Former Donation Depot VP starts own communications company

Matt Ashworth, the former vice president of communications of Donation Depot, has left the company to start his own communications firm.

Ashworth Communications, LLC – which officially got started earlier this month – will provide public relations, strategic communication planning, early stage business development and other related services.

“It’s a full-service communications/PR firm,” Ashworth, 29, said, explaining he’s trying to fill a specific niche in the bad economy.

“It’s for companies that can’t afford a full-time communications person on staff, but could benefit from a professional,” he said.

Some of his new clients include Imprint Store and Ferox Technologies, both of which are based in Tacoma, and an Olympia company called intellAgent that helps real estate agents manage sales contacts and contractors.

Other clients Ashworth has worked with since leaving Donation Depot include Shultz Distributing, Upset Publishing and several local music artists.

“We had excellent media coverage and great success reaching people in a number of ways, both locally and nationally, thanks to Matt’s talents,” said Brandon Fix, Donation Depot President & CEO, in a statement.

Ashworth was the company’s second employee and an instrumental part of Donation Depot’s success during the “dot com fallout.”

“I call it the ‘Ashworth Media Magic‚’ because how he managed to get that much exposure on a limited budget, while simultaneously helping in just about every area of the company is phenomenal,” Fix said. “I’m happy for him, but I also made sure that Donation Depot was the first consulting client he signed.”

Ashworth still handles communications and public relations for Donation Depot, and has been added to the company’s advisory board.

“With Depot focusing primarily on sales, the timing worked out just right for me to transition into a consulting role and start my own company,” Ashworth said. “We’re already working with some great companies, and I’m excited about helping them communicate more effectively with the media and other audiences.”

Ashworth Communications has been in the works for about a year-and-a-half, he said, noting that establishing and running his own business was made easier by the fact he had worked on two independent public relations contracts on the side while at Donation Depot.

Ashworth also credits Fix for being incredibly supportive of his striking out on his own.

“He made it kind of easy to do,” Ashworth said of his former boss. “It’s been a great transition.”

Ashworth’s road to becoming a business owner began in eastern Washington, in Yakima, where he grew up.

Eager to get to western Washington, the 6-foot-7-inch Ashworth parlayed a basketball scholarship to Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma into a bachelor’s degree in communications (journalism and public relations), graduating in 1995.

PLU is also where he first met basketball teammate and future friend and business associate Fix.

After graduating, Ashworth lived in Tacoma for several years and then moved to Olympia and then back to Tacoma again, before moving to Seattle, where he currently resides.

Prior to joining Donation Depot in Feb. 2000 at the suggestion of Fix, Ashworth worked for the Department of Health.

All of that moving has allowed him to establish and maintain a network of contacts in Tacoma, Olympia and Seattle that he’s using to further Ashworth Communications.

“It’s a one-man shop,” Ashworth said of his fledgling business, which has office space in the Tacoma Imprint store on Dock Street. “The transition is still taking place.”

In the future, he hopes to expand the number of employees beyond himself, but right now he’s more concerned with investment capital and purchasing business-related items like a fax machine. The company’s Web site is in development.

“Things are going well,” Ashworth said. “It’s hard. It’s a challenging thing to do.”

For more information on Ashworth Communications and its services, e-mail or call 206/261-6998.