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Mike Grice and Brad Bennett started Wildfire out of their homes in 2002, with the sole intention of doing what they love, in a town they love, with clients who demand the love and attention they deserve from a marketing company.

Several years, people and square feet later, Wildfire is now located in the heart of the emerging entertainment district of downtown Winston-Salem in a renovated, circa 1920 warehouse.

We’re a team of firestarters, firecrackers and everything pyromaniacal in between, known for firing up ideas that drive high-quality strategic and creative products for clients of all sizes, from Fortune 500 companies to local start-ups.

And we’re always ready at a moment’s notice to help you spread your message like, well, you know…


Strategic Planning

Our strategy group leads the charge with brand planning, positioning and campaign strategy. We develop and build brand identities through connective intelligence and uncover the key consumer insights that, coupled with a client’s business objectives, lead to effective commerce-based creative.


Our full-service interactive department designs, programs, hosts and maintains over 150 web sites. We are platform agnostic and develop in the system that best suits a client’s needs – everything we develop today is SEO optimized and responsive, scaling across web, tablet and mobile.

Sports & Event Marketing

Keystone, our Event Marketing specialist subgroup acquired in 2009, has over 25 years of experience in the Sports & Event marketing arena and offers planning and execution for field marketing, event promotions, trade relations, guerrilla marketing and community & grassroots events.

Broadcast Production

We offer concept development, art direction, and production for TV, radio and web. When needed, we partner with producers and production houses that provide the best fit for the project and budget.

Campaign Planning & Execution

We approach campaign planning from a holistic viewpoint – bringing in representatives from every specialty within the agency to brainstorm the best ways to reach the target consumer in the places where they live, work and play.

Social Media

Our social media team grows relationships with consumers by building and managing communities, developing social content, designing influencer programs, and engaging consumers with the brand across all social channels.

Art Direction & Design

Our art directors and designers have a breadth of experience in developing fully integrated campaigns. Including web sites, print, broadcast, mobile apps, collateral, direct mail and more that are high-impact and capture the consumer’s attention.


Writing engaging copy from the brand voice is integral to brand identity and consumer engagement. We offer copywriting, content creation, proofreading and naming services to ensure copy is compelling, informative and on brand.

Market Research

Our strategy team is adept at market research and executes a full range of primary and secondary research, from segmentation studies, to moderating focus groups, to designing and fielding online surveys and managing in-depth-interviews.

Marketing to Women

Factor 9, our marketing to women discipline, has identified 9 factors that make a brand or product appealing to women. Our Factor 9 team helps brands target their products and messaging to their audience.

Media Planning & Buying

We identify the media channels that are most effective to reach a target audience, then handle pricing negotiations and media buying to ensure maximum reach for the client’s budget.

Public Relations

Wildfire’s PR experts help spread the word about a brand, product, or promotion. We create a targeted public relations strategy, develop press kits people can’t help but talk about, recommend key talking points, manage media relations, and schedule the right interviews and appearances to grow the conversation around your brand.


W-S Chamber – Small Bus. of the Year
Communication Arts Design Annual
Communication Arts Exhibit
How Magazine
Print Regional Design Annual
The Dieline
The Business Journal – 40 under 40
The Business Journal – Fast 50
Top 100 N.C. Small Businesses
Addy Awards
Davey Awards
Telly Awards
Communication Arts Adv. Annual
Competitive Carriers Association
Susan G. Komen Comm. Serv. Award
AIGA Triad
The Drum
NACMA – Nat. Assoc. of College Mktg.
Credit Union National Association
IAFE – Intl. Assoc. of Fairs & Expos

Whitney Newell
Le Feu

Senior Account Executive

My motto:
There is no such thing as too spicy.

Who or what inspires me:
Travel and languages—there’s something about being out of your element that is exciting and inspiring.

In my fridge, you’d find:
Sriracha, always.

One thing I can’t live without:
My husband.

Obsession you can’t (or don’t want to) kick:
List making…for everything.

Wanda Miller

Most treasured desk trinket:
Framed poster of Rusty Wallace

Pets of choice:
Dogs & Cats

Obsession you can’t (or don’t want to) kick:

Movie I watch way too often:
Gone With The Wind

Favorite vacation spot:
The Beach

Traci Naff
Graphic Arsonist

Senior Graphic Designer responsible for igniting ideas.

My motto:
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face” – Eleanor Roosevelt

In my fridge, you’d find:
Trader Joe’s Strawberry Greek Yogurt

Best party trick:
Tying my shoes…trust me. It’s amazing.

