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Robert G. Style

Writer  |  Editor  |  Online Design  |  Content Management

Hello there

Thanks for checking out my portfolio website.

Since joining a nonprofit training firm as a writer and researcher in the 1990s, I have helped a variety of organizations connect with their audiences as a writer, editor, web designer, social media lead and content strategist. I have been a freelancer, contract employee and in-house staffer for organizations in the private, public and nonprofit sectors. As a word-guy by inclination, I love to work with subject matter experts to create concise copy that engages and informs their audiences.

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How I Got Here

I came to communications through the nonprofit world. In the early 1990s I worked as a writer, researcher, trainer and association administrator for WRITAR, an independent group working on industrial environmental issues. With WRITAR my focus was conducting research and writing articles on industrial waste reduction legislation at the state level and helping manage a national association of pollution prevention programs the group oversaw.

When WRITAR changed its focus away from policy analysis and association work, I joined the Minnesota Department of Revenue's Communications Division. There I designed forms and documents, coordinated printing jobs, edited an internal agency-wide newsletter, did media relations and co-taught writing classes for tax professionals.

One day in 1998 I was having lunch with one of my Revenue colleagues, Steve Hollenhorst - a really bright guy who was helping me understand the wild-and-woolly ways of state government. We were talking about the challenges of the right tax forms and information to taxpayers when they were most likely to use them. He told me about this new computer system that would allow the department to post forms and instructions on a state-controlled server and taxpayers could use software called Air Mosaic and Acrobat to transfer the forms directly to their computers. He said taxpayers could hook up their computers to something called "the Web" and they could find and grab the documents any time they wanted. That way they could always have the most current forms and the department could save the printing and mailing costs. Sounded too good to be true. Steve told me he was going to need some help operating our end of this system, something called a "website." Did I want to help? Sounded interesting. I was in.

Steve gave me a primer on HTML, taught me how to maintain the site on the state servers, the ins-and-outs of making good PDFs and how to best label things so people could find what they needed. After Steve left Revenue, I became the department's Webmaster, a position I held for six years. I led two complete site redesigns, helped introduce electronic filing functionality, and was part of the team that selected and migrated the site onto the Stellent content management system the department bought in 2003.


While with Revenue a friend introduced me to Armi Armajani and Rick Heydinger, part of the leadership team of a public sector management consultancy called the Public Strategies Group (PSG). Armi had a vision for a website government reinventors could use to find and share information about innovations in their field. PSG also wanted to use the site to publish material they created on best practices in public sector management. As they began to develop this tool, they decided site was to be built around a web crawling tool they had purchased. They were told this tool would collect articles about reinvention efforts from targeted websites and feed them to this new site.

I worked with Armi, Rick and the good people at Blinc Publishing to design and launch the site, dubbed ReGov, on a content management tool created by a local software developer. I maintained the ReGov site as a freelancer for three years, designing an interface for and posting two books written by partners in the firm. We also regularly published articles written by PSGers about their projects across the country. Unfortunately, the web crawler tool they bought was never able to return the kind of results they had been promised. Once their financial commitment on crawler software expired, they decided to cut their losses and shut ReGov down.

My experience working with PSG combined with some internal tussling at Revenue over which division would run the website led me to make the leap out of state government into the deep, tempestuous waters of the freelance world full time. And there I stayed for nearly two years, creating websites and writing copy for a variety of small- and medium-sized organizations. Much of my freelance work was done with Blinc Publishing, the small design firm that I first began working with on the ReGov project.

After PSG shut the ReGov site down, I worked with Blinc to design and launch a new site for the firm featuring much of the government reinvention material originally published on ReGov. I also worked with Blinc to build and launch a number of websites and write copy for variety of clients.

Blinc Publishing

After working with Blinc as a freelancer for a couple of years, Bill Moran, the firm's founder, asked me to join the team. In addition to being the shop's lead interactive designer, I was in charge of making sure time got tracked, invoices went out and bills got paid. I was also the resident word geek, writing copy for both online and print projects.

