Born from the tried and true world of print advertising… now a strategic, full-service marketing agency, with offices in Southern Pines, Charlotte, Greensboro and Wilmington. We’re a team of experienced marketers, strategists, creatives, and developers that believe every business can be a success.
Our agency’s name is inspired by the innovation of the Wright Brothers in our beloved Old North State. Their courage, creativity, and ingenuity introduced us to the limitless possibilities of flight. We may not be a flying machine, but we will elevate your brand to new heights.
As a full-service advertising agency, we’re able to tackle everything ourselves; from high-level strategic planning, to all the nitty-gritty elements of execution. With First Flight Agency as your partner, you don’t need a separate digital agency, branding agency, search agency, or traditional marketing agency.
Kit McKinley likes a good challenge – preferably at warp speed. As a former member of the US Ski Team (meaning that yes, she was among best athletes in the nation) she thrives on adrenaline but also knows the importance of accuracy. One slip and you’ve got skis and feet and parts flying all over the place. Her skills have come in mighty handy in her multi-decade career in publishing, as the University of Utah alum earned awards from the Gold Book Association, NC Press Association, Florida Press Association, Association of Alternative Newsmedia and was dubbed MCR Affiliate of the Year. Now as First Flight’s agency director, our Captain K fearlessly leads our team to consistently deliver excellence. Her daughter also loves adventure, as the pair take a road trip every year while Iditarod wannabes Rocky, a husky, and Moose, a German shepherd/malamute mix, hold down the fort.
Customer Success Officer
George Michael once sang, “’Cause I gotta have faith. I gotta have faaaith.” But he didn’t have our Faith. Our Faith (Manning) is so much better. She is a master at creating a team atmosphere that produces excellence. As sales and customer success manager, she works with clients to navigate marketing needs, and delves into the who, what, where, why and how to make solutions work. A Pinehurst gal, and UNC-Chapel Hill communications grad, Faith also has a flair for creating themed cakes – much to the delight of the children (and adults) in her family.
Senior Digital Strategist
Industry veteran and USA/Holland/Ireland transplant, Jeff’s marketing communications work has earned national and international awards. But, do you know what this humble gent says? “Eh, whatever. To me the best award is a satisfied client renewing their trust year after year.”
In his 22 year tenure, he has provided digital strategy consulting to prestigious C-suite teams from clients like Heineken, Nestle, GSK, Rabobank, BNY Mellon, Roche, IBM, Unilever, FrieslandCampina, Audi AG, and countless medium and small businesses and start-ups. He understands how marketing, advertising, sales and seamless UX can work together to change the trajectory of a new or existing business for good; and as such, he leads First Flight’s digital development and technology teams towards our client’s… often very specific tactical or revenue growth objectives.
He is First Flight’s senior digital strategist, specializing in performance marketing, advanced web & mobile technology, AI-driven user experiences, tribal marketing and business strategy. When not winning awards, he dabbles in skydiving and woodworking, and he drools over everything related to helicopters. His home is a crazy orbit of his wife and three kids.
He’s had clients such as Pepsi, American Airlines, FootAction, & American Red Cross. He’s received awards from The One Show for Art & Copy, Communication Arts, National Addy (12 of them), GRAPHIS DESIGN, Print Regional Magazine, and scores more. We could go on, but we have only so much space. His artwork is featured in a marketing textbook. All of this is but a tip of the iceberg of Keith Borshak’s credits from his nearly three decades on the creative side of the advertising biz. Perhaps his creativity comes from the fact that he grew up in the shadow of the Matterhorn (seriously) at Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Whatever it may be, we’re just glad he’s with us. As First Flight’s Creative Director, his goal is to simultaneously raise the creative bar for the agency, and raise the creative sensibilities of our clients while solving their business problems. He and Julie, his bride of more than 30 years, have two great kids and a granddaughter, Isabella.
Frank Daniels, IV
Local and SEO Listings Expert
Ever dabble in glass art? Create beautiful masterpieces with a lava-hot substance which, when cooled, could break? It takes insane amounts of patience and attention to detail, which most people don’t have. Fortunately, Frank Daniels does. This trained glass artist is also First Flight’s listings expert, another job that requires insane patience and detail. He manages with crazy accuracy the key logistics of search engine optimization, listings management and client reporting. The Raleigh native now calls Southern Pines home with his wife, son Frank V, Buddy the pit bull and a family of deer that sublets his backyard. When you meet him, just tolerate his bad jokes. If we have to put up with them, so do you.
