For the past several years, the turn from December to January has brought cold temps, shorter days and the threat of snow. Fortunately, it also brings the opportunity to view creative work from around the southeast.

Several weeks ago, I had the honor of judging the local ADDY (American Advertising Federation Awards) competition for the AAF Roanoke and AAF Southwest Virginia chapters. What ensued was a grand old time of meeting new professionals, eating fantastic food, sampling great drinks and being inspired by some wonderfully creative work.

Standout pieces included illustrations for a book, The Working Dead, the chapter video promo for the ADDY Awards channeling AMC's The Walking Dead, and corporate branding work for Advanced Auto Parts (based in Roanoke).

There was some superlative corrugated packaging work as well as particular pieces that reflected railroad culture and history of the area. They also had some really strong student work, helped by the fact that they have several feeder schools with good programs in the surrounding parts. In fact, the SWVA and Roanoke ADDYs boast one of the highest numbers of student entries in the U.S. It's great to see up-and-coming talent find their way.

I would like to express many thanks for the warm hospitality to the Roanoke chapter leadership and the fine folks who chaired and organized the awards.