New Position: Senior vice president and chief marketing officer, First Advantage Corp., St. Petersburg
Previous Position: Senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Catalina Marketing Corp., St. Petersburg
Rick Mansfield figures he'll be a road warrior, "at least for the short term," in the newly created position of senior vice president and chief marketing officer for background screening company First Advantage Corp.
The company has made 25 acquisitions in the past 18 months, Mansfield said. His task is to integrate the new companies and the existing companies under the First Advantage brand into a single entity.
"They really haven't integrated the brand names and company names," he said. "This position was created to come in and rebrand many of these businesses to make it easy for customers to understand our services.
"Today, First Advantage is exactly equal to the sum of its parts."
First Advantage provides human resource services and employment background screening, drug-free workplace programs and other occupational health testing. First Advantage also provides consultant services for companies that are hiring _ a relatively new service, Mansfield said.
The acquisitions have given First Advantage offices nationwide, from California to New York. "I need to get out there and learn those businesses," Mansfield said.
Mansfield, 41, was born in Baton Rouge, La., but went to college in Illinois and calls Chicago home. "After graduation, I spent the lion's share of my early career there," he said.
Mansfield earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Eastern Illinois University in 1985 and an MBA in 1992 from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
Early in his career, Mansfield worked for Quaker Oats, first in corporate finance, then in brand management. He worked with several dog snack food brands, including Snausages and Pup-peroni. "You were marketing to pet owners," he said. "You get to learn about relationships people have with their pets." Mansfield also worked with the Gatorade brand for six years during the Michael Jordan tie-in campaigns, from 1994 to 2000.
Mansfield left Quaker Oats and joined Catalina Marketing, first in Chicago, then relocating to the company's headquarters in St. Petersburg. He worked in several financial areas with Catalina, which tracks customer buying patterns, particularly in grocery stores. Mansfield said he found working with a smaller market challenging.
"With Quaker Oats, the job was marketing to consumers in terms of millions. It was different (with Catalina) to create a relationship with an individual (and) count those customers in the hundreds or thousands, not millions."
Mansfield said he likes being involved with a growth company like First Advantage. With a growth company, he said, "there won't be a lot of dull moments. There'll be a lot of action. You can't afford to spend a lot of time looking in the rear-view mirror.
"In growth companies, you don't work in an overly structured environment," he said. "There are too many new things coming down the road every single day. You have to decide, "Is this something I'm going to pick up and run with or is it a lower priority?'
"All those decisions, in the early point of a company's life, (are) going to be very important 10 or more years down the road."
Mansfield and his wife, Jo Dee, live in Tarpon Springs with their three children. Mansfield said he likes to run to keep in shape.
_ FRED W. WRIGHT JR., Times correspondent