AABP Award 728x90

Devlin develops and markets Hirsh products


When Colleen Devlin graduated from Truman State University, then known as Northeast Missouri State University, she dove head-first into the advertising world. Her first job was for KTVO television in Ottumwa, where she worked for a year, writing and producing commercials. She then joined KCCI in Des Moines, where she performed similar duties. A year later she joined CMF&Z, where she worked for four years, until 1997. Devlin said one of her bosses at CMF&Z, Terry Stoffer, had a major influence on her career by expanding her perception of what marketing can accomplish for companies.

After leaving CMF&Z, she briefly worked for a start-up company before joining Hirsh Industries, a Des Moines-based manufacturer of filing cabinets, steel shelving, cash boxes and work-support products, in 1998. Devlin is director of marketing for Hirsh’s storage products. In that role, she is responsible for developing new products and managing their profitability and expenses. She says all of those factors contribute to the success of her product line.

“Before working for Hirsh, I was getting a big marketing and communications background,” Devlin said. “In my new position, I’ve learned a lot more about product marketing and development. It’s like managing a business within a business.”

Although Devlin looks back fondly on the people she met while working in advertising and the creativity she encountered, she said there were a few individuals who were paid to be the creative force behind an ad, and everyone else worked to facilitate its creation and expose it to the public. However, in marketing and product development, a combination of form and function, creativity and analytical thought are necessary, so she gets to use both her creative skills and her business skills. Devlin is enrolled in the University of Iowa M.B.A. program, and says she recently doubled her product line’s account with Wal-Mart.

“[Advertising] is fun and fascinating, but I think I’m better suited to product and line development,” Devlin said. “Marketing staff have a lot of impact on seeing their ideas become a product on the shelf.”     

oakridge web 090123 300x250