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Alexis Miller

Manning’s personalized 10th anniversary poster

We recently celebrated the tenth year of having the talented Jon Manning on our Penna Powers team. Jon, or “Manning” as we call him around the office is our Senior Web Developer. In fact, Manning is one of the original members of our very first interactive team in the agency.

For each anniversary we celebrate in the agency, we like to center the theme around that specific staff member’s hobbies, interests and personality. When he’s not busy helping our clients with their technical and interactive needs, Manning enjoys roasting his signature coffee beans, brewing beer from home and being the ultimate “fixer-upper” for any old or broken objects he can get his hands on.

As an added bonus, Manning hosts his own YouTube channel, The Burning Pan. Be sure to check it out if you are looking for a fantastic recipe for homemade tomato sauce or an innovative way to make a planter out of an old wine bottle.

We couldn’t be more grateful to have had such a talented individual on our team for the past decade. Here’s to ten more years!




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4th of July Kids 800

The Fourth of July is right around the corner, which means fun in the sun, boating, picnics and watching fireworks with friends and family. But did you know it’s also the most dangerous holiday to be on or near a road?

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*2014 roadway related fatalities

What makes the Fourth of July so dangerous? There really isn’t a definitive answer other than people continue to drive unbuckled, distracted, aggressive, impaired and drowsy. But what I do know is (1) until we have perfect people, even the safest drivers are vulnerable to the poor decisions of others (2) the single most important thing you can do to prevent death or injury on the road is to buckle up. Watch and see why:

If you don’t buckle up, please reconsider. If you do buckle up, have a conversation with the people you care about; help them understand that buckling up doesn’t mean, “giving in to ‘The Man’” – it means choosing to live, choosing to be around for weddings, birthdays, vacations, promotions and grandchildren. If you truly care about the people around you, you will advocate for seat belt use everywhere you drive, every time.

If you know someone who drives unbuckled please help them understand the facts:

  1. Three out of four people ejected from their vehicle die from their injuries.
  2. Wearing a seat belt keeps the driver in the driver’s seat, significantly helping the driver maintain control of the vehicle.
  3. Unbuckled passengers increase the risk of killing or injuring other belted passengers by 40 percent.

But most importantly, help them understand they should buckle up because you love and care for them.
We at Penna Powers are honored to work with UDOT and Zero Fatalities. For more information, visit


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Writer's Block Pic 800 It’s already creeping up on me as I begin this post: pressure in my chest, straying thoughts, the feeling that what I write needs to be brilliant, together with the voice in my head telling me it’s not… All of this could be called writers block.

This creative block was more frequent before I discovered a cure: give yourself permission to write garbage. This sounds contradictory at first. Writing garbage isn’t an option for communications professionals but that’s not what this sentence means. Giving yourself permission to write garbage just asks your inner critic to hold for a moment while you write as much as you can.

Writer’s block is your inner voice paralyzing your creativity with the need to be perfect. Ironically, perfectionism is the very thing that makes us create inferior work. An excerpt from David Bayle’s book Art and Fear illustrates this well.

‘A ceramics teacher divided his class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right would be graded solely on the quality of one piece.’

A twist to the story is that when grading day came the teacher found that all the highest quality pots came from the group graded on quantity. While the “quantity” group was busily churning out work, and learning from their mistakes, the “quality” group spent their time theorizing about perfection, and in the end, had little to show for it.

Giving yourself permission to write garbage is what gets everything moving for any writing project. Writing becomes much easier once you have words on the page, then you can let your inner critic help you strengthen the piece.

Do you have any personal remedies for writer’s block?

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Vegas800Sometimes it takes little people with big ideas to make a splash in the marketing world and sometimes those ideas will ultimately lead to the creator having a day dedicated to them posthumously and sometimes the projects that seemed insignificant at the time land on the National Register of Historic Places.

It doesn’t happen often and before Betty Willis’ idea struck her in 1959, the Las Vegas Valley had never seen anything like it. In fact, we still haven’t. Betty Willis, who passed away in April at age 91, is an icon in Las Vegas and her project is an even bigger icon. In Las Vegas, one-time landmarks are imploded at least a couple times a decade but Willis’ still stands… most times with dozens of tourists snapping shots of each other in front of it.

Even if you don’t recognize her name, you’ve seen Willis’ work – it has defined Las Vegas for five decades. It’s on postcards, T-shirts, magnets, lighters; you name it. She crafted silver dollars with letters inside that read “Welcome” on top (the silver dollars signifying the state motto, Nevada, the Silver State) with a diamond-shaped sign below that says “To Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada”.

Sound familiar? Thought so.

