Shane Wheeles ’93

Shane Wheeles

  • Graphic Arts Specialist, Russell Printing & Design (AL)

“I am a Graphic Arts Specialist for Russell Printing & Design, encompassing Spalding, Russell Athletic, Mossy Oak Apparel, Bike Athletic, Huffy Sports, and Russell Lands on Lake Martin. My responsibilities include brand identity design such as logos, signage, promotions, packaging, web design, billboards, and more, as well as layout design such as magazines, brochures, flyers, CD booklets, and posters. My favorite aspect of working in the design field is the lack of monotony and the opportunity for creative expression. Each job is different and unique, which allows me to step outside the parameters of basic design.”

“Upon graduating from PCC in 1993, I prayerfully sought God’s guidance in directing my career path. This eventually led to the graphic art market in Alabama. Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to utilize my training and experience in various community projects and contests. For example, I was invited to speak for the past two years at our local high school’s Career Day in order to promote commercial art to students interested in possibly pursuing it as a profession one day. It gave me the chance to display some of my most successful projects and answer questions about the coursework and skills necessary to carry out my daily responsibilities. Overall, I’ve been able to work in a field that I enjoy while building a connection with my community.”

“The experience and knowledge that I gained at PCC helped prepare me for the challenges of the graphic design field. Along with instilling within me a strong work ethic, PCC provided the foundation on which I could build a successful career. The education that I received from the Commercial Art program at PCC was the foundation and the most valuable part of my successful graphic design career. Although I had natural talent for design, there are certain skills and abilities necessary in any graphic design role. For the most part, the only place to learn these skills is through education, which was provided by PCC’s excellent art program.”

Megan Hallquist ’03; ’05 MA

Megan Hallquist

  • Graphic Designer, PBM Products (Perrigo Company) (VA)

“I am a graphic designer for PBM Products, which was recently acquired by Perrigo Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of over-the-counter pharmaceutical products for the store brand market. My position involves creating packaging and corresponding marketing materials for store brand infant formulas, foods, and pediatric and adult nutritionals. I have worked with the store brands for Walmart, Target, Sam’s Club, Kroger, and many others. I have also worked with brands from other countries including Mexico, Canada, China, and Vietnam. Some of the greatest opportunities I have had with my job is to see ads that I have created from concept to final product appear in national publications such as USA Today, Parenting Magazine, BabyTalk, and American Baby.”

“PCC gave me a great foundation for the field of graphic design. All the classes had valuable knowledge to help me hone my skills as a designer. I have also learned to appreciate the work ethic and comprehensive skills the classes at PCC gave me. Each class I took had valuable information that I have used on the job.”

Coreen Smith ’10

Coreen Smith

  • Old Salem Museums and Gardens (NC)

Coreen Smith (’10) graduated with a graphic design degree, hoping to start an interior design career. She never expected, however, to be designing her own costumes and props to demonstrate the daily life of a woman living in an eighteenth-century Moravian village in Salem, NC.

A few years ago when Coreen lost a job with full benefits and the opportunity to use her graphic design training, she did not consider the job loss a positive thing. But her perspective changed when she was offered a job at the Old Salem Museums and Gardens Moravian Village. The interviewer told her that she was a great fit since she had no problem talking about the biblical views of the Moravians. Coreen said, “I knew that any job that gave me freedom to share the truth and pay me for it was the job for me.”

For the past two years, thirty hours a week, Coreen has donned an eighteenth-century dress and bonnet to cook over an open hearth and bake in an outdoor oven as well as perform domestic duties such as sewing, knitting, weaving baskets, hauling firewood and water, and preserving various fruits, vegetables, and herbs. She does all this while answering guests’ questions about the people who lived in the town. “Through my interpretive work I get to share the Moravians’ biblical views and even share how one can come to know Christ as Savior,” she said. “There are few jobs where you are encouraged to share the Bible with others.”

Her graphic design classes come in handy when dealing with the creative side of her job. She studies historical images or pieces of equipment and recreates them. Things like pincushions, kitchen towels, candles, baskets, and nearly anything else an eighteenth-century housewife would need, she makes from scratch. “Drawing classes I took help me visualize and understand spatial relationships, which help me sketch out and recreate the object.” 

She also freelance designs for churches and feels that the Lord may still open the door in the future for interior design work. But for now she enjoys knowing that in her work at the village, God is using her skills and her faith in a meaningful way.

