Monday, June 22, 2015

Re-Visit: Rock On!!!

This was originally posted in May, 2012..

Have you ever been to a rock concert? Wondered what it took to make that happen?

Here are some of the steps involved:

First, you need an artist-single or a group. Then, you need a venue.

A venue (VEN-yew)-is what they call the place where the concert will take place. It can be indoors or outdoors. Concerts take place in arenas, concert halls, civic centers, armories (usually used for training people in the military), town halls, open air parks that have band shells, large fields, anywhere there is enough room for the audience and a place for the artist to have his or her performing space.

                             Imagine all the work it would take to fill this arena!

Each venue will have its own ways of pricing (how much it costs to use the venue), insurance (they have to be insured against things like theft, people getting injured, or equipment causing damage); parking; ticketing; security (they need to be sure it's as safe as possible-this could be provided by a local security company or by the artist's security people. They will need to know where the artist will get dressed and enter the stage and be sure no one can get too close to the artist). Each venue has its own way of selling food at events, and it's up to the venue who handles the profits from that.

Someone will also need to check into local ordinance, that is, laws the community has about getting permits to have the concert and whether the area is zoned for such an event.

Then there is the matter of transporting the artist to the venue: if he or she arrived by plane, there needs to be transportation to and from the airport and/or hotel where the person stays; Typically, the tour will include one or more buses or trucks carrying equipment. There has to be space to park them and security to be sure no one can get close to them.

Other people needed to put on a concert include:
  • People who put up and tear down the set or sets used by the artist, such as a stage, design elements, backgrounds;
  • People who set up lighting, including spotlights and any light shows or laser shows;
  • Someone to operate unique stage elements such as elevator-type platforms or fog machines;
  • If the venue has a Jumbotron screen for people to see the concert better, that has to be coordinated and checked to be sure it's working properly;
  • The sound system(s) have to be assembled and tested;
  • Amplifiers for the instruments and singer(s) have to be set up and tested;
  • Microphones for instruments and singer(s) have to be set up and tested;
  • Any other kinds of special effects such as pyrotechnics (fireworks) will mean that permits have to be obtained, the pyrotechnics have to be set up, and it must be assured they are safe;
  • A stage manager to keep the concert running smoothly and to have all parts coordinated.
                                                  A sound technician

What kind of degree would help someone get a job with an artist making concerts happen?

If you have a degree in Marketing, you could be a concert promoter. This person 'markets,' or sells, the artist and the concert. In other words, this is someone who tries to get the most people to know about the concert and buy tickets. To do this, he or she could check out venues, put ads in papers about the concert, do promotions on local radio stations that typically have fans of that artist listening; there could be free ticket giveaways, interviews, and online information posted about the concert, such as on Facebook, Myspace, or Twitter. You could also be involved in having souvenirs made that would be sold at the concert: T-shirts, key chains, pictures, books, etc. The artist receives a small percentage of money made on those items. As a promoter, you need to be able to make many connections with other people and 'sell' them on the idea of the concert.

Other careers with concert tours:

A degree in Accounting can be used to help manage the finances of the artist; you might obtain a degree in Interior Design to be a Set Designer; a degree in Costume Design for costumes; or possibly a degree in Criminal Justice to be part of the artist's security crew. Associate Degrees are available in Audio Production (sound) or Sound Technician; Lighting Technician; Computer Technician to handle the computer-driven special effects; Carpenter; or Electrician.

If you like to travel, meet new people all the time, and have a keen interest in any of the mentioned parts of producing a concert, you might want to check out a career working behind the scenes with a touring artist.


Monday, June 15, 2015

A Re-Visit: You Belong In The Zoo

Originally posted in December 2012, now it's updated:

Have you ever thought about working at a zoo??

The obvious career at the zoo would be a veterinarian, one who specializes in zoo animals. Sometimes a zoo vet will further specialize, working with reptiles, large cats, raptors, swimming mammals, the equine family (horses and their relatives), or animals particular to a certain environment. Vet Technicians are always needed to assist these veterinarians, as well.

