Falling for Apple

February 19, 2014

Randy Thomas ’85, Advertising Communication and Design - RandyThomasDesign.com

In 1983, I was attending a 4-year university with my eye on a BA degree.  I remember the news channels on television filled with this buzz about the new Apple Computer and how it's going to change the world.  Most people doubted it of course, but I was curious. 

I read as much as I could about it and wanted to know what it was capable of doing.  After weeks of investigation, I concluded that with its word processing capabilities along with its pixel and vector manipulation capabilities, this little Apple computer would be the future of advertising agencies.

With this new trade tool on the horizon and my major in advertising, I went to my college career advisor to talk with him about the new Apple computers. I asked if they were planning on having any for the advertising program next year. 

He said no. 

I was extremely disappointed, so I explored other educational options in Central Minnesota. I discovered a new advertising program at the St. Cloud Technical College. I remember walking into the advertising department and into Bob Brown’s office to introduce myself.  Bob was an instructor for the program at the time, and he had a very pleasant, unpretentious demeanor. I sat down and asked him if they plan to get any of the new Apple computers in the future. He replied, “We already ordered them!” WHAT?!!! I jumped out of my chair. I was ecstatic!

I remember driving over to my mother's house to tell her I was going to quit the four-year college with a big smile on my face. She was reluctant at first, but after I presented the facts, she agreed it would be a wise choice. My goal NOW, was to be one of the first advertising graduates in Minnesota with Apple computer experience. 

I signed up for the advertising program at St. Cloud Technical College. It was a quick and concentrated two-year program with only advertising criteria! No required bowling classes. No required volleyball classes. No more advertising classrooms filled with big white boards, blue pencils, and burning hot wax (for something known as paste up back then)!  Only books with real-world case studies with real world projects -- Oh, and Apple computers!

After graduating, I easily found a job as an Art Director in an advertising agency in St. Cloud. Once I told them I had Apple experience, they hired me on the spot.  A short time later, I quit the agency to start my own company in St. Cloud called, Hatling & Thomas.  After six successful years and five loooong cold winters, I sold the advertising agency to Mr. Bill Hatling and moved to the beautiful beaches of Malibu in Southern California.

Today, I own another very successful advertising agency that I started soon after moving here. A few of my clients are Oakley, Roxy, Quiksilver, Urban Outfitters, Costco, Polo, Guess, Xgames  . . . and the list goes on and on. 

I would not be where I am today without the advertising program at St. Cloud Technical College and  . . . Apple computers.

Kate Wallace
Posted in Alumni