Wes Cromer ’99; ’01 MA
  • Owner, WCI Graphics (NC)

“The name of my company is WCI Graphics. We are a full-service graphic design firm and print shop, offering services in design and printing from business cards to graphics for buses—all in-house. My duties are to oversee all jobs and monitor their progress on a daily basis. Not only do I oversee the process from concept to completion, but I also manage all marketing for the client, as well as for the company.”

“The most important thing I received from my training at PCC was the ability to navigate through the design applications. The training on those applications has made my career much easier than others from other institutions.”

Scott Metzger ’06

Scott Metzger

  • Graphic Designer, Faith Baptist Church Publications and Printing (FL)

“As a Graphic Designer/Printer, my daily responsibilities include the digital printing of book blocks, covers, prayer cards, brochures, etc. I design book covers, prayer cards, and brochures, and also handle some of the layout of the books. My favorite part is seeing my designs on media going throughout the world. ”

“PCC’s classes prepared me with fundamentals that I use every day, and hands-on experience for design ideas. The training that I value most I received in art classes such as Drawing I, which taught the importance of contrast and focal points.”

Christina Pasiewicz ’15

Christina Pasielwicz

It’s 10:30 in the morning, and Christina Pasiewicz (Graphic Design ’15) sits at a table in Starbucks, typing a response to an e-mail about her start-up photography business, Rooted Tapestry Co. Like many young professionals managing a small business, her office space is mobile, connected to a creative environment and good Internet connection.

“I used to rent an office space, but I realized I didn’t use it to meet with clients. Now, I often work from home or at Starbucks,” Christina said.

As a photographer and graphic designer, Christina’s work constantly has her traveling anyway. “Many times, I meet people in their own homes,” Christina explained. Not only is this one-on-one connection important to get to know her clients personally, but it also helps build a sense of trust with clients.

I love getting to know the families I’m blessed to work with. There is a relationship that grows between a family and the person they are entrusting to preserve their memories. From our first phone call to the final in-person delivery of their printed heirlooms, being able to serve each family on a personal level is my favorite aspect of my job.

Rooted Tapestry

Using her photography skills, Christina has completed a variety of shoots, from newborn and family photography, to weddings, to business portraits. Her passion, however, is family history; this passion is the reason she started Rooted Tapestry Co. in 2018. Rooted Tapestry’s services include printed heirloom pictures as well as sweetheart albums and family and personal history albums.

“My love for family photography began in high school when a friend from church asked me to take her family photos,” Christina said. “I inherited my dad’s love of family history, and especially over the past few years have clearly felt led to preserve people’s family history via photographs and albums.”

Rooted Tapestry

As a small business owner, Christina must divide her time between her photography and graphic design work and other aspects of entrepreneurship such as networking, marketing, and managing finances. As part of her degree in graphic design, Christina has taken several courses that have helped prepare her for a job in the visual arts. “I’ve used my skills . . . to design all of my branding as well as create beautiful custom albums for my clients. I use my skills in Photoshop and InDesign on a regular basis as well as the design principles taught to me throughout all of my years at PCC.”

However, Christina acknowledges she gained more than just academic skills through her classes. “I’d say looking back that one of the most valuable skills I learned was the importance of truly caring about the individuals that come across my path, something I observed on a regular basis from my teachers at PCC.”

She specifically remembers the influence of Dr. John Cirone, her Public Relations teacher, and Mr. David Lunsford. “What I learned the most from them was their underlying purpose to reach people [for] Christ through business and the practical ways in which that is done,” Christina said. “They were both practically and spiritually minded and demonstrated that the two very much go hand in hand, especially in business.”

Rooted Tapestry

Building upon these principles, Christina participates in a community of creatives and small business owners both in Atlanta and Columbus, Georgia. Christina is a member of the Young Professionals Chamber of Commerce in Columbus and regularly attends TuesdaysTogether hosted by the Rising Tide Society, an organization geared toward enabling and encouraging creative entrepreneurs. Through attending meetings that encourage “community over competition,” Christina continues to learn not only in her field of photography but also in the field of business. “Making connections—getting your name out there—means so much,” she said.

Christina’s photography has been highlighted on the website Elegant Wedding and in various magazines such as Southern Bride and The Celebration Society.

