A military helicopter pilot, a scientist, and an illustrator walk into a bar…

Alpha/Echo Agency is the brainchild of three childhood friends who have pooled their very diverse work histories and backgrounds to create an agency that turns clients into rockstars and every member of the team into thriving producers of awesome. Their pooled experience in a myriad of diverse sectors and disciplines over 20+ year careers means AEA is equally at home helping you launch your startup as it is growing your large-scale brand. Their unreasonable coffee consumption means that you get results, fast. Real fast

We help companies grow, launch and hatch new kinds of awesome. Call us for brand development, digital empire building, marketing domination, and print piece production. But, fair warning: Don’t be surprised if we sneak in an Oxford comma on you.

Marc Acton

CEO, Content Guru

Marc Acton was born at a very young age in a moderately old town in Florida. Some other stuff happened, and then he founded Alpha/Echo Agency with two of the best dang (and most talented) friends a guy could ask for. He steers agency and client strategy for AEA, overseeing all creative projects, and building and managing all project teams. He’s a fan of the Oxford comma, saying more with less, and plays a decent attacking midfielder for his men’s league championship winning soccer team. He also flies helicopters for the Army National Guard, making Alpha/Echo a veteran-owned company.

Eric Elmquist, PhD

Director of New Business, Bearded Wonder

Eric Elmquist was born smart and has been riding that pony ever since. After attending USF then getting his doctorate at Vanderbilt, he did a stretch at MIT, moved back to Nashville, married a model, and became a serial entrepreneur. Seriously, he has his fingers in more pies than the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Eric applies his wide-ranging business acumen to AEA by creating new business opportunities and directing company strategy. He deftly handles his role while juggling (not literally) 4 kids, overseeing multiple startups, and championing Marc and Mark’s big ideas.

Mark Gilchrist

Art Director, Unicorn Wrangler

Shortly after his birth, Mark Gilchrist arrived in the same moderately small town shortly after Marc Acton. The youngest of 4, Mark received a better-than-average amount of praise for his refrigerator art, so, naturally, he turned it into a career. Mark directs the visual and design language of projects at AEA, shepherds web development, and spearheads witty repartee at meetings. His first creative love is illustration, and he has a particularly pedantic penchant for alliteration and high falutin words like “falutin.” For him, working with childhood friends who just happen to be ridiculously smart and gifted is a dream come true.

Torrey Swan

Marketing Coordinator, Team Mom/Orange Slices

Torrey was born in the far off land of Los Angeles, California where she was imprinted with a love of the outdoors and finer things. She found herself in Nashville at age 11 (literally and figuratively) and hasn’t left since. She ended up marrying a US Army Blackhawk pilot (who is not Marc Acton). For AEA she’s not just a stellar marketing coordinator, but also is one of our resident social experts and an occasional creator of killer content. Her hobbies include cooking, driving her three kids to birthday parties, and eating Mexican food as muy often as possible.

Michael Maerlender

Editorial Assistant, Resident a Cappella Expert

Michael Maerlender was both born and welcomed to the Alpha/Echo team surprisingly recently. Originally from the almost-Canadian state of New Hampshire, Michael is an alumnus of Vanderbilt University, where he double-majored in theatre and creative writing. He worked as a creative intern under Marc last summer and somehow lived to tell the tale. Now, he can be found using his writing experience to assist on editorial-based projects, and his theatre experience to feign humility, even when he knows he’s killing it. Talk to him about music, graphic design, or celebrity conspiracy theories.