Meet John Vardeman!


Voted most likely to get to the heart of any story. He enjoys jazz music and has helped with The Arts Council’s Evenings of Intimate Jazz.

John Vardeman is president and primary owner of Morton, Vardeman & Carlson.

Prior to his involvement in the advertising business, John was a reporter and editor for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His newspaper career in Atlanta included work as an editor on the National Desk, where he was part of the special Atlanta Journal-Constitution team covering the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta.

Since returning to his hometown of Gainesville in 1989, John has authored a book, “On Eagles Wings,” which chronicles a true story of child abuse, courage and perseverance in the inspirational founding of Eagle Ranch, a boys’ home in Chestnut Mountain, Georgia. John also worked personally with former U.S. President Gerald Ford and an editorial team with Reader’s Digest magazine in 1978 and 1979 on the writing of Ford’s memoirs, “A Time to Heal.”

In part due to John’s work with Eagle Ranch as well as other volunteer activities, John was named Hall County’s Young Man of the Year for 1995.

John has served as a trustee with the Leadership Georgia organization, which trains and builds a network of emerging young leaders from across the state for future leadership roles. John and his wife, Tracy, have been involved with Leadership Georgia since 1996 when they were part of the organization’s 25th anniversary year. They also have served together as program chairs.

In another state level position, John was appointed in 2000 to serve on the Georgia Workforce Development Board. John has been involved with the Gainesville Rotary Club as president as well as chairman of the Greater Hall County Chamber of Commerce. More recently, John has served as president of the Arts Council Board of Directors. He also is a senior adviser on the Greater Hall Chamber Executive Committee.

Meet Tina Carlson!

Vice President, Creative Director

Voted most likely to write everything in lower case letters.

Long-time creative director and vice president, Tina’s role at Morton, Vardeman & Carlson expanded to executive vice president when she was named partner in 1999. As the driving force behind the creative direction, graphic design and copywriting for the agency’s clients, Tina understands how to position and brand clients strategically within their business environment.

Tina first joined Morton & Associates in 1980 as production manager, where she quickly put her writing and concepting expertise to work and became creative director within a year. She has helped shape and grow the agency from three employees with a primarily business-to business focus to 14 with a broad, full-service strategic marketing mission. Under her direction, the agency has won numerous ADDYS, as well as other national design, print and communications awards.

Tina is a former writer and feature editor with The Times newspaper, and she also worked with the Gainesville/Hall County Chamber of Commerce and as a freelance writer. She is a magna cum laude graduate of the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia. Active in the community, she is past president of The Gateway Domestic Violence Center’s board of directors and The Quinlan Visual Arts Center board of trustees. She continues to serve on the Quinlan board and is a member of the advisory board of Gateway. In addition, Tina serves on the Greater Hall Chamber’s Vision 2030 Public Art committee..

Meet Patrick Ceska!

Senior Account Executive

Voted most likely to know everything about chickens. In his free time, Patrick enjoys sitting on his patio admiring nature.

As senior account executive and partner, Patrick counsels a wide range of companies stretching from Maine to Florida and overseas as well.

With his broad business-to-business, consumer marketing and sales background, Patrick works with clients in developing comprehensive strategic marketing and implementation programs.

His language skills have solidified and secured several international clients. Patrick is bilingual in English and German and has basic knowledge of French. 
Patrick’s entry into the poultry industry began in the early 1990s when he joined the industry trade journal Poultry and Egg News as regional sales manager. Prior to joining MVC, he was the regional sales manager for Watt Publishing, the largest chain of industry magazines dedicated to the poultry industry. Patrick currently serves as a board member on the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s IPPE Advisory Committee. He also works closely with the USPE on various marketing projects, negotiating booth space contracts for clients attending the IPPE. He also has assisted the Georgia Poultry Federation on several public relations promotional projects on behalf of the poultry industry.

In his community, he has served with the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, on the board of Friends of the Parks 1997 -2001 and Gateway House from 2000-2002, Challenged Child, and the North Georgia Community Foundation. He is a graduate of the 2000 Leadership Hall organization in Gainesville, Ga. Patrick is a graduate of Florida State University College of Business where he earned his degree in marketing and advertising.

