Our name is inspired by the simplest element in the universe:
hydrogen. One proton, one electron, the lightest of all elements.
Yet also the most powerful—hydrogen powers the sun.
Using Hydrogen’s 3C’s we dive deep into the category, customer and company. That leads to a key takeaway that is ownable, relevant and creatively differentiated.
The best ideas don't happen in a vacuum in space. We won’t disappear into a black hole and come back with the answer. Working sessions lead to better work and no nasty surprises.
We work with you to map out and deploy paid, earned and owned media channels along the path to purchase.
Today, we harness that power to help our roster of local, regional and international advertising clients succeed. How? By leveraging a proven yet simple three-step plan:
How do we make the complex look so simple? By working together to solve meaty marketing problems
that leverage paid, earned and owned platforms. Our arsenal includes:
As our clients often tell us, we’re adults. Seasoned marketing pros simplifying your world every step of the way. It’s all of the good stuff you get with a big ad agency, without all of the overhead, baggage and layers.
Tom started out as a biochemistry major. Today he translates that passion to the bond people have with brands to form even stronger more valuable entities. And how advertising can strengthen those bonds exponentially.
A rare mix of business and creativity, Tom’s background is on the creative side, starting out as an art director and creative director. He has worked on both coasts at large as well as boutique agencies. In 2001 he co-founded the agency with the belief that simplicity leads to better work and more powerful partnerships. The partners named it Hydrogen after the simplest element in the universe.
Today, Tom serves as the president of Hydrogen. He sets the tone for our unique atmosphere of collaborative ideation, hard work and comradery.
Tom’s work has been honored by Cannes, Communication Arts, The One Show, Clio Awards, Addys, Emmys, Graphis and Caples Awards. He has served as a judge on several prestigious shows during his career.
Tom is a card-carrying beachcomber, resident salty dog, philosopher and deep thinker. He lives on Vashon Island.
Partner, Executive Creative Director
After years as a writer and creative director in Dallas, Chicago and Seattle, what is Mary’s first word of advice to clients? Beware the sea of sameness. You know, those all-too-common, forgettable “me too” ideas that fail to capture people’s attention. Much less their hearts, minds and wallets. She is a firm believer in the power of simple emotional connections—be it laughter, empathy, wit or even heartstrings. The true test, she says, comes in understanding which emotion will best resonate with a brand. And delivering on that connection in an authentic, respectful way. She knows it’s not always the easy answer. But it is the answer for brands that want to truly stand out.
Like DiGiorno Pizza. Under Mary’s creative watch at FCB Chicago, DiGiorno passed the coveted billion-dollar sales mark. And the Tabasco® Brand Jalapeño Sauce launch she worked on at DDB Dallas was so successful, the work had to be pulled due to a global jalapeño mash shortage.
Creatively, Mary’s work has been honored by Cannes, The One Show, Clio, D&AD, ADDYs and Effie. She has been featured in Communication Arts, ARCHIVE, Print, Best Spots, Creativity Pick of the Day, Adweek Creative All-Stars and The Wall Street Journal. Mary is often asked to speak at industry events and has served on several prestigious juries including The One Show, Communication Arts, Effie, The Pele Awards and the National ADDYs.
She lives on an island in the Puget Sound with her husband, two children (one of each), four dogs and somewhere around nine chickens.
Partner, Creative Director
Michael has an eye for detail and visual language that pairs well with the sophisticated—with occasional notes of humor or heartstrings, but never even a hint of stuffy. He has worked on both coasts, beginning his career in New England where he was raised and educated. After a few years under his belt, Michael journeyed across the country to Seattle, where he brought his visual sensibility to global giants like Boeing as well as local gems like Seattle Children’s.
After years on the agency side, Michael answered the siren’s call from Starbucks Coffee to lead their advertising group. While on the client side, he led creative for the Starbucks brand across Canada, among other initiatives. But when an opportunity to work on the Third Coast arose, Michael joined FCB Worldwide and subsequently survived five Chicago winters, leading creative for Sharpie, Valspar and SC Johnson. In 2014, he once again heeded the call of the Pacific Northwest to join Hydrogen as Partner and Creative Director.
