Nine-year-old Dan listens as Ray Bradbury describes a short story, “The Veldt,” at a reading, El Camino Community College, Los Angeles: “As the parents walk down the hall to the nursery,” Bradbury says, “I don’t know what’s going to happen. I simply follow them and watch.” Dan thinks this is somehow a calling to become a novelist; it turns out, in fact, to be an apt description of a career in advertising. (The parents are eaten by lions.)
At 12, Dan plants a cardboard sign in the middle of his parents’ newly mown lawn. “Want your lawn to look like this? Call now.” His first direct response ad. Fast forward. Past the B.S. in Electrical Engineering.* Past the minor in English literature.* (University of California, San Diego.) Past work at the IBM Los Gatos Research VLSI design lab, writing a language compiler for a Logic Design Simulator. Past grad school in English Lit at the University of Washington. (Did Satan really have free will in Milton’s Paradise Lost?) Time to make money. Dan opens a boutique in Seattle with clients Microsoft, Seafirst Bank and Red Hook Ale. Moves to Los Angeles. Signs with BBDO, working up to group creative director on Apple, Best Western and Ortho, collecting a Lion, Beldings, Ad Age Best and One Show creative awards.
In 1997, Dan takes a call from Ogilvy New York and heeds it, living in Brooklyn and working on IBM, Motorola (HelloMoto), Perrier, Cotton, and Andersen, as well as leading the Young Guns creative group. In 2002, Ogilvy asks Dan to take the reins at Ogilvy LA. In 2007, Dan adds San Francisco to the mix with business partner Heather MacPherson. The adventure continues, with incursions into tech, greentech, food, health, hospitality, kids toys and fashion, financial services and CSR, via clients Cisco, Mattel, Kraft, ampm, ARCO, NatureMade, Tabasco, SolarWorld, McKesson, Heal the Bay, and Generation Rwanda. The addition of Sacramento and Denver offices into the West portfolio rounds out the game with social media, government lobbying and public relations until 2010 in which Dan was appointed Chief Innovation Officer of North America to apply his particular brand of business and creative alchemy to the Ogilvy Network.
An ultra-marathoner,* surfer and snowboarder, Dan is an ordained Zen priest*, the father of 18-year- old son Nicolas, and husband to Lauri, a painter, sustainable landscape designer and entrepreneur.
Dan is currently Board Chair of GOAL4.ORG, a non-profit founded by Dan and Lauri, dedicated to reducing infant mortality in sub-Saharan Africa (Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya). Dan is also a board member of Communities in Schools, Los Angeles and the Emma Bowen Foundation, as well as a member of the Leadership Circle of GATE, the Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment.
In his latest professional incarnation, Dan is focused on unleashing the natural passions and talents of people and the institutions they form, with the intent to create new, profitable* business models and creative approaches to market, for the common good.*
* “Contradictions? Coincidences? Are there any such things?”
“If entertainment can’t and doesn’t transform our world view for the better, what, exactly, are we up to?”