Meet Bryan Nicoll!

Director of Digital Technologies

Voted most likely to have magical powers. Out of the office, he enjoys cooking a nice meal.

Since joining MVC, Bryan has expanded our digital capabilities to include Search engine optimization, search engine marketing and social media marketing. Bryan has also grown our infrastructure to include a state-of-the-art content management system and has leveraged cloud computing to improve scalability, functionality and efficiency of digital technologies.

Bryan Nicoll was president of Web Department, Inc. for more than thirteen years. Web Department provided a full range of Internet design and development services. Some notable projects include two PowerAde websites for Coca Cola, support for BellSouth’s Small Business division websites. Also, design, implementation and operation of seven ecommerce applications for Brigade Quartermasters in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Prior to his position with Web Department, Bryan was an Engineering Manager in the printed circuit board fabrication industry. While an Engineering Manager, Bryan was part of a team assembled to design, construct and operate a state-of-the-art printed circuit board fabrication facility for Intergraph, a fortune 500 company located in Huntsville, Alabama. Bryan’s primary focus as an engineer was the Laser and CAD/CAM tools that enabled fabricators to manufacture denser, more sophisticated circuitry.

Bryan serves as an IT Consultant for Special Needs Schools of Gwinnett, a non-profit that specializes in working with children and adolescents who have diagnoses of developmental/neurological disabilities, and behavioral and emotional issues. Bryan is a graduate of California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California.

Meet Brian Rainey!

Web Developer

Brian Rainey is a web develper and a member of the Digital Technologies department.

Voted most likely to get lost in computer code but make it back by 5pm daily. In his spare time, he enjoys 3D printing props & costume pieces from popular TV & movies, attending Dragon Con yearly with his wife, both in costume, and hanging out with pets at home.

As a web developer, Brian creates new and updates existing websites for our clients. A Georgia native, Brian was born and raised in Marietta but now enjoys life well outside the perimeter in Dacula where there is much less traffic and much more room for his family and dogs to enjoy.

Prior to joining MVC, Brian worked in the restaurant business for over 15+ years. 10 of those most recent years he has worked at Johnny’s New York Style Pizza in east Cobb County and the other 5+ before that as a district trainer for Ruby Tuesdays INC. mostly in Gadsden, Alabama and the surrounding areas.

He is a Graduate of Chattahoochee Technical College and earned his Computer Science degree in Web Application Development/Internet Specialist.

Meet Jeff Butler!

Public Relations Account Executive

Voted most likely to go with the flow through the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You can find Jeff at the gym every morning before work.

As Public Relations Account Executive, Jeff’s duties include compiling, writing and promoting our clients’ news through our PR News Bureau. He also provides support to the development and execution of strategic public relations plans.

Jeff, a Gainesville, Ga. native, has more than 20 years of writing experience for a daily newspaper and a national poultry trade newspaper.

He spent 12 years as a sports reporter and copy editor with The Times in Gainesville, where he was honored with more than 30 writing awards from the Georgia Press Association, Associated Press and the Gannett Corporation.

Prior to joining MVC, Jeff was a writer, editor and production coordinator for the Poultry Times for eight years.

Jeff volunteers with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hall County Georgia Marketing committee. He also served on the board of directors of the Guest House, a senior adult daycare center, for eight years. Jeff is a 2013 graduate of Leadership Hall County and served for three years on the program’s planning committee.

Jeff is a graduate of the University of Georgia and earned his degree in Communications.

Meet Diane Speight!

Art Director

Voted most likely to have a positive attitude. She enjoys some healthy competition on the tennis court.

Diane oversees the graphic arts department as the Art Director at Morton Vardeman & Carlson. Formerly she worked as an artist and studio manager with Sawyer Riley Compton agency of Atlanta. She also has worked for Merial Select, Inc. in Gainesville as the company’s senior marketing communications specialist, providing her with an excellent background and marketing experience with an international corporation.

With more than two decades of graphic arts experience, Diane’s design career with top national and regional advertising agencies to a worldwide corporation provides the perfect balance in experience to our client partners.

