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Entrepreneur learns value of teamwork at Illinois State

Jim Doyle (center) at a NASCAR event with CEO and President of S.T.A.R. Motorsports Sean Holley (right) and President of Jump, Inc. Jon Tiede (left).

The value of teamwork is at the core of Jim Doyle’s professional life, and he says Illinois State University helped him understand that concept.

The founder and CEO of Retail Sports Marketing (RSM) said he remembers participating as a team member with other students and faculty in the American Marketing Association campus chapter, creating top-notch programs that were competitive with programs from major universities across the U.S.  He also worked as a team, albeit in the presidential leadership position, to develop Business Week in the College of Business.

“Seeing where Illinois State’s Business Week is today and knowing what it took to get faculty and student support in the first few years—well, it really means a lot,” Doyle said.  “Those two learning processes, AMA competitions and Business Week, where faculty gave lots of coaching and support to students is very similar to the achievements of RSM that are done by 25 of us working together and exceeding the expectations of our clients.”

Doyle received his bachelor’s degree in Marketing in 1981 and received an MBA in Finance from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1982.  At Illinois State, he started as a general business major, but crossed the path of Marketing professor Rick Bibb, who strongly encouraged him to move into marketing.  “I met a number of students in the marketing field and really enjoyed the camaraderie and teamwork,” Doyle said. “I’m glad I changed majors to marketing!”  In addition to AMA, Doyle participated in the Honors Program at Illinois State.

After starting his marketing career in brand management at Oscar Mayer Foods and DowBrands, Doyle moved to the agency side with Trone Advertising.  He founded RSM in 1997 with one client, Food Lion. RSM is an integrated consumer/retail promotion agency focusing on creating strategic sports and lifestyle marketing assets. Since 1997,, RSM has expanded to 15 major clients, including NASCAR, NAPA, Wrangler, Stanley Tools, Heinz, Energizer and Coca-Cola, among others, with the key niche of creating programs that stand out in the world of retail.

Doyle is proud that RSM’s teamwork resulted in the 2001 Motorsports Promotion of the Year, the NASCAR 500 at K-Mart and the recent selection as agency in the activation of the 50th anniversary in 2008 of the Daytona 500.  RSM has served as the NASCAR Retail Agency of Record since 1999, developing and managing major NASCAR-themed programs at key American retailers.  In 2006, RSM will have 43 NASCAR programs with the theme of NASCAR Fan Days at Wal-Mart.  RSM has offices in Charlotte, N.C. and in Bentonville, Ark.

In his spare time, Doyle follows the solitary pursuits of running and working out. As further examples of the value of teamwork, he supports the Mecklenburg Council of the Boy Scouts of America, heads up a Christmas Day church kitchen which feeds over 3,000 each Christmas, and this weekend married Susan, a pharmaceutical representative for Ortho Biotech, a division of Johnson & Johnson.

Doyle chose to attend Illinois State due to family traditions as each of his three older siblings attended Illinois State, after being raised in Jacksonville, Ill.  Brother John Doyle received his bachelor’s degree in Management and Quantitative Methods (MQM) in 1972, sister Barbara received her bachelor’s degree in Special Education in 1974 and sister Rose Marie received her bachelor’s degree in MQM in 1978.  Jim received a House of Representative’s state scholarship for his education.

While Doyle has not been back to campus lately, he meets with other alumni in the Charlotte area.  He has met President Al Bowman at their meetings and keeps up with Illinois State through newsletters and articles.

Doyle, who has maintained friendships formed at Illinois State, continues his University affiliation with monetary investments in the Marketing Department, College of Business and the Krug Student Leadership Award.  “Illinois State University got me on the right track and, hopefully, what I give back will help someone else who needs the support and coaching.”

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