I Spy Someone making a difference.
I Spy: Ron Walker cares for campus, communityby Brooklyn Zimmerman
Ron Walker’s talents are boundless: He can design a theatrical stage, make an eye-catching sign, create a Cake Boss-style birthday cake or build a new church altar. And he does it all with positive energy, which is why he was nominated for I Spy, the employee recognition program of Coastal Carolina University’s Office of Human Resources.
A graphic artist in the Office of University Communication, Walker is easy to work with and always up for the task, according to Poppy Hepp, administrative coordinator in the Office of Student Affairs, who nominated Walker for I Spy.
“No task is too big, and Ron completes the job to your satisfaction. Not only does he give to his CCU customers, he gives back to the community. He donates his time and talents to Carolina Forest High School and Black Water Middle’s musical productions, plays music with CCU students at St. James youth mass, and works with Coastal Catholics, a student organization on campus,” says Hepp in her nomination.
Others around campus agree.
Lamonica Yates, director of training and employee services in the Office of University Training and Development, recalls when she needed a backdrop for the employee Christmas show two years ago. Not only did Walker design the backdrop, but it was just as Yates had imagined it.
“Ron is very good at making ideas come to life,” says Yates. “He is calm, creative and always willing to help out without making you feel like it’s a burden.”
An Air Force brat, Walker was born in Chambley, France, just outside Paris, which he hopes to visit again some day. At age 2, Walker moved to San Antonio, Texas, where he spent the next 10 years. He has a vivid memory of having to decide if he was going to be an American or French citizen in front of a federal judge.
“It was an experience I’ll never forget, but I got to get out of school, which was great,” says Walker, who became an American citizen.
After his father retired, Walker’s family moved to Muscle Shoals, Ala., where his uncle worked as an engineer at the local recording studio. Walker was often in the studio and got to meet musicians such as the Staple Singers in the 1970s.
Walker moved to the area in 1997 and opened the Myrtle Beach Sign Company for 15 years. He sold the business in 2005 but continued to work there.
He joined the CCU staff in 2008 as part of the campus’ new sign shop. Walker worked at the sign shop on campus until last year. During this time, he worked closely with Joseph Gore, trades specialist in the campus sign shop, who described Walker as a “very creative person.”
As the sign shop grew, Walker found he was doing more graphic design work than actual hands-on installation, so the switch to graphic artist in the Office of University Communication was a good move.
“Ron’s transfer from facilities has been a benefit to the department, allowing the design team to better handle the workload. He is quickly learning the graphic software and shows great attention to detail with each assignment,” says Rob Wyeth, director of publications in the Office of University Communication.
In addition to his graphics work, though, Walker, who has a 16-year-old daughter, likes to stay connected with the students so they understand Coastal is part of a larger community.
“I want the students to be able to use me as a source for information,” Walker says. “Everyone on campus should get involved to let the students know you care about them.”
Walker enjoys the arts and has many hobbies such as cake decorating and woodworking.
“I love woodworking,” says Walker, who was commissioned by St Paul’s Episcopal Church in Conway to make the altar furnishings, which featured hand-carving details.
And you should see his cakes!
“I was intrigued by ‘Cake Boss’ on TV, so about six years ago I made an art cake for my daughter’s birthday, and it sort of took off from there. I’ve made cakes ranging from a championship cake for our head baseball coach, Gary Gilmore, to a cake for the dedication of Swain Hall,” says Walker, who is a Chanticleer through and through, but appreciates the importance of service to community.
“Coastal Carolina is not just a University; it is a connected vital part of the community,” says Walker. “So carry a positive attitude throughout the community because you never know who might be watching.”
To nominate a staff or faculty member for I Spy, visit the Office of Human Resources website at coastal.edu/hreo/workplace/ and click on I Spy.