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Rising to the top

Rising to the top

Thomas-Umstattd3

At just 28 years old, Thomas Umstattd ’08 is founder and CEO of a highly regarded web marketing company for Christian authors

Going into college, Thomas Umstattd ’08 had plans to start a business one day. But even he couldn’t have predicted that it would happen before he graduated.

Umstattd built his first website at the age of 13 and taught his first web design class at just 16 years old. He graduated cum laude from UMHB with a degree in business management. While in college, Umstattd attended a writer’s conference with a brochure featuring websites he had designed.

“At that conference, a couple of authors wrote checks for new websites right there on the spot,” he said. “That was when I knew I had stumbled upon an under-served niche.”

This led to the birth of Umstattd Media, his first web design and media company, which he founded in 2007, while still in college. In 2009, he developed AuthorTechTips.com, a website that helps authors use the web to promote their books. The site was twice featured in Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 most helpful websites for authors.

AuthorTechTips.com is now AuthorMedia.com, a resource for authors that need assistance building heir websites and strengthening their brand. Now 28 years old, Umstattd serves as the CEO of the web marketing company Castle Media Group LLC, which he founded in 2011. He now has five full-time employees and works with several part-time contractors.

2 Thomas-Umstattd Castle Media Group is an umbrella web marketing company comprised of three separate divisions that aid small businesses and individuals by designing websites and developing social marketing strategies.

“We specifically focus on Christian authors. We strive to help the church use technology to advance God’s Kingdom,” Umstattd said. “‘Christian’ often means second rate in the eyes of many business people. We want to flip that reputation on its head.”

And Umstattd has done so.

“We are now one of the biggest developers of Christian author websites in the country,” he said. “We picked a small pond and became one of the biggest fish in that pond.”

For Umstattd, one of his favorite parts of the job is helping authors to, as he calls it, “level up.” “We help them go from unpublished to published, or from published to bestselling,” he said.

Also an award-winning speaker, Thomas teaches audiences all over the world. His friendly speaking style blends multimedia and audience participation. He offers audiences a unique perspective that helps them use the web in a whole new way.

Looking back, Umstattd can pinpoint specific college experiences that charted the course and led him to the path he is on today.

“It all began while I was studying international business in Ecuador through the UMHB Spring Break study abroad program. This was the trip that really revealed to me that I could use my marketing
skills to advance God’s kingdom.”

Returning from the trip, his business courses further confirmed his passion for the industry. Success for Umstattd is derivative of his time as a Crusader.

“UMHB gave me a lot of access to my professors. They became mentors to me and helped me become the person I am today.”

-Tyler Agnew