Chris Doerschlag AIA, NCARB

Chief Executive Officer

Chris Doerschlag is the CEO and owner of WD Partners, a 300+ person global strategic branding and consulting firm with 8 offices in the US and overseas.

WD is a vertically integrated strategic partner to many Fortune 500 consumer brands, helping them drive innovation and scale. WD has delivered projects in over 77 different countries.

Chris joined WD in 1993 and began to build upon the foundation and legacy of what was at the time a 40 person consulting firm focused on serving the restaurant industry founded by his father.

Prior to joining WD, Chris held multiple positions in several of the world’s largest Architectural and Engineering Consulting companies. Serving in the role of design, project management and associate architect. His project experience includes office high-rise, hospitality, health care and retail.

In 1996, Chris became President and CEO, responsible for growing WD organically and through strategic acquisitions. A high energy and entrepreneurial leader, Chris has always been interested in enhancing the value he can bring to WD’s clients.

In 1999, Chris founded and spun off a web based Project Management company, Expesite. The company was sold in 2012 to Accruent, and the brand continues to operate under that platform managing assets for global retailers.

In 2002, Chris was awarded the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur award, he was a longtime member of the Columbus YPO Chapter and served on the boards of The Columbus Showcase Company and Donato’s Pizza, as well as Co-Chair of The Wellington School. Chris currently serves on the Board at San Domenico School in Marin County.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Kent State University and currently resides in Marin County, California with his wife and their 8 children.


Lee Peterson

Executive Vice President, Brand, Strategy & Design

Lee has more than 30 years of collective experience as a retailer, a strategist, a public speaker and as a leading voice in the future of retail. He brings an innovative approach to modern retail by understanding cultural trends, consumer demographics, and buying behavior across multiple industries. Lee offers a well-rounded and informed dialogue on advanced customer experience, and believes that stores have a crucial role in the new dawn of retail.

Lee’s list of globally recognized clients include: Samsung, CVS, New Balance, Luxottica and Target. At WD Partners, he has led teams of creatives working on branded experiences for Best Buy, Gatorade, Pepsi, Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, 7-Eleven,Walmart, The Home Depot, Media Market in Spain, and E-Mart in Korea. He has been quoted and featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fast Company, RetailWire, Bloomberg, and Forbes, as well as key trade magazines such as Brandweek, Ad Age, Chain Leader, Nation’s Restaurant News, VMSD and Chain Store Age.

Follow Lee on Twitter: @LeePeterson_WD

Lee in the Media:


Elaine Kleinschmidt

Executive Vice President, Strategy & Experience Design

Elaine is a curious and results-driven Creative Executive with 20 years of experience working in consumer marketing and retailing with a wide range of agencies, clients, and a variety of influential brands. Elaine offers expert oversight on creating integrated customer experiences and strategies for clients.

Having strategized, implemented, and measured integrated brand experiences, Elaine is particularly skilled at recognizing trends, directing a vision, and mobilizing partnerships to drive results and lead transformation. Working with brands like Macy’s, Under Armour, Target, and Victoria’s Secret, has further contributed to her experiential depth in the industry.

As Executive Vice President of Strategy Experience & Design and head of the Strategy & Insights team, Elaine is directly responsible for WD’s approach to the customer journey, identifying key insights, moments and opportunities for brands to make an impact in their customer’s lives.


Dan Stanek

Executive Vice President

Innovator, strategist and senior leader with over 30 years of experience in consumer marketing and customer experience innovation for Fortune 500 companies. During his career, Dan has led and conducted consulting programs with hundreds of leading brands in a diverse range of industries and categories, including: EBay, T-Mobile, Chick-fil-A, The Home Depot, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Wal-Mart, AutoZone, S.C. Johnson, Johnson and Johnson, Pepsi, Pfizer and VF.

Dan has been frequently quoted in national and international media outlets including The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Business Week, ABC News, CNBC-TV, BBC Radio, and National Public Radio, among others. He also has extensive experience speaking at various industry and trade association audiences and was named to Shopper Marketing magazine’s Who’s Who in Shopper Marketing.

As Executive Vice President at WD, Dan works with clients to develop innovative new concepts and optimize customer experiences in the Health & Wellness sector. In this role, he manages the firm’s insights and approach to this emerging sector. He builds on WD’s experience and expertise, providing clients with a unique customer-driven holistic journey perspective and future-facing concepts to address the converging forces impacting the market.


John Bajorek

Executive Vice President, Strategic Growth and Innovation

John directs a multidisciplinary team who create retail solutions for domestic and international client brands. His thorough understanding of shopper experience begins with insights and strategy, and continues through branding and a holistic approach to 360 marketing, retail environments, channel strategy and the spectrum of digital touch points.