Not many people can cross the divide between being a free-wheeling, idea-flying creative and a hard-nosed, get-‘er-done project manager. But Grace Crawford does it wonderfully and—wait for it—gracefully. With more than 10 years in advertising, many of those with big agencies in New York, Grace is a master at fashioning ideas into solutions that work—so much so that she is a certified Scrum Master. The fine arts grad from Loyola University in Maryland loves to create art, thrift shop and hang with her husband, toddler, and pups Hendrix and Page.
Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®)
You may travel internationally with Mikaela Kantorowski, but when it’s time to get your passport stamped you’ll want to clear the runway. She is on a mission to travel the world and collect a book-full of exotic, far-flung badges, with 15 to her credit so far. She applies the same dogged dedication to her work as First Flight’s Digital Strategist. Armed with a degree in journalism and mass communications from the University of South Carolina, the Pinehurst native helps clients navigate to their dream destinations through strategic reputation management via her specialties; public relations and social media. Outside the office, and the airplane, you can find Mikaela and her horse Coco on a journey along a trail or to a competition.
Digital Account Manager
Enter a pogo stick contest with Courtney Hickson. One that doesn’t require the use of hands. Know what’ll happen? You’ll lose. Big time. Courtney is a supreme master at not only this life-enriching skill, but also at things that actually matter like digital marketing, mass media and social media. The native Detroiter and University of Michigan communications grad gets her kicks from the creative, ever-changing world of advertising and marketing, and as First Flight’s Account Manager, expertly guides her clients to solutions that help them fly high. While not on the pogo stick or at work, husband Reed and pups Harley and Maggie May keep her hopping.
Video Production Manager
Brandi has been in the biz for 10 years, and what a blazing-hot, award-winning decade she’s had. Her career began at one of the top photography programs on the East Coast (Randolph Community College) and has grown into covering American icons such as Tom Wolfe and Ray Lambert. Whether it’s a magazine cover or photography spread, Brandi’s work has been published in numerous magazines and newspapers across the state. Brandi has a heart for people and their stories. She is dedicated to discovering and sharing the authentic experiences and personalities of her community. She believes authenticity is the key to relatable media. From Alaska to Pakistan, Brandi can be found traveling, climbing boulders, studying American Sign Language, and avoiding texts on her flip-phone.
Tracy Baxley’s undergrad degree is in sociology, so that means she knows human social activity, relationships, & social structures. Brainy stuff like that. She also knows what it takes to make clients’ goals come to fruition. That’s why she is First Flight’s client success advocate. Tracy takes the “socio” of sociology to make sure everyone is a happy camper, and the “ology” to scientifically research EVERYTHING for clients. Bring on the DIY projects, as she loves all arts, crafts, and the like. She and husband Jaymie are the human parents of five-year-old Aussie Kelpie mix Banjolina (who does bear a striking resemblance to Angelina Jolie, in case you were wondering).
Looking for the very best event in town? Mollie Calhoun can hook you up – most likely because she planned it herself. The Clemson grad has planned and hosted national conferences, political fundraisers, black-tie galas, wine walks, parades, wedding receptions, a decorator show house, and so much more. With a degree in financial management and an eye for creativity, Mollie plans events to showcase clients’ products, services, or missions to raise awareness and visibility, increase market exposure, and improve public relations while staying right on budget. The Master Gardener has two wonderful sons, an adorable English Lab, and a leopard gecko.
MinneSNOWta. It takes a hearty soul to endure those Minnesota winters, as Mike Arnebeck can attest. Fortunately for First Flight, he migrated south and has been with the company for 10 years, currently as First Flight’s lead designer. You name it and he can design it. As Mike is also our resident funny guy, he claims his education is a “BS in BS”, but we know better. He’s whip-smart, with not just one, but two degrees in multimedia. He’s also an Army veteran with a wife still serving in the Army, four children, two dogs and two cats.
Full-Stack Web Software Engineer
So, not to brag or anything, but an international celebrity is on the First Flight team. He’s on the down-low, living a normal life, so please keep it to yourself. Our own Matt Laws is in the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles, which list all the singles and albums featured in the Top 75 pop charts in the United Kingdom. The musician morphed into an information technology guru, which is boss for First Flight. He’s an absolute genius at full stack web development, specializing in WordPress, PHP and jQuery. He says the best part of his job is “finding innovative solutions that feel seamless for the client.” A former resident of the UK and Ireland, with training from Barnstaple College, Matt digs carpentry and cats.