TAYLOR — An experienced sales, marketing and operations professional has added his talents to the executive ranks at Granite Media Partners Inc., company officials said.
Matt Steketee, 46, started Jan. 8 as vice president of operations, becoming part of a four-member senior-management team under the direction of President and CEO H. Daniel Philhower.
The Georgetown resident will work out of Granite’s headquarters near Austin.
The Vindicator is owned by Granite.
Steketee said he is bringing “real-world experience with sales and marketing processes” to the 46-year-old company, which in the last year has embraced more digital offerings both in sales and content.
Granite’s newest executive said the glut of content on social media and the web — much of it questionable — is driving audiences back to trusted sources of information primarily found in their hometown newspapers and on hyperlocal news websites and related platforms.
For him, that makes joining the Granite team the right move.
“The timing is right for local,” said the 15-year Texas resident, who grew up in Kansas City, Kansas. “We seem to be circling back to local, to reliable sources of information.”
Granite is a Texas-based media and marketing company with nearly 100 employees that owns or manages a dozen community newspapers from East Texas to near Big Bend, has its own printing press, publishes a half-dozen magazines and produces news and sports coverage for the web and social media.
The company continues to grow, which is why it was so important to add Steketee to the management team, Philhower said.
“Matt will be working predominantly with our sales division, but will also help create operational processes and new procedures that position ourselves for sustainable strength and growth in the future,” Philhower said. “I’m excited to add Matt to our team and eager to see how he brings his vast experience in strategic growth to Granite Media Partners.”
The CEO added, “With the addition of Shawn Burrell as vice president of sales and marketing in September and now the addition of Matt as vice president of growth and operations, our executive team is complete and ready to tackle growth over this next year.”
In addition to Burrell, Steketee joins editor Thomas Edwards, the vice president of content, and controller Valeri Stair, vice president of finance.
“GMP is better positioned to grow in every one of our markets,” Philhower said.
Prior to joining Granite, Steketee served as director of growth for Xendoo Bookkeeping and Accounting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Other positions during his career include sales manager/enterprise account executive for Shopgate.com in Austin
and account executive for Volusion.com, also out of Austin.
Early jobs include loan officer and loan manager.
Steketee said he “takes successful companies to the next level.”
His expertise includes being handpicked by company leaders “to facilitate change and overcome ‘seemingly impossible’ mission-critical business challenges, as well as develop a comprehensive knowledge of products, competitors and markets to guide strategies, optimize revenue and surpass sales goals,” Steketee said.
Much of his success he credits to his mentor, Arlin Owsley, a noted Texas executive and consultant.
Steketee said he’s learned a lot of lessons along the way that will aid his efforts to help Granite become a successful 21st-century newsgathering and marketing enterprise.
Though he began “mostly in sales … I started moving up into growth roles, working with marketing and making sure you’re talking to the right people,” Steketee said.
One very important tip?
“Leads are not one-size fits all,” he said.
The father of four and his wife, an Air Force veteran, celebrated their 10-year anniversary not long ago.
According to Philhower, Steketee fits right in with the philosophy that Granite is more than just a newspaper company.
“We are community journalists and community-marketing consultants. We provide quality editorial to our communities and have a dedicated and loyal readership base that reaches folks on all platforms including print, websites, social media, podcasts and direct mail,” Philhower said. “If our customers have a product, service or event to market, our community newspaper brands have everything it takes to to bring advertising customers results.”