BizTimes Bubbler Executive of the Week: Jim Taugher

Jim Taugher, principal of CI Design Inc.
Company address: 306 N. Milwaukee St., Ste. 200, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Industry: Branding/marketing
Number of employees: 19
Family: Dylan (16), Morgan (13), and wife Andrea

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
“Started having off-site imagination meetings. Also, we really dug into processes to create duplicable methods of efficiency to serve clients (and each other) better.”

What’s new at your company?
“Brand workshops and video have really taken off for us. We’ve added augmented reality to our digital experience creation.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
“Same as always, which is finding traction for good ideas to be realized.”

What makes Milwaukee a good location for your company’s headquarters?
“Milwaukee is slammin.’ I am so proud of all that is going on here as a hub of communication and design. Mitchell Airport is a great size to get in and out of quick, and Chicago (our suburb to the south) is a productive train ride away.”

How do you maintain a competitive edge in a crowded marketplace?
“I don’t look too hard at what others are doing here in MKE. Good storytelling never goes out of style. Finding new and creative ways to tell those stories is working out for us.”

Do you have a business mantra?
“Over deliver!”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“I still have a great relationship with my first employers, Greg Fisher and Mike Campbell in Phoenix, Ariz. Learned so much from them as a young designer and entrepreneur. I also look up to Jeff Prochnow, Ken Hanson, Woody Pirtle, Neville Brody and Dave Grohl.”

What was the best advice you ever received?
“I got stung with a no-pay client my first year in business. My accountant didn’t say anything but handed me an article. The headline said ‘It Isn’t a Sale Until You Get Paid.’ That stuck with me.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?
“Just this past year, Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick was in the office to shoot an interview (with Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers for We ate Speed Queen ribs, and I got a kick out of his totally tricked out Smart Car. Watching him and his assistant, who are both over 6-feet tall, pack into it shoulder to shoulder and head back to Rockford was surreal.”

What do you like to do in your free time?
“I like to go fast, play loud guitars, and travel and do everything with my family. We bought a dirt bike this summer.”

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