In December, it will be 30 years since I first met Doug Wolfe. He had just launched his St. Louis design business, Hawthorne/Wolfe, and my employer at the time, Southwestern Bell, was one of his first clients. Our first assignment together was small and, as was often the case, rushed. We had to produce an invitation for an employee event called Celebrate the Spirit, which featured Crystal Gayle of Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue fame.
Within a month, we learned that we had been given one of the greatest projects of our careers, both then and now – a four-color employee magazine called Enterprise. Doug designed it, I edited it, and we went on to win a number of awards together.
Having come from a newspaper background, I was used to doing things quickly and without much fuss. We threw layouts together in a hurry, and while we cared about aesthetics, we didn’t have time to be meticulous. I knew I was in a different ballgame when Doug announced to me that he’d come up with the perfect grid for the new magazine, and we’d be using 9.7-point type set on 10.5. Where I came from, we never got beyond 8 on 9 or 10 on 12.
I think we’ve brought out the best in each other, and we’ve done too many projects together to count. We’ve helped each other appreciate how all the tools of communication can be brought to bear to help clients connect with audiences who matter to them. I’ve brought opportunities Doug’s way, and he has done the same for me. And through it all, Doug and his wife, Marta (the Hawthorne in Hawthorne/Wolfe), have become friends with Pat and me, and we’ve watched our kids grow up together.
In 1997, Doug invited Bob Prow, a key member of his creative team, to join him as a partner, and the firm became ProWolfe. Bob and Doug have been a good team, both driven to serve clients with creative product that always came in on time and almost always under budget. The third major player at ProWolfe, Jo Kincaid, exemplifies the same commitment to client service and to pulling together great resources to make excellence happen. Bob, Jo and I also have worked together extensively, and our collaborations always have been a pleasure.
Doug is announcing today that effective June 30, the team members at ProWolfe are heading off in new directions. He plans to do occasional consulting; he and Marta will spend much more time on their tandem bike, exploring the U.S. and other countries as well. As he says in his farewell message, it’s been a good ride (and, I might add, it’s about to get even better).
Bob will be serving clients through ProwAlliance, and he’ll focus on branding, financial communications and corporate responsibility reporting. He’s highly experienced in all these areas and will continue to be a great asset to his clients.
Jo is establishing her own business, Resourcive, and she’ll provide strategic communications and design services to corporate clients across a full range of media from print and web to mobile and video.
I look forward to continuing to work with Bob and Jo, and I’d encourage you to get to know them both if you don’t already. They’re both St. Louis-based, but they work nationwide. If you do communication work, put them high on your list. I’ll be glad to introduce you whenever you’re ready.