SOUTH AMBOY — A city that has been trying to invigorate its downtown business district has a success story that started in one resident’s basement.
OpenEye, a global digital marketing strategy firm, is the brainchild of Bryan Meszaros, who launched the firm about 13 years ago when he was 23.
Clients include Nordstrom, the Smithsonian, British Telecom, Santander and most recently Madame Tussauds.
“It is absolutely mind-boggling,” Meszaros said of his success. “It’s an awesome way to close out the year.”
Though supporting organizations that range from museums to retailers may sound difficult, he said his clients have a lot of the same challenges, even though they are in different industries.
Each client, he said, helps the team better serve future ones as they “become more aware of the right questions to ask.”
OpenEye’s website sums up its philosophy as such: “We believe technology is more than a component of an environment — it’s a channel for communication and an artistic vehicle for dynamic visual engagement.”
Meszaros isn’t just a player in his industry — he’s also working toward becoming a leader. He has presented at industry conferences, authored papers and serves on various boards, including the Society for Experiential Graphic Design.
Meszaros said he got involved in the digital marketing field through an internship he served just prior to graduating from Seton Hall University. He was able to see the company’s gaps when it came to digital media, which inspired him to launch his own business.
He said he’s largely self-taught and has taken advantage of online professional development opportunities, such as webinars. He also has a background in design.
“I thought, ‘Well, let’s just try this on our own,’ ” he said of creating OpenEye, adding that complicating the effort was doing so during a recession; it was certainly not an easy time to launch a business. “People thought I was crazy.”
But the objections of others didn’t deter him, and now his dozen-strong team, which he was able to start building about five or six years after launch, not only works on digital projects, but are relying on technology to stay connected with each other.
His team is spread throughout the U.S., with his employees all working from their homes.
Not having a central office has allowed Meszaros to leverage talent from rich pools like New York, regardless of location.
“It’s the Starbucks generation of business,” he said, adding that all his employees need are wireless access and a Mac computer to get their work done.
At the same time, he does not consider the firm a small business anymore.
“It’s not really a mom-and-pop organization anymore,” he said.
Meszaros, a St. Mary’s High School graduate, said living in South Amboy has made it very convenient to travel back and forth to New York.
He added that Middlesex County’s bluecollar roots have helped to keep him grounded.
So where does Meszaros see OpenEye in five years or so? Acquisition is certainly a possibility, he said, as he acknowledges that running a business and delivering on client needs can be a tall order. However, he does not see the business going away — in fact, in five years’ time, he thinks the business can double in size.
“This has definitely turned into a longterm career,” he said.
In the meantime, he said his focus is on gaining more traction overseas, namely expanding his firm’s presence in Europe.
“There’s no sign of stopping,” he said.