We'll miss you. 1955-2011
His presence lives on.
On Saturday, March 19th, just two days after both of our birthdays and after a lengthy illness, our much-beloved Creative Director Terry Kuzina passed away.
Terry was a very big part of this company...the guy whose idea it was to start Fusion, the one who came up with the name itself and the one who helped early on to push critical guiding principles that helped us grow so fast and become so effective.
Terry and Derrick Coupland were my equal business partners until 2003. I purchased their interests after eleven years of high-speed and turbulent growth together to allow Terry to ponder a form of limited retirement and to allow Derrick to start his own brand-focused strategy company. Any notion of retirement lasted just three months and Terry was back in the saddle as 4-day a week Creative Director.
It has been said to me over and over again that Terry was one of the greatest graphic designers in Winnipeg. He mentored a great many of them as both students or employees. He was looked up to and was such a tremendous asset to have at Fusion.
I think, though, that what I learned most from Terry was not about creativity or about design, but was about life. He had a special outlook on life that was contagious and early on he tried to instil in me a better sense of balancing work with life. It took years to sink in, but I owe it to him for the framework in which to place both work and life and enjoy them both. Others owe it to him for ice cream breaks at work and the absent killer burn-out hours so typical of our industry.
After he left my partnership, he became a much closer friend. He was the perfect second brain on any of the major issues that I was dealing with. A former partner, if you can manage a smooth exit (ours was impeccable), is an extremely valuable person to bounce ideas off of. We became closer on discussions of life too and shared some good times at our cottages, which were one road apart (I loved his so got my own nearby!).
Terry’s special passion over the last years had been The Canadian Museum for Human Rights. This project thrilled him and he is the creator of much of the initial branding and fundraising materials for the raising of almost $300 million. The special star lapel pins that are so prominent among Museum supporters, and were worn by celebrities and politicians throughout Canada and the world, were designed by Terry. I will always think of him when I look at that gorgeous new museum at the Forks.
We at Fusion wish Theresa, Debbie and Vanessa and Terry’s extended family and many friends all our love and support. His presence will live on forever in all of us. His memorial service was Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 1:30 pm at St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church.
Every dog has its day. Today belongs to Coco.
I was asked the most unanticipated question in my interview; ‘how are you with dogs?’ Before I could react and answer I was told ‘because we have many dogs in the office’. I chuckled ‘oh yes, we have one odd one in every office, don’t we!’ It soon was evident that they were referring to the canines.
These little cuddly canines are a great relief. They are little soft furry sponges that soak all the stress that comes standard in our line of duty. Our mornings start with tail wagging greeting at the door, the minute we enter the office. They attend all the morning production meetings although it’s difficult for them to pay any attention to our meetings. They keep the moods and energy levels up and I’m amazed at how they keep themselves entertained by chasing the same worn-out toy every single day.
Each one has a very distinct personality and some are very opinionated or shall I say dogmatic. Being a part of this office and in the industry they do keep up with trends and styles.
Featured here is Coco. Her bark is worse than their bite, literally. Every time she has barked at a stranger, it made them laugh. She loves attention and can never get enough. She is stylish but not extravagant; she can live out of her suitcase and even in it.
I can tell you today for sure, 'what you've never had, you never miss.’ Now that I’ve had, I know what I missed.
Our new home
After eleven years at 290 Vaughan Street, we have moved to our fancy new location at 78 Princess. We started looking at finding a new space for ourselves a few years back and we have been working on developing our new digs for more than a year. We now live in a home that is exactly what we want for ourselves and, of course, for our many Fusion dogs.
The process has been exciting, rewarding, at times frustrating, and everything in-between. In the end, we have a very beautiful new space. Some of my favorite things are the natural light, the original hardwood floors (the day we discovered them under layers and layers of old flooring was one of the best days of this project), a full kitchen, an amazing lounge area with a big TV and a pool table, and a new home for our compost worms. I seriously have dreams about making the lounge into my condo.
I hope you enjoyed the pictures, but make sure to swing by and see it in person. We hope you love it as much as we do.
Fusion in the news!
As you know, here at Fusion we recently welcomed Gagan Singh as our new creative director. Gagan has been an amazing injection of insight and bold thinking to our team. We take a lot of pride in making sure our clients get our best and Gagan has really upped the ante here in Winnipeg with his experience and talents.
