Meet David. Age 31. Tonawanda, New York. Illustrator and Social Media Manager.
What is your favorite thing about living and working in Western New York?
I enjoy working downtown. I love experiencing the city each day, whether it’s driving to the office each morning or walking around on my lunch. There is so much to see around the city if we stop and take the time to look around.
Buffalo is a city rich in history and attempting to rewrite its story. I’m excited to be here during a period of re-birth.
How did you end up in your career, and what is fulfilling about your job?
It took me awhile to get where I am now. I graduated from UB in 2005 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. I left school and had no idea what to do with my career. I had displayed paintings in a few galleries, but I honestly did not know how to turn my talents into a meaningful career. After briefly considering moving to NYC for graduate school, I decided to get my teaching degree.
I ended up dropping out of school with one semester left because my heart wasn’t in it. I felt like I would have been doing a disservice to the students I was teaching if I didn’t feel passionate about my profession.
I was again lost and unsure what to do professionally. I ended up taking a management job in retail. This was the most difficult period of my life. My job left me feeling unfulfilled and angry with myself. Thanks to plenty of encouragement from my wife, I decided to go back to school full-time. I earned a second degree in graphic design. I was fortunate to get an internship at Delta Sonic during my final semester. I had a wonderful experience, however, there was no job opening by the time I finished my internship. I left empty-handed and went back to my job in retail.
I spent 6 months searching for a job in my field. My fortunes changed when Delta Sonic called me in for an interview based on the work I performed during my internship.
I’ve done a bit of everything there, from logo and billboard design to illustrations. Right now, the most fulfilling part of my job is coming up with campaigns and ideas for our social media accounts. I enjoy writing for Twitter and testing what works with our fans and what falls flat. It always pays to experiment with different ideas.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
I’m always up early, usually before 6. I drop my son off with my Mom and get into the office before anyone else. I enjoy the brief window of serenity. I’ll check any stories and topics that are trending to see if there’s any way to incorporate them into our social media accounts. I’ll write out ideas, topics and promotions that we may use in the upcoming weeks. The rest of the day is spent monitoring our accounts and talking to people along with our day-to-day promotions and design projects.
I’ll finish up each night spending time with my wife and son all while monitoring our social media accounts each evening. It makes for long days, but they’re always different, which I’m grateful for.
What is something you’d like to see happen in Western New York in the next 5-10 years?
I want to see Buffalo continue to grow and build on the momentum it has been building. HARBORCENTER is a wonderful project and has the potential to attract people to Buffalo. The medical campus is exciting. Will that bring new jobs to the area? Will Solar City pan out? I hope these projects are catalysts to Buffalo’s renaissance. The continued growth of Buffalo will be dependent on attracting more people to the city. We have a great city, full of history and stories and it’s waiting to be shared with others. There’s an image and preconceived notion about Buffalo that both we as citizens and outsiders have trouble shaking at times. I hope Buffalo finds its identity and tells a new story in the years and decades to come. I want my son to feel proud that he’s from Buffalo, as I am.
What advice would you give to other young professionals in Western New York just starting out in their fields?
In my personal experience, you learn more from failures than you do from success. Experiment with ideas. Try. Fail. Try again. Don’t ever give up.
Find someone who believes in you and is willing to take a chance on you. That’s something that is invaluable in one’s career. A mentor can be just as, if not more important than your education.
Don’t be afraid to speak up and give you input, but accept criticism and critique when it comes your way. You should always feel like you have more to learn. The moment you stop learning is the moment you stop growing.
One thing that few people know about you:
I’ve always been fascinated with animation and storytelling and have worked on and off with writing and illustrating comics and graphic novels in my free time.