Leadership at The PRIME Factory


Justin Ashwell – Managing Partner

Prior to starting The PRIME Factory, Justin worked in brand marketing at Spectrum Brands, digital media at Georgia Aquarium, and doing social media for New River Valley Magazine. Justin plays a tremendous role in gaining press coverage for clients, diving into rebranding research and logo design, strategic planning and execution of social media, search engine optimization and website design. Justin is a co-founder of The PRIME Factory, founded in December 2015.

Justin is a life-long native of Southwest Virginia, growing in up the Roanoke Valley and being a Virginia Tech Hokie. He is very dedicated to providing professional opportunities to undergraduate students and oversees The PRIME Factory’s internship and mentorship experience.

Education: B.S. Marketing Management, Virginia Tech; M.F.A. Luxury and Fashion Management, The Savannah College of Art and Design


Stephanie Smith, Ph.D., APR – Partner

Stephanie ensures a mutually beneficial partnership between our clients and the agency. Additionally, Stephanie is an expert at content writing, digital storytelling, press coverage and brand development. Stephanie joined The PRIME Factory in January 2018.

Stephanie holds a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor of public relations at Virginia Tech. She is passionate about bridging the gap between the study of PR and the practice of PR, as well as preparing students for fulfilling careers in communication.

Education: B.A. Communication, DePaul University; M.S. Communication, Northwestern University; Ph.D. Communication, The University of Arizona



Ron Poff – Advising Partner

Ron brings over 25 years of industry experience to the firm. Ron is a leader in social media execution and deployment, website design, print and collateral materials as well as digital strategy. Ron strives to produce cutting-edge ideas in a constantly changing marketplace.

Ron is an instructor in Virginia Tech’s department of management. He is also a co-founder of The PRIME Factory, founded in December 2015. He is passionate about supporting small, local and family-owned businesses and helping them find continued growth and success.

Education: B.S. Business Management, The University of Phoenix; Graduate Certification in eMarketing, The University of Virginia; M.S. Marketing, Southern New Hampshire University.