One of our more interesting projects I led while at Blinc was a communication audit we did for South Metro Human Services, a large nonprofit that provided housing, counseling and social services to adults battling mental illness. South Metro asked us to help them improve internal communications by assessing the way information flowed around the organizaiton and recommend possible solutions to any difficulties we uncover. We worked with South Metro to create an audit plan, put together an organization-wide survey, collected and assessed its existing communications tools, led focus groups and conducted one-on-one interviews with staffers at all levels. We compiled the data we collected during the two month audit and produced a final report with possible next steps. I enjoyed getting a top-to-bottom view of communications in a large, far-flung service organization and the challenge to coming up with recommendations to help the organization make their communications channels more effective. Our report was well received by South Metro leadership and they moved ahead adopting our suggested changes.

I worked with Blinc for three years until the financial crisis of 2008 hit the firm hard. After enjoying the two best year's in Blinc's ten year history, work dried up and, as is often the case with small design agencies, letting go staff was the firm's only option. I was off to the freelance world again.

Twin Cities Public Television

Right after election day in 2008, I joined Twin Cities Public Television (tpt) as an Interactive Producer. The main focus of my work was to manage a project to create a digital archive of station's 50 years of locally-produced programs. The archive was made available to the public through a website with a special section that would allow teachers to easily use this material in the classroom. For more on the work I did on this project, see the Minnesota Video Vault page in my Web Portfolio.

In addition to working on the station's archival project and learning a ton about web-ready video, I also was the main point-of-contact for the websites the station maintained for their two public affairs shows - Almanac and Almanac: At the Capitol. As a political junkie, it was fun working with content focused on Minnesota state government and politics. I thoroughly enjoyed adding value to their broadcasts by linking their political and feature coverage to the online world. I also had a good time helping the shows' producers understand and use social media tools as a way engage their audiences.

Since hard times in the private sector usually take a year of so to hit nonprofits, tpt did not see the effect of the 2008 financial crisis until the first half of 2009. The station lost the grants funding the Video Vault project and, combined with some realignment within the organization, tpt decided to de-emphasize the Video Vault and eliminate my position.

More freelancing

During the late summer of '09 I began a five month contract stint with Hanley Wood Marketing. There I managed content on portions of the website, built tools for email marketing campaigns, fed content to Sherwin Williams' Stir site, and wrote copy to support these efforts.

I then rejoined the folks at tpt as a web producer for the Almanac and Almanac: At the Capitol shows during the 2010 legislative session. While with the station I also worked on their ECHO project, a partnership between the station and a local nonprofit to provide multi-language health, safety, civic engagement and emergency readiness information. I edited and posted video on ECHO's YouTube channel to support the partership's outreach efforts.

Shortly after the state legislative session ended, I went back to Hanley Wood Marketing for a couple of months to help them clear up some content backlog they had on the FedEx site. I then began working with a few freelance clients and looking for some more new, interesting opportunities.

Geek Squad

In the fall of 2011 I took a contract to be a web designer for Geek Squad, which had been acquired by Best Buy a few years earlier. I enjoyed learning the ins-and-outs of the Geek Squad web platform, getting a feel for its quirky brand and updating content on the stand-alone Geek Squad site. Over time I became a member of Geek Squad's social media team, editing blog posts and strategizing with the Agents to effectively use its social media channels relieve tech stress. In the spring of 2014 I joined Geek Squad as a fulltime Content Specialist, helping manage the organization's online content and coordinating its social media presence.

After working with the online team to refine the web presence of the Geek Squad as part of Best Buy's offerings, corporate leadership decided in 2016 to integrate the Geek Squad site and social media efforts into the Best Buy e-commerce platform. I helped audit and select Geek Squad content as well as port it onto the Best Buy platform, all while maintaining the Geek Squad site during the nine months it took to complete the project. I was then moved into a Technology Analyst position that I discovered was not a good fit. I eventually decided to leave the company and try my hand in the freelance market.


I was able to get some freelance work at the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019 before working with Valere Consulting to get a six-month contract to joint the Polaris online team as a Contract Web Designer. The power sports company had recently purchased a number of boat manufacturing companies and was looking to port the content from the existing boat sites onto their web platform.

The project to transfer the boat sites content onto the Polaris platform went well and the online team asked to to take on other content work. At the end of my initial contract the online team offered me another six-month contract, which I accepted. Unfortunately, the online team had its budget cut with the new fiscal year and they lost the funding for my contract early in 2020.