Colleen Evans Hits A PR Homer For Interstate Moving, Relocation & Storage

Colleen Evans, ROI’s EVP for Media Relations & Public Affairs, has done it again. 

When she was the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company’s Area Director of Public Relations in the Washington D.C. area, Colleen was acknowledged as one of DC PR’s leading lights. When she retired from Ritz-Carlton in late 2013 after 20+ years with Marriott, Colleen likely entertained fantasies of sleeping late and languid days spent lounging at the pool.



Immediately upon learning of Colleen’s retirement, ROI Principal David Nellis snapped her up to work her special brand of smart PR for our clients.

Good thing we did.  Colleen, who always has her ear to the ground, learned that Washington Post business reporter, Tom Heath, was developing a series of articles about the area’s longtime, successful family businesses, especially with regard to how successfully they do or don’t handle the often prickly issue of transitioning to next-generation management. Founded more than 70 years ago by Arthur Morrissette, Sr., ROI client Interstate Moving/Relocation/Storage recently (and, yes, peacefully and successfully) transitioned company management to the third generation of Morrissette family members. Colleen brought the story to Tom, who immediately resonated to it.

Kudos also go to Interstate’s tireless Marketing Director, Michelle Ball, who helped David double-team Tom to ensure that all the stars aligned for a successful and error-free article.

The end-result is the 5/25/15 Post article about a local moving company that built a $100 million global business, by providing meticulous, attentive, well-trained moving and storage services, one customer at a time.

Enjoy the read friends:

ROI Spotlight: The 2014 Danaher Annual Report

A Fortune 150 company, Danaher Corporation has worked with ROI for many years to create and produce its annual report; the company’s essential, once-yearly report to its many thousands of shareholders on its global business and world-changing work it does.


The focus of the 2014 annual report was on how people benefit from the innovative products that companies under the Danaher umbrella create. Large, slice-of-life, journalistic-style photos are balanced with minimalist,clean, typographic layouts to illustrate the positive, difference-making impact that Danaher has on people’s lives globally.


The 2014 Danaher annual report—created by ROI—has an embossed cover with the Danaher logomark. The negative space created from the logomark displays employee photos through a die-cut window, further underscoring Danaher’s success as embodied in its people. The entire annual report was printed on silk cover and text, with a metallic blue ink and dull aqueous coat.

ROI Spotlight: The 2015 Danaher Conference On Growth

Danaher quarterly Conferences on Growth are intensive, three-day, “state of the Danaher union” sessions for that Fortune 150 company’s senior leadership. ROI’s role is to design and deliver the full range of printed and digital media seamlessly supporting that event and making each one more memorable than the other. For the Spring 2015 Conference in Dallas, we developed a signature, visual identity package reflecting the company’s ongoing effort to enhance the successful partnership and interaction between marketing and sales on a global basis.

This Conference had special significance, since it was to be led for the first time by newly installed, Danaher CEO Thomas Joyce, Jr.


For the Conference, ROI created the event logo, PowerPoint templates and content design, one-sheets / inserts, signage and more, including a robust digital and hard-copy program guide given to all attendees. The program’s laminated, die cut cover and reveal cover housed over fifty-two custom designed pages of content with tabs. The back cover also was die cut and made to hold all one-sheets and inserts handed out throughout the entirety of the conference. An acetate backer was included to protect the backside of the program folder.


ROI also drove delivery of three mobile apps that reflect the far-forward and innovative, digital approach so representative of Danaher’s global operations. These included an event management app enabling conference managers and attendees to manage and call up, respectively, every facet of the three days of seminars, presentations, special activities and more.


Additionally, ROI helped develop a mobile gaming app specific to the Conference subject matter and attendees and A QR code-driven app enabling attendees to trade contact information with the touch of two Smartphones, rather than more clumsy exchanges of business cards. 

Soccer Mom? Meet, The Dance Team Dad.

By David Nellis

While my pals here at ROI are blogging about exciting and exotic artistic endeavors or trips to South Africa, my latest, breaking news is more homegrown.

Having been married probably more times than Mickey Rooney, I have a basketful of kids ranging in ages from 31 down to 12 – four boys and a girl. And while my boys all are exceptional in more than many ways and deserve some blog-focus at some point (as do my amazing wife and my two, delicious grandkids) it’s that last, direct descendant who is the focus of this piece.  

Her name is Tessa, she’s 12.5 years old (in her world, that .5 means everything!) and, along with being totally awesome in every way that awesome is measured and an across-the-board, “A” student (Anyone who knows me knows that her brains and study habits clearly can directly from her mom!), she also is a kick-ass, hip hop dancer and part of a traveling competitive dance group.

