Gas Can: 2016 AAF-KC Creative Conference

(816) 822-0300

Tug McTighe



Every day, Tug tries to do something great. In his role as Executive Creative Director at Callahan Creek, he’s got a hand in every piece of work that comes out of the agency. Fortunately, he’s only got one speed: ON. During a long and varied career in and around the Kansas City market, he’s worked to turn wheat into flour for such clients as Westar, Elanco, Nudges Wholesome Dog Treats, Free State Brewing Company, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Sprint, CommunityAmerica Credit Union, Boulevard Brewing Company, Captain D’s Seafood and the Coleman Company. In even further past agency lives he’s worked on a ton of different accounts – including, but certainly not limited to, Caterpillar, Birch Telecom, International Trucks, the Missouri Lottery and Sonic Drive-In.

If fancy advertising awards mean anything to you, he has won a lot of them during his career. His work has been featured in national shows such as the CA Ad Annual, AAF National Addys and the Clio Shortlist. He’s won more than 50 Addys locally, including two Best of Show Awards as well as Best of TV, Best of Radio and Best of Print. If he ever gets out of advertising he plans to write intensely personal (read: bad) poetry and watch his kids grow up in the mountains of Colorado.  

Of further interest (perhaps) is the fact that Tug co-created and co-hosts American Copywriter, one of the first and most-popular advertising-themed podcast-blog-things ever. Tug is also a well-known speaker on the subject of marketing and advertising creativity. He talks to Ad Clubs, students and other professionals around the country on a regular basis.

Dustin Blakeman

Catch-Frayz Marketing

"Is It Art Yet?"


D. R. Blakeman is the Lead Designer for Catch-Frayz Marketing and has overseen the design and construction of dozens of logos, websites, and brand identities still in use by clients today. He is a published playwright, artist, filmmaker, and musician with years of first-hand experience in brand design, illustration, photo manipulation, video and audio production, animation, and much more. He is currently writing, directing, co-producing, and (with his band Msg Ctrl) scoring a short film series with Overlooked Productions, and remains the resident playwright for Journeyman Theatre Company in Kansas City..

Joe Cox


"D.D.I.Y (Don't Do It Yourself)"


I grew up in the KC area & have at least 5 t-shirts that prove how proud I am of that fact.

Graduated from Northwest Missouri State University with the only plan being something around being Batman like, I began working for Red Bull managing their sampling program in KC. Eventually that took me across the country helping activate events like Flugtag, Red Bull Air Race & National LAN Tournaments. I talk about it a lot, but it’s my first love!  Also where my internal branding bible comes from.

4 years in w/ Barkley, I’ve lead the Social+Content practice at Barkley, been featured in a couple of books & built a team of 20. Now working to define & establish the Engagement practice there, orchestrating & designing all communication around brand experiences. Life is rad.

A fundamental belief that brands must do better to prove that they give a shit gets me up in the morning, rarely that’s advertising.

Ari Fish

KSHB Studios

"Swerve Me? Maintaining Your Creative Momentum and Path"


Ari Fish is an artist, advisor, and educator, based out of the Midwest. Her work focuses on ideas of transcendental experience for the benefit of the human condition. Fish's most recent work consists of multi media constructions of temporary temples, meditative video work and sound, and intuitive prayer-driven sigil drawings. Along with her art practice, Fish is a guest speaker at colleges and museums, guest curator for local art organizations, and contributing writer for career and business publications. Ari Fish can be seen on KSHB's KC Live on their Art Fridays (Art Lessons with Ari Fish) as she is the Artist in Residence at KSHB Studios through the Kansas City Art Institute.  

Seth Gunderson

Sullivan Higdon & Sink

"You’re either IN or you’re OUT. Or you’re MAYBE."


