, Ohio, a bustling metropolis located about halfway between Dayton and Columbus.
What brought you to Civilian?
The fact that it’s an agency that actually cares and work for the greater good. For Civilian, this isn’t just a line in the letterhead, it’s something they live and breathe every day. That is something extremely unique to me, I haven’t seen it anywhere else in the advertising industry. And to see people behind that mission meant a lot to me, and I wanted to be a part of it.
What are some opportunities you see for us at Civilian?
I’ve never come across a more eager, more capable, and positive group, but of course everyone can always improve. We have to continue to push ourselves, not rest on our laurels, and remember yesterday’s best is today’s opportunity. We can always grow, we could always do better. Seek inspiration from the outside and apply it here. Don’t just rely on what we’ve done, or our past experience, but also look elsewhere for creative and new ways to solve existing problems. Get out of our comfort zone.
Talk to us more about how your past experiences will benefit Civilian and our clients.
I come from a large agency background, working primarily on CPG, and other products with very large budgets. Typically, those agencies have intensive training for employees so they can learn the processes they have in place. You learn different steps, or efficiencies, to help make projects run smoothly, so you’re not reinventing the wheel every time you approach something. Templates and safeguards are in place, to help guide you towards success. Having been through that kind of processes training, I look forward to applying that learning and bringing some of that here to Civilian. We may not be a 5,000-person agency, but we run just as tight of a ship, and we deliver the same outputs on strategy, on time, and on budget. So we can deliver the type of work you’ll see from a Madison Avenue shop, or even a global powerhouse, and bring it to our agency here in Liberty Station.
Who’s been your favorite client to work with in your career to date?
Bob Evans restaurants, whom I worked with as an Account Coordinator, and then as an Account Supervisor before I moved on. Through this account, I had the opportunity to learn every aspect of advertising, from media to creative to accounts to traffic and sponsorship. Anything you could do, I did there. Also, Bob Evans restaurants was a brand that didn’t take itself too seriously. They really lived and breathed the “down home,” “down on the farm” feel, and it was fun to be a part of that, because I remembered my experiences with the brand as a kid.
What would you tell someone just starting their career in Client Services?
Why on Earth would you want to get into this line of work? (Laughs) No, I’m just kidding. It’s very rewarding. I think if you’re highly organized and interested in projects from inception to completion, this is a great place to be. Expect to see a lot of spillover into your everyday life. Client Services is almost more of a personality type or personality trait than it is just a profession. This work is for folks who embrace the chaos, and find a way to make sense of it. To inspire others and keep a smile on their face. So if that’s what you’re interested in, this would be a good place to do it.
Have you embraced anything Californian, or that you thought you would never do?
I definitely have some floral shirts now that didn’t exactly fly in the big city. Flip flops to work on Fridays is something I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do. Oh yeah, sunglasses every day. That’s something I’m not used to. I put my sunglasses away for five months out of the year, put them in a case. In Chicago, when I’d come home from Christmas break, I’d put them away and get them out again in April because the sun just doesn’t come out during winter there.
What do you miss from back home?
My friends, some of my family. Outside of that, the agency here has really taken me under their wing, and everyone has been very welcoming. That eases the burden there. It’s more of what I like here than more of what I miss from back home.
Describe yourself in three words
Laidback, sarcastic, and caring.
Rapid fire questions:
Flip-flops or sneakers: Flip-flops
Surf or tan: Both (laughs)
Mac or PC: Mac
Harry Potter or Star Wars: I’ve never read anything of Harry Potter but I’ve seen a couple of Star Wars movies, so I guess Star Wars
Pro sports or college sports: Mix, Reds and Buckeyes. But Pro sports.
Cheeseburger or hot dogs: Hot dogs
Early bird or night owl: Early bird
Empty email inbox or 10,000 email inbox: 10,001 (we laugh)
Haha or LOL: Haha
TV or Movies: TV
Hat or sunglasses: Hmm, sunglasses
Beer or wine: Beer
Coffee or tea: Coffee
Dog or dogs: Dogs (all laugh)
How do you feel about being a part of Civilian?
It’s an honor. I didn’t know a place like this existed. I’ve never seen an agency like this in the advertising agency: everyone’s drive around the common goals, how passionate everyone is about the work, the drive to do better for their clients, and the way everyone actually cares about each other. I say this having been in advertising quite some time: it’s kind of the way it should be, in my opinion. I feel bad that it took me so long to discover it. Now, I’m glad to be a part of it, and hope to continue to build on the great place that Civilian has built and be a contributor here.