Taking the first step toward creating your dream job for yourself can be scary. Taking that step during a global pandemic when so many people suffer from job insecurity is even scarier. No one knows this better than Klein College of Media and Communication alumnus and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations Steve DiMeo, KLN ‘85. “It was obviously a risk, starting an agency in a pandemic. But, you know, it was a great opportunity to really do what we’ve been waiting to do,” DiMeo said.
After earning his degree in journalism with a concentration in advertising from Temple University, DiMeo worked at several advertising agencies with clients ranging from pharmaceutical companies to Pizza Hut, but never felt like he was working on the kinds of accounts that he wanted. From agency to agency, DiMeo often found himself working with an art director named Buzz Miller, and after working for pharmaceutical agencies for several years, they decided to start freelancing together under the name Buzz + Steve.
Buzz + Steve eventually turned into Pine, and DiMeo and Miller became partners of their very own advertising agency. Pine’s slogan became “naturally creative,” and reflects their desire to serve good people that are doing good things for the community. Currently, Pine’s clients include the LiveWell Foundation, which offers free support groups for people with depression; and Orens Brothers Real Estate, the management group behind the Diamond Green Apartments where many Temple students live off-campus. Additionally, for every contract they sign, Pine plants a small grove of trees somewhere in the United States.
DiMeo and Miller both stress the nimbleness and adaptability of their agency. Because they mostly work on a freelance basis, they can bring in people on an as-needed basis in order to suit each specific project. “We custom fit the team based off of the client that we’re talking to,” Miller said.
DiMeo is especially fond of giving opportunities to his former students to help jumpstart their careers. “I’ve seen some incredible students and have actually brought them into agencies where I worked,” DiMeo said. “I love mining the great talent that Temple puts out.”
One such student is Marina Parsons, KLN ’20. Parsons took ADV 4102: Advertising Campaigns with DiMeo in the spring of 2020, and started working for Pine in June 2020. In the course, DiMeo broke his students into competing teams and had them each create an advertising campaign. Miller sat in on the final presentations, and Parsons’ team was declared the winner. DiMeo and Miller were so impressed with Parsons that they brought her onto the Pine team as a designer.
Though she was brought on as a designer, Parsons has already had the opportunity to step into other roles within the agency as needed. On top of doing graphic design for clients, she often handles social media and branding, and likes that she gets to branch out. “When you work [in a] small business, you wear a lot of different hats,” Parsons said.
“One of the things that’s important to us is to have fun and to laugh and to not take everything so seriously,” Miller said. Parsons pointed out that sometimes DiMeo brings puppets to Zoom calls or pretends his screen froze to bring some fun to their meetings. DiMeo loves humor, and was the editor of Spice, Temple’s humor magazine while DiMeo was a student.
Pine also wants their employees to be able to escape from work and reconnect with nature in order to refine their thinking. “When you have a life outside of work, it enriches the work that you do,” Miller said.
“I’m super grateful to be a part of this team,” Parsons said. “Every day I’ve worked with this agency has been a day that I’ve been extremely happy doing what I’m doing and everyone’s so supportive and excited for each other and every opportunity is just another one that we celebrate.”
Pine will celebrate its first birthday on June 28, 2021, and is on track to continue its growth in the coming years. DiMeo is grateful for his time at Temple as a student, an alumnus, a professor and a father of a spring 2021 graduate.
“I thank Temple for the opportunities not just as an alum but as an adjunct there. I think it’s a phenomenal school,” DiMeo said.