Though I'm still young, I'm fortunate to have had many opportunities to grow, both professionally and personally. Being a results-driven person, it's easy to get mired by the daily challenges of being a young professional. I like to keep this list as a hyper-abridged journal of highlights each chapter in my life has offered. It also encourages me to create more opportunity for myself each year.
- Chapter I - Michigan - I grew up in Michigan. My childhood like any other included building forts, driving my parents crazy and drawing. I grew out of the first two things and fostered the creative habits as I got older. In high school I pursued action sports, heavy metal and art class. I can't say I grew out of action sports or heavy metal, then I chose to pursue art in college. I attended Detroit's CCS where I earned a B.F.A. in Product Design. While studying design, I became part of the Detroit fixed gear bicycle community, which lead to me becoming a sponsored rider for a Wisconsin-based bicycle company. After graduating, my love for bicycles lead me to pursue a job with a bicycle company located in Irvine, California.
- Chapter II - California - August 2011, I drove my 2003 Hyundai Elantra from Holland, Mi to Irvine, CA for my first 'professional job' at Felt Bicycles. I worked in Felt's marketing department. As the Industrial Design Communications guy, I supported both the engineering and marketing departments (Felt didn't have an industrial design department). I honed graphic design, print design and photography skills while at Felt. My job was to create marketing material to aid in selling bicycles that cost upwards of $14,000. I learned everything the engineers were proud of, everything the consumers cared about and finally everything the marketers felt safe publishing then turn that knowledge into well-designed marketing materials. I designed, books, catalogs, brochures, white papers, technical documents, owners manuals and directed, filmed and edited some short videos. Outside of work, I built a new network of friends, became a minimalist, started weight training, learned how to boulder, swing dance, surf and yoga. I also began freelancing.
- Chapter III - Pennsylvania - July 2014, my girlfriend and I drove her 2003 Honda CR-V from Lakewood, CA to Greensburg, PA so she could enter medical school. After moving to Greensburg, (a small town an hour south of Pittsburgh) I chose freelance full-time. In 2014, I built an extensive online network and personal brand. In 2015, I grew as a freelancer, business owner and designer. I revisited my industrial design roots and invested more time in furthering my 3D modeling skills. I worked with a couple startups and small businesses throughout 2015 and realized that I could support myself offering design services.
- Chapter IV - New York - April 2016, I accepted a job as a KeyShot Training Specialist for Luxion, Inc in Brooklyn, NY. KeyShot is a 3D rendering and animation software. After importing 3D data modeled in any program, KeyShot acts as a digital photo studio and camera. Lighting, materials and environments can be customized to create photo-realistic CGI (computer-generated imagery) and animations. In 2016, I was responsible for creating online educational content such as blog posts, tutorial videos and on-site demos as well as sales support at design and engineering conferences. That same year, I participated in training companies such as Electrolux, Stryker, Cambridge Consultants, Tesla Motors, Tormach and Intel. Learning more about the physics of light and materials through my job has lead me to dive deeper into 3D modeling and rendering, which are the skills I'm currently focused on developing.
What 2017 will bring, I can't say yet. I certainly have planned out a couple of large personal projects for the year that should be difficult, scary, rewarding and fulfilling. I enjoy my training job very much at the moment and plan to continue with that for the foreseeable future. If you found the above interesting or inspiring, I encourage you to create your own version of this 'highlights reel'. It's a good reminder that consistent steps in the right direction will take you further than those short, impulsive sprints.