Unchallenged high schooler finds his passion through UCC.
ROSEBURG, Oregon – Without a doubt, Justin Deedon is reaping the ultimate return on his investment. As the entrepreneur sits in his office, located in the Umpqua Business Center near Downtown Roseburg, he has everything to be thankful for. He has two Umpqua Community College (UCC) degrees under his belt. He owns and operates his own business. He is also an instructor with the College’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC). But if you would have asked him if this is where he pictured himself a few years ago, the answer would be “no way!”
“Growing up, I thought I knew everything,” he said. “I didn’t really have a goal and didn’t even think about going to college at all. In fact, I thought school was a complete waste of my time.”
Unchallenged, Justin ended up dropping out of high school at the age of 15. He decided to get his GED through UCC, and ended up enrolling in credit classes around his 16th birthday. He started college with an interest in studying radiology. He thought he would eventually transfer to a four-year school, but one class changed everything.
“One of the courses I took was a basic computer science class,” he said. “John Blackwood was the instructor and he rode me hard. The very first paper I submitted to him, he didn’t even grade it. He grammar-checked it, gave it back to me, and told me to fix it. I decided then that I hated him.”
He says Blackwood later convinced him to switch majors and pursue the Computer Information Systems (CIS) program. Justin says the only reason he did it was to prove Blackwood wrong. Proving him wrong was something he never accomplished. Three years later, he graduated with an associate degree in CIS. He also earned a degree in business.
“John definitely went above and beyond to teach me,” Justin said. “He is very, very good at what he does. He taught me about teaching, business, computers, everything. I attribute the most to him.”
These days, Justin’s main job is managing Umpqua Technology Nexus; a tech company that performs a variety of services for today’s businesses. A year or so ago, he came to the SBDC as a business client. He was hired as a business advisor due to his talents in information technology. He now teaches business owners how to use social media and online marketing in order to get a better return on their marketing dollar investments.
About Umpqua Community College
Nestled in the beautiful North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College is the regional center for higher education in Douglas County, Oregon. UCC provides high quality college degree programs, workforce development, and community learning opportunities.
John Blackwood - Contact
Associate Professor, Computer Information Systems
Melody Cornish - Contact
GED Orientation/Transition Coordinator
Toni Clough - Contact
Chair, Associate Professor, Business
Lisa Woods - Contact
Director of Small Business Development Center