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Meet Will Koehl: Recipient of the 2024 Bredon Jones Utopia Award from 1905 New Media

Each year, the Bredon Jones Utopia Award recognizes the 1905 New Media team member who best embodies Bredon’s vision of a workplace utopia: a place where employees are personally satisfied, creatively fulfilled and equally valued. We are proud and excited to share the news that this year’s award recipient is Will Koehl, an Account Supervisor on our Client Services team.

Koehl’s award was announced at 1905 New Media’s annual “New Year Kickoff” event,   where our remote team members from across the country travel to join our St. Louis-area employees for a day of celebration and team-building activities, and to give back to the community through service projects. Koehl was presented with a $1,000 check and a traveling guitar-shaped trophy, which serves as another nod to Bredon’s passions.

At the New Year Kickoff event, the selection committee commended Koehl for his vibrant personality and unmatched commitment to his clients. Keep scrolling to meet Will and learn more about Bredon Jones, our late colleague and friend for whom the award is named.

Will Koehl Recognized by His Peers for Creating a Positive Workplace

Will Koehl joined 1905 New Media in September 2021 as an Account Coordinator. Since then, he has been promoted to several roles and gained the respect and admiration of his colleagues. Outside of work, Koehl is known for his passion for cooking, music, movies, theater and his roots as an entertainer in New York.  

Koehl received multiple nominations for the Utopia Award, which is open to all current employees of 1905 New Media through peer submissions. The award holds the following criteria:

  • Consistent use of honest and transparent communication
  • Willingness to work collaboratively as a team and participate in team-building efforts
  • Ability to uplift and inspire their peers, acting as a team anchor during difficult times
  • Integrates the company’s inclusive values into everything that they do
  • Demonstrated acts of leadership, regardless of whether or not the candidate serves in a leadership role
  • A proven track record of participation in activities at home that impact our community and/or develop their skills for a passion outside the office

Lindi Schaeffer and John Meilink, Vice President and President of 1905 New Media, presented the award to Koehl. At the award presentation, Schaeffer recalled Koehl bringing donuts to the office for the entire team during his first week at 1905.

“That type of team support has never stopped,” Schaeffer said. “Will has shown levels of support to all teams and individuals across 1905 New Media with his positive attitude and willingness to adapt. He has changed his role many times to [fit] what’s best for him and also to be what his team and clients need.” 

Koehl credits the team at 1905 New Media with dedicating their time and energy to help him grow and support his endeavors outside of work. 

“I am deeply grateful for this award, but more grateful for the team I work with,” Koehl said. “They all truly know what it is to be supportive and collaborative, finding ways to work smarter for each other and the client. I am proud to work with everyone on my team and honored to work with such great clients.”

Remembering the Award Honoree, Bredon Jones

1905 New Media established the Bredon Jones Utopia Award to honor the legacy of Bredon Jones, who passed away in January 2023 after a long battle with advanced appendiceal cancer. Jones was an instrumental member of the 1905 New Media team. He served in a variety of technical and leadership roles, including as the company’s Vice President, before stepping away in August of 2021 to focus on his cancer treatment.  

As an entrepreneur, Bredon dreamed of creating “a self-employed utopia of creativity and truth.” His commitment to this vision was unfailing as 1905 New Media began to rapidly grow and evolve over the course of multiple acquisitions — beginning with the 2015 acquisition of Giant Hat, a website and app development company co-founded by Jones. This transaction led him to join forces with John Meilink as business partners and friends.

I will forever remember our early Monday morning breakfasts that altered the trajectory of the person I was evolving into,” Meilink said. “Simply put, Bredon made me a better person.”

Jones was a life-long learner, teaching himself guitar and computer programming. In addition to starting his own companies, he also participated in several musical groups and projects. He dedicated his life to educating, entertaining and empowering others.

Bredon’s Legacy and Core Values of 1905 New Media

Of his many positive qualities, Jones is remembered for his wisdom, even-keeled demeanor, optimism, honesty and drive. Many of the practices he put in place when 1905 New Media was a team of eight employees remain, including standing 1:1 meetings, unlimited paid time off, a flexible hybrid working arrangement and a tech stack designed to promote collaboration.

The “Utopia” vision was communicated by Jones to all 1905 team members, creating shared value and meaning that served as a guidepost during times of growth and transition — including during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw the team transition to a fully remote workforce shortly after Jones’s cancer diagnosis. 

“I want you to remember my ‘utopia’ and at the same time imagine your own,” Jones said. “Remember that it is just a start, a first draft […] and you can be a part of what comes next.”

Meilink acknowledges that it is hard to express Bredon’s impact on 1905 New Media and his own life. 

“The lessons he taught me about leadership, connection and relationship-building have been transformative,” Meilink said. “He played a pivotal role in shaping our company into what it is today, and I am committed to carrying the torch. Bredon would have been proud to know Will and to see all the great things he is doing at 1905 New Media.”

Find Your Utopia at 1905 New Media

The Bredon Jones Utopia Award reflects the values of 1905 New Media, including boldness, curiosity, empathy and inclusivity. Our goal is to bring Bredon’s vision of a workplace utopia closer to reality and make everyone the hero of their own story. We thank and congratulate Will Koehl, our 2024 award winner, for his embodiment of Bredon’s vision.

Ready to make an impact? Contact 1905 New Media to tell us more about your goals.