With these recognitions, Christina looks forward to many more opportunities to capture memories for families and friends. “My ’why’ behind Rooted Tapestry is to proactively preserve these days both behind us as well as right before us. I want to snatch these little fleeting moments so you can hold them for years to come. These days are treasures—my desire is to handle and care for your moments with your loved ones as if they were my own.”

Ryan Standley ’08

Ryan Standley

From the time he was a child, Ryan Standley (’08) had his life planned out: he was going to take his family to Disney World as soon as he graduated from college, and he was going to be a Disney hand-drawn animator. But God had other plans. “My senior year in high school there was a shift in Disney animation. They shut down hand drawn very suddenly, so I had to rethink my plan for college,” Ryan said.

Ryan decided to take a year off to reconsider his college plans. Meanwhile, he found a job at a local grocery store working retail. One evening as he restocked soda bottles, he found himself critiquing the company’s logo. “It’s like the Lord spoke to me and said, ‘Look at what you’re doing right now. This is second nature to you—you are a graphic designer—this is what you need to be doing.’”

A year later, Ryan arrived at PCC to study graphic design. “I was under the assumption before I came to school for formal training in graphic design that you just sit down at the computer and magic happens. And that’s not the case at all,” Ryan said. “My time spent here was everything to my success as a designer,” he said.

“Through my studies I learned a technique that has never failed me in design. And that is, a finished logo doesn’t actually start with sitting at the computer. It starts with a lot of brainstorming—with writing down words that come to mind when you think of the company you’re designing for and you think of their competitors or you think of the field that the company is in.”

Four years later, Ryan walked across the stage to claim his college diploma. Now all he had left to do was “go home, get a job in a graphic design firm, and live happily ever after.” But first, Ryan took that trip to Disney World with his family.

While on vacation, Ryan paid only a little attention to the headlines declaring a collapsed economy. He didn’t know exactly what they meant to him—until he spent the next six months handing out design portfolios to prospective employers. Each time he was met with the same answer: your work is fantastic; we just aren’t hiring right now.

Feeling discouraged, Ryan decided to stop by a local Apple store—after all, he knew retail, and he knew the Apple operating system. Ryan showed his portfolio to the manager and explained how the Apple computer had transformed his work as a designer. The manager, while impressed with Ryan’s work, was even more impressed with his story. “I was pretty much hired right then and there,” Ryan said. “It was right before an iPhone launch so it got busy very quickly. That was my first exposure to the company.”

As time passed, Ryan’s employers noted his exceptional work ethic and passion for Apple that stretched beyond his job as a sales person. In time, he became a Creative—an employee who trains customers and employees how to use Apple software.

Then one day, when Ryan was in the middle of wedding planning with his now wife Katrina, the Internal Systems and Technology department at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino contacted Ryan’s store in Seattle. They had come across his design portfolio and wondered if he would be willing to spend six months in California designing several top-secret projects for the company. Ryan knew that God was giving him the opportunity to combine his passion for Apple and his passion for design.

Ryan could not talk about his work, even with family and friends.  But in the end, seeing something he had designed affect all four hundred plus Apple stores was enough. “To think that they would keep the design portfolio of one of their employees on file for two years and call me up out of the blue and say, here’s this giant project that has pretty big consequences, and we have faith in you that you can deliver—that’s huge,” Ryan said.

Most recently, Ryan transitioned to an in-store trainer for several of the company’s stores, training the next generation of Apple employees in “all things Apple.” He advises students, “Graduate with an open mind. Show God your diploma and just let Him work from there and be open and willing to go where that leads you.”

Tim Kardamis ’06
  • Print and Interactive Media Designer, A.M. Design Group (OH)

“A.M. Design Group is a graphic design studio that does print and Web design. We have quite a few clients, including several large ones. As a Print and Interactive Media Designer, I do creative work, design and layout, and manage clients. Our studio is set up differently than a lot of studios, in that most have ‘Account Managers.’ But here, part of my job is to manage my own clients and accounts. It’s great experience, as I not only get to do creative design work, but I get to develop business relationships with my clients while I work directly with them on projects.”

“PCC did a great job laying a foundation. Of course, we learned the [design] programs and did projects, but understanding the traditional principles of art and design was extremely important. I’m so glad I got a good base in traditional art history and philosophy, as well as design and principles of design. Programs and technology are constantly changing, but having a good foundation is key.”

