After 9 years the final day has come.
For the past nine years I’ve had the honor and privilege to teach and share my photography and video expertise and experience with my college students at the School of Visual Communications, in Oklahoma State University’s Institute of Technology. Can I say wow, most of the time it doesn’t seem like nine years and then other times it seems a lot longer.
Nine years ago my phone rang while I was photographing a pipeline project in Louisiana deep in the middle of a swamp. It was Mary Dickson and she asked if I could come down and help out next week? I said no, I’m on a project, then my phone dropped the call. Remember, I was in the middle of a swamp and I didn’t think anything of it. Then I received more direct contacts along with an email from Kelly Kerr and Jerry Poppenhouse. The message was we have a position open and we think you would be a great fit. I didn’t have this on my agenda, so I asked my wonderful wife Karen what do you think? She said go for it, what do you have to lose. I thought, well I don’t really have anything to lose and I’ll be giving back to my school where I received a fine education. I applied for the Photography Instructor position, interviewed and took the job. This was a new experience for me. After all, I’ve owned and operated my business from the day I graduated college back in the 90’s and now I’m going to receive a normal paycheck like everyone else. Truly a new experience for me. By doing this, I basically agreed to take on another full-time career. I did just that. I’ve worked myself silly for nine years and I think I enjoyed it most of the time. I will say running a business full-time and working for the University full-time is a bit much.
Through these years I’ve impacted and helped launch numerous careers. Even in a day and age where information is abundant and people think they can just google information, formal hands-on instruction is a valuable resource. Remember education is the only investment in which you determine the outcome.
That said, I will say it hasn't always been easy. For multiple years I needed to be the rock for my students, especially within the last year. A year and four months ago, OSUIT decided to no longer offer a Photography Technology Degree. The news was devastating, The leadership chose to kill five degree offerings, we were just one of the five. The University offered me to “teach out” the students. I chose to partake in the teach out. This way my students could complete their photography credits so they can graduate with a Photography Technology Degree. We had to rearrange the schedule and flipflop when capstone and internship happened. I can now say mission accomplished, I’ve completed my part. My students are now gearing up for internship. I wish them luck.
My contract is finished and now I look to the future and it seems bright. More time to focus on my clientele and develop my company more.