Lover of nachos. Hater of radishes. Recent tolerator of corn. Seth hails from the Ozark mountains in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where he spent  half his life calling the Hogs and dodging the shadow of Walmart. He has a unique knack of making you laugh while feeling uncomfortably comfortable. And that’s all without his creepy mustache. As a creative director at Sullivan Higdon & Sink, Seth loves good branding and hates unnecessary complications. He’s married to a media director. Which is weird. He’s won awards on both the local and national levels for his work with brands such as the Kansas City Chiefs, Newel-Rubbermaid, Houlihan’s, Shatto Milk Company, Merial, American Century Investments, AMC Theatres, Procter & Gamble and more. And if you really wanted to know, he's still on the fence about corn.

 Thomas Hendrix

Sink or Swim Tattoo

"The Balancing Act"


My name is Thomas Hendrix. I have been tattooing for close to ten years. I opened sink or swim tattoo when I was 23 years old I have been open for 4 1/2 years and going strong as far as I can tell!

I am wanting to talk about the creative process that I go through when designing someone's tattoo. I feel people will be interested in the amount of considerations I take in regards to limitations of the medium. I would also like to discuss the artistic side of tattooing and how I try to combine personal artwork with the craft of tattooing. 

Peregrine Honig


"Exotic Erotic"


Peregrine Honig was born in San Francisco, California. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Albright Knox, Buffalo, NY; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.; the Milwaukee Art Museum; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut. She has had solo and group exhibitions at Dwight Hackett Projects in Santa Fe, Geschiedle Gallery in Chicago, and Larissa Goldstein, in New York. Her work is included in The Dianne and Sandy Besser Collection ( San Francisco de Young Museum of Art ); The Random and the Ordered: New Prints (International Print Center, New York); Comic Release: Negotiating Identity for A New Generation (Regina Gouger Miller Gallery, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh); and The Perception of Appearance: A Decade of Contemporary American Figure Drawing (Frye Art Museum, Seattle). Honig is a recipient of the Art Omi International Artists’ Residency, Guanlan China Original Printmaking Base, Proyecto Acé Argentina,The Robert Rauchenberg Foundation SEED Grant through The Fishtank, the Charlotte Street Fund, The Lighton International Artists Exchange, a Rocket Grant, and an Inspiration Grant. She has printed five  Landfall Press, that explores the relationship between fashion and art. Peregrine Honig came in second on the first season of Bravo’s Work of Art. Honig is an award winning freelance curator and owns Birdies, an independent lingerie shop established in 2003. Her recent project All is Fair produced "Compliant" a gender neutral bathroom sign that has become an icon in protest of HB2.

Alyssa Murfey


"Recess, Storytime and Fieldtrips"


Where the left and the right brain converge is where you'll find Alyssa. She finds art in analytics, design in data and joy in jargon. Using data and information to make creative decisions is her bread and butter. She develops strategies that place the right content touch points across different channels, activating key audiences and helping clients attain their goals in the digital space. Alyssa has experience working with a multitude of brands across the social spectrum from Hallmark Cards and Proven Winners Plants to now, Tropicana and Propel. Most importantly, she indulges in being a life‐long learner and constantly adapting and pushing the boundaries of the social marketing world.

Scott Presnell

Parisi Coffee

"Art From the Cup. Inside Specialty Coffee."


Scott has more than 20 years’ experience in strategic marketing, in both agency and industry, working throughout his career mostly with brands on their one-to-one and digital programs.  Over the years he’s had the privilege to work with some great brands like Bayer Animal Health, Ruby Tuesdays, McDonalds, Hostess Brands, Beauty Brands, Thrifty Car Rental, Dell Computer, Ubisoft, Farmland Foods as well as share hallways with more than a few great creative and account people in KC. 

In 2008, he took the leap to join a small family-run artisan and specialty food distribution company with a desire to turn some of their products into brands and possibly create a few new ones.  Since ’08 he’s been instrumental in re-launching an Italian specialty food brand, propelling a tiny artisan salsa into the #1 selling product in the market, building a coffee roasting company to have products distributed throughout the U.S. and opening a few coffee shops.

