NEW YORK – November 16, 2017 – Two organizations and two marketing leaders who have advanced marketing’s leading “edge” while championing professional development, mentoring and education have been named 2018 EDGE Awards honorees by Marketing EDGE, a nonprofit education organization. Now in its third year, the 2018 EDGE Awards will be presented at the nonprofit’s signature national fundraising event at New York City’s New World Stages from 6 – 10 p.m. EDT on June 5, 2018.

The 2018 EDGE Award honorees are:

  • Charles Morgan, chairman, and chief executive officer, First Orion Corp. (Little Rock, AR) is named the Lifetime Achievement Award recipient;
  • Fluent, a cogint company (New York, NY) will receive the Corporate Disruptor Award;
  • Merkle (Columbia, MD) will receive the Corporate Heritage Award; and,
  • Dr. Charles Stryker, founder, Venture Development Center, LLC (Upper Saddle River, NJ), where he also served as chairman and chief executive officer, will be honored posthumously with the Financial Innovator Award.
    In addition, six young marketing professionals will receive a “Rising Star” distinction, all of whom will be announced separately in March 2018. An “Education Award” honoree, bestowed to an academic institution, also will be announced in early 2018.

Marketing EDGE’s President Terri L. Bartlett and Chair Gretchen Littlefield commented on this year’s EDGE Awards honorees.

“Marketing today is profoundly marked by dynamism and disruption – which this year’s EDGE Awards Honorees represent,” Terri L. Bartlett said. “As Marketing EDGE serves to build a bridge between marketing education and successful careers in marketing, we are excited to call attention to these leaders – each of whom represents the leading edge of today’s marketing practice, and who have served as mentors and deep contributors to marketing education and application.”

“Charles Morgan’s entire executive career has been devoted to using data to derive information and insights to advance customer and prospect engagement,” said Gretchen Littlefield, who is also president, Infogroup Data Solutions. “Through his recently launched First Orion Corp. enterprise, and the founding and establishment of Acxiom as a global marketing powerhouse, he has paved the way for important innovations in the industry, as well as launched countless careers which continue to influence the world of marketing today. He’s not done yet. He continues to serve as an industry leader – with past board and chairman roles at the Data & Marketing Association – and as a staunch supporter of marketing education at the collegiate level.

“Fluent contributes to the industry through its wealth of best practice and research study reports focusing on ‘people-based marketing’ through data analytics, data-backed marketing strategies, loyalty programs, and more,” Littlefield said of the Corporate Disruptor Award honoree. “Since its inception, Fluent has placed a priority on social responsibility, supporting education with the goal of developing the next generation of leaders – and is highly ranked in Crain’s ‘Best Places to Work’ and Fortune’s ‘Best Places to Work for Women.’”

“Merkle’s deep heritage in data, analytics, and the technology capabilities that enable them, keeps the company and its clients focused on performance and people-based marketing,” Bartlett said. ”That same commitment to people is found in Merkle’s drive to foster and to nurture talent, both that of its own staff as well as future generations, as demonstrated through the company’s steadfast support of Marketing EDGE and its programs.”

“It is with sadness that we posthumously honor Dr. Charles Stryker as our Financial Innovator – Charlie was an industry icon and personal mentor who truly exemplified leadership through his support and funding that touched dozens, perhaps hundreds, of ad tech and mar tech companies,” Littlefield said. “There’s scarcely a startup founder or C-suite representative in the data field who did not turn to Charlie for information, inspiration and introductions in the past two-plus decades. He is missed immensely, but his legacy is in the people he coached and connected and his colleagues at Venture Development Center.”

“With a new venue for this year’s EDGE Awards, we expect our only national fundraising event of the year to be a special gathering of marketing executives, academics and college students from across the country, all of whom embrace the vital importance and critical relevance of Marketing EDGE’s mission and vision,” Bartlett said.

Proceeds from the EDGE Awards will benefit Marketing EDGE, to further its mission to “Educate, Develop, Grow, and Employ college students in the field of marketing.” Go to for more event information.

Exclusive premium sponsorship opportunities for the 2018 EDGE Awards are available now. Companies wishing to serve as underwriters or sponsors, or to gain visibility in the award program, may contact Amy Sigona: | 212.790.1481.

Marketing EDGE is shaping the future of marketing leadership by connecting students, academics and professionals to the resources and relationships they need to see, move and stay ahead. For more than 50 years, Marketing EDGE has been forging deep personal connections, expanding access to premier events and publications, and fostering the next generation of responsive and responsible marketing leaders. For more information, visit:

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Media Contact for Marketing EDGE
Chet Dalzell