by Peter Brown
Ken Wilson kind of fell into his business by doing something he enjoyed and was good at. Ken was working at a cell-phone company in his hometown of Youngstown when he started doing drawings for employees’ birthday cards. Then his boss asked him to put together a map of the company’s coverage area. So he went to his computer and created a map, which he produced with the right graphics. Next, the University of Michigan Business-School alumnus wanted to get into physical therapy. In doing volunteer work for a small physical-therapy business, his mentor said, “You know marketing. Would you do our Yellow Pages ad?”
In Ann Arbor, Ken took a graphics job with M-Care, the UM’s old health plan, and started doing freelance graphic-design projects on the side. That has expanded into a growing graphic-design business with a lot of UM clients. (His first freelance invoice to UM ran into complications with UM conflict of interest rules and went all the way to the Board of Regents for approval. After eight months, “I finally got paid,” he laughs.) He worked for the UM School of Architecture. He also earned an MBA from Michigan State University, attending classes on evenings and weekends.
Today, Ken, 50, is creative director of WTW Design Group, with an office in Ypsilanti. He is also a new member of the Rotary Club of Ann Arbor. He has been attending Rotary meetings for a few years as a guest of Joanne Pierson. Asked what drew him to Rotary, he smilingly said, “Joanne.” He sees Rotary as a gateway to more involvement in community activities. He has already worked with Joanne with the Rotaract club.
Ken has run three full marathons and several shorter races such as the Dexter-Ann Arbor run and ten-mile Crim race in Flint. (“I actually beat Bobby Crim – he was only in his 80s.”) He has two children, Phillip, 24, who works for Bosch in Chicago, and Mariel, 20 a junior in nursing at UM.