“Traveling” is exactly what we do many weekends between January and May each year during the dance season or, as I like to call it, “hell!” Mostly it involves setting up camp in cavernous venues as far away as Philly and Ocean City, so that she and her team can participate in marathon, sometimes two-day events where maybe as many as 1,000 kids ages 5 to 17 (99% of whom are girls) gather to go at each other in dance mode. “Marathon” is the proper way to describe these events because, while each dance routine itself only lasts 2:45 minutes, we nonetheless  are required to get to these affairs many hours earlier than the actual performance, and then have to stay and vegetate for many more hours, until all the dancing is done and the judges award all the trophies and stuff to the divisional and overall winners. 

Anyway, despite the fact that I’ll be a captive audience in the OC Convention Center for much of the weekend, I’m also looking forward to eating bad food (Who doesn’t love Thrashers’ fries?) , reuniting with the ocean again after a six-plus month hiatus and schlepping up and down the beach and the boardwalk, despite what are likely to be howling winds, chilling temps and several doses of rain.

And, in the end, it’s all worth it, because Tess’s team is well-coached, the girls all are really talented dancers who love what they’re doing and… they regularly wipe the floor with the competition.

So, it’s all good.

You’re welcome for this little glimpse into to my exotic life as a Washington “A” Lister!

UPDATE:  Last weekend Tessa’s team emerge victorious, defeating nine other teams in their division. Here’s the victory vid! Pretty proud of her – Enjoy!

Shoeless In South Africa

Here at ROI, we love doing awesome stuff inside and outside the office— living life to its fullest. Our rock star Production Director, Tina Ashkouri, her son, Justin, and husband, Mike, celebrated New Year’s in South Africa. We sat down with Tina to learn more about her adventure!


On your trip to South Africa, where did you go? What did you do?

We flew in to Johannesburg, but we actually visited Pretoria. We were there for eight days and seven nights, total. It’s a very long flight, but it’s worth it once you get there. This time we happened to fly through Dubai, so that was a new and interesting city to transition through. Not that we saw the city, but just even seeing the airport was interesting and good for Justin culturally to see. Something different than Atlanta, which is where we normally fly through.

What would be the highlight of the trip, for you. If there was one moment you could freeze in time, what would it be?

We’ve been fortunate enough to visit South Africa before— this was our third trip. There is a tremendous amount to do there.  For me the highlight is always seeing the animals. Seeing them in the wild. Seeing them uninhibited by man. We’re all there photographing them, so I suppose in some sense we’re impeding, but to see any living creature — especially those you would see at a zoo — like a rhino, an elephant, giraffe… to see them walking across the African savannah, is incredible. There’s nothing that tops that for me.

Second to that would be the people of South Africa. The Africans and the Afrikaners… apartheid was a huge issue there for years and years, so it’s still very much a fresh thing for them, but the people there are just really warm and friendly.

Animals were your highlight— did you have a crazy animal experience?

One really cool thing that we saw was six white rhinos — and these are massive rhinos — all within ten feet of each other at this one nature reserve. You can’t even capture that in a picture.  You can, but it’s not the same as sitting there and watching them just eating grass and hanging out. They don’t have full horns because they are removed so they aren’t killed by poachers but they are still magnificent.  Some places, like Kruger National Park and Pilanesberg National Park, don’t remove the horns, and we did see a mama and baby at Pilanesberg and the mother had her full horn. They’re quite spectacular.


On a previous trip we did have a young bull elephant try to let us know he wasn’t happy that we were near him, and that was pretty crazy. That’s probably the craziest experience that we’ve had on our trips there. He was trumpeting at us and getting on his back legs, and our driver revved his engine to make him aware that we are louder and bigger, but yea he wasn’t happy with us.

If that was the craziest, what was the weirdest thing you saw, or experienced?

This isn’t what you’re expecting, but it was really weird to me.  They have really huge shopping malls there. We went there a couple times, for example to see a movie. It’s very common for little kids to run around without shoes on. Like not just on a playground, or at the pool… but at a shopping mall. They’re just walking around without shoes. And these aren’t poor kids that can’t afford shoes. To me it was just odd, but culturally that’s how they do it. It’s not uncommon... it’s like being at Tyson’s Corner and the kids are running around without shoes on.

Sticking with cultural differences, what were some others that you noticed?