In 2014, Diane received her MFA in graphic design from Georgia State University where she had the opportunity to work on several Atlanta-based projects, including a group installation at 100 Peachtree, formerly The Equitable Building and branding for the developing Edgewood-Boulevard corridor. In addition to her design work, Diane exhibits her art regionally in group and solo shows and was named best emerging artist at the 2016 Gasparilla Festival of the Arts in Tampa, Florida.

Meet Rodney Lewallen!

Production Artist

Voted most likely to live in a tree for a year. On the weekends, he restores classic cars and does decorative knotwork.

Rodney has been a Production Artist at Morton, Vardeman & Carlson since December 2016. He handles creating and preparing artwork for clients via print and digital production.

Prior to joining the Morton, Vardeman & Carlson team, Rodney worked with various newspapers in North Georgia and Southeast Montana, where he worked his way up from pressman to editor.

Rodney graduated from Habersham Central High School and continued his education at the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) where he received a BA in Fine Arts.

Meet Samantha Black!

Assistant Media Buyer

Voted most likely to adopt all the dogs in a shelter. She enjoys crafting and hiking to waterfalls.

As assistant media buyer, Samantha organizes the flow of information between account services and production, sends in orders for correct media placement, serves as point of contact for publications, helps create media schedules according to client budgets, and assists with the billing process.

Samantha has been studying marketing for four years and has worked in the industry for almost two years. She is a board member for Northern Star in Dahlonega.

Meet Cindy Smith!

Office Manager

Voted most likely to go to lunch at 11:30 a.m. On the weekends, you can find her reading and relaxing with her family.

Cindy Smith is Office Manager at Morton Vardeman & Carlson. She’s also the friendly voice of the agency, welcoming clients and visitors while keeping the office running smoothly.

As Office Manager, Cindy handles many responsibilities including accounts payable and accounts receivable, managing production billing and coordinating the company’s payroll. She joined MVC in 2002.

Meet Martina Henderson!

Graphic Designer

As a senior graphic designer in our creative department, Martina Henderson helps create designs, branding, and advertising campaigns for clients.

Martina is an experienced artist and designer having worked as art director and designer at two New York agencies. She also has run her own creative shop working with small businesses, non-profit organizations and international corporations.

A graduate of Florida State University, Martina enjoys painting, photography and spending time with her husband and two children on the family farm. 

Meet Jennifer Popovich!

Graphic Designer

Jennifer Popovich is a Senior Graphic Designer and is voted most likely to have numerous artistic perspectives. She is a serve and volley queen on the tennis court.

As a graphic designer, Jennifer brings a tremendous amount of portfolio experience. She joined the Morton, Vardeman & Carlson family in 2017 as a part of the art department.

Jennifer has been working in the graphic design field for over 20 years and has run her own design business for 19 years. She offers fresh ideas and new perspectives to her clients. She is proficient with all types of print projects as well as a master of Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Acrobat and Microsoft Office.

Jennifer attended the University of Georgia where she received her BSA in Graphic Design.

Meet Michael Richards!

Production Manager

Voted most likely to color code… everything. On the weekends, you can find him on Lake Lanier in his flat-water kayak, hiking the north Georgia mountains, or painting, as he is a novice watercolorist.

As production manager, Michael Richards is at the center of almost everything that happens at our agency. Michael estimates, schedules and coordinates projects designed by the agency’s creative department. He manages printing and other work conducted by outside sources.

With more than 35 years of experience working for advertising agencies and printing companies, including Turner Broadcasting, his technical expertise and understanding of all types of production are invaluable to our clients. He has served as a vice president of production, production director, production manager and print sales executive.

Michaels holds a fine arts degree from the Atlanta College of Art.


The MVC Team

When you partner with Morton Vardeman & Carlson, you seriously expand your toolbox through the experience and abilities of a dozen-plus communication professionals – at a fraction of the cost of a traditional in-house communications department. With a rich mixture of backgrounds in advertising, marketing, public relations, design, newspapers, consulting groups, museums, outdoor advertising, commercial printing and TV and radio broadcast, we bring a sweeping and intimate knowledge of the communications industries to your service.