My Journey to ECS: Tim Kaney

This blog was penned by one of our new Marketing Associates, Tim Kaney.

A Catalyst for Change

Do you know what you will do if one of your parents unexpectedly passes away? We all know that people die and that it is never easy to go through the death of a relative, especially when they are your mom or dad. Nothing in school, early childhood, or college prepares you for the sudden expiration of one of your parental units.

No one tells you what your first steps are, no one shows you how to deal with it, no one tells you how to feel. That is unless of course they have gone through it and offer it up out of nowhere to you as a random topic of conversation or unsolicited advice. In hindsight, I would have gladly taken a course and paid for it with my own money if necessary.

In February of 2021, I got the call early one Monday morning from the police stating they had found my father dead in his home. He lived alone in the home where he grew up. He worked a lot with the Amish, and one day he did not show up and was not answering calls. They came by and tried to see if he was home. Where there was no answer the police were called. They entered the home and found him slumped against the door in his bedroom. He had succumbed to a cardiovascular episode.

Fast forward to July and August of 2021. My wife and I had spent every weekend since my father’s passing driving an hour to his home – at first gathering documents, later cleaning out his home, garage, and other belongings, holding Estate Sales, and many other tasks that come along with the business of being the Personal Representative on an Estate. It fell to me to take on the task of becoming the Personal Representative of the Estate (I was the only living offspring in the state).

At the time I was working as a Marketing Director, and “doing it all” was beginning to wear on me heavily. I needed to prioritize my family’s needs, and leave a job I genuinely enjoyed. It was extremely hard telling my boss my decision. If I had not taken this drastic measure, I still to this day would be cleaning out the estate. Once I stepped away from my job, I was able to focus on cleaning and organizing, and I got the house into a position so it could go on the market.

A Lesson in Job Hunting

Did you know it is quite a widespread practice for companies to ‘GHOST’ otherwise perfectly qualified job candidates and applicants? I found this out the hard way as I was applying to work in remote marketing roles, digital artist roles, and other jobs for which I knew I was qualified. I was appalled by how many organizations either never responded or ghosted me completely.  Sometimes, the company indicated a decision was made to move forward with an internal candidate.

And what was I looking for in a new role? An ability to apply an integrative approach to marketing (an approach I truly appreciate). I looked for an opportunity where I would spend my time helping organizations develop modern, efficient, and effective marketing, branding, and communication programs – programs that were translatable and would help entities that were reeling from the destructive effects of the pandemic. It was hard to stomach the long slow haul to the here and now and to find the right position. But I persevered.

The ‘Here and Now’

I have always been a ‘let us see what this might bring’ sort of person – an experimenter. Some might call it a propensity for taking risks. What you might not know about me at this point is that I am and always will be an artistic, creative person. Since entering college, I worked hard to pay my way.

During that time, I began doing freelance and/or commissioned art. Through that endeavor, I have met and worked with several entrepreneurial people and have had the opportunity to work with an international team as an Art Director for an indie video game development team and provided them with some concept artwork. I have gotten used to keeping my ears and eyes open to opportunities like those.

More recently, I was able to connect with an independent author, nurse, and healthcare professional that is developing children’s books on human health and science. Since joining that venture, I have illustrated three books so far and am starting on my fourth.

Around this time began having initial conversations with the good folks at ECS. Fast forward to now and I am one of several Associates on the Empirical Consulting Solutions roster with a Marketing focus. I would say my decision to accept an offer to join their team reflects my desire to stay remote, to have a flexible work schedule to be there for my kids when they get home from school, and to weave in other items as well.

My conversations with the Empirical team were truly refreshing. Their leadership and HR team convinced me I had found my new home. Their culture and model were a match for my new interests, goals, and objectives.

Who is ‘Tim Kaney,’ Really?

Mystery and intrigue have always been appealing to me. The thought of ‘what if’ is a tenet of my modus operandi. My DNA is encoded with this passion. If there is a strange occurrence within my world, I am on it like moths to the flame. One of the things I love about marketing is I oftentimes encounter anomalies – whether it be the behavior of site users or customers, technologies misfiring, software bugs, or other items. To that end, I have developed an innate ability to weed out confounding problems in many instances by taking leaps to guess x was impacting y when there would never be any expectation for that to happen. It is one of my favorite things to do – especially when I can fix it as well. Some of my success has come from this ability.

Work ethics and discipline were instilled at an early age. These genes were passed to me (I believe from my mother and father). They are responsible also for my curiosity about life, and my desire to always learn and keep growing. I left roles where I was stagnating – I am not willing to sit idle and not develop further as I do not feel it benefits anyone. If I can, I typically enroll in courses online via Coursera, Udemy, or others to help stave off these effects. I have done many marketing and business courses like this. Additionally, I was able to complete a certificate course on Customer Engagement with the University of Wisconsin-Parkside online business school very recently giving me some greater insight into ways companies can innovate along the customer journey to stay competitive.

Today I am a nerd, marketer, communicator, educator, designer, artist, father, son, brother, husband, pet dad, friend, and all-around jack of all trades. I would do anything for my kids (3 littles, aged 4, 7, and 11 at the time of this writing). Hiking, camping, and playing outdoors in whatever way have always been an integral part of my life. I coached my son’s soccer team – twice. I am the Assistant State Director of MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) WI. I drove a car in a demolition derby.

Video games and art are my outlets. I create and sell RPG (role playing game) content online. I am a published poet. I suffer from anxiety. I try to look for the best in most situations, even the improbable. I know that the world still holds wonderful mysteries waiting to be solved. I love Big Trouble in Little China and Bacardi Oak-heart with RC. Being left-handed has been a tapestry of episodes troubleshooting a world not meant for me. I am neither generic nor super-luxe.

I am Tim Kaney. Here I am.

Tim would love to talk with you about marketing … or about Wisconsin, or life in the Midwest, design, UFOs, or a wide variety of topics! Reach out to him on LinkedIn or send him an email (