What stays with me more, and impacts me on a deeper lever when I’m there, is you always see a lot of people begging for money.  You have people on street corners, and it’s not different necessarily from something you might see in D.C., but it’s not unusual for someone to try and help you back your car out of a parking lot, or help you park, or watch over your car, or let you know where there is a space. Some will even wash your car right in your parking space! And at pretty much every turn and at every light, there are people begging for money or food.  So my heart is always with those that are less fortunate, and certainly with the homeless, especially in this area. This always strikes me when I’m in South Africa. Also seeing the shanty-towns is eye opening. Seeing homes that people build out of whatever they can get their hands on is very sad.

Were there any traditions or insights that you brought back with you from your trip?

We did more local outings this time around. We went on a big hike one day. We did a cool horseback safari— things that were all just a couple hours away from Pretoria. On a previous trip we were fortunate enough to go to Kruger National Park. They had cultural dancing there at the lodge we stayed at for two of the nights we were there. That was cool to see, because these are people that actually are from the local tribes that come to work at the lodges. That was really fun to watch, and they actually got Justin and Mike up and got them dancing a bit.


Coolest food you ate.

I had one of the best steaks out of my entire life while we were there. South Africa is a very meat-happy country… they love meat. We also had some really good South African wine. They’re known for good wines.

Is there any art, design or advertising that stuck out to you? Drew your attention?

Some of the wording they use is different. Kind of like if you’re in England and they say lift instead of elevator. There — and this catches my eye in more of a funny way — if they want to tell you that something is available to lease, they say, “to let”. But every time I see it, visually I think, “toilet”. So that’s humorous to me.

They do have some billboards over there, but it’s not as dense as over here. In some places over here, that’s all you see— one after another, after another.

Their money is really cool (it’s called Rand). It’s got Mandela on one side and different animals on the other, depending on the denomination.


Laugh out loud moment.

We were watching a peaceful group of impala, and one of them was looking at us and checking us out. All of a sudden he squatted down, and started taking a crap. I would’ve put that a little more nicely of course, but it’s funny, because animals are like, “whatever— this is what we do”.

Movie you watched on your flight.

You mean, movies— plural? It’s a long flight. I watched Annabelle, The Calling, A Walk Among The Tombstones, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (never getting those two hours back).

Creature comfort you missed the most while away.

My pillow. The pillows we had were fine, but they’re not MY pillow.

How I/my family surprised myself/ourselves on this trip.

We did an extremely strenuous hike. I almost cried three different times, while trying to complete this hike up a mountain. I’m not this super-active person, but I’m relatively in shape, and Justin and I go hiking quite a bit. The trail was Shelter Rock on the Magaliesberg Mountains. It was amazingly beautiful and I’m so glad we did it, but it almost killed me. You’re already above sea level where we were, so you’re going up to this higher altitude— it was really hard to breath once you got moving and going up the mountain. And it’s hot. It was summer there. We’ve done hikes here like Old Rag —which is a pretty tough hike — and it was nothing compared to this one. So when we got to the top, and we got to stop and spend some time just taking it all in, it ended up being worth every minute of what I went through.


What would you do again, or like to do that you missed? What would you recommend to someone traveling to for the first time?

There are so many things to do and see, and if you like doing outdoor activities and you like animals then South Africa is it. You could spend two to three weeks there and not even come close to experiencing everything there is to do there.

What I would highly recommend to someone visiting for the first time is Kruger National Park. Hire a safari company to take you out. The thing I’ve found with the guides is that they can communicate with each other, so that if someone sees a pack of lions or sees something really cool, they tell each other. The last time we went, the guides moved us really quickly over to where there were two male lions, which was really cool. When you drive yourself around without a guide you still see a lot of great things, but you don’t have that extra advantage of getting the inside scoop. Plus the guides know the area.

It is a beautiful country. The weather, generally speaking is pretty temperate, and it’s a comfortable climate. It does get hot in the summer, and they do have their rainy season. You wouldn’t want to go during that time because they have these massive thunderstorms like I’ve never seen before, and I grew up in Texas but these storms are incredible. Last time we were there, hail was coming down almost the size of golf balls.

I also recommend Cape Town. We’ll actually be going there next time we go to visit. It’s where Mandela was imprisoned for many years, and there are wild penguins there and so many other great things.

Isn’t it too hot for penguins in Africa?

Not for these — nope. They live on the beaches there. It’s pretty crazy. Oh, and they’re called the jackass penguin.

They also have cage-diving with great white sharks, which we will also be doing. It will be intense, but, you’re in a cage… obviously.  So I’m excited about it.


The Brand Behind The Brew

The ROI design team has many great opportunities throughout the year to flex our creative muscles. Our latest project for The DC Brewers’ Guild was no exception. 

