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Warm welcome

Father/son team at EM-Media

June 17, 2012
By LINDA HARRIS - Business editor ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - EM-Media executive Jim Emmerling's Father's Day celebration is a little different than most.

Emmerling, president and CEO of EM-Media, recently welcomed son Michael to the firm, something he doesn't mind admitting is a little well, surreal.

"It's different raising a son and now working along side him," Emmerling said. "You're always a father, but at this point I look at him more out of respect, as a friend."

Article Photos

WELCOME — Michael Emmerling knew he wanted to come back to the Ohio Valley to start his career in marketing. He’ll be the new media specialist at EM-Media, working alongside his father, Jim, left, president and CEO of EM-Media. - Linda Harris

Michael Emmerling graduated this spring with a degree in communications, arts and science from Penn State University, which is his parents' alma mater. He joins EM-Media as a media specialist, which means he'll be working with his father and the rest of the team to bring in new business, expand current business and develop ways for clients to better market their products and services.

The firm's clientele covers a broad geographic area - West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania and much of Ohio - and the elder Emmerling sees Pittsburgh as a growth market for the firm.

"I'm excited that he and my second son (Jake), they both want to be here," Jim said. "But I've conditioned them to look at Steubenville as a suburb of Pittsburgh, a 'burb of the burgh.' If you look at it that way, what more do you need? I'm proud he wants to be here ... proud that my children appreciate where they were born and want to be here."

Michael said there's a lot to be said for his hometown.

"When I was in high school, my friends and I used to joke about how after college, we wanted to go off and do things," he said. "But when you want to settle down and raise a family, there's no better place than here ... there are so many things you can do. You can go to Pittsburgh for the day, you can go to Wheeling, to Cleveland or Cincinnati. You can even go to the Kentucky Derby, make it a two-day trip. It's all here. I didn't have to move away to get those things. If I want to go to a big city, I can go and still live here."

He said he joined EM-Media not because his father runs the company, but because there's so much he can assimilate.

"The main thing I want to do is just learn, take the time to learn every little detail," Michael said. "As much as you can go and get an education, there's a lot still to learn. That's basically what I'm doing now."

His father is helping him do that, arranging for him to spend time over the next few months shadowing media and marketing professionals to gain insight on how to better serve his clients.

"I told him it will be his 'business-to-business' master's degree," Jim said. "We've been blessed to work with some really good, talented media people in the Tri-State Area, not just Jefferson County. He's going to go to Morgantown, to Charleston, to Altoona, and stay with media people - in essence, this will be his free education. I need him to spend time with them and learn about what's going on ... he'll stay with them and learn about the various media from them."

"Remember (the movie) 'Gran Torino'?" Michael added. "The scene where Clint Eastwood teaches his neighbors all the little tricks to interacting with people? That's what I need to learn, because a book can only tell you so much."

EM-Media's clientele covers a pretty broad geographic area ... West Virginia, Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. "Our growth area is going to be Pittsburgh," Jim said. "We wanted to be here because of proximity, but my business isn't really here, my clients aren't all in Jefferson County. Only about 15 percent of our business is located in Jefferson County."

For his part, Michael said he never had any doubts about the wisdom of coming home to start his career and he loves the idea of working for and with not only his father, but also his mother, Lee Ann, who is co-owner and event coordinator for Bella Hall.

"This is where I grew up," he said. "It's like Mom and Dad always told me, you want to give back to your community that's been so good to us, not only my family, but the business."

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