Creative ’Cats: Designing a Network

‘If I have a student visiting New York, I can give them several phone numbers, and they’ll always have a place to stay.’

By:
Tim Vanderpool, Jacob Chinn photo

When Veronique James ’03 graduated from the UA, she left with a deep appreciation for the UA’s College of Fine Arts — and a penchant for dipping into the program’s graduates whenever her Scottsdale-based advertising firm, The James Agency, gets hungry for fresh talent.

James need look no further than Jackson Boelts, a longtime UA art professor and owner of Boelts Design. He is a conduit between James and his most promising students. “The James Agency has been really amazing,” says Boelts. “Veronique has hired a lot of our students and she’s done some wonderful work.”

Boelts is passionate about networking to give students a boost. He has collected an extensive web of industry contacts and tracked his own students closely. “If I have a student visiting New York, I can give them several phone numbers, and they’ll always have a place to stay,” Boelts says. 

“When our students get jobs as art directors and then they’re looking for somebody,” he continues, “they contact me, and I send that information out to my alumni list.”

Like James, who now directs a staff of 20, a third of whom are Wildcats. “UA graphic designers have a strong knowledge of theory and think beyond the expectations of the project, whereas candidates from other schools seem to be very by-the-book,” she says. 

Those talented alumni have been part of the phenomenal success of her agency, which has revealed an enviable knack for company rebranding, web page renovations, and ad campaigns.  

Wildcats hiring Wildcats. Now that’s a message with market bite.