Meet the Russ College’s new crop of faculty and staff members this year in this series of interviews, and stop by their offices to greet them in person.
A native Appalachian engineering hobbyist and artisan, Brian McCoy, BSS ‘13, is a master quilter whose work – pictured here – has been featured in the Quilt National show. Paving his own way through academia and professional life for more than two decades before landing at the Russ College, he supports graduate research into sustainable technology.
How did you make your way to these parts?
I started at Ohio University just two weeks out of Parkersburg High School. I’ve pretty much been here ever since -- I’ve worked here for more than 17 years.
Where did you prepare for your profession (education), and what was special about it?
I designed my own degree under the BSS program in University College. I did a dual emphasis on botany and business, with research on production designs for commercial production of hydroponic produce.
Do you have a personal connection to engineering?
Perhaps -- in my own, personal “hobby” way. I have set up my own two grid-tied connected solar arrays, as well as built my own solar panels that are wired to golf cart batteries and an inverter for an “off-grid” power source. Let’s just say it paid for itself when I was able to save hundreds of dollars in food by plugging my fridge in to it last June during that major power outage.
What will you do at the Russ College?
I’m hoping to support in some way one of our graduate students who are interested in performing research on solar and wind energy or economical versions of level 2 electric car charging stations.
What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment?
That I’ve been “first” at many things since coming to OHIO. First to major in hydroponics, first solar powered office (in Chubb Hall), first to receive domestic partner benefits, first to drive an all-electric car on campus, first to convert an entire building on campus to incandescent bulb-free, thus saving about $1,000 per year in electric utility costs.
At the Russ College, we "create for good." You'll be hearing this a lot because it's true. How will you "create for good" while you're at the Russ College?
By helping our graduate students and supporting their efforts, and by hopefully encouraging the Russ College to support, embrace and act upon the many benchmarks of the university’s sustainability plan implemented in June 2011.
What's the most awesome thing about Athens so far?
The diversity of the people, cultures and personalities.
What’s the best local food you've had, and why?
China Panda. Love me some Chinese food. Ever wanna go? Let me know!
What do you do when you're not creating for good?
I work a second part-time job in Parkersburg, 10-30 hours per week. I also am currently working with the West Virginia Small Business Development Center to start a new quilt shop in Parkersburg.
Favorite movie you’ve seen lately?
Andersonville. It was a detailed insight into what it was like in a prison camp during the Civil War, and what it was like for the soldiers to endure both as prisoners and as the guards who guarded them.
What's something your students would never guess about you?
That I adopted my son when he was 11 years old, when he couldn’t even read any of the letters of the alphabet. He is now married, and I am a “papaw” with two beautiful grandchildren.