2 Minutes With … Drew Ungvarsky, Founder and CEO of Improve

Drew Ungvarsky is founder and CEO of Expand, a creative innovation agency dependent in Norfolk, Virginia. Less than Drew’s management, Expand has produced ground breaking digital encounters and internet marketing strategies for primary brand names like Google, Adidas, Spotify and EA Video games.

In addition to his position at Improve, Ungvarsky is also founder and CEO of Assembly, an legendary setting up campus coming to downtown Norfolk that will provide alongside one another foremost innovative and technological know-how companies—sharing strength, inspiration and methods.

We expended two minutes with Drew to understand much more about his background, his resourceful inspirations, and modern function he’s admired.

Drew, convey to us…

The place you grew up, and where you are living now.

I grew up in Virginia Seashore, a neighboring city to where by I now stay and function currently in Norfolk, Virginia—where Improve is headquartered. Both equally metropolitan areas have a fantastic culture and participate in off each other well, making a special environment with a mix of seaside and city lifestyle.

What you preferred to be when you grew up.

I in all probability preferred to be an astronaut when I was very little, but by the time I obtained to substantial college, I needed to make online video game titles. I began educating myself to code by means of hacking graphic calculators, of all items. I created my initially match (Duck Hunt), and I was hooked. I resolved to go to college to review computer system science.

How you discovered you were being artistic.

When I began creating internet websites, I realized early on I could not style and design as well as I could code, check out as I could possibly. But when my pastime commenced to flip into a organization, and I was able to locate an individual to be a part of my staff as a designer, I discovered how significantly I cherished doing work with other creative persons and aiding shape artistic tips, even if they could operate circles about me in Photoshop.

And then afterwards I figured out that those imaginative expertise were seriously handy to me in supporting direct the company—whether it be shaping our get the job done or our enterprise tradition. You have an plan about the place you want to go, and then you surround you with other talented men and women to figure out how to get there.

A particular person you idolized creatively increasing up.

I do not assume this qualifies as a regular creative idol, but I genuinely appeared up to Bill Gates when I was rising up. He was a technological innovation pioneer. When I started off to discover website style and design, while, I had tons of idols who have been early pioneers in the interactive world wide web space—people like Gmunk and Shane Mielke. 

A minute from higher college or university that altered your lifestyle.

I located Flash in faculty, and that improved almost everything for me. I was understanding standard coding in my courses, but all the things was in the command line and missing the on-display screen magic I was on the lookout for. Flash opened up all the opportunities I would been seeking: interaction, animation, interfaces, and so on. The moment I located it, I could not put it down.

I created my initially Flash web site and then emailed a band I preferred at the time to see if they required any aid with their individual. A few of several hours later, they acquired back again to me, and I traded them a web-site for two T-shirts and a CD—a excellent offer, I figured. The day I launched their site, their promotion enterprise termed and questioned me to do equivalent do the job for other bands they represented, and in weeks I was earning web-sites, e-cards and other electronic encounters for popular bands at the time.

The 1st concert you noticed, and your favorite band or musician today.

My to start with work was getting tickets at an amphitheater. I will not don’t forget which concert I saw first, but I observed a lot of them that way. I recall crushing really difficult on Gwen Stefani of No Doubt.

Favorite bands now … my top rated-5 for previous 12 months on Spotify were being the Appleseed Solid, White Lies, the Beatles, the Midnight and Weston. It was a nostalgic year for substantial school pop punk.

Your favored visual artist.

In all probability Sagmeister. He has this kind of a distinctive way of seeking at the entire world, and shaping a innovative idea. I was also privileged more than enough to commit a number of hrs with him many years in the past when he visited our AIGA chapter, and I really don’t feel he is aware how a lot that time and consideration he gave me shaped my job. Amid other matters, he instructed me anyone was figuring it out as they had been heading along, no subject how successful they appeared, and that took so considerably of the tension off.

Your favorite fictional character.

I have two children, so I have obtained practically nothing but kid’s flicks on my intellect. Maybe Mary Poppins?

The most effective book you’ve browse currently.

I read a good deal of leadership books now, hoping to live up to the footwear I have made for myself. Recently, I relished Radical Candor by Kim Scott. I also liked Steve Jobs’ biography, both as an inspiration and a observe-out for how—and how not—to develop greatness.

Your favorite movie.

I don’t know if I have a favorite. But a couple of latest types I seriously appreciated had been 1917, Joker and Bohemian Rhapsody.

Your favored Instagram abide by.


How Covid-19 modified your lifetime, personally or skillfully.

Personally, I have savored finding to shell out much more time with my household. Professionally, it truly is been remarkable to see our group adapt speedily and carry on creating significant-quality operate, in spite of the adjusted atmosphere.

Your favourite innovative project you’ve got at any time labored on.

It is really tough to decide just just one. I loved our venture with Adidas for the Boston Marathon, in which we designed personalized spotlight reels for each individual runner in the race. I also adore the internet marketing package platform we built with Google to create customized advertising and marketing property for each smaller organization in America, using their Google business details and machine learning to enable them come across their differentiators. Both assignments highlight the magic that can take place when you connect modern technologies with a wonderful creative notion.