A Lasting Legacy of Innovation
Our hearts are heavy as we remember and honor our founder and president. Beau Birch, Novak Birch’s steadfast captain, passed away surrounded by loved ones on February 15, 2021. He leaves a lasting legacy of creativity, collaboration, and innovation.
With a big personality and an even bigger heart, Beau epitomized a great leader. His parents owned a Baltimore marketing agency, and as he described it, the gene was passed on. In 1987, he founded Novak Birch, growing it from a small design shop to the successful marketing, events, and exhibits agency it is today. In Beau’s words, “It’s been a crazy ride.”
It’s been a crazy ride.
For 34 years, Beau has provided a place that not only delivers marketing solutions that help our clients succeed, but also where employees have been able to thrive—even forging their own career paths within the agency. And, like our staff, our clients also tend to stick around, which is a testament to the type of company Beau built, the expectations he set, and the work culture he cultivated.
A true entrepreneur, Beau had the innate ability to dream up new ideas, products, and solutions. And they worked. He had a rare combination of business smarts and creativity—both knowing how to grow a successful agency and how to let loose and let imagination take over…just to see what happens.
A true entrepreneur, Beau had the innate ability to dream up new ideas, products, and solutions. And they worked.
Tenaciously and unapologetically creative, Beau lived to push boundaries, whether he was adamantly insisting on adding drop shadows to his favorite fonts or loudly declaring that “grammar doesn’t matter in marketing,” much to a copywriter’s chagrin.
His enthusiastic creative drive led employees to coin new words inspired by him. When Beau had an idea and wanted it brought to life yesterday, employees were “beaudoozled”—that’s when Beau would pop up with a request that turned into days of creative spitballing until his idea was perfectly executed in reality. Likewise, many of us added the terms “beaulingual” and “Beauzone” to our resumes as we learned to translate Beau’s boundless streams of ideas into action items.
With too many ideas to share at any given time, Beau was always thinking. Steve Novak recalls asking Beau if he wanted him to pick up lunch and Beau frequently responding that he’d like “five dollars’ worth of food.” When Steve asked Beau to tell him specifically what he wanted, Beau was already onto the next thing, his creative juices swirling. So Steve would return to the office with an odd combination of ingredients for a meal, telling Beau that he got what he asked for—five dollars’ worth of food. Steve also had a penchant for making special requests for Beau’s lunch order, giving him an uncut pizza or overstuffed foot-long sub with extra lettuce, while everyone else’s orders were prepared normally. Their partnership was built on trust, respect—and of course good-natured tricks.
Beau had the best stories, many of which revealed what those close to him knew—he was an inventor at heart.
Beau’s inventive proclivity and ever-evolving professional journey surely contributed to his gift for storytelling. Beau had the best stories, many of which revealed what those close to him knew—he was an inventor at heart. As a teenager, Beau created his own scuba diving suit using things he found in his parents’ garage. While we aren’t exactly certain why he did this, knowing Beau, it’s probably because he could, so he did. And that’s Beau. At Novak Birch, he once strode into the art department with a leaf blower and started cleaning computer keyboards with it. Why? Because it worked.
As we pay tribute to our founder, we’ll remember his zest for life, his always-inventive ideas, and his dedication to his Novak Birch family. And we’ll honor Beau’s legacy by dreaming endlessly, taking calculated creative risks, and, of course, trying to find the elusive $5 lunch. We’ll miss you, Beau.