Armed with a Graphic Design degree from the Kansas City Art Institute, Gary entered the publishing industry as Director of Creative Services for the Kansas City Star. He went on as part of the start-up management team which became American City Business Journals, growing the group from the original K.C. Business journal to a a chain of 35 papers from Buffalo to Honolulu. In 1990, Gary founded Mallen and Friends Advertising Arts. The agency’s emphasis on an innovative, memorable creative product, media expertise and dedicated customer service soon won them an impressive list of clients along with industry praise. The team from Mallen and Friends joined Grant and Kurt to provide the creative strategy, production and media buying components for PROOF. As a frequent member of various “Top 25” and “Fastest Growing” business lists, Gary attributes the firm’s longevity and success to a talented staff and the loyalty and vision of the agency’s clients.
Gary has served on boards of directors including The Ad Club, The Art Director’s Club and was a founding director of the K.C. Chapter of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Mallen and Friends’ habit of winning communications awards earned Gary recognition as one of the “Omni Legends” from The Ad Club of Kansas City.
Gary has taught Design, Typography and Professional Practices at Johnson County Community College and the Kansas City Art Institute as well as being a featured speaker to a variety of industry gatherings.
Gary has served on the boards of directors of the Johnson County Museum, Bishop Hogan, Johnson County Community College Graphic Design Advisory Board and, the Leawood Homes Association.
Off the Clock
“I’m fascinated by advertising history and the exciting changes now taking place in the industry.” Gary notes. This passion along with keeping up with his two children leaves “not as much time as I’d like” for playing with “an occasionally-impressive garage band”, movie buffing, a bit of tennis and trying to get his 1988 Honda Shadow started.