Tim Smith

President and CEO of Skidmore Studio in Detroit. Skidmore, a 52-year-old creative studio, recently moved its 24-person staff to new offices in the Madison Theatre Building in Detroit. With nearly 25 years of professional creative experience, Smith guides clients with a focus on technology, design thinking, and an insistence that brands connect to their audience with authentic messaging. Under his leadership, Skidmore has added five staff in the past 18 months, as well as increased sales by 30 percent in 2011, following a 10 percent increase in 2010. In the past year, Skidmore has gained 19 new clients in various industries. The company also established Free Art Friday in Detroit to promote art, creativity, and the city. Smith joined Skidmore in 2001 and transformed the firm from one that worked almost exclusively with ad agencies to one that services small- to medium-sized companies in a range of industries. This strategic shift was instrumental in increasing the studio's services to include 3D art and motion graphics in addition to marketing strategy, print and interactive design, illustration, and animatics. Honors to the firm for client work include the W3 and Communicator awards sanctioned and judged by the International Academy of the Visual Arts, IABC Renaissance awards, the Telly awards honoring excellence in local, regional, and cable TV commercials, and the Summit Creative awards. Prior to Skidmore, Smith was senior vice president of marketing and communications at Village Green, one of the nation's largest luxury apartment owners/developers. He is a former journalist and frequent contributor to publications, such as Crain's Detroit Business, Detroit News, and Detroiter. Active in the Detroit design community, he is a member of the Detroit Regional Chamber's marketing advisory committee as well as Downtown Detroit's Creative Corridor advisory board. Smith received his bachelor's degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.

WHERE BORN: “On an Air Force base just outside of Paris, France. My parents moved back when I was less than a year old.”

MOST INFLUENTIAL PERSONS: “My two sons and my wife. I made a decision very early on after my kids were born to get off the fast track, when I was working 70-80 hours a week and flying several days a week, so then I came to Skidmore. So they influenced a lot in my professional life.”

LAST BOOK READ: “I read this every day – Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go. It's my guiding light toward running a business and for keeping me grounded.”

WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ME: “Restless, fun, curious, determined, creative, odd.”

WHERE MY FIELD/INDUSTRY IS HEADED: “I am adamantly convinced that design is becoming the differentiator in marketing. Apple cracked $500 billion in worth because they understand that design is so incredibly important. As a design studio, we're in a critical spot in how companies will differentiate themselves in the future.”

FAVORITE TECHNOLOGICAL GADGET: “I was in line for the first iPhone and I've had every iteration since.”

FAVORITE PLACE: “I'm in it – in my office looking at Comerica Park as they put up the new scoreboard. Our new office connects Detroit and Tigers baseball so it's an amazing place to be.”

FAVORITE HOBBIES: “Photography.”

FAVORITE FOOD: “That's an easy one, but it's more of a phrase – two on one with heavy chili: that's at Lafayette, not American, Coney Island.”

MY HIDDEN TALENT: “I have two: the first is I have an uncanny ability to sound intelligent when I'm not. I also have a spot-on impersonation of Bill Murray as Carl the groundskeeper from 'Caddyshack.'”

HOW I WANT TO BE REMEMBERED: “In this order: an amazing husband, awesome dad, and a decent man who did what he said and said what he did.”