(Image courtesy of Bradford Wason)
Bradford Wason is one of Wilmington’s biggest cheerleaders. But come March, he’ll have to cheer from afar.
Wason, a 31-year-old designer and creative director from Wilmington, has recently accepted a job with Zappos as a visual design manager.
The lifelong Delawarean (and local tech scene fixture) is heading out west in a few weeks, leaving behind a burgeoning creative scene in Wilmington and his two jobs — creative director at DMG Marketing in Wilmington and adjunct professor at the University of Delaware.
At Zappos, Wason will work with a team of junior and mid-level designers, coaching and mentoring them. He’ll also work with the creative team on various assignments for Zappos.
Watch his cover letter video here:
“I get to work with a larger creative team,” Wason said. “Right now, I work with three people; out there they have a much larger team. They do all their own videos and photos shoots. It’s pretty exciting.”
We spoke with Wason about the move and some of the similarities between Wilmington and his home-to-be, Las Vegas.
What prompted the move?
I’ve always felt in the past in Wilmington, that I had something left to do. I went to a wedding in Minnesota recently and thought now was the time to look for other opportunities, to look beyond Wilmington and the Northeast. I happened to find the Zappos post and thought it was a cool and interesting job.
Anything that could have been done to keep you here?
Probably not. I think I’ve developed this wanderlust. I want to take all the wonderful experiences I’ve had in Delaware and translate them elsewhere.
How are Wilmington and Las Vegas similar?
What [Zappos CEO] Tony Hsieh is doing in downtown Las Vegas — maybe I can take what I’ve seen in Wilmington to this project. It’s kind of uncanny: Vegas has a goal of moving 5,000 residents downtown. [Editor’s note: So does Wilmington.] They have a coworking space, facade improvement programs — it mirrors Wilmington to a T.
Wilmington is a tale of two cities and so is Las Vegas. There’s the strip and entertainment, and then old Vegas and downtown which has been completely forgotten.
In Wilmington, energy is made up of government, investors and young entrepreneurs. Las Vegas is Tony Hsieh. The government is on board, but not putting a lot of money into it. He’s trying to bring tech evangelists there — like a lot of what I see in Start It Up Delaware, 1313 Innovation and the STAR Campus. I think that’s interesting.
What was your proudest accomplishment during your time in Delaware?
I am always really excited to be part of the coIN Loft and its first tenant. [Editor’s note: Wason signed on in March 2010.] Just being able to grow in that scene when the community was getting started there — it was a huge point and change in my life. Teaching at the University of Delaware and DCAD — we did work on some fun projects.
Your favorite place in Wilmington?
The Nomad. I’m going to miss it so much.
Can you offer advice for other creatives?
At the end of the day, know where you are or where you’re going. If you want to pursue great work and are tired of titles and just want to do good work, open yourself to working with top-tier talent and interesting projects. There’s a lot of opportunity out there.
Will you be back?
Possibly. Delaware has a way of bringing us all back. I’m going to play out west for a couple years.
It’s been a fun ride here — a lot of great people and a lot of great experiences.-30-
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