About

In the fall of 2002, America was shaken. It was the post-9/11 era filled with anthrax threats, dot-com busts and economic stagnation. Vertical came on the scene with a different attitude, filled with positive energy and a commitment to its clients’ success.
Today, our team of creative, smart communicators continues to help companies reach and exceed business objectives. Based in Chicago, our work has global reach. Some of the largest companies on the planet are our customers. We provide the personal attention and immediate response to move marketing efforts forward, quickly. Working together, we can help your company strengthen its competitive position and increase market value through powerful and effective communications.
Capabilities
Advertising

Your advertising campaign may be your primary face to the market. Vertical can help make it smart and effective.

Brand Development

Vertical helps clients in multiple industries bring their brands to life. Backed by a strong brand identity, your marketing and sales efforts will reach new levels of success.

Channel Development and Sales Support

Vertical understands that a well-informed, well-prepared sales team can make all the difference. We create invaluable tools to strengthen and support your sales channels.

Creative Strategy and Execution

Creative ideas succeed when they embody your message, support your business strategy and capture the imagination of your customers. Our creative energies are strategically focused to achieve your business goals.

Graphic Design and Copywriting

Visual structures speak volumes. Words motivate nations. That’s why Vertical is passionate about strong design and powerful copy.  

Public Relations

Cost-effective and targeted, a public relations campaign with Vertical is a key ingredient to changing public perception and building a long-lasting, positive reputation.

Strategic Planning

Combining our years of experience with current market intelligence, Vertical can help define and develop effective strategies to reach your business goals.

Our Team

Michael J. Keating, President

Strengths:
Hiring people smarter than himself

Weaknesses:
Coffee and chocolate doughnuts

Work Experience:
Ogilvy Public Relations, Porter/Novelli, Bozell

Past Life:
World traveler, avid reader, interesting conversationalist, martini connoisseur

Current Life:
Helping my son navigate the challenges of middle school and Chicago’s urban bicycle paths

Accomplishments:
Signed affidavits in 50 states vowing never to launch a singing career

Duane Perolio, Creative Director

Strengths:
Helps designers see work through the client’s eyes

Weaknesses:
Potato chips and French Onion dip

Education:
B.F.A. – Graphic Design, Kent State University; M.F.A. – Print Media, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Past Life:
Cultural Theorist and Andy Warhol protégé

Accomplishments:
Had a perfect attendance record in grade school

Hidden Talent:
Can do wheelchair stunts

Michael Sobczynski, Account Services Director

Strengths:
Details, numbers, analysis and project management

Weaknesses:
Chicago Cubs, Starbucks and Chicago Cubs

Education:
B.S. Economics, University of Chicago

Past Life:
Investment banking, pub crawls, wanted to be the first
blond James Bond

Current Life:
Husband, news junkie and Starbucks recovery

Can’t live without:
My wife/my Xbox (hope I never have to choose)

Sean Fermoyle, Senior Graphic Designer

Strengths:
Strategy, organization, and clean design

Weaknesses:
Books about modern architecture

Work Experience:
20 years in industry, has worked for agencies large and small in addition to running his own freelance design studio

Education:
B.F.A., Communication Design, The Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago

Hidden Talent:
Runs an inspirational art blog named artworkergallery.com

Cannot live without:
Art

Josh Schultz, Office Manager

Strengths:
Being at the right place at the right time

Weaknesses:
Good conversations with close friends

Past Life:
Unrepentant community artist & theater director
in the U.K. and U.S.

Current Life:
Father, Husband

Accomplishments:
Shook hands with a Pope, Prince and President — all surpassed by my kids

Chicago Favorites:
Chicago’s rich tapestry of neighborhoods

Debbie Dodge, Senior Consultant

Strengths:
Grammatically correct and strategically insightful

Weaknesses:
Small venues full of local art, music, dance, theater & film

Work Experience:
Public relations executive for art museum, hospital and management consultant

Can’t Live Without:
Looking at art

Education:
M.S. – Public Relations; M.S. – Historic Preservation

Hidden Talent:
Photography

Lloyd Babbitt, Vice President, Intelligence and Insight

Strengths:
Strategic Planning, Competitive Intelligence, Critical Thinking

Weaknesses:
Sweets and Action Flicks

Work Experience:
Multi-Nationals in the U.S. and Asia

Past Life:
International man of mystery

Current Life:
Husband and father

Education:
Bachelors of Architectural Studies, University of Illinois; Master of International Management, Thunderbird – American Graduate School of International Management

Hidden Talent:
Free hand drawing

Cannot Live Without:
Family

 

Barb Bizub, Copy Editor

Strengths:
Spelling, grammar; flexibility

Weaknesses:
Tiny houses and thrift shops

Past Life:
Roller-skated for transportation 

Current Life:
Mother, copy editor, proofreader, bookkeeper

Challenges:

Living simply in a modern world. Helping twin teens prepare for college.

Fave part of job:
Exposure to the various writing styles of colleagues; the knowledge I gain by reading for content as well as spelling, grammar, and punctuation

Tommy, Head of Security

Strengths:
Ability to consume large amounts of dog biscuits and process internally.

Weaknesses:
Passion for inspecting fire hydrants and shrubs.

Past Life:
Three-time winner of scariest dog on the block.

Current Life:
Security detail for company food supply.

Challenges:
Reducing the threat of cat burglars.

Fave part of job:
Rescuing and re-using unused food resources from trash cans.

Client List

AHIMA
Alliance of American Insurers
ATS
Baker Knapp and Tubbs
BIN WIne Cafe
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Cypress
eMeter
Group Benefit Associates
Grainger
Greyhound Partners
Humidor to Door
IK Gymnastics
Ingenuity Incorporated
InSite Real Estate
KIMCO
Labelmaster/DGIS
Mitsubishi
Pedestal
PLRB

 

Pointroll
Precision Biomarker
RREEF
Saint Mary of the Angels
Siemens
Snow City Arts
Spark
Swisslog
Words
The Zoo & Aquarium Video Archive
USGBC