"It [moving to the Barnes Agency] was a bit intimidating," O'Neill said. "I was thinking, 'OK, I've bitten off more than I can chew.'"
Unlike larger advertising firms, O'Neill said the Barnes Agency brings a team approach to every project. O'Neill serves as the creative director for its Teays Valley office and will help coordinate creative efforts for graphic design projects at the agency's new Huntington office, set to open Nov. 11.
"Here, everyone works on everything," O'Neill said. "I like to collaborate with everyone. Everyone has something to bring to the table."
Both Barnes and O'Neill believe their small firm team approach enables them to build and retain stronger client relationships.
The agency has also never had a layoff. Barnes said the agency is adding about two clients per month.
As the agency extends its footprint in Huntington, Barnes said he has his eye on Charleston in the future.
The agency is also working with Marshall University officials to provide at least two paid internships per semester to Marshall students majoring in graphic design, marketing, advertising, digital media or journalism.
The agency's Huntington location will be steps away from Marshall's visual arts building opening next August.
Tracey Straub will serve as the director of client services for the Huntington office.
"There are not a lot of jobs in this industry in the area," Straub said. "So it's exciting to let students know this field is not really dwindling but we're growing and right next door."
Barnes added that the agency would be working with West Virginia State University on its re-branding campaign efforts. He said they might add interns from WVSU or the University of Charleston at its Teays Valley office in the future.
Looking toward the next 10 years of business, Barnes said it will be important for his agency to maintain its strong client relationship while landing more prominent clients like The Greenbrier Classic.
Reach Caitlin Cook at caitlin.c...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.