Adam Bain ’00

Adam Bain

  • Art Director, Kids II, Inc. (GA)

“I am currently the Art Director in the Marketing Communications Department at Kids II, Inc., an international infant products company headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia. Kids II designs, manufactures, distributes, and markets baby toys and gear for brands such as Bright Starts, Baby Einstein, and Disney Baby. My main responsibility is the management of a team of 7, which consists of graphic designers, interactive and motion graphics developers, and a traffic manager. Other responsibilities vary depending on the day or the season, but usually involve the creative direction or design of various marketing collateral, promotional materials, online initiatives, national ad campaigns, in-store signage, videos, photoshoots, or international trade fair exhibits.”

“After graduating from PCC in 2000, God led me to a small branding/design firm in St. Petersburg, Florida. This was a great experience right out of college, because it was small and I was able to work closely with an industry veteran. This, combined with the need to work in a variety of media, quickly broadened my knowledge of the industry. From there, God opened the door for an opportunity to help grow an art department at a national financial company called Market Street Mortgage in Clearwater, Florida. Market Street allowed me to re-brand the company with a fresh look, new logo and the addition of many innovative marketing initiatives. I was responsible for the implementation of the new brand, as well as the creative work produced by a team of 6 designers. Our work included all corporate, marketing & sales collateral, event design, online initiatives, videos, and environmental signage for our 100-plus office locations and more than 300 independent sales associates. In 2007, God began to make it clear that it was time for us to move on, and shortly thereafter the opportunity at Kids II opened up.”

“Over the last 10 years, I have had the fortunate experience of receiving various industry design awards, internal company awards for creativity and leadership, and to see the work of designers under my direction awarded and published in design publications. The most notable experience since graduating from PCC was an opportunity I was given this past year to design and direct the production of a 3,600 sq. ft. trade fair exhibit for my company for a Juvenile Products Toy Fair in Cologne, Germany. The budget was very large and the design and development process took over 8 months. The exhibit displayed more than 300 baby gear and toys that Kids II produces and involved hundreds of pieces and parts that I was responsible for either designing, directing, or managing. It included a variety of product displays, large scale graphics, interactive kiosks, meeting spaces, lounge areas, a kitchen, hundreds of feet of trussing and stage lighting, and featured a 13-foot-high waterwall at the center of the exhibit. In addition to the exhibit itself, my team was responsible for all of the printed collateral, graphics, video, and interactive content that went into the booth. The project led me to London, England, for the supervision of the booth construction and ultimately to Cologne, Germany, for the show itself. The training that I received at PCC gave me the foundation and the discipline that was necessary to accomplish a task of this magnitude.”

“The variety of media that I learned at PCC, from the fundamentals of art and design courses to the portfolio preparation and presentation training, all prepared me with a broad understanding of the field. PCC’s training gave me the ability to take constructive feedback and use it to improve my work and make it more effective. In addition to the art training, the biblical influence that is part of everything at PCC encouraged the growth of personal character, integrity, self-discipline, and leadership.”

“Learning the foundational elements of design, drawing, type, color, composition, and photography from the beginning of my studies at PCC gave me a solid foundation of creative principles that I have been able to build on throughout my career. These fundamental components of art and design are the same in just about any form of media, and they give me the basis that is required to create a creative, well-designed, and effective communication piece.”

Ryan Mellody ’04

Ryan Mellody

  • Art Director/Designer, IBM (NY)

“I currently design for the Cloud Computing initiatives within IBM. This includes Web and application design, as well as supporting collateral. My role also includes designing for, and art directing for marketing videos and campaigns. It is a job that requires a passion for the way things look and how to properly communicate. Because this passion is a necessity for creating good work, a side effect is enjoying the projects and wanting to create superior designs—making the job a little less like work.”

“PCC’s education didn’t just teach me software like Photoshop or InDesign, but it gave me the ability to develop an eye for design. Anyone can learn a program, but a real designer isn’t constrained by a program, but can design with any tool. A direct effect of the training at PCC was the ability to work in the Publishing department of Abeka Book. My experience and portfolio pieces from that job gave me the credibility to enter the work environment. That previous job gave me a jump-start and advanced my career to the level of others who had been in the industry for years.”

Haley Cobb ’16

Haley Cobb

When Haley Cobb (’14, M.A. ’16) graduated with her Master of Arts in Graphic Design, she had a strong desire to work for a Christian company. She did not know, however, that her prayers would lead her across the country to work for a popular arts and crafts retail chain.