One of our favorite features of the sign? The flip side. We’re pretty darn sure it’s the first prominent traffic-safety message in the entire state. It reads,“Drive Carefully; Come Back Soon”. We at Penna Powers applaud Willis for thinking about safety! “The fact that everyone loves that sign and its design after all these years is a testament to Betty’s talent,” Steve Sisolak, a Clark County commissioner recently told NBC news. “There is probably no bigger Las Vegas icon than that sign.”

There are zillions of advertising firms in the state, yet the sign designer took it upon herself to develop a genius piece of artwork. There are no copyrights to the sign and Willis never made a dime off her world-famous creation which, compared to the multi-million dollar contract for the creators of “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” campaign, makes Willis’ work even more astounding.

Marketing and advertising agencies come in all shapes and sizes. Gone are the days of Betty Willis, now it takes a creative team effort to draw up a successful campaign. And that is why Betty Willis will always be so special to the Entertainment Capital of the World.

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me & collin
For over five years Penna Powers sponsored a hole for the EDCUtah golf tournament, Golf for Grants. The event is a fundraiser for the EDCUtah Community Match Grants Program that donates money to communities around the state and we were very happy to be a part of the action. As in years past the activity we sponsored at hole #15 was the goofy goggle challenge – this involves wearing goggles that simulate what a .07 BAC does to your vision and trying to hit a golf ball closest to the Penna Powers sign placed 100 yards out on the fairway. Hilarity ensued as some of the state’s heads of industry and influence tried to win bragging rights and a $200 gift card to Uinta Golf.

The day started bright and early at Eaglewood Golf Course with a 7 a.m. breakfast and 7:45 shotgun start. Each group passed through their final hole around 1 p.m. I’m sure there were a number of groups chuckling as they watched Collin and I play gopher for the black and red golf balls we provided (we quickly realized that red was a much better choice as it was much easier to find in the weeds/trees). After two houses and a number of trees were hit, we had our winner: Bob Moschetti! Mr. Moschetti managed to get within 22ft of the sign, it may not sound like much, but you try to do it – many participants only moved the mat the ball was on…


While the event helped us introduce Penna Powers to people who hadn’t heard about us and/or didn’t know what we do, much of the time was spent rubbing shoulders with the movers and shakers of the industry. We shared chotski items like brush tees and sticky notes while applauding anyone who managed to hit the ball semi-straight and more than 20 yards.

It was a beautiful day with a gentle breeze and I was especially grateful for the sunscreen on the toes advice (I had originally thought people were joking).  I learned some new golf terms – addressing the ball, brush tee and fairway… So overall, it was a good day.

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phone 800

Have you called Penna Powers lately? If you have, you might have heard something a little strange when you were put on hold. You see, we’ve abandoned the elevator music and tired jingles of yester-year. Instead, we want to take a moment to share a little bit about ourselves with you with our phone hold music. Here are some samples:

For more fun entries call us anytime at 801.487.4800

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Let’s face it, like any company we see people come and go. But unlike most agencies, we see people come… go… and come back again. And we lovingly title such individuals as members of the “boomerang club.”

Penna Powers has been awarded the Utah Business “Best Company to Work For” three years in a row. But more than awards, “the proof is in the puddin’,” as Penna Powers attracts talented individuals dedicated to the company culture. However, with many talented professionals, outside opportunities come a knockin’ and some P2ers may leave the fold…but it rarely lasts. For example, Bobby Brinton left for 8 days before realizing his mistake and Christine Menges lasted 16 days. Stacy Johnson took what she now refers to as her “summer vacation.”

It was such an epidemic that the office has commemorated the group with a plaque.


I remember sitting in my interview for Zero Fatalities PR Manager eight months ago. At the start, the questions were to be expected: “Tell us about your work experience,” “why are you interested in the position,” “why would you be a good fit”…etc. etc. etc. And then the questions changed: “What three word slogan would you put on a billboard promoting yourself?” and “what’s your spirit animal?” I laughed initially thinking it was a joke, but based on the expressions in the room I realized they were truly waiting for my answers.

As bizarre as the interview may have seemed, I walked out knowing Penna Powers was where I wanted to be, where I could work hard and succeed. Not because they asked ridiculous questions, but because they cared to find a good fit, and as a result, I love my job every day.

The long and the short of it: You’d be crazy to work with any other firm, in my VERY unbiased opinion. If you don’t believe me, come spend some time at 1706 Major Street, walk the halls and see for yourself. #dareya

[SIDE NOTE: I believe I said my spirit animal was a jaguar, and there’s no way I remember what my three word slogan was but I remember it wasn’t half bad. Before the interview was over I did ask my interviewers to divulge THEIR spirit animals. I won’t say exactly who was who. Just know I was being interviewed by Justin Smart, Dave Smith and Brent Wilhite – and the animals listed: a duck, a horse and a meerkat. I’ll let you determine the rest.]


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