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GG Costume Throwdown

UPDATE: Thanks for your votes. In a nail-biter of a contest, the designers took 76% of the votes. The other teams are sure they were sympathy votes. (Posted by one of the losers.)

At Greteman Group, we don’t really need an excuse to dress up and have a good time. So we’re all pretty big fans of a holiday that encourages such behavior.

This year, for Halloween, we decided to split up into three teams – designers, account strategists and support – for a costume battle royale.

And now, we turn to you, our faithful, dedicated, beautiful readers, to help us decide which team will win the inaugural GG Costume Contest.

So take a look at the photos and then vote on your favorite.

Designers – Dia de los Muertos

Support Team – Sickos

Account Strategists – Design Envy

Marc’s Picks for Final Friday – October 2009

This Final Friday converges with Halloween, and many will be prowling the streets in full costume. To help you plan your evening haunting Wichita’s galleries, I offer this list of must-see shows for October.

Be sure to click the thumbnails for a larger view of the images.

Painting by David Friday
Painting by David Friday

Elly Fitzig and David Friday at Commerce Street Gallery

Candy colors and expressive marks unite the works by these artists, so expect a really fun show by two of Wichita’s nicest people.

Commerce Gallery at the Go Away Garage
508 S. Commerce
7:00-10:00 p.m.

"The Multidimensional Deconstruction of Meditator" by Victor Rose
“The Multidimensional Deconstruction of Meditator” by Victor Rose

Victor Rose at Riney Fine Arts

Victor’s work is as intellectually challenging as it is soulful. As he describes it, his new works have “figures and objects that are abstracted into completely flat shapes, then presented in a raised but flat sculptural relief and also painted in a different position than the relief.” If that’s not entirely clear, just know that the work will play with your eyes and your mind – in a good way!

Riney Fine Arts Center Gallery
Friends University
2100 W. University
5:00-7:30 p.m.

Painting by Curt Clonts
Painting by Curt Clonts

Curt Clonts at Diver Studio

Curt has been keeping busy, and will be showing almost 50 new works on paper, paintings and sculpture. According to the artist himself, “you will find MUCH color, happiness, edginess and humor in these new works.”

Diver Studio
424 S. Commerce
7:00-11:00 p.m.
Visit the Diver Studio website.

Halloween: Keepin’ it Healthy

I do a pretty good job controlling my obsession with sweets, but this time each year – with Halloween just around the corner and the holidays quickly approaching – I find it’s difficult to escape the temptations around us. And it never fails that I’ll end up with a bowl full of Halloween snacks that didn’t get handed out. I’m trying to hold fast to the mantra of moderation when it comes to enjoying these holiday sweets. If not, I’ll at least be partaking in options from this list of healthier food choices for trick-or-treaters. Most of these options can be purchased in large quantities at any store.

  • Dark chocolate
  • Mini-pretzel packs
  • Cheese/peanut butter and cracker packages
  • Trail mix
  • Yogurt-covered raisins
  • Mixed nuts
  • Mini-bags of popcorn (unpopped)
  • Dried fruit
  • Fruit cups

Not as Easy as It Looks

Although I still have another month until I enter my 20s, I’m getting a taste of what the rest of my corporate life will look like, or so I think.

What started out as an unsure group of 14 students has turned into an evolutionary student-led company, never-failing recruitment tool and an ample amount of networking. Being able to be joint-CEO of the Barton International Group at Wichita State University has allowed me to partake in all of these outcomes, but any member you ask won’t say it was a cake walk to get to them.

Everyone understood going in that we would be forming, storming, norming and hopefully performing at high levels as a team. We held Wichita State’s Barton School of Business and its faculty’s reputation in our hands. We were faced with providing real results, or receiving real consequences.

And the Pace Quickens

After our success with working with Spirit AeroSystems at its new Malaysian plant last summer, the idea of the Barton International Group took off. Students showed interest and faculty members offered help. As we have started our second year of the program, we have a senior associate team (made up of 12 of last year’s members) as well as the new associates which encompass 17 fresh faces.

Just like a real company, promotions, demotions and firings are all realistic options. Each member understands this concept and works hard to form ideas, delegate instruction and create satisfactory results for the betterment of the Barton International Group. A little overboard? We like to think not. We know this is just a prelude for the expectations of our future employers.

Down But Never Out

Just before this year’s NBAA convention in Orlando – the industry’s 62nd – the Wall Street Journal ran the article “As Aviation Jobs Take Off, Wichita Frets Its Future.” In it Peter Sanders reported that aviation-manufacturing jobs lost during this downturn probably will not return to Wichita, rather future growth will happen abroad.

Locally, there’s a big push to get President Obama to Wichita – and to have him voice support for business aviation, an industry that contributes more than $150 billion annually to the U.S. economy. We hope Obama comes and tours our manufacturing plants. We’ve worked hard to become the Air Capital of the World. It’s a mantle we must retain.

Feeling Wichita’s Presence

Touring the still-mammoth convention center and its 1,000-plus exhibitors and the 100-aircraft-strong static display, we saw Wichita everywhere. In addition to the manufacturers – Bombardier Learjet, Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft – there were many other familiar players: FlightSafety International (which operates five of its 40 learning centers here), Signature Flight Support (at Mid-Continent Airport since 2008), Dallas Airmotive (which just opened a facility here in April ‘09) and too many allied businesses to name.

Signature Flight Support’s poolside party drew post-show attendees by the hundreds. Junkanoo entertainers kept the mood festive. No long faces here.
Signature Flight Support’s poolside party drew post-show attendees by the hundreds. Junkanoo entertainers kept the mood festive. No long faces here.

The industry hasn’t begun a full-fledged rebound yet. But it will. And when it does, Wichita will be ready.

