Business 100 - 2013

Greg Smith/The VIA Agency

Greg Smith is the chief creative officer of VIA, an award-winning advertising agency based in Portland, Maine. Since joining the company in 1999, Greg has worked with brands like Welch’s, Klondike, Samsung, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Perdue, Pepsi, and Sony, developing campaigns for print, tv, and online. Prior to joining VIA, Greg worked in the film industry in New York as an actor and then as a writer, director, and producer of independent films before shifting to the commercial industry. He is a graduate of Columbia University.

Greg is a second-generation Irish American whose grandparents emigrated from counties Kerry and Cork. When asked how he feels about his Irish heritage, Greg says he feels lucky to be part of a thriving community. But he also recognizes that there is “an ugly side of being Irish American.” He says, “growing up in the greater Boston area in the mid 1970s . . . it was very troubling to see all that I loved about being an Irish American on display in a negative way: the emotion overriding the rational; the confidence in who we are giving way to the fear of those we do not know; and the kindness in us giving into the violence.”