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Williamsburg-area firm joins health care communications powerhouse

The Snow Companies in upper York County near Williamsburg started about 17 years ago in its founder’s attic. Now, the direct-to-patient communications firm is part of one of the largest health care marketing and communications groups in the world.

The local agency recently was acquired by Omnicom Health Group, which is part of New York City-based holding company Omnicom Group Inc. Snow Companies founder and CEO Brenda Snow and co-owner and chief operating officer Corbin Wood will continue to lead the Snow Companies under its name.

“Snow Companies has created the best practice in patient leadership and storytelling and we are thrilled to bring their expertise and talent to our clients," CEO Ed Wise of Omnicom Health Group said in a news release.

Snow, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1993, had a background in communications and had shared her own story on living with MS and how particular treatments had helped her.

The James City County resident identified the need for patient storytelling and translated that into a full-time business serving biopharmaceutical company clients starting in 2001. Snow Companies now employs about 300 full-time and part-time professionals around the world, including 200 on the Peninsula, and serves more than 50 companies representing close to 140 brands in 27 countries, she said.

Snow Companies recently moved from Michael Commons at 219 Bulifants Blvd. in York to the roughly 40,000-square-foot facility at 133 Waller Mill Road in the fall, Snow said.

Snow said she and a business partner bought the four-story, 28-year-old building last year.

Early last year, York County Economic Development Authority approved a $200,000 grant to help keep Snow Companies in York County and to help with renovations, York economic development director Jim Noel said. He said the building needed a lot of work.

“They’re a type of workplace millennials enjoy,” Noel said. “They’re growing, they’re vibrant and we certainly want to keep them here.”

Many Snow workers are Christopher Newport University graduates and the acquisition helps the firm access more training and development and other opportunities for employees, Snow said. The facility houses a relaxation room, gym, lounge and gaming area, she said.

“We have plenty of space to continue to hire and develop our team,” Snow said.

Now, under the Omnicom umbrella, Snow Companies can leverage collaboration to continue connecting industry and patients to develop awareness of diseases and therapies that come to market, Snow said.

Snow Companies engages real people to share their experiences in various ways, including online, in print, in video or in person with events like educational seminars, Snow said, adding the business was a pioneer in its industry.

Joining the Omnicom Health Group, which fit culturally and strategically, ensures the Snow Companies’ legacy into the future, Snow said.

Snow, 53, said she doesn’t plan on retiring any time soon.

“The nice big shoulders of Omnicom and being able to have this strategic collaboration ensures Snow’s future long after I’m gone,” Snow said.

Bozick can be reached by phone at 757-247-4741. Sign up for a free weekday business news email at TidewaterBiz.com or follow @TidewaterBiz.

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