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Bryan Rasch: CIO of the Year

Milwaukee Business Journal honors GMR's chief innovation officer

by Linda Spice, as published September 15, 2017 in the Milwaukee Business Journal

Seven simple words — “No one else had ever done it” — highlight Bryan Rasch’s innate ability to stay ahead of the curve when applying emerging technology to boost the customer experience.

“The intersection between how technology could create or change the way we could do things has always been a passion for me,” said Rasch, chief innovation officer at GMR Marketing, a global experiential marketing agency based in New Berlin.

Among his innovations after graduating in design and technology from Milwaukee Area Technical College in 1992, Rasch helped Gander Mountain become the first company in the country to publish catalogs using a full digital pre-press. At Hanson Dodge Creative, he led the development of Volkswagen’s first 3-D car configurator.


At GMR, Rasch oversees digital, social and mobile teams as well as the technology necessary to boost event management and customer experiences worldwide. His teams have executed complex technology and infrastructure amid world events that include The Super Bowl; the Olympics in Russia, Brazil, Korea and Japan; the World Cup in Brazil; and the NCAA Final Four. As part of the agency’s senior leadership team, he’s been at the helm of business growth with major clients, including Esurance, Comcast, Pepsi, Visa and P&G.

“The thing I’m most proud of is building teams of amazing people who have made it easier to do great work,” Rasch said.

Peter Smith, senior vice president of digital solutions at GMR, noted the tremendous growth of GMR’s digital team under Rasch’s leadership. In Rasch’s nine years at GMR, the team has grown from five to 130 people.

“He helped fuse the growth of the digital group and define what we are today,” Smith said.

Cameron Parsons, CEO of GMR, said Rasch has “relentless curiosity” in that he’s always looking for improvement around a new product through content, digital innovation and creative.

Through Rasch’s vision, GMR’s larger-scale events have become more interactive, real-time experiences with the development of three major technical platforms — Orchestrate, NowPik and Passion Amplified — all offering unique engagement marketing options to clients across the world.

Married and with five children, Rasch pays particular attention to the technology his kids are using, realizing, he said, “This is a generation that will never understand how technology has not been there to make their lives easier.”

That notion might just help drive Rasch’s future digital innovations, knowing that for generations to come “their expectation is so much higher in what they want and how they want to get it.”

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