Ok where to start? I guess you could say communications is in the blood literally. My great aunt (Jackie Martin) was a famous photographer who was the first official photographer of the U.S. Women’s Army Corps, first woman to be elected to the White House Photographers Association, first woman art and photographic editor for the Washington Herald (William Randolph Hearst) and later was the director of photo operations of the Marshall Plan.
My grandfather (Phillip Martin) was an Emmy award winning producer/director for Paramount Pictures during the heyday of Hollywood, before opening his own studios on the east coast. My mother who I will get to later has told me many stories about growing up in Hollywood. My favorite one is the times when my grandfather would have meetings with studio management famous people would baby-sit my mom. The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger) and The Tin Man (Jack Haley) from the original Wizard of Oz would sing and dance with her.
My uncle (Philip Martin, Jr.) taught photography and video production at the local community college. He is also a great photographer in his own right. Between him and my mother they have had the biggest influence on my love of the media, especially video production and photography which a lot of the time go hand in hand.
The next to last in the photography/media bloodline is my mother. She was an Assistant Press Secretary for Mrs. Nixon while in the White House and then Deputy Press Secretary for the Department of Energy.
Ok. Enough bragging about my mother’s side of the family. I just wanted to show you that it really is in the blood and wouldn’t imagine myself in any other business than the one I am in now. I also happen to find it ironic or somewhat in my destiny that my wife is originally from Rochester, NY which happens to be the birthplace of modern photography (Eastman Kodak). I love my job and make a decent living doing it. It wasn’t always easy though. I paid my dues working at a TV station for two years. The only people that make money there are the on-air “talent” and the upper management, but that is a whole other story that I will not get into.
Not to be outdone by my creative side is the hardworking blue collar side of the family. My grandparents raised my father in the factory town of Marion, OH where my grandfather was a construction worker and my grandmother was the manager at the local G.C. Murphy store. I remember her taking us there for cake or pie as well as showing us the behind the scenes part of the store like where the box boys would break down shipping containers from suppliers and distributors. Like my mom some of my favorite stories of my dad as a kid in a small town in the “Midwest” (sorry growing up on the East Coast everybody thinks the Midwest should be anything West of Indiana and East of Utah) is of how best he could get in trouble with his cousin. My two favorite are; stacking and lighting a pile of old wooden Coca-Cola crates in the middle of the fire station bay to see how fast they would respond and almost getting sucked under while being in the middle of two oncoming trains going in opposite directions. It reminds me of simpler times and movies like Stand By Me and A Christmas Story. My dad has said I was born in the wrong era because of this and my love of all things 1950s. Anyway, to keep from digressing anymore my grandparents and my father, who was a high school social studies teacher, taught me the value of hard work and continuing education. Even as I type I am constantly striving to learn new things and work hard to achieve my immediate and long term goals. I believe continuing education is always important no matter how old you are or where you are in your career field. Knowledge truly is power.
So with this great foundation and support system I feel I had an idyllic childhood. Even with the sibling rivalry that was my younger sister Cameron. While we had our typical moments it wasn’t until much later in life that my dad told me that she looked up to me that my perspective on our relationship changed. Here she was the smart one getting her PhD from the Royal Veterinary College in England and she looked up to me. The best part of all of this is as adults we have become much closer not to mention that she has moved nearby and is a Veterinarian in Cincinnati, OH. She loves it when you call her doctor ala Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd in Spies Like Us.
My first memories of my childhood really revolve around starting soccer in the first grade. I just remember myself or thought of myself as very scrappy. I just remember if a kid on the opposite team would go by me and in the process I would get knocked down that I was determined to get right back up and get the ball back. A few years later my parents started getting my involved in Tiger Cubs, Webelos and eventually Boy Scouts. The great part about both of these activities is that they continued from my early childhood into my high school years. I miss having the time to go camping or play soccer competitively, but I look forward to passing it on to my kids. I also miss creative writing which was something else that my parents encouraged at an early age. I have always felt that it has been a great outlet and very therapeutic to get ideas on paper as they make great stories for entertainment. Creative writing is probably what got me interested in the arts because it was another medium to express those ideas.
