CHILLICOTHE – It’s a tale of two guys who grew up in Chillicothe, went to the same high school, then went their separate ways. Years later they rediscovered each other at a local gym, found they have similar interests and skills – so they went into business together.
That, in a nutshell, is the story of Jarrod DePugh and Chad McAllister – and Metropolis Design Studios.
“Jarrod and I really got back in contact by accident,” Chad expanded the story. “We didn’t really hang out in high school but knew of each other. Years after high school, we ended up going to the same CrossFit class. A lot of times it was just he and I, so we had time to talk. He found out I was going to school for web design and mentioned he had a freelance gig doing graphic design under the name Metropolis Design Studios – and he wanted to know if I was interested in teaming up.”
“I had been doing freelance work under the Metropolis name since the early 2000s,” Jarrod added. “It wasn’t until nearly four years ago it became a full-time job once Chad and I partnered up. We’re deeply invested in the local community and we wanted to make the high-end design and marketing experience at an affordable price.”
Jarrod DePugh, 41, graduated from Chillicothe High School in 1997, then went to OUC to study business administration.
“I’ve loved art for as long as I can remember,” he said. “I was always ‘that kid who could draw.’ I wanted to be a comic book artist until I got to high school. In fact, I used to draw a daily strip for the Chillicothe Gazette in high school called JD Comics.”
“It was art teacher Brent Elam at Chillicothe High School who really changed the way I looked at art,” he continued. “He introduced me to graphic design and commercial arts. I fell in love with the idea of expressing items and ideas through visual art. I also fell in love with the psychology behind it all, how certain shapes and colors could change how someone responds to the message.”
The problem was, he didn’t feel there was a local market for such things. So, instead, he went into retail management “and started making some money.” But he never lost his love for design work.
“It wasn’t till six years ago,” he said, “when Chad and I met back up and decided if there wasn’t a market, we would create one. And it’s grown beyond what we could even dream.”
Chad McAllister, 40, graduated from Chillicothe High School in 1999, then earned a degree in finance from the University of Kentucky.
“Most of my creativity growing up came in the form of music,” he said. “But I had always felt I could turn that creative energy into something else.”
“I had dreams of being an architect but settled in college on finance,” he continued. “Most of my adult career I was managing different restaurants and ended up running a local hotel. It was there I started doing marketing in-house. While getting quotes to redo the hotel website, I felt this might be a path I could be interested in. I decided to enroll in an online web design course and the rest is history.”
“I just wish it would have happened sooner,” he added. “We love this community and being a part of helping it grow.”
“I wish it would have been sooner too,” noted Jarrod. “It wasn’t an easy decision when you have a wife and three kids, but I did it and haven’t looked back. This is definitely something I do from the heart.”
Metropolis Design Studios is located at 931 East Water Street in Chillicothe. For more information, call 740-500-0320 or log on www.metro-ds.com.
About the Series
Aces of Trades is a series focusing on people and their jobs – whether they’re unusual jobs, fun jobs or people who take ordinary jobs and make them extraordinary. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, let us know at email@example.com or 740-349-1110.