Think Idea Studio is defined by our people, our integrity, our creativity, and our ability to take a concept and see it through to fruition.
President | Chief Idea Officer
Mat spends his days at Think managing agency operations and serving as creative director. He opened Think (LASSO Creative) in 2003, operating out of his house. Mat did all of the design work himself then, but the company quickly grew and moved to “the little yellow house on Holmes Road.” When an opportunity arose to move Think downtown, Mat and his wife Shelley jumped on it, purchasing the old Robbins-Sanford Mercantile building and renovating the top floor. The first floor serves as an event center and the top level is home to Think Idea Studio and other loft offices.
Mat and Shelly have three boys, Easton, Lawson, and Jace.
Mat’s love of community is unmatched and is made evident by his vast volunteer efforts. He serves as a board member of the SREDC (Searcy Regional Economic Development Corporation), past chair of the Searcy Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Committee, director of the Think ART Project, co-director for Searcy Beats & Eats, past president of Jacob’s Place Homeless Mission, member of Searcy’s Beautification Committee and Holiday of Lights Committee, Harding University chapter of Sigma Nu Tau National Entrepreneurship Honor Society, and 2017 member of Arkansas Business‘ 40 Under 40. In 2019, Mat spearheaded the effort for Searcy to win Small Business Revolution, an eight-episode online TV show that showcases $500,000 worth of make-overs for six local small businesses as well as community improvements, co-starred by Amanda Brinkman (Deluxe) and Ty Pennington (Trading Spaces & Extreme Home Makeover).
Hey Mat—what’s the best part of working at Think?
“I love working with our creative team. I’m constantly impressed with their talent and solutions to a wide variety of projects. I also love being involved in efforts that help our community. I’m a believer in using your gifts to help others and when we all do that, we can make life better for those around us.”
When he’s not in the office, Mat spends his time working on community festivals like Beats & Eats, coordinating the installation of a Think ART Project or out at the ball fields with his boys. Mat’s family loves to take unplanned road trips. “We just pack and get in the car and then we let people we meet tell us where to go. We only have one rule–every two hours we have to see, do or eat something!”
Rapid Fire with Mat
Sonic drink order: I’ll opt for ice cream; cherry cream slush or strawberry shake.
Invent a holiday: National Take the Week Off and Go Fishing Holiday. It would be celebrated by taking the week off to go fishing! Actually, we may need to bump that up to two weeks.
Netflix binge: The Office and Designated Survivor
What did you want to be when you grew up?: Olympic track runner. I used to get up really early before school and train with my track coach. I wanted to be a professional soccer or baseball player, too.
Perfect breakfast: Burrito Day breakfast bowl with regular and sweet potatoes, sausage, eggs, grilled onions, queso, and jalapeno ranch.
What would people find surprising about you?: I’m kind of a loner. I think most people would find that hard to believe. I know a lot of people and have good relationships, but outside of work, I tend to keep to myself off-hours.
What’s playing in your car stereo?: Whatever my kids want to listen to.
Who would play Tonya in a movie about Think?: Valerie Bertinelli
Alma Mater:Harding University
VP of Client Solutions
Justin spends his days at Think consumed with business development, client relations, project management, web services, budgeting, consulting, Google search management, and managing SEO marketing. He’s not only the first person new clients chat with, but he’s also the first person who will beat you at ping-pong. Justin has been with Think almost from the beginning. “I had a degree in computer information systems, but I didn’t want to drive to Little Rock for a job. I worked on a few side projects for Mat when we were LASSO Creative and was hired in 2007 to coordinate web services.”
Hey, Justin—what’s the best part of your job?
“I really enjoy meeting with businesses and sharing marketing techniques that help their success. I LOVE hearing positive feedback about how we have been an asset to another business.”
When he’s not in the office, Justin spends his time volunteer coaching with his kids’ sports teams, playing basketball or soccer, going to the gym, and attending horse shows.
Rapid Fire with Justin
Sonic drink order: Coke Zero with vanilla
Invent a holiday: Community Day! It would always be a Friday and people could get off work for that day ONLY if they volunteered to work in the community that day. Communities could save up projects they needed to be done for that day. People could interact with other community members and build relationships. Hey! Maybe businesses could receive a tax write off for that day, too!
Netflix binge: Zoolander, Office Space, and Home Alone (during Christmas)
What did you want to be when you grew up?: Professional soccer player
Perfect breakfast: Two eggs over easy, two sausage patties, and biscuits with sausage gravy
What’s playing in your earbuds?: Eric Church or NeedToBreathe
What’s on your bedside table?: iPad, phone, chargers, and a stack of three books I will never read.