Michael’s work has been recognized by Cannes, D&AD, The One Show, The Art Directors Club and the ADDYs. He has been featured in Communication Arts, ARCHIVE, and Print magazines.
He lives in the midst of a “never-ending” remodel, with his wife, two sons and a cardigan welsh corgi named Stella.
Partner, VP, Strategy and Accounts
Hillary’s philosophy is that effective advertising happens when brands translate what they want to say into something consumers want to hear.
Over the past 25+ years, she worked with brands large and small, global and local, interactive and integrated. Through that, she’s learned what it takes to distill the brand’s passion and promise into actionable messages that people want to engage with.
Before Hydrogen, Hillary worked at agencies such as BBDO, DDB and Wunderman on accounts like Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery & Estates, Holland America Line, Microsoft, T-Mobile, Amtrak Cascades and JanSport.
A sought-after speaker and instructor, she is a faculty member of the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle; teaching brand strategy and creative brief writing. Hillary attended the executive program in strategic marketing at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management and received her management leadership training certification from the American Association of Advertising Agencies. She has spoken in Beijing, China on strategic tools innovation and at an invitation-only technology summit in Athens, Greece. Recently, Hillary was a judge in the international Effie competition for advertising effectiveness.
When she’s not at work, she’s on the road—for fun. Hillary loves to travel and has been to all 50 states, and their capitols. And all the Canadian Provinces, and their capitols.
VP, Strategic Communications and Public Relations
Brenda’s broad agency experience as an account manager, supervisor, planner—both account and media—and former owner of an advertising agency specializing in public relations and content development has enabled her to become somewhat of a chameleon. So, it’s no surprise that she can think with her left and right brain turning creative and innovative ideas into endless opportunities with strong ROI.
Take for example, the launch Brenda’s team created for Samsung. She led the development of a strong creative campaign for national trade and consumer paid, earned and owned campaigns that achieved more than 300% increase in brand awareness with double-digit sales growth.
Brenda has worked on both consumer and trade brands—local, national and international—throughout her 30 years in the business on brands like, Accoya wood, Darigold, Jacuzzi, Kohler, McDonald’s, Nordstrom, Safeway, Washington Apple Commission, Westin Hotels and Resorts, Weyerhaeuser and Windstar Cruises.
While her kudos list is long, some highlights include a Seattle Show award for a Washington Apple Commission radio campaign, a “Big M” Award and Brand Builder Award for Trus Joist by Weyerhaeuser and multiple “Big M” B2B Awards. A popular speaker in marketing circles, she has been invited to speak at university communications majors and several B2B trade shows. Brenda, a WSU alumna, is adjusting to the life of an empty nester rooting for her daughters’ schools of choice—the Longhorns and the, gulp, Huskies.
As Hydrogen’s Media Guru, Lauren leads both the planning and buying disciplines for local, regional and international clients. A self-proclaimed “strange media unicorn,” she is one of those rare media pros equally adept at buying traditional and digital media.
Of course, don’t let that friendly face fool you. Lauren is a negotiating shark. (Everyone at Hydrogen has asked Lauren to negotiate their next new car for them.) She started her career negotiating TV and radio but also dove head first into digital as it emerged on the scene.
Lauren’s media philosophy is simple: do fewer things better. Whether it’s a traditional plan based on TV or online video, or a nontraditional plan that includes grassroots gems like green graffiti or wheat pastes, Lauren makes sure each channel is the right fit, at the right price.
She cut her media teeth on one of the biggest media spenders in the world—General Motors. Other clients under her past watch include REI, Taco Bell, Wells Fargo, Nissan and the Seattle Mariners. These days, Lauren is at her happiest when she can combine on and offline for Hydrogen clients like Windermere Real Estate, The Polyclinic and 365 by Whole Foods Market. And her peers have noticed, awarding Lauren the 2017 national Cynopsis Buyer and Planner Award.
When not cutting down rates like a lumberjack cuts down trees, Washington native and proud Cougar alumna Lauren loves going to WSU football with her husband and watching ballet recitals of her tiny, curly-haired daughters.
Michael is a brand marketer, team leader and Account Supervisor at Hydrogen where he leads brand building, lead generation and management of integrated marketing programs. He’s a strong advocate for team collaboration to achieve the best results and understands both the big picture and minutiae-- yes, he sees both the forest and the trees.
