As a 1915 graduate in mechanical engineering at Purdue University, Russell Gray quickly turned his interest from engineering to advertising industrial products.
In 1917 Gray established his own agency in Chicago to specialize in the handling of industrial accounts, calling himself The Advertising Engineer, the first advertising agency devoted exclusively to industrial advertising.
He was thus one of the first to visualize industrial advertising as playing a key role in tying engineering knowledge to the specific marketing problems of industry.
In 1919 Gray brought together several well-known industrial advertising men to found the Engineering Advertiser’s Association. From this grew the National Industrial Advertiser’s Association, now the Association of Industrial Advertisers.
Throughout his life, Gray played a leading role in local and national industrial advertising groups for the development of better promotional work for goods sold primarily to industry.