McKinney Hires Middlebrook as Design Director

Thom Middlebrook has been named director of design at McKinney & Silver.

Middlebrook, 44, joins the Raleigh, N.C., agency after serving as executive director at Bill Gates’ Corbis Documentaries.

Veteran McKinney creatives Mabon Childs (creative director) and Kathy Jerrett (associate creative director) will form the core of McKinney’s reformulated design team.

“Thom is a renaissance man who can and does do everything,” said McKinney executive creative director David Baldwin. “What he and his team will do is provide McKinney with a bigger brand offering from start to finish.”

Middlebrook’s appointment, which carries the title of senior vice president, formalizes, as a separate corporate entity, a capability already being tapped by high-profile McKinney clients like Audi, Nasdaq, XO Communications and Bacardi USA.

“McKinney has built a tremendous client list here,” said Middlebrook. “We can extend our strategic thinking from anything from architecture to packaging, from an Audi showroom to a light fixture in a First Citizens Bank lobby.”

Trained at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Middlebrook has architecture, fine arts and advertising credentials in his portfolio.

He served as creative design director at Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners in New York. In Minneapolis, he founded Middlebrook Design, a company which provided architectural, packaging, film and advertising support to marketers such as Coca-Cola, Target Corp. and The Limited.

Middlebrook also worked as an architect at Ronald Borus Architects in New York and Skidmore Owings & Merrill in Chicago.

“You just don’t find people with wide, varied and storied backgrounds like Thom,” said Baldwin. “In this business, it’s even harder to find talented people with real life experience.”

Middlebrook, self-described as having pulled himself up by his bootstraps “from a cul de sac,” isa founding member of the American Friends of Versailles. The group raises money to restore the fabled French gardens and return lost objets d’art to their original settings.