Who would play Phillip in a movie about Think?: David Spade
Alma Mater:Harding University
Art Director Extraordinaire
Tara spends her days at Think making designed awesomeness in the form of logos, billboards, catalogs and much much more. She started with Think on a trial basis in 2012 as a junior designer, and she’s been killing it ever since.
Hey, Tara—what’s the best part of your job?
“I love creating logos. It’s a challenge to represent someone’s business with one simple image, and I like a challenge.”
When she’s not in the office, Tara loves to travel and watch her son grow and learn new things. She’s on a mission to visit all 50 states by the time she’s 40. She’s excited to share some of her favorite places with Silas and make new memories together.
Rapid Fire with Tara
Sonic drink order: Root beer
Netflix binge: Friends
Perfect breakfast: Frozen Swiss Cake Roll
What do people assume about you, that is wrong?: I am not tech-savvy AT ALL.
What’s on your bedside table?: Kindle, white noise machine, glasses, and baby monitor
Who would play Jacob in a movie about Think?: Liam Neeson
Alma Mater:U of A - Fort Smith
Captain of Social & Content
Phillip spends his days at Think managing and creating content for social media accounts. He also manages Searcy.com, runs its social media channels, plus oversees the internship program at Think. His days are full, to say the least. Phillip joined Think in 2016 after seven years in TV news. “I was in the market for a new career path. A family friend showed me the job posting, and while I didn’t have a traditional marketing background, I gave it a shot.”
Hey, Phillip—what’s the best part of your job?
“First is the creative freedom. My clients trust my judgement and allow me the opportunities to try new things and really push to see how custom we can get when it comes to the social media content we create. Second is the internship program. There are some really creative and brilliant students in the area. The opportunity to guide and teach them, and help them build their portfolios is incredibly rewarding.”
When he’s not in the office, Phillip spends his time with his wife Tillie and daughter Pippa. He also writes for a Big 12 and Oklahoma State blog plus hosts and produces two sports podcasts.
Rapid Fire with Phillip
Sonic drink order: Cherry limeade
Invent a holiday: …It already exists. It’s called Thanksgiving and involves consuming large quantities of delicious foods that we only cook and eat once a year. The family time and football certainly don’t hurt either.
Netflix binge: The Big Lebowski, Pulp Fiction, The Iron Giant, Almost Famous, Parks & Rec, and Lost
What did you want to be when you grew up?: I wanted to be a Disney artist and create Disney movies.
Perfect breakfast: All of it.
What’s playing in your earbuds?: Depends on my mood and what I’m working on. Could be a podcast. Could be Andrew Bird. Could be Bastille. Could be Broods or Chvrches. Could be Brandi Carlisle or Sarah Jarosz.
What’s on your bedside table?: A stack of half-read books and the TV remotes.
Who would play Lauren in a movie about Think?: Melissa McCarthy if we can afford her. If not, then Melissa Rauch.
Alma Mater:University of Oklahoma, but bleeds black and orange
Personality Type:Lotter (half Lion, half Otter) and Enneagram Type 5
Director of All Things
Vanessa spends her days at Think writing, editing, and scheduling projects. She also answers the phone and is the first person you’ll see when you visit. Vanessa joined Think in November of 2020 as a senior Advertising major from Harding. “I’ve been dreaming about working at Think since I was a freshman in college. What I’ve always admired about Think is their culture dedicated to serving the Searcy community and their clients.”
Hey, Vanessa—what’s the best part of working at Think?
I love seeing up-close how the team truly works together and uses their talents to help people find their best solution. I also love how I’m able to meet lots of new people, contribute my creativity to projects and use my organizational skills!
When she’s not in the office, Vanessa spends her time going to hot yoga at Nooma, learning or writing a new song on the guitar and exploring Arkansas with her husband. She also is involved in helping nonprofits in Thailand, China, India and Myanmar with their communication and storytelling.
Rapid Fire with Vanessa
Sonic drink order: Strawberry Limeade or Blue Coconut Slush
Invent a holiday: Travel Anywhere Day! Explore a new city or place, meet the locals and be intentional about trying new foods!
Netflix binge: The Crown, Sherlock, The Office and Parks & Rec
What did you want to be when you grew up?: Veterinarian
Perfect breakfast: Scones with clotted cream and strawberry jelly and a sweetened cinnamon latte
What do people assume about you, that is wrong?: Some people spell my name with one “s” when it is spelled with two!
