Capitol Communicator is running a series featuring an in-depth look at communicators in the mid-Atlantic.  In this “Up Close and Personal” profile, we feature Rick Heffner. Photography for the series is by Cade Martinwardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire and Sybil Street for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup by Patti D Nelson, Janice Kinigopoulos and Lori Pressman for THE Artist Agency.

Rick, please provide us a short bio.

I earned an AA degree from Frederick Community College, BFA from Shepherd University, an MA from the University of Baltimore and got my professional start in 1992 at one of D.C.’s premier design firms, Supon Design Group. I then moved on to be one of the initial members of the design team for Discovery Communications as Senior Design Manager. In that role I was responsible for designing and art directing collateral for Discovery Channel, TLC, and Animal Planet. Getting itchy to work with a wider array of clients, in 1996 I founded Fuszion, a design firm in Alexandria, VA. In the beginning, we were doing mostly TV and cable work, then expanded into the museums, arts, associations, and institutional markets.

Fuszion’s work has earned praise all around the world from the Broadcast Designers Association, Art Directors Club of Thailand, Print, AIGA, HOW, Graphis, the ADDYs, Novum, ADCMW, CTAM, HOW Design Books, Rockport Publishers, DESI, American Corporate Identity, The Big Book of Logos, Entertainment Graphics and many others.

Are you involved in any other organizations?

I’ve served on the Board of Directors for the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington and hold memberships in the Broadcast Designers Association, the University & College Designers and I’ve been an AIGA member since 1993. Plus, I’m an unoffical roadie for STYX and Pat Benatar.

Who are your personal role models?

I’ve had many role models and heroes that have kept me going. Not all heroes wear a cape. It all starts at home, so I’d say my folks first. They were and are very hard workers. They made me say “yes, please, and thank you”, always push in my chair, and hold the door open for the person behind you.

And, my sister. She’s got the left side of the brain, I’ve got the right, so we make a good team. And my teachers and professors at various stages of my education.

What professional advice do you have for others?

Surround yourself with good people. Listen to them. Hire people that compliment you, not just to do things the way you might do them. Having the perfect team is paramount. Your staff becomes family, and you want to take care of them. I thank all our staff that we’ve had for their talent, hard work, and dedication.

What’s on your XM/Sirius?

I’m a child of the 80’s—arena rock and big hair! My presets are 80s, Classic Rock, Hair Nation and NFL Network.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?

I grew up in Brunswick, MD, a small railroad town. I once let a hobo into the house because he was hungry. As a kid, I mowed lawns, shoveled sidewalks, and sold Grit newspapers and Burpee Seeds around town to make enough cash to buy my first stereo. During high school, I worked at the local newspaper, as a tour guide at our history museum, a mail carrier with the USPS, a bag boy at the local ACME grocery store, and as an usher at our local movie theater at the mall – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Purple Rain, and The Karate Kid were a few of the blockbusters then. Went to college, fast forward to the last 20 years and I’ve been heading up Fuszion.

I think maybe it’s time for a vacation…



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