We help people create places people love.

September 4, 2023

Twenty Septembers Later.

20 Years header texture

H+W 20 Septembers Later.

Hello friends, collaborators, clients, and instigators.

A long time ago … In 1996, Workhorse Creative opened for business in Bethesda, Maryland. Two years later, a naive but kind-of-talented designer got the senior designer job. (For the record, I still believe naivety was and still can be my most valuable superpower.)

In September of 2003, with a $1,300 apartment rent, a two-year-old baby boy, and a $1,000 dollar check from my freaked-out parents, I leaped at the chance to take over ownership of that small but accomplished little agency. (Sidebar Snowshoe Bike Park and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte are apparently 20 this year too.)

Thank goodness I had some amazing clients who feared little Jake’s dad was crazy and/or believed in me. We didn’t starve… At least not yet. Hard to believe that the kiddo will graduate from WVU in the Spring!

10 years later, I met a girl.

In May 2013, Laurel moved from California and joined the fun. We agreed to see how it went. 10 years later, it seems it went pretty darn great. And together, we’re powering ahead with 30 years of combined business ownership.

Way back in January, when thinking about this milestone, I thought we’d

be looking back – twenty amazing projects, logos, websites, moments, etc.

But now that we’re here, we really just want to keep looking forward. We set out on a path together 10 years ago, and the next summit is so close.

I’m sure you know how easy it is to overlook progress and growth when you’re deep into the work. I started out designing for global media and restaurant brands. After I took over, we shifted to non-profits and healthcare. Then, Laurel and I got ambitious and dabbled in community building, economic development, and outdoor recreation.

Forest through the trees stuff …

For the last 10 years, Laurel and I have been diligently working to pivot H+W into a partner that elevates communities by connecting all those things to amplify impact and improve quality of the place. It’s in these milestone check-ins we can give ourselves permission to take a moment to catch our breath and appreciate how far we’ve come.

Everything has obviously changed 20 years later, but oddly it still feels like I’m on the same path–but with yet another new iPhone. Anyhow, I still proudly whip out the Graphic Designer title occasionally — but my goodness — has there ever been an abundance of wonderful scope creep!

One day, I may still open that winery or become a park ranger, but the work we do through H+W is still my true love. So here we are. Not even close to done yet. Time to lace up, clip in, and climb the next hill.

Thanks to each and every one of you.

No matter how large or small our time together, I’m so grateful for the energy, ideas, inspiration, collaborations, conversations, and kindness shared on this journey. I’m done being emotional now.


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