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Local marketing icon, agency owner Linda Hill passes the torch after 35 years

December 21, 2022, 11:44 am
Returning Vail Valley resident, Megan Talbott, left, has purchased Hill Aevium from Linda Hill, right. After 25 years of marketing agency ownership and more than 35 years in the industry, Hill, president of the Edwards-based marketing firm, has announced her retirement.

Hill Aevium on Tuesday issued the following press release on the retirement of Linda Hill:

EDWARDS, Colo. – Dec. 20, 2022 – After 25 years of marketing agency ownership and more than 35 years in the industry, Linda Hill, president of Edwards-based Hill Aevium, has announced her retirement. Hill has sold her firm to returning Vail Valley resident, Megan Talbott.

Hill is well known for her marketing acumen, entrepreneurial leadership and passion for community service. She will move into a president-emeritus position and help transition alongside Talbott the integrated marketing firm that focuses on branding, marketing, advertising and website development through the spring of 2023. 

“I am absolutely thrilled to reintroduce Megan to the Vail Valley and to our clients,” says Hill. “She is looking forward to carrying on what I was able to start. Her talents will be a tremendous asset to the agency and our community.” 

The offices will remain in Edwards with a name change to The Blackbird Agency. Valued clients include Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, Knapp Ranch, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens and Denver Regional Council of Governments.

“It’s rare that clients find a marketing and advertising agency they want to work with for 24 years,” says Kjell Mitchell, President and CEO, Glenwood Hot Springs Resort. “That is what we found in Hill Aevium. Linda and I have worked together for that long and she and her team have helped guide the marketing, advertising and branding efforts of our Resort over the many years. We look forward to continuing this relationship with the team, Megan and The Blackbird Agency.” 

According to the Advertising Association of America, the non-profit organization that supports the advertising industry, there are 14,000 ad agencies across the continent yet less than 1 percent are owned by women. 

The fact that Hill was able to pass the ownership torch to another female leader is icing on the cake. 

“While it wasn’t a driving factor, I am so pleased to be able to turn over the reins to Megan who will bring her vast experience and confidence to sustain and grow the agency with all staff staying in place,” says Hill.

For her part, Talbott, who early in her career relocated from New York City to the Vail Valley in the ’90s to take a position with the technology startup, Eagle River Interactive, says she is proud to carry the Hill Aevium torch: “Linda’s ability to build really amazing, long-term relationships both professionally and personally is also my philosophy on how to work with clients. 

“I absolutely love this diverse portfolio of clients and I am proud to have the opportunity to grow the business alongside an amazing staff and with clients who are doing good things for the world – my experience and skill set match up so well.”

About Talbott

  • Graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies.
  • During college, interned at Grey Advertising in San Francisco, working on the Bank of America account, that led to a position in Account Management at Grey Advertising in New York City. Continued broadening her experience and growing her career in advertising at several New York agencies.
  • This eventually led to a role at the technology startup, Eagle River Interactive, headquartered in the Vail Valley. Eventually purchased a house in Minturn and started a family in the Vail Valley.
  • Eagle River Interactive grew quickly and became Agency.com and the headquarters were relocated to New York City, as part of the Omnicom network. The Talbott family and their careers relocated to the Midwest with Megan working for a Dallas-based agency that is part of the Publicis network, and her husband was working for architecture firms in Chicago and St. Louis. 
  • Megan’s experience across industries and categories is quite diverse, with time spent on packaged goods brands such as Kool-Aid and Hostess Twinkies, luxury goods brands like Godiva Chocolate and Remy Martin Cognac, financial services brands like USAA Bank and Capital One, as well as technology, retail and travel clients, such as CBS, Marriott and Silversea Cruises.
  • “I took a short break from New York City early in my career after about six years there,” explains Talbott. “I moved to Breckenridge and just fell in love with living in a ski town. I spent two years in Breck working retail on Main Street and scraping by with nine roommates in a big house in town. I learned a lot about selling, about delivering a customer experience, and about myself and what I wanted to do. When I returned to New York and the agency life, I set a goal to get back to the mountains with a ‘real job.’ Luckily, through mutual colleagues and referrals, I was recruited to help start up Eagle River Interactive located in Avon and Beaver Creek. We grew quickly and eventually became Agency.com. It was an amazing time for everyone that worked there. I’ve been trying to recreate that experience, that team, that creative energy, ever since.” 
  • “Linda is an incredible marketer and entrepreneurial thinker,” adds Talbott. “I have so much respect for everything she has done and the relationships she built with our clients, but also with everyone in the community and across Colorado. She is a genius at making connections and turning acquaintances into partners. She’s just a really amazing person and I hope to honor what she has built and continue her legacy.”

