Notable Alumni

Notable alumni of Parkland College.  We consider anyone who completed a degree, started an educational journey, or earned job skills through Parkland, a proud alumnus!

Gary Piper

Graphic design

Associate in Applied Science

Graphic Design


Hometown: Jerseyville IL
Graduated: 2002
Currently working at: DEXIS, Gendex and i-CAT brands at Danaher Corporation (Wood Dale IL)

How does it feel to be a professional designer: While I didn't end up an architect like I had planned, I couldn't be happier. I love the flexibility this profession provides…in creativity, in the range of projects, and the various elements of those projects. I get to develop overall concepts, write copy, direct photo and video shoots, oversee website and iPad app projects, look at paper samples and printing techniques, go on press checks, research promotional products, develop the look of product launch parties, and so much more. Each day is completely different for me, which is great thing to fend off any sort of boredom. Plus, it's much easier to freelance as a graphic design professional than an architect!

How did you get this job: Oddly enough, it was from a diamond in the rough Craigslist post from a recruiter who had no idea how to source creative talent. I was working on the ad agency side and had a fair amount of their dental clients in my portfolio. After replying to the ad with my resumé and portfolio link, my cell phone rang not more than 15 minutes later—too good to be true, right? I had a couple phone interviews and an iChat interview with my soon-to-be boss located in Germany, and quickly started my stint as the Graphic Designer for the Gendex brand. Now I've assumed the responsibility of all 3 dental imaging brands and oversee a team of designers.

How do you like your job: I had reservations about leaving the ad agency side and moving to the corporate world, but I think it's been the best career move I've made. Working for an in-house marketing department gives you a full range of projects and the ability to see everything through from concept to production. I love the very passionate team I'm a part of and I never knew how interesting dental imaging could be (I know more about teeth than I ever really cared to learn).

What is the most exciting project you've worked on since graduation: The "Experience Gendex" North American Dental Imaging Tour is by far the most exciting, intensive and gratifying project I have ever been a part of. From helping direct the initial interior design of the motorcoach, designing the exterior graphics, fighting for the money to get the cool blue LED lights on the undercarriage, several trips to Columbus to oversee the construction, directing the photo and videoshoots, creating flash mob and theme song, to planning a big launch party for our dealer partner to reveal the tricked out motorcoach at their sales meeting…it consumed a large chunk of my life, but the reward of seeing it come to fruition made it worth every minute.

What were some of the most important things you learned while at Parkland: I strongly believe that the Parkland program provides the key tools to make you a well-rounded, fast and accurate designer. It's not just about the creativity and concepting. To be a valuable designer to your company, you need to be able to work efficiently with great attention to detail. All of those keyboard shortcut quizzes, learning the proper way to setup files, and how to use the software applications may all seem like a waste of time, but they are not! These are the skills that will set you apart from so many other designers. Trust me, I've had to break so many bad habits of those who were left to just "figure it out on their own."

What do you wish you would have done differently while at Parkland: While I did pair together a web design certificate with my graphic design degree, I really wish I would have done something in multimedia. I find that more and more of our projects require some video component to get our messaging across and a background in video production or editing would have been very beneficial.

What is your favorite typeface and why: Pretty much anything that is clean, simple and modern. My latest favorite has been Miedinger, but I won't discriminate against the others.

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