November 9, 2012
Traci-Bret-blog

Couple Turns to FRCC for New Skills, Career Change

In 2009, Traci Jones and Bret Eastman came to Front Range Community College to take a web design class. Married since 2006, the couple had built their own careers, but came together to pursue a new skill—each for their own reasons.

Website Design Training

A graphic designer since 1997, Traci started her own branding and design company, Studio No. 6, in 2004. Drawing on her agency experience with CommArts and the Creative Alliance, she designed print collateral and advertising and branding campaigns for clients in industries such as hospitality and transit—but she wanted to be able to offer website design services in an increasingly interactive world.

“It was an area where I was behind the curve,” admits Traci, who holds an MFA from the University of Arizona and a BFA from Drake University. “I didn’t want to get left behind, and felt I needed to get up to speed on the technology side of graphic design.”

Launching a New Career

For Bret, the FRCC web design course created an opportunity to move into a completely new field.

After graduating from Colorado State University with a degree in manufacturing technology management, Bret launched his career in manufactured housing. That later evolved into 10 years working in the architectural and structural engineering industry, helping architects and design engineers create construction drawings for custom residential and commercial projects. But when the building sector declined rapidly in the late 2000s, Bret knew it was time for a change.

“Traci was interested in building up a web team at her company, and I was very interested in the web,” he says. “The FRCC class clicked with me immediately and it gave me the foundation to launch a new career. Kate Hagerty was an excellent teacher who got us all really excited—people from all different career and educational backgrounds.”

Growing a Company

Bret worked for Studio No. 6 for a year and together, he and Traci used their newfound skills to take Traci’s company to the next level. “I’m not sure that either of us set out to do what we did, but this all led to something pretty amazing for both of us,” Traci says. Her business has tripled since 2009 and she employs a small team of subcontractors who do programming, copywriting, videography, and more. In addition to website design, Studio No. 6 develops email campaigns and other internet marketing strategies for its clients.

Designing International Websites

In fall 2010, Bret landed a job with InterCall, the largest conference and collaborations service provider in the world. As design coordinator, he assists the global marketing department with all web design and internet and email campaigns for the company’s 19 international websites. “I love it; web technology is a moving target, so every day is about learning something new,” Bret says. “I definitely wouldn’t be here without the FRCC class.”

Build Your Tomorrow—Now

“The feeling I got from Kate and other instructors at Front Range is that they’re passionate about teaching, that they really care about every student,” says Traci, who also took a public speaking class to “conquer a fear” (Bret also took an acting class on a whim). “I would absolutely return for other classes.”

Bret’s advice to those looking to further their education or take their lives in a new direction? “Don’t wait,” he says. “Every day of learning is another brick of the foundation. You’re building your tomorrow. In no time, you will have reinvented yourself.”

 

About the author:

Michaele Charles is the founder of Voice Communications and writes frequently for higher education institutions, small businesses, corporate clients, and others. She also is a fledgling children’s writer. In her pre-writing life, she worked in accounting and finance.

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