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Entertainment Technology Director Hired

6/27/2014 10:20:37 a.m. - Hobbs, NM. Story courtesy of Hobbs News Sun

A new program and new professor will soon join the New Mexico Junior College curriculum and staff.

The NMJC board approved to hire Gregory O’Brien of Ohio as the new director/professor for the college’s new entertainment technology program. O’Brien was hired at a salary for $74,902.

“The selection committee has worked diligently for the past several months and we are very excited,” Jeff McCool, NMJC dean of training and outreach, said. “O’Brien has a masters of science and music technology and (has) more than 33 years of applicable experience.”

Last May, NMJC began to advertise for its first ever professor of entertainment technology.   The board also approved earlier in the year to add the entertainment technology program to the school’s budget.

NMJC President Steve McCleery said he wanted the right person for the job before moving forward with the program.

“We’ve been studying this program for about four years,” he said. “About a year ago (the board) approved a position and the budget to start (it). The requisite experience is, Are you still entertaining and are you in the light and sound business?’ For this program to work that person has to demonstrate that they are still doing that. They’ve got to take that and translate it into the business and industry side of it so that we know the experience our students are getting.”

McCleery said he is pleased with hiring O’Brien and is ready to get the program going.

“We do think Gregory O’Brien is the full package,” he said. “He still entertains. He’s an electrical engineer and he’s been working in business and industry and he understands contracts and contract writers. He understands how to deliver lighting and sound. We finally feel that he is the complete package.”

The entertainment technology program is not expected to be offered by NMJC until the spring 2015 semester, McCleery said.

“It’s almost fully ready to go,” he said. “We have to remodel some facilities. We’ve got the right person (O’Brien) to come in and get all the construction done and get all the curriculum finalized and then start recruiting students. In the spring semester we should see some advertising and some marketing.”

The entertainment technology program will include five degree tracks:

   Entertainment business, which focuses on writing contracts.  

   Performance, which focuses on signing and writing music.

   Production, which focuses on producing an album

   Sound technology, which focuses on the sound side of concerts and performances.

   Lighting technology, which focuses on lighting and production for live events including concerts, church services, conventions and other events.

McCleery said the program will be as competitive to get in as NMJC’s nursing program.

“You kind of have to prove yourself up to it,” he said. “You got to have a little bit of a background. It’s going to be a limited enrollment program. The first (class) is going to be no more than 15 students. It’s about getting 15 students in who can be successful.”

The college is also partnering with the Lea County Event Center, which will give student hands-on experience producing concerts and other live events.

“The county has been wonderful for allowing us to partner with them to allow us to teach some of those classes at the Event Center,” McCleery said.

Diane Marquez - Hobbs News-Sun

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