Sumner observes while Jadah Albeitz (Greeneview HS) shows him what she's been working on.
Greene County Career Center had the honor of welcoming Ben Sumner, GCCC and Bellbrook High School alumnus, to the career center on May 1. Sumner is a 2006 graduate and moved on to be a successful computer graphics artist on many well-known films, including “Black Swan,” “Captain America,” and “Hillbilly Elegy,” along with long-running series like “Game of Thrones,” “Stranger Things” and “The Walking Dead.”
When Sumner attended the career center from 2004-2006, the program was Digital Media. Since his graduation in 2006, the Digital Media program has been split into two separate categories of Digital Design and Development taught by Mr. Rick Mack; and Video and Animation, taught by Mr. Joe Bargdill, allowing students to pick a more specific digital track.
Sumner credits the Digital Media teacher, Mr. Joel Rose, for encouraging him to focus on 3D artistry and helping him get into Full Sail University, where Sumner received his bachelor of science in Computer Animation.
He also competed at the state-level competition for web development for the Career Technical Student Organization, Business Professionals of America (BPA), during his time at GCCC.
Sumner explained the journey to success takes a lot of hard work and concentration, and not every day is a glamorous one. “As long as you keep your eye on what the final project is, those smaller tasks become easier to tackle. It’s all worth it in the end,” he said.
Sumner spoke with students from these two programs about the industry and his experiences post-graduation. The students were thrilled to be in the presence of a successful artist who was just like them, just a few years ago.
“Whatever gets your blood pumping and gets you excited, do that,” Sumner advised the students. “Don’t get hung up on what anyone else’s idea of success is.”
Sumner now works as a senior digital compositor in Atlanta, working a hybrid schedule. He’s held several positions as he climbed the ranks, including rotoscope artist, computer animation artist, and digital compositor.
He’s worked in many different environments on and off-set but believes the hybrid setting where he can work remotely was among his favorite roles.
This visit was Sumner’s first time in Greene County Career Center’s new building.
“I wish that (facility) had been there when I was going there,” Sumner said. “The modern advanced technology is amazing with the equipment they’ve been able to get. If anything, the people going to that school are overqualified for the jobs they’ll be going out for.”