FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2009
Pierce College will celebrate the accomplishments of four former students at the annual Distinguished Alumni Banquet at 6 p.m. April 7 at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, 9401 Farwest Drive SW, Lakewood.
Honorees this year are:
• Bill Boyer, owner of Mokulele Airlines and inventor of the digEplayer, an in-flight entertainment system used by airlines throughout the world.
Boyer is a 1986 graduate of Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, who developed the digEplayer while working as a baggage handler for Alaska Airlines in 2001. He sold the device in 2003 and two years later bought Mokulele Airlines, which operates inter-island and tour flights primarily among Hawaii’s smaller airports. Boyer is currently working on his autobiography, “From Baggage Handler to Millionaire.” He said of Pierce College, “That’s where I began to develop the discipline and direction to focus on my goals and objectives.”
• Armando Mejia, Army veteran and director of military outreach for the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound.
While stationed in Iraq in 2004, Mejia was seriously injured when the Humvee he was riding in exploded. He was sent to Fort Lewis to recover and, while there, enrolled in Pierce College courses on post. He earned an associate’s degree at Pierce and used it to transfer to the University of Washington-Tacoma, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in social work. He finds his work at the Boys and Girls Clubs rewarding and his tenacity and bravery is inspiring for the young people there.
• Dan Gaul, chief technology officer for Lake Oswego, Ore.-based Digitaltrends.com, an online technology magazine with more than 2 million monthly visitors.
Gaul, a 1995 graduate of Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, and business partner Ian Bell started Digitaltrends.com five years ago while each held other day jobs. Their “just for fun” project grew into a successful company, which now boasts nine fulltime employees and 15 contract workers. The site features reviews, commentaries, and video profiles of consumer electronics products, as well as looks at upcoming trends in the electronics industry.
• Todd Perry, an award-winning visual effects artist and technical director in Hollywood with a resume of more than 55 films.
Perry began taking cartooning and other continuing education classes at Pierce as a teenager in 1986. Though he earned just 15 credits total at Pierce, the education came at the right time to inspire Perry to continue working towards his dream of “making magic in Hollywood.” He has since helped create the visual effects for such blockbusters as “Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” and “The Kite Runner,” for which he was nominated for the 2008 Visual Effects Society Award for Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Motion Picture. Perry earned an Emmy Award in 2006 for “The Triangle,” a three-part movie about the Bermuda Triangle produced for the SciFi television channel.
For more information or for tickets to the event, contact Ruth Ann Hatchett via phone at (253) 864-3261 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.