Rockfish Founder Kenny Tomlin Still Growing Companies

by Kate Knable  on Monday, Oct. 29, 2012 12:00 am  

Kenny Tomlin

Advertising Age magazine named Rockfish its small agency of the year in 2008, and in 2010, Rockfish was No. 3 on the magazine’s Agency A-List, a ranked list of the top 10 U.S. agencies.

Rapid Growth

Tomlin moved to Austin, Texas, this year with sights on accessing a larger talent pool and rapidly expanding his companies further.

“I need to be in a place where I can hire more people faster and more easily relocate people than I was able to in Arkansas,” Tomlin said.

In northwest Arkansas, Tomlin foresaw his companies competing with each other to hire people with strong engineering and emerging technology backgrounds. Such people don’t necessarily want to relocate to northwest Arkansas, where there aren’t as many alternate job options if they need them, Tomlin said. “Austin isn’t as hard to sell,” he said.

He’s kept growth in mind for his companies, and he plans to maintain their Arkansas presences.  

He envisioned Rockfish from the start as a national company with thousands of employees and has focused on sustainable growth.

He began Rockfish as the agency’s only worker. Now, Rockfish has 200 employees, 70 of them hired this year. Also this year, Rockfish opened its first international office in Visakhapatnam, India.

About 90 of Rockfish’s employees are in Arkansas, mostly in Rogers; others are scattered at offices in Cincinnati, Dallas, India and New York. Atlanta and Austin offices are slated to open in January.

Tomlin sees Austin as a good place to grow Blush Box, a company he expects to employ about 50 people within the next year or two.

“I’ve got a number of companies that I’m involved in that I’m very committed to see grow,” Tomlin said. “I don’t think that I’m done starting companies. But professionally, I’m really enjoying what I’m doing.”



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