Fred Barson – Principal
As founder of the Napa Valley ad/pr agency, Barson/Armstrong,Fred helped put Crystal Geyser on the map, revived the Charles Krug and Weibel Vineyards wine brands, and supervised advertising and public relations for community banks, retailers, and high tech pioneers. He moved on to explore visual media, a quest that led to large scale web projects and consulting for such enterprises as Novell, the University of California Berkeley Extension, 3Com, Intel, Sun Microsystems, and Mass Mutual Life Insurance.
Fred went client-side when he headed print and electronic communications for Silicon Valley start-up, Financial Engines (named to Fortune’s top-twelve list of “cool” companies). He created the company voice, initiated branding, and developed and supervised web content. An unexpected opportunity to lead the well known integrated marketing firm, Triad Communications, brought him back to agency work and the North Bay. There, he supervised brand and marketing strategies for Imperial Bank, Tier, and GE Financial Assurance as well as directed site developments for the Canadian AgriPlace portal and Tier’s new web site.
Blue Bolt was started to provide high level brand and marketing strategy to small and mid market organizations. The firm has always served a diverse group of clients, from IT consultancies to regional banks to retail and commercial service businesses. It also has always operated virtually, building teams of senior designers, writers, and research practitioners together for specific assignments.
In addition to his work at Blue Bolt, Fred contributes time to Taproot Foundation, which provides brand and marketing grants to non profits nationwide, and he chairs the board of the Mission San Rafael Arcangel Preservation Foundation. He is a graduate of Santa Clara and San Francisco State universities, has a Ph. D. in American literature from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is an award winning actor and poet.