In a new series, Power Couples, Arkansas Money & Politics will introduce you to some of the most interesting and influential pairs in the state of Arkansas. Carl and Sharon Tallach Vogelpohl, both of Little Rock, are our next couple in this series. Click here to read about more Power Couples.
Carl and Sharon Tallach Vogelpohl live in Little Rock’s Pleasant Valley neighborhood. Carl is 44, but Sharon is a little older – four days older, to be exact. The pair met in college; Carl was at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and Sharon was at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. They married in 2000.
The two hold high-powered jobs in fairly different industries. Sharon, whose degree is in business communication, serves as the principal and president of Mangan Holcomb Partners/Team SI, an advertising and public relations firm based in Little Rock. Mangan Holcomb has worked with J.B. Hunt, Verizon, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital (Memphis), the Department of Arkansas Heritage, Heifer International, Keep Arkansas Beautiful, Harding University, Greenway Equipment and more. Sharon’s company specializes in “TraDigital” strategic marketing, she says. The firm blends digital and traditional ways to reach companies into a new, “data-driven” approach.
Although Sharon says she wishes there were more hours in the day to get everything done, she loves her work.
“I’ve been at the firm for 22 years and never had the same day twice,” she said. “The agency business is truly a challenge. [It’s] an environment for those with ‘professional ADD.’”
And she’s dabbled in a lot of different industries as a result of the varied nature of her work.
“I have been in strategic communications my whole career on the agency side, but that means with the breadth of the agency’s client base over the years, I’ve advised clients in pretty much every imaginable industry from political to poultry, restaurants to retail and wireless to windows,” she said.
Carl, who majored in history at U of A, works as the president of Split Rail Consulting and as the campaign manager for Arkansans for Jobs and Justice. Up until Oct. 16, he worked in Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office as her chief of staff.
Since leaving Rutledge’s office, Carl has relaunched Split Rail Consulting to lead the initiative for tort reform in Arkansas.
“For the past eight years I’ve provided strategic counsel and leadership for some of Arkansas’ top leaders in both the political and official offices,” he said. “I focus on harmonizing the power of 21st century technology with individualized, people-focused emotional intelligence to achieve results.”
Carl loves the challenges of his work – and the rewards.
“The daily challenge of innovation, both with people and processes, focused on results and winning – regardless if it is in a campaign setting or working with teams maximizing the potential of the individuals for success,” he said. One thing he’d change, like his wife, is the amount of time he has available, specifically the time he wastes driving from one place to another: “windshield time,” as he calls it.
The two are active in nonprofit work; Sharon is a long-time member of the Rotary Club of Little Rock (Club 99). She has served as president of the local chapter and chair of the Rotary International Branding Committee. She’s involved with the Centers for Youth and Families Board of Trustees, the Arkansas Girls in STEM Collaborative Advisory Board and the UA-Little Rock College of Business Advisory Board. Gov. Asa Hutchinson recently appointed Sharon to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Advisory Board.
Carl chaired the Diamond Chef Arkansas competition at UA-Pulaski Technical College and the Power of the Purse fundraiser for the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas.
Sharon started out as an intern at Mangan Holcomb Partners while she was in college. In 2003, she became a partner at the company. Seven years later, she took over as president.
Carl’s path to his current position was a little less straightforward.
“I sought a master’s degree in public administration because I thought I wanted to work in government or nonprofits,” Carl said. “Ironically, I decided that wasn’t for me so I began my professional career in sales for Eastman Kodak and have worked in the technology, pharmaceutical and medical device industries. I am a certified network administrator and taught network administration as a part-time job.”
Carl began his political consulting company, Split Rail Consulting, in 2004 as a side job. He was doing it full time by 2009.
“I had always been involved in campaigns and political organizations,” he said. “I have managed and worked on local, state and federal campaigns and have had the privilege of serving in leadership as Chief of Staff on the official staff for both Congressman (now Lt. Gov.) Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.”
His favorite jobs were his work for Congressman Griffin and Attorney General Rutledge, he says, although he does miss the job he had working at a stable in high school. He likes working with animals. In fact, his dream job is to “herd goats and do my consulting with a Bluetooth and high speed internet connection” while he’s out in the field, he said.
Outside of parenting, the couple hasn’t worked together – “Too many chiefs,” Sharon said – but they consider family to be their “number one priority.” They have two children; 9-year-old Carson Tallach Vogelpohl and 6-year-old Jonathan Tallach Vogelpohl.
“It is the ultimate leadership challenge,” Sharon said. “There are no do-overs in parenting.”
Correction: This story has been updated to more accurately describe Sharon’s nonprofit work, her gubernatorial appointment and Mangan Holcomb’s client list, as well as to provide clarification about Carl’s work at Split Rail Consulting.