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Creative Heavyweights Join AccessU Executive Team

Hidden In Plain Site co-founder, GEICO Gecko co-creator sign on with Roanoke-based ad agency

Roanoke-based AccessU, a rebranded iteration of Access Advertising & Public Relations with a 27-year legacy in education marketing, is proud to announce its recent growth and expansion with the addition of two prominent executives to its leadership team: Randy Belcher as Vice President of Creative Services and J. Dontrese Brown as Executive Vice President of Community Relations & Strategic Partnerships.
Photo of Dontrese Brown

Dontrese Brown – Executive Vice President of Community Relations & Strategic Partnerships

Dontrese Brown, CEO and Co-Founder of Hidden in Plain Site (HiPS ™), has made indelible marks in uncovering and celebrating the stories of the Black experience across America, most recently in Richmond and Roanoke. Dontrese’s multifaceted experiences also include stewarding brand development for influential initiatives such as the Black Educators and Arthur Ashe Boulevard as the CEO/Co-Founder of Brown-Baylor, a Richmond-based creative agency. His past roles as Director of Brand Creative for Capital One and Executive Director of the EDGE Center for Career Development at Randolph-Macon College underscore his diverse expertise in both brand strategy and education services. At AccessU, Dontrese will leverage his insight and experience to pursue impactful collaborations for the agency to help breach educational and cultural divides in our communities.
Photo of Randy Belcher

Randy Belcher – Vice President of Creative Services

Randy Belcher, previously the Executive Creative Director for Strategic America, has been an influential figure in the advertising world as the co-creator of many iconic campaigns including the GEICO Gecko which earned a place in the Advertising Icon Hall of Fame. With over 100 awards under his belt, his expertise in merging comedy, emotional storytelling, and compelling ideas has led to groundbreaking campaigns for household brands like Wendy’s, Busch’s Baked Beans, LensCrafters, Sylvan Learning Center, Progressive Auto Insurance, Sprint and more. At AccessU, Randy will spearhead and augment the creative design teams, overseeing the visionary direction for brand, marketing, and enrollment campaigns.

AccessU has doubled the size of the agency since 2021 as it strengthens focus on marketing solutions for education, economic, and workforce development. The intentional growth in key support areas strengthens the agency’s creative prowess and furthers its mission to champion equity in the communities it serves.

“AccessU has always been committed to driving transformative change in education marketing. Our growth better positions us to continue investing in ourselves and our clients with creative solutions. With Randy’s unparalleled creative prowess and Dontrese’s profound commitment to equity, they are the perfect complement to our long-standing team,” commented Tony Pearman, president & CEO of AccessU.

The company is also pleased to announce the following recent additions to its team:

  • Stephanie Roberts – Executive Assistant
  • Brenda Drake – Senior Public Relations Specialist
  • Megan Wade – Account Services Manager
  • Brandon Sturgill – Account Services Manager
  • Allison Faulkner – Social Media Specialist
  • Emma Hughes – Jr. Account Services Manager
  • Kirsten Lawrence – Business Services Manager

“Education has been a core area of expertise since our beginning. The past few years have proven to us that this space is our greatest opportunity for impact,” added Pearman. “Our clients are seeking solutions to break past outdated models and appeal to new learners at a time when everything is being questioned. AccessU’s perspective and vision is uniquely developed based on proven educational marketing outcomes.” 

AccessU’s client roster details a rich and diverse history of servicing clients from large universities to small community colleges and everything in between.

About the Author

Rachel Spencer

Rachel’s expertise in strategic planning, qualitative research, brand messaging, public relations, and crisis communications has proven integral to AccessU for over 16 years. She began her career at a health and government-focused PR agency in Washington, DC, where she mastered the art of media relations. She later became the primary...

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