Tom White, an award-winning industrial designer and driver of growth and recognition for some of the world’s leading brands, is a passionate advocate for the power of art and design to fuel economic growth and innovation. He was named president of CCAD on June 24, 2014.
With work experience in academia and industry, White has been recognized for leading teams that integrate creative methodologies into the conversation of commerce. He believes industry has entered The Era of the Creative: “The creative voice has emerged as the engine for innovation and growth in public and private sectors as well as the nonprofit world.”
White earned an undergraduate degree in industrial design from California State University, Northridge and received the Industrial Design Society of America’s highest award for a graduating student. Later, he earned an MBA from Pepperdine University.
Beginning his career in technology design at Citicorp, White moved on to Lockheed-Martin where he designed and secured funding for a patented communications technology. He was promoted to lead global marketing, creative services and promotion efforts of Lockheed, where he directed a team of engineers and technologists to develop the proposal and campaign to secure the $70 billion F-22 contract.
White co-created the Lockheed Technical Institute to train the company’s engineers in new technologies. During this time, White also worked as an instructor of drawing at UCLA’s interior design Extension program and taught industrial design at his alma mater, CSUN.
He worked with the dean’s office at CSUN to create the Commerce of Creativity Distinguished Speaker’s Series, known as C2, where he also was a speaker. White recruited other industry instructors and served as a mentor for design students at CSUN.
After nine years at Lockheed, White founded design and marketing firm 3DI. He led international teams to develop and execute market-building programs for Fortune 500 companies launching products in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Clients included Motorola, Philips, and Volvo. White later held leadership roles with international design firms to strategically position the agencies to win larger programs and add new capabilities to build agency value based on enhanced value propositions.
As marketing director at EDG Visual Communications in the Netherlands, White acquired and ran programs for Philips, GE Plastics, Luxeon, DAF Trucks, Rabobank, and other European clients. The increased revenue resulting from this work enabled a strategic sale of the agency.
White went on to work as executive vice president at RKS Design, helping elevate the company’s global market stature and client base. Most recently before joining CCAD, White was vice president of corporate development for Co-Optimum Connect, a California firm that manages co-op advertising programs. White directed strategy, brand, product, and business development. He fostered revenue growth with the acquisition of clients Ferrari, Honda, and Yellow Pages.
White’s passions include paper sculpting, tennis, and cooking.
Kevin J. Conlon
Kevin J. Conlon joined CCAD as vice president for Academic Affairs in June 2011 to lead the continuous improvement of academic programs and was appointed Provost in June 2013. He shapes the academic and cultural tone of the institution by orchestrating faculty and academic leadership’s creation of a coherent and forward-looking platform for a design-based, cross-disciplinary education. Conlon also assists the president in formulating policy and in strengthening and developing partnerships with other academic institutions.
In addition to his administrative positions, Conlon works as a writer and consultant in the fields of interaction design, architectural restoration, foundry work, curriculum design, and institutional effectiveness. He has also maintained his fine arts studio practice for more than 25 years. His distinctive sculptural works in bronze, cast resin, clay and fiberglass, as well as oil paintings and works on paper, have won many awards and honors and have been exhibited widely.
Prior to joining CCAD, Conlon served as associate vice president for academic affairs at Ringling College of Art and Design and as dean of undergraduate studies at Savannah College of Art and Design. He earned his bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of South Alabama and his master of fine arts degree from Ohio State University.
Jeffrey A. Fisher
Senior Vice President, Chief Fiscal OfficerJeffrey A. Fisher has been senior vice president and chief fiscal officer of Columbus College of Art & Design since 1998. He oversees the business, facilities, human relations, information technology and purchasing departments as well as all construction projects. He has been with the college for more than 27 years, originally hired in 1983. In 1994, he was named vice president for finance. In 1996 and 1997, Fisher served as interim co-president for 15 months while the college searched for a new president.
