Cedar Rapids agencies Henry Russell Bruce, ME&V complete merger

Alliance creates one of the largest fundraising consulting firms in Iowa

George Ford
Published: April 2 2014 | 4:00 pm - Updated: 7 April 2014 | 3:06 pm in

Two of Iowa’s largest advertising agencies have completed a merger, creating a new entity, Amperage, that will represent more than 200 clients across 10 states.

Henry Russell Bruce in Cedar Rapids and ME&V Advertising and Consulting of Cedar Rapids announced plans to merge on March 3. Amperage, the succeeding company, employs more than 50 people with offices in Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Dubuque and the Quad Cities.

Amperage will have annual billings of about $33 million. The agency offers branding, marketing, public relations, Web and digital marketing services, media buying, advertising and complete video services to health care, higher education and banking, corporate communications and non-profit fundraising clients.

With the completion of the merger on April 1, Amperage announced its senior management team.

Bryan Earnest, former president of ME&V, will be president and chief executive officer. Jim Thebeau, former CEO of HRB, will be chairman of the board.

Steve Erickson, former president of HRB, will be chief creative officer; Mark Mathis, former director of cool for ME&V, will be chief strategy officer, and Jim Infelt, former creative director for ME&V, will be the chief digital officer.

Earnest said the merger was almost a full year in the making, with HRB and ME&V wanting to make sure that becoming a single business was right for all the clients, employees and owners.

“We found we had a lot in common and we had the same goals to grow our businesses,” Earnest said.

The alliance creates one of the largest fundraising consulting firms in Iowa with more than $100 million raised for non-profit organizations over the last 15 years.

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