Our very own Jeremy Moff was recently interviewed as Alumni of the Month for the Northwest College of Art & Design (NCAD). He talked with Derek Grundy, an adjunct professor at the university. NCAD is gearing up for the celebration of 40 years in 2022 with special interviews with graduates.

Here is the interview in full, but you can also check it out on YouTube right here!

Derek Grundy: 

So for all of you watching our little NCAD TV channel here, I’m here with Jeremy Moff, a graduate of the school and we’re talking to alumni throughout the years getting ready to celebrate our 40th anniversary coming up in 2022 and Jeremy is a family member of the school going way back. When did you graduate, Jeremy? 

Jeremy Moff: 

1998. 

DG: 

1998. Yeah over 23 years ago. 

JM: 

Wow. Wow, crazy. 

DG: 

I’ve been lucky enough to be blessed to be teaching at NCAD for six years, so I got an idea of what it’s like now. I know the school was once called NCA, was it NCA when you went there? 

JM: 

It was NCA when I went there, yeah.  

Derek Grundy: 

That school was founded by Craig in 1982. So, they had been operational for a while before you went there. What was the school like back then? 

Jeremy Moff: 

Well the school was in Poulsbo at the Poulsbo campus and I don’t know if that’s called a mansion or the estate that was up there. And there were horses there – two clydesdale horses there on the estate and deer would come into the field and stuff like that. It was really kind of a cool setting to be in right? It was peaceful there and the class sizes were pretty small, so in my time there we almost became like a family – the group of students I was with, so that was really cool, and we had strong relationships with the instructors, too.  

DG: 

Sure, yeah. What was your major? Did you have a single major then, or–? 

JM: 

I had a double major – Fine Art and Graphic Design.  

Derek Grundy: 

You have a company now – Moff Interactive – so you’re working in web design and I’d like to hear a little bit about how you got into that? How soon after graduation did that happen? Maybe a little bit about how your career path has developed since graduation way back in 1998? 

Jeremy Moff: 

Well, I actually started while I was in college, and at that time we didn’t have any web design classes or anything like that at the college. I believe I was the first student or faculty member to have a website, actually. So, you know I did my – I believe I did my portfolio digitally, too, or part of it and that was kind of new for back then. So right when I graduated I went out and I picked up a client – just started. I believe maybe that I did some volunteer work to get in on the website and then they became one of my first clients. 

DG: 

And the Internet was still a very new thing then wasn’t it? I’m kind of –  

JM: 

It was pretty new – it was right before the dot-com boom, you know? Like a year before that really took off and that’s how I got my domain name Moff.com. 

DG: 

Yeah, I love your email, it’s just the simplest thing. 

Jeremy Moff: 

So I just started right away. I kind of knew that’s what I wanted to do, and I saw opportunity there and went into business, got a business license right away, and just went for it, and back then there wasn’t really – I don’t think we had any business classes at the college. If we did it would have been really early on, and it would have been like one. I remember back then we had – almost seemed like a Minor in Psychology – we had like five Psychology-type classes back then. There weren’t any web development classes, there weren’t really any business classes so a lot of that stuff I had to go out and learn on my own. 

Derek Grundy: 

I think the college is always continually changing, you know, it seems like at least every couple years, the curriculum changes you know a little bit – fine-tuning this or adding that and I imagine your business has gone through a number of different big changes over the years with building websites for clients hasn’t it? 

Jeremy Moff: 

Oh yes, yeah, especially, the last five years or so. But with the web or anything – everything changes super fast now, so it’s like every day it seems like I’m learning something new to keep up with things, but just in the last couple of years, especially, we’re making all kinds of changes right now going from being a company that’s more centered around me to – we’re probably about halfway through or more than halfway through to making it so I have the people in place and everything, so eventually I’ll be able to take like a month off – whatever – and just have it run. So there’s been a lot of work going into that, not to mention the changes in technology. When I started building websites, they were what we called static websites, which is just a page that you’d code and then you’d code another page, you’d link them together. Now everything’s done on a CMS or a web page builder or something. We use WordPress at our agency, but there’s all kinds of different options out there but you’d hardly ever hear of anybody making a static website anymore. So nothing was connected to databases or anything like that when I started.  

