Digital Outside The Box


by Luke Thomas.

With the way we’ve been growing, it can be hard to remember what we all do day-to-day, not to mention what everyone likes to do outside of work. In this next expansion of the Strong Showcase, you’ll learn what these three members of the Digital Department do once they leave S3.


Swimming lessons can bring back memories of arm floaties, bubble blowing, and soggy swim diapers. But for Social Media Coordinator Amelia Bennett, it represents an altruistic treat to her weekend. Bennett started teaching swim lessons six years ago at the Shades Valley YMCA. She was never really a swimmer growing up, but her passion for teaching led her to begin offering private lessons to clients ranging from 2-year-olds to triathlon competitors.

Where the true fulfillment comes from, though, is getting to teach children of differing abilities and situations. Bennett revealed in her Showcase that she learned sign language in kindergarten and uses it to help deaf children learn to swim. She also helps kids with Down syndrome and those in the foster care system.

Swimming with Chambers“My favorite student is Chambers,” Bennett said. “Chambers is 3 years old and has Down syndrome. She is fearless! We started swim lessons last summer when she thought she could swim like her big sister.”

Bennett currently teaches on Saturday nights and has slots available for aspiring little swimmers.


Some hobbies lie within the digital realm. That’s the case for Sr. SEO Coordinator Carrie Miller. She attended Magic City Con with her brother and nephew over the Independence Day weekend.

“I’m the baby of four kids, and my brother is closest in age,” Miller said. “There weren’t a lot of girls in the neighborhood, so I ended up playing video and card games with my brother and his friends. I still play them with my husband on occasion.”

This was Miller’s second year attending the event, which features video game expos, a tactile gaming room where you can try the latest board games, and panels and guests from shows like The Walking Dead, Dr. Who, and Star Wars.

However, Miller’s favorite part of Magic City Con is none of the above – it’s the cosplay. Cosplay is a performance art in which participants wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character.

“I haven’t actually dressed up myself,” Miller said. “Surprising, I know, after my very convincing part of Hocus Pocus at Halloween.”


We get lots of perks at Strong, but sunshine is one that’s still hard to come by. Social Media Coordinator Andrew Taylor keeps his tan up with stand-up paddleboarding (SUP).  The first time he tried it was one summer ago in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at Lake Harris. This Fourth of July, he used the long weekend to try out the paddleboard scene in Auburn.

“I love going with a group,” Taylor said. “I enjoy it because it’s fairly simple to master, the board is large enough to bring a cooler out on the water, and it’s a great workout.”

Paddleboarding – the definition of active relaxation – has surged in popularity in recent years. To try it for yourself, check out Oak Mountain State Park for board rentals by the hour. You might just see Taylor there.


We’re a dynamic bunch, so it’s no surprise that our hobbies are as eclectic as our agency. Share yours below, and let us know how you spent the holiday.

40 Is The New Challenge

by Luke Thomas.

Forty may be the new thirty, but at Strong Automotive Merchandising, we wear our 40th birthday badge with pride.

Staying successful for four decades isn’t always easy, and to recognize that, Strong is unveiling a new round of employee challenges. We saw the first installment with the Chubby Bunny Challenge. Account Team Assistant Peyton Chandler took home the gold, proving he could fit more marshmallows in his mouth than anyone at the table. Add that line to your LinkedIn!

The challenges run the gamut from eating contests to fitness tests. And if testing your physical limits isn’t your cup of tea, not to worry, a chalking contest is in the mix for a milder flavor of competition.

beach ballJuly 13 at 2:30 p.m., we’re celebrating summer with the Strong 40 Volley Challenge. Teams of two will fight to the finish for the title of reigning volley champions. For this challenge, you’ll need to be skilled in teamwork and hand-eye coordination. Having long arms might help, too. The goal of the volley challenge is to hit the ball back and forth without letting it touch the ground. In our case, these will be blow-up beach balls. The first team to reach 40 successful volleys wins.

What do they win? You have to be wondering. With this challenge, we’re introducing the newest, coolest, most exclusive token of victory – the Strong 40 Stick. This scepter of superiority will be given to the winning person(s) after every new challenge and will remain with them until a new champion is named.

Practice your returns and sharpen your serves for your chance to be the first owner of the Strong 40 Stick, and put your bragging rights on the books. Stay tuned for all we’ve got planned this summer at SAM, and congrats on 40 fast years.