There are a lot of other roles to be played in a zoo. Here is a list of some of them:

Animal curator-this is someone who keeps track of the collections in a zoo; so this person might be a curator of mammals, reptiles, aquatic animals, birds, etc.

Curator of Education-Zoos usually have educational programs for students of various ages, who can come and visit and learn about animals in an 'up close and personal' way.
Curator of Exhibits-This person helps to create the exhibits in such a way that is healthy for the animals but still allows the public to view them safely.


Conservation Biologist or Zoologist-These are scientists and biologists who assist in the management of the collection, and who also do research and concentrate on the conservation of wildlife (being aware of endangered species).


Zoo Keepers-these are the people responsible for the day to day care of the animals, including making sure each environment is kept clean, noting when an animal needs veterinary care, and also managing the food for the animals.
                             Managing food at the London Zoo. Notice the 'wall' of bananas
                                   Also interesting, he is wearing a chef's shirt just the same as if he was cooking for people.

Registrar-This person tracks the collection and keeps an 'inventory' of every animal in the zoo.

Director and Assistant Director-These are the people responsible for the management of the whole zoo.

Directors of Research-Research is needed on which animals to obtain and what kind of environment they need.

Docents-These are people who volunteer to share their knowledge of animals with zoo visitors.

Personnel and Volunteer Coordinators-These people manage the people who work and volunteer at the zoo.

Operations-Maintenance-People are needed to keep the zoo running, which includes the power grids, utilities, landscaping for the grounds, keeping the buildings in working order, repairing broken fencing, and replenishing supplies, and the task of keeping the zoo clean is never-ending.

Special Events Manager-When the zoo hosts a special event, such as 'Zoo Boo' at Como Park Zoo, this person would be in charge of the event and would make sure it happens successfully.

Gift Shop Manager-Most zoos have gift shops and need people to run them.

As with any business, there would be a need for Public Relations and Marketing; Fund-raising; Accounting and Chief Financial Officer; Membership Managers; and records management.

Here are some websites about zoos and aquariums:  Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Inernational Exotic Animal Sanctuary

The Minnesota Zoo:

Como Zoo:

If you love the zoo, think about one of these careers....When someone asks about your job, you can honestly say you work with monkeys and rhinos!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Whatever Floats Your Drone

What do you know about drones?? Lately, we hear about how Amazon is experimenting with delivering packages using drones, but I learned some other interesting stuff about them.

Delivery drones are programmed to arrive at an address, drop off the package, then return to the company headquarters.

Drones are also called UAV, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. They can be operated two ways, by an onboard computer or by a person with a remote controller. When multiple drones are being used, there may be a control station with several operators.

Drones can be controlled from a remote location using IOS or Android devices.

A little drone history:
  • The idea of sending bombs off unmanned is known to have happened in the 1800s, in the form of balloons with missiles in them that were then floated by Austria to attack Venice.
  • The Nazis in World War 2 had a V-1 flying bomb that was 'autonomously powered,' meaning it was programmed to go and drop where they wanted it
  • In the 1970s, drones were used in Viet Nam.  
  • Drones are currently being used to observe the terrorist group ISIS:

What do they look like?

Drones have lots of different configurations. Some of them look just like miniature airplanes or helicopters.  Most drones have fixed wings (they don't move). Some drones don't look like aircraft at all.
This one is used for aerial photography

This was is used for surveillance, or watching

This one has missiles attached: it's used to drop a bomb on a remote target.

                                                   Here's an Army drone.

There are drones that can last up to 80 hours or longer.

The obvious advantage of using drones is, it's cheaper to fly a small object with no pilot, and it can be sent into dangerous places or vast open areas or remote areas. On the rare occasion a drone is lost, it isn't nearly as expensive and there won't be loss of lives.

What can they be used for, besides delivering that box of video games and truffles from a store??

