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DCA News

Doug Carpenter on “Means, Courage and Commitment join Vision and Enthusiasm”

By Doug Carpenter

A friend of mine was visiting my office on South Main after a Grizzlies playoff win last season; “Something is happening in this town. Memphis is really changing,” she observed, “Do you think it’s because the Grizzlies are winning so much?”


My friend was noticing the renovations underway at the National Civil Rights Museum. Looking down the street, she could see where a warehouse behind the Arcade will become new live/work studios for artists. Up the street, redevelopment has already begun on the historic Hotel Chisca.


She was partially right – Memphis is changing and has been for a while. But with all due respect to the Memphis Grizzlies, the something that’s happening isn’t attributable to any one organization, company, project, or person. The spirit isn’t even contained to downtown, as the continuing improvement of any number of Midtown and East Memphis business districts prove.


Just think: only ten years ago, the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and Stax Music Academy had not yet opened; The FedEx Forum was still more than a year away from opening its doors. The Shelby Farms Greenline was a derelict old train track. The Levitt Shell was a decaying shell of its former glory. Overton Square was a shadow of its past, Cooper Young was evolving, Overton Park was longing for attention, and Broad Avenue was dormant.


No one could have imagined the kind of vibrancy that we now see night after night in Overton Square and Cooper-Young. New life for Broad Avenue and the Hotel Chisca was the stuff of fantasy, not the work of architects and contractors.


These things didn’t happen overnight, and they didn’t happen by accident. They happened because companies and people with means, courage and commitment were joined by the vision and enthusiasm of those who wanted something better.


The work isn’t over – far from it. The challenge now is to support and encourage the next wave of Memphians as they explore opportunities in the next decade. Is it the redevelopment of the Harahan Bridge? The new life being breathed into the Sears Crosstown building? Perhaps – or it could be any number of assets, neighborhoods, and forgotten treasures that have yet to be rediscovered.


Whoever steps forward with the next big, bold vision runs the risks of doubt, ridicule, and failure. But without these kinds of visionaries, where would our city be and what would our city be becoming?


Ten years from now, will we reflect on the effort you gave to discover something hidden in our city? Will we be talking about the risk you took to create something new that changes how we look at everything else?


This guest column originally appeared on October 23, 2013 on


Time for ‘New ERA’ in Memphis

By Doug Carpenter

Statistically, we know that talented workers are vital to any city’s economy. Cities need creative, enthusiastic, entrepreneurial citizens to start businesses, buy homes, send their kids to school and do all of the things that people do to create value in neighborhoods. When talented people “opt-out” of one city in favor of another, for any reason, some cities win while others lose. It’s no secret that Memphis has been on the losing end of this equation for quite some time.

As a result, over the past few years a common, well-intentioned civic mantra has arisen – from the mayor’s office, the Greater Memphis Chamber, and numerous non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses – declaring that we must attract, retain, and engage new citizens to Memphis. The need to “attract, retain, and engage” talent is heard so often, and with such urgent seriousness, that it is universally accepted wisdom. If only we can attract more people to Memphis, convince them to stay and then somehow figure out what to do with them, any number of our city’s social and economic ills will be cured.

At first it seems appropriate and perhaps even resembles a course of action. With a bit of contemplation however, it sounds so very desperate. An “attract-engage-retain” strategy is out of order. It fails to recognize the unique assets we have in Memphis, be they cultural, historical, culinary, academic, business, architectural or musical. Worse, it assumes that growth somehow happens from the outside-in.

We need to change our cultural vernacular. No longer do we need to strive to attract, hope to retain and then engage. We need to engage the people we have, retain them in the process, which will then make us more attractive to others. We need to move to an “engage-retain-attract” strategy; in other words, it is time for a “new ERA” in Memphis.

For our corporate citizens and leaders it means supporting the boldest and most creative among us. It means having less fear of failure, having a bigger appetite for risk. It means making investments in our own people and ideas, knowing that some may fail but others may exceed beyond our wildest imagination. It means being more publicly bold and less timid when it comes to supporting ideas and initiatives that push the normal comfort zone a bit farther.

For individuals, it is a bit easier to get engaged. It means going out. It means exploring new neighborhoods with friends. It means making new friends in unlikely places. It means visiting the Mississippi River or Shelby Farms first thing in the morning or going to a free show at Levitt Shell or finding a new art gallery in Crosstown or Broad Avenue after work. It means appreciating our diverse citizenry, eclectic assets and unique culture.

