GRand Solutions Continues Growth With New Staff

GRand Solutions is responding to continued growth in all areas of its business in 2014 by adding Marissa Johnson and Chris Cross to its staff, enhancing and expanding the lineup of services provided to clients by the Speedway, Ind.-based marketing, events and communications company.

Johnson will work with GRand's rapidly growing client lineup in International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) sports car racing and also assist with GRand's corporate communications and brand journalism initiatives.

Cross will increase GRand's capabilities in video production and editing, and digital media for all clients and also assist with the company's INDYCAR clients.

"Marissa and Chris bring unique, polished skill sets to GRand," GRand co-founder Ruthie Forbes said. "They will elevate our available services, especially in editorial content, video production and the mobile app space, and keep us on the cutting edge of communications strategies and programs as we develop innovative and cost-effective solutions for our clients."

GRand's staff has nearly doubled, to eight employees, in the first two months of 2014 with the addition of Johnson, Cross and veteran motorsports public relations executive Paul Kelly, who joined the company in late January.

The company has enjoyed three consecutive years of 200 percent growth and has attracted more than 50 clients from three continents since opening in 2011, including sanctioning bodies, event promoters, teams and drivers. GRand also managed five large-scale events in 2013, with an estimated combined attendance of 575,000 spectators, and the company's digital media department has expanded to create unique brand platforms through Web and mobile app solutions.

"We've been very fortunate to experience rapid growth in our first three years of operations," GRand co-founder Gene Cottingham said. "Even so, we remain intently focused on delivering a high level of customer service and exceeding our clients' expectations. Marissa and Chris represent a continuation of our commitment to hiring the best and brightest people the industry has to offer."

Johnson joins GRand after serving as an intern with the company in summer 2013, working with INDYCAR clients Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing. She graduated cum laude in May 2013 with a bachelor's degree in journalism from Butler University in Indianapolis, where she also earned many honors and awards in sports journalism and the prestigious designation as a Lilly Scholar.

At Butler, Johnson worked in the sports information department and served as sports editor of The Collegian, the campus newspaper. Johnson also served as a media relations intern for the Indiana Fever of the WNBA and has recent experience in sports and business administration.

"After working with GRand last summer, I couldn't be more excited to be back with the team," Johnson said. "I love the innovation, creativity and client-first mentality that everyone at GRand embraces. I match their knowledge and experience with my enthusiasm and unwillingness to say something can't be done. I can't wait to jump in and help bring our clients' stories and ideas to life."

Cross comes to GRand after serving as manager of digital media for IndyCar Series championship-winning team Panther Racing and its subsidiary Panther Graphics. He managed all digital media for the team, including video production, editing and shooting, audio editing and voiceovers, photography, graphic design, digital graphics and animation. His productions included commercials, race recaps, video "webisode" series and promotional videos.

Cross attended Troy University at Montgomery in Montgomery, Ala.

"I am looking forward to helping GRand expand its current portfolio of services by adding video services to the existing lineup," Cross said. "With forward-trending social media and brand journalism, video production is becoming essential for those who want their message to stand out and have greater impact within all of today's varied media and marketing platforms. I look forward to using my skills to distinguish and elevate GRand's clients, pushing their brand to the forefront."

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