Action is my goal. When looking over my path, the continuous flow indicates I cherish the act of doing. My career, my home, and my life are all a form of action. The results have been significant and well-appreciated by others. These successes are visionary, diverse, and exciting. Some involve teams, some are personal, however, all are done with a deep commitment to the action required to achieve them. Regardless of the process to accomplish the goal, the doing is the most enjoyable to me.
My sense of this gestalt comes from the quest for balancing between career fulfillment and a realization of home. Throughout my professional life, I have placed these parts together in comfortable ways. I launched my graphic design career in an exhibit design firm located in a log cabin in the Appalachian foothills of southeastern Ohio. Designing while listening to reel-to-reel tapes of monks chanting. This evolved to a position of being a project designer on a multi-million dollar museum and theme park located in Lexington called the Kentucky Horse Park.
Finding my way through my post-graduate research of the Romanesque mason marks in Switzerland lead me to teach letterform design at RISD with a highly professional team of design educators. During this rigorous appointment, I initiated and shepherded a two-point-five million dollar venture to restore a forty-five thousand square foot abandoned warehouse in Providence into living and working studio spaces.
Although very comfortable in Providence, there was a quest of immersing myself in the practice of design. This quest lead me to Michigan and provided an essential realization of professional scope, team, and economic benchmarks. After redesigning The Upjohn Company’s trade dress and being responsible for a forty-eight million dollar annual printing budget for worldwide and domestic pharmaceutical products, I began to realize that education was calling me back. I followed that call to the National Institute of Design in Ahmadabad, India, and the Wellington Polytechnic in New Zealand. During that one-year sabbatical from the practice, I was able to complete my research on the ongoing project the Adleta Perpetual Calendar. The experiences at The Upjohn Company fulfilled the missing component in how I was to relay a clear educational pedagogy to my students. I, therefore, began searching for a more permanent position in design education. This was found at Ohio University in 1994.
This teaching position was shared with the role of Chair of the Graphic Design Area in the School of Art. Accomplishments include the evolution of that area into a peaceful coexistence and a collaborative area within the school, establishing a self-sustaining perpetual budget for technology with a constantly advancing state-of-the-art facility, reestablishing the traditional letterpress, upgrading the curriculum to include an MFA in Graphic Design, and initiated and secured Domestic Partner Benefits for same-sex partners at Ohio University.
I appreciated the team now known as the School of Art + Design and became a significant contributor as a faculty member that was fully immersed in that team. While melding life and career for the benefit of my profession of design and my colleagues at OU, I created an art and design gallery, Adleta Galleries, Ltd. This venture served the Athens community for over five years and hosted over 12 shows greatly appreciated by the region.
Currently, I am finding a home at our farm on Willow Creek with my partner of 25 years. Bringing closure to my 30-year career at OU, I created a semester of appreciation of the graphic design program at Ohio University. This appreciation included my quarter of a million dollar donation dedicated to the Don E Adleta TypeShop and Bindery, establishing an endowment for the preservation of letterpress printing and the book arts, a lecture series, an alumni show, a fundraising cyber auction, and a retrospective exhibition of 60 years of design teaching at OU. Promises of exciting future ventures continue to reveal more actions as I am writing, drawing, designing, building, planting, and harvesting the bounties of the fruit maturing in numerous venues!