Steve Goble

By Rick Griffin

As a young man in his 20s, Steve Goble set a goal to retire from work on his 60th birthday and devote the rest of his life to public service.

On Friday, Jan. 15, on his 60th birthday, Goble retired as executive VP and chief brand officer for San Diego-based Annex Brands, a company that licenses and franchises more than 820 independently owned-and-operated retail business centers that operate in the business services and freight shipping industry.

“My goal will be to use the decade of my 60s for public service while I still have the energy to do so,” Goble told Times of San Diego.

Goble, who was raised in El Cajon, has served as an elected official on the El Cajon City Council since November 2016. He was reelected for a second four-year term in the November 2020 general election.

“Starting this month, I will be going back to school to get a certificate in forensic genealogy from Boston University so I can serve as a volunteer investigator for law enforcement agencies in solving cold cases,” said Goble. “I really want to help victims who may have been waiting years or decades for justice. My job will be to identify suspects and then let the cops do the rest.”

He joined Annex Brands in January 2000 as a local PostalAnnex+ franchisee, which he ran until October 2007, when he joined the corporate staff to lead the marketing department.

“I am most proud of helping bring our company’s advertising and marketing efforts into the digital age,” Goble said. “When I started, we were spending a lot of money on printed yellow pages publications. Today, those books are being used for booster seats for kids.”

Annex Brands, founded in 1985 by Jack Lentz who passed away in June 2018 at age 90, operates under the brands PostalAnnex+, Pak Mail, AIM Mail Center, Parcel Plus, Sunshine Pack & Ship, Navis Pack & Ship, Handle With Care Packaging Store and Annex Copy Center. The company’s business service centers are located in the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Japan.

“I’m also proud of helping Annex Brands become a multi-branded company,” said Goble. “We are no longer just managing just one business model or brand. Instead, each brand has different kinds of needs and support. It’s become more complex.”

Michelle McKee

Succeeding Goble’s role in overseeing marketing activities will be Michelle McKee, with 20 years of experience in sales, marketing and leadership roles. She was previously director of marketing and communications with San Diego Coaster, operators of the Belmont Park amusement park in Mission Beach. She was laid-off in spring of 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown.

“While job hunting during the height of the shutdown, I had time to look for a stable company with a great culture and growth opportunities, where I could help others succeed,” said McKee, who also has held marketing positions with Jack in the Box, Flippin’ Pizza and Sport Clips. “I have found a perfect match at Annex Brands. I’m looking forward to bringing value to our franchisees and supporting entrepreneurs who want to pursue the American dream and run their own business.”

Goble said 117 candidates applied for his position. Interviews were held with five finalists, including McKee. Business services offered at Annex Brands outlets include shipping services through FedEx, UPS, USPS, and DHL, private mailbox rental, notary public service, copy service and custom packing solutions.

Power Digital Marketing Acquires Facebook Advertiser Social Method

Power Digital Marketing, a San Diego digital marketing agency, has acquired Social Method, a Washington, D.C.-based digital media buying and creative company, for an undisclosed sum. Financial terms of the acquisition were not announced and Power Digital will be the surviving entity.

When the deal closed Jan. 12, a Power Digital spokesperson told Times of San Diego the combined company had 283 employees (221 for Power Digital and 62 for Social Method), but new hires should boost the overall employee count to more than 300 by the end of January.

Social Method, founded in 2015, is a media buying and creative agency specializing in Facebook and Instagram advertising. In 2019, the company was designated as a Premium Facebook Marketing Partner with a total ad spend exceeding $500 million.

Rob Jewell, founder and CEO of Social Method, said in a statement, “The partnership with Power Digital ushers in a new era of offering our e-commerce clients a true end-to-end paid and organic digital marketing solution, with a technology solution at the core of it all. I wholeheartedly believe that this approach is the future of digital marketing and couldn’t be more thrilled to combine forces and talents with the team at Power Digital.”

Social Method, with offices in Washington, New York City and Tel Aviv in Israel, was advised in the Power Digital deal by investment bank CG Petsky Prunier, part of the Canaccord Genuity group.

