meet the team Archives - Red Rock

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Tracy Crutchfield How I became a graphic designer blog post boat photo
Jan 02

How Did I Go From Owning Of A Fishing Boat To Art Director At Red Rock?

By Tracy Crutchfield | Notes from the Rock

February 1990, the wind was coming out of the east at a gale. Three foot waves were predicted… they were at least five footers. I jammed my feet into the scuppers along starboard rail thinking that could help hold me on the deck and keep me from falling over every time a wave hit. Did you ever have bruises on top of your toes, in the winter no less? It hurts to walk for days if not weeks even in slippers.

It could be a tough job, but I was always interested in the ocean. I worked at a marine science lab in high school, my grandfather was a marine mechanic and I have been a risk taker since birth. When my boyfriend, who was a captain, said “we should buy that boat from Allen,” I thought, “Why not, that could be a fun adventure.” I wrote a business plan and convinced a bank to loan us the money. We had zero credit, zero down payment, but we had loads of energy and enthusiasm.


To keep my boat, the Poquahaug, and nautical lifestyle afloat, I worked second shift at a local newspaper running a horizontal reproduction camera and dark room. Five days a week I jumped off the boat at 2:30 pm, ran up the dock and changed in the marina bathroom to go to work by 3 pm, sometimes smelling like fish guts and thankful I was in the dark room by myself! Even with the daily mad dash to the job, I grew to love printing. 

After a few years of trying to make it work, our youth and inexperience caught up to us. We had to sell the boat or risk losing everything.  After a few years of trying to make it work, our youth and inexperience caught up to us. We had to sell the boat or risk losing everything. I went to work for a start-up label printer. They had sixteen employees, all men except me. It was exciting to be there from the start. The owners hired me to do their manual based pre-press operations. I convinced them to buy a Mac computer, an imagesetter, Pagemaker and Macromedia Freehand. I taught myself, with a little help from some friends, how to use it and maintain it. I worked insanely long hours, sometimes sleeping on the big rolls of paper out in the warehouse.

I learned so much about typography and what draws viewers to your product on a busy grocery shelf. The salesmen would hand me faxes with images of labels on them and I had to recreate them. It was here that I was introduced to art directors from big NYC agencies who came to the plant to do press checks on their printing projects. I started to create my own label designs and I quickly realized that I wanted to learn more. In 1995 I quit my job and went to art school for graphic design. I thought I would eventually work for an agency as a junior designer and someday an art director. I started getting freelance projects while still in school, first from a childhood friend who owned a billboard business, then others followed

The freelance world started to lose its charm and my financial responsibilities were mounting when I went to work an in-house freelance gig in 2004. A year later I was competing for this new graphic designer position at Yale New Haven Hospital. For a few years I worked as the only in-house creative on the communications team at Yale New Haven Hospital and that was where I really honed my organizational and relationship skills. 

I juggled multiple projects, deadlines and clients for years, alone. I had the opportunity to work with a talented group of colleagues - writers, public relations pros, photographers and clinicians who were on the forefront of the changing healthcare landscape. The projects ranged from bi-weekly newsletters, brochures, displays, signage, to a high-end case statement for the development fund at Smilow Cancer Hospital that helped raise $100 million towards construction costs.

In 2012 the healthcare landscape was shifting in a radical way. I became an Art Director when our three sister hospital marketing departments came together as one department and we shifted to a more global system structure. The department went from 12 staff members to 34 managing the needs of three hospitals and 20,000 employees. I was the design lead working directly with the Associate Director of Branding when we began the process of a large scale rebranding of Yale New Haven Health.

Fast forward to 2016. My husband was diagnosed with leukemia. Caring for my husband and my aging parents became difficult while balancing the demands of a traditional corporate environment. Tapping into some of the same risk-taking attitude that allowed me to start my own fishing business years earlier, I decided to explore options for a new chapter of this book called Life.

Everything clicked into place when Glen, who was starting to build Red Rock, asked me to come to a meeting as an advisor to healthcare based client. Red Rock seemed like the perfect setting for my next chapter. I love working with the team at Red Rock. It is a true collaboration, where all of us have an equal voice and we are all learning, encouraging and pushing each other to grow.

I look back now and realize, through all the chapters in my life, one lead to next as if it were planned. The next chapter, at Red Rock, is still being written.

Glen MecDermott Story on How he started his own marketing agency blog post
Aug 15

How I Bicycled My Way to Better Branding

By Glen McDermott | Notes from the Rock

Growing up in Australia, I fancied myself an early explorer temporarily based in the new frontier town of Canberra. I spent hours drooling over maps and reading of faraway exotic lands, planning my exit. 

The world atlas was my bible.

That's me on the back.

My quest for adventure multiplied when I got my first bicycle for my 10th birthday. Suddenly, my ability to escape my siblings went from five miles on foot to 20 miles on my bike.

I bonded with those two wheels, and together we went places on the roads less travelled. Short tours around Australia and Tasmania led to extended rides throughout Southeast Asia.

These trips were transformational.

Cappadocia, Turkey.

Mount Nemrut, Turkey

Riding 100+ miles a day gets you in great shape, so I arrived at these places in the height of wellness and full of gratitude.

I had made a huge personal effort to travel, inspiring openness and appreciation in most everyone I met. I had invested in getting to their town.

On a bike, you are unprotected, exposed, and vulnerable, and vulnerability is the ultimate human connector. The people I met wanted to know my story, and they wanted to tell theirs. It’s the ancient exchange of travelers —a precious global currency and I have plenty.

From the Buddhist temples of Indonesia to the remote goat herder camps along the Russian border, I was warmly received by complete strangers over and over, everywhere I went.

We shared stories. We communicated across language barriers. This kind of true human connection is hard to achieve when you travel tucked away in planes and cars.

Bagan, The ancient capital of Burma (Myanmar)

Mountain ranges are daunting obstacles on a bike tour. But if taken one visible stretch at a time, it's doable.

Slow and steady.

Not only does reaching a mountain summit on two wheels give an immense sense of accomplishment, it offers an awesome view of the world and an appreciation for what is humanly possible. This has been one of my biggest takeaways  from the many countries and ranges I have ridden.

Anything is possible!

​Throughout these bicycle trips, I served on marketing teams for Australia’s Country Road, Metro in Singapore, The Limited in the U.S., and other Fortune 500 companies. But those miles changed me. I wanted to do something more meaningful, more healthy, and more authentic. I knew I had to leverage my creativity and deep well of gratitude to help people live better and more meaningful lives. 

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul

I now had a responsibility to apply my skills in creating ideas, images, and video to build a better world. I wanted to support the companies and organizations that are part of the solution.

Slow and steady.

And so Red Rock was born here in New Haven, Connecticut.

Red Rock takes the corporate world’s best marketing practices and applies them to nonprofits, health and wellness initiatives, and small to mid-sized businesses. We tell our clients’ stories with compassion, empathy, and authenticity, key ingredients for effective communication and a connected customer base.


The vast featureless plains of the Australian Outback lead to a massive red sandstone rock.

Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock or simply “The Red Rock,” is Australia's iconic spiritual center. This monolithic sandstone feature rises out of the desert, an icon to be seen from miles around. It’s a gathering place for local tribes, an oasis and a focal point of their ancient storytelling.

The Red Rock is everything a good brand needs to be.