Art Director and Designer

March 8th marked Jessica’s seventh year with Riverworks, and we would like to take a moment to celebrate our favorite Graphic Designer turned Art Director.

“In my new role, I am managing production, monitoring and reassigning work as needed, providing historical knowledge on clients and previous work we’ve done for them… and occasionally putting out fires.”

Jess has had quite a journey since leaving her hometown in upstate New York. After completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design from the State University of New York at Fredonia, she started her career nearby with a creative agency and small newspaper in Dunkirk. She decided to stay local, having recently completed her studies and eager to use those learned skills to make a difference in her community.

Eventually, she found herself looking for a change of pace in a new environment. Jess moved to Raleigh, North Carolina and joined an in-house creative team for an eCommerce company. When the itch to escape her comfort zone arose again, Jess joined her husband Jeff in Knoxville where she accepted a position with the Knoxville News Sentinel. It wasn’t long before she was earning recognition for her work, including accolades for her animated html5 work as well as all manner of media-rich ads, email blasts, and landing pages.

“Going from Dunkirk to Knoxville, from local news to a national level, was a great learning experience. I honed in on the design of digital ads and marketing through that experience. If you ever went on Knox News and had to deal with interstitial ads or pushdown ads, I was the demon that made those.”

Corporate mergers and acquisitions arose, and it became clear that Jess would need to find a position elsewhere. With her husband finishing up his degree at the University of Tennessee, they took the opportunity to move again, finally to us in Chattanooga.

Jess has been an integral part of the Riverworks team since March 2016, always displaying exceptional composition skills throughout her time here. She started off as Graphic Designer but quickly showed her aptitude to excel in any project. Now, as our Art Director, she uses that initiative and eye for detail to bring all Riverworks designs to life. Jess is able to translate any objectives given to her by our Account Managers into a visual language that is engaging, memorable, and effective.

“How I go about ensuring what is best for me is by doing my best, working harder but also smarter. By being as skilled, helpful, and knowledgeable as I can be so my clients and team members benefit. Everything is connected, man.”

Jess leads and develops our Design team through weekly “kick-off” meetings on Mondays, in-office work days on Tuesdays, companywide staff meetings on Thursdays, and an ongoing Design team chat. “We are artists, so we like to hone in and privately work on our own tasks, but I look for opportunities to remind them they have a team to support them.”

To create logos, videos, ads, and more Jess’s team uses a variety of Adobe design tools including:

  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • InDesign
  • After Effects
  • Dreamweaver
  • Premiere Rush
  • Premiere Pro

The Design team also takes advantage of Constant Contact, Figma, Divi, and more outside of the Adobe creative suite. As their director, Jess has to be able to provide insight into all this software and more.

“Things will be done as they are done, and when they are done they will be done.”

To measure the department’s success Jess always seeks to gain a happy middle-ground between client satisfaction and Riverworks satisfaction. She acknowledges that the customer is always right, but also knows that, as educated and experienced design professionals, her team understands what will be the most effective for clients’ target audiences. “What we do has to communicate the client’s objective in their tone of voice. We have to create a quality product within the guidelines of a timeline and budget. As an art director, I might be considered more production-minded than others, but budgets and timelines are what keep us afloat.”

More importantly than any of her job duties, though, Jess is a thoughtful leader. She works diligently each day to ensure her team is supported and receives a balanced workload with various levels of difficulty (and fun). She consistently uses her big-picture brain for the greater good of our team and clients. Jess is appreciated more than she knows for her quality of character as a leader, employee, and friend. Thank you for seven wonderful years, Jess!