Townsend learned to crawl and draw at the same time. His first scribble was a rabbit. His mother regularly drove him to the Museum of Natural History and Hayden Planetarium in New York where his imagination ran wild. He drew animals and gazed upon star shows for hours. At Lyncrest Elementary School (Fair Lawn NJ), he wrote a lengthy poem on the fall of Pompeii (Italy) and published haiku in the local newspaper. His first exposure to technology was building robots in the school’s Gifted & Talented (G&T) program.
Townsend earned his first dollar in advertising as a student at the University of Richmond (1992). He designed music packaging for local groups. During a rare snowstorm, when he was prepared to present to his sculpture class, he instead walked the class to a nearby field where his band performed. The band again joined him in a Japanese art and culture class to perform a musical reworking of a beloved renga poem. Townsend was a regular contributor to The Messenger, a Richmond-based literary magazine. One of his short stories (Torn) was runner-up for the Margaret Owen Finck Award for Creative Writing.
Townsend’s agency career began at Landslide Creative Services (1994). A former classmate saw his potential and offered an internship-to-hire arrangement. He then contributed at a division of The Martin Agency (Richmond VA), Zinc Agency (Washington DC), SQN Branding, Billy Casper Golf (Tysons Corner VA), SplashKit, ESTMKTG, and now Glimpse Digital (parent company of Go Booklets, Fairfax VA).
Townsend’s first children’s book series (Tabula Raisa) was successfully on Kickstarter for $12,879 in 2015. It was recognized as a Staff Pick, tagged “New & Interesting” and was showcased on the home page of their website (#1 among 418 live publishing projects). The Staff Pick program was initiated by the crowdfunding platform in 2009. It recognizes particularly compelling, fun, creative, and exciting new ideas with well-priced rewards and a great story. The Showcase program features one project on their home and product category pages until deemed unseated.
Townsend has always been driven by doing things better. His modifications to a line of beanbag chairs for Gold Medal Products (Richmond VA) directly lead to today’s loungers for gamers. He transformed a bulky annual report for Pact International (Washington DC) into a menu you could unfold and read in minutes. To challenge architects, he once portrayed Washington DC as a plain ice cube tray (turned upside down) on the cover of the American Institute of Architects’ monthly magazine. He was an early adopter (and later opponent) of Flash technology on websites. He has contributed meaningfully to the epublishing revolution.
Townsend cut his teeth providing marketing services to more than 400 brands over the last 25 years. This has included members of the Dow 30, Fortune 100/500, startups and challengers. Here are 20 household names you’ll recognize: Pfizer, Navy Federal Credit Union, First National Bank, Absolut Vodka, Universal Music Group, Sotheby’s, Mitsubishi, Saab, Skanska, Cort Furniture, Leo A Daly Architects, American Institute of Architects, American Red Cross, Goodwill, Catholic Charities, B’nai B’rith, National Rifle Association, University of Richmond, University of North Carolina, Rutgers University and James Madison University. Nearly all of these organizations were founded 75 to 275 years ago.
Townsend has been recognized for excellence in creativity, efficiency and innovation on 8 separate occasions by The Webbys, PR Week magazine, American Marketing Association, Society for Marketing Professional Services, Service Industry Advertising Awards, Washington Business Journal, Kickstarter, and the Northern Virginia Technology Council. Get more information at the Glimpse Digital Awards page.
Townsend’s most recent work is The Legend of Tabula Raisa (2016) and an accompanying travel adventure series for young children ages 6+. His next two books center on Iceland — a poetry collection called The Sun Hangs Low (coming winter 2017-8) and a journal of good fortune in travel called Enzwell (coming spring 2018). You can preview these projects at Carbonmade.
Townsend has been a leadership mentor in the Everwise program since early 2013. The organization connects early and mid-career professionals with the influencers and insights that help them advance as senior professionals, managers, executives and founders. He has guided high-potential protégés to develop their leadership acumen and make the most of their capabilities. Current protégés include a senior marketing manager from Lyft and a senior product designer from Twitter.