The next time you hear the commercial phrase, “Hey, Culligan man!” know that the Culligan man is actually a UW-Stout alumnus.
Brian Rody is the official corporate face of the man who has the solutions to water problems.
In the fall of 2011 Rody became the face of Culligan, the world leader for 75 years in water filtration. He auditioned and was chosen to be the official image for advertisements in the U.S. and internationally.
Culligan has more than 800 dealers worldwide, including in west-central Wisconsin, and provides whole house water treatment and softener solutions for drinking water and soft water.
At this point Rody’s image is used only, but there may come a time when he will make public appearances and commercials. He will be in an instructional video to be shot in January, he said.
Rody, who lives in Chicago, has had many other modeling jobs. He has been the “father” in a commercial print ad for Glade air freshener, the Ace Hardware man, an “executive” for Northern Trust and a house party friend in a Red Baron pizza ad. He often does photo shoots in studios in Chicago. “I don’t have to do much traveling,” he said.
Rody, originally from Waukesha, had an early interest in the hotel business and chose UW-Stout because of its hotel and restaurant management degree program. After graduating in 1990, he moved to Chicago and worked as a convention manager at the Drake Hotel for 10 years.
“I loved it,” he said, but in 2000 he decided to make a change. He worked in other jobs, as a real estate developer for one and as a part-time model for another. In 2006 he decided to work full time as a model.
Modeling also had been an early interest for Rody. During his college days he modeled for fashion shows put on by UW-Stout students in apparel design and development. One year he was a contestant for Mr. Stout, a homecoming pageant. “I was the first runner-up but not the winner,” he said.
UW-Stout, Menomonie and Dunn County still have a place in Rody’s heart. He remembers taking his camera and with friends going to Devil’s Punchbowl on the Red Cedar Trail, to Caddie Woodlawn Park in Downsville and roaming around town. “I was a photo buff,” he said.
He also recalls Phil McQuirk as an influential professor. The education and training he received put him in good stead for working in the hotel industry, he said.