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Wildfire, LLC
TOTAL NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES
Office Employees51-100
Total US51-100
Discretionary Comments:
Some are leased employees that work on-site at client locations.
BIOS
Mike Grice, Chief Pyrotechnics Officer | Founder | CCO
Mike co-founded Wildfire in 2002 and directs the company's creative operations. An art director with a knack for strategy and brand development, his 30-year career has garnered industry recognition in awards and trade publications. But for Mike, his finest career achievement has been the success of Wildfire, a company he started with Brad Bennett more than 12 years ago and today employs 60 people.

While Mike is well versed in contemporary integrated marketing, he grew up in the traditional big-brand advertising world of television and print. Before igniting Wildfire, Mike spent eight years at Long Haymes Carr (LHC:Lintas, now Mullen) in Winton-Salem, NC. At LHC, Mike's creative thinking helped land the Maxfli account and retain Wachovia, for which he conceived the “Uncommon Wisdom” campaign following the bank's merger with First Union. He also worked on other high-profile accounts, including Sealy, Stearns & Foster and IBM.

Prior to LHC, Mike spent a decade honing his skills in the Midwest. He attended the Central Academy of Commercial Art in Cincinnati, graduated at the ripe old age of 20, and went straight to work as an art director for J. Walter Thompson in Chicago. There he worked on numerous high-profile brands, including Oscar Mayer, Miller Brewing Products, Kraft Foods, Discover Card and Kellogg's. Mike moved on to an upstart agency in Chicago, Bayer Bess Vanderwarker, where he helped direct creative for Kemper Insurance and Quaker Oats brands.

After six years in Chicago, Mike joined D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowls in St. Louis as a vice president/associate creative director where he produced memorable TV for several packaged goods brands, including Anheuser-Busch, Mars Inc. and Coca-Cola, for which he created a global campaign for the Hong Kong office's Fanta soda account.
Brad Bennett, Chief Firestarter | Founder | CEO
A graduate of UNC – Chapel Hill and Winston-Salem native, Brad began his career in not for profit and fundraising. After five years in this sector, he joined Long Haymes Carr (now Mullen) where he led new business efforts that resulted in nine new business wins in six months. Prior to his new business role, Brad worked on major accounts including Hanes, Champion, and RJ Reynolds’ Winston and Camel brands.

He is the one that keeps us true to Wildfire’s brand promise to deliver commerce-based creative that produces impressive business results all while lowering our clients’ blood pressure. And, he adds his expertise to all of our clients’ businesses—including Lowe’s Home Improvement, BB&T, RJ Reynolds, Hanesbrands and Nabisco. Today, he and his wife Paula are the proud parents of two children, Abbi and Beau.
Denise Appleyard, Keeper of the Flame | CFO
A graduate of UNC – Charlotte with degrees in Accounting and Business Administration, Denise began her career in tax accounting. After five years in this sector, she joined Inmar Enterprises where she oversaw daily accounting functions. Since then, she has operated her own consulting company, which offers financial and accounting services to property owners. In addition, prior to joining Wildfire in April of 2013, she served as Controller for Turnpike Properties, LLC.

As our Chief Financial Officer, Denise is responsible for ensuring that resources are effectively deployed and for all things financial—client billing and invoicing, forecasting, etc. She also serves as our in-house IT manager and legal facilitator, working with our external and Client legal advisors as needed.
Tory Gillett, Director of Account Management and Strategy
Tory graduated from the University of Virginia and did post-graduate work at New York University. She has over 20 years experience in the fields of advertising and marketing communications, having worked at Long Haymes Carr, Oasis International, and Mullen/Frank About Women. She is now a key member of the Wildfire team, leading the strategic planning discipline and heading up several key accounts.

Throughout the course of her career, she has guided strategic brand development and marketing communications planning for numerous brands, including Toyota, Wachovia, T.J. Maxx, Thomasville Furniture, Kimberly-Clark, Lennox, GMAC Insurance, The Coca-Cola Company, and Red Hat. Tory is active in the non-profit community in Winston-Salem, currently serving on the board of The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem.
Chip Crutchfield, Charcoal | Interactive Director
A graduate of High Point University and a Winston-Salem native, Chip began his interactive career as a web developer for BusinessSupply.com in 1999. After the dot-com boom fizzled in early 2000, he joined Wynncom as the Director of Web Development where he oversaw the creation of over 200 dot coms. While at Wynncom, Chip was solely responsible for the business development of interactive clients but also served roles as the project manager and part-time developer. In 2004, he joined Stratapult as the Creative Services Manager and continued similar roles.

At the end of 2009, Stratapult was transitioned to Wildfire. Stratapult, brought with it over 50 clients and a specialty of content management tools. Chip, along with his developer Adam Lambert, have worked together since 2000 when both arrived at Wynncom at the same time. Today, he and his wife Shea are the proud parents of two children, Trey and Spencer.