John believes that the only way to do a job is to be passionate about what you do, and have fun doing it. Since 1995, that is exactly how he has approached brand marketing. "I'm all about the brand and helping clients understand that their brand must be protected, nurtured and loved," says John. "It should be thought of as a living entity – it's not simply about tactics." John's passion and energy extends well past the office doors, to the mountains of Colorado where he is attempting to climb to the top of all 54 "Fourteeners" – mountains that are 14,000 feet high.
She may have more than 20 years of marketing and advertising experience, but Catherine is still constantly learning. "I love discovering new marketing opportunities with my clients," says Catherine. "It's a great way to connect with them on a personal level and let them know they're valued – regardless of the project or budget." From concept to completion, Catherine will be with you every step of the way. In between projects, be sure to ask her about the three days she and her dad spent stranded on a deserted island with no food, no water – but plenty of Pepsi.
Heather tackled her first branding project as a teenager, when she submitted a logo to a radio station contest. She didn't win. But she still has a deep passion for branding – and rock n' roll. These days, Heather would much rather win friends than radio contests. And no matter what you ask or how long it takes, you can count on Heather to keep her word. "I promised my kids I wouldn't buy a motorcycle until they were all out of the house. So in a few years, I'm finally buying a 1976 Honda Shadow. In blue."
Even Big thinkers occasionally get distracted by YouTube. To keep projects on track, Betsy keeps us all in line. She's an expert at "getting stuff done and being bossy!" But even on our busiest (and her bossiest) days, Betsy finds creative ways to keep things fun. She likes to hide trivia facts in our to-do lists to see if we're paying attention. As a twin, Betsy also joins the unintentional tradition of Big employees with twins in their immediate family. But that's never stopper her from carving out a personality all her own. "Just in case you can't tell us apart, I'm the smarter and better-looking one."
Big is Nicole's first job in advertising. But she has years of experience corralling rambunctious kids, so we think she's perfect for the job. Nicole makes sure everyone feels at home from the minute they walk through the door. For her, "it's all about making the people feel important and comfortable." Every day she makes our lives at least 112% easier in about 97 little ways. And with three teenagers at home, including identical twin girls, she's had lots of practice. Nicole loves hiking outdoors, but don't invite her snowshoeing – she's not a fan of winter weather.
Scott has been producing award-winning work for Big since 1999. He's never worked anywhere else and is one of Big's original employees. Scott describes his work as "bold, quick, simple and clever." A flea market regular and avid music buff, Scott is constantly adding to his collection of vinyl records. His designs are inspired by the music he listens to, and even his license plate bears the name of his favorite band. Look for it the next time you're in the Big parking lot.
Greg is a problem solver. From complex brand standards systems, to eye-popping ad campaigns, his systematic approach results in award-winning work. "I like to approach design challenges much like a mathematical equation - break down, organize, and simplify the project into smaller bite-sized pieces in order to find a solution." Greg is also willing to take on challenges in the community. He serves as a Committee Member for Junior Achievement's Business & Education Leadership Awards. He has also been a board member for Advanced Community Development and a marketing committee member for Easter Seals ARC "Walk with Me" event. Greg is also a self-admitted "Fashion Police" junkie, "although I haven't reached Joan Ranger status yet."
Ben is Big's favorite "boomerang employee." He has left the fold to travel West to exotic locations like Kansas City and most recently San Diego. Like clockwork he returns to us tanner, wiser and talented as ever. Ben's fun, easy-going personality keeps us all entertained. But when it comes to design, he is a stone cold professional. "Each new project is an opportunity to do something amazing," says Ben. "I like to create finessed design solutions that not only solve the problem, but are nice to look at." Ever since we have known Ben, that is exactly what he has given us.
When Brittany talks about design, you can tell she loves her job. "Design has always been one of my biggest passions. I want everyone to get excited about design. I always observe things and wonder, 'How could I make that better?'" Brittany's creativity is inspired by her faith and fueled by at least three coffees a day. In addition to being a caffeine fiend, she admits to being a perfectionist and neatnik. She confesses her love for sweeper marks on carpeted floors and admits that as a kid she couldn't stand any visible dust in her room. A passion for design and a penchant for getting everything just right? Brittany fits right in at Big.
For more than 20 years, Mary Kinder has been making people listen. "As a copywriter, I have two main objectives. The first is to get and keep people's attention," says Mary. "Second is to make things as clear as possible – whether I'm explaining a complicated engineering feature or praising the taste of a cookie. For me, this means finding an inviting tone, using relatable language and creating lasting imagery." Incidentally, Mary is the only person, ever, to hit a horse with her car. She still swears, "It came out of nowhere."
