Ugly Dog’s team brings

both ‘down-home’ and

‘world-class’ talent to the




The company mascot, Pladook (Thai for "catfish") was the inspiration for the company name. Pladook goes to the office every day with Dan and Charoenkwan, where he holds court from his dog bed, enjoys begging for treats in the lunch room, and provides inspiration for Ugly Dog Media's ever-growing group of talented staff writers and marketing specialists.


Dan Blacharski, Founder and Top Dog

A veteran of the dotcom boom, Dan's history dates back to those heady days when 19-year-old Stanford dropouts with $10 million in venture money were creating great (and sometimes not-so-great) things. His deep experience in helping companies create their messaging strategies, combined with his years as an industry observer and pundit, has led him to create Ugly Dog Media. From the beginning, his strategy has been to surround himself with incredibly talented people, and this strategy has enabled him to build Ugly Dog Media from nothing into the international marketing firm it is today. Dan has been in the industry long enough to know what works . . . what doesn't work . . . and most importantly, what shouldn't work but still does. Dan received his B.A. in Literature from University of California, Santa Cruz.


Charoenkwan Blacharski, Vice President and dog-feeder

Charoenkwan (also known as "Be") is an award-winning writer, poet and journalist in her native Thailand, and most recently won second place in the country's prestigious Parliamentary Literary Award. Her work as poet, feature writer and journalist has appeared in several prominent Thai publications, and she has published six very well-received and acclaimed books. She received a Bachelor's Degree in Literature from Thammasat University, and Masters in Environmental Education from Mahidol University. She also serves as Ugly Dog Media's staff photographer.


David J. Hurley, Head writer

A graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and McGill University in Montreal, David brings years of experience in non-profit administration where he honed his writing skills in raising millions of dollars with private and public grants. Serving in several leadership positions, David used strong communication abilities to effectively work with a broad range of constituents, funders and community supporters.  For eight years David owned his own business serving as a comprehensive Financial Advisor for Ameriprise Financial.



Karen Hammond-Nash, BA Economics, JD Law, Staff writer

Years as a full-time mom and part-time writer have given her a light, wry, and witty style.
Karen received her degree in Economics, with emphasis in Public Policy and a minor in Political Science, (in 1984) from Allegheny College in Meadville PA, and her doctorate in law from Washington & Lee University, Lexington VA, (in 1987).
She brings her background in applied economics and legal theory to the analysis and development of business plans and other complex marketing and promotional challenges that Ugly Dog Media figures out and simplifies for its clients.



Art McCormick, Senior Writer

A native of South Bend, Art strives to strike a balance between the humorous, the poetic, and the academic in his writing.  He’s always appreciated a solid, nuanced, old-fashioned sales pitch, and has spent many late evenings obsessing over the persuasive power of infomercials.  Art attended Harvard, where he studied Folklore and Mythology, and Indiana University, where he specialized in Medieval History.



Michael Connell, Social Media Manager

Michael Connell was a trial lawyer for seven years before joining Ugly Dog Media. He holds a B.S. in Anthropology from Western Carolina University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame. Prior to practicing law in Chicago and Indiana, Michael was a flight instructor and commercial pilot in North Carolina. The diversity of his background and broad range of his analytic skills help him to address a wide variety of client needs.

Away from the office, Michael is a motorcycle enthusiast who can often be found riding a Ducati Superbike on the racetrack or exploring backcountry trails in the Appalachian Mountains.


Lori Guy, Staff Writer

Lori graduated from Purdue University with a degree in public relations and public and interpersonal communications. She worked in the transportation industry for 20 years and now combines her business experience and education in her writing for Ugly Dog Media. Her goals are to keep the client's business in mind in providing them quality writing that helps them be more profitable, and also to have as much fun on a daily basis as possible. She lives in South Bend with her two sons, two cats, and one very large dog.




Nick Epson, Staff Writer/IT

“The secret source of humor is not joy but sorrow – there is no humor in Heaven.” – Mark Twain
Nick is our ‘stray dog’ here at Ugly Dog Media. So the story goes: Art found Nick wandering downtown South Bend and he later asked Dan if we could keep him. Dan said “yes” and Nick came aboard. Nick is a Microsoft Certified Professional and formerly worked for years as ophthalmic lab tech and has also worked in IT supporting all kinds of hardware and software.
Nick splits his time between writing for Ugly Dog and working as an optician. When he’s not working, he occupies himself with music. Nick plays guitar and tinkers with other instruments – you’ll find him hanging around at local shows and occasionally jamming at various open mic nights.

Giovanni Ponciano, Staff Writer

Giovanni began at Ugly Dog Media as an intern and has now officially joined the team. As a staff writer, Giovanni assists in providing web copy, press releases and marketing articles for our globally diverse clientele. Originally from Southern California, Giovanni now lives in Northern Indiana. He studied at Indiana University South Bend and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. He is an avid reader and lover of films and music.



John Carey, Videographer/Website Developer

John Carey is an Apple geek who found his love for multimedia creations his freshmen year of high school. Currently studying at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, John is in an intense Art New Media Program. John has over 5 years of experience using cutting edge software such as Final Cut pro, Adobe After Effects, and DreamWeaver. John enjoys working on video editing and does his best to produce high-quality work for Ugly Dog. His hobbies include shooting hoops, playing video games, staying up to date with Apple Inc. and watching sports.


Kelsey McClure, Intern


Kelsey comes to us from Saint Mary’s College, where she studies Mass Communication and Spanish. She is originally from Osceola, Indiana, though spent one semester of college studying abroad in Seville, Spain. Along with writing, her hobbies include hiking, swimming, and listening to all kinds of music.