IJ Production Director Don Wilson: Ready to Lend a Hand
By John Kramer
The photograph accompanying this story only begins to capture the many facets of IJ’s talented production director Don Wilson. Sure, he creates eye-popping publications and websites, helps to keep our computers humming, takes all the IJ photographs, along with so much more. But what folks can’t appreciate unless they’ve spent any amount of time at the Institute for Justice is that Don “I’m Quiet As A Church Mouse” Wilson is actually a practical joker and all-round evil genius of the first order. [As the butt of 90 percent of his practical jokes and an evil genius (second-class), I ought to know.]
Don Wilson survived his many years as a skateboard “punk” and turned that passion into a thriving business he ultimately handed over to his father. He came to us from Taylor University in Indiana, where he proved himself such an integral part of his university’s publication and production departments they hired him full-time upon graduation. He remained there for two years until, thankfully for us, he was drawn to Washington, D.C., where his wife, Angela, studied law until graduating this year from American University’s Washington College of Law.
But let’s get back to that evil genius theme. Don is the kind of guy that doesn’t actually do many practical jokes himself. He convinces others to do the dirty work for him. He casually says to Brian Montgomery (IJ’s accounting director) or to some other unassuming pawn, “Hey, you know what would be really funny?” Then he convinces them that hiding a fly-infested banana on top of Chip’s credenza was really their idea in the first place. (Insert Chip’s annoyed voice here: “Where are these teeny black flies coming from?”) Don then just sits back and enjoys the show. Along with the rest of us. Except for Chip. And me. Did I mention he usually targets me?
The quality and quantity of Don’s work should be enough to keep him from making mischief, but somehow it doesn’t. On a typical day, he’ll oversee the production of Liberty & Law or Ize, then shift gears to create IJ’s next round of direct-mail solicitation (an important, but detail-intensive and thankless task). Once that’s under control, he’ll then reel off a lampoon putting someone’s head on a really fat weightlifter’s body (and send it to my wife from my computer telling her I’ve taken up a new hobby), then get back to work adding new and attractive content to our website. He does all this with a calm grace and ease. He produces more good work and good humor than any two people I know.
So important to IJ’s legal team, Don works with our attorneys to create key exhibits for our legal briefs and trials. He helps them turn esoteric constitutional arguments and important case-specific facts into graphic displays that even the legal novice can understand.
So, there is Don Wilson: talented graphic designer, Webmaster extraordinaire and all-round happy spirit. He is a big reason IJ is such an enjoyable and productive place to work.
John Kramer is IJ’s Vice President for Communications.