A digital special section of | Subscribe

Roman Paluta

Roman Paluta

Ret. partner, business development director | Solve of Minneapolis | Class of 1983

An Illini love story, Uncle John’s Pancake House edition ...

Three decades later, Roman Paluta (MS '83, advertising/marketing) remembers the Kirby Ave. hot spot as “a friendly place that served all the pancakes you could eat for 99 cents on Thursday evenings,” making it a weekly must-stop.

But “more importantly, it’s where I asked my then girlfriend, Christine Engels, to become my wife. She said ‘yes,’ and 40 years later, we’re still madly in love and I’m the luckiest man in the world,” says the recently retired business development director/partner at the Minneapolis advertising/marketing firm Solve.

As for a favorite professor, that’s just as easy a call for Paluta.

“The most influential person was a gentleman named Professor Kim Rotzoll in the Department of Advertising,” he says. “A well-read and learned scholar, and caring instructor, he was incredibly passionate about advertising and his students.

“I have so much respect for the teacher and the person, and the valuable lessons he imparted about ethics in advertising, as well as the approach he modeled balancing work life and family life.

“It has served me well in a long and successful career in advertising.”

In 2019, Paluta called it an advertsing career, retiring to his farm in northern Wisconsin. It was big news in the world of advertising: Prior to joining Solve, Paluta had stints at Leo Burnett in Chicago, Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis and Bailey Lauerman in Omaha, where he worked on campaigns of some of the world's most recognizable brands.

Among them: Porsche, IKEA, Subaru, Anheuser Busch, AMC Theatres, Disney, Founders Brewing, Raymond James, The V Foundation, American Standard, Sierra Nevada, Andersen Windows and Sunoco.