Prior to joining the college, Fisher worked at Reynolds Metals Company as a financial and cost analyst. He graduated from Ohio State University in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in administrative science and a major of accounting. In 1999, he attended and completed Harvard’s Institute for Educational Management.
Laurie Beth Sweeney
Vice President for AdvancementLaurie Beth Sweeney has been with Columbus College of Art & Design in a variety of development and alumni outreach roles since 2008. Appointed as vice president for Advancement in December 2011, she leads the college’s donor-centered fundraising model providing alumni, parents, and friends of the college with opportunities to engage and invest in CCAD’s work educating tomorrow’s leaders of the creative economy.
Prior to joining CCAD, Sweeney worked as interim executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus after several years in fund development and program leadership for the organization. During her time with the Boys & Girls Clubs she consulted with clubs nationwide to create fund development and resource development strategies.
Sweeney’s career has been focused in nonprofit management following her graduation from Illinois State University with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a master’s degree in community development and nonprofit management. She earned a certificate in fundraising management from the Fundraising School of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and is a Certified Fundraising Executive through the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Active in the community, Sweeney is a 2010 graduate of Leadership Columbus, a board member of the Ronald C. Cooper Memorial Fund, a volunteer at the Center for Healthy Families, and former president of the Central Ohio Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Dwayne Todd has been with CCAD since 2001. In his current position, he oversees residence life, student activities and events, counseling services, career services, academic advising, academic support services, the One-Stop student services center, disability services, campus dining services, student conduct processes, orientation and new student programs, campus safety and security, and student insurance programs. He also participates in institutional assessment and planning functions. He previously served in various student affairs roles at Texas Christian University and was the assistant chairman of the business graduate program at Franklin University. His career spans 20 years of work in multiple areas of higher education administration.
Originally from Dayton, Todd received a bachelor’s degree in music from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., and a master of divinity degree from Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He is currently completing his doctorate in higher education administration at Ohio State University.
Todd has served in a number of governing board roles with the American College Personnel Association (ACPA) – College Student Educators International, a comprehensive student affairs association with approximately 7000 members worldwide. He currently serves as a trustee with the ACPA Foundation and as co-chair for the ACPA Aspiring Senior Student Affairs Officer Institute. Additionally, he serves as chair of the Member Education Committee for Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and as a trustee for the Jefferson Center for Learning and the Arts. Todd is also a past-president of the Ohio College Personnel Association (OCPA), a member of the Association for College and University Housing Officials – International (ACUHO-I) and the Association of Student Conduct Administrators (ASCA), and a facilitator for CAMPUSPEAK, a national provider of educational speakers and workshops for college and universities.
Associate Vice President for Marketing & Communications
Robin Hepler joined Columbus College of Art & Design in 2011 as director of Marketing & Communications and became the college’s associate vice president for Marketing & Communications in 2013. Hepler leads the college’s marketing and public relations efforts, including projects ranging from campaigns to support recruitment, media campaigns to grow national name recognition for CCAD, and expanding and improving the college’s digital presence and marketing capabilities. She oversees marketing research and strategies for the college, as well as print design and production, digital communications, external and internal public relations, crisis communications, and media outreach.
Hepler comes to CCAD with senior-level experience in both marketing and media relations. She served as vice president of national media relations for Paul Werth Associates, assistant managing editor for Business First, marketing director for Center of Vocational Alternatives, and publication editor for Thomson Target Media. Hepler earned her BSJ at the EW Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University, and her MBA, from Capital University.
In addition to her work with CCAD, Hepler sits on the advisory council for the public relations program at Ohio Dominican University; and the board of trustees for ARC Industries. She is a former board member and past president of the Society of Professional Journalists, Central Ohio chapter and the Junior League of Columbus.
Densil R. R. Porteous II
Associate Vice President for Enrollment Operations
Densil Porteous joined the Columbus College of Art & Design community in 2012 as director of Admissions; in 2014 Porteous was appointed associate vice president for Enrollment Operations.
