Mark Smither, VP, Strategic Director, Paulsen, was awarded the South Dakota Advertising Federation Silver Medal, the organization’s highest honor. Recipients of this prestigious award are chosen based on their contribution to their company, creative abilities, contributions to the advancement of advertising and contributions to their community. The award was presented during the SDAF's 55th annual American Advertising Awards (formerly the “ADDYs”) held virtually on Friday, February 26.

“Mark always claims he’s just an ad guy, but having had the privilege of working with Mark for the past 25 years, I know he’s so much more than that. And everyone else knows it, too. He is truly one of the greats,” said Sara Steever, President, Paulsen.

Smither’s storied advertising career began at just 16, when he won a waterbed by entering a thirty second commercial script in a local contest. From there, he would go on to take charge of the advertising on KYOT, the University of South Dakota’s TV station during his college tenure. Smither learned all aspects of the marketing world at his first career out of college as the marketing director for Rapid City-based RCC Western Store before joining the team at Franklin and Associates as a copywriter.

After joining Paulsen in 1995 as copywriter, Smither became fascinated by research and the power it had to truly impact Paulsen clients’ businesses and bring about real change. He began to shift from creative to strategy, knowing the most powerful messaging stems from well-thought-out strategy.

Throughout his career, Smither says he’s learned that Paulsen’s success wasn’t in the wittiness of his words or in the awards he won. It was in seeing others grow. Watching them win awards. Once you do that, Mark says, there’s no going back.

Steever said, “He has a heart of gold, and I consider him a true friend. Mark pours everything into creating the absolute best strategies for our clients. His selfless dedication to mentoring up-and-coming creatives is one of his most important legacies.”