Life theme song:
Big Poppa by Notorious B.IG.

Obsession you can’t (or don’t want to) kick:
Mario Kart

Tory White

Director of Account Management & Strategy igniting consumers passions for brands, products and services since 2007.

Favorite midnight snack:
cold spaghetti

Favorite thinking spot:
running through Reynolda Gardens

Most treasured desk trinket:
a photo of four generations of women in my family

In my desk drawer, you’d find:
5-hour Energy

Movie I watch way too often:

Sarah Hinson

Real Title/job responsibility: Copywriter—responsible for finding just the right tinder to ignite ideas.

My motto: Keep it real

Favorite midnight snack: Cold Chinese food

Who or what inspires me: Anyone engaged in fearless self-expression. People and their passions. Videos of cats falling off of stuff.

In my fridge, you’d find: An accidental ecosystem living inside a Tupperware container.

Life theme song: Toccata and Fugue in D minor by Johann S. Bach

Sarah Diamont
Bengal Flare

Assistant Account Executive/Accountable for stoking the social media campfire for brands to thrive with bountiful followers.

My motto: Life is too short to be anything but happy.

Most treasured desk trinket: Picture of my hubby and our four legged, furry child, Lilly

One thing I can’t live without: Clean sheets

Best place I’ve ever been: Venice, Italy

When I look in the mirror I see: A few more freckles. Maybe I should have listened to my mother and used more sunscreen.

Paul Roman

Production Artist responsible for taking the designers’ incendiary creations and forging them into reproducible objects of magnificent brilliance.

My motto:
What does not destroy me makes me stronger

Who or what inspires me:
Classical music

One thing I can’t live without:
Miami Dolphins games on TV

Favorite vacation spot:
Key West, Florida

Best place I’ve ever been:
Rome, Italy

Nick Karner

Account Coordinator – Responsible for the steady burn of each project from deadline to deadline.

My motto: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right” – Henry Ford

Most commonly used saying: It is what it is.

Best party trick: Juggling

Obsession you can’t (or don’t want to) kick: Baltimore Ravens football

Who would play me in the movie of my life: Jim Carrey or Vince Vaughn or Will Smith. Or a hybrid of all three.

Matt Rowland
Flame Thrower

Video games, photography, music, hockey, Hokie football.

I’ve always wanted a pet dinosaur…

All things considered, a pretty lucky guy.

What’s Next?

Mary Walker Fry

Account Manager

Best place I’ve ever been:
New Zealand

Movie I watch way too often:
The Green Mile

Pets of choice:

Best time of day:

On my fridge, you’d find:
Lots of photos

Laura Beth Young
Star Fire

Star Fire –because I burn brighter at night — which works out well for all those night races! There’s also a cool comic book character by the same name that’s known for harnessing solar radiation and converting it to energy and then leaving a distinctive trail in her path.

The usual – going to rock concerts, pulling for the Duke Blue Devils & Carolina Hurricanes, working on my tennis game, collecting shoes & purses, dinner & drinks with friends, getting pedicures, and reading by the pool.

I can’t choose. I have three awesome cats. Ivan is a poster-cat for “curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought him back”; very intelligent – he talks to you; and constantly needs attention. Then there’s Slash, named after a rock star/guitar hero and he totally acts like it—craves attention, wild mood swings, loves “treats”, and completely believes he’s cooler than everyone else around him and is therefore above them. Puck is the third and was named after a hockey puck due to his coloring or Puck in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream due to his personality depending on if you ask my boyfriend, Charlie, or me. Puck must be petted. Ivan likes to be petted. Slash will grant you the honor of petting him.

There’s also Daisy the basset hound. She’s cheerful, friendly, and loves to make herself known – especially first thing in the morning! She’s got sit & shake down. We’re working on teaching her to do the dishes!

This’ll work. Let’s go!

When’s the next rock concert?

Kaylan Hufham

Graphic Designer responsible for pushing flaming hot pixels and taking no prisoners.

Obsession you can’t (or don’t want to) kick:

Life theme song:
My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion

Movie I watch way too often:
Space Jam…or Spice World, it’s a toss up.

Who would play me in the movie of my life:
Kat Dennings, Obvi.

The title of a book about me:
He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo

Katie Shropshire

Account Executive – Responsible for sparking conversations, illuminating ideas, and turning flickers into flames.

Who or what inspires me:
Dr. Vandana Shiva – environmental activist

Most treasured desk trinket:
Chewbacca Lego magnet

One thing I can’t live without:
Graeter’s Ice cream

Pets of choice:
Bodhi, my lab mix

Best place I’ve ever been:

Katie Kenney
Lightning Rod

Account Director primarily working on home improvement industry retail accounts. With many years of packaging development, industry experience and marketing services background, focused on bringing the best creative solutions to our clients.

