Spotlight: Jef Schmidt, VP, client management, GMR Marketing
Jef Schmidt has spent a career in beer marketing, working 22 years at Anheuser-Busch followed by a stint with Pabst. He’s now handling the MillerCoors account for GMR Marketing.
■ New title: Vice president of client management, GMR Marketing.
■ Previous title: Brand manager, Pabst Brewing Co.
■ First job: Media buyer, D’Arcy MacManus Masius Worldwide, St. Louis.
■ Education: MBA, Keller Graduate School of Management, 2001; B.A., St. Louis University, 1983.
■ Resides: Kildeer, Ill., with wife Valorie, son Maximilian and daughters Sophia and Hannah.
■ Executive most admired: Richard Branson.
■ Last book read: “Who I Am: A Memoir,” by Pete Townshend.
■ Favorite movie: “Slap Shot.”
■ Favorite bands: Thin Lizzy, Kiss, The Gaslight Anthem, The Who, Foo Fighters, Cheap Trick, The Clash. (It’s impossible not to mention at least 7 favorites!).
■ What will be the biggest challenge in your new position?
Developing a thorough and comprehensive understanding of the taste profiles of ALL the MillerCoors brands. A daunting challenge but one that I will definitely work my way through!
■ What is the biggest risk you've taken in your career?
Leaving Anheuser-Busch Inc. after almost 22 years to start Black Rose Consulting Group, my marketing consulting firm.
■ What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
Being able to work in the marketing/advertising business my entire career. I knew that I wanted to be in marketing since I was in the sixth grade when I had the opportunity to “help” create newspaper ads for my mother’s retail stores in Alton, Ill.
■ What is your biggest professional disappointment?
Not being drafted to play for the St. Louis Blues.
■ What career advice do you have for people wanting into the sports industry?
Network, network, network! Meet and interact with as many people as possible within your chosen area of concentration, even if those people are not who you are targeting to work for.
■ What is one story you are continuing to watch in the sports world today?
How the NHL fares after the lockout and whether or not it impacts attendance, ratings and fan interest.
■ What is the one element you would like to see changed about the sports industry?
Player salaries. I would love to see players responsible for performance-based pay and incentives. It’s not fair to fans to only compete in a contract year.