Who we are 2019-07-12T21:37:50+00:00
Brick office building with ColinKurtis banner

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


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


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


Everything is focused and connected through design.


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


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

Amelia Bay: better tea is brewing logo
BayValley Foods logo
Clasen Quality Coatings, Inc logo
Nellson logo


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.

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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

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Brian MacLaren

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

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Leslie Lane

Digital Producer

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.”

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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.

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Kacey Smith

Art Director

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

Art Director

Superpower: Organized to the nth degree. My lists have lists.

Background: I earned my BFA in Visual Communication from Northern Illinois University and have been with CK since 2012. Before that I worked in Wisconsin creating promotional materials and custom designs for local and a few well-known brands, freelanced and worked for a small agency in the Chicago-area before starting as a Junior Graphic Designer.

Diversions: Spending time with my growing family, which includes dogs and babies. Making our fixer-upper a home (Joanna Gaines is my spirit animal), antiques, Chicago Cubs and Bears, long walks through Target, and wine.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I used to be a cat person until I owned a dog. Now, I can hardly stand them.

Favorite Food: Pizzaterian, or my mother-in-law's homemade mozzarella sticks...


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


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

Director of Project Management

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

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.

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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

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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...

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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.

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Michael Hopkins

Web Developer

Superpower: Synthesizing: I love combining multiple ideas into a new one, and ideally, turning it into code for clients.

Background: After majoring in Marketing and Business Management at Judson University, I started my career in securities analysis (2008 was interesting). Since I couldn't stop writing software to do my work, I switched to programming fulltime. I've been developing for the web for the last several years, leading up to joining CK in 2018.

Diversions: You asked, so here’s my list: books, new programming languages, games and game design, podcasting, music, movies, teaching new things to my children.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I can wrap my arm around my head.

Favorite Food: Pizza, going strictly by volume, but my favorite is Greek pastitsio.

David Hill

PPC/SEO Marketing Specialist

Superpower: Analyzing data and being able to relay it to people, breaking down seemingly difficult ideas so everyone can understand and relate to them.

Background: I have a technical education in systems engineering, have several Google certifications, and I am also a Google Partner. I am currently working on my eMBA and have worked as a manager in both marketing and analytics.

Diversions:I love boating, snowboarding, four-wheeling and—going to the movies! I currently serve as President of Crystal Lake Rowing Club.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I own both a wakeboard and snowboard, and love to have fun!

Favorite Food: Pizza, hands down.

Courtney Sikorski

Account Director

Superpower: Problem-solving, especially in chaos. I enjoy helping teams break down problems and create plans that motivate teams to succeed.

Background: I started my career in agencies with a focus on food and consumer product clients. Since receiving my MBA from the University of Notre Dame, I have worked in the apparel, consumer packed goods and manufacturing industries.

Diversions:My family and I relocated to Madison just over a year ago and are in the midst of a major house remodel—it’s basically a version of HGTV Midwest Edition! When I’m not working on the remodel, I enjoy baking, hiking and reading.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I wanted to be a wedding cake maker when I was in Kindergarten.

Favorite Food: Prosecco—bubbles are delightful!

Ashley Carrasquillo

Account Manager

Superpower: I’m a good listener; it gives me the ability to truly understand what a customer wants and figure out a way to solve a problem or determine an appropriate solution in a timely manner. Also, extremely organized and post-it note obsessed.

Background: After graduating from Bradley University with my Bachelor of Science in Marketing with a Social Media concentration, I set out to start my marketing career—and conquer the Windy City at the same time.

Diversions:When it's warm, I’m outside hiking, visiting friends—and being the best benchwarmer you'll ever meet on a very non-competitive softball league. If it’s cold, you’ll find me at the bowling alley or getting my dose of reality television shows.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I’m a dinosaur fanatic. I own more Dino-themed clothing and home decor than I want to admit.

Favorite Food: There’s nothing better than a home-cooked meal of Puerto Rican cuisine with family.

Kristen Mattingly

Sales Enablement Director

Superpower: Bringing marketing and sales together so customers get just the right info at just the right time.

Background: I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a BFA in Graphic Design. Since then, I’ve worked with both in-house and agency marketing teams doing exactly what I love.

Diversions:My husband and I have two boys who keep us on our toes, as well as three dogs who are always underfoot. When I’m not working, you’ll most likely find me watching my boys play baseball, at the gym or binge watching an old tv series on Netflix. I’m a newcomer to country music—who is now completely hooked.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I love to lift weights, definitely not a Zumba girl here!

Favorite Food: Candy! Hot Tamales, Now & Laters and gummy bears are my top faves.

Corbyn Tyson

Digital Strategist/Front End Video Producer

Superpower: Making ideas happen.

Background:I've been in advertising since Apple Computers were beige. If it has a screen, I have made content for it. I am passionate about building strategy and creating authentic content.

Diversions:I love spending time with my family, and you’ll often find me rock climbing or woodworking, but not at the same time.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I have been to Kazakhstan

Favorite Food: Is whiskey considered food? Also, gourmet cheeseburgers, and Lays potato chips, not in any particular order.

Kevin O’Driscoll

Senior Copywriter

Superpower: Getting to the point.

Background:I spent my formative years in England (a small island somewhere in the North Atlantic). After moving stateside, I graduated from the University of Illinois and have been writing copy ever since. Over the past 20 years, I’ve been lucky enough to work on some of the world’s biggest food brands and everything from speed boats to cat litter.

Diversions:When I’m not feverishly crafting the world’s next great ad, you can usually find me either playing soccer, watching soccer or talking about soccer. I also love fishing, camping, cooking, trying new things and making strangers laugh.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I have never eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Favorite Food: Hamburgers for breakfast. But isn’t that everyone?

Timothy Strawbridge

Web Programmer

Superpower: Translating expressions into just the right form of digital media.

Background:I like to make things better and constantly learn knew things. That’s why I was a Continuous Improvement Coordinator in my previous job. And because for me, learning never stops, I am currently studying Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Springfield, having earned my Associate of Science degree in Software Application Development from Rasmussen College.

Diversions:When I’m not working or studying, I like to have fun, which to me means snowmobiling, playing basketball and football with my kids, and hanging out with my wife and family.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You:I am secretly training for American Ninja Warrior.

Favorite Food: Ice cream, of course!


Dayton Cox

Art Director

Superpower: Conceptualizing – Promoting ideas to take your brand to the next level.

Background:I have a wide of range experience in design, branding, photography, video creation, web and app development and environmental design and have worked in a variety of in-house and agency roles, since my attending Arizona State and graduating from Collins College with a BA in Visual Communication.

Diversions:I am an outdoor person who is always ready for golf, volleyball, basketball, bags, concerts, fishing, kayaking, camping—and tinkering on my Autocross race car. When I’m not outside, you may find me at wine and beer tastings or diving into some retro video games.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You: I am a prize-winning salsa contestant—food, not dancing.

Favorite Food: Salsa, of course!

Fun Facts