I am a product design leader and team builder focusing on virtually anything with a screen. I'm currently the VP of Product Design at WillowTree in Charlottesville, VA.
Create an inspired environment, so the team wants to create the best work of their careers.
Hi, I’m David. I have spent the majority of my career, either designing digital products or helping to build and guide teams to make them. While I have always loved pushing pixels, most of my fulfillment now comes from seeing designers grow into creating the best work of their careers and doing whatever I can to help them – and the product they are designing for – succeed.
I started my career as a touring drummer but found myself spending all of my free time designing for the web. It didn't take long to realize a career change was in order. In the early 2000s, I began doing freelance graphic design and web design for advertising agencies in the Mid-Atlantic, ultimately joining a marketing product company full-time.
Over the years, I have had the great fortune of working in all areas of digital products, partnering with clients across well-established Fortune 100 & 500 companies, a couple hundred universities, and a handful of technology start-ups.
My leadership philosophy can be summed up with this quote attributed to the French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the [people] to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.
As the head of design at this 500 person agency, I am responsible for driving culture, quality of all client products, and the vision for what defines great design across all WillowTree offices in multiple cities. I have built the design group from 5 to 50+ designers.
Selected designer leaders from the industry, advancing the practice of design leadership by fostering a community where the world’s best can learn from one another. I was nominated by my team at WillowTree 🖤.
Managed the product design group and design operations at WillowTree's headquarters in Charlottesville, VA. I was also tasked with hands-on strategy and design work for key client "blue sky" projects.
Lead design for large mobile products (NCAA, CBS Sports, Nestlé, Hatch). Mentored design interns and junior designers.
Helped start this small digital product studio in Nashville with two others. I was responsible for growing the creative side of the business and managing the team of designers.
Charged with taking previously custom, one-off digital campaigns and creating a suite of products for all university clients to use. Built the team from 5 to 60+. Royall was sold in 2014 to EAB for $850m.
Managed a growing web design group for the agency. After years of print and email marketing for universities, I was charged with building out our fastest growing business area – digital.
I was one of the first web designers at this previously print-only marketing agency for higher education.