High school was kind of a blur. I was the teacher’s kid and in some ways I felt that was already a strike against me. I had to be on my best behavior and even though I skated through with the exception of math I considered myself on the outer fringes of the popular crowd which would sometimes clash with what my parents thought I should be doing. I am sure being part of the AV crowd, playing soccer and not football, etc. didn’t help my coolness factor, but overall our class (with teacher approval) was one of the more cohesive, inclusive and diverse classes to come along in some time. Some may say a product of the environment. Not that it mattered all that much because I was happy and looking back on it now that was and is the norm for immature kids who are struggling to fit in and find themselves. It was the select few who knew who they were and what they wanted. During this time my parents were very protective and my sister and I were somewhat sheltered. Obviously as teenagers we were also treated differently in that my dad was more willing to let me try knew things that weren’t necessarily safe and my mom would have said no to, but he wanted me to experience it for myself without outside interference in order for me to draw my own conclusions. Where he was more protective of my sister, Cammie. The funny thing is no matter how hard most of us try it can be compared to the current social aspects of the workplace, but I think that has more to do with level of education completed than anything else. I am older now, but I still tend to regress every once and awhile in order to remember when. My wife says she has three kids and not two. The only thing I was sure of in high school was my career path and not much else.
After graduating high school I went to Ohio University (partly because my uncle went there for video production and I really liked the campus) where I met my future wife and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Communications in 1998. As a freshman I had to grow up really fast after the realization that my parents left and were not coming back. While they did try to prepare me as much as possible nothing my parents did could have prepared me for this chapter in my life. There was a lot more responsibility and I wasn’t nervous or scared, but rather focused on the tasks at hand. Once I became adapted to college early on I sort of lapsed into not taking my class work seriously. For the most part I got good grades, but other things like alcohol and girls seemed to be more appealing. I think it was within the first month I had helped take an old couch off of somebody’s porch and throw it into a nearby bonfire at a block party. After getting to know some of my hall mates (many of whom would later become fraternity brothers) formed a soccer team I broke my shin bone and had to wear a full leg cast for six months. It was definitely a test of will power and determination to keep going. When my leg finally healed it was winter break and so when it came time to go back I was more excited because I knew what to expect without the stress of crutches.
The summer came and I got an internship working for C-SPAN. I got up everyday around 4:30 am and got to the metro by the time the lines began to run. Of all the times that I had been to DC the most interesting time is 6 am when the streets and buildings are empty. Here I was getting off the Penn Station elevator in the most powerful city in the world and it was empty. The sun was just starting to come up over the Capital building and I felt like the world was mine. It was a great experience because I met some very powerful lawmakers working on Washington Journal and then doing remote work in the various senate buildings, but I was most impressed by the founder of C-SPAN, Brian Lamb. He is very down to earth when he wasn’t busy. He is a big fan of reading historical/political themed books and that was one of the reasons he started BookTV. My dad and Brian were my biggest influences with regards to reading books that interested me. I have recently taken up reading books again as a result of my graduate coursework in 2007.
My sophomore year is the year I met my future wife, Rebecca. It was an unlikely meeting and at first she wasn’t interested, but I was persistent. After she warmed to me through a couple of dates we hit it off. She was in the aviation program trying to earn her pilot’s license. Between Becky and being a member of a fraternity I had little time for school. It wasn’t until my senior year that I really got serious about my school work.
After graduating I got a job at the local ABC/FOX affiliate in Columbus, OH while waiting for Becky to graduate her senior year and start her job over at NetJets. After living with cousins for a few months we decided to get our own apartment. Two years went by and I was tired of working 35 hrs. a week and being considered part time with no health insurance. While I loved working at the station I didn’t care for the hours, pay or benefits especially when Becky and I got married and wanted to start a family. I started my search and landed a job as a contract photographer for the USDOT/NHTSA. A few months later we moved out of our apartment and into our current home. Not long after we had our first baby girl, Morgan. A couple years into the new job I took advantage of the benefits plan and decided to go to graduate school and earn my Masters of Business Administration from Franklin University.
Now that I have graduated I am looking for new challenges in my career, spending time with my family and getting back to the things that I miss most like; traveling, book reading, camping, photography, web design, soccer/fitness. My wife Rebecca (Becky) is my biggest supporter in all my endeavors. She is good at keeping me on my toes as well as keeping me grounded. She is also the best mom to our two little monsters. Morgan is our oldest. She has a sensitive and creative type personality. Usually those personality types are shy, but Morgan is far from it. She has the gift of gab and surprises us everyday with her new found vocabulary. However, not to discount our youngest, Teagan is our wild child. She is smart as a whip and ornery to boot and she knows it. She knows she is being naughty and even throws in a laugh and giggle to let you know simply that she can. I just know with two girls I will have my work cut out for me. I have enough trouble with one woman….and people wonder about the statistic of women living longer than men.
So that is my story and I have the people mentioned above to thank for it. There have and will be bumps along the road, but thanks to my family’s contributions in a wide variety of areas it makes it possible to overcome those challenges through perseverance and determination. Where do I go from here? I hope to continue to do what I love while giving back to family, friends and community.
Thanks for reading.
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