Trained as a physicist, Mike Long is an award-winning speechwriter, screenwriter and playwright. As a playwright, more than 20 of his shows have been produced, most on New York stages. As a screenwriter, his honors include finalist for the grand prize in screenwriting at the Slamdance Film Festival. As a speechwriter, Long has written for members of Congress, U.S. cabinet secretaries, governors, diplomats, business executives and presidential candidates.
OtterBox Creative Team
Named one of America’s most promising companies by Forbes, OtterBox produces the number one-selling smartphone case in the nation. Hear how the mega-brand balances creative innovation with charitable giving through the OtterCares Foundation to become a lasting name in the technology industry.
Creative Director, Designer
Growing up on the east coast, Paul developed a love of the outdoors, art and action sports at a young age. He launched his creative career by designing graphics for local snowboard shops and skateboard companies while chasing the dream of moving west and becoming a professional snowboarder. While that dream had some “pro” success, mostly in injuries, it became clear he was better off spending his days behind the computer designing. His industry connections led him to design work for brands like Vans, Elevation Snowboards, Simms, Burton, Capita Snowboards, Nike, Union, Eastern Boarder and more. In the summer of 2002 on the Palmer glacier of Mt Hood alongside two close friends, an idea was hatched leading to the founding of his own brand Airblaster — makers of original fun product. Over 10 years, he helped grow Airblaster from a simple idea to a global brand. Today he splits his time between consulting with Airblaster and leading Creative Direction for OtterBox. Paul lives in Fort Collins with his wife Krista, son Noah and his wife’s two dogs Ruby and Gus. However, Gus is beginning to grow on Paul.
Miguel E. Hernandez
Associate Creative Director, Senior Writer
Miguel comes to Colorado from Arizona where the sky is big, and the moon is bright. However, it was the big city lights of Chicago that lured him to the center of the improv-comedy universe — attending classes at Improv Olympic, led by seasoned performers at The Second City. It was in this time where he learned the magic of collaboration and saying ‘yes’ to all possibility. Yet, the only thing that wasn’t so funny was the nil-balance in his bank account. He soon learned how to take his talent for improvisation and apply it to the beginning of an illustrious 20-year career in copywriting — generating global creative campaign concepts for clients such as Jim Beam, Coca-Cola, Taco Bell, Nestlé, Allstate and the Almond Board of California; with agency experience at TBWA Chiat/Day-LA, KesselsKramer-Amsterdam, Leo Burnett, Ogilvy-Chicago, Y&R-Chicago and SRG-Boulder. His work has garnered Clios, New York Art Director’s Club honors and recognition from Communication Arts and the Directors Guild of America. In April 2017, he joined OtterBox to lead messaging and creative campaign strategy and loves it. He is a graduate of the Miami Ad School and holds a BA in Film (Columbia College Chicago). Other interests include entrepreneurship/coaching, aviation, Airstreams and land/property development. Miguel lives in Boulder with his wife, Kara, and their two daughters, Lucy and Francie.
Colorado Creative Industries
A division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development, Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) is proud to administer the Colorado Creative District Program which offers vetted districts access to grant funding, tailored technical assistance, networking and training programs and access to advocacy tools. Since July of 2012, CCI has supported the development of 21 Creative Districts across the state to:
- Create hubs and clusters of economic activity.
- Promote a community’s unique identity.
- Enhance areas as appealing places to live, conduct business and attract visitors.
Stu Crair is the owner, founder, and training director at the Digital Workshop Center (DWC). In 2006, after many years in the adult education and technology industries, Stu started DWC out of his house by offering customized training. Though DWC has grown immensely, Stu remains focused on providing the same customer service and personalized attention as the first days in his home. At DWC, Stu is the “go-to-guy” for technical questions and helps create personalized training plans based on student’s skill level, job status, and goals.
Stu has a degree in Information Systems from the University of Maryland at College Park and has over 20 years of experience in higher education, IT, database design, website development, and graphic design. Since 2014, Stu has also been teaching a marketing communications design class at Colorado State University’s College of Business. In his class, he focuses on graphic design tools for marketing students by bringing real-world experiences to the classroom.
In his free time, Stu plays drums with a few well-known local bands and plays around town often. He is passionate about helping others to succeed and enjoys mentoring our other DWC instructors. Stu loves to see our students leave with a spring in their step, armed with new skills to find a new job, advance their current career, or tackle their latest technology issues.
Elaine Appleton Grant
Elaine Appleton Grant spent 20 years as an editor and writer working for national and specialty magazines before moving into public radio. She has produced interview shows for WBUR, Boston’s flagship public radio station, and Colorado Public Radio, where she was senior producer of Colorado Matters, the station’s daily show. She reported on health for New Hampshire Public Radio, where she also filled in as host for NHPR’s two daily shows, and her work has appeared on NPR. Today she runs Appleton Studios, Inc., a communications consulting firm that provides podcast production, storytelling audits, strategic communications and other editorial services to brand builders and thought leaders. She leads workshops on a variety of communications skills and on motivation and change. More information can be found at www.appletonstudio.com.
Kari Knutson is a professional speaker, counselor, closet rap artist, itchy foot traveler and chronic extrovert. She also wrote, directed and is currently performing in a one-woman comedy and storytelling show. Her company, Knutson Speaks, is focused on helping people transform their organizations through developing interpersonal skills and bridging cultural and communication divides. Kari lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband and their two daughters. You can find out more about her at www.knutsonconsulting.com.