Drew Hall (’98) is familiar with TV sets like those for The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien and Saturday Night Live, but he won’t be found on camera. Hall is the director of engineering for SANS Solutions, a technology company that specializes in designing and installing solution area networks to provide better storage and efficiency on sets. The company works in the rich media industry, which includes TV stations and movie production companies. “It is most rewarding when I’m able to help my customers solve their problems and create solutions that allow them to not have to worry about things breaking during a show or when they are at home spending time with their families,” he said. As a student at Biola, he worked for VisionArt, a company that specialized in visual effects. He gained additional experience by working in the on-campus computer labs and managing student Web services. “The work that I did while attending Biola was invaluable for later securing a job in the industry, and I still use many of those same skills today,” he said. In his 10 years with SANS Solutions, Hall has worked on sets for Skywalker Ranch, Fox Sports and The Jay Leno Show. More recently, he worked with Jimmy Fallon to do live shows during Super Bowl XLVI. Hall lives in Upland, Calif., with his wife, Heidi (’00), and their children, Abigail, 8, Samuel, 6, Maximus, 4, Ezekiel, 2, and their December newborn, Quincy Ann. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his family, playing guitar and reading books on theology and philosophy. He also serves as a deacon at Trinity Reformed Baptist Church.
Jen Jacobs (’03) works with some of the most talented people across the globe. A talent scout for Nike, Jacobs has placed employees from Google, Apple and EA Sports into positions with the company. “That is my opportunity at Nike — to hire people who will take this brand into the future and position Nike as an industry leader in a new space,” she said. After graduation, Jacobs was hired as the marketing account manager at Idea Agency, where she worked with nonprofit organizations such as Compassion International and the Portland Rescue Mission. Jacobs was later hired elsewhere as a career coach and talent manager, working with companies such as Columbia Sportswear and Lucy. Now at Nike, she is in charge of design and marketing recruitment for the global brand team. Her project for the past two years has been building a team to make digital wearable devices easily accessible, like Nike+, which motivates people to exercise. “It is challenging in the evolving employment world to hire the best,” she said. “There are lots of people who are looking for jobs, but it’s hard because they aren’t always right for the open positions.” Jacobs lives in Texas with her husband, Mike, and their two children, Amelie and Jack. Her passions are running, design and photography. She also writes and does career coaching, offering tips on her blog, navigatinggracefully.com. “My best piece of career advice: Know yourself and market yourself to the right job, not every job,” Jacobs said.
Melissa Keane’s (’05) call to missions led her to Ukraine, where she and two other Biola alumnae established Open Arms Ukraine in 2006. Friends and faculty at Biola helped Keane see God’s call to ministry in her life, which encouraged her to go on a missions trip following graduation. She volunteered her time with the same organization for a second summer, and God showed her the needs of graduated orphans. Working with 100 orphans per year in Sumy, Ukraine, Keane and her small team of Ukrainians and Americans host gospel-centered outreach events and minister once a month in youth prisons. The team is dedicated, making a 19-hour train ride each way to spend up to four hours with the youth. Keane said Open Arms aims to minister in three areas: physically, emotionally and spiritually, recognizing that some of the children have never known God’s love. “Our faith is incorporated to everything we do down to just praying before meals, which is something these kids have never experienced,” she said. One of her favorite stories is when she ventured with her team on their first trip outside of Sumy. They found a group of graduated orphans and asked where they might locate the young man whose birthday it was. Someone directed them to the railroad tracks where he was working. They were greeted with a huge smile. “We had carried a homemade cake,” she said. “It was the first time in his life he had ever had candles and a cake for his birthday. He was 17.”