As associate vice president for Enrollment Operations Porteous provides leadership to the Enrollment and Admissions teams, and works collaboratively with the office of Financial Aid, the departments of Academic Affairs, Information Technology, and Marketing & Communications to foster a strategic enrollment management approach that considers all recruitment and retention issues necessary to support CCAD’s mission.
Before joining the CCAD community Porteous worked as an assistant dean of Admissions at Stanford University in Stanford, CA. At Stanford he worked to increase Stanford brand awareness, domestically and internationally, through strategic initiatives in marketing, communications, and outreach. Porteous also worked at the Drew School in San Francisco, CA as associate academic dean and director of College Counseling. Porteous began his career in academia at Kenyon College in Gambier, OH where he served as director of Multicultural Admissions—increasing the number of diverse students considering and enrolling at the College.
Porteous is a member of the Human Rights Campaign Board of Governors, an emeritus member of the Board of Directors for Advocates for Youth, and has served on several alumni governing boards for his undergraduate alma mater Kenyon College. He is actively engaged in the National Association for College Admission Counseling and the Ohio Association for College Admission Counseling; as well he is a member of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. Densil received his MBA from the University of Phoenix.
A first-generation college student originally from Jamaica, West Indies who has lived in New York City, Atlanta, and San Francisco; Porteous and his partner are excited to call Columbus, OH home.
Chief Information Officer
Jeffrey Brotherton was appointed chief information officer at CCAD in October 2012. As CIO, he provides vision and leadership for the development and implementation of information technology in support of CCAD’s academic and business operations. He works to improve service quality and cost effectiveness while developing new capabilities in academic and business development for the school. He is responsible for all aspects of CCAD’s information technology and systems.
Before joining CCAD, Brotherton served as director of enterprise systems management at Ohio State University. He also held two positions over six years at Franklin University, first as director of technical infrastructure and then as chief information officer. Before entering the higher education arena, he held several positions in the private business world.
Brotherton has a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Augustana College in Illinois and a master’s degree in business administration from Franklin University.
Dean, School of Design Arts
Tom Gattis joined CCAD in 2012 to facilitate the creation the college’s new industrial design program. During that time, he worked with other design program chairs as well as the directors of liberal arts and foundation studies to ensure phase in of the Industrial Design program by fall 2013. Gattis, whose prior academic leadership experience includes an associate vice president post and management of curricular overhauls of industrial and furniture design programs, continues to chair the industrial design program in addition to his dean role. In private industry, Gattis has worked as a designer and project manager in the nuclear industry, as an account executive in the trade show and exhibition industry and as a professional model maker.
Gattis earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial design from Auburn University and holds a master’s degree in industrial technology education from Bemidji State University.
A former professor at Savannah College of Art and Design, Gattis spends his spare time as a wooden boat builder and master wood turner. He is a member of the Industrial Designers Society of America, the American Craft Council, and the American Association of Woodturners.
Visit Tom Gattis' website: www.tomgattis.net
Dean, School of Studio Arts
Julie Taggart was appointed dean of the studio arts school in June 2012. She began her career at CCAD in 1994 when she was hired to teach drawing, painting and color theory. She shifted her focus to administration after being appointed chairwoman of painting in 2002. Most recently, as dean of fine art and foundation studies, Taggart transformed the freshman program into a digitally integrated and conceptually engaging curriculum focused on innovation. Traditional skills and expectations of technical excellence have merged with technology-driven, inquiry-based approaches that better prepare students for the rigor of their chosen majors and the expectations of careers in the creative economy.
Taggart is an alumna of CCAD and earned a master’s of fine arts in painting from Syracuse University.
In addition to her work at CCAD, Taggart maintains an active studio practice and a commitment to volunteerism. She was represented by Rebecca Ibel Gallery in Columbus until the gallery closed in 2011, and her paintings have been included in numerous national and international exhibitions. Taggart volunteers weekly at the Mid-Ohio Foodbank and is a path watch volunteer for the city of Westerville.
Visit Julie Taggart's website: julietaggartstudio.com