1. Tell us about yourself.
While born in Nebraska, I was mostly raised in Utah, Idaho, and Iowa. After returning to Nebraska and graduating from Blair High School, my family then moved to Arkansas. I studied electrical engineering at the Raikes School and then stayed at UNL for my MBA. Apparently, something kept drawing me back to the good life!
2. What are some highlights or key takeaways from your experience as a student in the Raikes School?
I have countless positive memories from my experience as a Raikes School student. However, my most meaningful takeaways are those that I have found to carry over into the real world. I would not be where I am today without these and many other life lessons.
Characteristics for Success. Smarts aside, often my classmates who were most successful in the Raikes School were the ones who were open minded and curious, who often ventured outside their comfort zone and challenged themselves, and who were driven and passionate. Turns out, the real world also greatly values these characteristics. Similar to the Raikes School, the vast majority of my colleagues are quite intelligent, but such traits are what differentiates a leader from the pack.
Environment for Success. The reason that the Raikes School is successful is because of the first-class ecosystem that has been established and regularly refined. Students are top notch, faculty is unmatched, advisors and administrators are invested, the curriculum is unrivaled and always improving, and the broader support structure is rock-solid. With this framework in place, community and collaboration are able to blossom. These ingredients apply not only to academics but also to the real world. From startups to not-for-profits to divisions within large enterprises, in order for an organization to succeed, a mixture of similar elements that combine to form the whole ecosystem need to be fine-tuned for the greatest results.
3. What have you been up to since graduating from Nebraska and the Raikes School?
After graduating from the Raikes School, I first pursued my MBA from UNL, specializing in international business and coaching in Design Studio for 2 years. I also took this opportunity to join UNL’s China Study Abroad Program twice (the second time as a graduate assistant), where I learned greatly about Chinese culture from numerous program experiences and about business in China from working in both banking and consulting industries. Needless to say, these experiences greatly influenced my life beyond graduation.
After graduating from UNL with my MBA and co-piloting my second Study Abroad Program in China, I left for South Korea with just a pair of suitcases and my passport to start my new chapter in life. My first stop was Jeonju, where I participated in a 2-month crash course in Korean language and culture through the U.S Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship Program. Once this program was complete, I moved to Daejeon to begin working at LG Uplus, a local telecom operator.
It was in Daejeon where I met my future wife. After a year, I moved to Seoul to work at LG Uplus’ headquarters. They say that “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” which was certainly true for us because, after I moved to Seoul, we started dating long distance and the rest is history. We have been happily married since July 2017!
Here in Seoul, I have had a variety of unique additional adventures. I am an honorary guest speaker at one of the top national universities to address various topics about working in South Korea. I have been featured in various newspaper and online articles. And I have even starred in national news clips and a TV program. My life here is always dynamic and exciting!
In my free time, I like to travel the world. I’ve traveled so much that I needed to add new pages to my passport. My travel has included a honeymoon in Africa, one-month stints in Israel and Europe each, frequent business trips abroad, and vacation as much as reasonably possible. Last year alone, I traveled 5 times around the world! (Thanks, Google.)
4. Tell us about your current position. What drew you to the company and your role?
Through the power of networking, I was lucky to have landed a job at LG Uplus, a sister company of LG Electronics and Korean telecom operator like Verizon or AT&T in the U.S. It has been a great fit for me to apply both business and engineering skills. More than that though, I was initially attracted to the location. I sincerely wanted to gain various experiences living and working internationally – especially in a country at the cutting-edge of technology and business innovation.
In the beginning, as the only non-Korean in the workplace, I certainly faced challenges to overcome including the different corporate culture, language barrier, hierarchical structure, communication pattern, and more. As 8 years have passed however, the company has become more international. I started out as a technical researcher of next-generation converged devices. Then, I moved to our Global Roaming Team where I executed an aggressive rollout of 200+ international roaming partnerships – more than the entire team accomplished the year prior. My division’s EVP then brought me to his Strategy Team to oversee global open innovation initiatives. This allowed me to bring in original ideas and creativity to improve existing services or launch new services across a variety of areas including AI, mobility, robotics, connected cars, live streaming, IoT, unmanned retail, and more.
This same EVP then recruited me to join his 5G Promotion Group as Head of XR Partnerships focused on global content. In this current position, I have helped launch our most successful 5G service - “Netflix for VR,” co-produced a K-pop VR series with Google, established Korea’s first VR Creator Lab with YouTube, facilitated the production of next-generation Cirque du Soleil VR performances, and earned LG Uplus one of the industry’s most recognizable international awards. Additionally, this position has brought me all across the world to debut our VR service at the Cannes Film Festival, present about our 5G services livestreamed worldwide from a prominent conference in Luxembourg, share our 5G know-how with C-level telco executives rolling out 5G throughout Europe and Asia, and more.
5. Have you had any experiences with Raikes School alumni or current students since graduation? If so, tell us about those experiences.
While I wish I could attend reunions and work with Raikes School colleagues, living in Seoul makes this a bit difficult. However, my favorite memories are of meeting Raikes School friends all the way over here in South Korea. Believe it or not, there have been 10+ occasions! Some of these meetups have been random, and some have been planned – but all these adventures have been exciting!
If anyone wants to visit South Korea, my wife and I welcome you anytime. We’ll be happy to put you up and show you the sites! Maybe after this pandemic is cleared up a bit though…
6. If you could give one piece of advice to current students, what would it be?
Be yourself. Part of this is taking the time to breathe, reflect and find yourself; and the other part is commitment to create yourself into the person you want to be. How do you want to leave the Raikes School? What are your purpose and true passion in life? What do you personally want to accomplish in this world? Don’t be afraid to be unique, be creative, take risks, and dream big along the way!
7. Is there anything else you’d like to share.
I am forever grateful for my experiences at the Raikes School. If there is any way I can help or if you just want to chat, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m always available.
Finally, I want to share a special thank you to all administrators and professors at the Raikes School, especially Dr. David Keck and Lori McClurg, as well as Dr. Jerry Hudgins, Dr. Weixing Li, Dr. Sang M. Lee, and Dr. Laura Damuth for believing in me. I would not be where I am today without your support!