U.S. Missile Defense Agency

Faced with the human capital challenges inherent to a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) and relocation of much of its workforce to Huntsville, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) needed an advertising campaign to boost civilian recruitment. Following in the footsteps of the Apollo mission engineers and the builders of the Panama Canal, employees with MDA would have the opportunity to lead one of the greatest technical achievements of our time, because ICBMs spend a lot of time in space and operate on a global scale. Intercepting those missiles and defending one’s country from missile attack means building technology that covers the globe.

Print Advertising

Our approach to building this ad campaign was to present the challenge by using the headline copy to interweave the urgency of the mission with monumental scale of the technical initiative. We challenged the audience to take on the job and to lead the next generation of America’s scientific innovation.

The results – over 13,000 applicants in the first year

Promotional Giveaway

Instead of handing out stress balls and branded pens, MDA wanted a memorable giveaway to hand out to interested candidates. We came up with the “Engineer Trading Cards. Usually the domain of sports stars, trading cards featuring engineers not only provide MDA with a unique giveaway promotion, they let candidates know that MDA regards engineers as superstars. 

The pack of cards included 8 cards featuring 7 contemporary engineers who had made critical contributions, such as Gene Kranz, NASA’s famous Apollo Mission Flight Director. The eighth card featured a blank and a call to action to visit a URL to make your own trading card.


Our approach to redeveloping the MDA website was to create a user experience that was as dynamic as the MDA mission itself. We wanted to move the site out of the realm of the typical dry government experience but needed to do so within the parameters all .gov sites must adhere to – namely 508 compliance and accessibility to an audience with a wide range of access methods and needs. 

Though the project initially began as purely a redesign of the careers website, MDA was so pleased with what they were seeing that they engaged our work for the entire agency website.