Founder of Hawthorne Direct, Tim graduated cum laude from Harvard University in 1973, majoring in psychology. He gained substantial expertise in documentary production with CBS in Minneapolis and NBC in Philadelphia early in his career. He established Hawthorne Productions in 1980. Moving to LA in 1982, Tim’s clientele included Entertainment Tonight, Real People, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, That’s Incredible!, You Asked for It, and the Cable Health Network.
In 1984, Tim moved from LA to Fairfield, Iowa to co-found and become President of Fairfield Television Enterprises, Inc., a television direct-response marketing company. With just a $15,000 budget, he executive-produced the fourth long form commercial ever to air in the modern era — one that dominated the new long form DRTV industry in 1985 and 1986, grossing over $60 million in sales in just 15 months.
In July of 1986, Tim founded Hawthorne Communications (now Hawthorne), the first full service DRTV long form advertising agency. Tim expanded the boundaries of “selling more by telling more” and worked with clients across industries, including AARP, Aero Products, Apple, Bosch Tools, Bose, Braun, Discover Card, Jenny Craig, Nikon, Nissan, Orange Glo, Oreck, the US Navy, TaylorMade Golf, Time-Life and many more.
Tim’s book, The Complete Guide to Infomercial Marketing, was published by NTC Business Books/McGraw Hill in1997 and was reprinted in 2005. Tim was a regular columnist for industry magazines such as Response Magazine and Electronic Retailer. He has contributed chapters to books, including Infomercial Insights by Frank Cannella, eMarketing by Seth Godwin, Direct Marketing by Edward Nash and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Direct Marketing by Robert Bly.
Tim is a co-founder and original member of the Founders’ Circle and has served as a Board Member for six years for the Electronic Retailing Association (ERA – formerly NIMA International). In September 2006, Tim was awarded the ERA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. For over 35 years Tim has been a member of the Film/Television Directors Guild of America. Tim’s creative leadership garnered over 300 industry awards for advertising excellence. His reputation and knowledge have made him one of the nation’s leading expert witnesses on infomercial marketing. He has addressed business groups as well as colleges and has delivered more than 75 lectures and speeches as chairman, co-chairman, keynote or breakout session speaker — delivered domestically and internationally — including events in Hong Kong, Milan, London, Dublin, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Mexico City, San Juan and Barcelona.
Tim was named one of the “Entrepreneurs of the Year” for Iowa/Nebraska by USA Today and Ernst & Young and has been recognized as one of the “25 Most Influential People In DRTV” by Response Magazine. Tim’s long-term leadership in the DRTV field prompted Rapp and Collins to dub him “King of the Infomercial” in their book, The Great Marketing Turnaround. Hawthorne was inducted into the Direct Response Hall of Fame in 2014. In March 2022, Tim received the educational non-profit Marketing Edge’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Tim is well-known for sharing his time, talents and resources to support many non-profit organizations and regularly supports organizations such as the American Red Cross, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, WorldTeach and more. Tim and his wife, Laya, have traveled around the world, visiting countries including Costa Rica, China, Ecuador, South Africa and South Korea to produce a 45-minute pro bono documentary for WorldTeach, a program that sends college graduates overseas to teach English and live with the local residents for one year. The completed documentary premiered at the famed Brattle Theater near Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is used widely in education.