People
MEET OUR TEAM

Our powerhouse marketing and events team includes strategic project managers, writers, designers, and skilled craftspeople who create inspiring, cost-effective solutions and experiences that help you succeed.

Beau Birch Captain
× Beau Birch
Captain

A true entrepreneur with a penchant for new ideas and products, Beau founded Novak Birch in 1987. As partner and president, his insights and experience guide the agency’s overall philosophy and approach. He’s a strategic creative resource and a tireless advocate for clients. From new product positioning to ad creative and digital media, Beau’s got it covered. An avid boater, you’ll find him expertly navigating the Chesapeake Bay when he’s not at the helm of Novak Birch.

Steve Novak Creative Commander
× Steve Novak
Creative Commander

As partner and vice president, Steve leads the Novak Birch team, instilling his creative vision across all projects. He’s an extraordinary conceptual thinker and illustrator and inspires us with his enthusiasm for fresh, creative design and his commitment to client service. Passionate about the 3D realm, Steve wows clients with unique interactive displays and exhibits. When he’s not planning our next exhibit or answering his ever-ringing phone, Steve enjoys restoring classic cars with his sons—Pontiac GTOs and Firebirds are his passion.

Valerie Novak Government Guru
× Valerie Novak
Government Guru

As our government contracts expert and senior account executive, Valerie spearheads federal and state government business development, expertly navigating the procurement process and securing new contracts by proposing forward-thinking, cost-effective solutions. Then, she leads projects from concept to completion, offering insightful recommendations that advance clients’ missions. Leveraging her experience in management, public relations, and research, Valerie builds and fosters strategic (often decades-long) partnerships with clients, serving as the key liaison with our team. When she’s not wowing clients with another creative solution, you’’ll find Valerie spending time with her family and spoiling both her kids and her fur babies.

Dawn Clark Empress of Operations
× Dawn Clark
Empress of Operations

Dawn is the heart of the Novak Birch family—the dedicated administrator who keeps the company running like a well-oiled machine. A true jack-of-all-trades, she contributes to every aspect of agency operations, from production and communications to human resources, billing, and herding cats (fittingly, since her childhood dream was to become a veterinarian). Much like her diverse role at Novak Birch, when asked to name her theme song, Dawn said the list was “too extensive” to choose just one.

Bill Lanisek Token Brit
× Bill Lanisek
Token Brit

Bill is Novak Birch’s international man of mystery—err, international marketing event strategist. He expertly plans and executes strategic marketing programs and events that expand clients’ global reach. With extensive experience developing ROI strategies across all sectors, he has delivered successful programs in not just memorable events, but also in digital, social media, and experiential channels in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Africa. Hailing from England, Bill offers decades of business strategy and marketing experience within both corporate and creative agency roles. When not strategizing on the next market to dominate, Bill enjoys perusing ted.com and writing screenplays and comedy.

Rachel Claire Experiential Trailblazer
× Rachel Claire
Experiential Trailblazer

With an eye for detail, Rachel manages our largest account, keeping all the moving parts, well, moving! Rachel’s expertise in experiential marketing and strategic planning means she’s ideally suited to plan and manage international trade shows for this dynamic client—ensuring that we deliver thoughtful, cohesive solutions and engaging user experiences. When she’s not planning top-notch global campaigns and events, you’ll find Rachel out and about in Charm City.

Adam Miller Shop Master & Motorhead
× Adam Miller
Shop Master & Motorhead

Adam leads our team of craftspeople and shop techs, managing the construction of high-impact displays and exhibits. As the liaison between our creative services and exhibits teams, Adam helps dream up unique solutions and then brings those visions to life, creating engaging exhibit experiences. Ensuring that each project is perfectly executed, he also supervises the on-site set-up of trade show booths and environmental installations—and he handles all estimating, consulting, and billing. When he’s not immersed in creating our next show-stopping 20’ x 40’ exhibit, you’ll find Adam working on his car collection.

Allie Pauson Board Game Dynamo
× Allie Pauson
Board Game Dynamo

Allie has a dynamic background in digital content creation, event logistics, and illustration–coupled with stellar project coordination skills. Fueled by her daily iced coffee, we count on Allie to provide critical planning support, resulting in thoughtful solutions that keep our clients coming back. When Allie’s not busy keeping our accounts running smoothly, this Philly native loves playing board games (don’t even think about challenging her to a game of Scattergories!).

Megan Brohawn Design Superstar
× Megan Brohawn
Design Superstar

Passionate about art from a young age, Megan’s design career was written in the stars. A versatile designer, she conceives and executes print, digital, and environmental solutions that elevate clients’ brands and meet their business goals. With extensive multi-platform experience, Megan offers a unique perspective to every project she touches, producing fresh, insightful designs that keep our clients coming back for more. A self-professed foodie, you’ll often find Megan exploring Baltimore restaurants and sampling new brews—that is, unless she’s in DC cheering for the Capitals.

