Joe and Johnathan want Trestle Collective to be a collaborative community, bringing together talented creatives to work together and bring value for our clients. We’d like to introduce you to a few folks who help make up our talented team and make our work so much fun.

Meet Ashley

With 20-plus years of experience, Ashley Sheppard specializes in strategy, from brand to creative to content. Recently she headed up brand strategy at one of the Southeast’s largest independent agencies supporting delicious brands like Chick-fil-A and California favorite Mendocino Farms.

Meet Robin

Robin Hubier spent 15 years at an Atlanta-based public relations and marketing agency where she started the corporate social responsibility practice and led client accounts ranging from local nonprofits to global brands. One of her favorite projects to date was helping her alma mater, Berry College, creatively communicate their master plan to major donors. 

Meet Macy

Macy Degnan has been helping brands level-up their social media presence for six years, with a keen focus on developing strategies that help achieve specific business goals and outcomes that speak directly to the target audience. 

How did you get to where you are today?

When we’re talking about careers, we are often encouraged to view success at the top of a ladder — always aiming higher in what is essentially a straight line. But a few years ago, during a business gathering, instead of a ladder, someone used the example of scaffolding to illustrate the way some career trajectories play out. That image resonated with me because, when it comes to my career, I have twisted and turned, stood still at times, and then gone backwards to move forward.

Even when it was uncomfortable — sometimes brutally! — I’ve never been afraid to step into the unknown and take a position that I might not feel fully qualified for or study for another degree or work to acquire a new skill or make a phone call to network with someone I’d like to know.

Honestly, what is the worst thing that can happen if you step out in support of yourself and your passions? Failure? Rejection? Yes! And that’s what often stops us from following a path we really want to explore. No one WANTS to fail, but for the record, I have failed many, many (many!) times. I can assure you that most of my biggest and (and most public) failures have taught me great lessons and made me even better — personally and professionally.

In some cases, they’ve even landed me some awesome gigs that I never would have landed if I hadn’t taken a chance on something that gave me a new skill or challenge.

Continue reading “Catching up with … Andrea Griffith-Girtz”

The funny thing about it is that I don’t really have a connection to the dang thing.

About 15 or so years ago, I started a blog called Beyond The Trestle. I’d like to tell you there was some great, profound rationale behind why I named it that. In actuality, I just thought it sounded cool. The famous “Murmur Trestle” was in the news, as it has been for the past 30 years or so, and I wanted something that felt distinctly Athens to name my site.

Well, that site fell by the wayside with, you know, work and all. Then last year, after the beginning of a new professional chapter for me, Joe and I decided to bring it back to life with a new premise. Beyond The Trestle lived again, and then Joe and I decided to not just do that, but also do … this. 

It needed a name, and here we are.

Back to the trestle, though.

It’s famous because of R.E.M., but, honestly, I’m not even that big of a fan. Before you shower me with your hate mail, please don’t mistake me. I really, really like R.E.M., and I fully appreciate their remarkable talent and countless contributions to the Athens community. 

But outside of a weird drive back from the 1995 state high school basketball tournament where I listened to “Monty Got A Raw Deal” while dozing off — leading to a string of super weird dreams — I just don’t have the same connection with the band as so many other Athenians.

Consider my friend Tim. 

He’s from Maryland. I don’t know if he had ever set foot in Georgia before 1996. Yet, his love for the band led him and his dad to spend a few nights at the illustrious Bulldog Inn off Highway 441 and pretty much “commit to the G” sight unseen. That’s a level of passion and trust that, quite frankly, I just don’t have in many things outside of the Good Lord and people who share my last name.

R.E.M. and everything caught up in its ecosystem are so intertwined in this town that it can command that type of allegiance and respect. It’s a big reason why, for so many years, lots of folks have pushed, pleaded and pressured to keep that hulking trestle in place.

They’ve lined up at local commission meetings. They’ve written letters to the editor. They’ve raised money. They’ve petitioned historic preservation groups. They’ve done a little bit of everything just to keep this piece of history alive.

But, in the end, time won. 

The trestle is simply too unsteady, too unsafe to stay up, particularly given the installation of walking trails around it. It has to come down, lest anyone get hurt. But it’s removal won’t leave a void, either literal or metaphorical.

In its place, an exact reproduction of the original trestle will be built, reinforced by a pair of steel arches and integrated into the Firefly Trail. It will feature repurposed, salvaged wood from what stands now, ensuring the physical history of the structure will be preserved in the newest iteration.

One chapter ending. A new one beginning.

It’s a familiar feeling for Joe and I, as we’re only six months into this new venture. Our journeys to this spot are a bit different, but we’ve learned and grown along the way. Now we can take those experiences and histories and set out to do good work with good folks. 

Maybe my connection to the trestle is stronger than I realize.