Grayson Lafrenz

Grayson Lafrenz, founder and CEO of Power Digital, said in a statement, “As soon as I met Rob and saw the caliber of work from his team and the irrefutable results created for his clients, I knew Social Method was unlike any other performance-based media company we have previously encountered. This partnership will enable Social Method clients to have access to a full suite of paid and organic marketing services powered by Power Digital’s proprietary technology solution SPRnova, and likewise, Power Digital clients will now have expanded paid and social creative capabilities through Social Method’s offerings. The end-result will be an experience for our team and clients like never seen before.”

A Power Digital statement said it has been working with Periscope Equity, an entrepreneurial private equity firm that invests exclusively in lower-middle market technology-enabled service and software companies. The working relationship over the past two years with Periscope Equity has enabled Digital Power to identify and develop impactful strategic partnerships across the marketing ecosystem, putting them on a path to be one of the most highly valued and respected private marketing companies in the world, the company said.

Power Digital, founded in 2012, calls itself a “data-driven performance marketing agency” and offers SEO, content marketing, paid media, social media marketing, public relations, influencer, email, conversion rate optimization, Amazon marketing and web development services. It has been featured annually the past three years in Inc. Magazine’s 5,000 fastest-growing, privately-held companies in the U.S., and has been recognized as a “best workplace” by Inc. Magazine.

Keith Bryant Named Board President of San Diego Association of Black Journalists

Keith Bryant, news producer at KNSD-TV NBC 7 San Diego, has been named board president of the San Diego Association of Black Journalists for the 2021-2023 term, succeeding Donna Stewart, news operations manager at NBC 7 and Telemundo 20. Stewart served the past two years as the association’s president and eight years as treasurer. The local professional group, founded in 2000 and affiliated with the National Association of Black Journalists, has about 20 members who work in print, broadcast, public relations and academia.

Keith Bryant

“I’m deeply honored and humbled to become the next president of San Diego Association of Black Journalists,” said Bryant. “Since moving to San Diego last year, this chapter has welcomed me in with open arms and shown me what it means to advocate for Black journalists. I’m committed to this organization’s mission of strengthening ties among Black journalists, mentoring young journalists, and expanding job opportunities and recruiting activities for our community.”

A native of Long Beach, Bryant has worked in TV news since 2015, when he started with KERO-TV in Bakersfield. He also worked as a news and weather producer at WVIT-TV NBC Connecticut in West Harford. He has a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from San Jose State University and a second bachelor’s degree in operational meteorology from Mississippi State University. Bryant has been involved with NABJ since college.

San Diego Press Club Presents ‘Powerhouse Panel’

The San Diego Press Club will host “Powerhouse Panel,” a free webinar featuring three media professionals recently honored with career achievement awards, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 28 over Zoom. The public is invited to attend.

The trio, presented with special awards at the Press Club’s most recent Excellence in Journalism Awards program, will discuss their careers and how the pandemic has changed their jobs. Panelists include: Linda Rosas Townson, publisher of San Diego Neighborhood Newspapers; Alison St. John, retired reporter for KPBS; and Maria Velasquez, former spokesperson for San Diego City Attorney’s Office and San Diego Housing Commission. Moderator will be Ebone Monet, San Diego Press Club board member.

Townson was honored with the Jim Reiman Award for excellence in media management for leading three San Diego-area community newspapers to continue publishing during the COVID-19 shutdowns. Also, for the past decade, she has served as senior VP of community media overseeing business operations for 18 Southern California community newspapers published by Cypress-based Community Media Corp.

St. John, recipient of the Harold Keen Award for outstanding contributions in journalism, retired in January 2019, after working in news roles at KPBS since 1991. During her reporting career at KPBS, she worked in various roles, including as Morning Edition anchor, North County reporter, news editor and Midday co-host. As an Oceanside resident, she also served as KPBS’ North County bureau chief.

Velasquez, recipient of the Andy Mace Award for career achievements in public relations, spent 27 years working in TV news, starting in 1974 producing public affairs programming and then reporting on-air for three local stations, KNSD-TV, KGTV and KFMB-TV, as well as anchoring and reporting in San Luis Obispo, Calif. and Phoenix. She was one of the San Diego market’s first Latina journalists, an Emmy award-winning producer and journalist who covered the Tijuana region. In 2001, she began a 16-year stint working in spokesperson roles with the San Diego City Attorney’s Office (2001-2008) and the San Diego Housing Commission (2009-2017). She continues her public relations and community work through Maria Velasquez Communications.

Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.

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