WATERLOO — Scott Scully is getting national recognition for blazing new trails in the marketing world.
But the founder and chief executive officer of Abstrakt Marketing Group in St. Louis said his success is grounded in Iowa’s work ethic and his Waterloo upbringing.
“There’s a little something in the air in Iowa,” Scully said. “If people do leave Waterloo for whatever reason, it seems like they go out in the world and represent Iowa and Waterloo well.”
Scully, 49, won a prestigious Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 award from Ernst & Young on June 14 for the Heartland region covering Kansas City, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. National winners will be selected from the regions in November.
EY uses an independent panel of judges, including entrepreneurs and prominent business, finance and community leaders, to select winners following an intensive vetting process involving work place visits and a review of company finances.
“There’s been some very well-known business people that have won the award in the past,” said Scully, also a finalist in 2017.
The son of George and Cammie Scully graduated from Waterloo Columbus High School in 1987 and earned a marketing degree from Mankato State University in Minnesota. His first job out of college was as director of marketing for the Waterloo-based Hogan-Hansen accounting firm.
“I had a great family and really good friends and very supportive teachers,” Scully said. “Growing up in Iowa, with parents who had certain expectations and being surrounded by others with those expectations, that molded me into the person I am today.”
But an entrepreneurial spirit led him to depart for St. Louis about 20 years ago where he has been involved in three marketing companies, founding Abstrakt Marketing Group in 2009. While the previous two firms were focused on the automotive industry, Abstrakt was designed to have multiple niches.
The company has grown from $100,000 in annual revenue to more than $1 million monthly sales revenue, while staffing has jumped to 270 employees with plans to add 100 new workers in the next year.
“We have a mission to be a household name in the industries we (service) around the county,” Scully said. “We work in all 50 states. Most of our business is actually outside of St. Louis.”
The company’s corporate headquarters are near the St. Louis Arch in a renovated historic building in the Laclede’s Landing district.
Abstrakt Marketing Group, under Scully’s leadership, has been recognized by the St. Louis Business Journal as one of the best places to work and was tapped by Entrepreneur Magazine last year as one of the “top company cultures” in the country.
“We’re trying to do things so our people are happy and want to do the hard work for our clients,” Scully said. “It all is very hard work so we want to provide an environment that they want to come to on a daily basis.”
Abstrakt has a team that works on internal marketing and culture, having monthly themes, events and competitions. The office has a lounge with a bar and shuffleboard and foosball tables. Plans call for a 20,000-square-foot addition that will include sports courts and a workout facility.
But Scully said it’s not all fun and games. Results are expected.
“We’re real metrics driven,” he said.
Scully is not the only Columbus High School graduate working at Abstrakt. His brother Ben is also a company owner while 1994 graduate Brian Condon runs the firm’s agency division.