Kurt Fries can relate. He was born to it. As the 5th child in a family of 10 raised in Cincinnati he knows how to speak up, how to shut up and how to fight for what he believes in. In a business where empathy and understanding are everything, his natural instincts serve him beautifully.
Arriving at McGarry Bowen in 2013, there’s a reason Kurt has gone from Group Creative Director to Executive Creative Director to Chief Creative Officer in just four years. And it’s not just his uncompromising work ethic.
For Kurt, good enough is never good enough. Everyday he shows a quiet intensity in the pursuit of getting it right. Known for his respectful but persistent nudges, creative teams who listen to what he says - and what he doesn’t - realize they’re doing the best work they’ve ever done. And they’re laughing a lot.
Combining the heart of a Dad and the eye of a photographer, Kurt has been an integral part of successful campaigns for Disney, leading such efforts as “I Am a Princess,” Disneyland’s Diamond Celebration and “Unforgettable Happens Here.”
Kurt has also been a force behind new business wins and powerful brand platforms for clients including: JC Penney, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Anthem BCBS, Marriott, Oscar Mayer, and Clorox brands such as Kingsford, Brita and Burt’s Bees.
In a resume that includes time at some of Chicago’s biggest agencies such as Foote Cone & Belding, DDB and Leo Burnett, you’ll find his fingerprint on some of the world’s most iconic brands like Boeing, KFC and John Deere. His much awarded “Human Element” campaign for Dow captured stunning visuals on nearly every continent.
On a great day outside of work you’ll find Kurt and his wife Debby in the backyard listening to the Cubs. He’s the one manning the grill, beer in hand (preferably Miller Lite). Together, they’re tackling the most complex and rewarding job of all – the care and feeding of teen and pre-teen girls.