When we founded McWhorter Driscoll in 1997 and then ignition in 1998, we had a mission to “Make a Positive Difference in People’s Lives.” We were accused of trying to be the “Baptist Church,” but the Golden Rule has never failed anyone. Our philosophy has always focused on the 3 P's – People, Planet, and Profit. The People, whether your employees, clients, vendors, or other stakeholders, are the heart and soul of a business. Treat them with respect and fairness and your results will be phenomenal. Respect for the planet is key as well as to build a sustainable business to pass to future generations. And finally, in life and in business, it's easier to make a difference when you are making money. With the vast business experience we’ve accumulated around the globe over the last 40+ years, we're confident we can help your business make a positive difference as well.
Susan McWhorter Driscoll
Susan, originally from rural South Georgia, obtained her BBA in Marketing from the University of Georgia and continued there to obtain her Masters in Marketing Research. This led her to The Coca-Cola Company. Being part of a Masters program that required a six-month internship with a Fortune 500 Company gave her a kick-start to a phenomenal career. While employed at The Coca-Cola Company, she led key marketing research focusing on packaging design and its impact on consumer purchase decisions. This valuable experience prepared her to lead one of the largest initiatives in the Company’s history, the introduction of the 20 oz. PET contour bottle. Prior to this initiative, all soft drinks were sold in generic packaging. Susan led the team to determine technologically, financially, logistically, and most importantly, the consumer demand and purchase of the iconic hourglass shaped soft drink bottle. (Worth noting, today almost all beverages are packaged in proprietary shapes.) What's more, this single, game-changing initiative led to a $60 million incremental profit in its first six months. You can't beat the real thing.
Upon completion of that project, Susan stepped up to lead the marketing for the Coca-Cola sponsorship of the Olympic Torch Relay – another ground-breaking journey. Prior to the 1996 Olympics, the Torch Relay was a low-key PR program. Susan and her team transformed that sponsorship into an unprecedented marketing tool for the Company, building equity for years to come. (As an added bonus, this torch relay was where she met her husband, Mark "Dill" Driscoll. More on that to come.)
After meeting Dill and having the desire to do something different, she left The Coca-Cola Company after 10 years of exceptional success and began her new found passion, Experiential Marketing. She and Dill founded, ignition, a global marketing company with Blue Chip clients such as The Coca-Cola Company, ESPN, BP, Delta Air Lines and many more. Through ignition they traveled the world, creating, and producing international events such as Live 8, Live Earth, Blue Planet Run, FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour and global Olympic Torch Relays.
After 15 years of growing ignition, Susan and Dill sold the company to Havas Media Sports and Entertainment Group, headquartered in France.
ONE PLUS ONE EQUALS SUCCESS
To begin their “retirement” years, Susan and Dill became the Co-Deans of the Stafford School of Business at Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College in Tifton, GA, near Susan’s home town. They have always wanted to give back. They started giving back early in their life together by establishing their global headquarters of ignition in Osierfield, GA. One of their biggest thrills was providing the opportunity for young people from this small town to explore the world.
Academia has been a part of Susan and Dill’s life since they met. For more than seven years, they volunteered every Friday in Athens, GA, at the University of Georgia mentoring the Terry College Business students and helping them to explore their business dreams. Our proudest moments were seeing these young people begin promising careers and come back a few years later to share stories of their successes.
Throughout the years, Susan and Dill have founded several companies, primarily to assist young people in fulfilling their dreams. It all began in 1997 with the founding of McWhorter Driscoll, LLC, a creative business solutions company. This forward-thinking business model went on to establish additional companies, such as The Event Department (Germany), ignition Europe (England), WeGotGear, Click It, Hutto Fabrication, Relay of Heroes, McWhorter Driscoll Farms, Fitzgerald Aviation, plus additional student-led startups.
Most recently, Susan served as President of Surterra Therapeutics. Her primary responsibility was leading her team to secure one of the six licenses in the state of Florida that legally permits the cultivation, manufacture, and distribution of medical cannabis. Susan guided her task force for over two years to win the license and build a vertically integrated business from the ground up, encompassing cultivation, manufacturing, and retail facilities. Susan also assembled a stellar operational team to lead this industry with smart thinking, branding and best practices execution.
