A Look Back at 2009

When I look back at 2009 I can’t help but say to myself “wow”, it has been a stellar year both personally and professionally I could ask for more. The amount of opportunities, challenges and all around positive situations that have come my way has been unbelievable. I’m super excited to start the new year. My dream of teaching has manifested itself and I am humbled by the opportunity to share my experience and knowledge with the young minds at South Suburban College in South Holland, IL. I’ll begin the new year (January 25) teaching to a Photoshop and Illustrator course and then in the Fall semester a design course. I can’t wait to get started…

I’ll like to point out some key highlights from this past year, which include:

INsight Design Conference:

I saw the issues that young designers have in NWI and I wanted to do something about it. With the support of Faith Church, I started the INsight Design Conference. The first event took place in January, a small event that helped creatives start to think differently about their work. We hosted a portfolio review with multiple industry professionals and closed the event with a panel discussion. It took a tremendous amount of work to make it all come together but I was determined to make a difference in our design community. The success of that event sparked a fire under me and the rest of the region. This past July we had a second event. This time it was a full day filled with breakout sessions, networking, a portfolio review , vendor area and much more. To pull off an event of this size took the help of a great committee and the support and confidence of Faith Church. And now we are getting ready to have another event May 21, 2010. I’m truly blessed to have such a forward thinking church like Faith, they have shown INsight a magnitude of support and this next event will mark the envelopment of the conference to the Faith Church family of annual events.

You can listen to my speech at INsight here. {link}

Gasoline Vaseline Show:

I had my first Gallery show this year, “Gasoline Vaseline” it was a three-man show at South Suburban College in South Holland, IL. It was really cool to see all my work in a setting that was not my own room. Plus it was a good time to reflect and view my work as a collection. Friends Kevin and Justin were on hand to help fill up the space with more creative goodness. We were interviewed by SSC360 which I will post as soon as they send me the link.

The Leadership Summit:

I attended the Willow Creek Association’s Leadership Summit this year and it changed my life in ways that I couldn’t image. The powerful speakers and spiritual presence all made for a mind-blowing event. I was inspired to become a better person, father, husband, creator and leader. The event is attended by more than 100,000 people worldwide, it is the largest Christian event in the world. It is translated into multiple languages and shown internationally. Aside from attending the 2009 event, I was hired to design the identity for the 2010 event. Out of all the people in the world that they could have picked, it was me! I still think back at how that opportunity came about. Amazing. Above is the direction the new “look” is going. They really want to hit home the global aspect of the event. The map took me over 30 hours to create and many more to fine tune. It was like putting together a puzzle with nothing to look at for reference. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

“St. Catherine Hospital – A Family”:

After more than a year of planing and writing Author Jane Bomberger handed me the content and said “go to town”. The St. Catherine Hospital history book is my third published book. My design portion took more than 5 months complete and get to China. I designed the 12″x9″ 6lb, 400+ page coffee-table-book with every bit of creative juice I had. It was a challenging project but we made it through in the end. We had a great book signing event with Donna Habel, Jane and myself. It was a great way to close that project.

Center for Visual and Performing Arts:

Being an employee of a large Foundation has a whole range of perks and challenges. Combining those two instances into one project would be the rebranding of the CVPA. 2010 will mark the 20 year annivesary of the Center being the cornerstone of the arts in Munster. I complete redesigned the entire brand identity for the center. Everything from the logo to signage, to outdoor graphics and print collateral. Apart from designing the menus, rack cards and countless other things, we have plans for the website in early 2010 that will sure make the Center a force in NWI.

Community Healthcare System Website:

I started working on the redesigning the CHS website back in 2005, with years of planning, meetings, redesign after redesign, we finally did it. I took the bright minds of our marketing team and a little help from others to make it all come together. Our webmaster, Brian Kuss, built the entire site by himself, a task that at times, seemed overbearing. It has been my biggest website that I’ve ever designed and I’m glad that it is finally up and running. The work is not over though, it’s just the beginning of an ongoing adventure.


It was a long time coming and the dream of finally starting my own t-shirt label has finally come full circle. 13Lisa’s is a creative outlet for me. Designing corporate material all day can get stale at times and what better to shake up the creative think box – then to rock out a t-shirt design. The limited edition tees are printed in lots of 13, meaning you and only 12 other people will ever own that t-shirt design. Pretty cool.

Personally, we built a new home this year and moved from Munster to Valpo, moving our family away from what me and Lisa only knew in our life was a big deal for us. We don’t regret a moment of it. We love it out here and things have been going very well for us. Both of my boys are connected with God, pray regularly and enjoy learning about Jesus. I’ve also grown spiritually as well. For the first time in my life I really understood the meaning of Christmas and the power that brings. I understand scripture and all of it is intriguing to me. I was never really connected to faith until this past couple years and I can’t wait to continue to grow in that way. In recent months I’ve stopped eating meat and started a vegetarian lifestyle. The change in diet has given me more energy and helped me focus mentally. I’ve developed new relationships with friends that I value more and more each day. I’m a mentor to one, a business partner to another and a trusted creative source to friend. God puts people in your life for a reason and what you do with them or for them is up to you. I live that everyday.


In 2010, I have plans on self-publishing my first children’s book with the help of my wonderful wife Lisa. That new venture will be fun for the whole family. I will be also starting a new business with a friend….uh. I’ll keep that one to myself for right now, don’t want to spoil the surprise. I’ve also developed a motivational speech for teens about how to effectively use people in life. The speech is for kids in various high schools across NWI and helping those in need. I’ll talk about the importance of family, friends, a mentor and God in someone’s life, how to obtain balance and reach goals with the help of these four pillars.

I look forward to this new year. Check back often for news and updates about all of these exciting new challenges.


3 thoughts on “A Look Back at 2009

  1. Looks like 2009 has been very well to you! Congratulations on all your achievements. Please continue to do what you do, its good to know that Northwest Indiana has a great creative force like yourself.

  2. So happy for you and your family. Whats even better is that you are succeeding in life by doing what you love. I hope that 2010 will be even better for you.
    God Bless!!

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