I grew up in good ol' Alabama, where my early life consisted of emo music, surfing, and ice hockey. Just typical 'Bama hobbies. I went to an art-focused high school and became obsessed with any art class I could take. Eventually I started spending more time building light Flash and HTML websites. (Anyone remembering using the editor HotDog? Anyone? No? OK.) Anyway, my buddy and I took some of those websites we built to local competitions and surprisingly started taking home some hardware.
Ninth grade biology class turned into website ideation and design meetings. (Sorry, Mrs. Dyson, it's true.) I worked on the graphics and my buddy coded the site. My interest in graphic design eventually spotlighted where I wanted to continue my education. SCAD accepted me with an academic scholarship, and I was off to Savannah, Georgia. My sophomore year, I met my wonderful wife, Mary Britton, who lived just a few doors down the hall.
Upon graduating, I received my first job at the camouflage company Realtree in Columbus, Georgia. After three years of working with some of the nicest people, Mary Britton and I readied ourselves to get hitched on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina. We decided to move there for a while to reset our bearings and get ready for the wedding ceremony.
While in Ocracoke, Mary Britton and I decided not to spend any more time not doing what we loved. That meant we'd both support each other in any endeavor, anywhere in the United States. With my love of typography and tactile design, that led me straight to an internship at Hatch Show Print in Nashville, Tennessee. Still to this day, I consider it the best three-month stretch of my life. I learned so many valuable lessons from Jim Sherraden and Brad Vetter. And I couldn't ask for any better fellow interns than Teresia Elvira (Corndawgs!), Tim Hoover, and Eric Mortensen.
My wife's dream was to work as food photographer, so she got accepted into the fellowship program at the Southern Progress Corporation as an assistant to the senior photographer at Cooking Light in Birmingham, Alabama. That influenced my decision to become a designer at Cooking Light Magazine. With the team, I worked on a complete redesign of the magazine.
During our adventures across the South, we always felt compelled to come back to Savannah. A job at an agency nearby, BFG Communications, made this return possible for us. Our son, Gray, was born during my time there, which complicated the hour-and-a-half commute to-and-from BFG everyday. I had to find something closer to the family.
I'd always admired Focus Lab's work and had emailed Bill a few times beforehand. I even showed up at Focus's office opening a couple years back to introduce myself. It wasn't until a group of guys in Savannah and myself started a weekly design/type/dork club meetup that I met Mr. Samuel L. Stratton. Sam put in a good word for me to Bill, and the rest is history. I'm really stoked to be here with all of these great people and hope I can contribute to the Focus Lab family as much as they've already given to me.
Make Some Noise