Steve Revare


"The Science and Creativity of Distilling and Marketing Spirits"


You could call Steve Revare a “renaissance man,” and not just because he’s old enough to have known Leonardo DaVinci. His background includes writing television promos, running camera at Amway conventions, creating news graphics for the 5am news, founding a digital ad agency, creating an app for musicians, and writing a novel. Through it all, he never stopped drinking. So it made sense to team up with his childhood friend and open a craft distillery. Tom’s Town Distilling Company is the culmination of his entrepreneurial spirit, creative mind, and taste for the good stuff.

Davyeon Ross


"Bringing Elite Level Analytics to Every Level of the Game” 


An innovative technology leader and widely recognized entrepreneur, Davyeon Ross has more than 15 years of experience in the technology space. Ross is Co-founder / COO of DDSports Inc. a team sports performance platform fueled by wearable and smart equipment data. DDSports first product is ShotTracker a wearable tech for basketball that automatically tracks a basketball players shot attempts, makes, misses and their location on the court while providing real time statistics and data.

A native of Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies, Ross was a four-year letterman for Benedictine College's basketball team while leading the nation in field goal percentage his senior year. Ross also earned a bachelor of science in Computer Science and later earned his MBA from Mid-America Nazarene University.

Ingred Sidie

design ranch

"Two Steppin’ Your Brand"


Ingred Side studied graphic design at Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles where she received her BFA with Honors in 1989. She has worked at Willoughby Design in Kansas City as a creative director on fashion and retail identity projects for clients such as  Lee  Jeans, Peruvian Connection, Helzberg Diamonds and Sprint. At LKP in Cincinnati, Ingred worked as an art director leading large­scale retail branding and packaging projects for clients Max Factor, Procter and Gamble (P&G) and Revlon. In May 1998, she established her own studio, Design Ranch, with partner Michelle Sonderegger.

 Ingred’s  creative  direction  has  been  notable  for  strategic  thinking,  conceptual  content  and  unexpected  solutions.  Her  work encompasses brand identities, print, environmental design, signage systems, motion and websites, created in collaborations with Fortune 500 companies, universities, museums, and retail and fashion brands.

Her  work  has  influenced  clients  such  as  Intuit,  Target, Kohl’s,  Dell,  Lee  Jeans, Buckle,  Hallmark,  National  Museum  of  Toys & Miniatures, Truman Library Institute, Women’s Foundation, Helix, Maker Media and H&R Block.Ingred’s work has been recognized by the AIGA, the Type Directors Club, and the Art Directors Club, among others. She has earned a variety of awards and appeared in a number of publications, including Communication Arts, Print Magazine, New York Times, HOW, O Magazine, Novum and Nylon. Ingred has served on the Board of Directors for the AIGA and JCCC.

Alicia Solombrino

Beautiful Bodies

"Staying True to You"


Alicia is the lead singer for Kansas City based alternative rock band, Beautiful Bodies. Beautiful Bodies have shared the stage and toured with various alternative and punk bands, including The Smashing Pumpkins, My Chemical Romance, Jane's Addiction, Paramore, and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They have played festivals, such as Warped Tour, Kanrocksas, and SXSW, and have toured the U.S. and Canada extensively. The band's music has been featured on television programs and in commercials, such as Kansas City Chiefs advertisements, at fashion shows, such as New York Fashion Week, and at sporting events, such as the 2015 World Series. Beautiful Bodies won Ernie Ball's 2013 Battle of the Bands for Warped Tour, beating out 32,000 bands. In May 2014, the band signed a record deal with Epitaph Records and toured with Emarosa and Pvris later that year. Their debut album Battles was released on June 16, 2015.

Sam Unruh

Unruh Furniture

"Building a Business Through Storytelling­-Marketing."



The best entrepreneurial stories begin with a moment of personal inspiration.

