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Q&A with New Chief Creative Officer Glen Hilzinger

You attended the College for Creative Studies, so you must have known early on that you wanted to do this for a living. What made you choose to pursue a career in the creative arts?

As a small business owner, my dad encouraged me and my brothers to earn business degrees. As a fine artist, my mom intuitively knew that wasn’t right for me, so she encouraged me to consider art school. Much to my business-minded dad’s chagrin, I became an art student. A few years after I graduated, I got my first peek inside an ad agency only to learn that I could actually make a living doing what I really enjoy, creative writing. So, much to my art-loving mom’s chagrin, I became a copywriter.

How is technology changing creativity?

Technology has forced us to “think different” (thank you, Apple). The ever-changing nature of technology has forced us to be more nimble as creatives. Just when we figured out how to be creative on Snapchat, along comes TikTok, which is like Vine, but no, the new Vine will be Byte. Whew. We’ve become nimble out of necessity, but as a result, I think it’s made us more creative. Just look at Ikea’s “ThisAbles” campaign that uses 3D printing to make Ikea furniture more accessible for the disabled. It’s a great example of the creative potential in technology.

What are you most looking forward to about your new life in Charlotte, and what will you miss most about Detroit?

I think I’ll miss being part of Detroit’s new renaissance. I’ve lived there my entire life and I don’t ever remember seeing construction cranes downtown until recently. After Detroit went bankrupt in 2013, it suddenly became cool . . . for artists, restauranteurs, tech start-ups. But at the same time, I’m excited I don’t have to sit back and wait for Detroit to finish whatever amazing journey it has begun. With Charlotte, I get to step right into a bustling, growing, vibrant city. My family and I are very excited to start getting to know our new hometown. Is there a test to become an official Charlottean?


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