William “Bill” Fultz, a longtime Des Moines advertising executive who helped launch and influence many ad careers and was an influential community leader, died Tuesday.  

Active in the Des Moines advertising agency scene for more than 50 years, Fultz founded and co-owned the Graphic Corp., a graphic arts company, and Fultz, LaCasse & Greenlee advertising agency, which in 1980 merged with CMS&Z Advertising in Cedar Rapids to become the Des Moines office of CMF&Z (Creswell, Munsell, Fultz & Zirbel). He designed more than 500 corporate logos in his career, among them the logo for the Ruan Cos., which was voted one of the top 100 logos in the world. 

“Bill was a giant in the advertising industry in Des Moines,” said Mark Lunde, former senior vice president of advertising with CMF&Z, who worked with Fultz for more than 22 years. “He made careers possible for hundreds of people, including myself. … He was not only a man of many talents, but a man you could trust.”  

Fultz was a talented artist and was commissioned to create portraits of Pope John Paul II, Barbara Bush, John Ruan and and Norman Borlaug, among many other notable figures. 

He played a role in founding numerous civic organizations. Fultz was a founder and past chairman of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, and played a large part in helping the fledgling World Food Prize Foundation achieve worldwide prominence. 

Fultz helped found the organization that became Keep Iowa Beautiful, and served on its board. He also helped found and develop Studio Art Center International, a school for young art students, in Florence, Italy. He was instrumental in helping establish the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines, and he’s one of the founders of the Art Directors Association of Iowa. 

“Everything about Bill Fultz is big: his head, his body, his heart, his vision, his accomplishments, his talent and his generosity,” former colleague Daniel Cambridge wrote about him in a 2015 nomination for Sages Over 70, an honor by dsm Magazine. 

“He was an extremely good role model,” said Rich Collins, principal of the Bearings Group in Urbandale, who was hired by Fultz in 1974 as a 27-year-old fresh out of grad school. Years later Fultz hired Collins to return to Des Moines to work for CMF&Z in 1990. 

“Bill helped me learn the ropes of what makes a good account manager,” Collins said. “I was able to take those lessons through my entire career, and I’m still doing it." 

Fultz also had a great sense of humor, Collins said. “I always referred to him as ‘the big guy.’ " 

“The one thing I would say about Bill, he was a great leader,” said Jeff Huggins, who worked for Fultz on CMF&Z’s public relations team and now runs his own consulting group. A testament to his leadership is that years later, former CMF&Z colleagues remain a tightknit group and continue to keep in touch through social media and monthly luncheons, he said.  

Services are pending and are being arranged by Dunn’s Funeral Home in Des Moines.