Ryan Csolak Thrives in Changing World of Advertising
Windsor, N.J. - It was love at first sight at the age of 15.
Csolak '97 (A.S., Advertising Design), of Hamilton, took
an art class as a sophomore at Nottingham High School that
required him to complete a logo/marketing project. That assignment
piqued his interest in advertising.
"I simply fell in love with the process of creating and
designing for commercial use," said Csolak, now managing
partner, founder and chief creative officer for the Hamilton-based
Ryan James Agency (RJA), a full service, fully integrated
advertising firm specializing in creative marketing. "I
knew I wanted my own shop one day. I really love what I do.
I get the chance to create excitement and change."
Establishing RJA in 2008, Csolak oversees all aspects of creative
and strategic marketing campaigns, including print advertising,
e-mail messages, website features, search engine marketing
and social media marketing initiatives. Working closely with
fellow managing partner, Steve Chaldnicek, their list of clients
includes Tommy Hilfiger, the Crowne Plaza Times Square Hotel,
Multipet International and Romance NYC Events.
are so many pieces to advertising and marketing puzzles that
need to be in place for a campaign or idea to be successful.
Making them work together - not only coming up with the idea
- is our job," he explains.
Csolak quickly admits that the advertising business is "more
challenging than ever," the academic and professional
foundation he acquired at Mercer County Community College
prepared him for the field. "Mercer set me on a clear
career path," said Csolak, who opted to stay close to
home. "I knew the college had a fantastic arts program.
I left feeling prepared to take on any interview, job or task."
is especially proud of the public speaking and presentation
skills he learned at Mercer, where he presented his first
formal ad campaign before a group of judges. "It was
very nerve-wracking," he said. "I feel grateful
that I was able to learn how to present myself in a confident
Ryan Csolak '97
Csolak, back row, left, returned to the MCCC campus in November
to share his professional expertise with Advertising Design
students. Pictured with Csolak are, front row, students Cynthia
Rivera (left)and Steven Benci; back row, second from left to
right, students Paul Tongco, Jignesh Patel, Ad Design Coordinator
Tina LaPlaca and student Chris Findley.
Advertising Design program provided Csolak with caring professors
who were not only passionate about their work, but had the ability
to effectively engage students in the learning process both in and
out of the classroom. "The technology was up to date and the
design basics and trends they taught were right on the money,"
Prior to founding RJA, Csolak gained expertise as a graphic designer
at Princeton Partners, a Princeton-based agency, and as senior art
director for Dana Communications in Hopewell.
Now in the creative driving seat, Csolak continually seeks innovative
ways to advance RJA's name and mission, one of which has been to
establish itself as a certified Google Ad Words Pro, a move that
distinguishes RJA as skilled in AdWords management with Certified
On the professional development front, Csolak plays an active role
in the art directors' clubs of New Jersey, Philadelphia and New
York City, as well as advertising clubs in New York and Philadelphia.
He is also a member of the AdGabber Creative Directors Club. He
is the recipient of gold, silver and bronze Adrian Awards from the
Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI).
"Every decision we make at RJA affects the bottom line, so
we always have to be thinking with our 'A' game," Csolak said.
"My advice to others is to never stop producing work you truly
believe in. The passion you have will shine through and you'll gain
a leg up on the competition."
recently returned to the MCCC campus to share some of his professional
expertise with students in the Advertising Design class of Associate
Professor Tina LaPlaca. He discussed the importance of design in
marketing and advertising and the large role branding plays in consumer
driven advertising. "I showed them a good number of selections
from the Ryan James Agency portfolio and explained in detail why
certain decisions were made." He also shared advice on preparing
for a career in the field.
more about the Ryan James Agency here.
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