Meet Julie | Project Manager

Portrait of Julie Wheat - Project Manager

Julie Wheat

Alumni School: Michigan State University

Major: Political Science and Economics

Hometown: San Diego, CA


Describe yourself in 5 adjectives: Organized. Compassionate. Sincere. Efficient. Loyal.

What has brought you to Circa?:
It started with a text from my good friend Todd and then a few meetings later, a few days of observation and here I am. Hoping to contribute by establishing processes that improve the workflow and keep projects running smoothly.

What makes a good project manager?:
Communication with your team and being realistic in terms of deliverables and deadlines.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?:
Getting carded at The Green Top. I mean really??

Does pineapple belong on pizza?:
Never. Ever.

You’re stranded on an island and can only bring one thing:
What would it be? Sunscreen??

What do you think are the most difficult aspects of the job? How do you overcome it?:
Helping teams work between demands of clients regarding budgets and deadlines and the actual reality of what the work entails. Client management is a fine tuned skill.

Describe your dream vacation:
A yoga retreat somewhere warm and sunny.

Tell us a bit about your past work and education experience:
I spent nearly two decades at Biggs Gilmore (now VML) working with an incredible team of people on some amazing advertising initiatives. The past four years I have freelanced as a producer handling video and photography projects for the fun people at Newhall Klein and now I’m excited to be a part of Circa Design!

What books have you recently enjoyed?:
The Marsh King’s Daughter, The Underground Railroad, The Hate U Give (Kalamazoo’s current community read!) and The Great Alone. I am never without a book.

What’s the most important thing for a project manager to do?:
Listen, always listen. You can pick up so much from conversations that teams are having. Even though you aren’t always involved in the same capacity of the project as the designer or developer, knowing the little details and the whole picture is crucial.

How do you stay motivated?:
Being part of a great team of incredible colleagues has always kept me motivated and inspired.

How do you avoid burnout at work?:
Never really had this as an issue honestly.

Tell us a bit about your family:
My husband Tom and I moved to Kalamazoo in 1992 from San Diego and raised our two kids here who are now college students. Our daughter Rachel is a nursing student at Western Michigan University and our son Evan is a sophomore at the University of Michigan. We are all avid outdoor sports people, with skiing and snowboarding at the top of our list in the winter. And camping, sailing and hiking in the warmer months.

What are your favorite bands or musicians?:
Ray LaMontagne, U2, Dave Matthews, Radiohead, Amos Lee and The Avett Brothers.

What are your interests outside of work?:
Walking my dogs, yoga, reading, hiking, hanging with my husband.

What is the best experience you’ve had as part of a team?:
SO many, too many to pick just one! I’ve worked with some great teams throughout the years!

Can you tell us about a creative way that you’ve solved a problem in the past?:
Years ago a client wanted a video done for a brand that focused on youth sports, specifically relating to Little League and players that could perform tricks on the field. They had a small budget, so I cast kids from my son’s Little League organization and they totally rocked it! I cannot disclose the brand, but I will say it is a major CPG brand that you all know. The videos turned out so well and the client was astonished as what we delivered on such a tight budget.

Pepsi or Coke?:
Neither, only water.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?:
Trader Joe’s crispy gluten free toffee cookies

If you were a flower, what kind would you be and why?:
Lavender. Because the smell is so calming and instantly relaxes people and I always aim to be comforting to people in my life.

What were you like in high school?:
Very quiet and academic.

Why call Kalamazoo home?:
Because it is one of the coolest cities in Michigan, no question. We have been here 25 years and have seen in evolve in amazing ways.

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