Most commonly used saying:
It’s better than a sharp stick

Favorite midnight snack:

Best time of day:
Early Morning

Obsession you can’t (or don’t want to) kick:
Playing Golf

Best place I’ve ever been:
Whitefish, Montana (most beautiful place on earth)

Justin Braun
Rapid Fire

Account Manager/Rapid Fire – Quick thinking, quick acting and rapidly anticipating and responding to client needs.

My motto:
“Be prepared and be honest.” – John Wooden

In my fridge, you’d find:
Miller Lite. Guinness. Sriracha.

Pets of choice:
Zach – the world’s coolest Labradoodle

Obsession you can’t (or don’t want to) kick:
Rooting for the Miami Dolphins. Season after season they let me down, but I can’t stop.

Favorite vacation spot:
Emerald Isle Beach, NC

Jonathan Reed

Associate Creative Director – responsible for setting and stoking the creative fire.

Best place I’ve ever been:
Isle of Skye, Scotland

In my desk drawer, you’d find:

Who inspires me:
My German Shepherd Lobo. To be the person he thinks I am.

Life theme song:
Pink Floyd – High Hopes

Favorite thinking spot:
Point Lobos, Carmel CA

John Nixon

Web Developer responsible for setting the web on fire one site at a time.

Favorite midnight snack:
Pizza is always the best anytime snack, it’s the best food group of all.

Favorite thinking spot:
Walking through the woods or riding down the road on my motorcycle.

One thing I can’t live without:
The internet! It plays a major role in how I make my living.

Pets of choice:
Dogs, specifically my jack russell border collie mix, Buddy.

Favorite vacation spot:
I’ve been fortunate enough to see some of the bluest water in the Bahamas, the sands of Daytona Beach, and some of the best mountain views of the Smokies and Blue Ridge, but my favorite vacation and get away spot will always be Carolina and Kure Beach.

Jill Painter

JP5 = jet fuel WARNING: extremely combustible.



I see trouble brewing.

“Only mediocre people are always at their best.” – Somerset Maugham.

Jacki Petree

NC State football games and eating mexican food

My old black Labs- Gucci and Prada, and 3 Tennessee Walking horses

I should have straightened my hair this morning

I’m not going back to school in the fall…

Gwynne Faircloth

Flashpoint. I instantly liked the “low flash, high hazard” lingo associated with the term.

I don’t know if I’d call them ‘hobbies’ – but I greatly enjoy hockey, NASCAR, the Winter Olympics, crime/mystery novels and shows, genealogy research, photography and Bruce Springsteen. And skim milk.

I have one dog now, a hound/terrier mix – Finn. She’s part Chicken Little too, but sweet as can be. I had an AmStaff, Lily, for over 10 years that had been abused and turned into a truly wonderful dog. I could go on about Scout, my old black Lab…

A person that roots for the little guy, the underdog, the one that everyone underestimates or overlooks.

“For the ones who had a notion, a notion deep inside, that it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive. I wanna find one face that ain’t looking through me, I wanna find one place, I wanna spit in the face of these badlands.” – Bruce Springsteen

“Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.” – Terence Mann

Denise Appleyard
Keeper of the Flame

Chief Financial Officer responsible for ensuring that resources are effectively deployed to keep the flames burning and the sparks flying.

Who or what inspires me:
People who can find something positive even in difficult situations

Favorite thinking spot:
The shower or sitting on a rock in the mountains

One thing I can’t live without:
Iced tea

Life theme song:
Sunshine on my shoulders – I know it’s old and corny but it represents my desire to be there for my family and friends

Movie I watch way too often:
Home Alone

Favorite vacation spot:
Anywhere with sunshine, water and sand

Crystal Nelson

Account Manager responsible for managing the heat of each project, from the first spark to the full blaze.

Who or what inspires me:
My son Bryce. He inspires me everyday to be a better person. He inspires me to be more thoughtful, to be more kind, and to laugh even when I want to cry.

In my fridge, you’d find:
Apple juice, milk, cheese and buddy fruit. Total proof that I have a 4-year-old.

Pets of choice:
Two Pit Bulls. Both are about ten years old and we wouldn’t have another breed. Cena and Jade complete our family.

