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Leadership

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Todd Strause

President / CEO

Todd Strause, a native of Louisville, KY and graduate of Western Kentucky University, began his career in the automotive direct-marketing industry in 1991. Four years later, he founded Strategic Marketing. Strause’s leadership has helped the company grow to its current position as a leader in the automotive marketing space.

Strategic MarketingAutomotive Direct Mail Marketing Leader

Todd Strause

President / CEO

In late 2012, Strause partnered with Svoboda Capital for its acquisition of Strategic Marketing. Strause’s goal with this partnership is to become the largest and most progressive company in the automotive marketing industry with organic growth, acquisitions and innovation. When Strause is not working, he enjoys traveling with his family, playing golf and cheering on his favorite college sports team – the University of Louisville Cardinals.

Chuck Urevick | CFO/COO

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Chuck came to Strategic Marketing in 2013 with 20+ years of action-oriented, Executive management experience. He has a broad range of management experience leading Finance, Operations and Customer Service teams. Chuck brings a strong continuous improvement background and a keen customer centric focus to the organization.

 

Prior to joining Strategic, Chuck spent 10 years as the Vice President of Finance at Nashua Corporation. He also spent substantive time in operational management roles at Newell-Rubbermaid and Batesville Casket Company.

 

Chuck graduated with distinction from Centre College of Kentucky where he earned BS degrees in Financial Economics and Applied Mathematics. He played intercollegiate football and baseball. Chuck later earned his MBA degree with a concentration in Finance at the Indiana University, Kelly Graduate of Business in Bloomington, IN.

Mike Gottschalk | Executive Vice President of OEM

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Executive Vice President of OEM at Strategic Marketing, Gottschalk brings more than 30 years of automotive experience with him, including two at Strategic Marketing, 10 as an Executive Vice President of Automotive at Aspen/Epsilon and 17 as a multiple franchise dealer-principal and OEM Specialty Vehicle Manufacturer. Gottschalk has become recognized as a knowledgeable industry expert in the field of multi-channel marketing for Automotive Sales and Service.

Mike Wagner | CIO

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Mike has spent over 25 years in the global technology market with an emphasis on “fit for purpose” business software applications maximizing customers investment. In the early 90’s, Mike spent his time working for a large fortune 500 company where he built an in-house sales analytics solution that grew sales exponentially. By the mid-90’s, he co-founded and lead a software development company providing inventory control and warehouse management logistic solutions for companies around the globe.

 

In 2003, Mike chose to join/sell this company and his team with Epicor Software Corporation, a publicly traded company based in Southern California specializing in mid-market Enterprise Business Applications. Mike’s company and talents contributed to the revenue growth of Epicor from $75M to $500M annually. More specifically while at Epicor, in addition to leading product development efforts, Mike successfully built Epicor’s new “Managed Services” division leveraging strategic low cost geographies such as Mexico, Kuala Lumpur, Egypt, and Slovakia enabling global follow-the-sun targeted support for Epicor¹s multi-national customers. More recently, Mike has leveraged his experiences and talents towards diligence efforts for Accel-KKR, a private equity firm focused in the mid-market technology space.

Peter Bifone | Vice President of Sales

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After graduating from Bellarmine University with his Bachelor’s degree in 1993, Peter embarked on a professional baseball career with the San Diego Padres organization. After a stellar four-year career, Bifone began working as a Field Marketing Manager for his family owned Southern California restaurant franchise Calabee’s, Inc. DBA Applebee’s Grill and Bar. It was in this position Bifone discovered how his interpersonal style fostered an innate ability to sell and create meaningful relationships.

 

In 2004, Bifone left his position of Director of Marketing at Calabee’s and moved to the familiar environs of Louisville, KY with his wife Mandy to raise their two sons Peter Jr. and Jacob. From 2004 through 2009, Peter was employed by Surepoint Lending as a Mortgage Banker where he quickly moved up the ranks proving himself as a successful and dedicated business professional.

 

In 2009, Bifone began his career with Strategic Marketing where he has enjoyed much success and professional growth, beginning as a Marketing Representative, working his way up to Director of Sales and to his current position as Vice President of Sales. Bifone is proficient at designing innovative products and forming strategic alliances to provide profitable growth for he and his team’s automotive clients.

John Lesch | Executive Vice President of Sales

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John Lesch’s career with automotive direct mail began in 1991 while attending Western Kentucky University. He worked extensively on weekends in dealerships acquiring the “dealership experience” of direct mail advertising.

 

After graduating from WKU and three years learning the dynamics of the direct-mail business, he shifted gears completely and co-founded a restaurant concept in the Louisville market. He, along with his brother-in-law, successfully grew that concept to nine stores by 1999.

 

In 2002, the timing was right to return to the direct-mail marketing business and he joined Strategic Marketing. During Lesch’s 13 years at Strategic he has held various senior management positions in both sales and operations. He is currently VP of Sales.

 

Lesch was born and raised in Louisville and is an avid sports fan.  He enjoys watching his kids play various sports and spends his free time at the lake, on the golf course, or coaching youth athletics.  He has been married to wife Denise for 15 years and they have five children.

Eric Bass | Corporate Sales Training and Development

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Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Eric Bass is the Training and Development leader at Strategic Marketing. Bass is certified to deliver coursework from Huthwaite, Achieve Global, Wilson Learning, and Performance Dynamics. For nearly 14 years, Bass has honed his skills for facilitation and coaching by working with high performance sales teams at Fortune 200 companies including Humana, Cardinal Health and Northwestern Mutual. In addition to his training and development experience, he spent 3 years as a Regional Sales Manager targeting the Midwest and Canada for a large packaging distributor.

 

Bass holds a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Spalding University and a Master’s degree in Education and Training and Development from the University of Louisville. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with family, listening to music, playing guitar as well as he can, keeping fit and sampling as much food as possible.