The Print and Graphics Scholarship Foundation is publishing profiles featuring some of their more than 6000 former scholarship recipients. This series gives you an up close and personal insight into the thoughts and motivations of the former students who are a part of our industry today. As our current employees reach retirement and leave, replacing them becomes an increasingly important factor for many companies. Here is one story…

Patrick Blend

Michaletz Zwief Ltd. Mequon, WI

Patrick Blend attended Waukesha County Technical College in Wisconsin, achieving his Associates of Applied Science: Graphic Design in 2008.

A Profile

How did you first get interested in the graphic arts, or decide to focus on graphic communications in school?

Initially, in 8th grade, I wanted to be a Small Arms Engineer, designing weapons. I have always been fascinated with engineering and how things work. My father is a fine artist and was a Production Illustrator, so genetically I am predisposed to visual art. Spending time drawing fighter jets or machine guns in fourth grade using Adobe Illustrator was my first exposure to the tools. I didn’t focus on graphic communications until later in my high school education; I found it to satisfy both my engineering and artistic mind.

Did you take any courses in high school that were related to graphic communications, or that prepared you for your planned career?

I took every graphic design course available at my high school, including an independent study course, which allowed me to create actual communications for the school.

How do you think going through your education process prepared you for the workforce?

Through high school, I was well prepared for the content of college classes and confident in my choice of school. WCTC gave me an incredible understanding of the technical side of design, as well as practical things, like how to actually attain a position somewhere, and professional etiquette. After graduating, working for two years as a temporary production artist or graphic designer gave me actual experience and refined my artistic abilities. Some of my classmates continued their education, but I am happy with the path I took.

In Today’s Workforce

What company are you working for now and what types of products and services do they provide to their customers?

I work for Michaletz Zwief Ltd. in Mequon, Wisconsin, a digital and marketing communications agency. We provide design and marketing services such as websites, presentations, printed collateral, photography, video and more.

What job did you first have with the company when you started, what position do you have now, and/or what else have you done since joining the company?

I was introduced to the company through the talent placement agency I was employed with. Initially I was hired as a production artist/graphic designer. Currently, I am an art director and photographer handling web and print design, as well as being the company’s primary photographer and videographer.

What do you think employers are looking for in today’s workforce and the current industry environment?

I think businesses need employees who are versatile and willing to learn many new things, adding to an ever expanding skillset, as mediums change constantly and technology moves forward. A dedication to continued learning in one form or another, as well as strong work ethic and communication will make a valuable employee.

Is there anything that you have found to be particularly different from what you initially expected, now that you’ve progressed through your work career for a period of time?

You are rarely allowed to be as creative in the workplace as you are in school, so I try to cherish and take advantage of those projects! Also, the truth that a design that is beautiful but does not communicate properly has little to no purpose in marketing communications became more and more self-evident.

Have you changed your plans or ideas about what area or type of job you might like to have since you first considered the graphic communications field and began studying for a career in it?

Not quite. I’ve moved into different mediums, with photography, video and web design making up a large portion of my work now, but very little of what I studied in school. This was adaptation to needs rather than changing my plans and I’ve enjoyed all that I’ve been exposed to and all that I have yet to learn!

What do you see yourself doing a few years from now?

I have no plans to change my current situation, but wherever God leads, I follow.

Was being a recipient of a PGSF scholarship important, or did it have an impact on your future or ability to succeed in the industry?

Absolutely. I did not attend an expensive school, but the scholarship funding I received helped me immensely. My family lost our “kid’s college fund” monies through past difficulties and not having to work for a year or two before attending college was a great start to my career.

Anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you for supporting my education and God bless!

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