A Brief Journey Of Growth And Consistency: Lynn Alumnus Brings Back Years Of Experience

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By Ashlan Kelly

Staff Writer

At the youthful age of 27, Kevin Sides acts as the Chief Marketing Officer of ShipMonk, a growing fulfillment center located in Deerfield Beach.

Sides grew up in Lake Mary, a small town located in the suburbs of Orlando. His journey to South Florida was triggered when he accepted a collegiate baseball scholarship from Northwood University in West Palm Beach. In 2012, Sides attained his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus in marketing.

Following graduation, Sides began interning for an advertising agency in Delray Beach called Damn Good Agency. Throughout the duration of his internship, he helped the company grow digitally, improved their social media presence and aided in their transition from traditional to digital advertising.

In the process, Sides was hired as a full-time employee. He worked for two-and-a-half years before going back to school to acquire his MBA from Lynn, which he attained in 2015.

“When I was pursuing my master’s I was also working, which really benefited me because I was able to actively apply the things that I was learning while I was working—I was in the real world already,” said Sides.

After four years of hard work, this Fighting Knight went from intern to general manager of Damn Good.

Shortly after, Sides noticed a posting ShipMonk had on LinkedIn regarding the CMO job position. After having a conversation with the CEO of the company, he came to find out that the position had already been filled. A few months later, the CEO ended up reaching back out to Sides, asking if he was still interested in the opportunity, and the rest is history.

There are many responsibilities that come with being a CMO. Sides’ tasks go much further than merely handling the marketing for ShipMonk.

“A lot of my time is spent overseeing our roadmap and experiments,” said Sides. “What problems are we having, and what can we implement to help our team? From there, I monitor the results of our experiments and optimize our efforts. A lot of coordination across each department goes into each initiative, so I spend time working with sales and support to see how things are going and where we can improve.”

ShipMonk was founded in 2014 by CEO Jan Bednar. As of right now, ShipMonk has two locations: Deerfield and L.A., but they have hopes of going multi-national soon.

The company is a fulfillment center, which is a type of third-party provider that receives, holds and transports consumer products in the course of business but do not take title to the products. In short, ShipMonk stores inventory and ships orders.

Since the start of the company’s journey, ShipMonk has been growing at a rapid pace. The first two warehouses filled up completely, forcing the company to expand and relocate to different locations. Currently, the newest location in Deerfield is almost filled up, too. The company averages shipping over 500,000 items per month.

ShipMonk implements cutting edge technology in order to automate their process as much as possible, leading to a decrease in errors and costs while increasing productivity. Soon, the company will be launching software. ShipMonk will be offering the same software that they use to run their business, to other business owners, at no cost.

Once individuals become customers with ShipMonk, they have the opportunity to earn milestones. For instance, there is a Zen garden at the entrance of ShipMonk. If customers ship 1,000 packages, they can get their own bamboo plant, planted in the Zen garden with their company name on it.

The symbolism of bamboo and gardens represents prosperity and luck, so the more bamboo there is in a garden, the stronger it is. The company uses the Zen garden to represent the community of businesses.

Sides said that the most challenging part of his job is, “Making sure we are keeping true to our brand and values as we grow.”

“Finding amazing, energetic, passionate people with the same values that we have can be difficult at times, but also very fun and rewarding at the same time.”

If individuals are interested in hearing more about Sides’ path to success, he will be speaking at the International Business and Entrepreneurship Symposium tomorrow, Nov. 15. This event is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. and will be held in both the International Business Center (IBC) and Wold Performing Arts Center.

During this time, the Lynn community and business professionals are invited to hear nationally-recognized speakers and innovators discuss topics, such as positioning a business for the future, taking a business to the next level, cyber security, data analytics and so much more.

Tickets are required to attend this event—the current cost is at $60 and they may be purchased online at https://www.lynn.edu/events/international-business-and-entrepreneurship-symposium-20171115-730am. Admission is free for Lynn students.

For more information regarding this event, individuals may contact Jennifer McFarland at jmcfarland@lynn.edu or at 561-237-7533.

Ashlan Kelly

Ashlan Kelly is a senior studying communication and emerging media. Kelly is an Orlando native and originally made her way to South Florida to play on the Fighting Knights volleyball team. Kelly hopes to utilize her communication skills to work in the field of insurance sales in the future.

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