Chris Hempel and Donna Sokolsky Burke founded Spark PR in 1999 – since then, in 2006, Alan Soucy was named as CEO and day-to-day leadership of the firm has been split between Soucy and Burke as managing partners. The PR firm is privately owned and offers PR services to consumer markets and tech firms.
In the early years, in the middle and toward the end of the tech boom, payment sometimes came in the form of options in the start-ups they represented.
And they fared well enough through that time. But, then as Soucy joined the firm, Spark grew, and in the process, their net annual revenues nearly tripled.
They feature offices in New York City, Emeryville, California, and in Cape Town, South Africa they have a wholly-owned subsidiary.
But their headquarters are situated almost next door to some of the biggest tech firms in the nations – San Francisco. Just before forming the firm in 1999, the founders were both working at Netscape helping with the launch of the tech-world’s first browser.
That was a huge leap for technology since before that time everyone connected to the internet by using slow dial-up service. If you remember that time, it was filled with a lot of frustration, waiting for downloads was slow and laborious in comparison to the speeds we experience today.
The firm had great connections from the beginning, and early clients included Jim Barksdale (the founder of Netscape), VA Linux (one of the most successful IPOs in stock market history), and others.
But just as the internet needed browsers to evolve, Spark seems to have needed Soucy to take them to the level they enjoy today.
Some of their current clients are well-known firms such as eBay, Visa, NASDAQ, Walmart, Warner Brothers, and Chobani.
Soucy’s resume includes tech experience and leadership with MTI MicroFuel Cells (President and CEO), Philips Mobile Computing Group (General Manager), and Tripath Technology (VP of Advanced Products).
According to sparkpr.com, “Alan’s perspective is integral to the Spark philosophy, he looks at things from the outside in, reminding us of what the average consumer will react to, as well as what a business client wants and expects.”
The firm also recently added two new managing directors, Faith Paris, and Nicole Bestard in October 2015, both operating out of the New York office. That location has been going through some expansion recently. They have approximately 70 Full-Time PR professional’s on staff with the company.
Beyond that, they support and provide various opportunities for professional growth and learning for their staff, allowing them to take control of where they want to focus their career efforts. But they are right in that growth spot that can be tricky to navigate and we look forward to seeing how they move through the challenges to grow into their next phase.
The company is forward thinking with their culture and staff, giving the employees many options and opportunities, including working from home (or on alternate schedules) when they choose, bringing their dogs into the office – where there they have play space and areas for the animals and owners to relax.
Staff members join in with the firm to support and volunteer with charities they believe in and love, including Ronald McDonald charities, local homeless charities, and probably some animal charities as well with all their dog-lovers.
Over the years, they’ve received the SABRE Award for Technology, listed for several years as one of the San Francisco Bay’s Best and Brightest companies to work for, and Bulldog Reporter – Gold Award Winner for Best use of Digital/Social for a Consumer Technology Campaign.
Consider SparkPR for your PR needs.