Capitol Communicator is running “Up Close and Personal” profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this profile, we feature Bil Cullen. Photography for the series is by award-winning Cade Martin.  Wardrobe, hair and makeup by Michelle Torres.

Bil, please provide us a short bio.

I was born and raised in a small town on the Potomac River and always had a propensity for art and mathematics. I followed the creative path to VCU’s school of art. This was around the time the first Apple Macintosh was released and my sophomore year was the first year VCU had a Mac lab. Now my analytical side was being fed. Within a year after graduating with a BA in Communication Arts I started freelancing at a former professor’s graphic design firm. That led to full-time employment, then ownership and eventually equal partnership.

As a graphic designer, art director and owner at Communication Design I have worked on a wide range of graphic design and visual communication pieces. With extensive experiences designing complex, multi-page publications as well as detailed maps, info graphics and financial data. My expertise includes print, exterior signage and website design. I have worked with a wide range of clients from nonprofit to corporate — Civil War Trails, CFA Institute, Dominion Energy, ChildFund International, and UVA, among  others. Additionally, I manage the firm’s technology, staying current or ahead of the curve regarding computer hardware, software and digital communication solutions.

Are you involved in any other organizations?

I’ve been involved with professional organizations such as the local AIGA and IABC chapters. More recently my volunteer activities are more personal included the local running and cycling scenes, my daughter’s swim teams, Richmond Animal League and Richmond SPCA. There are many diverse relationships that can be developed outside of the professional world and some that intersect personal and professional interest.

What are you are most proud of?

In 2008, I became a living organ donor by donating a kidney to my daughter whose kidneys were suffering from end-stage renal disease. No skills, education or ability were required, it was a “no brainer” for any father.

Who was your personal role model?

My maternal grandfather was a role model for life in general. He was a farmer, hard worker and one of the kindest men I’ve known.  Grandpa was a DIYer before it existed, fixing/repairing things himself and very self-sufficient living on a farm 10 miles from the nearest town. I believe my work ethic and problem solving skills came from his genes.

Did others offer professional advice that helped you in your career?

A renowned professor at VCU my senior year told me “to get out of Richmond.” I listened and tested the waters in the San Francisco and Washington, D.C., areas. Then an opportunity opened to work with another former professor back in Richmond. Thirty years later, here I am.

What professional advice do you have for others?

Stay current and relevant, challenge yourself, always look for growth opportunities, and don’t be stagnant. Network and be involved in your communities both personal and professional.

What’s on your Spotify and Pandora playlists?

Avett Brothers, Johnny Cash, John Prine, REM, Wilco, Van Morrison, and a few pop lists from when my kids were younger.

What’s your favorite restaurant?

Mamma Zu, I haven’t been in a while but it’s a hands-down favorite.

 

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