Black-owned public relations firm buys marketing company

Brian Butler, Vistra Communications’ president and CEO, holds the scissors for the 2017 ribbon cutting at the company’s new location in Lutz as his family and employees look on. The company has 70 employees.
Vistra Communications, a Black-owned public relations and marketing agency in Hillsborough County, has acquired Marketing Associates USA, a Tampa-based marketing, promotional and branding agency that specializes in a broad range of services for major corporations and federal government agencies.

The agreement between Vistra and Marketing Associates provides an immediate enhancement of creative, branding, traditional and experiential marketing services to the Vistra portfolio.

“The combination of Vistra with Marketing Associates provides our clients an amazing suite of communications and marketing services uniquely designed to help them reach their goals,” said Brian Butler, president and CEO of Vistra. “This acquisition is part of our long-term strategy of growing our large corporate client portfolio, while extending our government services.”

Enhances both businesses
The acquisition of Marketing Associates enhances the ability for Vistra to leverage its SBA 8(a) Certified and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) credentials with large corporations and federal government contracts. 

“The Vistra Communications acquisition further enhances Marketing Associates’ portfolio of services, capabilities and offerings for its clients including national corporations and nonprofit organizations,” said Jeff Darrey, CEO and founder of Marketing Associates USA. “Our business values are closely aligned with those of Vistra, further supporting the new relationship.”

Effective this month
Marketing Associates USA will leverage Vistra’s existing infrastructure to provide marketing strategies and capabilities to clients. 

The integration of both companies became effective on Jan. 2, which was the 40th-year anniversary of the founding of Marketing Associates by Darrey.

Marketing Associates USA has become Marketing Associates – A Division of Vistra. The entire Marketing Associates staff also became Vistra team members.

Vistra’s headquarters is located at 18315 N. US Highway 41, Lutz. The company has 70 employees.

Charitable work
Butler and Darrey were originally introduced to discuss their shared interest in Trinity Cafe, a not-for-profit restaurant that has unconditionally served more than 1.3 million meals to the homeless and those in need in an environment of love, care, dignity and respect.

Butler has been a strong supporter, encouraging Vistra team members to volunteer at Trinity Cafe. Darrey is the board chair of Trinity and founding director. Their mutual interest in service work and charitable passions led to extensive business discussions.

Top Tampa company
Butler founded Vistra in 2007 after a successful U.S. Army career.

Vistra was honored as the 2016 Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year in the 21-50 employee category. He also was a 2016 finalist for Outstanding Small Business Leader of the Year.

The annual award distinguishes the exemplary leaders of business enterprises that have a tremendous impact on the Tampa community.

CEO’s experience
Butler has more than 25 years of military and civilian experience. He also served as spokesperson for an Army Secretary and on the communications team for a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He has also worked in the Washington, D.C. office of FleishmanHillard International Communications.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in marketing from Hampton University, Master in Administration from Central Michigan University and a Master in National Security Strategy from the National War College, National Defense University.

For more information about Vistra Communications, call 813-961-4700 or visit


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