Top 40 Under 40

The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber’s Top 40 Under 40 award was presented to 40 locally based young business achievers under the age of 40.

Ampersand was privileged enough to receive this prestigious award twice in 2015 which honoured both its Creative Director, Reino Erasmus, and Operational Director, Greig Timkoe.

As Ampersand’s Creative Director, Reino Erasmus leads their production teams in all aspects of design direction. His effectiveness lies in his ability to maintain a tipping point of creative inertia that ensures any Ampersand project will arrive completed to spec, on time, every time. “My work ethic and my experience gained from an early entry into the market gave me a unique understanding of what is truly valued from professional standpoint.“

Erasmus is a graduate of the School of Music, Art & Design at Nelson Mandela University. The school has a long and proud history, and has its roots in the country’s oldest art school, the Port Elizabeth Art School founded in 1882. He is currently working towards finishing his Masters in Visual Arts at Stellenbosch University.

“Good design is, and always will be, principle driven. I’ve been fortunate to have the best of both worlds: a solid, foundational grounding from NMU and a really mind broadening postgraduate experience from Stellenbosch University. You’ll often find that it’s difficult to create something new without a good grounding in classical subjects like art history, because it’s very hard to create the future if you don’t understand the past. Many people can copy poorly, but few people can innovate well.”

Design in the working world is never just an abstract exercise in creativity, according to Erasmus. “There’s a wonderful, and completely incorrect, assumption that Creative Directors only act as think-tanks whose sole responsibility is to design solutions to problems and then hand them over to someone else to implement. A large part of what we do at Ampersand is the practical implementation of those designs, and that means never being afraid of getting your hands dirty.”

To Erasmus being faithful to the process is almost as important as being faithful to the subject matter, and how it will be received by the audience.“As someone who publishes content for public consumption, I am in a position to influence the opinions of others and that position comes with a moral responsibility to never, ever, be mediocre.” he said.

Greig Timkoe is Ampersand’s Operations Director, and is responsible for all client-relations driven activities.

“I learned early on that a successful project outcome is more likely to happen if it’s something I can justify and make sense of, to myself. At Ampersand, the quality of our work is tied to a single value proposition we continually ask ourselves: If someone walked through that door and tried to sell me the solution I’m working on, would I be tempted to buy in on the concept?”

“To me, that’s a prerequisite which should be in place when we take on a project. Being able to produce an effective narrative is better for the soul when you’re working on something you believe in. It’s the fertile soil from which great work emerges.”

Timkoe is a graduate of the Nelson Mandela University’s Conflict Management and Transformation Masters program, the only program of its kind on the African continent. He also has a background as a group dynamics specialist.

“My approach to problem solving begins at the human level, because the basis of our complex way of life revolves around people and their interaction. Group conflict is a force to be embraced and harnessed instead of avoided in the problem-solving process.  I’ll always attempt to use the group to bake a bigger pie, rather ensuring that everyone gets an equally tiny slice. This doesn’t mean working to please the lowest common denominator. It often means confronting the truth in all things in a way that is often uncomfortable, but necessary and healthy.”

“People are powerful, and so our solutions are usually people-centric. You can design the best solutions in the world, but it’s completely worthless if no-one decides to use it. That’s why I strive to achieve the best human outcome possible. After all, how we choose to work together is just as important as what we choose to work on.”

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