The topic of leadership has been a passion and a curiosity of Steve’s since he was a young man…When he was in high school in Coffeyville, Kansas he read about great military leaders, war heroes, famous sports coaches, business entrepreneurs, etc…in fact he believes that this curiosity drove and motivated him to apply for an appointment to the US Naval Academy…just think a young boy who had never been outside of the city limits of Coffeyville sitting in the same pew at the Naval Academy chapel where Chester Nimitz, Bull Halsey, Jimmy Carter and Ross Perot had sat every Sunday…John Paul Jones is buried in the basement of the Academy Chapel.
In 1971 Steve graduated from Annapolis with a BS in mechanical engineering and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the US Marine Corps as an Infantry Officer.
In 1976, after serving his obligated 5 years of military service, he chose to leave the Marines and joined IBM in Kansas City as a sales trainee. This led to assignments as the IBM salesman for Beech Aircraft, Cessna Aircraft, Wal-Mart, Dillard’s Department Stores and many other Fortune 500 businesses. Eventually, he had the opportunity to become the Branch Manager of IBM in Arkansas, replacing an IBM icon by the name of Jerry Heil who had held that position for over 25 years.
In 1989, after an IBM assignment running entry-level marketing education for IBM, Steve resigned and moved himself and family back to Little Rock and joined Acxiom Corporation. During his time at Acxiom, he was the CEO of both Infobase, one of the largest providers of consumer demographic and lifestyle data, and Direct Media, one of the nation’s largest direct response list management and brokerage firms.
In 2005, he left Acxiom and with his youngest son Andrew founded Waypoint Data Solutions and TargetSmart Communications. Today, TargetSmart remains a political direct marketing company with over 90 associates and 45 million in annual revenues supplying political data for campaigns, polling, targeting and analysis to hundreds of customers and organizations.
Steve has two sons, Matthew, age 45 and Andrew, age 43 and 5 grandchildren. He has been married to Susan (Dunlap) Brighton for 47 years. Both Steve and his wife were raised in Coffeyville, Kansas.