He has over two decades of experience directing business and marketing strategies for consumer goods, retail, technology, and financial services companies such as Adidas, Samsung, Gatorade, Frito-Lay, Electrolux, Best Buy, The North Face, Target, The Home Depot, Kroger, HP, and Wendy’s. His background includes both client and agency experience. Before joining WD Partners, John was President of Pontis Group. In addition, he has held positions at Moxie, IBM iX, and JP Morgan Chase.


Jim Brittan CPA

Chief Financial Officer

With more than 25 years of collective experience in global finance, accounting and operations, Jim serves as the Chief Financial Officer for WD Partners. As the leader of the Finance, Information Technology and Human Resources functions, Jim focuses on the continuing development of WD’s global finance and administrative function and overall value creation.

Jim has a multitude of responsibilities including financial controls and reporting, forecasting and budgeting, business planning, management of banking relationships and the acquisition and development of corporate talent.

Prior to joining WD in 2004, Jim held leadership positions at 10 Worldwide, Resource Marketing and Amerilink Corporation. Additionally, Jim is a licensed CPA with years of public accounting experience. During his career he has led public stock offerings, managed SEC reporting and investor relations and negotiated numerous acquisitions.


Jen Merkich

Jen Merkich

Director, Talent Care & Development

As the Director of Talent Care, Jen oversees a team of professionals to ensure WD Partners is attracting, developing and retaining the best talent to build and strengthen the culture around a common set of core values which gives associates the foundation to learn, grow and succeed. She provides overall strategic leadership through initiatives including policy design and implementation, compensation planning and performance management.

Her broad experience includes talent acquisition and talent management, training, career development and associate relations. Jen’s passion lies in creating a comfortable environment for associates to share concerns, celebrate achievements, offer guidance and counsel and make a difference in people’s lives.


A Leadership Team Dedicated to Innovation and Execution

Industry experience, know-how and creative energy -- a team that thrives on change and understands the relentless churn of retail and rapid shifts in consumer sentiment.

Leadership

  • Chris Doerschlag, Chief Executive Officer

    Chris Doerschlag AIA, NCARB

    Chief Executive Officer

    Chris Doerschlag
  • Lee Peterson, Executive Vice President, Brand, Strategy & Design

    Lee Peterson

    Executive Vice President, Brand, Strategy & Design

    Lee Peterson
  • Elaine Kleinschmidt, Executive Vice President, Strategy & Experience Design

    Elaine Kleinschmidt

    Executive Vice President, Strategy & Experience Design

    Elaine Kleinschmidt
  • Dan Stanek, Executive Vice President

    Dan Stanek

    Executive Vice President

    Dan Stanek
  • John Bajorek, Executive Vice President, Strategic Growth and Innovation

    John Bajorek

    Executive Vice President, Strategic Growth and Innovation

    John Bajorek
  • Jim Brittan, Chief Financial Officer

    Jim Brittan CPA

    Chief Financial Officer

    Jim Brittan
  • Jen Merkich, Director, Talent Care & Development

    Jen Merkich

    Director, Talent Care & Development

    Jen Merkich

Chris Doerschlag AIA, NCARB

Chief Executive Officer

Chris Doerschlag is the CEO and owner of WD Partners, a 300+ person global strategic branding and consulting firm with 8 offices in the US and overseas.

WD is a vertically integrated strategic partner to many Fortune 500 consumer brands, helping them drive innovation and scale. WD has delivered projects in over 77 different countries.

Chris joined WD in 1993 and began to build upon the foundation and legacy of what was at the time a 40 person consulting firm focused on serving the restaurant industry founded by his father.

Prior to joining WD, Chris held multiple positions in several of the world’s largest Architectural and Engineering Consulting companies. Serving in the role of design, project management and associate architect. His project experience includes office high-rise, hospitality, health care and retail.

In 1996, Chris became President and CEO, responsible for growing WD organically and through strategic acquisitions. A high energy and entrepreneurial leader, Chris has always been interested in enhancing the value he can bring to WD’s clients.

In 1999, Chris founded and spun off a web based Project Management company, Expesite. The company was sold in 2012 to Accruent, and the brand continues to operate under that platform managing assets for global retailers.

In 2002, Chris was awarded the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur award, he was a longtime member of the Columbus YPO Chapter and served on the boards of The Columbus Showcase Company and Donato’s Pizza, as well as Co-Chair of The Wellington School. Chris currently serves on the Board at San Domenico School in Marin County.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Kent State University and currently resides in Marin County, California with his wife and their 8 children.