A Chicago native, Michael started in publishing and in Seattle, joined brand giant Landor and advertising agencies: HL2, Hadley Green and GreenRubino. His brand experience has been refined in CPG, F&B, Retail, Hospitality, Technology, Healthcare and Life Sciences for such clients as Amazon, Fred Hutch, Microsoft, Starbucks, Vail Resorts, Washington State Wine and Whole Foods Market.
Michael supervised the brand launch of 365 by Whole Foods Market, a new chain of millennial-focused grocery stores, to an audience of media, foodies and grocery shoppers with a local and national omni-channel media strategy. His campaigns have been industry recognized for Adweek, Pulse and the National ADDY awards.
He lives in Ballard and enjoys the outdoors, family pizza/movie night (with wine), reading history and traveling.
Michael Van Schepen
After 25 years in advertising and design industry as a graphic, production, and digital designer, clients listen when Brian offers this advice: Details matter. He knows that successful campaigns are just getting started once the creative concept is approved—and flawless execution is vital. Brian’s (often behind the scenes) role ensures that creative concepts translate across all platforms with the intended voice and vision, while maintaining consistent brand identity.
Brian has worked with companies both large and small. He’s known for delivering the finest quality output on-time and under budget for clients such as Levi’s, MTV, AT&T, SEGA, Taco Bell, Dockers, HP, Nautilus, Washington State Tourism, Agilent and Keysight Technologies.
Brian is an avid hobbyist photographer and design researcher, with a love of road trips and adventure in his vintage VW camper with his wife, son and their Australian Shepherd.
As Project Manager and “Heartbeat of the Agency,” Jenn works with all departments to kick-start and shepherd all aspects of work that move through the agency. She works collaboratively in establishing and maintaining budgets, timelines and the creative resources allocation for each project. In short, Jenn makes Hydrogen tick.
With 15 years of experience under her belt, Jenn has put her foot (and brains) into just about every department and specialty the agency biz has to offer. After years in account management, data, and production, Jenn realized that project management is where her true passion lies. She has worn her many hats for a wide range of consumer- focused clients such as Forbes, AARP, Bank of America, and AT&T, as well as not-for-profit organizations such as World Wildlife Fund, Ronald McDonald House, St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Feeding America.
Outside of advertising Jenn’s second love is quilting. She has an eye for fabric, cutting it into pieces, and transforming it into something new.
As Finance Manager and resident lead left brainer, Lori is responsible for keeping Hydrogen’s ingoing and outgoing finances on track. Which is not always an easy task considering she’s surrounded by right brainers most of the day. Whether she’s forecasting budgets, invoicing clients or paying bills, Lori delivers with a seamless ease and ready smile that our clients and vendors have come to know and love.
Lori began her love affair with the “ad biz” over 25 years ago at local Seattle agencies including Herring Newman, FCB Seattle, DDB Seattle and Copacino+Fujikado before joining Hydrogen in 2015.
In her spare time, she enjoys cruising the Puget Sound with her husband and two daughters in their 38’ Sea Ray Sundancer, as well as hosting occasional cocktails on board with her fellow workmates.
Pirkko believes in the “art of possible” when it comes to bringing a creative vision to life. Her organizational, technical, shopping and people skills allow her to seamlessly switch from producing ads to supervising an art installation to supplying files for a video to be shown at Times Square. No task is too daunting. She’ll figure out how to get it made on time, within budget and of the quality Hydrogen’s clients deserve.
With 20+ years in the industry, Pirkko has produced award-winning work at The Domain Group, Bozell Worldwide, FCB, Becker & Mayer, and The Hacker Group before joining Hydrogen. A native of Ashland Oregon, Pirkko’s favorite clients include many of the Northwest’s most respected brands including Starbucks, Eddie Bauer, REI and Kenworth Trucks. Her passion to serve the community is evident in her work on Mercy Corps, Union Gospel Mission and as a board member for Mercy Flights, the first non-profit air ambulance service in the country.
Independent Global Network
Hydrogen is a member of Worldwide Partners, a global alliance of 65 independent advertising agencies in
50 countries. By sharing resources and ideas, we’re able to offer our clients the power of a large agency
network, without that large agency overhead.