What did you study at UNH?
Sports Studies, Health and Human Services
What were you doing 1 year out of college?
I was lucky enough to graduate at the height of the dot-com boom. My work on the website for the Sports Studies program gave me the experience to get a job working for iDolls, which billed itself as “The worlds largest internet doll store”. The desire for great challenges and travel led me to move to Georgia that fall and that was the beginning of my life as a small business owner, as I started my own web development company and experienced an incredible amount of success that both amazed and overwhelmed me.
What were you doing 5 years out of college?
With every boom comes a bust, and the dot-com bust hit me pretty hard. I had moved back to New Hampshire from Georgia, and in doing so lost most of the large clients that had contributed to the unbelievable success I enjoyed there. I went from prime rib and venti iced lattes to working as a dishwasher in Portsmouth and drinking free coffee at Market Basket. I credit that struggle with giving me the perspective I have today, in that since that time I have never taken anything for granted, I’m grateful for every cup of coffee, every hot meal, every small success. UNH was instrumental in recovery as well, as the project that enabled me to turn my company around was when I was contracted to work on the website for the College of Health and Human Services. This was the opportunity that led to the incredible growth I achieved both personally and professionally.
What were you doing 10 years out of college?
The single greatest risk I took happened around this time, and that was the move of my company to being a full-time video production studio. I had always been shooting video, in high school, in the Army, and all through college at UNH. During my time I enrolled in theater acting classes and would shoot small films downtown with my classmates at The Licker Store. I also founded the “Independent Filmmakers Guild”, a student organization that encouraged small filmmakers and filmmaking projects, as well as a general appreciation for the art of film. Thanks to the rise of the DSLR camera I was able to shoot professional cinema quality video on cameras that I could afford, this combined with my artistic and efficient shooting style made me a sought-after solution for small businesses looking to expand their marketing into online video.
What are you doing now?
Its been 18 years since I graduated from UNH but its influence on me and my life, both personally and professionally is far-reaching. During my time in the Army, I still remember sitting by the 5ton tire in the desert and reading the UNH catalog, with the goal of enrolling there being the driving force behind getting me through those long harsh days. Much older now, a little more gray in the beard, and a little less on the head, UNH still influences much of my life and work. My video production work is at the level I used to aspire to when I was a student, I’m working on amazing projects for clients big and small. I’ve worked on tourism videos for visitnh, as well as getting to be a part of the growth and success of UNH alumni Joe Faro as I produce the videos and food photos for Tuscan Kitchen. I’m a father of 2 amazing children who I’ve been proud to bring to campus on many occasions so that they could experience the campus that’s changed my life. Now my hope is to be able to inspire others, to pass on some of what I know, and maybe help someone else the way I was helped when I struggled all those years ago.
How do you feel your time at UNH has had an impact on where you are today?
When I entered UNH, I was a non-traditional student. I had just left the military after the Gulf War, and the opportunity to be a part of a university environment was one of the things that got me through some hard times. A lot of what the Army taught me, UNH reinforced, things like camaraderie, hard work, and belonging to something larger than yourself. UNH taught me to aspire to things larger than my current situation, through self-motivation and initiative. It also taught me about gender equality long before it was trendy to do so. Sitting in my sports marketing classes I learned how women’s teams struggled for funding and opportunities despite having a superior team and an unbeaten record. I have always looked for any opportunity to promote women’s athletics through my work since then, from the things I learned at UNH almost 20 years ago.
Why do you believe in UNH?
Because UNH believed in me. UNH took a chance on a high school dropout, military veteran, and non-traditional student back when it wasn’t socially trendy to do so. UNH allowed me the freedom to find myself through incredible and challenging academic and social opportunities, and I am the person I am today because of my time on that campus. I am sure, somewhere on that campus is another student, who perhaps was not a great scholar in their youth, but if only given a chance and supported, they could aspire to do great things, and they will, because of UNH.