chemeketa students

Keeping his bearings – Student juggles school and wild career

By Chemeketa Public Affairs

It’s well known that many students have competing responsibilities during their time in college, but what happens when those responsibilities take them around the world on a regular basis?

That’s the situation Brandon Desjarlais found himself in when he became the social media manager for Moonshine MFG, a skateboard company based in Hood River.

A third year student studying business, Brandon has been skateboarding since he was little, seriously since 14 and professionally for a year. And at only 20, he’s achieved something most of us could only dream of– get paid for his top two talents and interests.

“I’m a pretty good skateboarder but my passion is business and making connections,” says Brandon, who, based on Moonshine MFG’s 11.2 thousand followers on Instagram alone, appears to be well-equipped for his position.

In addition to presenting the image of Moonshine MFG across social media, Brandon attends events and trade shows, manages a team, films videos and skates. His job has sent him to Munich, Toronto and Whistler Canada, Orlando, New York City and most recently, the Dominican Republic.

But it seems twenty-somethings aren’t the only ones paying attention Brandon’s work with Moonshine MFG.

Thanks to widespread footage of him skating, movie producers found Brandon and invited him to play Vin Diesel’s stunt double in the upcoming release of xXx: The Return of Xander Cage.

But how did he ever get that gig?

“I answered my phone.”

You see, it also seems that skaters his age aren’t too eager to respond to phone calls and voicemails, but Brandon’s natural inclination to socialize and network served him well yet again.

Now he has the distinct pleasure of shaving his head and donning a custom-fitted Vin Diesel replica chest piece as he spends two weeks filming an explosion-packed, downhill jungle ski-skating chase scene.

“The nature of my job means I’m out of town a lot and miss a lot of class. It’s really hard to stay motivated to be a student, but I love learning,” Brandon says.

To cope with his absences, Brandon sets aside a few hours each week to work in the study skills and tutoring centers and keeps in constant contact with his professors.

“There’s been many times where terms and concepts in my economics and accounting courses come up in meetings or general discussions and it really helps bring key business concepts full circle,” says Brandon.

He sees his work as a real-life internship and appreciates every opportunity he can take. “Eventually, I’d love to use the skills I’m learning now to start my own business,” he says.

No word yet if that involves jungle ski-skating.

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