JIM BRAZELL ’95 is a technology forecaster, author, public speaker, and consultant focusing on innovation and transformative systems. Since 2008, he has delivered more than 150 speeches, including an October 2009 address to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. He will keynote the National Career Pathway Conference later this year. Jim is a founding board member of the Defense Learning Strategies Consortium and has served on several local and statewide science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) committees and associations. Jim and his wife Lisa Cervantes live in San Antonio with their daughter.
By Abby Rhodes
When ADAM COHEN ’02 met Mark Burk, a homeless man with a dream as big as his life’s problems, he decided others should meet Burk, too.
On January 11, the Golf Channel introduced him with the premiere of Pipe Dream, a reality series that follows the golfer’s pursuit of the PGA Tour. The project is the brainchild of Cohen and his cousin and business partner, Mitch Gettleman.
“We were meeting our friend, a professional golfer, to play golf, but he was late because he had to track down Mark, who was wandering the streets,” said Cohen. “Then, they had to go to a consignment shop to pick up Mark’s clubs because he had sold them to pay for food.”
As they played, Burk, a former golf pro, shared his woeful tale of a breakup with supermodel Beverly Johnson that left him homeless and wrought with legal trouble over accusations of domestic violence, all while hitting every fairway and shooting three over par.
“Afterwards, we approached him and asked if he’d be up for doing a show,” said Cohen, who has worked on several MTV and VH1 reality TV shows and other Hollywood productions.
At Bradley, Cohen learned about lighting, camera operation, storytelling, and editing from broadcast veterans. Every weekend he traveled to Chicago to work on the crew of the sitcom What About Joan, starring Joan Cusack, and the airing of Chicago Bears games for WBBM radio. His classroom and field experience helped Cohen pitch his reality series to production companies.
Visit golfchannel.com/media/pipe-dream-episode-1/ to view clips of Cohen’s show.
Cohen and Gettleman put their written plan in the hands of a producer who was meeting with Golf Channel executives in New York City. “They took a quick look and said, ‘When can we start shooting?’” said Cohen. “We shot the pilot in 10 days, and three weeks into editing the first act, they picked up the whole series.”
It includes 10 episodes that air 10 times a week on Golf Channel. Cohen hopes ratings will allow for another season and a deeper look into Burk’s determined struggle.
“My impression of homelessness has really changed. Especially with the state of the economy now, people could be living next door to you one day and the next day they’re in a shelter,” said Cohen. “It’s a sad story, but an inspirational story that we’re trying to tell about a guy trying to get his life together through golf.”