Owning a business is not for the faint of heart. Between managing finances and doing the daily blocking and tackling, it is not the ideal career path for most. Fortunately, our determined president and CEO, Paul Burkhart, has been doing it for years.
After graduating with a degree in visual communications from the Herron School of Art at IU, Paul got to work. Thirty years later, he oversees a successful ad agency and still loves every second of it.
1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, just like my dad.
2. What drew you to/kept you in advertising?
I was awarded a college scholarship to study fine art at the Herron School of Art. After exploratory studies my freshman year, I saw myself gravitating to the business side of graphics. I’ve always had a passion for art and design, but wasn’t sure how I was going to make money at it. I couldn’t see myself as a starving artist and was a newlywed at the time looking to start a family. The business side appeared to offer a bit more stability, so I followed that route.
3. Who or what inspires you?
God. Not to get too religious, but He has provided me with many talents and I really try to be a straight up guy who helps others. I come from a large family and we each had our abilities, but a couple important lessons that stuck with me are “Work then Reward” and “Many hands make light work.” My family continues to play a large role in my life and it’s the lessons I’ve learned from them that got me where I am.
4. What do you feel prepared you most for life after college?
My family. My parents ran a business and had an office in the home. When the phone rang we had to be quiet. I watched as they served customer needs all hours of the day and night. I helped file paperwork and even addressed envelopes for customer birthday and anniversary cards. Many times, I heard customers comment to my parents how surprised they were to have received a card when their own spouse had forgotten their special day. I’ll never forget that.
5. What is a professional goal that you hope to accomplish in the next five years?
Multi-location businesses have always been my passion and I look forward to continuing to build relationships with large franchise brands across the country.
I also feel quite fortunate to be among a handful of Indianapolis agencies that have survived for over 20 years. So I’m looking forward to celebrating our silver anniversary soon.
6. What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?
7. What’s your favorite throwback jam?
“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.
8. You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
“Orangey”. It’s what my little brother called me as a kid – back then I had fire-red hair.
9. Who would you most like to swap places with for a day?
Mike Matheny (but not for the reasons my wife gives) because I could have a front row seat to the best baseball team in the world. I’ve been a Cardinals fan my whole life!
10. Who is your favorite superhero?
I never really got into superheroes. But my mom passed away not long ago, and I’d say she was a superhero to a lot of folks.