An interview with Joe: career reflections and retirement plans

With 26 years at Wendt and 41 years in the advertising industry, Creative Director Joe Stein has loads of wisdom to share. He’s also looking forward to retiring in Lincoln, Montana, for several reasons. Take a look at what we found out from Joe.

Retiring Joe baby group

Q: What will you miss most about your job and The Wendt Agency?
Joe: I’ll miss the diversity of projects to work on while creating success for our clients. The people, the work environment, and the culture at Wendt. We have a great crew of people, the office space is awesome, and the company’s management team is very progressive and forward-thinking. I love my job at Wendt and will definitely miss it, but I’m ready for a new episode and adventure in life.

Wendt retreat

Q: What were the most exciting changes and biggest surprises you saw during your career?
J: The quick advancement of computers, cameras (still & video), phones, and software technology were all exciting. Plus they make our jobs easier, faster, and more efficient. While the advancement of computers, software, and camera technology was amazing to witness, the impact and growth of the internet and social media environment was huge.

Joe Film

Q: What were some of the most memorable moments during your career?
J: Too many to count, but a few that stick out include

  1. Having the opportunity to travel the state for various clients capturing the beauty of Montana and its people on stills, film, and video.
  2. Seeing people grow professionally and really come into their own by mentoring them.
  3. Being recognized for my work in design and broadcast from various local, regional, and national organizations.
  4. Once, on a shoot in Spokane, we used a crane to drop a baby grand piano on the sidewalk, and we only had one chance to get it! We got the shot, but the crane broke through the old sidewalk.
Piano drop

Right before the piano drop

Q: What are you most looking forward to in retirement?
J: Spending more time with our kids and grandkids, more time for hunting, fishing, and traveling—a totally different focus and pace based upon our schedule. My wife, Cindy, and I will also enjoy traveling around the country, visiting friends and family.

Stein family hike

Q: What do you love about Lincoln, where you’ll be retiring to?
J: Cindy and I had started going up there years ago camping and four-wheeling with friends and really liked the area. So we started looking for property and found some that we really liked about 3.5 miles from town. In 10 minutes, I can be bow hunting to the north of our place. After just a 10-minute drive on a four-wheeler behind our place, I’ll be fly-fishing on the Blackfoot River.

Joe hunting

Q: What words of wisdom would you give to someone who is just starting their career in the creative field?
J: You need to have a certain amount of creative ability regardless of the discipline you’re pursuing: conceptual, writing, design, illustration, or production. You need to have the drive, the passion, and the willingness to put in the extra hours when necessary to make sure your work is the best it can be. You can’t be thin-skinned with criticism of your work and be willing to compromise (to a point) without compromising the creative.

Q: If you weren’t the creative director at Wendt, what would you have done instead?
J: Professional fisherman in the walleye circuit.

Joe fish