Obsession you can’t (or don’t want to) kick:
Chocolate chip mini muffins. I. Love. Them. And now I’ve passed the obsession along to my son:)

Who would play me in the movie of my life:
Sandra Bullock for sure. She’s a brunette, she can nail the southern accent, and she went to East Carolina. Gotta love her!

Christine Hancock

Flare = Flair

Scavenging for, recognizing the potential in, and revitalizing decrepit old thrift store furniture finds. Among other things.

My kitties.

I make it work.

These pretzels are making me thirsty.

Chip Crutchfield

Interactive Director/Charcoal – A consistent burn.

My motto:
“Show me a good loser, and I will show you a loser.” – Skip Prosser

In my fridge, you’d find:
Miller Lite, Vitamin Water and a plethora of meat ready to smoke.

Pets of choice:
Lilly- The toughest West Highland Terrier on the Planet
Ray Ray – a rescued Shih Tzu that now runs the house

Obsession you can’t (or don’t want to) kick:
Cooking- it’s the only sport I can still play.

Favorite vacation spot:
Fripp Island, SC

Chace Hoglund

Strategic Planner responsible for leading the research, uncovering the insights, and positioning the brand to start or rekindle the fire.

Favorite midnight snack:
A Cookout tray

Most treasured desk trinket:
Does a cup of coffee count? If so, that.

Who or what inspires me:
New products or tech that makes me think ‘that’s cool’

In my desk drawer, you’d find:
My secret stash of K-cups.

Best place I’ve ever been:
It’s a tie. Florence for the art, food, and wine. Trinidad & Tobago for Carnival.

Bryan Flynn
Ignition Agent

Associate Creative Director – My role is simple: serve as a means to ignite some creative thinking.

Best time of day:
Right before daybreak. You literally find yourself at the start of a brand new day.

Most commonly used saying:
“Good morning.” Everyone’s morning should start with good.

In my desk drawer, you’d find:
You can’t find anything. I’ve got a map to help folks out, but I think it’s in the desk drawer.

Pets of choice:

One thing I can’t live without:

Brenda Swain
Fire Ant

My motto:
Life is too short to drink bad wine

Favorite midnight snack:
ice cream

Best time of day:

Pets of choice:

Movie I watch way too often:
Christmas Vacation

Best place I’ve ever been:
Cabo, Mexico

Ashley Stott

Account Executive responsible for creating positive bursts of energy from start to finish for all projects.

My motto:
Your day will go the way the corners of your mouth turn.

Favorite midnight snack:

One thing I can’t live without:
The color pink.

Obsession you can’t (or don’t want to) kick:
Pinterest, Twitter & Instagram

The title of a book about me:

Adam Lambert

FireFoxx – “Firefox” is the nickname for the Red Panda, which at a glance can be mistaken for a fox. I added an extra “X” for uniqueness.

Movies (mostly old school horror, sci-fi, foreign films, and anime), gaming, hiking (when it’s warm), and random activities to kill time.

My favorite animal is the Red Fox. They’re not pets and not easily tamed (not that anyone should try). I admire red foxes because they are clever, sly, adaptable to almost any environment, and have a fiery red coat.


Are you prepared for the zombie apocalypse?

Brad Bennett
Co-Founder/Chief Firestarter

Chief Executive Officer responsible for creating sparks that develop from ideas into the brilliant blazes that drive great brands.  (Translation…I start the fires that the rest of the team must put out).

My motto:
There is always a way.

Who or what inspires me:
Time with family and friends, good books, preparing great food and sunsets on the Carolina coast.

When I look in the mirror I see:
The reflection of those who have helped to positively shape me both personally and professionally. And I see the incredible opportunity to ‘pay it forward’ in the future. I am also fascinated by the correlation between my hairline and my sideburns…as one recedes, the other gets longer. Hmm…

Most treasured desk trinkets:
The stone “I love you” carving from Paula, my wife…the “25 reasons why I love you” jar from Abbi, my daughter…the “A special Dad” card from Beau, my son.

One thing I can’t live without:
My wife of 15 years…Paula. She’s my best friend and soulmate.

Mike Grice
Co-Founder/Chief Fire Officer

Chief Fire Officer, a.k.a. COO & Chief Creative Officer, responsible for the day-to-day command of the fire service in all areas, along with creating and directing ideas capable of undergoing self-contained and self-sustained exothermic chemical reactions for the production of heat, light, gas, smoke and/or sales.

My motto:
Say what you do, do what you say.

Who or what inspires me:
The underdog.

Favorite thinking spot:

Pet of choice:
Dogs. Especially our Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog.

Strangest hobby:
My job. Not so strange would be fitness, skiing, fishing, shooting clay and golf.