= People | RPM Advertising


We have an entertainment addiction

We’ve got over 100 people here who really love what they do. We’re from every background, from big agencies and little design firms. We are artists, accountants, rock stars, comedians, pilots and gentleman farmers who bring our passion, talent and brains to the office every single day.

Steve Platcow

Chief Executive Officer/Founding Partner

From his time at FCB/Los Angeles and Nahser Advertising, Steve’s forward strategic thinking was instrumental on clients like General Motors, Farmers Insurance, Bang & Oulfsen, Schwinn Bicycles and more. That wide-ranging experience and reputation for big thinking continues to serve Steve well as he leads one of the most successful private agencies in the Midwest.

Currently, he serves as a board member on the Chicago Public Library Foundation and the Illinois Chapter of the March of Dimes. Steve received a B.S. in Organizational Communications at Arizona State and has earned a Commercial Pilot’s License.

Mark Malin

President/Founding Partner

Mark is a problem-solver. It’s been that way since the early years at the Chicago Tribune and JTC Advertising.

His uncomplicated, no-bull attitude is a big reason clients come to Mark. Clients like the Field Museum and the Buick, Pontiac, GMC Dealer Group. Even the agency’s very first client is still on the roster.

A Michigan native, Mark returns often. He enjoys watersports, working his small farm and getting stung by the many honey bees he tends to. In the winter, you’ll find him speeding down the mountains of Colorado and cursing slow ski-lifts.

Sarah Russell

Senior Vice President, Account Director

Ask anyone, Sarah’s the hardest workin’ woman in the biz. A roll-up-her-sleeves, put-the-plan-into-action kinda person.

From her time on Horseshoe where she helped build a dynamic brand identity from the ground up to her current leadership role on Riondo Prosecco, Sarah has accomplished much at RPM.

It comes as no surprise to anyone that Sarah is a triathlete in her spare time. Currently, she also writes and edits an on-going discussion devoted entirely to the gastronomic merits of macaroni & cheese. Look for it in the blogosphere.


Chief Barketing Officer

A small-town dog from the Midwest, Rocky got his break at a local startup shop called Treasured Friends Animal Rescue. Marketing himself as an industry go-getter and all around good boy, he was hired as an RPM Doggy Intern and quickly climbed the ranks to Chief Barketing Officer.

Rocky packs a lot of personality into his small package. Despite his miniature size, Rocky can hang with even the biggest of clients, take on big nap-related projects and handle all of the office boop-snoot distributions.

Larry Bessler

Chief Creative Officer

To Larry, it’s all about the gut. Never settling. As the hyper-energetic leader of RPM’s creative department, he sees his job as building the right teams to tackle projects, coaxing incredible performances, convincing clients to trust, encouraging creativity, cheering brilliance and trashing the uninspired.

From his work on Partnership for a Drug-Free America to building Horseshoe’s legendary brand, Larry continues to bring his confident, demanding and driven sensibilities to each of RPM’s clients.

In the moments Larry is not answering work-related texts and emails, you might find him jamming with his band or playing soccer.

Bart Darress

Associate Creative Director

The usual new business introduction for Bart generally involves a joke about how he’s been kicked out of the best agencies in the country. That’s not exactly true. The fact that he’s been at some of the hottest creative shops around like Deutsch, BBDO and Saatchi while working on some of the world’s biggest brands from Nike to Miller Brewing Co., HBO and countless others… that’s completely true.

The kicked out part? Maybe once or twice. But really, he just wasn’t happy until he found a home here at RPM. And after more than 15 years he’s helped build an endless list of award-winning ads and numerous new business wins.

Jennifer Wiza

Chief Marketing Officer

Jennifer brings a unique blend of strategic planning and execution to the table. From her role as a Six Sigma Blackbelt in GE’s sales and marketing organization, to leading RPM’s Client development efforts, Jennifer delivers a unique combination of high-level thinking and feet-on-the-ground pragmatism.

When Jennifer isn’t helping to grow the agency, she enjoys thinking and writing like a 16-year-old as the author of ten books aimed at teens and young adults. Jennifer received her MBA from the University of Chicago and a BA from Smith College.

Jeff Chardell

Executive Vice President

He brings a strong background in media sales and management, business and digital media as well as practical marketing savvy, to his account management role at RPM. Jeff provides clients an honest assessment of their needs and expert strategic direction.

Jeff’s never-ending drive and commitment to his clients makes him a leader and an integral part of RPM’s success.

A graduate of the University of Illinois, Jeff his wife Emily and their dog Jasmine live in Deerfield, Illinois.

Douglas Ekman

Executive Vice President

Douglas is a native of Detroit, so automotive advertising & marketing are in his blood. He served as Creative Director for Kenyon and Eckhardt Advertising on the Dodge Account during the rebuilding of Chrysler in the 80’s. He was an urban pioneer in Detroit’s Cass Corridor, where he lived and authored an anthology of short stories, “People Live In The Cass Corridor”. His early career as a radio and television talk show host led him to NBC Television’s Saturday Night Live as a contributing writer. A short stint as a standup comedian convinced him show business was no business. Before joining RPM’s Auto Team as Executive Vice President, he owned his own ad agency specializing in automobile advertising.



“My hooman brings me to job. All the hoomans use press buttons on shiny boxes but none of them yell at squirrels outside the window. But I keeps looking for squirrel. All the good foods too. I’m good boy and gets boops on snoots and always treats. When I don’t get treats then I look around and find foods in trashcans. Dont know why hoomans keep foods here. Maybe so I can grab it. One day I’ll catch the squirrels so I can thanks my hooman for bring me here.”