Alumnus balances job at Lockheed Martin, music career
A musician at heart, Anthony Mickle graduated from UCF in 1998 with a BFA specialization in graphic design. He currently works in the communications and marketing department at Lockheed Martin, where he has earned a reputation as the creative guy. Years after sacrificing his musical passion for a career at Lockheed, he met fellow musicians through the company and found his way back to the stage on the bass for Beemo. The band, which is working on its third album, has performed two shows at the Florida Music Festival and is lined up for a third one.
The Central Florida Future sat down with Mickle for the first installment of a new, recurring series to discuss his contrasting career paths, his experience as an art graduate working in an aerospace company and the key to growing from failure.
What initially brought you to Lockheed Martin?
UCF. There's a certain place where you can post stuff in the art building, like you could either get a new book, or buy somebody's used refrigerator, or find a job posting for Lockheed Martin. Someone actually physically put a flier up there, and we were like what? So we grabbed it, and I actually just answered the ad, along with a bunch of people. I cut my hair, and got all legit, and killed it.
What's some of the most interesting Things you get to do for them?
Well, there's the Science and Tech festival that's going [on] in DC next year, and we sponsor it, so I'm part of the planning committee, which means I get to go to DC and be part of this amazing event. It's a three-day festival with about 350,000 people in attendance. Bill Nye the Science Guy is there, it's like the Mecca for anyone who's a nerd, or a geek, or a science person, and I get to be part of it, so I'm like, "I get to do what?" I work a lot with the advertising agencies, and the marketing communication folks. They call it fun; I call it work.
Did you ever think you would be able to get back into music?
I thought the ship had sailed. I always thought that there was this window of opportunity, and they tell you that in the business, it's like 'hey man, between this age and this age is the only time you can really make it,' and I tried as hard as I could, and it just got to the point where it didn't take off. But I've always loved music, so then there came a time when I started having this itch like something was missing, and that's really what it was. I was really missing music. But never in a million years did I think that I would meet a bunch of guys that I love, and now I'm sitting in a recording studio again. So it's really awesome, and it's all about timing – I found the right mix, the right guys, and I never thought I'd be able to do it again.
What's it like working with a bunch of engineers?
I do the best of both worlds. I'm doing all of the artwork and the design, but I also understand these products. I can read the charts, I understand the industry, and I do that by immersing myself in it. Again, I'm an art guy, I don't know a lot about engineering, but I have to know what they're talking about. When you're in a room with a bunch of engineers who know exactly what they're talking about and you're the dork with the art degree, you have to be able to stand your ground. I understand weird concepts so I speak their language, but I can translate it in a creative way. They have electrical engineering degrees, and I have art.
What's one of the biggest lessons you learned at UCF?
You have to wait for your shot. I used to be totally afraid of failure, and then I realized that every time I failed at something, I actually learned more from it. I know that sounds completely odd, but I figured out what not to do, so you just have to not be so hard on yourself. You have to let things gel and take shape, and do the things that it takes to be a catalyst for that, but understand that not everything is in your power to change.
Daniela Marin is the Entertainment Editor for the Central Florida Future.