A graphic designer and a technical writer walk into a bank.
It's not a joke. It's the start of the nearly 30-year success story of Marietta marketing firm Offenberger & White, Inc.
Bill White was a writer at Forma Scientific before taking the helm as the company's first director of marketing. In that capacity, White started to do a lot of business with Warren Offenberger, who acted as art director at Richardson Printing in Marietta.
JASMINE ROGERS The Marietta Times
Bill White, left, looks over updates to Offenberger & White’s in-house created web design program with employee Steven Hollis.
JASMINE ROGERS The Marietta Times
Bill White, left, and Warren Offenberger, founders of Offenberger & White, reminisce about purchasing the company’s current location on Fort Street.
"I was actually his client at Richardson Printing. The work I needed done at Forma...often involved him," said White.
The men had been working together for approximately 11 years when they decided to pursue an idea both had considered-opening their own marketing firm geared toward technology and life science industries.
One of the first tasks the new partners tackled was getting a bank loan, recalled Offenberger.
Offenberger & White, Inc.
Located: 521 Fort St., Marietta.
1985: Company is founded by Bill White and Warren Offenberger at 231 Third St.
1987: Offenberger and White expands the Third Street location into Union Square.
1989: Looking for a larger location, the company quickly jumps at the opportunity to purchase the current Fort Street location.
1994: Warren Offenberger sells his half of the business to Bill White but continues working.
1997: Warren Offenberger officially retires.
2005: Company lands first large international account, which temporarily includes a separate staff in Singapore.
"When Bill and I first started the business, we did a big pitch at the bank. They told us, 'You're not asking for enough money because it's going to take so long for the funds to start showing up,'" he said.
Sure enough, the men had to request more money than they initially thought. But in a satisfying turn, the firm landed its first big account not long after taking out the loan, said Offenberger.
"We went back and paid off the bank within a few months and I think they were flabbergasted. We were off and running," he said.
By hiring young, inquisitive minds and keeping up with current technologies, the firm has always managed to retain that vigor, said White.
White recruits heavily from Marietta College, where the liberal arts education produces individuals who are skilled across multiple platforms, he said.
"We are blessed with great innovative thinkers and people who know how to learn. So when we go in to a client to learn about monoclonal and polyclonal and conjugated antibodies...we can talk about those things with a great degree of knowledge," he said.
While the job of translating highly technical concepts into easily understandable messages has remained constant over the years, the manner in which that is accomplished has changed drastically.
In its early years, Offenberger and White made a lot of traditional catalogs, complete with illustrations and technical information, recalled White.
"The print product is not near as in demand as it used to be. That was my main forte-brochures and catalogs and so forth," said Offenberger, who retired in 1997.
Today, the company relies on a host of other measures to relay messages-from building online training systems to creating a website design platform that gives clients complete control and mobility.
That is not to say the need for print has died. But like many things, it has adapted.
One pamphlet the company recently designed explains the technical facets of a refrigeration unit, but then it also opens to display the unit at its actual size.
"So if you're trying to tell somebody you've got a product that's very compact...you can say 'Here, this is the exact size,'" explained White.
Going into its 30th year, the company intends to stick to what they know-technological and life science marketing-while adapting every day to stay current.
"The company is going to grow based on the platform we have developed and the management team that is now in place. We'll continue to play to our strengths, which is managing relationships with companies that have new technologies," said White.