Who we are 2017-10-13T16:28:56+00:00

We’re a marketing and design firm located in Rockford, Illinois, we’ve been designing and developing authentic strategic branding and communication solutions since 1996.

Our Process

Research

We ask, listen, understand, survey, and analyze.

Develop

A creative custom-made plan is crafted to achieve your goals.

Design

Everything is focused and connected through design.

Delivery

We deliver everything you need on time—and nothing you don’t.

Measure

Whether it’s metrics or analytics—we use them all to measure success.

Our Capabilities

  • Research
  • Strategic Planning
  • Brand Strategy & Messaging
  • Brand Identity, Naming
  • Website Design & Programming
  • Media Campaign Strategy & Buying
  • Sales Enablement
  • Public Relations
  • Print & Online Ad Development
  • Packaging and Point of Sale
  • Tradeshow Booth Development & Design
  • Event Planning
  • Literature Development
  • Copywriting
  • Social Media
  • Internet Marketing Campaigns
  • Video Production
  • TV & Radio Commercial Development

Our Clients

Who We Are

Smart, Focused, Dedicated, Caring, Creative, and Fun—Just a few words we look for in our teammates at ColinKurtis. We have found over the years that creating a cohesive team of individuals provides our customers with the best results. Every team member wants what you want—long-term success, long-term relationships and oh yeah, to have as much enjoyment in the process as possible.

Colin Kampmier

Founder, Owner

Superpower: Keeping it real! Connecting with our customers and team on a personal level to keep the fun in the work.

Background: With a BA in Marketing and an MA in Sports Marketing, I started ColinKurtis in 1996, out of my home with an old college buddy. Over the years, the one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to delivering great creative based on sound strategy that gets results. I have dedicated myself to finding marketing strategies and campaigns that provide client-driven results, all while working as a team together with our customers.

Diversions: Revolve around my daughter and my girlfriend—if I am not with them, you can find me at work. When I get away from it all, I’m bowling, golfing or playing Texas hold ‘em.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I considered becoming a pro bowler and bowled for the NCAA Championship.

Favorite Food: Protein bars with natural grains made by Nellson Nutraceutical, infused with fiber from Fibersol, drizzled with chocolate from Clasen Quality Coatings, created with specialty vegetable oils from AAK and flavorings from Prinova, and topped with a Campfire marshmallow. Preferably, with a side of rice from Trindidad Benham and served with a refreshing glass of iced tea, courtesy of Amelia Bay.

Debra Tucker

VP, Creative Director

Superpower: A gift for dealing with unpredictable, maniacal people and talking them off the ledge…not saying who…

Background: I earned my BA in art and design from Illinois State University and have 20+ years of experience in advertising and the creative field, including 15+ years of food industry experience. I’ve been with ColinKurtis since 2006, when I started as a strategist and creative director. In 2012, I became part owner and vice president.

Diversions: HGTV junkie, watching sports (but only the ones my kids play), refereeing two teenage daughters, trying to come up with something for dinner that everyone can agree on. I just realized I need a hobby….

One thing people don’t know about me: I have a swearing problem…wait…everyone knows that.

Favorite Food: Bread and pasta…it is my comfort food

Brian MacLaren

Associate Creative Director

Superpower: Bulletproof (thick skinned)

Background: BFA in Visual Communications from Southern Illinois University. 20+ years creative experience on both the corporate and agency sides. 13+ of them spent in the food and beverage industries

Diversions: 2 kids with plenty to do and many weekends spent in other towns watching one event or another.  Occasionally, I will sneak off to the gym or go for a run.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I also answer to the nickname BAM

Favorite Food: Crab legs paired with a Schnickelfritz – Bavarian Weissbier

Leslie Lane

Web/Social Media Director

Superpower: I’m the Fixer. I like a good challenge and I do whatever it takes to tackle the issue at hand.

Background: I earned my degree in web design with an emphasis in graphic design graduating from Harding University outside Little Rock, Arkansas in 2006. My career started in the luxury jewelry industry and served a short stint in the farming industry before coming to CK. (From diamonds and Rolex to tractors and tires…I’ve done it all!)

Diversions: Spending time with family, we love to go to flea markets and vintage shops and repurpose old things into new treasures. Traveling also provides creative adventures; whether inside the US or abroad. I love to experience and capture in photographs all of the different environments, landscapes and cultures that exist, and I’ve been fortunate to experience so many!

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I do an amazing Bill Cosby Jell-O Pudding impression.

Favorite Food: Ice cream. “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy ice cream, and that’s kinda the same thing.”

Laura Huff

Web/Social Media Coordinator

Superpower: I am always willing to learn something new!

Background: I graduated from Wartburg College with a BA in Communication Design and Art. Before starting at CK in February 2017, I worked for a small newspaper and for a company which specializes in livestock marketing.

