Featured Alumni: Bryan Minear 09

Bryan Minear 09


Bryan MinearCurrently finishing up his role as a Senior Designer for Vanguard World US, Bryan Minear, a 2009 graduate from Rio, is also transitioning to a new full time Art Director job.

Before Vanguard, Minear worked four years at Fathead in Detroit, Michigan as a product designer. He worked on properties such as Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Disney which he says ‘was extremely awesome’.

In his spare time, Minear is a professional landscape and commercial photographer who travels as much as he possibly can. He also is a husband, and father to a 2.5 year old boy who keeps him extremely busy when he is not working. Minear says he is doing his absolute best to turn his son into a creative and Star Wars nerd just like dad.

1.     Tell us about life after Rio.

Life after Rio consisted of a lot of travel and freelancing. All in all, just figuring out exactly what I wanted to do in life. Fun fact: I didn’t work a “normal” 9-5 job until 2011 (2 years after graduation).

2.     List some of your awards, achievements, honors you would like to highlight

As a photographer, I have worked for clients such as Budweiser, GMC, and OnStar for various campaigns. I am also an Official Fujifilm X Photographer, which is fancy-speak for brand ambassador. I get to travel the country teaching workshops, leading events, and speaking on photography, which is honestly a dream-come-true for me. I always fancied myself something of a teacher, but never liked the idea of being stuck in a classroom.

3.     What made you choose to pursue a college education at Rio Grande?

My Art teacher in high school was a Rio grad and told me about a newly added graphic design program that seemed like a proper fit for me. Up to that point, I had no idea what I wanted to do, and further, no real idea what design even was. But I loved computers and technology and it seemed like the perfect intersection of art and tech which is exactly where I wanted to be.

4.     How were you involved on Rio’s campus?

I was a commuter student all 4 years so I was never as involved as I would have liked to have been. I worked a part-time job back home in Meigs County. But I did shoot photos of the campus that the book store used for promotion.

5.     What did Rio offer you besides an education?

I met so many amazing people while at Rio. Between friends in the program to the professors who single-handedly set me on the career path that has unfolded over the past 10 years, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect experience.

6.     What are some of your favorite Rio memories?

So many to count. If I had to pick, I got to take 2 different trips to New York City between my Junior and Senior year and we were encouraged to be independent and find our own way while in town. We always had the opportunity to piggyback on a master plan but it was really those moments when we were out on our own that I feel jumpstarted my confidence to be more than the timid guy from rural Ohio.

7.     Was there any teacher, advisor, coach, etc. that made an impact on your life? How?

I was lucky in that every professor that I had in the Art department impacted me in huge ways. Kevin Lyles was amazing at unlocking the creative potential that you never knew you had. James Allen helped me to gain the technical knowledge of cameras and the darkroom that ignited my lover-affair with photography. And Benjy Davies encouraged me to create a brand and freelancing business that became the building blocks of what my entire career is based on. Every one of them was instrumental in me becoming the versatile creative that I am today.

8.     What did you learn about yourself during college?

Apart from above, I learned that I was really capable of anything that I wanted to do. My parents were always great about telling me that. Realizing that I was the only thing that could possibly get in my way set me on a course of not allowing mediocrity to define anything about what I do.

9.     How did Rio prepare you for your career?

All of my professors were very successful in their own right, and I think that gave me a great model to work toward. Obviously, it’s tough sometimes to look at a well-rounded curriculum and not wonder why you can’t just take the classes that only pertain to your major. But looking back, it gave me so many great opportunities to meet people outside of the art department as well as hear different perspectives across the campus. From my sign language elective, to astronomy and even a guitar course I got to learn from so many unique points of view.

10.  Why are you proud to be a Rio Alumna/Alumnus?

I am proud because I am proud of my own origin story. Being from Nowheresville, Ohio is something I take great pride in. I love that my college career can be explained in the same way. A small school in an even smaller town set me on the course to do big things.

11.  Do you have any advice for current students?

Always ask questions and learn from everyone around you. Whether you are in the art realm or not, if there is one thing I have learned over the course of my career is that you can learn from everyone. No one has the same story and gaining knowledge and perspective is something that can only make you a better person and professional. Don’t ever be afraid of looking stupid because failure is the quickest way to learn and get better.

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