The Talented Mr. Cantena
In time, Catena felt as though he'd outgrown his position with Hill/Holliday, and he moved on to Adler Peebles. "It was a busy place, and they were working with clients like Christian Dior and exclusive boutiques," he recalls. "These folks were doing some interesting things back then, like producing scented strips. I was there for three years when Hill/Holliday called. They wanted me back, and I think that was one of the best calls I've ever gotten. It was the ultimate compliment, that they wanted me back. And when I accepted, it was like coming home again."
Catena went home in 1997 and was appointed as Hill/Holliday's vice president/director of creative services. This spring, he was promoted to senior vice president/ director of creative services, but a more apt title might be jack of all trades. "Essentially, I make sure that the work continues to flow," Catena explains. And his approach is very hands on. Catena refers to himself a "trench guy."
"I like to keep my finger on the pulse of what's going on, so that about 70 percent of my time is devoted to managing our operations, but the balance of my time is spent on actual production work," he explains.
"I also have a lot of direct contact with our suppliers. They are my life line, in a way. I depend on them to educate me about new technologies, and I educate them about the demands the agencies face. Anytime I find myself in the office too much, I'll pop over to one of our supplier's offices to address production problems we may be facing and to solve the problems as a team."
A circle of friends
"I've known Carmine for almost 15 years," notes Frank Vergone, vice president, agency services, Applied Graphics Technologies, New York City. "I was always impressed with his willingness to listen and learn. He never took a know-it-all approach. He'd listen to what others recommended or proposed, and he'd act on it."