B.C. (before copywriting), Becca learned to read in rural Alabama, earned a master's in journalism in upstate New York, and held a myriad of part-time jobs – from daycare teacher to pharmacy tech to barista/bartender. "I love telling stories, discovering truths and trying new things. Sometimes I'm a 'what if' machine without an off button." Becca's famous last words? "Wait, I have an idea." Outside of work, Becca can be found testing her culinary inventions, training for a half marathon or planning a road trip. But her love of language has local roots. Her great-grandfather wrote a grammar textbook used by Indiana schools for nearly 40 years.
Aaron is competitive. As a matter of fact, he continues to battle his twin brother in an annual wiffle ball home run derby. The childhood grudge match now includes their sons. Lucky for us, Aaron brings that same competitive spirit along to the office every day. He is driven to knock every project he touches out of the park, and pushes all of us to do the same. The result? Content-driven digital masterpieces that work on an infinite number of browsers, mobile devices and smart phones. When you see Aaron, ask him about his beloved Indiana Hoosiers. Chances are he'll challenge you to something.
When we realized that we couldn't let Ben Gregory do all the heavy mental lifting, we went out and chased down someone with a Masters Degree in Business Administration. But Brady brings more to the table than just a good mind. He came with more than a decade of account management experience already installed. Brady is also somewhat of an overachiever. He is constantly looking for new ways to serve clients beyond their expectations. He is also a scratch golfer and plays basketball three days a week – at 5:30 in the morning.
Blaine is the man whose big idea became Into the Wild. But he'll be the first to tell you that these days, the ideas aren't his alone. "I have enough self-confidence to try new things, but enough failure to know the answers might lie in others." Blaine's humble, hopeful attitude sets the tone for the entire ITW team. "Every new project starts out feeling impossible. When you change yourself and the world around you, the universe expands and you have the conditions for new creation." His "sticktuitiveness" is invaluable in a digital industry. It's also helped him survive both childhood polio and entrepreneurial boom-and-bust. "Before Into the Wild, I'd started two companies that survived. I'd also started three others that didn't."
Before ITW, Neil was a Division I, All-Conference outfielder. So he's pretty good at catching fly balls and hitting projects out of the park. Neil listens to clients, brainstorms with the team and gives pep talks to the key players. As director of the ITW Academy, he also helps digital rookies get digital analyst skills before they've gotten their high school diploma. For Neil, the key is "making sure everyone feels taken care of and respected." In other words, he's a great coach and an even better team player.
Jenn may be young, but she didn't come to ITW unprepared. "As the oldest of four children, I've been in crazy environments. I know how to weed through opinions and get to the bottom of a problem." She's also game for any challenge you can dream up. "Although I seem like a quiet, calm person, I'm secretly super competitive." To win the day, Jenn's not afraid to go outside of her comfort zone. Way, way outside. "I've sucked the eye out of a pig. It was cooked, so it's not as weird as it sounds! It's sort of a family tradition... and it's all my little sister's fault."
The only thing Dash enjoys more than finding interesting data is sharing it. He loves crunching numbers, especially when they help him understand a brand. "Deep understanding begets deep insight, and deep insight drives innovation," says Dash. He's also driven to connect with people "For me, every room full of strangers is a room full of potential friends. When my social ability meets my statistical prowess, I'm a bit like a golden retriever with a graphing calculator." His thirst for novelty and new faces has led him to visit all 50 states. According to Dash, "everything you've heard about North Dakota is true."
When asked to describe herself, Caitlin is quick to answer. "I am an absolute delight." In other words, she's quick and smart – with perfectly dry sense of humor. Caitlin has been with ITW since the very beginning, but she still gets a thrill from the process. "When you can get excited about something, it really shows through in the results." For Caitlin, it all comes down to the details. Which also explains one of her favorite pastimes. "I like to watch movies with the captions on. You never know what you're missing."
Austin's previous job kinda sucked. Before Big, he was running a business out his parents' basement, selling vacuum parts and hookahs online. "I had the big idea of using PPC and SEO to rake in millions and retire early," he says. Austin's business plan ultimately went up in smoke. But it did get him hooked on digital advertising. "Thankfully, the kind folks at Big showed me the secret sauce to PPC. When it's done correctly, we can turn our clients' websites into money machines. Now that I'm managing profitable accounts for clients, I have zero intentions of getting back into the vacuum parts business."