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Wyatt Harrison '10

1: What have you been up to since graduation?
My post - college years have consisted of balancing just enough work to fund a serious travel bug. More or less, I've managed to follow summer around the world by working in each place to keep from going broke. A train trip across the country, a road trip to Nova Scotia, some time in Hawaii, and about a year spent working just outside of Sydney, Australia. I had met some guys a few years ago during my study abroad program and kept in touch, ultimately living with them and having an experience that I couldn't have done had it not been for my abroad program. I love traveling, but for me this trip was mostly work so that I could stay longer!

Since 2002, I've spent every summer working as a sales manager and surf instructor at Malibu's Surf Shop in Ocean City, MD. This past summer, I designed a line of custom wood prints that we started carrying in the shop. We took photos of waves, sunrises, etc. and found a manufacturer to print the photos directly onto pieces of wood. They sold really well and soon people were asking for custom made ones for family, pets, sports teams, you name it. As soon as the requests started coming in, I realized the potential was pretty big. Thousands of sites offer your photo on paper or canvas, but not wood. So, that night I went home and created Plak That, a company that creates custom wood prints. Business started slow with an order here and there for friends and family, but a few months later I started getting orders through my site as well as Etsy, Facebook, Pinterest, and a couple others. Plakthat.com has the most intuitive online customization app out there and is now filling custom as well as wholesale orders for customers all over the world. I have been using as much reclaimed wood as I can and can proudly say that Plak That is a member of 1% For the Planet, a growing movement of companies that donate 1% of annual revenue to environmental organizations. Our hopes are that through a few partnerships we can donate the planting of a tree for every plak that is sold.

2: What is your fondest memory of USD?
Walking out of my last final each semester. It was a series of bittersweet memories. I had an absolutely amazing time at USD and narrowing it down to one memory would be impossible.

3. What is your favorite place on campus, why?
The big tables inside Serra Hall. Being an Anthropology major, I spent many hours (or days) sitting there studying, working with groups, or listening to music trying to relax before a big exam. For some reason I loved sitting at those tables, it was an inviting social setting that was still productive.

4. Who was your favorite USD professor or class?
Favorite class: Intro to Philosophy with Schlesinger. It was one of those classes in which I will always save and refer back to the papers I wrote. Challenging but insightful. Favorite professor: Dr. Fritsvold. His ability and enthusiasm to keep students engaged is something I always admired.

5: How have you remained involved with USD since graduation?
Since graduation I have returned for a few sports events, some alumni mixers, and continued giving. Since I have been out of the country or working I haven't been able to be as involved as I would like. In the next year I plan to attend more events and seek out other ways to get more involved.

6: If you could offer a current USD student advice, what would it be?
Be as involved as possible in both school and in life. You will make connections at USD that no amount of money can buy. And while you're there, really evaluate your own definition of success. You are the ultimate judge of your own personal happiness. Last, use your professor’s office hours, you will be amazed at how much better you do in their class!

Check out Wyatt's business at http://www.plakthat.com and this video explaining the company: http://www.youtube.com/embed/5KLeETLaLz0. Feel free to email Wyatt at contact@plakthat.com.

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