Resume and Contact Information

Robert Zach Thomas

Chicago-based Communications and Marketing Strategist

Professional Experience

Communications Specialist, the Illinois Applied Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

7/2013 to present

Planned, launched and managed a complete strategic communications and marketing plan for a technical R&D startup at the University of Illinois. Produced all website and print marketing and advertising materials, managed social media, performed PR and outreach, and ensured consistent branding. Promoted and marketed new research and business units, consulted on communications strategies for internal and external projects and initiatives.

Key Contributions

  • Directed SEO/SEM program with campaigns designed to enhance organization’s visibility, improve audience engagement, and recruit talent.
  • Led marketing and communications for campus-wide corporate engagement and technology transfer project that brought together multiple campus partners.
  • Served as marketing manager for campus seed funding program, which annually disburses over $250K to select proposals.


Web Communications Specialist, the University of Nevada, Reno

11/2011 to 6/2013

Developed marketing and communications collateral, photography, social media, and content for those units. Consulted with those units on improvements to business processes, recruitment initiatives, and information sharing.

Key Contributions

  • Worked as a web communications expert and project manager to develop 12+ websites for campus units. Increased website traffic for those units by 25-75% via comprehensive content management strategies and SEO/SEM.
  • Contributed guidance to the creation of the University’s comprehensive marketing master plan and created content such as video scripts for recruitment purposes.


Freelance Copywriter with Weightshift

3/2011 to present

Developed website copy and straplines for several San Francisco-based online startups including Rdio, Lookout Mobile Security, and Embark.

Using marketing copy, clients have become market leaders with millions of customers and international prominence


Communications Specialist, The Civic Federation, Chicago, Illinois

12/2008 to 11/2011

Served as communications strategist at prestigious Chicago government research organization. Oversaw development of organization’s Drupal-based website; produced website copy and structure and maintained website post-launch. Produced and edited newsletters, press releases, blog posts, social media content, videos, speeches, and other internal and external communications.

Key Contributions

  • Developed structure and content and conducted research for publications and informational features about government policy and tax structures.
  • Planned PR strategies and tracked media coverage for Chicago 2016 Olympic bid analysis, State of Illinois and Chicago budget recommendations.
  • Managed SEO and keyword tracking campaigns to organize website info and generate content. Created series of blog posts and other content features built off of prominent search queries. Minimized bounce rate through quality content strategy. Search ranking scores improved 300+% through these programs, as well as the use of social media and focus groups.


Editor, Ten Speed Hero, Chicago, Illinois/Boise, Idaho

11/2010 to present

  • Helped conceptualize and plan new online media venture about the sport of cycling.
  • Developed and contributed various content to the website, including interviews, profiles, essays, and photographs.


Staff Writer, Gapers Block webzine, Chicago, Illinois

3/2008 to 3/2011

  • Contributed feature articles and blog posts about cycling and the arts for Detour and Tailgate sections of the webzine.


Graduate Teaching Assistant, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio

3/2007 to 6/2007

  • Instructed students in use of Quark XPress, Adobe InDesign and Photoshop; organized individual tutorial sessions.
  • Maintained grades; administered final examinations.


Writer and Designer, Southeast Ohio Magazine, Athens, Ohio

3/2007 to 6/2007

  • Contributed feature articles on small business enterprises in Appalachian Ohio.
  • Assembled multi-page layouts and designs; developed InDesign stylesheets and templates for future magazine use.


Office Manager and Assistant, The Brown Firm, Inc., LPA, Cincinnati, Ohio

12/2005 to 8/2006

  • Collected research materials on new and current cases using LexisNexis, government databases, and on-site law library.
  • Edited and formatted client database and files; maintained computer backup systems and networks.



Editorial Intern, Cincinnati Magazine, Cincinnati, Ohio

8/2004 to 12/2004

  • In addition to basic fact-checking and research tasks, also contributed content to a number of issues, including the “Top Docs” issue, several features on food and dining, and promotional materials.


Professional Skills

  • Experienced content and brand creator and marketing strategist with comprehensive background developing a wide variety of print, web, social, photographic, and video communications content.
  • Advanced user of Adobe Acrobat, Illustrator, InCopy, InDesign, Fireworks, Photoshop, Quark XPress, Microsoft Office, and SPSS.
  • Administrator of major content management systems such as WordPress, Drupal, TypePad, Movable Type, and Ingeniux. Proficient in use of HTML, XHTML, CSS, WCAG, hosting to create and maintain websites.
  • Social media expert and consultant with successful history in enterprise use of services such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, etc.
  • Extensive experience with use of SEO/SEM, Siteimprove, Google Analytics  and Webmaster Tools, and other campaign tools to analyze website traffic for inbound marketing and conversion purposes.



M.S. in Journalism

Degree earned March 2011
The E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio

B.A. in English and Certificate of Journalism

Degree earned December 2005
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio

Activities and Other Interests

  • Accomplished road and cyclocross competitive bicycle racer; member of Tenspeed Hero bike racing team.
  • Photography and digital imaging.
  • Cyclo-touring, backpacking, and XC skiing.
  • Community-supported agriculture and urban farming.


References available upon request