Mike Becker – marketing strategist, writer, leader

Mike BeckerYes, slightly enlarged ego but fortunately big mind to go along with it. More than 30 years on Madison Avenue building brands and winning awards taught Mike a thing or two even if he was born in Toledo, Ohio.

Mike grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Syracuse University and after military service delivered traffic helicopter reports for three years for a New York radio station. He came down to earth and began his advertising career as a copywriter at the first public ad agency, Papert Koenig Lois.

Much of Mike’s career was spent at Young & Rubicam Advertising (26 years in total). He left for a while to spend three years as Chief Creative Officer at Ted Bates and then to BBDO as a top creative executive and member of the Board. He was part of the team that won the coveted Apple Computer account. Mike returned to Young & Rubicam and industry-leading direct marketing division Wunderman. As Chief Creative Officer Worldwide, he was also a member of the Young & Rubicam Partnership Board.

Mike is considered to be an innovative and influential executive in the advertising industry. At Y&R companies, Mike created the award winning 25-year television campaign, “I’m stuck on Band-Aid ’cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me”. He led the creation and production of the 10-year American Express Corporate Card campaign “To Your Success”.

During the late 70’s and 80’s, Mike created and supervised 1/3 of all Y&R’s creative accounts including Jell-O Pudding with Bill Cosby, Dr Pepper, KFC, Eastern Airlines (his client was former astronaut Frank Borman), Time Magazine, Met Life, Johnson & Johnson, US Army, General Foods, Cadbury, AT&T, the U.S. Postal Service, President’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports (client was astronaut Jim Lovell) and others.

Mike created the first Earth Day campaign for then Mayor Lindsey and after the Gulf War the “Operation Welcome Home” campaign for a commission named by Mayor David Dinkins.

Mike has spoken at conferences in more than 40 countries traveling out of America over 200 times during his career. Some of his speaking titles: Credibility in Advertising, Product Positioning, Behavior Marketing, The New Digital World.

Becker and art director partners have won over a hundred awards at numerous advertising and marketing festivals including: Cannes Film Festival (Gold & Silver Lions), Clio Film Festival, Art Directors Show and many others.

In 1998, he formed beckercommunications to advise clients on marketing, advertising and public relations. Mike was instrumental in building the creative team for Bill Bradley for President.

Recently Becker has worked with medium size clients that range from a Napa Valley vineyard to a major flavors and fragrance firm, architects, lawyers, real estate, insurance, brokerage firms and luxury builder.

Mike’s team is small but very talented. Skim the bios of the team members. Past and current clients can be found on the this site.

David Fogle – senior art director, designer

David FogleNot one but two degrees in Architecture from Rhode Island School of Design. Dave is very strategic, highly creative and blink-fast. He has a great mind and is great at details too.

Dave went straight into graphic design in the 80’s and traditional print design. Now he keeps pace with all the new technologies and is well versed in all forms of production including the web.

Dave also teaches college workshops in Internet technology and web design. Dave is a highly talented creative designer and art director whether creating logos, design books, exhibition booths, annual reports or a total advertising campaign. He is not only creative but very strategic.

Over the past 20 years working with beckercommunications, Dave has created and produced some of the best work. Whatever the project, he always has a sense of style and flair.

Dave, his wife and two college age sons and live on the West Side of New York City. Golf is a hobby but he wishes he only had the time for more of it.

Kathy Schlein – MBA advisor

Kathy SchleinMs. Schlein in an active angel investor and advisor to a number of startup companies across multiple different business sectors. Her focus has been in consumer-driven software and hardware technologies as well as lifestyle consumer products. Her expertise lies in branding and brand management, product development, and product marketing. Ms. Schlein started her career immediately after college working on the original Macintosh team at Apple and remained in Silicon Valley for 24 years working at a number of cutting-edge technology businesses. She was VP of Research & Development for Hasbro Inc., and in management at Apple twice, Momenta Corporation and T-Maker. She consulted for Life Technologies, Sanford Burnham Medical Discovery Institute, and Interval Research (a Paul Allen Think Tank). She also serves on the Board of Academy Securities. Ms. Schlein is currently a Board Member of: Academy Securities and has served on the board of Logoworks (sold to HP), Skullcandy (IPO), Dotspotter (sold to CBS). Ms. Schlein sits on the Boards of the Trustee Council for Penn Women (TCPW) and the Track Alumni Board, and Stance’s (a consumer lifestyle business) Innovation Board of Advisors. Ms. Schlein has a BA in American History from The University of Pennsylvania, where she was the Captain of Penn’s Cross Country and Track Team with 8 Varsity letters, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Katherine Becker – business office manager, media, production

Katherine BeckerKatherine is the sounding board for everything and is usually right on. Talk to her and it’s done or on the way. Katherine not only handles all financials for the small agency but also media and production. Background: Born in Versailles France, Katherine grew up in New Jersey and went to work for Worthington Corporation after graduating from high school at 17. She became an Art Director then Art Supervisor for Worthington. Katherine graduated from Kean University and holds a degree in accounting. She was the first women President of an Art Directors Club in America. Katherine graduated magna cum laude at 35 from Kean College with a BS in accounting while raising three children now grown with families of their own. She served as President and board member for The League of Women Voters of New Jersey as well as serving as President for a time. She was a founding member and served as Vice Chair of The Women’s Fund of NJ and held many board positions of the 60-year-old, 100 person, Masterwork Chorus.