For Sam Unruh, it was a desire to impress his sweetheart with a piece of furniture he had designed, crafted and assembled by hand in his workshop. His sweetheart was impressed enough to become Mrs. Unruh and his workshop has grown into Kansas City’s premiere boutique furniture studio.

Since 2010, Unruh Furniture has outfitted homes with our trademark designs, described by some as “reclaimed modern,” and “rustic, country” by others. No matter, we celebrate the many interpretations of our craft because every perspective is unique. So too, is every piece of Unruh Furniture.

From tables and sideboards to consoles and hutches, every piece is handmade from start to finish. Only the highest quality, solid wood boards make it through our discerning lumber selection phase. A professional, 8­step finishing process produces a surface both ultra­smooth and character­rich. After assembly, we fastidiously scrape and artistically chisel edges and seams to give a one­of­a­kind, tastefully weathered appearance.

This is Unruh Furniture.

Rob Vossmeyer

tom's town

"The Science and Creativity of Distilling and Marketing Spirits"


Distilling piqued Rob’s interest over five years ago, and a workshop at Koval Distillery in Chicago hooked him. He took courses from the American Distilling Institute and earned a degree from the Institute of Brewing & Distilling in Britain and two certificates from Kothe Distilling Technologies and the Society of Wine Educators respectively. He helped to design a micro­distillery in St. Louis, worked with GrandTen Distilling in Boston and studied gin with Corsair’s gin distiller in Kentucky. 

Given the growth in craft distilling and resulting shortage of qualified distillers, Tom’s Town was lucky to snag Vossmeyer. As Head Distiller at Tom’s Town, Rob Vossmeyer knows how to make great spirits. Within three months of its opening, Tom’s Town earned five medals for its spirits. Eli’s StrongArm Vodka received accolades winning two Gold medals (ACSA and SFISC) and a Silver at ADI (American Distilling Institute). McElroy’s Corruption Gin won Silver at American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) and Bronze at San Francisco International Spirits Competition (SFISC).

Hailee Bland-Walsh

city gym

"The Power of Creative Authenticity"


Hailee Bland-Walsh is the Founder and Owner of City Gym, located in Kansas City, Missouri. She grew up in Leawood, Kansas before leaving to play college soccer at 18 years old. Hailee finished her studies in Psychology at the University of Minnesota, and after a stint in the professional league, she moved to San Francisco where she began her career in the fitness industry. She honed her craft and business acumen in California for eight years, until 2011 when her heart led her back to Kansas City to open City Gym. In 2014, Hailee was named “Kansas City’s Top Trainer” by Kansas City Fitness Magazine and “Best Trainer in Kansas City” by Kansas City Magazine. 

In four and a half years of operation, City Gym has over 1,000 active members and has expanded to 11,600 square feet of space dedicated to personal training, group fitness, boot camps, cardio and strength equipment, private shower facilities and administrative space. City Gym has been named “Waldo’s Best” twice by the Waldo Business Association and in 2014 received the high honor of being named “Best Fitness Studio” by Kansas City Magazine. Most recently, City Gym was accepted into the 2015 class of Thinking Bigger Business’ “25 Under 25” and was also selected by Google to be featured in a global advertisement for the work City Gym does as an inclusive, community-focused business. 

Hailee believes Kansas City is an incredible place for entrepreneurs and believes now is an exciting time in the fitness and wellness industry in this area.

Kevin Willmott

kansas university

"Race, Movies and the Creatively Maladjusted"


Kevin Willmott co-wrote and is the Executive Producer of the critically acclaimed film, Chi-Raq directed by Spike Lee. The film is on numerous best of 2015 lists including best film and best screenplay of by The New Yorker Magazine. Willmott’s feature film, Jayhawkers, tells the story of a group of unlikely allies who modernized college sports and changed Kansas University during the early stages of the Civil Rights movement. Jayhawkers stars Kip Niven ("Magnum Force," "Return to Lonesome Dove") as Coach Phog Allen, Jay Karnes ("The Shield," "Burn Notice" “Gang Related”) as Chancellor Franklin Murphy and Trai Byers ( "Empire" “Selma”) as jazz musician Nathan Davis.  The film also features former KU basketball player, Justin Wesley as Wilt Chamberlain.

