A look at the people behind the numbers in area business:


Title: Group creative director

Age: 41

Derek Bitter is working to connect digital and traditional brand strategy as a group creative director at Minneapolis ad agency Colle+McVoy.

Bitter is focusing on the agency's largest account, WinField, a Land O'Lakes company that offers seed and crop protection products.

"The work is great here," Bitter said. "I just think I can make it a little bit smarter and a little bit more connected. WinField is a complicated business. I'm trying to have a vision of ­simplifying and connecting things as much as possible."

Bitter was previously a creative director at Olson, the Minneapolis ad agency where he had worked for the past 15 years and where he said he gained extensive experience in helping brands work across digital and traditional platforms.

The move reunites Bitter with a number of former Olson co-workers, including Mike Caguin, Colle+McVoy's chief ­creative officer.

"There's been a lot of people who have gone through Olson's doors who have left and ended up staying here, people I respect and admire," Bitter said.

Bitter traces his interest in advertising to an eighth-grade assignment that required students to create commercials. He noticed commercial spots from then on and later got a master's degree in advertising and mass communications at Syracuse University.

Bitter said he joined Colle+McVoy before learning of the agency's acclaimed TapServer. The "beer deployment system," which the full-service agency touts as a collaboration between its creative and technology teams, rewards employees who have filled out their time sheets with a free pint.

Q: What does the Colle+McVoy tagline — "We modernize brands" — mean to clients?

A: It's taking a fresh approach, bringing clients into the digital age. Obviously a lot of them are there, but making that universal connection through digital and traditional and syncing those up together.

Q: How would you describe the culture at Colle+McVoy (recognized as a 2014 Star Tribune Top Workplace)?

A: It's super collaborative. It almost seems like an egoless place that just wants to get good work done. It's good people creating some really good work.

Q: What do you think of the TapServer?

A: It's a great benefit to have here and an awesome piece of technology. They're doing digital work that actually is a solution to a problem and that ties back to modernizing brands, too, coming up with new solutions to branding.

Todd Nelson