Finding a home in a high-tech world
Three Bradley graduates from different decades are united at one Chicago high-tech firm.
DOUG BREAKER ’98 is president and CEO of HomeFinder.com, and STEPHEN PAGE ’88 is the company’s vice president of operations. MEGAN TOAL ’07 is an associate product manager.
While the company is a well-known Internet real estate search and marketing site, the three have vastly different memories of the technology available at Bradley during their years on campus. Stephen remembers one personal computer serving the 30 residents of Sigma Nu fraternity. For Doug, it was the “dorm of the future” with desktop computers in each room and building a website for his fraternity, Delta Upsilon, his sophomore year. Megan’s time on campus saw the rise of social media such as Facebook, the use of the Blackboard website for assignments and information, plus campuswide wireless access.
“We know that Bradley grooms its graduates into well-rounded employees who not only have technical skills but can communicate well and thrive in a team atmosphere,” Doug said.
Doug lives with his wife Mandy and four children in Wilmette. Stephen, his wife Patty, and a stepson live in Naperville. Megan resides in Chicago.
From childhood friends to college classmates to professional colleagues, the lives of JAKE HUBERMAN ’04 and KATY FERGUSON ’04 have been entwined.
“My intro to mass media class loves Katy,” said Jake, a visiting assistant professor of film and television at the University of La Verne, just east of Los Angeles. He uses Skype to connect his class with his friend, who is digital sales manager at the Peoria Journal Star.
“So far, I have just Skyped with him regarding newspaper/media/online and how it is evolving and changing, and he showed his class and used it as class discussion,” Katy said.
“They’re very interested in learning her perspective on how the Internet is changing the future of newspapers,” Jacob added.
Katy and Jacob grew up as neighbors and playmates, first meeting after the Huberman family moved next door to the Fergusons when the pair was 3 years old.
From that first meeting over crayons to Bradley and beyond, the two have remained close. “I brought Katy to my grade school when I was 10 years old; I wanted her to meet my friends. It’s funny that 20 years later I’m still bringing her to school with me,” Jacob remarked.
Jacob, who also works as a television and film editor, lives with his wife Elena in Los Angeles. Katy lives in Peoria.
– Bob Grimson ’81
Embracing the premise that “good design should do good,” DAVID SMIT, MFA ’12 began his visual communications and design thesis project by looking at the needs in his community. While teaching graphic design classes locally and attending Bradley as a nontraditional student, he realized a need in the Peoria area to link volunteers with organizations. He met with local CEOs, civic leaders, and about 70 charities and nonprofit groups to help him envision the layout for his design.
Noting his research was “a fascinating crossover between visual communication, problem solving, social responsibility, and technology,” he developed Volunteer Heart of Illinois, a Web-based portal to match area organizations with volunteers. Once financing is secured, he hopes to launch the community tool this year.
The system makes the process of volunteering easier by connecting individuals to opportunities based on their interests and schedules. Volunteers can search for opportunities and track their service hours and online giving through the site or with a mobile app for handheld devices. “David pulled off an astounding piece of work,” said Robert Rowe, Bradley professor of graphic design.
An associate professor of graphic design and multimedia at Illinois Central College, David and his wife Stephanie live in Peoria with their three children.
– Karen Crowley Metzinger, MA ’97