Thinking Design

Early in my career, design was all about being cool and trendy. The latest Blondie album cover inspired by her platinum persona. Punked out and plaid Viviane Westwood, designer to the infamous Sex Pistols. I knew design had power, but didn’t realize how much.

Architecture has the ability to shelter you from the elements, to meet your basic human needs. But design can inspire you to vote. To join a cause. To change the world.

After a couple of decades in the business, I realize design isn’t about stunning imagery or hip colors (although both certainly help). It gives you the ability to connect. To tell stories. To understand others. It breaks down complicated ideas into simple, understandable bites of information that inspire action. Design at its best promotes new ways of seeing, learning and engaging.

Design Starts With Asking the Right Questions

When you walk through our door, the questions begin. What is your brand essence? What do you own that no one else can claim? Who are we talking to? What motivates them to action? How do we launch stories straight into their heart? What sticks and won’t let go? What questions have we not asked?

Good design demands being insatiably curious, part Sherlock Holmes investigating, probing, part Indiana Jones exploring, taking risks. Design requires thinking. Turning things upside down, inside out.

Nothing less will mine that evasive, golden nugget of truth.

Air-to-Air Story Now Available Online

With NBAA only days away, most of us in the aviation industry are being bombarded with trade pubs and email blasts bringing us up to speed on the latest issues.

For a change of pace, Paul Bowen’s Flying magazine cover story from the September issue is entertaining, inspiring and educational.*

Click here to read it online.

*And yes, this is a shameless plug for my dad. He always seems to be bragging on me, so I take the opportunity to do the same whenever I can.

Day of the Dead Enriches the Living

One of my most beloved days is approaching: Día de los Muertos. We recently set up our customary shrine in the office, built from years of collecting and personal submissions from Greteman Group team members. You can see some photos of the shrine here.

I first discovered Dia de los Muertos when I became fascinated with the art and life of Frida Kahlo. I visited her home in Coyoacán, Mexico and viewed her massive collection of the large skeleton puppets and figurines of Catrina (the Lady of the Dead with the large brim hat). I was not only attracted to the colorful, bizarre artistic expression but was captivated by the devotion given to the dead. I’ve since been accumulating these quirky hand-painted skulls, called calaveras.

Honoring Departed Loved Ones

In Mexico, plans for this special day are made throughout the year. People collect photos and memorabilia. They cook favorite foods to offer to the deceased. From November 1 to 2, they build altars and decorate with bright-orange marigolds, thought to attract souls. Families gather, tell stories and share anecdotes about the deceased. They wear their clothing. Have picnics at the grave site. Light scores of candles. They even stock the altar with their loved ones’ favorite tequila. In most regions of Mexico, November 1 honors children and infants, while November 2 is devoted to deceased adults. It’s the Mexican version of Halloween – without the commercialism and with a profound respect and reverence for dead.


We throw our Greteman Group version of Day of the Dead in the form of an authentic Mexican potluck. The feast, remarkable in its variety and creativity, is amazing; from moles (sauces) and sugar skulls to every kind of pepper dish and not to-be-be-forgotten guacamole. Our chefs rise to the challenge. They’ve learned a profound truth. By taking time to acknowledge and celebrate those who have gone before us, we live more fully.

Heroes & Villains: ArtAID 16

Pop culture followers that we are, the design team was excited to hear that this year’s ArtAID theme would be “Heroes & Villains.” Almost immediately, we developed the AA mark, which doubles as a mask – an essential part of every hero or villain’s costume. Rather than drawing on inspiration from classic comic books and Pop art, the design for this year’s 16th ArtAID follows the more recent tradition of graphic novels, with bold colors and an urban grittiness. A stylized cityscape and atmospheric textures provide further context and offer a nod to the theatrical nature of ArtAID’s runway show. The design suggests that sometimes the line between hero and villain is thin and murky.

Art Preview Party TONIGHT!

A large part of ArtAID’s success has always been money raised from art donated by local artists. In addition to knowing that it is an extremely worthy cause, local artists know that many of the same people who attend and bid on art at ArtAID, are the same people who attend local art shows and buy work. So artists are compelled to donate some of their very best work to the event. Tonight’s free art preview party, from 5-9 p.m. at Harris & Co. Frame Shop/Diver Studio on 424 S. Commerce, will be a great chance to see the donated art before the event, and may well be one of the best group shows you’ll see all year.

Of course, don’t miss ArtAID this coming Saturday evening, Oct. 10 at the Cotillion Ballroom.

Remaining an Upbeat Team in a Down Economy

We’re all experiencing external stresses in this current depressed economy. The future can look a little scary. I remind myself that our clients, no doubt, feel the same way.

When estimating creative fees and production costs, we’ve always tried to ensure we deliver the greatest value. In my job as estimator, I constantly try to find new ways to produce Greteman-quality work. That involves everything from researching new production methods to ensuring direct-mail pieces leverage postal regulations to securing competitive bids. I try to ask the right questions upfront to maximize our time and minimize wrong directions.

Stopping to Smell the Roses

It’s a given that we keep our clients’ budgets in mind. But the thing that’s easier to lose sight of is that we’re a team of individuals. Each with personal, unique struggles.

It’s easy to focus on the negative climate of foreclosures and tightened budgets, allowing that climate to affect our own mental health. I appreciate my empathetic, caring teammates and how they help keep things in perspective. It could be a stress-relief program spearheaded by our wellness committee. It could be a potluck planned by our fun group. It could be coworkers saying they understand a tight deadline and would be glad to pitch in and help. It could be a goofy smile and high five as we pass each other in the hallway.

We all do what we can. I sometimes joke that Greteman Group is my “second dysfunctional family.” But really, I know everyone here has the same goal. Produce awesome work that delivers big for our clients – and have a little fun along the way.

Thanks everyone.