Diversions: My free time is usually spent with my husband, Patrick, and our spoiled dog Ripley. You can also find me outside running or at my desk painting.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I grew up on a farm, but I can’t seem to keep a houseplant alive!

Favorite Food: Strawberry shortcake with plenty of ice cream.

Kacey Smith

Senior Graphic Designer

Superpower: Staying cool, calm, and collected

Background: I graduated from Illinois State University with a degree in graphic design and general art and have 15 years of experience. I started out working for a Chicago based magazine, designing editorial layouts and promotional materials, then worked for a small marketing agency in Rockford until starting as a graphic designer at CK in January of 2012.

Diversions: Love being a mom and spending time with the fam. Watch a ton of movies and read murder mystery books. Love listening to music and being outdoors. Occasionally paint or do fun craft projects when I have time.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I’m a huge sports fan! Love to play sports and watch them. Love to cheer on the Chicago Bears, Blackhawks and Cubbies.

Favorite Food: Firecracker shrimp, they’re the perfect combination of sweet and spicy

Kate Schupbach

Senior Graphic Designer

Superpower: Organized to the nth degree

Background: I graduated from Northern Illinois University and started work in Wisconsin, creating promotional products and custom designs. I also did freelance design and worked for a small agency until starting as a junior graphic designer here at CK in July of 2012.

Diversions: Love on my cute dog and husband (newlywed, here!), watch terrible reality TV and random documentaries, and drink large amounts of wine, preferably while outdoors.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I’m obsessed with my rescue dog, LuAnne, but everyone knows that.

Favorite Food: White wine

Aaron Tack

Production Artist

Superpower: Expanding time and space for our designers. I take care of the details, so they can focus on design.

Background: I graduated from School of the Art Institute of Chicago in ‘97 with a BFA in visual communication. I’ve worked in the print industry, package layout and fulfillment, and worldwide direct mail. My first real taste of agency work was with Leo Burnett; ever since then, I have applied that experience to every working environment

Diversions: My wife and our 4 kids are my greatest proponent of joy. I love introducing the world—and how awesome it can be—to them. I’m game for games of any type: board, video and card, and I enjoy creating things out of paper.

One thing people don’t know about me: I took down the top professional paintball player.

Favorite Food: For a special occasion, haggis is my food of choice. Wash it down with warm Guinness, and you’ll remember that day forever.

Juanita Hickerson

Copywriter

Superpower: Ability to embrace, research, then write about a new topic (often developing a bit of a crush on it in the process)

Background: A checkered past including a BFA from Rockford College, a career in visual merchandising (with the scars to prove it), and writing stints with magazines, hair salon companies, a dog-centric website, and finally and best of all, CK!

Diversions: Black and white movies, prefer watching HGTV to actually working on/cleaning my own home.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I have sent my dog text messages. On more than one occasion.


Favorite Food: Red wine

Rimsey Ranken

Project Manager

Superpower: Being organized and on top of things (which in part is due to my excellent memory, which my son is going to LOVE-haha) and negotiating (schedules/timelines, compromising, etc… all in a days work!)

Background: Along with a BA in Speech Communication from University of IL-Champaign and an MS in Communication from Indiana State University, I have 10+ years of project management/resource allocation/workflow management experience at advertising agencies (prior to this, all in pharma industry and mainly in Chicago, IL).

Diversions: Playing with my 3 year old, Tate, reading, swimming, watching Bravo, going to movies, hanging out with friends.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I don’t like belly buttons and I 100% believe in ghosts.

Favorite Food: My mom’s broccoli cheese soup. Because getting comfort food that your mom made you is always the best food in the world.

Penny Libby

Internal Sales
Coordinator

Superpower: Organizational skills – keeping everything running smoothly in the CK office

Background: After attending Northern Illinois University and Robert Morris College, I went down a business path that included manufacturing, water treatment, medicine, and a cemetery(!) before I came to work at CK seven years ago.

Diversions: Golf, softball, reading and movies

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: As a small child, I would eat butter. By itself. Perhaps I still do.

Favorite Food: Chocolate, because it just makes you feel better.

Carrie Livingston

Director of
Media Relations

Superpower: Currency manipulation, enhanced visibility, and wish granting: all to get clients exactly where they need to go!

Background: I have been specializing in media/public relations for food industry clients since 1997. Been with CK since 2007.

Diversions: Married, 3 kiddos, lots of furry friends: mutantly large dog, cats, fish, frog. I take care of everyone and bring home the strays of all kinds: people, pets, etc.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” is my favorite song. I cry every time I hear it.

Favorite Food: Blackened chicken—many spices fused together. Creates a taste sensation with a spicy burn, but you dip each bite in lemon butter sauce and mellow out that burn. Leaves your mouth tingling. The recipe was originally created by Louisana Chef Paul Prudhomme, one of my favorite chefs.

