What other positions have you held prior to SIC?
Believe it or not, the bulk of my working life has been in the financial sector. I spent 8 years working as a banker for US Bank and just under 2 years serving as the Director of Financial Operations for a small, non-profit institution. I also worked as a substitute teacher, paid accompanist, and adjunct piano instructor.
What does SIC mean to you?
Not to sound all campy, but SIC is a dream come true. Working in finance left me feeling empty. I didn’t feel like my life was making a positive impact on this world. After returning back to school I met some wonderful instructors who recognized my musical abilities and the rest is history. It was a community college that helped me to find my voice and introduced me to a wonderful world of possibilities; and now I can pay it forward. While I enjoyed performing (and still do), I found that I wanted to share my love with others and help students find their full potential. SIC gives me that opportunity. Each day I get to work one-on-one with incredibly talented students who have no idea how much potential they have. Adding to my joy are the wonderful and supportive people I work with. SIC is a wonderful and supportive community – and I love it.
How do you help fulfill Southeastern's Mission Statement?
Being a musician and one who teaches music offers me a unique opportunity to play a role in the fulfillment of SIC’s mission statement. Music is something that one can do their entire life, regardless of age. There will come a day when the athleticism fades or the desire to work behind a desk wanes. I have never met a senior adult who says, “Gosh, if only I had learned to play basketball when I was younger!” They always say, “I wish I would have learned to play the piano” or “I wish I would have learned how to sing.” Not saying that learning basketball isn’t important, but one day you may not be able to. What remains until our final days? Music. Through teaching music, I hope that I am providing students and the community with the skills to appreciate the music that surrounds us, and the opportunity to be an active participant as well. This also provides an avenue for people to start their own independent music studios, worship ministries, or performance businesses. Music is something that surrounds us every day – why not make the most of it?
What is your favorite memory at SIC?
This is hard. I have many wonderful memories in my 3 years, but the one that sticks out the most is the day that Jayden Roper and Reagan Gray decided to make a video of Jayden scarring the life out of me in hopes that it would go viral. I am reminded yearly of this day when Facebook decides to share the video memory with me. I lost 40% of my heart function, gained 50% more gray hairs, and had to rearrange my office afterwards. Though they scared me to death, I loved every minute of it. I guess it was then that I felt I had “arrived” – even if it was at the expense of my heart health.
What do you do in your spare time?
I am as boring as vanilla ice cream in a dollar store cone. I love spending time with my wife and son, and will enjoy adding our daughter to the mix in January. We like to hike, garden, and go on trips to interesting places – typical basic American family-type stuff. Outside of that, I enjoy going to the gym, working on my house, and I love to cook. Sadly, the more I cook, the more I eat, which negates the gym! I am particularly fond of making bread. It allows me to get all of my aggressions out.
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
I can’t say I have a favorite. I am not one who enjoys going to the same place twice. There’s just too much to see! I love to go anywhere where there is history. The older the better. Ireland is on my list of places to go.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
I love to be around people, especially people who are smarter than me, in hopes that I may be perceived as being smarter. Seriously though, I believe that the smartest people in the world aren’t those that know the most; it’s those individuals who aren’t afraid to ask the questions, look like fools, and seek the wisdom of others. With that being said, I would love to have dinner with some of history’s greatest minds. Plato, Lenardo DaVinci, Bach, Einstein, and Thomas Merton would be on the roster, as well as several others that I can’t immediately name. I would want to ask them about their lives, their inspiration, their dreams, and their ideas. It would be an amazing opportunity to peer into their minds.
In a movie based on your life, who plays you?
In my life, I have been stopped numerous times and told I look like certain actors/musicians. The list includes, but is not limited to: Matt Damon (good), Jerry O’Connell (I’ll take it), Prince Harry (not an actor, but a Prince!), a young Randy Travis (okay…), and recently Charlie Sheen (I am hoping this is before the drug addiction, but the woman was quite ecstatic and was wanting a picture). I’ll take Matt Damon for the win.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever heard and can give to others?
I have so many wonderful quotes and pieces of advice. I like to write them down when I hear them. There are two that always stick close to my heart:
“Never be a caricature of your stereotype.” – Dr. Susan Davenport
“Life is 10% what happens to you, 90% how you react to it.” – Found it in a book.