It’s amazing what we have constructed together. Spire has been working with the Dallas-based engineering and architectural firm Halff since the summer of 2021 to create a refreshed brand and defined company culture.

The firm is named after its founder, Dr. Albert Halff, a servant leader and trendsetter in North Texas engineering. He was a man of the people, and genuinely cared for everyone he worked with. And he cared about bettering the world and the lives of its people.

Dr. Halff’s humble, one-man consulting firm from 1950 has grown to one of the largest and most-award-winning in the country. Halff is consistently named one of America’s Top Workplaces because of an environment built around “people first.” That’s because it was founded on a core tenet: Focus on people, treat them well, and success will follow.

Spire’s 2023 campaign for Halff was centered around the idea of “Purposed for People.” And that’s why Spire’s latest playlist is dedicated to Halff and its people. Of all the people, EVP/Principal Mike Stopper curated the new Spire on Spotify playlist that’s hopefully all things to all people. It’s called Vol. 45: My Peeps. And just like people, it’s incredibly diverse.

Stopper, what is the name of your album?

Our newest playlist is called My Peeps … and I’m not talking about the marshmallow Easter candies. Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang defines “peeps” as a slang term originating in the 1980s on college campuses and in certain ethnic communities. It’s derived from the word “people,” and it’s an affectionate term used to describe parents, friends, and people in general. When you’re close to people, whether at work or at home, they are more than just people in your life. They’re your peeps.

How would you describe this mix?

It’s a collection of songs about people that spans from the 60s to today. It leans a bit more Motown and folk, but there’s definitely a mix of hippie and pop. Oh, the humanity.

What was the inspiration behind it?

It has been an absolute pleasure working with our clients at Halff for the last two years. We have developed a tremendous relationship with not only our marketing clients, but also the executive team and many employees. Our rebranding efforts launched in February this year, and it’s really centered around the idea of being “Purposed for People.” While Halff does build roads, parks, and structures, they really build relationships and projects that will benefit communities. Halff has so much humanity in how they live, so this playlist represents how they truly are all about their people.

What is your favorite song, and why?

My favorite song is Shiny Happy People by REM featuring Kate Pierson of the B-52s. It’s easy to identify this song in just a few chords, and that 15 seconds of guitar makes you want to bob your head. The word “happy” is sung 26 times; how can it not make you happy?

The song was released in 1991 and rose to #10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 —the band’s last song to crack the U.S. Top 10. A little-known fact was that it was the original theme song for Friends before being replaced by The Rembrandts’ “I’ll Be There for You.”

If your playlist was a brand, what would it be and why?

Clearly, it would be Halff. In 2019, author Mark Schaefer released the book Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins. Mark talks about how customers are authentically connecting with brands, both with and without marketing, because of technology. In fact, upwards of two-thirds of brand marketing is happening outside of marketing. Customers and employees are becoming the marketing department based on what they show and tell others. So, brands must have people at the heart of what they do inside and outside their walls. And I think Halff has brought a genuine humanity to the people they employ and serve.

Any specific memory that comes to mind when you listen?

Not necessarily a specific memory. But my wife and I are big “people watchers.” Hearing these songs made me think about our trips to Vegas, Disney World, and cruise ships, arguably the best people-watching places on Earth. It’s funny to see how people behave out in the wild, and when they think no one is watching. Sipping a coffee or martini and getting in some good people watching is definitely a fun spectator sport.

What makes your playlist unique?

It’s amazing how so many different styles of music from so many different decades can work together for people perfection. The playlist is full of human hits from alternative, country, folk, Motown, funk, punk, hippie, electronica, lite rock, and reggae.

You’re definitely a man of the people, Stopper. Stay tuned to the Spire Blog and Spotify Channel for our next playlist, beautiful people.

Mike Stopper is EVP/Principal of Client Service and Planning at Spire – AMA DFW’s 2023 Agency of the Year. He is AAF Dallas’ most-awarded account lead over the last eight years, and both the 2022 and 2020 Overall Marketer of the Year by the D/FW chapter of the American Marketing Association.