Bill Wheeler
Bill Wheeler
Affiliated with Management of Creative Media, Marketing

I was born and raised on a farm along the Erie Barge Canal on the famed Niagara Frontier of western New York. Working the land and riding horses along the water were a springboard to a career of eclectic adventures and learning. To this day I tell my students, "keep an open mind, do not fear change and dare to take risks."

I started out as a cowboy with a love of horses and cattle, and graduated from Morrisville State College with a degree in General Agriculture and Cattle Ranching. I got called up for the Korean War, dispersed the herd of beef cattle and joined the U.S. Coast Guard, where I served four years as a Hospital Corpsman and Surgeon's Assistant. My assignments included law enforcement and air/sea rescue patrol in the Gulf of Mexico, a tour in the North Atlantic above the Arctic Circle reporting weather for the Air Force and charting icebergs, followed by an assignment to the operating room at the Coast Guard Academy Hospital. In the summer of 1955, I was assigned to the Eagle, a square-rigged sailing vessel and one of the famed tall ships used to train cadets. A surgeon and I were in charge of the sick bay and we went under sail to Europe and back and then Bermuda and back.

A year later, I was honorably discharged and moved to Burlington to enter UVM where I earned a BA. I was encouraged by the faculty to push my talent for writing and speaking and found by putting the two together I was well suited for a career in advertising. It began with a direct marketing company, then on to marketing with General Electric, which led to a founding partnership in Wheeler, Wood & Macleod, Inc.—a full service advertising agency from which I also consulted for other agencies and studios here and in Montreal and Toronto as a creative director, copywriter and presenter on some of the biggest advertising accounts in North America.

Nearly five decades later, we were beginning to ease the agency into retirement when I got a call from Professor Jay McKee at Champlain College asking if I'd be willing to teach Advertising for a semester to fill in for a guy who'd taken early retirement. That was the fall of the year 2000 and I'm still here.

Do I like it here? No, I love it here. To be able to share my experiences and my enthusiasm for the wonderful world of advertising with these terrific young people, who are the next generation to go into the world and make a difference, is a rewarding way to be retired.

Career Highlights
  • Created the State's highly successful campaign, "Vermont—The Beckoning Country," followed by more than seven years of ads, brochures and films that launched the Green Mountain State into the 21st Century.
  • Creative Director, Copy Chief and Presenter for TriLoCan on the Olympic Lottery and Loto Canada accounts as a Yank who does not speak French. Largest single product account budget ($12 million) in Canada, earned the agency awards for radio and TV and raised approximately $300 million annually for the 1976 Olympic effort and other causes. It was Canada's first million-dollar lottery and the campaign ran from 1974 to 1981.
  • During a 10-year part-time stretch in Montreal, I consulted as creative director, copywriter and presenter for J. Walter Thompson, Y&R, and Grey advertising agencies, plus numerous studios in Montreal and Toronto. The client list included Kraft, General Foods, Squibb, Northern Telecom, Marconi, Hunter Douglas, Titan Hockey, Solomon Skis, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Montreal Urban Community, Bell Canada, Canadian Pacific, Heinz and Nestle.
  • Before, during and after my career in Canada, I created Vermont campaigns for Chittenden Bank; Hackett, Valine & MacDonald; Green Mountain Power; Bolton Valley; Jake's, Woods Hardware; Jeep and Tri-State Megabucks.
  • Wrote, directed and did the choreography for live Nestle Sales Force show at Harbour Castle in Toronto—parody of Guys and Dolls, "I've got the horse right here," changed to, "I've got the brand right here." Taught product managers and professional dancers the routine and worked the show from back stage. Audience 350 with standing ovation.
  • Narrated the Vermont Public Television Documentary, "Vermonters at War;" appeared in VPT's documentary, "Vermont's Past Century;" and researched, wrote, narrated and directed, "History of Rural Electrification in Vermont."
  • Co-authored Charlotte's first town plan (pro bono) and Montpelier ranked it the best in the state.
  • In 2011, Bill was recognized as the first ever adjunct professor to receive the Francine Page Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Personal Interests
  • Rider/Trainer  of American Quarter Horses
  • Ice skating, tennis, track, skiing and basketball
  • Tractor work; landscaping; gardening; and building miniature wooden barns, arks, cabins, doll houses and zoos for our grandchildren
  • Pat and I are parents of four college-educated, married children and six grandchildren