Studio DeWalt, an Oklahoma City based design boutique espouses thoughtful design and brand strategy as the main deliverables of their service. Married as well as business partners, Julie and Evan DeWalt have put Studio DeWalt on the side, as they each have joined other companies over the last year -- Julie as the Design Director at @madebyswitch, and Evan as the Creative Director for @rhumbix. As a married couple Julie and Evan are the most delightful parents to two beautiful kiddos, and as a creative duo, they are a tour de force of talent.
In this conversation, Sam, Evan, and Julie delve into design principles and practices, as more than any other profession it seems designers flow through the Begin; Begun; Begin, Again process on a daily basis iterating on design projects for businesses of varying sizes and within a multitude of industries. Summarizing their journey from graphic design students, to freelancers, apprentices, designers-for-hire and entrepreneurs, Julie and Evan talk through many of the challenges and successes they have had in their chosen vocation. Their respect for their craft, as well as each other gives them a unique perspective on how to best respond to failure, and maybe more importantly how they launched from their missteps into their next big gig.
Andy currently resides in Washington D.C. and has spent the last few years focused on helping people come together in business, education, and social work to achieve a common understanding of the human condition. He has spent time representing the United States overseeing foreign elections and continues to consult on international affairs. He has served in the following positions:
- Senior Congressional Fellow at Transatlantic Leadership Network
- United States House of Representatives – Fellow International Affairs
- John’s Hopkins Center Fellow for Transatlantic Relations
Sam and Andy go back 14+ years, as Sam worked as the Waterfront Coordinator and Programs Director for Andy who was the Executive Director of Kanakuck Colorado (which became Camp Kivu), in 2005-2007. In this episode, Andy and Sam look back on their time in youth ministry and connect the dots from #camplife to #govlife, as they now both work for and in Government -- Andy in Washington D.C. acting as a Special Advisor for Congressman Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska. Sam, as the State Purchasing Director for the State of Oklahoma.
Todd Smith, formerly the President and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of SONIC Drive-in, currently lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife and five kids. Todd is the Chief Creative Officer (CCO) of Cafe Rio and franchisee of 4 CoreLife Eateries across the Salt Lake Valley. Todd has over 13 years of restaurant experience, with executive experience at Yum! Brands, Wendy’s and Sonic Drive-in. Todd graduated from BYU and got his masters from Northwestern.
In this episode, Todd and I look back on our time at SONIC Drive-In, where Todd led the digital innovation vision as CMO and later President of SONIC. The focus in the first portion of the conversation is how as an executive Todd began the process of preparing room for digital innovation and then the conversation moves to when I joined the team and the work began in earnest to change, from the inside out, a legacy brand with digital aspirations. Pulling out lessons learned in the process of taking a Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) from little to no digital footprint to an industry leader in digital experience with an omni-channel personalized order ahead experience (web, mobile, kiosks) across 80,000 POPS kiosks in 3,600 stores throughout the US.
In our inaugural interview Sam sits down with Ben Nockels of Commonplace Books to discuss Commonplace's origin story and what's next for the brand in a fully packed 90 minute conversation.
Sam and Ben's friendship goes back 11 years, but this is actually one of the first times they have sat down to chat in a formal one-on-one conversation... which is astonishing fact given their long history. Many of their best conversations have come in snippets, hallway conversations and group meetings -- as they have had many intersecting projects and pursuits over the last decade.
Yes, I seriously did record this three times... I'm a writer, not a talker.
The best place to find my writings in an organized fashion is on Medium, I mainly publish essays or prose covering: digital innovation, creativity, culture, and theology.