What’s playing in your earbuds?: Anything you’d hear in a coffee shop, lo-fi, indie/alternative and worship
What’s on your bedside table?: A Sherlock Holmes novel, “Multiply” by Francis Chan, a glass of water and my glasses
Who would play Mat in a movie about Think?: Hugh Jackman
Alma Mater:Harding University
Personality Type:Enneagram 3w4
Accountant & Director of Encouragement
Tonya spends her days at Think doing anything that has to do with money. Invoices, payments, and payroll all fall on Tonya’s desk. She started with Think in 2019 after praying for God to open a door where He wanted her to be. A door opened, and we’re glad Tonya walked through it to join the Think team.
Hey, Tonya—what’s the best part of working at Think?
“I love being in an office! I came from 10 years of working in a 5’ x 5’ cubicle. I have a window, too! I love the Think team and working in an environment where everyone is a Christian and lives that out loud in their work and lives. I love that we pray for each other and for our clients.”
When she’s not in the office, Tonya spends her time with family and volunteering with her church youth group.
Rapid Fire with Tonya
Sonic drink order: Blackberry Water or Lemon-Berry Slush
Invent a holiday: Unplugged Day—No electronics or work for a day. Spend time with people and actually interact with them.
Netflix binge: Friends and Pride & Prejudice miniseries
What did you want to be when you grew up?: One of Charlie’s Angels
Perfect breakfast: French toast, sausage patties, sunny side up eggs, and chocolate milk
What’s playing in your earbuds?: An audiobook—I’m addicted to them!
What’s on your bedside table?: A lamp, journal, a couple of books, and about 10 ink pens.
Who would play Tara in a movie about Think?: Amy Adams
Personality Type:Enneagram Type 2
The Official 'Web Guy’
Jacob spends his days at Think designing and building WordPress websites plus updating new and old hosted sites. There’s often a little graphic design work sprinkled in, too. Jacob started with Think in 2018. He was working in Jonesboro as a graphic designer and looking to move back to Searcy to be closer to friends and family. “I had been following Think for a while, so I was excited when a friend sent me the job opening. I had a little experience with web design and development, and I’ve always been tech-savvy, so I knew it was something I could learn.”
We’re really glad he decided to jump in with both feet. His websites are some of the best around, even if we are a little biased.
Hey, Jacob—what’s the best part of your job?
“I am enjoying my shift in focus to web – there is a bit more creative freedom compared to print, and the ever-evolving online world keeps things interesting day-to-day. Also because I feel like a wizard every time I get something to work. Second, I enjoy being a part of our community projects and creating a lot of value for non-profits who often need it most.”
When Jacob’s not in the office, he spends his time going to the gym, playing soccer, traveling, hiking, and tinkering on his truck.
Rapid Fire with Jacob
Sonic drink order: Oreo blast
Netflix binge: Dexter and Parks & Rec
What did you want to be when you grew up?: Automotive designer or professional soccer player
Perfect breakfast: “Give me all the bacon and eggs you have.”
What’s playing in your earbuds?: Heavy metal and podcasts, specifically Art of Manliness or Tim Ferriss
What’s on your bedside table?: A sculpture I made, the book I’m currently reading, and WIRED magazine
Who would play Justin in a movie about Think?: The Rock
Alma Mater:Arkansas State University
Very Good Boy
Griffin spends his days at Think chasing his tail, chewing on his toys, and generally spreading merriment everywhere he goes. He makes his rounds each morning to say hi to everyone in the office and warmly greets any visitors. Griffin joined the Think team in 2021. “My dad kept leaving every morning, and one day he decided to bring me along. He keeps saying I have a job now, but I don’t know what that is.”
Hey, Griffin—what’s the best part of your job?
“Spending all day with my dad. Plus there are lots of other nice people who scratch my head and give me love all day, too.”
When he’s not in the office, Griffin spends his time riding around in Mat’s truck, playing fetch with the Faulkner boys, and enjoying life to the fullest.
Rapid Fire with Griffin
Sonic drink order: Water with no ice and a pup cup
Invent a holiday: Snuggle Puppy Day—stay home and snuggle with your pups all day
Netflix binge: Dogs, A Dog’s Life, A Man & His Dogs, and The Champions
What do you want to be when you grow up?: A firedog
Perfect breakfast: Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have.
What’s playing in your earbuds?: “I Love My Dog” by Cat Stevens, “I’m Gonna Buy Me a Dog” by The Monkees, and “Cracker Jack” by Dolly Parton
Who would play Justin in a movie about Think?: Keegan-Michael Key