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"Life is too short to work for or with people you don't like."
- Everyone at Brickhouse

David Adams Thompson • Principal

David moved to Montana in 1993, a few years after obtaining an English degree from Bates College in Maine (college summers were spent guiding at a guest ranch in White Sulphur Springs, MT). Just out of school, he worked for the Orvis Company, a high end outdoor retailer, managing their $1 million per year retail store in Boston, their Boston fly fishing school, and helping assess partners for their Orvis Endorsed Lodge & Guide program.

In Montana, David was a travel planner for Off the Beaten Path, the region’s premier custom trip-planning travel company, and subsequently the head of OBP’s The Sportsman’s Desk. While there, David marketed, sold (via print marketing and direct phone sales), and planned self-guided outdoor-oriented vacations for an ultra-exclusive clientele. He also traveled extensively throughout the Northern Rockies, assessing potential destinations, and consulted with new and existing destinations with regard to services, pricing, and potential.

Thompson’s primary roles at Brickhouse Creative are creative director, copywriter, and brand manager—not to mention he is our company principal and owner of the place. Unlike other agencies where the principal often has diminished input on the day-to-day work product, David plays a pivotal role in all creative work coming out of Brickhouse, from brand strategy and messaging to design and imagery.

David’s articles and photographs occasionally appear in regional and national publications such as Fly Fisherman Magazine, Big Sky Journal and Forbes.com. He has toured nationally with a bluegrass band (Kane’s River), wrote two songs that made the top 10 on the bluegrass charts, and co-produced and composed songs for Fishing Music I & II, a nationally-acclaimed acoustic music album—highlighted by a live performance on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion.

Outside the office, David fly fishes, hikes, and explores the backroads and lost trails of Montana with his wife and two young daughters. 

Abby McMillen • Lead Designer/Creative Strategist

Abby spent her formative years in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where she developed a true love of high peaks and the solace of open spaces, not to mention all the activities an outdoor lifestyle has to offer. In 2011, she summited the Grand Teton—the impressive mountain in whose shadow she grew up—an accomplishment she’s not sure she’ll ever beat.

Abby’s graphic design career spans nearly two decades and includes stints at agencies both large and small. After graduating summa cum laude from Syracuse University, she landed in Kansas City, where she cut her early design teeth working on several big accounts, including Hallmark, Sprint, Bayer, the Kansas City Zoo / IMAX Theater, Farmland National Beef, Missouri Bank, and Blue Cross & Blue Shield. In demanding environments with tight deadlines and high expectations, Abby quickly learned the value of working with a solid team. After several years, she felt pulled west by the mountains and relocated to Denver, where her client list included Volant Skis and Wyoming Travel and Tourism—both of which provided challenging and exciting creative opportunities.

Seeking to return to a simpler life in a small, mountain town, Abby escaped to Bozeman to deliver inspired design for the Museum of the Rockies and in 2007, she joined Brickhouse as our Lead Designer and Creative Strategist. A strategy maven who loves to deliver creative work that is both clever and relevant to our clients’ demographics, she acts as co-creative director with David, heads up our design department, writes copy (did we mention her MFA in poetry?), project manages when necessary, and is our HR director as well. Sometimes, we even let her answer the phone.

A fitness enthusiast, Abby is a group fitness instructor at the local Ridge Athletic Club (she recruited Jessie to teach as well) and has also created quite a busy niche for herself with disarmingly simple folk dog paintings called Folk Dog Art. In her free time, she’s outside chasing sunshine with her golden retriever pup, George.

Jessie Paluga Smith • Graphic Designer/Project Coordinator

A Minnesota native, Jessie earned her BFA in graphic design from Montana State University. She developed a passion for delivering first-rate customer service working for Fortune 500 companies but grew weary of the politics of corporate America. Jessie joined the Brickhouse team as an intern and found she liked our culture so much that she’s decided she’ll never leave.

Since then, she has had the opportunity to work in nearly every position in the office—making her well equipped to do anything from design to project management to office administration. Our resident “maximizer,” Jessie’s extreme thoroughness ensures every project that crosses her desk is well thought out and executed with the utmost attention to detail.

