Many people have a “war story” or two about their first jobs: those low-skill, low-wage, low-ceiling positions begrudgingly accepted just to earn some quick cash and experience. Don’t ask Bryan Glispie to share his stories, however. He doesn’t have any.
This award-winning broadcasting professional landed his first gig at a little California-based outfit called the American Broadcast Company (ABC) when he was just 17. “I never had any other job except something in broadcasting,” Glispie admits today, “all because of what SkillsUSA did for me.”
In 1973, Glispie was a precocious sophomore at Dorsey High School in Los Angeles. Perceptive electronics instructor James A. Martin recognized the young man’s potential and decided to fuel it. “He told me about [SkillsUSA] and said, ‘You’re going to be a member, and that’s all there is to it,’” Glispie recalls.
That may have been all there was to the discussion, but there was so much more to come for Glispie. During his time in the organization, he earned three state medals (two gold, one silver) in the now defunct Radio/Television Repair competition.
He served as the state association’s vice president and president, and he eventually earned a spot as national parliamentarian.
As Glispie began planning for postgraduation, a friend offered a tip on a potential job that could help pay for college. “Next thing I know, I’m in an interview with ABC,” Glispie remembers. “They really liked me, but they said I was too young, and they weren’t sure how I’d perform or get along with adults.”
No work history meant Glispie had no résumé, but he was far from empty- handed. “I pulled out the gold and silver medals,” he laughs. “They said, ‘What are those, Olympic medals?’ I said, ‘No. They’re medals I received for doing what you don’t think I know how to do yet.’”
He had his first job and the first entry on his future résumé: supplying engineering maintenance and instant replay for sports around the world with ABC.
‘You can’t take awards to the grave’
So began the career Glispie had coveted since he was 9. He’d win scholarships, Emmys and Golden Mike Awards; he’d edit and produce national TV shows; he’d even become a licensed electrician and amateur radio operator. SkillsUSA became a fond memory … until Glispie got a call from Moe Broom, technical committee chair for its national Television (Video) Production competition.
Broom asked Glispie to lend his expertise to improving the competition. Glispie was hesitant at first, “but then I started thinking I needed to give something back,” he says. “It was a breath of fresh air. You can’t take awards to the grave. If you don’t pass on something you’ve learned along the way, what’s the point?”
Today, Glispie oversees four of SkillsUSA California’s media arts competitions. His contacts have helped him wrangle industry pros from film, theater, radio and television to help make those competitions first-class events.
Professionally, Glispie is still firing with youthful enthusiasm, and his latest endeavor has brought him full circle. It’s an invention called the “Official Replay and EFX Display Device (O.R.E.D.D.),” designed to help officials in all sports assess instant replays faster and more accurately. “You’re going to be hearing about it in the next six months,” he says.
Of his many accomplishments, Glispie is quick to note how especially proud he is of the SkillsUSA California Alumni of the Year award he received in 2018. “That award tells me that my efforts can still make a difference to students,” he adds.
There are many people Glispie would like to thank publicly for making a difference in his life, but unfortunately, there isn’t enough space here. His desire to redirect the spotlight toward others, though, is indicative of Glispie’s passionate belief in the enduring power of a selfless helping hand. After all, he reflects, “You can never succeed in life without consideration, help and a friendly push from others along the way.”