From Corvettes to country music to making campuses safer, Eric Irish continues to impress. I’d like to think I taught him everything he knows, but….well…. that would be delusional. So, let’s meet this accomplished former student….
What do you do for work?
I run a business called CampusSafe (campussafeapp.com). We produce a mobile security app that we brand for colleges, universities and grade schools. My title is CEO & Founder, but it’s pretty superfluous at this point. I work from home, so right now my day-to-day consists of a range of tasks. I’ll select a city, research all of the colleges in the area, create a custom mockup of what CampusSafe would look like at their college, and email it out to basically everyone I can find. Since the sales cycle in academia is quite slow, I’ll spend a lot of time emailing or calling contacts to follow up and keep the stone rolling. Some days I’ll spend the whole day coding – tweaking our website, or working on a new feature app-side. It’s nice to break up all of the calling and emailing with some focused coding work, but it has its headaches and challenges as well.
Working from home is also something I haven’t quite mastered. It’s great to be able to feed my chickens, cook a nice breakfast, and work comfortably. But maintaining focus is sometimes hard when there’s a constant reminder of all the tasks that need doing elsewhere. And since I live in the country, I sometimes yearn for a coffee shop and some company (no commute is hard to beat though)!
What do you do for play or enrichment?
Now that things are warming up, I’m getting outdoors a lot more, hunting, cycling, and spending time down at the lake. I have an old Corvette that needs a lot of work that I’m glad to do. When it’s in running condition, it makes for a great afternoon cruiser. I’m also big into Country music, and I’m hoping to turn my one-man-band into a little more sometime in the future.
How did you prepare for your career/life so far?
I went to college at RIT as an undergrad in Information Sciences & Technology, and continued on as a graduate student in Business Administration. That being said, I’m a firm believer that anyone with a good work ethic and a heaping helping of curiosity can succeed in this country. While I can be lazy, growing up on a farm taught me how to put in a hard day’s work, and that the tractor with a broken axle needed fixing one way or another: no rest for the weary. My current career happens to be a crossroads of the two degrees I received in college, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find myself doing something far from both in the future. It’s your ability to learn that defines your career, not the knowledge you’ve acquired. I’ve always been a confident person (as you may have guessed), and I’ve been called arrogant and big-headed. There’s definitely truth in that, but when it comes to confidence, I’d rather have too much than too little.
What are you proud of?
Having recently graduated college, I’m proud of my accomplishments and the people there who I can call friends and colleagues. Compared to high school, college is the first time most young people will be carving their own way: no parents or old town friends to get them out of a bind or into a position. It may feel like you’re being put at the bottom of the totem pole again, but you climb, and this one goes higher than the one you may have conquered in high school.
I’m proud that I was able to develop an idea, start a business, and sell it to major universities. Last year when we exhibited CampusSafe at a university festival I had an incredible feeling of pride to see one of my business partners interact with festival-goers with the same passion that I held about my idea. That was a big treat.
What advice do you have for young(er) people as they prepare to launch themselves into the adult world?
Like I said before, a good work ethic and some curiosity will be your tool and guide as you move to better society. Don’t feel that you have to stick with the proclamation you made as a 3rd grader that you would grow up and design a better spoon, feel free to do anything you want inside your major or out.
Get involved in a bunch of groups at your college: I was in an a cappella group, I was an RA for three years, I did some photography work, and I was a fellow at my university’s innovation center. You’ll find many different social spheres exist inside the university as a whole, and being able to jump around in them will give you the benefits of the diversity that exists in them.