“Just two weeks after graduation, the Lord opened the door for me to work for Hobby Lobby, a company that is committed to honoring the Lord by operating in a manner consistent with biblical principles,” Haley said. “While it took a leap of faith to move halfway across the country, I am so glad the Lord led me to Hobby Lobby.”

Haley made the move from her hometown in Pennsylvania to Hobby Lobby’s corporate headquarters in Oklahoma City to start her new job. “PCC’s training gave me the confidence to tackle any project that comes across my desk,” she said. “The variety of projects combined with the different timelines allowed me to establish a strong work ethic and good time management skills while I was a student. Those skills made the transition from student to professional very easy.”

As a top fabric designer at Hobby Lobby, Haley continues to use the lessons taught in her freshman-level classes. “Whether I am working on a packaging design or designing apparel fabric, the principles of design I learned as a freshman are still the key to creating any successful design.”

As a student, Haley worked diligently in and out of class to make creative and memorable designs. In fact, as she was completing the master’s graphic design program, her work earned three gold awards at the annual Pensacola Advertising Federation Addy Awards. Then her work went on to earn awards at the district level, also. These experiences proved to be a precursor of more recognition to come.

Each year, Hobby Lobby places full-page ads celebrating the real meaning of Christmas, Easter, and Independence Day in newspapers across the country. In 2017, Haley was selected as one of ten designers to submit a Christmas message ad. After weeks of brainstorming, sketching, and refining her ideas, Haley’s design was chosen to be the 2017 Christmas ad as well as the design of the Hobby Lobby Christmas card. “Not only did my design appear in newspapers across the country on Christmas Day, but it was also featured on Hobby Lobby’s website and social media platforms,” Haley said.

Now just two years after taking her leap of faith, Haley can walk into any Hobby Lobby store across the country and see her designs on the shelves. “It’s very rewarding,” she says. “My favorite part about working as a designer is the ability to create something new every day. I enjoy being able to take a project from just an idea to a finished product I can hold in my hand.”

Annie Harvey ’07
  • Graphic Designer, Metroland Media (Canada)

“I am an ad compositor and facilitator. My responsibilities include creating ads for multiple publications including newspapers, magazines, and promotional materials, as well as layout design and execution of those publications. God placed me within this company years ago when I was looking for my junior year internship placement. I get to use my creative flair everyday, as well as work with graphics and colors. I love the rush of meeting deadlines and working as a team with the others in my department.”

“Without my PCC training, I would feel inadequate to fulfill the tasks I am faced with everyday. I so often use the tools I learned in design classes to create advertising that clients love. The advice and nurturing each teacher provided will never leave me. Their investment in my career is so valuable to me.”

Nera Polkinghorn ’03; ’05 MA

Nera Polkinghorn

  • Graphic Designer, Rose Aircraft Services (AR)

“My daily responsibilities include updating Web info, working on direct marketing campaigns, and getting ready for major airplane conventions. I completed two internships with the company, and after I graduated with my master’s, I was asked to work there permanently, which I gladly accepted. My favorite part is that I get to be creative every day and make good use of my bachelor’s and master’s degrees.”

“PCC prepared me well with several aspects such as having a good critical eye for design in general, as well as preparing and delivering projects in a timely manner. I think one of the most valuable lessons was to be professional no matter what, as that makes a lasting impression on clients.”

Matthew Maners ’93
  • Senior Character Animator, Brainzoo Studios (CA)

“At Brainzoo Studios, we are currently working on a not-yet-released game title for the Sony Playstation. Brainzoo Studios is responsible for all of the cinematics of the game, the scenes between any of the game play that advances the story. My daily responsibilities are to communicate with the animation director and to review storyboards and animatics so I can then animate the characters with the appropriate action and style that is needed for a shot or series of shots. Once I have a plan laid out, I then begin to animate.”

“My favorite part of the art field is working within the animation industry. I have met and worked with so many of the artists I read about when I was a kid. I love to animate, though just sitting down and drawing or using a computer to make something come alive is still as fascinating as it was when I was a kid.”

“PCC as a whole was where I learned to manage my time, which has spilled over to many parts of my life, including work. Assignments were given, and there was a timeline to do them, and it was up to me to learn to do things well within a given amount of time. I also would like to say that Brian Jekel was very inspirational to me. He was an amazing teacher who drew alongside his students, and being able to watch him draw was very inspiring.”

