Cohesiveness the Core as Axiom Approaches Milestone

The much-heralded creative energy at Axiom continues to evolve among an increasingly cohesive unit of professionals as the company founded by Tom Hair in 1998 prepares for a milestone of sorts.

At Axiom, 10 of his current staff of 16 have worked at Axiom for five years or more. As a company, Axiom will turn 15 next year.

“Axiom has been a great place to call home for over a decade for me,” said David Lerch, Axiom’s creative director since 2000. “Tom Hair has put together a great group of people, trusting clients, shared vision and creative atmosphere. It’s the best combination.”

Multimedia manager John Duplechin, who also began working at Axiom in 2000, relates a pragmatic philosophy behind his tenure. “Collaboration with the team and the variety of challenging projects keep me on my toes.”

Account manager Laura Paddock, who joined Axiom in 2004 and celebrated her eighth anniversary in October, first met Tom Hair in the early 1990s and considers him a mentor and friend. At Axiom, she has witnessed not just her own professional growth but those of her colleagues come together organically.

“There is limitless opportunity to learn and evolve in the profession of branding and marketing communications for the energy B2B world. We are truly like family.”

Associate creative director Philip Ransdell, who has been with Axiom since 2007, routinely observes Axiom’s collective creative energy at work.

“Axiom is made up of a dynamic group of people with a wide range of creative strengths,” Ransdell said. “Everyone has the ability to jump in and contribute at any stage of a project. This successful collaboration reinforces the confidence we have in each other. As a result, we produce great work for our clients in the process.”

The proof is apparent. Axiom has won multiple industry awards from the American Marketing Association, American Advertising Federation and Business Marketing Association. Axiom’s work has appeared in national and international publications including Communication Arts, Print, Graphis and One Show.

The low turnover at Axiom also leads to greater returns for clients who have forged relationships with the Axiom staff. To date, Axiom is the agency of record with prominent companies including Houston-based Cameron, Gardner Denver of Wayne, Pa., and Basic Energy Services, which announced the relocation of its headquarters in June from Midland to Fort Worth, Texas.

Designer/illustrator Carleton Smith said he did not think he’d be at one workplace for a sustained period of time. “But I didn’t think this far ahead in my life planning. It’s been a great ride so far,” the six-year Axiom veteran said.

“The experience has been challenging, educational and fun. Challenging by the fast pace and keeping ahead of the many client requests we receive, educational by being able to learn something new, and fun by getting to work with a great crew of people that get along and know what they’re doing when, it comes to concept, design and dealing with clients,” Smith added.

Mike Wu, a senior associate who has spent 10 years with Axiom (and counting), credits his workplace for the opportunities made available to him since starting out in production cutting boards.

“Axiom is responsible for teaching me screen-based production capabilities,” Wu said. “I’ve been able to travel to London, Rome and Barcelona because of Axiom, along with being sent to the HOW Conference in Chicago.”

“I don’t think anyone can go into a situation forecasting they will be there for 10 years,” Wu noted, “but I have never considered leaving. And the fact others have been here even longer says something about Axiom.”
Here’s what other Axiom team members had to say about their ongoing experience:


  • John Luu, art director since 2007: “After working at a firm that had over a 200% employee turnover per year, that experience made me painfully aware of how wasteful and inefficient high employee turnover can be and how it can create vicious cycles. Axiom provides a clear counterpoint to that model and clients are eager to partner with that vision.”
  • Rodney Flores, designer since 2007: “For me, I can break it down into two categories, personal and professional reasons for staying. On a personal level I really like the people I work with. I enjoy coming into work and interacting with my coworkers. I genuinely like them. Professionally, I am happy with the work I am able to do at Axiom. It is not always button-down corporate and there are times when I am able to stretch my creative legs. I have been able to grow as a designer and a creative. That is very important.”
  •  Lisa Lerch, account manager since 2007: “Axiom continues to keep me excited about coming to work every day. Not only is the environment stimulating but the group of people we have, from the top down, make it a pleasure to show up and plug into what’s going on.”

Axiom employees now enjoy the open spaces of Fire Station No. 6, Houston’s second-oldest firehouse, which has been the home of Axiom since December 2011. Axiom previously was located at Tribeca Lofts (formerly the Clarke & Courts Printing & Lithography Co.) near Montrose when Tom Hair founded Axiom in 1998.

“The Station itself has a unique character that is elegant, fresh and unexpected,” Ransdell noted. “As our home, it inspires us as we endeavor to do work of this same character. The building is more open than our previous workspace, fostering creativity and collaboration. The natural light and thoughtful architectural details create a vibrant and inspiring work atmosphere.”