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Business Graduates

Craig Spohn

Craig Spohn

What I do now:
I have the privilege to run the Cyber Innovation Center which allows me to create jobs for our community in the Information Technology sector. We support Cyber and Nuclear research needs locally and nationally. These jobs contribute to a better NW Louisiana region related to education, employment, tax stability, cultural and recreation infrastructure, all a biproduct of a knowledge-based economy.

My work/job consists of:
I get to work across all levels of education to help grow and establish the needed workforce for a Cyber economy, now and into the future. Also, attracting business and government to create the jobs in support of the cyber and nuclear industry sectors is part of the job.

Path to my current career position (how I got from the past to the present):
After graduating from LSUS, I went to work for a defense contractor, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), which allowed me the opportunities to continue to grow professionally in different parts of the world. SAIC was a large enough company that the potential for growth and taking on increasing responsibility and increasingly larger business units was available. My part was doing the work to learn and expand my ability to support the next opportunity. I learned all I could about my job and things related to my job which prepared me for the next advancement. Sometimes that meant leaving one city, state or country.

How I got to LSUS (or why I chose LSUS):
LSUS provided convenient access to a quality business education. I was raised in Bossier City and worked in the Oil and Gas industry while attending school. LSUS was the key to getting opportunity beyond that cyclical industry.

Fond memories of LSUS:
I spent a lot of time with friends in the University Center studying and drinking coffee. I was the night manager of that facility which also allowed me to study when there were no activities going on. I met my wife at the University Center and we have friends we keep in touch with still today from those relationships in the University Center.

LSUS faculty who helped me:
Dr. Lovonia Casperson was my advisor and a wonderful friend and mentor. Dr. Larry Clark, our current Chancellor, was the Dean of the College of Business and a great help to me. Dr. Clark had to approve my schedule each semester because I wanted to take more than the allowable number of credit hours. He would counsel me as to my schedule to help me manage the work.

How LSUS helped me succeed:
LSUS allowed me the ability to continue to work while I was getting a degree. The degree I received prepared me for the business opportunities I experienced while working my way up in a corporate setting. I was given the right foundation to understand the unique business activities I encountered working in the U.S. and abroad. I don't have a strong basis for comparison with respect to other schools, but I know the LSUS education served me very well.

Advice to college-bound students:
There are countless commencement speeches available online to read and from which to gain perspective. It all comes down to doing your part to be prepared for the opportunities when they occur. This is knowing as much as you can about your job and how it fits in the enterprise in which you work. Getting the knowledge in areas in which you know you have deficiencies. Doing the work to eliminate the deficiency.

Advice to someone who wants to enter my field:
Again, anyone can get advice by going online and reading commencement speeches. The advice in them is often repeated because it is true. Hard work and application of yourself to your job will allow you to advance. Choose something you enjoy so that as you grow in your career, you have genuine interest in learning and expanding your knowledge of that career field. Be prepared to solve your boss' next problem and demonstrate the ability to do so. It will be observed and rewarded. Do the right thing for the right reason and avoid pettiness in all your endeavors.

Tips on choosing a major or career:
Anyone will tell you to do something you enjoy and it is a lot less like work. Contributing to something makes us all feel better. If you can find something to work at that gives you the feeling of contributing, you will want to continue to do more and better things.

My toughest professional challenge:
Personal discipline is probably the thing that I struggle with most. I want to be done and my work is rarely ever done. It is continuing. That is a blessing, but it creates a need for discipline that is hard for me to maintain.

My toughest personal challenge:
In all aspects of life, living life on life's terms is a continuous challenge. Accepting that everything but my actions is outside of my control and being content with that reality. We all want what we want when we want it. Life rarely complies with that plan. Adapting and adjusting constantly and accepting those constant changes is part of every aspect of my life. Reminding myself of this truth every day is something at which I should be better, but remains a personal challenge.

Successes (honors, awards, etc.) in my life:
An honorary PhD from Louisiana Tech University recognizing the work done here in Northwest Louisiana is particularly gratifying. Seeing my kids deal with their challenges successfully is probably the greatest satisfaction this father can enjoy.

I've learned this from life:
I think learning to not take myself so seriously has been a good lesson. I've learned that happiness is an inside job and it comes from doing for others, and not having others do for me. I've learned that greed is a powerful motivator, and happiness and contentment don't benefit from greed, self-serving or self-seeking-based efforts.

What I'd be doing if I had all the time in the world:
I like to work on motorcycles, making them something other than what they were originally designed for. I love to work and walk in the woods. I like to see the work result of a day on a tractor. You can actually see accomplished results where things are better than when you began.

 
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