The Jack of all Trades

The Jack of all Trades

Derek Griesbach is good at…well, everything. He’s an academic, a teacher, a carpenter, and now, a producer. How can one man be so many things?  Well, he’s an American, and as an American, we have the privilege to chase our dreams.

Derek grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin. Fishing, working hard, and getting into mischief accounted for most of Derek’s childhood along with his four other siblings. But when it came down to decision time, he decided to enroll in the University of Wisconsin to study Communication Science. Once Derek completed his undergraduate degree, he flew to London to attend the London Metropolitan University where he secured a Master’s Degree in Mass Communication. With his British accent secured, Derek took to the air once again. This time, he headed for Portland, Oregon. Derek began working as an academic advisor and soon realized his passion for teaching and guiding the youth of academia. 

Derek in front of his picture frames with a peace sign and Very American long sleeve black vintage shirt

Five years later, Derek headed back across the country as a PhD Candidate in Communications at the University of Pittsburgh. Early on, Derek knew he would not complete the dissertation.  He explained, “You are always the best at what you love to do and I did not love researching and writing but I really loved teaching.” It's thus no surprise Derek was nominated for multiple teaching awards and earned himself a Teaching Fellowship. 

In between research, essays, and grading the papers of bright eyed and bushy tailed undergrads, Derek taught himself woodworking. His first commission piece consisted of 200-year-old reclaimed Douglas Fir and Oak wood from a historic structure in Downtown Pittsburgh. Soon to follow were chandeliers made from whisky barrels for Southern Tier Brewery, unique picture frames, and numerous original tables and benches. This hobby was turning into a(nother) career.

Derek's reclaimed wood tables

After saying farewell to Pittsburgh, Derek decided to move back home to support one of his younger siblings through a difficult period. With family on his mind, Derek embraced the cheese curd and “black cow” (AKA blended root beer floats) culture once again. He expanded his carpentry skills and was soon hired as the Head of Furniture of Production for Beam and Board, Wisconsin’s largest inventory of reclaimed wood furniture.  

So let’s check in. So far, we’ve covered academic, teacher, and carpenter. That leaves just one more career, bringing us into present day.  After a couple years back in Wisconsin, Derek received a call from Los Angeles.  He was asked to work for Special Order Inc., a company that specializes in documentary film production. Derek was no stranger to LA. He visited his California friends annually and often helped with numerous building projects. He was also somewhat familiar with production after spending a semester in Lagos, Nigeria working with a team from the New York Film Academy teaching film production to aspiring Nollywood filmmakers. While there, Derek and friends spent their weekends making a music video for General Pype, a West African dancehall artist.

Derek in a the Very American Vintage Black Long Sleeve

Moving to LA was like moving home. Since beginning his production career, Derek has produced a PSA at Pierce Brosnan's house for the United Nations, collaborated on an Emmy nominated MasterClass for Ringo Starr, and was the associate producer on a pair of NPR Tiny Desk Concerts for Olivia Rodrigo and IDK. Just to name a few! Derek continues to add niche skills into his bag of tricks.  For the time being, he plans to pursue a career in film production. He laughed, “I don’t know why, but I really do like my job. I can be a hobbyist furniture maker and exercise that muscle without straining my body consistently.” For now, life is sweet in sunny California. 

One day Derek hopes to develop land outside the City of Angels.  He plans to create a homestead where all of his hobbies can collide. Considering this man’s track record, we have no doubt he’ll make it happen. Besides, with a pose like The Boss, there's nothing but success for this All American Man!

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