(Photo: Michael Sherman, Jamie Kaye Walters and Peter Van Dyke)
VVK PR + Creative agency launched today, bringing together the collective expertise, leadership, and client portfolios of Peter Van Dyke, Jamie Kaye Walters and Michael Sherman. The company is opening with a nearly 15-person team providing integrated communication services to a portfolio of 20-plus clients in Detroit, Michigan, and nationwide.
Peter Van Dyke, who will serve as VVK’s CEO, joined this new venture after 20 years of PR industry leadership, most recently as CEO of Van Dyke Horn, a communications agency he acquired in 2016. The agency was formerly named Berg Muirhead, where he worked for 10 years prior to becoming an owner. Michael Sherman, who will serve as VVK partner and executive vice president of production, started Velocity Cow video production company with Jamie Kaye Walters in 2008, and will bring his nationwide portfolio of clients and six team members to the agency. Jamie Kaye Walters, who served as creative services and programing director at WDIV-TV for eight years after co-founding Velocity Cow with Sherman, will serve as VVK’s COO and partner, and will lead the agency’s marketing practice and talent development.
“Michael, Jamie and I recognized that we could combine our individual successes and strengths to create a platform for clients to benefit from our integrated services and shared principles – strategy, creativity and diversity,” said Van Dyke. “We are grateful to start VVK with a strong team and client portfolio, and we are confident that we have a solid foundation for future growth and impact.”
The VVK PR team includes Annmarie Erickson joining as senior executive counsel and Craig Fahle as PR director. In addition to Sherman, the VVK video production team is led by VP of creative production John Heiple, who has been with the company since 2011, and includes a team of editors, cinematographers and producers. Walters will oversee the integration of the PR and video teams, lead the agency’s digital practice, as well as manage the recruitment and development of the agency’s talent.
“This is an incredibly exciting chapter for the Velocity Cow team and our clients. With our previous partnership with Jamie and collaborations with Peter, forming VVK was a natural fit our teams, cultures and clients,” said Sherman. “I’m energized about our shared vision for the future.”
VVK is announcing a fellowship as part of its launch to advance its corporate mission of fostering a diverse talent pipeline for the agency and industry. The VVK Fellowship will be focused on attracting emerging practitioners of color who are interested in learning the agency environment, its clients’ industries, and developing their communications skills. VVK’s partners will also look to the fellows to support business operations to ensure we are hearing new voices and viewpoints as we refine our culture, practices and policies. In addition to the VVK Fellowship, as the agency looks to expand its team, it will continue to prioritize diversity, a critically important company attribute for its founders and clients.
“A major indicator of our success will be how our actions, not words, create great talent experiences. From day one, we will encourage the voices of the VVK team to be integral in how we operate and expand,” says Walters. “I love my role at this agency because it’s at the intersection of strategy and creativity.”
VVK has clients in agriculture, automotive, energy, media, insurance, IT, legal, nonprofit and real estate industries, representing nearly $2 million in projected annual revenues. The VVK partners are focused on continued growth in these industries, as well as looking at other markets where they can bring proven expertise and solutions to help impact future clients’ brands, and the communities and sectors they serve.
“Our first priority is our founding team and clients, ensuring that VVK is delivering a culture and service level that exceeds their expectations,” said Van Dyke. “We will then look where we can leverage our expertise and services to expand in Detroit, across Michigan and across the country.”
Van Dyke has a strong track-record of maximizing business growth. He was the key driver in the rapid growth of Van Dyke Horn, which resulted in the company tripling its revenue and doubling its team in six years. Sherman has also seen steady growth with Velocity Cow since its founding in 2008, building a team that serves clients nationwide.
Walters started her career at WDIV-Local 4 in 1998 and then co-founded Velocity Cow with Sherman. In 2013, she was recruited to lead WDIV-Local 4’s creative services and programming department, to oversee major nationally-syndicated events like the “America’s Thanksgiving Parade,” the Sunday morning “Flashpoint,” the daytime talk show “Live in the D,” and the station’s marketing and community engagement initiatives.
In addition to driving impact for its team and clients, VVK will operate on a philanthropic mission to impact organizations and communities aligned with the founders’ passions and company culture. This includes serving on the boards of and making investments in Wayne State University’s College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts, Detroit Public Theatre, InsideOut Literary Arts Program, Culture Source and Michigan Humane.