DG: 

And do you have any – I’m sorry I think you mentioned this a little bit, but do you have any employees that work for you? 

JM: 

I have five or six contractors that work for me right now. I don’t currently have employees. I’ve done that in the past – right now contractors but this next year we may be bringing on some employees, we’ll see. 

DG: 

You know as career services coordinator here at the college, I’m always very interested in web design. I’ve done a sort of poor job of it for myself and for others, but I’ve learned enough about it to see that it’s a very important thing for if you want to be relevant in the business world today even in a creative field I think you just have to have a website. How important is it for our students and our graduates to have their own website?  

Jeremy Moff: 

Well, I think it’s very important. Especially depending on what business you’re going into, but it seems like any business really – they’re going to have a website, and if you can show that you have some of that skill set to help the business, that’s definitely positive, right? Obviously, for businesses, you have to have a website and then especially I’ve seen a re-commitment to that with COVID, right? With the shutdowns that come and go and stuff like that people are like, “Oh, wait, we really need to make sure our web presence is up-to-date.” 

Derek Grundy: 

I saw web presences change dramatically particularly for the restaurant industry. It’s like, “okay our restaurant – we now have to take orders online,” and you know one of our graduates right now from 2021 is starting sort of a freelance business of doing menus for restaurants and I think he’s encountering a lot of that. We really want a menu that can be interactive online and just be an instant order. 

Jeremy Moff: 

So our company – we’ve pivoted a little bit, we’re pivoting right now actually. You know, by 2026 we want to help thousands of businesses because we don’t think people should have to struggle with confusing technology in order to grow their business and successfully do that and then make a difference. So we want to help people, so of course, we’re in the marketing 

and website part of this but our mission is to help people grow their business, increase their capability of bringing funds in, so then they can turn around and make an impact in their community – whatever it is that they want to make an impact in, so that’s what I’m really excited about with our company and that’s a change that we’ve been working on for this last year. 

Derek Grundy: 

And you have a new update coming to your website very soon.  

Jeremy Moff: 

Yes, by the time this interview is posted the new website should be up and you know it’s always changing, it’s a fluid thing – websites should be always changing. Google loves content and updates, so yes. 

DG: 

That’s SEO stuff, right? 

JM: 

Yes.

DG: 

Search Engine Optimization – I do know a little bit beyond my paintbrush – that’s great! Well, I’ll be sure to share your website with our viewers and I’d encourage everybody to visit Jeremy’s website. See what can be done in that type of business and kind of experience what another alumni from NCAD or NCA from even long ago is just really hip with the technological world today, so I love your business. I love what you do. I think it’s inspiring to our students. I think our students need – I think everybody should not only have their own website but I think the majority of our graphic design students should be able to – it should be one of the skills that they are able to list on their resume, and you know it’s not going to be everybody’s cup of tea but it seems to me that if you can have some skills in web design and updating websites and working with social media that you’re probably more hirable. Would you think that would be true? 

Jeremy Moff: 

Oh, I definitely think so. I mean, because everybody needs those things, right? Every business needs a website presence and social media and that sort of thing. So I agree 100%. 

DG: 

Well, you’re a new member of our alumni society, which we’re just getting started on Facebook and we’re hoping to have an in-person event down here at the college sometime in 2022. We’re just gonna see how the winter goes here, but I hope you’ll be able to join us for that. 

Jeremy Moff: 

Oh, that would be awesome! I’ve been waiting for our alumni group or something of this sort for a long time so I’m super excited to see the Facebook group and hopefully, we’ll get to meet in person.

DG: 

Yeah, we’ll work it out somehow. 

Jeremy Moff: 

I think it’s just a great resource to have everybody connected in the Facebook group. 

DG: 

Absolutely, yeah the networking potentials are huge – just kind of starting – we just started it in August of 2021. We knew we were really busy but you knew we could get this Facebook group going and just get it going while we’re doing all this other stuff here at the college, so thank you for your enthusiasm for the group. Hey, I’ve had this thought floating around my brain – have you – one of your majors was Fine Art – have you continued with artwork while you’re busy creating websites? 

JM: 

Not so much in drawing or painting or that sort of thing, but I do write poetry and I put that out on Instagram. 