Barry Spector – senior art director, designer, web creation

Barry SpectorBorn in New York, Barry grew up as an artist. At the age of six he attended art classes at the Brooklyn Museum of Art (although the minimum age was seven) and took oil painting classes in the cluttered, rustic back rooms of art and framing stores. He commuted to the High School of Art & Design where he studied drawing, sculpture, large-format photography and animation. At Pratt Institute, Barry earned a Communications BFA with an emphasis on advertising and photojournalism. It was there, at Pratt, that Barry first met Mike Becker who was at Young & Rubicam Advertising agency. It seems that Mike was also a part-time guest professor at Barry’s college teaching copywriting to art direction majors. Barry’s first experience in the real world was as an Art Director at Avon Products in New York. He spent five plus years refining his craft there. He established Spector Design in 1984 when computers became available to commercial designers. As the computer became more commonplace in the business world, he sought new ways to utilize it for the ‘next thing,’ which for him was the creation of web sites. His organizational and design skills became key ingredients in successfully developing web sites for clients from Neuberger&Berman Management to International Truck and Engine Corporation. Barry helped his wife Shelley Spector start Spector & Associates, a public relations firm. In 1997 he created the Museum of Public Relations an online resource discussing the early pioneers of public relations. Barry lives in Short Hills with his family. One relevant hobby is photography for fun and business. Actually, Barry is a highly talented professional photographer and does many of the “still shoots” for the company.

David Derr – senior art director, designer

David DerrDavid’s years of experience have taught him well. After studying at what is now Rowan University and at the Art Students League in NYC, he developed his creative philosophy.  A successful creative execution is that a great concept is more than just a beautiful design. It should accomplish a business objective by uniquely expressing a specific message in a compelling way.  David’s design versatility has enabled him to create successful campaigns across a range of assignments and through many forms of media – logos, brochures, presentations, corporate identity packages, websites, CD/DVD and book covers, magazine design and layout, trade show publications, collateral materials, corporate communications, and advertising. To see just one example of the quality of David’s work, go to previous clients and see the logo and website design for Family Security Insurance.

Danielle Speckhart – senior writer

Danielle BeckerCopywriter Danielle is a 1990 graduate of Simmons College with a degree in Communications. She started her advertising career at D’Arcy, Benton & Bowles on accounts: Burger King, IBM Latin America, Pampers, Always, Marine Midland Bank, Corning, Coke and Club Med. Working with Grey Advertising in NYC, Danielle did all the work that helped the the agency win the $15,000,000 in billings business. Awards include a Gannett Outdoor $10,000 Grand Prize for Lender’s Bagels and an Effie Award for Advertising Effectiveness for P&G. Danielle also studied acting which she believes has helped her in her advertising career. She and her husband Mark have a son Kyle, daughters Maggie and Anna and two large weimaraners Milo and Pearl. Danielle is smart, creative and always with a quip. Copywriter Danielle even can be called on for on camera work and recently did the narration for a short five minute video about the town she lives in.

Emily Blair – designer/art director

Emily BlairEmily began her career as an Assistant Professor at Washington State University in Pullman, where she taught all levels of print and web design. Her artwork takes many forms including video. As part of the collaborative artists’ team Next Question, Emily also worked on large-scale community based art projects. Emily has a B.A. in Fine Arts from Wesleyan University in Connecticut and an M.F.A. in Graphics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Emily currently lives in Brooklyn with her long time partner, and also an artist, Phuong and their son Max.

Stew Birbrower – art director, director, painter

stewStew Birbrower passed away during the summer of 2014.  He was the first art director I ever worked with and was one of the very best. His spirit will always be with me and with our firm. Here is his very brief bio. After graduating from Syracuse University, he played semi pro baseball and served in  the military. Upon his return, he married, started a family and began a great career on Madison Avenue. Stew worked with me at Young & Rubicam for twenty years and then served as co-creative director on the Coca Cola account at McCann Erickson. He switched gears and started his own TV production company in 1980 winning many awards. He took up painting and sold several to serious investors. Stew created and directed two films and two important public services television campaigns. For work on “Darkness to Light”, which campaigns against child abuse, he received The President’s “Points of Light Award” with letters of thanks from both George Bush. Stew and his wife Sylvia moved for a few years to Kiawah Island but never had time for golf. Then he moved to Los Angeles to be closer to the world of film and advertising and some of his many grandchildren. If you would care to see just one of his literally hundreds of commercials, go to the client section or front page and view the commercial he art directed and directed with Dyan Cannon for The Hemangioma Treatment Foundation.

Additional Consultants

Additional ConsultantsA few members of the team have staff jobs at giant agencies so obviously we can’t publish their names here. One is a senior 20-year agency researcher available for research issues, insights and testing needs.