• Left Brains.

  • Right Brains.

  • Brand Soul.

Force 5 Culture

Our EssenceForce 5 lobby, awards

Force 5 is a unique, next generation brand development and marketing communications firm—the only of its kind in the region. We combine unmatched expertise in technology, brand development and creative execution with soulful ideas to drive your goals beyond expectations. We work as your strategic partner to build communities one brand Soul at a time.

Our highly creative culture produces insightful brand expression, brilliant ideas and award-winning marketing programs. We are highly credentialed with certifications in brand strategy and technology — producing an uncommonly broad and highly efficient skill set for a small agency.

The Hemispheres

What do you get when left brainers and right brainers join forces?

  1. Picasso-loving Trekkies.
  2. The first book of poetry written entirely in binary code.
  3. An agency building communities one brand Soul at a time.

Okay, so maybe the other answers would also apply, but who really wants to read binary haiku? We understand the importance of right and left brainers, and the quirks that come with both. We know that left brainers have an amazing ability to create fully functional websites and complex web applications. We also know that those logic lovers have a propensity for Star Trek that the rest of the world just doesn't get.

As for right brainers, they have an innate ability to create amazingly innovative designs, even if they must continually explain why Mac far surpasses any Windows-based computer. But in the end, both are an integral part of the team that unites form and function to meet and exceed your marketing needs. That's why we have asked the best of the best to join our team.

Our Soul

Bag of popcornVintage Coke machinePups

So what happens when both hemispheres combine? You get a quirky group of popcorn loving, Friday afternoon grilling, brand strategists who work hard for their clients and have a blast doing so. We have set up camp in a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired building where the St. Joe River flows right outside our front door.

We have a passion for rescued animals and invite four-legged friends to join us in the office each day. Sounds interesting, huh? Well, feel free to stop by and see for yourself. Join us for some popcorn, a cookout or just stop in to give the pups a treat.

Team

Meet our resident left- and right-brainers

Click the mug head shots below to learn a bit more about the Force 5 team.
Beth North
Elizabeth A.B. North
Business Developer

Elizabeth A.B. North, a.k.a. Beth, is a seasoned marketing professional with over 30 years of experience in building company and product brands and lifecycles from launch through maturity within the United States and globally. Before joining Force 5, Beth was vice president of marketing for Hygieia, Inc., based in Ann Arbor. She has also worked in marketing and management roles for Home (now NIPRO) Diagnostics in Ft. Lauderdale, and Bayer’s Diagnostics, Healthcare and Diabetes Care businesses based in Elkhart and Mishawaka. In her spare time, Beth is a golfer, a runner, aspiring author and former-hoping-to-be-active-again ice hockey player.

Fun facts about Elizabeth A.B. North

  • Beth has been to Japan 17 times. When in the crowd of 50,000 for the Indianapolis Rolling Stones concert, Beth met a guy who flew in from Japan to celebrate his 19th birthday. [He had attended a Stones concert in Japan, but was very far from stage.}
Bob Earley
Bob Earley
Director of Client Services

Bob has over 20 years of marketing and advertising experience, including running his own ad agency in Illinois.  He has developed many successful and unique marketing campaigns including a cause marketing and turning a newspaper pink to heighten the awareness for breast cancer. He graduated with a Master’s degree from Lewis University with a concentration in Business Administration and Marketing. His BA degree in advertising and management is also from Lewis University.  Bob enjoys watching his son play baseball, and watching Chicago Cubs when not a weekend travel baseball warrior. Oh, and golf, yeah he likes to golf, but can’t remember when he last played…thanks to travel baseball.

 

Fun facts about Bob Earley

  • As a kid, Bob threw two-no hitters, and pitched in a game that, at the time, was the longest game in high school history…taking 16 innings to finish, had the game winning hit and was left out of an interview by ESPN.
  • When going on family vacations, Bob creates a music playlist that is themed to the vacation. AND the first song of every CD starts off with “Closing: I Can’t Turn You Loose” by The Blues Brothers.
  • The hotel scene from “Planes, Trains, & Automobile” was filmed at his home town... Those aren't pillows!!!!!!
Christian Mattix
Christian Mattix
Director of Technology

Christian Mattix, web application developer and network administrator, has a degree in computer science and a minor in English from Purdue University. Talk about left meets right brain! He interned with Microsoft and has worked with a variety of companies, including small start-ups, medical centers and Purdue University’s College of Education. Through his experience he has developed an intranet search engine for arbitrary, unstructured data types and files; a retail and marketing management program for a mid-size grocery retailer; an artificial intelligence based expert system that handles process automation and information flow; and interfaces and applications that interact with electronic medical record systems. Aside from his nerdy nature, he enjoys traveling, photography, the outdoors and spending time with his family. Interesting fact: he fenced competitively for Purdue. En garde!

