Joey Kercher is the YEC Denver Group Chair
Young Entrepreneur Council is a highly selective membership community of entrepreneurs under 45 whose companies have revenues or funding of at least $1M. The YEC Groups program is a new initiative designed to better connect and engage members through the creation of micro-communities based on location, industry, identity, and interests.
Each group is led by a volunteer chair, hand-selected by the YEC team for outstanding leadership in the community during his or her membership tenure. All chairs share one common trait that we believe makes them exceptional: a people-first mentality with regard to relationship building, heavily invested in giving more than is expected in return.
“I’m a connector,” says Joey. “I think it’s exciting to meet new people, so we’re looking into maybe doing a speaker series. And hopefully in the next couple of months, we can start meeting up for coffee or a beer.”
An identical triplet, Joey first became fascinated with marketing when he and his brothers started doing commercials together. “We did an Xbox commercial, a Sears commercial, and then five years ago, we were the exit row triplets on the Delta Airlines safety video. I think it's pretty fascinating how, using psychology and marketing together, you can convince people to do something.”
Joey started his own agency, Air Fresh Marketing, in 2008, and the company specialized in working with agencies and brands to forge connections with consumers at various festivals and events. High profile clients included companies such as Grubhub, Lyft, Clif Bar, and Mac, among many others. Over the past four years, the company grew into one of Denver’s largest event staffing and execution marketing agencies, with a 40% annual growth rate. “I had just hired four employees as of March 1 and we were ready to take over the world, and then event after event started getting cancelled,” Joey says. Due to COVID-19, he says, Air Fresh is completely shut down.
“A lot of people in my industry have been affected by [the pandemic] and it’s been great to be able to quickly connect with YEC’ers who are in the same boat and to discuss how we navigate through this. These visionary types of people are great to be around.”
“It’s pretty devastating when you think of how long it took me to grow this agency,” Joey says. “But there’s a positive side. I’ve learned so much, and I’ve already started a new digital agency with some other entrepreneurs and we’re already working. We’re building the University of California’s esports website.” His new agency, Unicorn Puff, will leverage the talent database of 25,000 people that Air Fresh Marketing deployed to help promote brands. “We’re looking to turn them into digital marketers,” he says. “They’ll be social media micro-influencers who promote a brand, a product, or a service.” It’s still early days for the new company, but Joey is confident that he’ll be able to apply what he learned at Air Fresh to make his digital pivot successful.
Joey joined YEC several years ago and has attended events regularly. “Then I went to YEC Escape and that kind of changed the whole ballgame,” he says. The ability to connect with a variety of like-minded people quickly in a fun and casual environment resulted in relationships with people who Joey now considers his close friends. “It’s a community of people who understand who you are and what you’re going through,” he says. “And I’ve done a ton of work with different YEC members.”
The online forum, he says, has been particularly helpful. “A lot of people in my industry have been affected by [the pandemic] and it’s been great to be able to quickly connect with YEC’ers who are in the same boat and to discuss how we navigate through this. These visionary types of people are great to be around.”