Martin Cash from the Winnipeg Free Press stopped by yesterday to talk to Gagan and Leighton and take a few photos in our new space. This morning we opened up the paper to read an incredibly great article about Fusion. It was very exciting to get this coverage so we wanted to share it with you. Here's the link to the full story:
An Interview with Gagan Singh
An interview with Gagan Singh, new Creative Director of Fusion Communications Group in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Where were you born and raised? Where have you worked?
GS: I was born and raised in India. My dad was an Indian Air Force officer so we were lucky to live in many parts of India. The best part about it was experiencing diverse cultures, languages and very beautiful places. My dad retired and we settled in Delhi where I started working in a multi-national ad agency. A few years later, I had an opportunity to move out of the country and join Lowe Contexture, part of Lowe Worldwide in Bahrain. I was a bit skeptical about moving to the Middle East because of prevailing perceptions about it being culturally limiting and not knowing what to expect. Eight years later I can say I love Bahrain. Every apprehension was proven wrong. The people are very welcoming and cordial. I had as much freedom there socially and culturally as I would in New Delhi or New York. Eight years in Bahrain were productive and enriching. I grew professionally and my family grew.
What attracted you to Fusion and to Winnipeg?
GS: After the birth of our first son, my wife and I realized it was about time to settle in a place we could call home. We considered Canada, my wife was already settled and studying in Toronto. The big question was where in Canada. My wife and I always liked the idea of getting away from a big city and finding a place that is a bit laid back, with a country feel, culturally rich and naturally beautiful. Toronto didn’t seem like that, Vancouver was too far away and I don’t speak French to fit in Montreal. Then by some stroke of luck I came across this job posting from Fusion in Winnipeg. I wasn’t quite sure if I ever heard about Winnipeg but then I hadn’t heard much about Bahrain either. I did some research and discovered that it seemed pretty cool. Checked out Fusion and liked what I read and saw online. After being in a big agency like Lowe for a while, I wanted to be in a mid-sized place, which had the ambition to be as big. I was as excited about the discovery as Columbus would have been about finding North America. I spoke with Leighton (President, Fusion) and later extensively with the senior leadership who interviewed me. I was very impressed with their straightforward approach and amazing attitudes.
What do you hope to accomplish at Fusion?
GS: I hope that I would be able to add value to the formidable Fusion force. I hope to bring in a different perspective on things. As talented as people are, it’s easy to be greatly influenced by the environment in which we operate. And before we realize it, we are caught up doing things in a pattern. I’ve been there myself and now I’m in a new place where I’ll learn new perspectives and bring in a different angle and new ideas from around the world. I’m as hungry as Fusion is to do things that are good for our clients, good for this community and good for the creative industry too. In the end, the goal is to make people sit up and take notice of our clients, take notice of Fusion and be reminded what a great creative community Winnipeg is to work in and move to. I want to find the best solutions for our clients even if they have to be brought from the other end of the world. I want to add a little twist; inject some excitement. I promise to offer our clients a little change, to break the clutter and the monotony. Ultimately, it’s not really about doing different things, it is more about doing things a bit differently. Change is good.
What are some of the things you like best about Winnipeg so far?
GS: I love Winnipeg winters, as much I liked the fall. Winnipeg is so diverse and culturally rich. It has the feel of small town or country and amenities of a big city. I like the people here who are very warm and welcoming. I enjoy the patios here.
How are you feeling about the direction of the advertising industry in Winnipeg?
GS: I remember my first impression when I landed here and went around the town. I think it’s very design led, which is great. There is some fabulous work happening here, but broadly, advertising seems more traditional and conservative. I’d like to suggest there’s an opportunity to think beyond the traditional mediums of expression to help clients grow, stand out from the clutter and grow their market share. We know we can grow our clients’ business if we engage consumers with more compelling, idea-based work. There’s a chance to use more non-traditional media for communication. It’s a small market and there is a fair mix of strategic and creative agencies.
Winnipeg surely has amazing talent here but I think there’s room to be more aggressive in the style of advertising we create for clients. And to do that requires a talented agency like Fusion and clients prepared to explore new ideas. As we all know sometimes it is a struggle to get clients to step out of their comfort zone, but that’s our job to help them get there because we know there will be rewards when they do.
Gagan’s Award Winning Work:
One Show Design Merit (Branding)
New York Festivals Midas Gold
Currently on Jury for judging:
2010 New York Festivals Midas Awards
Guest Creative Director:
Portfolio Night 8 hosted across the globe by Ogilvy