Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Story In 900 Words or Less....

The first day of October 1970 at 1:08 am, I was born In Weldon, Arkansas. I was raised in a farmhouse with one brother on a small lot that my dad rented in exchange for maintenance duties. My father was factory worker, my mother worked in the cafeteria as a cook at the local high school...he was 21 and she 19. My first job was at age 6, picking up pecans in a pecan orchard for 25 cents a pound...back then, a quarter would buy lots of candy and Yoohoo chocolate picking up as many pecans as possible was a must. My thirst for capitalism had officially began. 
As years past, talent shows were my mom would dress me up in cowboy hats and funny plaid suits and enter my name in those shows to sing and dance and unfortunately....I would win...almost every time. Drawing, singing, dancing and being a happy kid was my life....and I thank them for it. My second job was at a small grocery store where I made $3.35 cents an hour sacking groceries and mopping floors. It wasnt much, but just enough to take my freckle-faced girlfriend out to a movie on Friday night and buy her a pizza and a strawberry milkshake.

Fastforward 18 years after winning every art award possible in high school, I left for college on a Pell Grant with $26 in my pocket. When I arrived at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, I really had idea what to do next....but get a job. For the next five years, I became a dishwasher, table busser, and line cook in the fall and in the summer I would travel back home (while every other student in world was in Florida on Spring Break) to work on a loading crew for the local flying service.  What is a flying service you ask? That's 100+ hours a week putting chemicals and pesticides into a cropduster airplane in 100 degree Arkansas heat....for $3.75 an hour. It was the most grueling, dangerous, exhausting and dirtiest job on planet earth...but it made a man out of me...and got me through college. And most importantly, fueled my desire to do get through college and hope for a better life.

After years of trying to decide my major and what I want to do, I finally decided to go with what I knew best. I was determined to make a living with my creative, artistic talent. In the Spring of 1993, I graduated from Arkansas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in computer graphics and a minor in Spanish. With my degree in hand, I set out to find a job to no avail in the great state of Arkansas, when a friend who had just came through Nashville, TN handed me a classified section of the local newspaper there. I opened it and found my calling... "graphic designer needed" the ad said. I applied, got the phone call and with three shirts, two ties, two pairs of pants, one pair of shoes, a worn out pickup truck and lots of hope, I headed out for the big city and never looked back. That was almost 20 years ago and mom and dad are still alive, well and together to this day.

Upon arriving in Nashville, the shock was pretty overwhelming. I had landed my first job at the corporate headquarters of Service Merchandise, Inc. as a catalog designer. The place was huge and had over 1000 employees....there wasnt that many people in my hometown. I had never parked in a parking garage and didnt know how.....never heard of sushi....never seen the ocean or a skyscraper building and had no idea that a hamburger and fries could ever cost more than 5 
dollars (drink included). It was all new to me...but without a choice, I adjusted.

After working my way through different jobs, moving up the ladder and learning from each one, I decided to become a freelance designer...that is, working from my own office doing computer graphics as a contractor through different companies. Almost 15 years later, I continue to offer my graphic design services to over 30 clients nationwide...ranging from telecommunications and healthcare to large global restuarant chains like Subway and Pepe's Pizza. In the year 2000, I opened a nightclub with a business partner and 12 years later, it continues to thrive as well.
By treating people right, being honest, hard-working and fair, I have come a long way as a business owner in Tennessee since my humble beginnings here...and I am grateful to all of the wonderful people and connections I have entrusted along the way. There are more details..but this will do for now. 
Thank for reading. -SB