“After PCC, I attended Columbus College of Art & Design in Columbus, Ohio. I went there to be in their animation program. I was there for only one year. While there, I was offered jobs at Disney and Warner Bros. I took the job from Warner Bros. and moved to Los Angeles, California. To date I have animated on twelve feature films, many animated television programs, and around six commercials.”

Bradlee Roberts ’17

Bradlee Roberts

“I have always loved art—painting, drawing, hand-lettering,” said Bradlee Roberts. “I was in my early teens when I realized I wanted to be a graphic designer. At 15 years of age, I began teaching myself the Adobe Suite, and the rest is history.”

In 2013, Bradlee Roberts decided to continue learning design at PCC. After four years of studying and refining her skills, Bradlee walked across the Crowne Centre stage to receive her Bachelor of Science Degree in Visual Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design.

“I can’t even begin to tell you how much PCC has prepared me for work as a designer,” she said. “I had to laugh because there were certain things I learned or had to do for art class that I didn’t think I would actually use. I realize now that my teachers were preparing me in ways I didn’t expect.”

Now, she is learning new things and growing in her skills as the primary graphic designer and publishing production director for the National Bible Bee.

“The National Bible Bee is a ministry whose focus is on equipping children to know God’s Word and make Him known,” said Bradlee. “This year, we had 6,200 children (ages 5–18) participate in the Summer Study from all 50 states and 7 countries. I really enjoy seeing the responses from the families involved in the National Bible Bee and our Summer Study.”

To Bradlee, her work at the National Bible Bee is rewarding, and the ministry’s goal is something she can really get behind.

“National Bible Bee is so much more than the competition. It’s about the Scripture they’re absorbing, the confidence in proclaiming God’s Word, and the community with other believers involved in this ministry,” she said.

With her talents in graphic design, Bradlee is able to serve in her role by creating a variety of designs for social media, T-shirts, their phone app, and Bible study curriculum. Each project she receives helps her to strengthen her design skills in different areas, but Bradlee has also found the opportunity to add a new skill to her résumé that wasn’t anticipated—leadership.

“Aside from design, my biggest role is directing the publishing team,” said Bradlee. “I certainly didn’t expect to be responsible for managing a team within my first year out of college, but as project manager and designer, I’ve had the opportunity to not only apply my skills as an artist, but also grow as a leader and communicator. It’s been an incredible experience, and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

With so many opportunities on her road ahead, Bradlee doesn’t know exactly what will come next on her journey in graphic design, but she has found leadership so appealing that she hopes to continue in such a position.

“I’m interested in specializing in user-experience design,” she said. “As an artist with an analytical mind, I am intrigued by creating something that is aesthetically appealing and engages the human mind on an interactive level. But wherever God leads me in the future, I would love the opportunity to continue to hold a leadership position,” she said. “While this role was not something I had planned on this early in my career, I have thrived in the challenge.”

As Bradlee embraces her work as a designer at the National Bible Bee, she hopes to keep learning.

“I certainly don’t have everything figured out. As a designer, there’s so much more I can learn and so many resources out there to help me do so. I hope I never get to a point in my life where I feel I have 'arrived' as an artist, but instead seek out opportunities to keep growing, learning, and improving.”

David O’Hara ’08

David O'Hara

On the streets, David O’Hara never knows what to expect. Whether it’s speeding through downtown Seattle to the scene of a crime or watching the medical examiner record a time and cause of death, every day in the field is eye opening.

“There are very exciting, high-intensity, and dangerous tasks,” David said. “Then there are days and things that are mundane, such as traffic stops or DUI checks.” Each opportunity to ride along with officers allows David, a designer, to gather valuable information that assists him in creating the best-designed tools used for law enforcement.

When he graduated from PCC with both a Studio Art and Graphic Design degree, David never expected that one day he’d be working for the largest provider of police tools in the country, Axon Enterprise, Inc. That’s partly because when he graduated, the job he now fulfills every day barely existed, User Experience (UX).

“The education I received while I was there helped prepare me with foundational principles of design, which empowered me to build upon and ultimately make a complete career change into an area of design that didn’t even exist at the time of my education,” he said.

As time passed, David was able to further develop the skills he’d learned as a PCC student while ingesting new information to adapt in the new UX field. He decided to pursue UX design, and with each turn his career took, he held on for the ride.