It means seeing your city for what it is: a place of perpetual discovery and delight, possibility and promise. It means seeing your fellow Memphians for who they are: people whose experiences with our city, good or bad, infuriating or joyful, are not that dissimilar from yours, no matter where they grew up or where they go to church.

From there, the process pretty much takes care of itself. When people and organizations are engaged in a place, they tend to stick around, feel connected, become more confident and begin to believe. We spend less time apologizing because we’re spending too much time living, growing and being involved.

When others notice how much fun we’re having living our lives in our weird little river city, they’ll naturally want to come to the party.

A new ERA for Memphis has begun. Are you in?


This guest column originally appeared in the September 12 edition of the Memphis Daily News.


dca staff join memphis chapter of american advertising federation

As published by Anna Cox on

The American Advertising Federation, Memphis, the nation's oldest national advertising trade association and the only association representing all facets of the advertising industry, elected at its June meeting who will serve during the 2013-2014 year, beginning July 1 through June 30, 2014.

Special congratulations to two members of the doug carpenter & associates team who have joined the chapter's board of directors: Andrea Wiley, Director of Account Management, and Wilder Hubbard, Director of Creative Implementaiton.  Andrea will serve as 3rd Vice President while Wilder is a member at large.

Other officers include Penelope Huston, Group Advertising Director, Contemporary Media, is the new President; Blaine Loyd, Associate Creative Director, Red Deluxe, is the new 1st Vice President; Christie Rutherford, System Marketing Coordinator, Baptist Memorial HealthCare Corporation, will serve as 2nd Vice President

Other new and returning AAF Board officers and board members are Grace Fong, Skyline Exhibits Mid South; Amy Goff, C Spire Wireless; Michael Helminski, Clear Channel Outdoor; ; Natalie Lefkowitz, AdLib Specialty; Mary Anne McCraw, Baptist Women’s Health; Michael Nunn, Second to Nunn Design; Liza Routh, inferno; Jen Swearengen, Elvis Presley Enterprises; Wesley Tilmon, First Tennessee; Bob Vornbrock, Sullivan Branding; and Glenna Rogers Ward, Entercom.


hot graphics printing receives prestigious award for promotional book designed by doug carpenter & associates

Hot Graphics Printing, Inc. is the recipient of a prestigious Best of Category award from the Printing Industries of America (PIA), the nation’s largest graphic arts trade association. General Manager Danny Wynne will accept the award at the association’s Premier Print Awards Gala in Chicago on September 8.

A jury of distinguished professionals from the graphic arts and printing community judges each of the Premier Print Awards categories anonymously. Hot Graphics Printing will receive a Best in Category award in the Specialty Inks and Coatings, Fragrances, or “Invisible” Printing category for a special promotional book designed by doug carpenter & associates to promote Hot’s new Mitsubishi 3000 Double Diamond 10-color press. 

The book, titled “Memphis Originals,” is a vivid and colorful representation of the company’s expanded capabilities that showcases the city’s many unique cultural, culinary, musical, and artistic attractions, from the Main Street Trolley to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music to the Beale Street Flippers.

Vibrant and tactile images, such as grizzly bears with thick fur, neon reflecting on cobblestones, water churning in the Mississippi River, and Elvis’ trademark gold lamé, were chosen to maximize the new printer’s capabilities and capture the city’s singular style. Hot Graphics is one of only a few commercial printers in the southern United States to use the state-of-the-art Double Diamond, giving them a significant competitive advantage in the market.

“Hot Graphics has been a Memphis original for almost fifty years. This book represents who we are and what we do in such a perfect way,” says Wynne. “We have been immensely proud of this piece since it rolled off of the press and are so honored by this award from the Printing Industries of America.”

Earlier this year, the book earned doug carpenter & associates a Silver Addy from the Advertising Federation of America in the District 7 regional competition. 

“Hot Graphics Printing has been a terrific partner on more projects than I can count. What they can do with their new equipment is matched by their exceptional service and commitment to quality,” says Doug Carpenter, principal of doug carpenter & associates. “Finding a way to showcase our city was a fun challenge for our team and we appreciate this recognition.”

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