Valette Piper-Bledsoe

Account Director

Superpower: Putting pieces together in ways no one else does—making order out of chaos.

Background: With CK since August 2014. Majored in Psych/Soc at Trinity University-Washington, because knowing why people do what they do is important for any career. Been working in marketing for more than 20 years, including for nonprofit organizations, corporations and advertising agencies. My not-so-secret passion is for integrating interactive media into traditional marketing; I don't focus on trends, but on strategy—and results.

Diversions: With three kids, a dog, and a cat, most of my time not at work is spent with my family. I love to cook, garden, make furniture and I'm a voracious reader, particularly of my husband's novels.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I am a complete and utter geek and totally rule in Star Trek trivia.

Favorite Food: Cheese. Any kind, any way.

Alyssa Peterson

Account Manager

Superpower: The ability to use both sides of my brain—analytical and creative!

Background: I graduated from UW-Whitewater with a degree in Marketing. I started my career in customer service helping clients all around the world. Then, I transitioned into a marketing communications role—planning and creating a wide variety of projects and campaigns. I look forward to tying it all together in my role at CK!

Diversions: My boyfriend, family and very spoiled dog, Charlie. Traveling, trying out new restaurants, reading, painting and being outside…at least in the summer!

One thing people don’t know about me: I have a weird fear of birds, except that’s not weird because they are so creepy…

Favorite Food: Ice cream…there’s always room for ice cream!!

Mitch Robinson

New Account
Development Manager

Superpower: Conversationalist! I have the ability to talk with anyone on any subject, especially about ColinKurtis and my family.

Background: I have a BS In Sports Communications from Ithaca College and have known Colin since 1990, when I started working on local television. When I made a career change in 2011, Colin asked me to develop new accounts for CK, since we’ve collaborated successfully in the past.

Diversions: My twin girls. I coach them in soccer and watch them in every other sport. I also like watching professional and college sports, and playing video games. Yes, I admit I am a bit of a gamer geek. As an NJ native, I’m a Springsteen fan.

One thing people don’t know about me: I do not like clowns. Editor’s note: Does anyone?

Favorite Food: Steamed whole Maine lobster. Spent my summers in camp there and would get it fresh from the ocean to the table. Nothing better in the world, no butter needed.

Corrie Ainsworth

Account Manager

Superpower: Happiness. I like to ensure the client is happy with the end result—and is kept in the loop during the process

Background: While working and going to school full-time, I earned my BA in Communications Management 2012. I have worked in the marketing field for over five years and taught marketing to adult learners for the past two years.

Diversions: I enjoy baking and reading, but not at the same time. It’s always nice to take our dog, Norah Jade, for a walk. When weather permits you can find my boyfriend Al and I boating, hanging out with family or friends, and perhaps enjoying a nice glass of bourbon or wine

One thing people don’t know about me: My family dog Max thought my beloved pet hamster—Chewy—was a squeaky play toy that needed to be silenced. And in the end, he did

Favorite Food: Breakfast food! Eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, hash browns (crispy), Swedish pancakes, regular pancakes...you name it

Wendy Arntzen

Project Coordinator

Superpower: I’m a quick learner. Like that one time when Peter Pan taught me to think happy thoughts and fly away to Neverland to mother the lost boys.

Background: Before joining ColinKurtis in May 2017, I attended Rock Valley College while interning at GiGi’s Playhouse in Rockford, where I helped with their marketing and literacy.

Diversions: If I’m not at work, I am desperately trying to find time to be out on the water. I could live on a boat! With my dogs, of course. I need them to maintain my Crazy Dog Lady status.

One thing people don’t know about me: I was accidentally hit in the head with a hockey stick when I was 1. The video is on YouTube for those of you who are interested…

Favorite Food: Ham loaf. Don’t knock it till you try it. With a side of wine of course...and cheese. I love cheese...and chocolate...

Kevin Miller

Kevin Miller

Account Director

Superpower: Team Captain. I know how to help the team face adversity and the daily grind it takes to rally together to get to the finish line—to get the W for our clients, every time.

Background: I earned a Bachelor of Science in Visual Communications from Lewis University, while playing volleyball, which included an NCAA National Championship. Years of playing (and winning) college volleyball and a variety of roles on both the creative and account sides in marketing have prepared me for my latest challenge: winning for CK clients.

Diversions: My family, including my wife of 13 years, Christine, and our two boys, Carter and Blake. After them, well, golf.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I was a contestant on the Price is Right w/ Bob Barker, got to spin the wheel and LOST!

Favorite Food: I'm from Wisconsin, so anything on the grill paired with a Spotted Cow, during all four seasons.

Fun Facts

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