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
Lauren 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. Lauren started with Think in 2018. “My husband performed at the 2017 New Year’s Eve Beats & Eats, and I jokingly told him to try and get me a job at Think. The Lord knows the desires of our heart, and two weeks later, I was a Think employee.”
Hey, Lauren—what’s the best part of working at Think?
“I love seeing all the different parts working together to create something really cool for our clients. Each of us plays a role in almost every project, starting with client relations at the front end, all the way through to invoicing when the project is over. We embody ‘team’ every single day.”
When she’s not in the office, Lauren spends her time being the momma of two little girls, helping her husband with their church youth group, and playing with stickers, pens, and washi tape. #plannergirl
Rapid Fire with Lauren
Sonic drink order: Mango sweet tea, easy ice
Invent a holiday: Childlike Wonder Day–Spend the day seeing the world through a child’s eye and marveling at how neat everything is.
Netflix binge: Call the Midwife, Friends, The Office, Mad Men, Gilmore Girls, & That 70’s Show
What did you want to be when you grew up?: Teacher
Perfect breakfast: French toast with peanut butter, hashbrowns with ham and cheese, and coffee with Dunkin’ Donuts Extra Extra Sweet creamer.
What do people assume about you, that is wrong?: How to pronounce my name. The first syllable rhymes with car…Lauren, not Loren.
What’s playing in your earbuds?: It changes with my mood. Backstreet Boys get more airtime than anything else, though.
What’s on your bedside table?: A lamp, wedding picture, baby monitor, and about 15 bobby pins.
Who would play Mat in a movie about Think?: Vince Vaughn
Alma Mater:Arkansas State University
Personality Type:IXFJ (equally an S & N)
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
Netflix Binge:Friends and Pride & Prejudice miniseries