Stories of Excellence–Alan Bradford
Alan Bradford is not a traditional college student. He was when he attended Mitchell after graduating high school and earned an electronics engineering degree in the 1990s. But in 2019 as a middle-aged student already working in his field, Bradford admits his Mitchell experience has been atypical, yet it has also been invaluable.
Bradford currently serves as Communications Technician for the town of Mooresville. He plans, records and posts to the town’s television channel, manages several websites and social media accounts, along with handling other communications. Bradford jokes that he took the “backwards approach,” getting a job in a field first and then getting a degree in that field. After many years of growing as a graphic designer/videographer without formal training, he decided to utilize his employer's tuition reimbursement program to get an associate degree in digital media. He came back to Mitchell in 2017.
When he first started, Bradford recalled he was overly enthusiastic about coursework which covered materials and software he was already utilizing in the field. That outlook quickly changed when he began learning new techniques and skills he could utilize in his current position. “We learned something in class, and that week I’d apply it in my job.,” he said. “It was like a reverse apprenticeship.” The time management skills he learned as a Mitchell student have already helped him in his professional and personal life. “What I learned at Mitchell allowed me to be more creative… efficiently.” Now he understands and can communicate reasoning behind creative decisions, which has consequently built trust with his colleagues.
Bradford is on track to walk across the stage in Mitchell’s Commencement ceremony on May 17, 2019. “In a few weeks I will have a degree for what I do,” he said “I have never had that.” While Bradford brought to Mitchell a set of skills learned in the field, he has refined those skills through his classes. He has noticed his quality of work increasing, and others have noticed too.
Bradford was recently asked by Mooresville Fire-Rescue to do a short public service announcement (PSA) on water safety. The department wanted a video that was “special, mysterious and emotional.” Bradford’s completed video was submitted 3CMA (City-County Communications & Marketing Association) National Conference awards. The video won 1st place (Savvy Award) in the PSA under 50,000 population category. One judge commented the video was, “Extremely important message to match a current deadly situation that was delivered with a simple, yet powerful and moving, video. Stunning …emotional… moving." Bradford’s goal was achieved and his time refining his skills at Michell well spent. “I truly believe going back to college has allowed me to be more creative and learn new ways of thinking,” he said. “Without that new insight, I would not be able to see a National Award in our office space at Town Hall.” Bradford was also awarded the Excellence in Digital Media Technology at Mitchell’s 2019 Awards Convocation.
Regardless of age, background, or program, Bradford recommends continuing your education at Mitchell. “If this old dog can learn a few new tricks,” he joked, “anyone can!” Even though work, school and home life have been a struggle, he does not regret his choice. “As I finish my Digital Media Associate Degree,” he reflected, “I can look back at the long nights of juggling college, a full-time job, a part-time job, HOA board member, President of the Mooresville Museum and father of a busy 7-year-old daughter and say I am happy I decided to jump in!”
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