DG: 

I’ve read many of them. 

JM: 

Yeah, I’m getting quite a little following there, pretty good following there, and then also I play around in some songwriting, too, so that’s my kind of – I call that my fine art creative. You know someday it would be really fun to set up a studio space and just go in and paint with acrylics or something and then do that.  

DG: 

Sure, or we should jam sometime. I play guitar, too, and we could write an alumni song!  

JM: 

There you go! That would be fun. You know the poetry fits right into the songwriting part of it, so that’s a lot of fun. I actually did a COVID song when it first came out called Six Feet From You.

DG: 

I remember that – that’s so cool! 

JM: 

Yeah so that’s been most of it, but luckily I get to be pretty creative in my job, too. It’s just not the fine art part of it. 

DG: 

Well, Jeremy, you found an article in the paper. Would you mind holding this up? Tell us a little bit about what we’re looking at here. 

JM: 

So this is from, I guess I had that piece in my senior show. 

DG: 

So “Art graduates show their stuff”, so that was right towards the end of your [senior year]? 

Jeremy Moff: 

Yeah, 1998 – there was a piece by Francisco Clemente I think. I believe that’s who it was and his painting – so this is like – what do you call that an homage to it. Well, in his painting, the eyes and the mouth and the nose and stuff had more mouths and stuff coming out of it. At this time, this is how old this was, CDs were a thing, you’d go buy a CD. You wouldn’t download your music so I updated it to have the discs in there. Little did I know that 23 years later, probably –  like my nephew one day said to me, “what’s an album?”

Derek Grundy: 

Well, that’s a good find. Thanks for sharing that, and send me a pic of that. 

Jeremy Moff: 

So here’s the thing, you know, for anybody that’s aspiring to go out – hopefully, all your students are aspiring to something – I mean that’s why they ended up at college there. If I could give, you know, a tidbit away is just – find your passion and follow it and keep at it. There’s gonna be roadblocks, there’s gonna be times where it’s rough and that, but if it’s really what you want to do – keep at it, and keep going. There’s, I believe it’s a Chinese proverb that’s “you don’t sweep the floor just once,” you know you have to sweep it daily, so there’s no overnight success really. You hear about stories of overnight success – stories like Nirvana. We’re going back to my time, right? Nirvana seemed like an overnight success but if you read about it, they practiced for 11 months writing the record and practicing those songs before they ever went into a studio. They were down in a barn in Aberdeen for like 11 months, I read somewhere so if you want to do it and you’re passionate about it, you need to put the work in. And you need to have that passion and that strength to keep going even when the obstacle comes your way and learn how to turn an obstacle into something that you can use in a positive way. Those are things that I’ve learned over the years in my business. 

Derek Grundy: 

That’s awesome, I think that’s great advice when you’re talking about turning the obstacle into a kind of a positive I’m reminded of a friend of mine that lives in West Seattle and swims with bricks in each hand, and of course, he’s very strong yeah, but any he mentions the word obstacle he’s like, this thing that is the obstacle now becomes what propels me through the water. So I think that’s great advice. You know I think when you want to pursue anything about your life, but most particularly your career path – what your life is going to really be all about for the most part –  you got to keep getting back up.

JM: 

Yeah, you have to keep getting back up. And looking back, you know, it’s hard to believe it’s 23 years since I graduated, but like I said I went into the business right after I graduated, and then there was one year in 1999 that I got hired full-time for a dot-com startup in Kingston where I kind of took off from my business but then after that I was right back into my business and you know, through the economic crash of 2008 or 2007 and just through all kinds of different things and still here and you know the last couple of years have been really great for our business and it’s exciting to be taking it to a different place where it’s not just a one-person show.  

DG: 

Well, I think it sounds like you’re creating opportunities for other people as well and that’s wonderful. 

JM: 

Yeah, we actually have another alumni that works with us.  

DG: 

Fantastic! All part of that NCAD family network. Well, Jeremy, listen this has been a great visit. I want to thank you for taking the time and we’re going to send our viewers over to your website. And thanks so much and I really look forward to seeing you at one of these alumni parties that we’re getting geared up for hopefully sometime in 2022. 

JM: 

I hope so, that would be so much fun. 

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