Willmott grew up in Junction City, Kansas and attended Marymount College receiving his BA in Drama. After graduation, he returned home, working as a peace and civil rights activist, fighting for the rights of the poor, creating two Catholic Worker shelters for the homeless and forcing the integration of several long standing segregated institutions. He attended graduate studies at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, receiving several writing awards and his M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing.

Willmott is a Professor in the Media and Film Studies Department of Kansas University.

— Surprise Guests —


Kathryn Lorenzen


"Match Can Boom" - The Gas Can Song

Kathryn Lorenzen is Senior Recruiter and Career Coach at LandaJob, uniting creative talent with agencies and corporate marketers. She’s an information and pop culture junkie, unsuited for any other field except advertising. Earlier in her career, she worked in account management at Valentine Radford and Bernstein-Rein, plus as a writer/producer at The Reed Agency in Charleston, SC. A published songwriter and recording artist, Kathryn has recently had song placements in The Americans, Last Man on Earth, and an indie horror film that she declines to name. Bucket-list AAF-KC experiences include: serving on the board for five years; helping LandaJob win two Ad Wars trophies, performing as guitarist/vocalist in the first winner of Ad2 Battle of the Ad Bands, Miss Major & Her Minor Mood Swings; and of course writing and recording “Match Can Boom” for Gas Can 2016.

Eric Melin, Beth Melin, and Conor Taft 

Air guitar Champions

"Creative Absurdity"

Stefan Mumaw


"Creative Absurdity II"

Stefan Mumaw is the Director of Creative Strategy at Hint, a Kansas City creative content & experience design shop. Previously, he peddled his wares as Creative Director for Callahan Creek, The Brainyard and REIGN. He has authored six books, the most recent being Creative Boot Camp: Generate Ideas in Greater Quantity & Quality In 30 Days. Previously, he authored Chasing the Monster Idea, co-authored Caffeine for the Creative Team and Caffeine for the Creative Mind with Wendy Lee Oldfield, and penned Redesigning Websites and Simple Websites.  Stefan has been a regular speaker at creative industry gatherings over the years, writes frequently for a variety of creative industry rags like HOW and PRINT Magazine, won numerous industry awards and been known to embarrass himself and those around him if given the opportunity.

Tammy Nigus

summit marketing

"Creative MacGyvering"

Tammy Nigus.JPG

Kansas native and Kansas State University alum, Tammy started her career in marketing more than 20 years ago in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Married to an Air Force officer, her career took a turn when they moved to Fairbanks, Alaska. There she oversaw the correspondence study program for the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Eventually the family thawed out when they returned to the Kansas City area, where she has worked in advertising and marketing ever since. Tammy received her professional direct marketing certification from the University of Missouri, Kansas City. The rapid adaptation of social media fascinates her and she is excited by all the new marketing opportunities available. Personal: Average golfer, iPad addict, catering hobbyist with mad cupcake skills, reality TV challenge show junkie

Ham Kitty

Improv comedy troupe

"Just Improvise"

Ham Kitty is a quintet of Kansas City’s most experienced improvisers. Formed to check a bucket list item and compete in Underground Throwdown, Ham Kitty was supposed to be a one-show gig. But they won the king-of- the-hill style improv comedy competition eight months ago and kept going—they currently hold the record for most wins. KC Improv Company named Ham Kitty the Breakout Group of 2016. See Ham Kitty defend their trophy once again Saturday, July 16, at 8pm at the Kick Comedy Theater.

Presented by Sandbox