The DC Brewers’ Guild has brought together all the DC craft brewers to unite and speak as one voice for the local brewing scene. ROI was “tapped” to create a new logo to symbolize the unified entity. The ROI team came up with several ideas combining iconic visual elements of our nation’s capital with beer iconography. 

Final Approved Design

Final Approved Design

In the end, The Guild selected a design inspired by a bottle cap shape reminiscent of a political campaign button. It features the Capitol building with a lineup of silhouetted beer bottles as columns, as a nod to DC’s rich architectural history.

Below is a series of sketches and preliminary concepts, showing the thought and creative process put into this exciting project.

Concepts & Design Process

Concepts & Design Process

Storyboards + Bubble Tea

Hello! My name is Umme, pronounced “ooh-may” and I am a graphic design intern at ROI Advertising. I have been interning with ROI for about 9 months now. Everyone is so nice that it feels like they are my second family. I love what I do each day. There’s always something different to work on, and I have learned a lot about design and my design capabilities while being here. Everything that I have designed/created has been a good learning process. Each time I discover something new, which motivates me to do even better on the next project.

Before ROI, I had never prettied up a PowerPoint. Over time, I’ve learned how custom designed PowerPoint templates are utilized. I even tried creating a template later on. I have attempted some logo designs and that was also a good learning process. I love anything with branding, as it was very last thing I learned about before graduating from George Mason University. I often find myself looking at branding designs in my free time as I am currently trying to come up with self-promotional ideas.

One particular ROI client I enjoy creating work for is Rizik’s. They specialize in bridal, evening, and formalwear for women located in Washington D.C. I have worked on some cool window posters and postcard designs for them. I found myself intimidated at first but gradually started designing without any hesitation. I’ll admit, my first few designs took a while to come together, but I’ve definitely seen a growth in my design style.  Over the months, I have developed a pretty good eye for design when it comes to fashion advertising. I designed a couple of magazine mock-ups when I was still at George Mason but it was a great experience creating designs for a real client.

Another thing that I’ve accomplished is creating storyboards for TV/video advertising. I was very excited that one of ROI’s Principals, Elliot included me with the creative team. I definitely took my time to research various storyboarding techniques. It was a lot of fun and I got to hone my skills editing photos with Photoshop. I could just go on and on about my fun experience but I think you get the idea of where I am coming from!

One of the things that I also like about ROI is teamwork. Of course there are times where we all have our own assignments to do but it eventually all turns into a team effort. I love working with my Creative Director, Sean and Senior Designer, Carolyn. They are an ideal team to work with, honestly. They are everything an intern looks for in a creative team. They are both very talented and inspirational individuals and always have a lot to share about their experiences. If you have time, please check out their web comics, Curls and Panda Force!

Lunchtime is the next thing that I like about working here! Mostly because we eat together, which is something I always appreciate since I always eat together with my family at home too. I can tell that my Creative Director really cares for our team because he allows us to take breaks to recharge (bubble tea!) and checks up on us to make sure we’re doing well. Our team is incomplete without Tina, our Production Manager. She keeps everything together and makes sure we are all well organized. I really admire her for her ability to multitask; she is amazing. Last but not least, the ROI Principals! Elliot and David are both hardworking and very caring about the quality of work and culture at ROI. They treat us to lunch on special occasions — not to mention, free ice cream! 

View more of Umme Bukhari's work here.

ROI’s David Nellis Stands Up For The Ward 7 Safe & Drug-free Communities Coalition


On October 24th, ROI Principal, David Nellis submitted testimony to DC City Councilmember Vincent Orange’s Committee on Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs in support of four bills submitted by Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander currently under the Committee's consideration. 

David is a founding member of the Ward 7 Safe & Drug-free Communities Coalition (W7SDCC), a nonprofit organization formed in 2012 to combat alcohol and drug use and abuse by at-risk youth in DC’s embattled Ward 7, and continues to serve W7SDCC’s board in a volunteer, advisory capacity. The Coalition funded the first-ever, Ward 7-centric, primary research into drug and alcohol use and abuse by minors there to gauge the causes for and motivations of youth substance abuse and to develop near-term solutions to those challenges. 

The results of the Coalition’s research led its members to work closely with Councilmember Alexander to craft four pieces of legislation aimed at increasing enforcement of laws now in place prohibiting sales of alcohol to minors, increasing the penalties for infractions against those laws and reducing the amount of liquor store display window advertising that, studies show, is especially seductive to youth.

David and ROI remains committed to supporting W7SDCC’s mission and those of other, essential, community organizations working to make all of our region a better and safer place for all.

Read David’s complete testimony: