Big Catch

Whether he’s enjoying the outdoors or pitching the C-suite, Tony White brings joy and passion to all of life’s pursuits.

Tony White describes his career as a “winding path” that has taken him to a variety of places and established a diverse base of knowledge. As he embarks on a new chapter at McCullough Creative, he believes he has landed in the ideal place. Creative Copywriter Jeff Montgomery recently sat down with Tony to learn more about what drives him, both in and outside of the office.


Jeff: Hi, Tony. Thanks for taking some time to chat with me. Let’s start with the basics. Can you tell me what you’ll be doing here at McCullough Creative?


Absolutely, my title here is Director of Client Services. My job is to provide insights and strategic thinking to help our clients scale their businesses, grow, and reach their goals in the modern marketing environment. I’ll work predominately on the marketing and creative services side of the house, helping with new business and leading the account services department.


What prepared you for this job? And how will that positively impact clients?


I have a diverse background and experience in a lot of industries. I’ve worked in toys, juvenile products, sporting goods… . I have 20 years of experience in consumer packaged goods, and that’s given me a good understanding of marketing and how to communicate effectively to a target demographic. I think it’s given me insight into how businesses can reach who they want to reach in an effective manner. And that can be such a big value to them.


Any particular career highlights that come to mind?


Just prior to coming to McCullough Creative, I was the VP of sales for a husband-and-wife-owned company called Itzy Ritzy®, which specialized in elevated essentials for parents and children. In the time I was there, we grew the company significantly and increased revenue tenfold. The owners were able to sell the company in mid-2021. Also, I was a partner for a startup called reALTO Co., which sold products like water bottles and lunch bags. We successfully got those products into a number of stores like Target, Academy® Sports + Outdoors, and Toys ‘R Us®.


What do you love about this type of work?


I really like the process of collaborating. It all comes down to understanding who the client is and what they’re trying to accomplish, and I find that to be such an enjoyable process. There’s something great about working together with a group of people, gathering different perspectives, and coming up with solutions and strategies that help their business. It’s something that lights a fire for me.


enjoying the landscape

Tony and his daughter, Dempsey, enjoy some time in the great outdoors.


Are you new to Dubuque? Or are you familiar with the area?


I am a native Dubuquer, actually. I have pretty deep roots here. I remember when I was younger, I couldn’t wait to get out of here. But as I’ve grown older, I have moved around and seen more of the world, and it has changed my perspective. I have been to almost every state and dozens of different countries, and I have come to the conclusion that Dubuque is a hidden gem.


“A hidden gem.” I think that’s a nice way to describe it. What are some of the things that you like about life in Dubuque?


I love the four seasons, for one thing. Yes, winter can get too long, but I love the fall. On top of that, the Mississippi River is beautiful, and there are so many outdoor recreational opportunities. And now that I have two kids, I realize it is a great community in which to raise a family.


Tony and his family during the holiday season.


Tell me a bit more about your family.


My wife Jen and I have been married 15 years. We have a 14-year-old daughter Dempsey and a 9-year-old-son Van. They are the lights of my life. My wife is my biggest supporter. She has so much passion and offers a lot of support for what I do. My daughter is very independent and opinionated, and she doesn’t lack self-confidence. My son is a gold-hearted boy. I’ve never met anybody as selfless as him. He is so sweet. Definitely takes after his mother.


You seem to have a passion for marketing. What is it that lights that fire?


Marketing is what I went to school for and have my formal education in. Back when I was younger, my dream job was to work for Nike. I loved the commercials with Michael Jordan, and I used to think that, if you want to be a part of making something like that, you had to work at Nike. I became older and I realized “Nike doesn’t do it.” It is an agency that works with them and brings that story to life. My career path has been a bit of a winding road, and I am so happy that it led here. It is the type of thing I wanted to do, the kind of company I wanted to work for, and now I have the opportunity to do it. It feels like a dream come true.


Tony and his son, Van, out for a hike with the family dog.


What do you like to do when you’re outside of the office? Any hobbies of note?


I’ve never met a hobby that I didn’t like. Living here in Dubuque, you have access to all sorts of outdoor recreational opportunities. I enjoy hunting, fishing, and hiking with my dog. My son does martial arts, and I’ve been involved in that. My daughter is a runner, but I only run when I am being chased (laughing). I do like to take her rock climbing, though. I am a retired soccer player. More recently, I have taken up pickleball as my new passion. It is a lot of fun for me. I started playing in June. It is a wonderful little sport.


How’s that coming along? Crushing the competition yet? Or just trying to hold your own?


(Laughing). I have played against 14-year-olds who have kicked my butt and 60-year-olds who have kicked my butt. I haven’t kicked any butts yet. I’m still picking it up.