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Tom Scharpf

Chair & Professor, Art Direction

A graduate of the inaugural class of the Brandcenter, Tom Scharpf (Art Direction, 1998) is excited to be back at the Brandcenter after a 21-year career at some of the best creative agencies in the business. Most recently, Tom was Executive Creative Director and Executive Vice President at Leo Burnett, Chicago. While in the Windy City, Tom ran the creative global Samsung mobile business and led the charge in winning the Coors Light account.

Prior to Leo Burnett, Scharpf spent 12 years at renowned creative independent Venables Bell & Partners in San Francisco, helping them grow from a small 45-person national shop to a global agency of 200 and picking up a slew of creative awards along the way. While at Venables, Tom ran the Intel, Reebok, Conagra, Adidas Golf, Barclays, and Chipotle accounts and helped to land new business wins on Audi, SKYY Vodka, and Google Fiber. During his time there, Scharpf picked up 8 Cannes Lions for his work on Intel, Reebok, and Barclays Financial and led the charge for a documentary film for Intel that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Prior to VB&P, Tom was a much sought-after freelancer working coast to coast at agencies such as BBH NYC, Chiat/Day, Butler Shine & Stern, Y&R Chicago, DDB/NY, and David & Goliath, working on the likes of Johnnie Walker, Adidas, Electronic Arts, Dyson, and Converse. Tom’s first job out of VCU was at Fallon in Minneapolis, where he created award-winning work for United Airlines, Holiday Inn Express, Starbucks, Nikon, and Miller Lite.

While still a student at the Brandcenter, Tom garnered two Cannes Lions as an intern for his work on Jaguar at Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto and won the coveted Harry Jacobs Award as top Art Director in his class.

His work has been featured in Communication Arts, The New York Times, Ad Age, and Luerzer’s Archive, and has been named Adweek’s “Ad of the Day” on eight separate occasions. His work has been awarded by D&AD, The Clios, the Addy’s, The Art Director’s Club, The One Show, AICP, The London International Awards, the Effies, and the Cannes International Festival of Creativity.

In addition to having a graphic design background, Tom prides himself on being a strong writer and strategic thinker. In his spare time, he attends to his three children, takes photographs of Americana, writes children’s books, and plays no more than five chords on his guitar.