The Burg: For Sacunas, relocation to the King Mansion reflects evolution of the firm, commitment to Harrisburg.
On: April 3, 2017 Filed Under: Member News
March 31, 2017 | by Gina Napoli
Back in 2005, Nancy Sacunas moved her namesake firm into a specially designed building in Union Deposit. The layout and colors reflected her vision for the marketing/communications company.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that the company’s once-client, now-owner Adam Vasquez has followed suit, recently relocating the firm on his own terms, to the historic King Mansion, a reflection of the vision he has as part of Harrisburg’s rapidly growing creative class.
“We’re articulating the Sacunas brand in a modern way to connect our clients with their customers,” said Vasquez. “The King Mansion provides us an iconic, sophisticated presence in Harrisburg to give our clients a compelling partnership experience.”
The King Mansion, perhaps the most majestic of the many grand buildings along Front Street, has a history of successful occupants. Built in the booming 1920s by lawyer Horace King, the 22,000-square-foot building has been office space for decades, home to a series of quickly growing enterprises.
Vasquez swears by the prosperous flow and energy in the grandiose rooms. With its ornate touches and sculpted woodwork, the King Mansion is reminiscent of a life-sized Clue board game.
For the Sacunas team, the King Mansion is a jar of clay. Since moving in in January, team members have added personal decorative touches to their workspaces. Sketched unicorns grace different surfaces in breakout spaces, hovering like a spirit animal, hinting at uniqueness. A portrait of a Russian admiral overlaid with Vasquez’s face hangs in the mansion’s largest workspace, representing just one of the many private jokes critical for team cohesion.
“We’re serious about our work, but not always in the office,” Vasquez said. “We want to change the industry and make our partner brands great in a way that you can’t ignore them.”
Vice President Kim Riley said that the firm sets out to become part of a customer’s story, which is critical to their success.
“We define where they are in the market,” she said. “We help them fix their weak spots. Then they become part of our collaborative formula.”
Vasquez credits the majority of Sacunas’ success to his team’s capabilities—and their continuous desire to learn.
“I have worked with small companies that want to grow, but aren’t willing to invest in their talent,” he said. “That makes sure they can never grow.”
His confidence in his staff’s abilities frees time to focus on the Sacunas vision, which has included recent expansions into the major markets of Chicago and Portland, Ore. According to Vasquez, future growth opportunities include offices in northern Europe and the south-central United States.
Though Vasquez’s hometown is Vienna, Va., he feels strongly about having a Harrisburg headquarters. All of his staff members have lived in other places, including in traffic-choked Washington, D.C., he said.
“[Harrisburg] is a great place to live,” he said. “We want to build an organization that allows all walks of life to live incredible lives. The creative culture is supported in cities, but raising families is not.”
Sacunas is able to compete for business as a big-city firm. Riley asserted Harrisburg’s proximity to larger cities as another attraction.
“Some clients have said that we won bids based on kindness, that the people in our company are nicer than our big-city competitors,” she said.
Riley owns a house within walking distance of the new office, something that Vasquez hopes many of his associates will continue to do as a commitment to Harrisburg.
“There’s no reason Harrisburg can’t be on the map,” Riley said. “There’s a great culture here.”
Cheryl Rhein, CEO and owner of York-based Penn-Air & Hydraulics Corp., started partnering with Sacunas as a customer last August.
“When we first visited them in Harrisburg, it felt like we were home,” she said.
She said she chose Sacunas because their people, culture and expertise aligned with her own approach to conducting business.
“[Sacunas has] a way of attracting highly qualified and, well, awesome people,” she said.
As a collective, Sacunas fills a need for creative employees looking for more than just a paycheck. The King Mansion has homey touches like a huge basement kitchen, workout spaces and a billiard room (again, just like Clue!)
“Sacunas is a lifestyle brand,” Vasquez said. “Everyone leans in. We all come together to do our best work.”
Sacunas, Vasquez said, invests in each employee, providing funding and sabbatical time for continual learning. Not only does that enable associates to attend conferences, take classes and complete degrees, but it also allows them special perks, like an all-expenses-paid Napa Valley vacation as an employee thank-you.
As Sacunas spreads its wings around the globe, it remains committed to being a neighbor ready to integrate and contribute to the Harrisburg community. Plans include open houses, a speaker series, hosting startups, pro bono work for nonprofits and movie nights.
“We want to be a piece of the city’s heartbeat,” Vasquez said.