About Hill

  • Born and raised in Hollywood, Calif., Hill moved to the Vail Valley in late 1976 after graduating from San Diego State University. “My first intention was to move to the Aspen/Snowmass area to work with children at the Aspen Camp of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing founded by Reed Harris and which John Denver had philanthropically adopted in 1974. Thinking I could apply my Recreation and Communications degree that specialized in working with special needs kids, I landed a job and then realized I would not be able to make a living so had to put that goal on hold. A couple friends had moved to Vail, so I called them up and the rest is history.”
  • General Manager of Vail Guides from 1977 to 1982, running jeep tours and rafting trips for visitors to Vail. The company, then owned by Jim Rea, grew to become the first scheduled transportation service from Denver to Vail (precursor to what is now Epic Mountain Express) while maintaining the summer business of Jeep tours and rafting.  
  • Moved on in 1982 to become a national sales manager at the then Vail Resort Association with Paula Palmateer as CEO and Frank Johnson as VP Marketing. 
  • Was hired as an account executive in 1984 at Tashiro Marketing & Advertising, Inc. run by Harvey Tashiro. The agency focused on the hospitality industry, and a diversification effort began to include destination marketing organizations (CVB’s, Chambers, etc). Funding for destination marketing efforts was beginning as local lodging taxes were approved for marketing in various Colorado communities; the State of Colorado legislature approved a Colorado Tourism Tax in 1982. 
  • The agency grew and Hill bought the business from Tashiro in 1997, renaming the agency to Hill & Company. Hill quickly launched a second round of diversification that expanded into healthcare, banking, technology and the service sectors while keeping the agency’s core marketing and branding business in hospitality and tourism. 
  • In 2009, Hill bought Aevium Interactive, a website design and development company in Denver. This expanded the footprint with a second office in Denver. Renamed to Hill Aevium and acquired a number of clients that were guided through the recession while expanding the agency’s interactive development capabilities to complement the marketing and branding services already in place.
  • Client list has extended throughout the Rocky Mountain region over the years including Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico and Utah and Colorado. In addition to current clients, Hill is also proud of earlier clients, including:
    • Sage Hospitality
    • Richfield Hospitality
    • Stonebridge Companies
    • Jackson Hole
    • Santa Fe CVB
    • Taos CVB 
    • Fechin Inn + other hotels in Taos
    • Almost every community or DMO in Colorado (Durango, Pagosa Springs, Montrose, Grand Junction, Telluride, Glenwood Springs, Snowmass, Aspen Chamber, Aspen Institute, Breckenridge, Frisco, Vail, Golden, Winter Park, Grand County, Gunnison/Crested Butte, Moffat County, Steamboat Springs, etc. )
    • Eagle County Government
    • Garfield County
    • Mesa County
  • “I have always thrived on building marketing efforts and research-based strategies with the ultimate goal of improving a client’s bottom line,” says Hill. “I have been fortunate to have had some great mentors and to always have a great team in place. The strong client relationships we have been able to forge contributed to our growth through the years. I don’t pretend to know everything and have always been able to rely on our strong creative and account management talent to create award winning work and deliver strong results for our clients.”
  • “After such a great ride, I began looking for my next journey a few years ago and am thrilled to have been able to sell Hill Aevium to Megan Talbott. In her hands and with her vast experience the agency will thrive and grow beyond where it is today.”
  • “I have been blessed to carve a life in the Vail Valley, meeting my husband and raising two children here while enjoying the outdoor recreation at our doorstep. Every day has been an adventure and I am thankful to the people who I have been able to meet and know along the way.”

What’s next for Linda Hill? 

“Does anyone ever really retire?” asks Hill. “I’m very confident my free time will be devoted to continuing to work with our youth in the Valley, volunteering with Rotary and other non-profits, enjoying a few more ski days than I have been able to in the past, some travel and training for a Kilimanjaro trip in 2023 with my family.”

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