About Vertical

At Vertical, we believe in the power of communication and its ability to transform how we do business. Born in 2002 as America was working through the impact of the 9/11 attacks, Vertical embraced the innate optimism of the human spirit. We founded the company with the goal of helping our clients succeed. Whether it’s overcome challenges or maximizing opportunities for growth. Nearly 20 years later, Vertical has stayed true to its promise to Transform Tomorrow, working with some of the world’s leading brands to create a better world. Our multi-dimensional approach to delivering powerful communications including Market Intelligence, Strategic Communications, Visual Communications and Sales Support.
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)

James Martineau
Office Manager

What are your strengths?
Keeping things organized and making bad puns

What are your weaknesses?
Cinnamon rolls and Dogs

What’s your work experience?
Started out answering phones and opening mail, slowly evolved into full-fledged Office Wizard.

Major accomplishments?
Husband, Cat Dad, and Drone Pilot

What can’t you live without?
Music

What’s your favorite thing about Chicago?
Lake Shore Drive

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

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

Eric Veazie
Graphic Designer

Strengths:
Strategy, organization, and bringing a clients vision to fruition

Weaknesses:
Expensive cheeseburgers, reality TV

Work Experience:
Has assisted agencies large and small

Education:
B.F.A., Graphic Design, DePaul University, Chicago

Hidden Talent:
Music

Cannot live without:
Air