Brandon '06 and Erica Adcock '07 '08 of Charlotte met as students at an Appalachian Student Ambassadors' recruiting event on campus.
"I remember meeting her, and was attracted to her immediately," Brandon said. "I had to pursue her for a while," he added. "Here we are today, almost seven years later and I'm very fortunate to have met her at Appalachian."
The Adcocks were passionate and engaged students while at Appalachian. Both were Student Ambassadors and William R. Holland Fellows for Business Study in Asia.
They have provided time and considerable financial support to the Center for Entrepreneurship, the Walker College of Business, Appalachian Student Ambassadors, Appalachian Athletics, The Appalachian Fund and student scholarships.
Both said they are "products of," and impacted by, scholarships. Now they want to "pay it forward" to help give other students at Appalachian the same opportunities they had.
"I wouldn't have been able to go there at all if it weren't for scholarships," Erica said.
"My education at Appalachian definitely prepared me for what I'm doing now," Brandon said. He studied political science and marketing while at Appalachian and is the co-founder of Direct Digital LLC, a multi-million dollar global company. He served as a member of the university's Alumni Council, and he is currently on Appalachian's Foundation Board of Directors. He chairs the Walker College of Business Center for Entrepreneurship Advisory Board.
Erica studied accounting and went on to earn a master's degree at Appalachian. She recently left her position at PriceWaterhouseCoopers to pursue her passion for coaching field hockey, and she remains involved with the women's field hockey team at Appalachian as a summer camp volunteer and mentor. She also works at a non-profit, A Child's Place.
(individually interviewed at first)
Brandon Adcock '06, 2013 Young Alumni Award recipient: I grew up in Cary, when Cary was actually a small town, and both my parents attended Appalachian. Originally, I thought I wanted to break the tradition and not go to Appalachian. I had my heart set on Duke. And then, my senior year, I took a tour of the campus at Appalachian because my parents urged me to, and really fell in love. And that's kind of what brought me from Cary to Appalachian.
Erica Adcock '07 '08, 2013 Young Alumni Award recipient: I grew up in Warrington, Va., and I never would've found out about Appalachian until I decided I wanted to play field hockey in college and wanted to try to get recruited. And I got a letter in the mail from the coach and I was like, 'Oh, what's this App-a-lay-shun State?' You know, that was back when I called it that. But then I looked at some research online and started to realize that, you know, it looks beautiful. It's a bigger school than I realized, not that far away from my family, but also far enough.
BA: Being a student at Appalachian was definitely one of the most enjoyable times of my life so far. I met a lot of great people. I was lucky to be involved in a lot of organizations on campus. Student Ambassador being one of them that have really shaped my life. You know, I would say it was a lot of fun. I learned a lot. Got to do some traveling.
EA: I liked being involved in different things on campus—being a field hockey player, being a student ambassador. And those two things right there were huge because they basically ended up defining my experience. I just loved it.
BA: Erica and I met on campus. We were having kind-of recruiting sessions for student ambassadors, and I remember meeting her and was attracted to her immediately.
EA: I do not remember meeting him for the first time at all. (music stops) He was already in the organization and I was, you know, coming out to tryout to be an ambassador, which is just an incredibly intimidating thing. It was just a room of people and you just go talk to them, like—go! So that was terrifying for me.
BA: I had to pursue her for a while—a little pestering on my part. I'm a little persistent, in a good way. (smiles)
EA: Our friendship—getting to know each other—mostly started on instant messenger, (laughs) I think. But that was kind-of how I realized how funny he is and started to be like, 'OK this guy's pretty cool.' So he wore me down, (laughs) and I'm—and I'm glad.
BA: There are reasons to like be—I didn't have to completely wear her down. But, here we are today, you know, almost seven years later, and I'm very fortunate to have met her at Appalachian.
(Transition to music, panning scenes of the exterior and interior of the couple's company. The couple sit together for this part of the interview.)
BA: So our company that's located here is called Direct Digital. Contrary to what our name sounds like, we are a dietary supplement company, and we're in approximately 14 countries, with the U.S. and Canada being predominant areas for us. And, we have about 10 products right now that we sell.
BA: I think my education at Appalachian definitely prepared me for what I'm doing now. I'm not necessarily doing everything that I studied. I majored in marketing and political science, and I think one of the big things is, not so much your degree or the specifics that you learn sometimes, but you're prepared to learn and you become a sponge while you're in college, and it gets your mind ready to learn new things as you get into the world. And I think that's probably the biggest thing for me.
EA: Yeah, and I got a degree in accounting, so master's and all of that. I went to work for PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and that was just a great experience. I was there for almost four years, but for me I think the biggest thing that Appalachian prepared me for is relationships. And I knew all my professors cared about me and I built relationships with them and with my fellow students. And I thought the type of programs at Appalachian tried to build that and reinforce that, so it's important to me and us to support student scholarships at Appalachian since we were given so much. You know, I wouldn't have been able to go there at all if it weren't for scholarships. There are just so many opportunities and we just want to continue to pay it forward.
BA: Both of us are products of scholarships—her with an athletic scholarship for field hockey and then I was a Seby Jones scholarship recipient—
EA: I got academic ones, too. (background music stops)
BA: OK, sorry. And, so... (laughs)
EA: Sorry... I just had to make sure that was in there.
BA: OK, we can start that over then. (laughs) It's important to give credit where credit's due, and she worked very hard in college and in high school, so ... you're smarter than me and you certainly deserve credit. (Erica laughs)
EA: Thank you. (laughs)
BA: You're welcome. Sorry. (Brandon leans over to Erica and kisses her)
BA: So anyway ... (a "beep" and clapper sounds, indicating a new take. Background music resumes.) and it's very important for us to support various scholarship programs across the university to make sure that students have the opportunity to go to college, and we try our best to pay it forward, like Erica was saying, for all students when they can't afford it—to make sure they can attend and get a quality education, and Appalachian is certainly a place that we'd like people to experience the same results as us.
EA: I love going back to Appalachian, you know, as Brandon's wife, with Brandon.
BA: Oh, it's great. It's great for us to go back as a couple. I think one of the biggest things for us is we share so many common memories, and you know, it's not a question of being torn between two schools when it's time for Homecoming. We go back, we have the same feelings. Giving back to the university—there's no question.
EA: I mean, I think anyone who knew us while we were there—all of our friends—you know, know how much we both individually love that place, how much it shaped who we are today. And to be able to have that history, you know, with someone at a place that's so special to you and to be—you know, just walking back in those doors—we both know how happy we are to be there, and you know, just how much like home it feels. So all that stuff, you don't have to explain to each other why anything is important. You just know. So it's really special to me that we share that.
BA: It's just great to have shared the same thing in your life together, and you kind-of have that interwoven identity that's between both of you. Not everyone gets to experience that. I'm lucky that we do. It definitely makes us closer.