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Traction #85: Are Wide-Open Workspaces a Good Idea?

By: Richard Coad [MDB Chief Creative Officer]

Some seventy percent of all offices now have an open floor plan. The idea of an open floor plan was originally conceived by a team from Hamburg, Germany, in the 1950's. It was supposed to facilitate communication and the flow of work. But a growing body of research shows that the open office may well undermine the very things it was designed to achieve.

In June of 1997, an oil and gas company in western Canada asked psychologists from the University of Calgary to monitor workers as they transitioned from a traditional work environment to an open floor plan. The psychologists assessed the following factors: employee satisfaction with surroundings, stress level, job performance, and interpersonal relationships. They took measurements at four weeks after the transition and then again at six months. Their conclusions were not optimistic. Apparently, employees suffered according to every measure. The new space was disruptive, stressful, cumbersome, and, instead of feeling closer, coworkers felt distant, dissatisfied and resentful. Of course, productivity fell.

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Bryson Welch Joins MDB as Senior Media Buyer/Planner

MDB Communications [Press Release]

Washington, DC (April 4, 2014) -

Bryson Welch has joined MDB Communications as a Senior Media Planner/Buyer.

Working closely with the Director of Media Strategy, Bryson will select, negotiate, and purchase appropriate media to best reach the target audiences for MDB clients such as Fannie Mae, the D.C. Lottery, the International Spy Museum and Destination DC.

Bryson brings an extensive background in media planning to MDB. Previously a Media Manager/Contact Strategist for BCF Communication Consultants, Bryson worked with a number of accounts in TV, radio, print, out of home, and digital media planning/buying. Prior to BCF, Bryson was a Senior Negotiator in Local Broadcast Investment at Omnicom Media Group in Atlanta where he teamed with his colleagues at OMD, PHD, DDB, Prometheus, Merkley & Partners, Zimmerman, and TBWA/CHIAT/DAY for media buying on their respective client accounts.

“We are thrilled to have Bryson on board. He will bring valuable insight and expertise to MDB and our clients,” said Seth Niman, Director of Media Strategy at MDB Communications.

Bryson has worked across a number of industries with an incredibly diverse set of clients including: Nissan, Infiniti, Mercedes, Time Warner, State Farm, Lowes, Visa, Virginia Tourism, Georgia Lottery, Exxon-Mobile, JC Penny’s and SeaWorld/Busch Gardens.

A graduate of West Virginia University, Bryson is originally from Atlanta, Georgia.


Traction #84: Why You Need A Vacation

By: Richard Coad [MDB Chief Creative Officer]

The workforce of the United States has always been known for its "nose to the grindstone" approach.  We have always been ranked as one of the most competitive countries in the world.  However, while U.S. workers average longer hours than those in other countries, most receive only ten days vacation each year.  By comparison, European countries offer more than 30 vacation days a year and shorter hours. 

The logical conclusion would be to say U.S. productivity far exceeds that of our European friends.

On the contrary, despite longer vacations and shorter hours, some European countries are more productive than the U.S.  Countries like Belgium and the Netherlands offer employees between 28 and 30 vacation days a year and they are 2% more productive than U.S. workers. 

One could argue that more vacation time has a positive effect on productivity.  Does that mean less vacation has a negative effect?  

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MDB Adds Steve Stern as EVP

MDB Communications [Press Release]

Washington, DC (March 18, 2014) -

MDB Communications named Steve Stern its executive vice president. MDB reports that Stern brings "decades of national and regional agency experience from his time at Bozell and LM&O; a keen focus and understanding of market research from his leadership at WBA Research; and a clear passion for the “client perspective” from his client-side experience at McGladrey and MCI Communications.

"Additionally, his consumer category experience in the hospitality, retail and finance industries, complemented with his digital leadership and top-level government contracting knowledge will be essential to providing top-tier client service."

“We look forward to Steve’s leadership to help guide our team and respective client brands to capitalize upon the opportunities created by today’s rapidly transforming business and media environment, and the fast-growing digital sector” said Cary Hatch, CEO of MDB.

Stern has worked for a range of national and international consumer, association, and financial brands including: National Guard, Verizon Federal, AARP, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, MCI - Friends & Family, Coldwell Banker, American Heart Association, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, U.S. Public Health Service and Virginia Railway Express.