Among her accolades, Susan has served as a board member of Worldspan, an international motorsports ministry, the Terry College of Business Alumni Board, the Ocilla/Irwin County Chamber of Commerce, Ruth’s Cottage for domestic violence and the Treasurer of her local church. Currently, she is on the Board of Trustees for Northwood School, Lake Placid NY, and Terry College of Business Emeritus Board.
Mark “Dill” Driscoll is an internationally recognized visionary whose unconventional marketing perspectives are fueled by his “passions of the heart.” Dill's entrepreneurial spirit has been the genesis of at least eight major companies in a career bridging decades. Founder of industry breakthrough outfits such as World Sports Promotions, McCann Event Marketing, Momentum, and ignition, Dill remains the driving creative force behind McWhorter Driscoll LLC, a global consulting enterprise. True to his all-encompassing marketing mantra, “bring brands to life in the streets, every day, everywhere,” Dill and his teams have traveled the globe to deliver original solutions for activating some of the most iconic brands on Earth. He is a Baker Scholar who has taught high school economics, coached student-athletes and owned and operated retail outlets. These experiences help foster Dill's personal mission to create opportunities for young people around the world. And it works. So far, tens of thousands of aspiring teens and young adults have benefited from his insights, talent, and wisdom. His fearless drive, innovative ideas and exemplary leadership have secured his place as a go-to brand-building expert in the marketing industry.
Beginning in Lake Placid, New York, Dill's first venture was in retail with Equipe Sport – a one-of-a-kind sporting goods store where he created the world's first indoor track for customers to experience in real conditions the new Nike Waffle Trainers. Dill's intuitive sense of building brand relationships with consumers had begun its journey.
World Sports Promotions kick-started his marketing path by taking experiential marketing to a whole new level – literally! He brought the Busch Beer and the Mountains campaign to life by building ski ramps throughout the U.S., including summer events in Florida. The response was so successful, Dill expanded these events abroad. McCann Erickson later acquired World Sports which was renamed McCann Event Marketing.
After five years of “corporate” life, Dill became restless to put his visions back into action again. So, he created a new experiential startup venture called Momentum. Based on his remarkable reputation, Coca-Cola awarded Dill the contract to promote the Olympic Torch Relay in partnership with McCann Erickson. The 84-day event from Los Angeles to Atlanta was an unprecedented triumph. After its conclusion and at the height of its worth, Dill sold Momentum to McCann-Erickson.
Dill, however, was not content to rest on his laurels. Working with his wife Susan, they created ignition, a global marketing powerhouse. They built the business, won new clients, and circled the globe in support of their brands. After 15 years, they sold ignition to French-owned Havas Media.
Dill has worked boots on the ground in more than 60 countries on five continents, training aspiring young people on experiential marketing– and on life. While his work has been implemented in over 180 countries, his personal mission to make a positive difference in people’s lives. His belief in the “power of human interaction” serves as the cornerstone for the successful programs that emanate from his on-going leadership. Dill’s combination of can-do attitude and innovative thinking, matched with his focus on passion and heritage, are the foundation upon which his companies continue to build lasting relationships for client brands.
Dill has served as the co-Dean with his wife Susan for the Stafford School of Business and was named the first Entrepreneur in Residence for the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia. He has been a visiting speaker, faculty member at St. Lawrence University, Georgia Technical Institute, Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College, and the Deer Run Fellowship Program. In addition, Dill has written "Cool Shoes: The Experiential Marketing Playbook" and "Take Charge!", the textbook he uses to guide students and those ready to take charge of their careers and lives.
Through his career, Dill has added value to companies and brands such as Anheuser-Busch, AT&T, The Coca-Cola Company, General Motors, Nestle, Marion Merrill Dow, Sports Illustrated, Delta Air Lines, ESPN, Vodafone, Nokia, AOL, Chick-fil-A, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the USO, Blue Planet Run, Exxon, Blackberry, John Deere, Victoria Secret, Bacardi, BP, Embraer, eBay, United Nations Foundation, Kia, Honda, IndyCar, Live Earth, Live 8, Popular Science, and many more. Dill has worked on ten Olympics since 1996 and five FIFA World Cup Trophy Tours since 1998. Through his experiences with sports and entertainment, he has served on the Entertainment Executive Committee for the USO creating a program that raised over $10 million for veterans.