Creative mind, frustrated inventor, behind-the-scenes operator, professional creature artist. Grew up in coastal Virginia, went to the same school from 1st – 12th grade, lettered in football, lacrosse, and wrestling. Spent summers as a child at Camp VA and Nags Head, and as a teen kayaking the San Juans, backpacking the Olympic Peninsula, rafting the Deschutes River, and hiking through Yellowstone, Glacier, and Teton National Parks. Summited Mt. Rainier. Spent several years in Colorado after college (I love VA, but was born in the wrong state), a few years as a stockbroker, got my MBA, and started this crazy company called Brand Fuel in 1998 with my bestest bud Danny Rosin.
Fortunate enough to have been a Big Brother, board member, volunteer, mentor, and donor to many worthy causes. Met my wonderful wife Amy in 2000 and am blessed with two amazing girls (Grayson, 12 and Anne Burns, 10). This year marks the 21st annual canoe/kayak/beer-around-the-campfire-and-tell-the same-stories trip with my friend Rob – good times every year since 1994. I’m grateful for the love and support of my parents, enjoy a group of close friends, and have a dog named Bear who thinks I am the man I’m striving to be. I’m a lucky guy.
Favorite promotional product: Rolling Stones “lips” coin purse
Favorite Musician/Band: Drive-By Truckers…..and/or any artist that writes his or her own music and plays it passionately and fearlessly to strangers.
Year started: 1998
Profession before: MBA Student, Stockbroker
First promo sold: No idea – umbrella maybe?
Where do you live: Norfolk, VA
Favorite vacation spots: Kiawah, Vail, Nags Head, Jamaica
Hobbies: Running, skiing, coaching, traveling, canoeing, kayaking, reading, and learning
Favorite alt word for “promo product”: Don’t really have a go-to word, per se, but “branded merchandise” works.
Favorite quote: “So if what you have is working for you, or you think that it stands a reasonable chance, and whatever's broken seems fixable and nothing's beyond repair. Remember, it ain't too late to take a deep breath and throw yourself into it with everything you've got. It's great to be alive.” - Patterson Hood, Drive-By Truckers
Most overused word: Where to start? There’s so much marketing-speak and techno-babble flying around. I do worry that words and themes like “authenticity” and “trust” are beginning to be hijacked for marketing purposes – and that bothers me.