Bartlett's advertising career flourished during two years as a corporate adverting manager and eight years as an advertising agency account group manager in Chicago. That was followed by twenty years with a Seattle advertising agency, where he advanced to executive vice president, then vice chairman. From time to time during the 1980s Bartlett was invited by future Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications, Dr. Raymond E. Beckham, to visit BYU and give presentations to assembled communications students. On one occasion Bartlett was able to assist Dr. Beckham in establishing the department's New York Internship Program during the 1970s by helping him secure internships with Ogilvy & Mather, one of the world's premier advertising agencies.
Service at BYU
When Bartlett retired after thirty years in advertising, he came to BYU and concurrently taught and attended school, receiving his master's of Art History in 1989. During this time, Beckham was instrumental in arranging a year-to-year position for Bartlett in the department's Advertising Sequence. After completing his degree, Bartlett was given a full-time position as a faculty member in the position of Advertising Sequence Leader. He served in that position until his appointment as department chair. Bartlett, who referred to himself as "The Accidental Chair," became chair of the Communications Department when David P. Forsyth resigned following an heart attack in November 1995.
Bartlett was the first department chair without an advertising background. Additionally, he was a rarity in that he did not have a Ph.D. Bartlett did however have an extensive professional history -- he had worked in the advertising field for thirty years before joining BYU in 1987.
His term as chair was brief, lasting from November 1995 until January 1997 (Pratte, 36). It is worth noting that that during that year Bartlett's principal, and nearly all-consuming duty was to direct the department's reaccreditation by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. The accreditation effort was successful.
Bartlett's Department of Communications assignment ended when he was invited by BYU President Merrill J. Bateman early in 1997 to join the President's Council as Assistant to the President, University Communications—the role of "javelin catcher," as Bartlett characterized it.
Bartlett has been actively involved in the Provo community. He participated in the effort to save Academy Square and served on the Provo Library Construction Oversight Committee and is currently serving as the chair of the Provo Arts Council.
Additionally, Bartlett has filled various Church public affairs assignments and has been a tutor for Project Read.
In 2009, the Covey Center held an exhibition of Bartlett’s art work.
- The Daily Herald– Diamond in the Rough: Covey Center exhibit features work, collection of Lee Bartlett (22 Jan. 2009)
- Somewhere Between Mount Olympus and Mount Everest, Paul Alfred Pratte, 2003.