Our Word of 2013? Culture.

Normally at year-end, I like to recap what digital trends drove the market for the past year. Then, I’ll talk about how we are using them, what we expect to see in  2014, yadda yadda…..

This year, I wanted to look back at the people instead of the technology.

In 2013, we were honored to have received a couple of awards for our focus on culture. Culture is one of those terms that people tend to downplay as being secondary to “the work.” Nurturing a company culture is more than Hawaiian shirt day or giving employees a branded keychain. It is fostering an environment that people like to work in, a place where people feel valued, and one that encourages amazing work product in the process.

Without a doubt, it is the culture of Click Rain that has fueled our growth over the past several years. Looking back at how our team has come together, I can only point to one core reason for what I consider to be the strongest team I have ever been a part of:

Hire culture over competence.

Does that mean we fill our seats with nice people who have no talent? Absolutely not. We've been fortunate to find people who fit both the culture AND competance criteria.  But when one has to choose, anyone can be trained on jquery, Photoshop, AdWords, PowerEditor, or cookie pools. What can’t be trained? Being a good person. Respecting others. Smiling a lot. Unprompted high-fives. A value system that puts others first.

Click rain team members with Spongebog.

Fixing a broken culture is a lot more work than maintaining a good one. With that in mind, looking back at 2013 here are the people that I am proud as a peacock to work with every day. The people who have made our culture an amazing place.

Curtis Jacob

The only guy I know who can rock a fur fedora. His quirky wit and analytic mind make him one of the best online marketing strategists in the region. The dude knows how to destroy a buffet, too.

Dave Ver Meer

It’s rare to find a designer who takes direction so well. Whenever a Dave project comes off the line, you just know it is going to be top-shelf. He is also Dutch, which automatically makes him awesome.

This guy proudly proclaims, “Routine is the spice of life.” Move his stapler and he will break your femur. Brady’s interesting sense of humor makes him awesome to have around the office. On the side, he is one amazing developer.


Talk about a ray of sunshine, she is an absolute pleasure to have on our crew. Melissa works part-time so she can juggle being a mom and freelancing, but the 25-hrs a week we get her as a designer are outstanding.


Our ultimate "utility player", Julie can cover all positions. I love the professionalism she brings to her clients, but balances that out with a razor-sharp wit. Having her join our team this past year was a huge win for Click Rain.  

Minh Lee

Minh Lee
Our latest addition to the development crew, Minh Lee is just a great guy. Culture wise, he fits like a glove and is quickly learning the Click Rain code of code. He also wears glasses like Dog the Bounty Hunter when he codes. And his daughters are adorbs.

Eric Ellefson

My business partner and the hammer. Eric is one of the hardest working people I have worked with (self-excluded). He tackles projects head-on in a way that makes me envious of his determination. I, however, am a better golfer than he.


Funny. Always happy. Amazing employee. A culture fit from day one. It’s been awesome to watch her grow from a fairly novice marketing professional to a critical part of our account team.


If anyone is working too hard, Tyler has a way of fixing that. The mood-lightener, Tyler has a way of making friends with anyone and has a smile and style that you simply can’t ignore. Competitive as heck, too.

Mark Henderson

One of the most talented and humble dudes I have ever worked with. A great sense of humor with design chops that never seem to dull. He does an amazing job leading our design and content strategy teams. 

Mark D

Mark D.
Our longest tenured employee, I talked D into joining us when we were two people in a 500 sq ft office. Can’t believe he took that risk, but am thankful every day that he did. I’ve watched his development skills grow over the years, while his waist has went the opposite direction.

Kristina Johnson

She’s only been here a few months, but man, what did we do without her? She has a Jedi-like way of seeing tasks before they are even tasks – and then she does them as well. I used to label Millennials as entitled and somewhat lazy. Kristina has shattered that stereotype for me.

Carissa Schoffelman

Always happy. Always organized. Always one-step ahead of me. If Click Rain is a well-oiled machine, Carissa is the oil. She lives out our faith, family, work culture daily and without even knowing it, inspiring a lot of people in the process. 


This young lad applied here with a web portfolio that wasn’t nearly as deep as some of our other applicants. Following our gut, we hired based on pure potential and a culture fit. Let’s just say that we found a diamond in the rough in this guy.

Sarah Werner

A quiet copywriter when she first came in our doors, Sarah has evolved to be a critical part of our company. For example, she recently informed James that turd is spelled with a “u”, saving him from future misspelling embarrassment. As a now-accomplished content strategist, Sarah’s laugh and attitude are infectious and her work product is amazing. Love having her on this team and am very excited to watch where she heads. 

Chris Prendergast

If I could clone 10 more of this guy, I would. One of the nicest, smartest, and promising people I have ever met. Chris is going places, and hopefully he takes Click Rain along with him.

James Krueger

My business partner, he’s quick with a joke or to light up your smoke. I don’t smoke, but James is exactly who Billy Joel was talking about.  James is one of the best relationship guys I know – sincere, honest, smart, and a cornerstone of our culture.


A new addition to our team, Aaron is just buckling in. He’s got a great attitude and in addition to his professionalism, we saw a culture fit in him that we couldn’t find in many other candidates. The dude has a bright future.

If Peder doesn’t sleep with a grin on his face, that is the only time he’s not smiling. He has matured into an a very bright online marketing strategist and even above that, he is just a great, great guy.

Rohn Gibson

Analytical and strategic, Rohn is one of the smartest digital executives I have ever been around. It’s one thing to know tactics and platforms. It’s another to know business objectives and digital returns. Fortunately for us, Rohn knows both.


The first time I met her, I instantly liked her. Spunky and hard working, Tamara is driven to succeed and doesn’t punch out just because the clock says 5PM. Man, has she filled a much needed role in our web project management effort efforts. 

So that’s our crew. All very different, but collectively forming a team of extremely talented digital experts. Even more, a team of outstanding people that I would take a (nerf) bullet for. I can't wait to watch this group shine in 2014 and continue to guide the Click Rain culture that each of them has helped develop.