Brooke Barney

My day job is director of marketing and strategy for Thysse, (which, in case you’re curious, is pronounced tie-see).

I’m relatively new to this position and it’s been an exciting opportunity to work in a role that stretches my experiences and capabilities and lets me learn about a new industry—my previous job was in healthcare marketing.

Thysse is a third-generation, innovative company that’s been around for 77 years. We’re that cool, American start-up story: the print shop that started in a garage. Our president, Jason Thysse, brings a combination of history and innovation to the company. He’s very forward thinking and always looking for new ways to expand our capabilities and better serve our clients.

But what really excites me about Thysse is that we are a printing company that hires architects. We print business cards and we design locker rooms.

If you’ve ever been in the Badgers’ men’s basketball locker room, you’ve seen an example of Thysse’s experiential graphic design (EGD).  EGD encompasses architecture, graphic design and interior design for diverse projects including retail spaces, hospitals, museums and locker rooms.

Our tagline is, “Where you go with your brand.” We have a talented team of print production and creative experts who can design, build and produce pretty much anything a client might need to tell their brand story.

My most memorable caffeine was the latte I used to drink at a combination pizza/coffee restaurant in Singapore.

I worked in Singapore for about two and a half years in the mid-1990s. This was technically my second job out of college—my first was a short-lived stint with “the artist formerly known as Prince.”

I had two job offers coming out of college, the one with Prince and one with the Lacek Group, an ad agency. I thought to myself “Why would I not work for Prince? It will be fun! It will work out!”  Sadly it only lasted about four weeks. I was some kind of errand girl; I don’t think I even had a computer. I shared my chair with the office cat, who wasn’t happy about the arrangement. I don’t believe Prince ever acknowledged my presence.

I quickly realized this wasn’t where I should be and crawled back to the Lacek Group. They’d hired someone for the role they’d offered me, but they had a lot of work. They hired me freelance and I eventually got a full-time position. At the time they had a number of international offices, including one in Singapore. They had a need, asked if anyone wanted to go and I raised my hand. They had to show me where it was on a map! It was a very cool place. Beautiful, pristine. It was a British colony so English was the first language.

There was quite an expat community and we were a very tightknit group. My best friend was a woman named Anna from Norway. When we needed a fix of non-Asian food, we would head to the coffee/pizza restaurant and have lattes that came in humongous cups filled to the brim. We’d sprinkle them with raw sugar—I still remember the crunch and the bemusement I felt being in what felt like a French café in an urban Asian city.

My current caffeine of choice is still a latte.At home I use a press pot and make super strong dark French roast coffee. I add a lot of steamed milk and pure maple syrup.

My favorite place for caffeine depends on where I am. In Middleton, I like the Barriques on University. When I’m at work I head to Firefly in Oregon. And if I’m just getting my coffee to go, I’m a Starbuck’s girl.  

The person I’d love to share a cup of caffeine with is my old friend Anna from my days in Singapore. I’ve seen her a few times since we lived there, but it’s been quite awhile. She lives in Oslo now. We have a lot to catch up on and I’d love to see her.

World problem that could be solved with the right amount of caffeine. The energy to do two things: finish the book that I keep promising myself I’ll write and find the resources to support my non-profit.

First, the book. The working title is “Tallest Woman on the Island,” and it’s about my days in Singapore. I’m 6 feet, 5 inches tall, so this isn’t an exaggeration. I have an outline; I just need the caffeine to finish it.

My bigger goal would be to have more time to help This is an online, real-time tool that helps underinsured and uninsured people find medical and dental care, emergency housing, food, transportation and more. I got connected to this project through Merlin Mentors where I met the Where Is Care founder, Kevin Dwyer. It’s such a great cause, that’s supported by a wonderful team of volunteers. If I were sufficiently caffeinated, I’d have the resources and more hours in the day to continue to support Kevin.