2019 Award for Excellence: Jörg Pierach

Pierach (B.A. '89) exemplifies excellence, leadership, and creativity in his field.

The University of Minnesota Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication Alumni Society Board has selected Jörg Pierach (BA ’89) as the recipient of the 2019 Award for Excellence. The award will be presented on Thursday, April 25, 2019, as part of the School’s annual Spring Showcase event. The award is given to an alum who exemplifies excellence, leadership, and creativity in his or her chosen field. The award, first given in 1980, has been awarded to graduates of the School representing many different facets of the communications industry, including advertising, public relations, print journalism, broadcast journalism, photography and academia. Past recipients include: David Carr, Michele Norris and Gail Marks Jarvis.

“The Hubbard School Alumni Society Board is honored to recognize alumnus, Jörg Pierach, through the prestigious Award of Excellence,” said Tanya Wright, board president. “His accomplishments across marketing and communications, philanthropic giving and building of an award-winning firm cited as a “Best Place To Work” are remarkable. We are honored to have him as an alum of the School and he is an asset to our great state.”

Pierach, 52, is a Twin Cities-based marketer and entrepreneur and the founder of Fast Horse, a Minneapolis-based integrated creative agency he established in 2001. The agency’s client roster includes a wide variety of local, regional, national and even international companies and organizations, including The Coca-Cola Company, Heineken, Deluxe Corp and General Mills.

Under Pierach’s direction, Fast Horse has executed national-award-winning work, including the “If We Made It” campaign with Newcastle Brown Ale, which was awarded a prestigious Cannes Silver Lion in 2014 and 2015. Additionally, Fast Horse campaigns have been awarded six Effies, the advertising industry’s highest award for effectiveness, as well as the public relations industry’s highest awards, including a Silver Anvil, PR Week Award, a Global Sabre and a Gold Quill.

“I was 12 years old when I decided that I wanted to attend the U of M School of Journalism,” said Pierach. “I was a kid who loved current events and writing, so my father often brought home the Minnesota Daily for me. I knew back then that the J-School would be part of my journey, but I never envisioned how profound the impact of that youthful decision would be on my life. I’m truly honored.”

Pierach also co-owns a Minneapolis eatery called Tilia, which he launched with his friend and James Beard-nominated chef Steven Brown in 2011. Previously, Pierach was an Executive Vice President in the Minneapolis office of Weber Shandwick, which he joined as an intern in 1989. Pierach headed the firm’s Consumer & Lifestyle Practice Group in North America, a role that made him part of the agency’s Global Leadership Team.  

“On behalf of the faculty, staff and students of the Hubbard School, I’m delighted that we are honoring Jörg with the Award for Excellence,” said Elisia Cohen, director. “As one of the School’s many successful local entrepreneurs, Jörg has been an outstanding leader in the Minneapolis strategic communication community. Jörg’s and his company's creative energy and innovative spirit shapes local, national and international brand storytelling. Beyond his corporate work, he has unleashed his creative ideas to support philanthropic initiatives in the community, for the benefit of our students, BrandLab and the College of Liberal Arts by helping us to develop scholarship funds in support of minority students underrepresented in the creative industries.”

An active adviser to numerous nonprofit and community organizations, Pierach served nine years on the Board of Trustees of the University of Minnesota Foundation, most recently chairing the Development Committee. He also served on the board of directors of Milkweed Editions, the nation’s largest independent literary publisher, from 2007-2013, before helping the organization successfully raise $1 million as a member of its capital campaign committee. He currently is the Chair of the Board of Overseers of the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts’ student-run CLAgency. He is also the creator and producer of The Battle, an industry event that raises scholarship money for diverse students at the U of M’s College of Liberal Arts who are seeking a career in advertising or public relations.

“Jörg is driven by living his values,” said Scott Meyer, chief marketing officer for the College of Liberal Arts and founder of CLAgency. “The evidence is not just seen in the culture he has developed at Fast Horse, but also his passion for the University of Minnesota and especially the Hubbard School. We are fortunate to have Jörg’s leadership as board chair for CLAgency, which is shifting the agency and its students to a whole new level of professional development. He is truly enriching the lives and career opportunities of countless students."

If you’re interested in attending Spring Showcase, register today!

Jörg Pierach