  •  Surveying crops to see how things are growing and where the problem areas are

  • Crop spraying (for weed and pest control)
  • Inspecting power lines and pipelines
  • Homeland Security can use them to help patrol our borders

                           This is a command center for drones run by the Border Patrol.

  • Counting wildlife (how many wolves are in a particular area for example)
  • Keeping track of livestock on a large farm
  • Catching illegal hunters
  • Construction: When the building is large, a drone can go up above and see if everything is on target
  • Delivering supplies to remote areas, esp. medical supplies and food
  • Tracking forest fires
  • Search and Rescue: A drone can cover hundreds of miles, taking photos or video as it goes
  • Crowd control. Drones can be fitted with cameras to see who the offenders are, and with pepper spray dispensers so that officers don't have to try to be in 10 places at once. This can help when a situation might get out of hand.

  • Entertainment: Taking video of a skier coming down a mountain, for example; photographing and filming where it would be very hard to get to otherwise
  • Facebook will try to use drones to get internet service to remote areas: Read about it here:
  • Sports videos; for example, sky divers, people diving off high cliffs into the water, etc.
  • Animal Rights activists can have a drone take pictures of a place where animals are abused
  • A drone can help monitor archeological dig sites to be sure no one is looting the area
  • They can be used to patrol over the ocean, which is so vast it is impossible to monitor every storm and every situation.

Here's an article about Amazon's plans to use drones to deliver products:
Destruction in Nepal (no sound)

Cool one: This is kind of an advertisement at the end, but it shows how drones can be constructed.

Drone flying over Minneapolis (Must have been a drone taking film of a drone???)

And over Duluth:

Designing drones takes design, engineering, math, and computer programming skills. You'd also need to understand the weather: wind currents, temperature changes, how storms would affect a drone you design, as well as geography. Flying drones into some states and certainly to foreign countries is regulated and sometimes not allowed.

Do you think drone design and usage is something you're into?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Getting Down to Business

What if you wanted to start your own business?

Do you think young people can't be successful at business? They can. Here are some examples:

This girl's father trims and services surfboards. She thought, all the material that's thrown out could be made into jewelry. The result:


This 11 year old young man didn't like the selection of bow ties he found, so he started his own business making and selling them; He has earned more than $30,000 and his ties sell on Etsy, at boutiques, and at Neiman-Marcus stores.

This young lady received many compliments on her hair, and she realized at age 9 that she could sell the homemade products she had been using:


Ever played a game called Elementeo? This young man invented it when he was 12.


These kids, ages 11 and 12,  wanted to earn money to buy toys and things. Their parents responded: Why don't you make your own money? Result: Sno-Kone truck--and they are the youngest food truck owners in their state:


Nobody can resist cupcakes, as this 8 year old will tell you:

Many of these young people are also giving part of their profits to various charities.

Which college degrees would help if you wanted to start your own business?

The obvious is Business Administration... But what other degrees may apply?

Who do you want to sell to? How will you sell your product or service? How would you know what the charge?
  • Marketing

What will your logo look like?

  • Graphic Design, Computer Graphics, Art - these majors are probably more useful if you specialize, i.e., have a goal of designing awesome logos

Where will you sell it? Most companies sell online. If you sell food, where would you prepare it? In the case of the sno-cone kids, they got a truck to take their business wherever they wanted. Would you need a 'store front'? Or would you sell only online?
  • Computer Programming
  • Website Design
  • Property Management
  • Public Relations
  • Communications
You might also want to study International Relations if you plan to sell world-wide or if you plan to use some of your profits to help others in developing countries

Who will manage your money? Will you have employees? What will people be paid?
  • Accounting
  • Business Law
  • Tax Law

Keep in mind also: What will happen if you either want or need some time off? Who will step in for you? Are you comfortable 'delegating'?

How will you help the business grow? Will you plan to add more products or services, or change what you offer?

Consider being an entrepreneur, whether now or once you finish college. You may find a product or service you thoroughly enjoy promoting and make money (perhaps for college tuition??) doing something you love.