Mendoza, Metsker Honored

February 13, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — Wolverine World Wide Creative Director Ben Mendoza is the 2006 recipient of The Ad Club of West Michigan’s Silver Medal Award.

Mendoza was given the lifetime achievement award at a ceremony last Wednesday, held at Cascade Hills Country Club since the award’s local debut in 1961.

“It’s not easy for me to be standing up here,” Mendoza said as he accepted the award. “There are people here who have seen me really screw up.”

Mendoza was the only person in attendance with such an opinion. One of those witnesses he cited, Ted Etheridge of Steketee Van Huis/The Printery, nominated Mendoza, and presented the award.

“We’ve squared off a few times,” Etheridge said. “He has always demanded a higher standard, and though we didn’t appreciate it at the time, we all went back and built better companies. It paid off for everyone involved with Wolverine World Wide.”

Mendoza thanked his company for the opportunity to do his work, and the community for “letting me be a part of such a creative community.”

The 42-year advertising industry veteran got his start on the East Coast and relocated to West Michigan to work at Gerber in the 1970s.

In his current position, which he has held since 1986, he is responsible for the creative content and published representations of nine footwear brands, including Merrell, Hush Puppies, Wolverine, CAT and Harley-Davidson footwear. He supervises art directors, copywriters and production specialists, and his department is responsible for several million dollars worth of business ranging from catalogs to packaging, press kits to image pieces, and print ads to Web sites.

He and his team have been the recipient of numerous ADDY awards at the local and district level, and have been recognized by the Printing Industries of America and Ad Age.

Prior to the ceremony, Julie Metsker, executive director of the chapter, was honored for her service. This year marks Metsker’s 15th at the helm of the organization.

“I’m just out there doing my job,” she said. “It’s been an incredible experience to work with so many passionate and creative people.”

She credited the success of the chapter to its volunteers. As much as 95 percent of the Ad Club’s activities are run by volunteers, she noted.

Also recognized were last year’s national and district ADDY Award winners. National winners included Palazzolo Design, Gould Design, Fairly Painless Advertising and Ferris State University student Levi Borreson.    

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