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Top photo: This was taken at the site of my wedding at the Desert Botanical Garden, as it hosted an exhibit of renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. By Pat Shannahan

About me

I'm a nice combination of lucky and driven. In small-town Ohio during the '70s and early '80s, there wasn't any World Wide Web, and we certainly didn't have computers in our pockets. I was bound for success as a comic book artist. Or so I thought.

In late 1988, a friend got me a job as a designer for a small newspaper in south Houston. I was handed a Macintosh Plus and a copy of QuarkXPress 1.0 and told to "learn it." This started it all.

I've been in the newspaper business ever since. More importantly, my inner technology beast had awoken. I was introduced to things like PostScript, Adobe, Mosaic, HTML, Wordpress/PHP, Flash, mySQL, social media, Android/Java and responsive design. Lately, it's things like Git, Node, React and Jekyll (which was used to build this site). This constantly changing tech world has kept me on my toes, and it's still as exciting to me as it was that day in 1988.

I'm very fortunate my job also happens to be my hobby.

Portfolio

I've done a variety of work over the years. Print design, of course, before the Web existed; learning early HTML with my personal AOL page in the early '90s; creating the first online prototype of post-gazette.com; learning and training our staff on Flash; and lately, teaching myself Java to create apps for the Android platform.
Here are a few samples:

Resume

email: bill@sixfiveagency.com

web: www.billpliske.com

In addition to the jobs below, I've also run a design business from home since 1998. As my day job transformed over the years from designer to director, my side business was a nice way to keep up with technology trends in a field that's constantly moving.

Experience

Design Director

Gannett / Local Digital Solutions Network

June 2014 - present

  • Hands-on leader of user experiences — UI designs, wireframes, prototypes, etc. — For iOS, Android and web-based apps in a fast-paced, Agile development environment.
  • Create the workflow in which designers work with developers in creating products for 80+ Gannett locations.
  • Work with the product managers and owners to develop a shared vision of a product and then lead a process to define the experience and the design, delivering on the product’s objectives.
  • Responsible for the creation of effective UI designs based on business requirements, delivering end-to-end user experience solutions for multiple products and platforms.
  • Work strategically with other stakeholders and team members across the organization.
  • Drive the development and communication of design guidelines, trends, patterns and libraries.
  • Frequently communicate with managers and developers across the division — and country — to achieve product goals.

Digital Presentation Editor

Gannett / azcentral.com

Feb 2009 - June 2014

  • Directed the creation of interactive news graphics in coordination with stakeholders' needs.
  • Created a syllabus and taught a staff of beginners the fundamentals of HTML and CSS.
  • Formulated graphic workflows and processes from scratch in order to achieve tight newsroom deadlines.
  • Effectively worked cross-departmentally to achieve goals of major projects (Super Bowl, immigration, elections)
  • Led the presentation of information through the use of innovative video, quizzes, maps and (back then) Flash.
  • Frequently put in charge of presenting the big stories that mattered most: immigration, Giffords shooting, elections, Pulitzer entries and others.
  • Created annual budget for equipment, software and training.

News Design Director

Gannett / The Arizona Republic

Feb. 2006 - Feb. 2009

  • Directed a staff of 30+ designers, graphics artists and illustrators across multiple locations and shifts.
  • Critiqued staff work daily via a self-created website, complementing work (and why it was good) and creating before/after examples with work that needed help.
  • Responsible for establishing industry contacts to help search for quality candidates.
  • Advanced the visibility of staff design through promotion and contests.
  • Attended daily budget meetings to suggest items needed for the next day's edition and website.
  • Heavily involved in creating annual budget related to equipment, software and training needs.

Associate Editor/Graphics

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

March 2000 - Feb. 2006

  • Directed, scheduled and critiqued a staff of world-class illustrators, designers and graphics artists.
  • Proactively trained staff on cutting-edge Web technologies.
  • Designed and contributed to the editing of Pulitzer-winning special section "Trek of Tears."
  • Led a talented staff who won many state, national and international awards.

Marketing & Media Director

Society for News Design

2002-2003

  • Directed the efforts to promote organization through events, posters and training.
  • Responsible for attending and contributing to biannual corporate meetings, annual conferences and awards banquets.

Deputy Graphics Editor

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Aug. 1994 - March 2000

  • Pioneered post-gazette.com by teaching myself HTML, and then creating the very first prototype.
  • Learned and taught Flash to the staff.
  • Garnered many state, national and international awards.

Graphics Editor

The Victoria (Texas) Advocate

March 1993 - Aug. 1994

  • Was the first designer hired there, and happy to say that design inspiration is still valued there to this day.
  • Won several APME state design awards

Graphics Editor

The Pasadena Citizen (Houston) / The Citizen

Dec. 1988 - March 1993

  • Taught myself QuarkXPress right after it came to market.
  • Dug in, and learned all about the newspaper production process.

Contact

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