Matt Esau
Matt Esau
Creative Director

Matt has been in the creative world pretty much his entire life. He started designing at a local free newspaper in high school. That led him to study graphic design in college, and he also has a music degree. His professional experience ranges from running his own one-man-shop freelance agency and teaching graphic and web design at a local college, to working for the City of South Bend. He really loves working at the intersection of the creative and strategic process. Solving creative problems in new and interesting ways is totally his jam.

Outside of the work stuff, he's married to Meg and has two daughters, Adri and Harlow. He's also played bass as long as he's been a designer, and says making music with people is something that really recharges his batteries.

Fun facts about Matt Esau

  • Loves going to the beach with his family, in spite of the fact that he gets a sunburn in 5 minutes.
  • Hasn't shaved his beard completely off since some time in 2012.
  • He really loves sushi. It’s his favorite food, in fact.
  • His favorite bass player is Jaco Pastorious.
Jim Ragosta
Jim Ragosta
Digital Media Specialist

Jim Ragosta (aka "The Big Ragu") is a 2018 graduate of Purdue University Northwest with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and a Minor in Communications. Originally from Three Oaks, MI, he's had experience in digital marketing from working with The Acorn Theater there, and has done extensive freelance work for a healthcare/B2B ad agency in Chicago. He's also worked with many small businesses and is a Google Certified Advertiser.

Fun facts about Jim Ragosta

  • In his free time, Jim likes to geek out about anything Star Wars or Marvel, and even has a homemade Jedi Knight costume (See? GEEK!).
  • Jim works on classic muscle cars with his father (right now, he has three), and collects vintage metal RC Cola & Coca Cola signs.
  • You’ll find many empty Coke bottles by his desk.
Nicole Nusbaum
Nicole Nusbaum
Media Coordinator. Super Assistant.

Nicole Nusbaum is the new administrative assistant (or, Super Assistant) here at Force 5. A South Bend native, she’s returned to her hometown after nearly 17 years in Los Angeles and 5 years in Chicago. As a career Executive Assistant, she spent her LA days working in the “Industry” (Entertainment, that is) for heavy-hitters such as Sony Pictures Television, William Morris Agency and CBS Television. In 2009 she migrated back to the Midwest (Chicago) to work in the Media Relations / Communications department of the corporate headquarters of MillerCoors.

Fun facts about Nicole Nusbaum

  • A home-improvement / HGTV junkie
  • Rescued a deaf Jack Russel Terrier mix and named him Pablo (although…Pablo doesn’t know that)
  • Has many, many awesome celebrity encounters she’d love to tell you about
David Morgan
David Morgan
Brand Guy. Office Dog Wrangler.

David Morgan is the executive producer, general partner and left-brain (with a touch of right brain for good measure) head honcho for Force 5. He graduated from Indiana University with a B.A. in education, majoring in radio and television, and received his master's degree from the University of Notre Dame in communication arts. Prior to starting Visions in 1986, he was director of media development for Bayer Inc. In that role, his staff of 12 was responsible for over 300 video projects, training presentations, annual reports and live events. At Visions, David was involved in the early stages of interactive training, formulating laser discs for emergency room and intensive room personnel. Visions gained a national reputation for its production of video walls for such clients as the Federal Aviation Administration. David's FAA programs were highlighted at the Paris, Farnborough and Singapore Air Shows for several years. Not too shabby, huh? After 16 years of production experience, he and Deb cooked up Force 5 and the rest is history.

Fun facts about David Morgan

  • David was an extra on the Benson TV show in L.A. - Remember Benson?
  • David is on the Search and Rescue Team for the Humane Society of the United States-and has been deployed regionally.
  • As a summer job while teaching, David was a Cass County Sheriff Deputy patrolling local lakes.
Deb DeFreeuw, Force 5
Deb Defreeuw
President. Brand Certified. Artsy Creative.

Deb DeFreeuw works as creative director, a.k.a. the head right brainer and general partner, of Force 5. She graduated from the Kendall College of Art and Design with a bachelor's in fine arts/advertising. Her entrée into the ad world began at a regional agency where she held such titles as art director in traditional media and director of new media. During her 12 years there, her brainchildren included projects for Damon Corporation and Teachers Credit Union. With impressive experience under her belt, Deb set out on her own to create Wild Fire Media, specializing in electronic marketing communications. After three years, Wild Fire merged with Visions to form what is now Force 5.

Fun facts about Deb Defreeuw

  • Deb LOVES to bake and cook
  • Loves to go really fast (169 mph - NASCAR, Petty Experience and 130+ mph in the 1,000 Lakes Poker Run boat race in Canada)
  • Maine is her favorite state