How have things changed since you've been with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce?
When I started here (in 1998), the marketing materials were very conservative. My goal was to make the Chamber, from a visual standpoint, progressive. Just because we are the Indiana Chamber of Commerce doesn't mean that we can't shoot for the moon and be like Nike. You have to market yourself within your parameters while still creating buzz. As I got more comfortable, and as leadership got more comfortable with me, I was testing the waters more.
Where do you draw your creativity from, especially in a business setting?
I draw a lot of my creative energy here from my office. It's full of toys and posters. I had to build my own creative world because I needed to energize myself. I've always got music playing to keep me going. If I wasn't allowed to decorate, play music or have this much space, it would have been tougher. I can close the door if I want to or put on headphones to listen to music to get the energy I need.
Sometimes if I'm struggling with an idea, I will put it aside and work on it when I go home. I tend to be more creative from 5-9 p.m. I have a sketchpad with me all the time, and if I have an idea I will jot it down.
I also have the option to leave the office to work on projects from time to time. I've been given the flexibility to work in environments that allow me to do my best work.
What have some of your favorite projects been?
The number one is the recently rebranded Chamber logo. As a designer, there are projects we look for, and corporate identity is one of those because it's such a challenge. How do you take a program, company or product and visually explain it in simple graphics? It's such an exciting and challenging experience. To illustrate my point that sometimes I get work done outside of the office, most of the design concepts, and the one we finally chose, were created on a family trip to New York. It was one of the biggest projects that I have done, and I'm very proud of it. It will be seen across the state and nationwide, and it was a labor of love for nearly eight months.
BizVoice® magazine is another because it's always a challenge to tell new stories within the design parameters of what the magazine is supposed to look like. What's great about it is being able to see the progress of my own design skills. It's really a timeline of my creative abilities and seeing myself testing the waters.
Why are you so passionate about music?
I remember as a kid always listening to music. My dad listened to '50s rock n roll and my brother listened to '80s hair metal bands, so I really had the extremes going on in my world. I just always liked it. I don't know why. A lot of it is the art, I'm sure.
My world was a little tougher growing up with a single father and a brother I loved dearly who moved away when he went into the Navy, so it was me and my dad in a little small town in the middle of nowhere. There was escapism for me early on. It became more than that. I use it as the soundtrack to my life. It's hard to explain why I love music so much, but I do.
What song best describes your life?
There will always be new ones. The most current one is "Accident Prone" by the Eels. Basically, it's about how the lead singer, Mark Everett, was in the right place at the right time.
The chorus goes, "Good thing I'm so accident prone." He was accidentally at this place, and that's how he met this woman who ended up being the love of his life. Truly, that's how I met my wife. I wasn't supposed to go out one night, and my friends pulled me out. I said, "Fine. I'll go." I met Karen, and long story short, we're married with two kids. It really just happened. So when I heard that song, I thought it was written about me.
Favorite movie: The Godfather
Favorite childhood TV show: M*A*S*H
Favorite possession: 1,500-plus CD collection
Favorite book: Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel
Favorite vacation spot: Costa Rica
Favorite food: New York-style pizza