(WACO, Texas) – An associate degree from Texas State Technical College has opened many doors for Mark Rockwell.
Rockwell graduated in 2007 with a degree in Advertising Design, now Visual Communication Technology, and since then has overseen designs for a professional athlete, a celebrity chef, and a company featured on “Shark Tank.”
“I was a kid looking for guidance when I was thinking about my future. Now I am living in Boston, where they take their higher education seriously,” Rockwell said. “I have a two-year degree, and TSTC set me up for all the success I have had over the years.”
Rockwell’s journey did not start immediately after high school. He admitted he was not sure what he wanted to do with his life. But a trip to TSTC’s Waco campus with a friend led him to instructor Michael Lewis.
“I peeked into the multimedia building and saw a few classes. I really liked what they were doing, so I decided to enroll,” he said.
Rockwell started with very little design experience but enjoyed Lewis’ teaching style, and they quickly connected.
“Mr. Lewis could identify students who were serious about the class. He would spend more time and attention on them to help foster their development,” Rockwell said. “I was able to form a bond with Mr. Lewis that I still appreciate today.”
Lewis saw potential in Rockwell, calling him one of his most promising graduates.
“I always expected him to achieve a lot of success in our industry because of his passion for design and his high level of skill sets developed while in our program,” Lewis said. “He demonstrated strong leadership skills through the graphic design club student organization. He displayed innovative and creative design skills in his coursework and participation in state and national competitions.”
Rockwell has designed work for former New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman and Food Network host Guy Fieri.
“People tell me that I graduated from TSTC and designed stuff for Guy Fieri. They say that is really cool,” Rockwell said. “For me, designing things for them was a huge source of pride.”
After working with Edelman’s company, Rockwell was approached by Fieri’s manager.
“I was asked to work with his manager and Guy’s ideas to try to flesh them out. I was able to add what I thought was best for his brand as well,” Rockwell said.
Today Rockwell is helping with efforts to promote the Rocketbook Smart Notebook. The product was featured in a 2017 episode of “Shark Tank” but did not receive an offer.
“I am working to help Rocketbook get to the next step of their growth,” Rockwell said. “I also manage a few other aspects of the company’s creative work.”
Lewis is not surprised at Rockwell’s success.
“It comes as no surprise to me that he would excel professionally,” Lewis said. “Along with that, Mr. Rockwell has been a very hardworking, cooperative and caring person who is able to work with anyone.”
Rockwell said his time at TSTC provided him with a career that has led to work he did not dream of while in high school.
“TSTC prepared me for each project I have worked on. The skills I developed at TSTC gave me the drive to get my clients,” he said.
For more information, visit tstc.edu.