Patrick Cruise FTP Destroyer
× Patrick Cruise
FTP Destroyer

As a kid, Patrick dreamed of being a triathlete—so naturally, he ended up in art school. As a designer at Novak Birch, Patrick’s signature sense of humor keeps us entertained, while his imaginative 3D designs keep our clients happy. Leveraging 15 years of experience with graphic, production, industrial, and web design software, Patrick conceives, designs, and constructs one-of-a-kind event spaces that support clients’ goals and leave lasting impressions. He takes a holistic approach, considering every aspect of an event space, and then creates trade show exhibits, displays, and environmental installations for large-scale domestic and international trade shows and events.

Rachel Dornon Herder of the Creatives
× Rachel Dornon
Herder of the Creatives

Rachel’s ability to organize and multi-task while remaining detail-oriented only touches the surface of the value she brings to our team. Always on the go, she helps ensure that the company’s daily operations run smoothly, including everything from ordering office supplies to billing. A true Marylander, Rachel’s favorite vacation spot is good ol’ Ocean City. If she could choose any super power, it would be to be invisible.

Sylwia Surowiec Design Muscle
× Sylwia Surowiec
Design Muscle

Growing up, Sylwia dominated in art class—so it didn’t take long for her to realize her calling. At Novak Birch, she designs imaginative marketing solutions ranging from brand identities to collateral and environmental. When Sylwia’s not tackling design projects, she’s intimidating gym goers with her bench press or dreaming of a cross-country road trip with campy roadside attractions and glorious, artery-clogging delicacies. Her theme song, “Gonna Fly Now,” (think Rocky) gets her pumped—and ready to meet her next challenge.

David Counts Design Nut
× David Counts
Design Nut

A versatile designer and art director with a fresh, imaginative approach and a hopeless addiction to peanut butter, David delivers thoughtful creative solutions to clients across diverse industries, from tourism and retail to government. With more than two decades of design experience, our clients rely on David’s broad knowledge and insightful design sense. He easily transitions between print, brand identity, packaging, signage, web/digital, and exhibit displays, producing stand-out solutions that garner results. But we keep David around for more than his crackerjack design skills—his clever quips and quick wit keep us smiling and on our toes.

Randi Leyshon Holbrook Editor Extraordinaire
× Randi Leyshon Holbrook
Editor Extraordinaire

With an extensive background in journalism and Russian studies as well as an admitted cat obsession, Randi fits right in with our eclectic team. She’s a tea-drinking grammar geek who enjoys running around Baltimore and reading as many books as possible. Randi puts her eagle-eye editing skills to use fine-tuning our copy and writing on-point content that gets results for our clients.

Shane Saunders Builder of All the Things
× Shane Saunders
Builder of All the Things

As a kid, Shane wanted to become an architect—until he realized he’d have more fun actually building things. And that’s exactly what he does at Novak Birch. In Shane’s hands, raw materials become stunning exhibit booths and permanent installations. From metals and plastics to wood and fiberglass, he works wonders with all materials. His favorite vacation destination is the North Fork of Long Island, where he claims you’ll find the best wine on the East Coast.

Tiffany Vandevoordt Globetrotting Wordsmith
× Tiffany Vandevoordt
Globetrotting Wordsmith

With 16 years of professional writing and editing experience, Tiffany is our content guru, leading the editorial team and writing killer copy across a variety of media—from print to interactive—as well as taglines, messaging platforms, and value propositions. She has conceptualized and written award-winning solutions for clients across diverse industries, including government, education, retail, nonprofit, and tourism. Tiffany is passionate about writing, cooking, music, and traveling (she’s been to 18 countries!). Most weekends, though, you’ll find her exploring Annapolis and sampling new wines.

Maureen Alsmeyer Event Wrangler
× Maureen Alsmeyer
Event Wrangler

It takes a special set of skills to wrangle all the requirements of national and international trade shows. Lucky for us, Maureen’s got it mastered—and she does it all with a smile! As the primary contact for clients, vendors, show organizers, and decorators, she handles the administration and logistics of all our client events, including scheduling, planning, invoicing, and shipping. When she’s not keeping our events humming, Maureen enjoys a good scare—she loves ghost tours and visiting haunted places.

Chris Blair Visionary Craftsman
× Chris Blair
Visionary Craftsman

Chris is an expert exhibit builder and fabricator who is also well-versed in design renderings, giving him the ability to visualize an exhibit solution and then execute it with ease and precision. Creative and detail-oriented, he works with many materials to craft engaging exhibit displays, including wood, laminates, metal, plastics, and mechanical and electrical components. A versatile builder, Chris is also adept at woodworking, cabinet making, and machining.

Ashley Tieperman New Biz Ninja
× Ashley Tieperman
New Biz Ninja

Ashley fell in love with writing as a child, when her grandma caught her typing dreamy stories on the typewriter at her family’s lake house. At Novak Birch, Ashley tells a different kind of story, crafting powerful proposals that capture new business. These days, when she’s not slalom waterskiing, you can find her scribbling essays in her journal about the beauty of Italian churches (yes…for fun!), busting a move at barre class, or hanging out with Rory Gilmore.

Novak Birch

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