When she is not at the office, she can be found teaching group fitness classes at The Ridge Athletic Club, cooking, exploring Montana’s outdoors, hiking, or fishing.

 

Ben Pierce • Video & Photography

Ben grew up on a small dairy farm in central Massachusetts before hopping a Greyhound Bus west to study English Literature at Montana State University in Bozeman. After graduation, Ben followed his passion for fly fishing to New Zealand where he chased brown trout in the mountain valleys of the South Island.

Pierce returned to Montana to join the Bozeman Daily Chronicle where he worked as the newspaper’s outdoors editor from 2004-2016. His stories and photographs have appeared in The Washington Post, Montana Outdoors, Sports Afield, and numerous other national and regional publications.

At Brickhouse, Ben handles video and still photography work, where his experience in interviewing subjects and finding themes and powerful stories has been instrumental in producing award-winning results. Ben also plays a role in new ad concepting and copywriting. 

When not making curves adjustments at Brickhouse, Ben spends his time with his wife, Christine, and dog, Kato, exploring the wonders of western Montana.

Jacki Van Meter • Account Manager / Creative Strategist

Jacki is originally from California, where she received a BA in Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

After college, Jacki pursued her passion for wine in a boutique winery in the Silicon Valley as Wine Club and eCommerce Manager. As wine club manager, she planned events, balanced budgets, managed over 1500 members, along with tasting a lot of excellent wine. Jacki then held a position of Marketing Director for a  real estate firm, where she used her creative and analytic skills to develop marketing strategy, and implement SEO and social media plans.

Jacki and her husband followed their dream of living in the mountains and moved to Bozeman a few years ago, where they fly fish, ski green circles, hang out with their dogs, and are learning to dress for -30 weather. It's important to note that, despite having worked in a surf shop during college years, Jacki is a pretty terrible surfer.

Adam Ormiston • Developer

Adam graduated from Montana State University, and has been working in the web industry for nearly 10 years. A native of Wyoming, he’s lived in Montana for over 15 years.

 He began his web career Earthtalk Studios in Bozeman, working projects for large regional clients such as Yellowstone National Park and the Yellowstone Association. After Earthtalk, he worked at Thermal Creative, finally moving on to launch BitForge with Matt.

At BitForge, Adam has been an integral part of the development process for all of Brickhouse’s clients. Adam has strong project management skills, as well as full-stack web development and systems administration. An automation fanatic, he thinks that if he ever has to do anything twice, he should have written a script to automate it the first time. Brickhouse benefits from Adam’s knowledge of the digital world, as well as his background in finance and administration. 

As a resident of Churchill, he spends most of time chasing his kids around, or attempting to tame Mother Nature on various projects around his house. When possible, he’s also on wheels of some sort, generally cycling or mountain biking.

Matt White • Lead Developer

Matt White is a fifth-generation Montana resident, and graduated with highest honors from Montana State University. As a partner with Adam in BitForge, Brickhouse’s long-time development partners, Matt is instrumental in our day-to-day work process.

He has worked in the web industry for nearly 15 years, beginning with Earthtalk Studios, Bozeman’s first and premier digital marketing company, rising to position of Lead Programmer over his 5 years of employment there. While at Earthtalk, Matt worked on large projects for a variety of clients, including Yellowstone National Park and Yellowstone Association.

After graduating, Matt became a partner in a new digital marketing firm, Thermal Creative, which grew to four staff members, with Matt as the lead developer. Thermal partnered with Brickhouse Creative for several years, in addition to a variety of other clients from around the country. After leaving Thermal, Matt started BitForge, with current partner Adam Ormiston, with a plan of being in close partnership with Brickhouse.

Matt has years of experience in the Agile Development process, and has worked as an outside consultant and tech lead for projects with domestic and offshore development staff. Matt continues to provide development and consulting services for Brickhouse on a daily basis, providing invaluable insights on user experience, changes in technology and trends, and providing superb coding. The Brickhouse crew is still trying to find a programming problem that Matt can’t figure out, but to date that’s been impossible. 

When not in front of the monitor, Matt’s outside backcountry skiing, running, cycling, or mountain biking with his wife, young children, and dogs.

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