His interest in UX design led him first to Microsoft, where he helped design products for the Microsoft Office Suite. Following that position, he worked as a UX designer for a startup before taking a turn that led him to Axon, Inc. With the job change came the opportunity to switch from UX design to product design as he took the position of Senior Product Design Lead for four of Axon’s products.

“User Experience is a more specialized area, a subset of the skills needed to be a Product Designer,” David said. “Product design entails a lot of research before even brainstorming and sketching. Once we have a preliminary idea, we user test to be sure the product meets the need, then work closely with engineers to build the product.”

David has found his work for Axon to be both rewarding and fulfilling. In addition to getting to meet and ride along with officers on the streets, he gets to take the experience of being in the field and use it to create products that will improve the job officers do each day.

David O'Hara

“Our company’s mission is two-part,” David explained. “To protect life and to protect truth. We strive toward our mission to protect life by creating tools that aid an officer in this effort. Our mission to protect truth starts with the body cams, in-car systems, drones, etc. We strive to better tell the story of what has occurred on scene. This not only helps keep officers accountable for their actions, but it also helps validate their actions in many cases.”

Getting to ride along with officers helps David better understand the impossibly difficult situations that law enforcement often faces. The chance to experience both mundane and high-risk situations helps provide a better understanding of Axon’s customers and their needs.

“I’ve ridden with an officer who was asked to be ‘visible’ during a feud between rival gangs,” David recalled. “We sat outside a gang funeral where neither side wanted us to be there, but the community feared retaliation from the rival gang. I’ve rushed to the scene of a stabbing and watched an officer de-escalate the situation. You can’t trade that kind of experience for some words or data on a page.”

Personally, David has worked on Axon products such as Axon Evidence, Axon Records, Axon Interview, Axon Commander, and cases/investigations products. These products work to aid officers in being better organized with records, digital evidence, and other workflows. The use of digital products such as Axon Records helps to take tasks such as report writing (normally 60%–65% of an officer’s time) and drastically reduces the time it takes to file those reports, allowing officers more time to patrol.

As Axon continues to pioneer tools for first responders, David recognizes the importance of the job he is helping complete.

“At Axon, the work we are doing is impactful and really motivating,” he said. “I have a deep connection with this work because both of my parents were first responders, my mom a police officer and my dad a fireman. There are many great companies where a designer can contribute and find success, but I have chosen Axon because of how meaningful the work is to me and the impact my work is able to have on our society.”

As the world of design changes, David continues to enjoy the journey. With each new challenge that presents itself, he proves to be a go-getter who jumps in and enjoys the ride.

Ryan Sigler ’02

Ryan Sigler

  • Production Manager/Prepress Manager, TKM Print Solutions (OH)

“TKM Print Solutions is a startup company that is 3 years old now, and I was the first main employee. I process all incoming artwork for large format, UV flatbed printers, and also a large format roll printer. I manage all color corrections and print layouts for all files that come in. Some of our current clients are GE, Hershey’s, Philips, Logitech, Tire Kingdom, KFC, and many more. My favorite part of this position is the combination of doing artwork, but yet keeping my ‘hands dirty’ so to speak with operating the machines and repairing them.”

“PCC gave me enough knowledge to begin my first job as the only graphic designer for a major corporation that is now part of American Standard Brands. Right from the start I was outsourcing printing and writing purchase orders, as well as designing cartons, point-of-purchase displays, brochures, etc. that are still seen in every Lowe’s Home Improvement center across the U.S. and Canada.”

Shannon Gaines ’03

Shannon Gaines

  • Co-Owner/Designer, NoNonsense Design (VA)

“I am the co-owner of a small graphic and website design company created to help churches with their marketing. I started this business with my brother in early 2010. After serving for two years on staff at a church, my husband Dustin felt called into Christian law. During that time, I was the church’s graphic designer and also freelanced for other churches. But then I found myself in a position to need to bring in more money to support my husband as he attends law school. That is how NoNonsense Design began.”

“Being a designer for churches is so exciting. I get to design for conferences, promotional materials for all seasons, websites, as well as teen and youth events. I am not ‘stuck in a box’ of design styles.”

“At PCC, I learned to work hard, not only as an artist but in every area of my life. When I was in college, I never dreamed I would be starting a company and selling my products. My teachers were wonderful. I know I was never the most talented student they had, but they were patient with me and constantly instilled the idea of using our talents for ministry.”

Learn More

Check out PCC’s visual arts department for the graphic design major.

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