From video games to finance: how Jacob Weavil became Albemarle’s youngest department head

Jacob Weavil has been Albemarle’s finance director for about a year now, following the retirement of Colleen Conroy, who led the department for two decades.

At 32, he is the youngest department head in town. He sees this as a unique opportunity to continue to grow and learn from his more experienced peers.

“Jake brings a strong combination of experience and perspective to our city’s finance department,” said City Manager Micheal Ferris. “He and his team have continued to build on an already strong foundation to elevate the level of service in our city.”

But despite his success at such a young age, establishing himself in the world of finance wasn’t always the path he wanted. In fact, it wasn’t even on his radar as a high school student figuring out what to do with his life.

“I couldn’t have imagined where life has taken me, but I’m very, very grateful for it,” he said.

A love for video games

Weavil had a passion for video games while growing up in the small town of Wallburg in Davidson County. He enjoyed playing Super Mario and Star Fox on the classic Nintendo 64 and Pokemon on his Game Boy console. As he got older, he became more involved in role-playing games such as World of Warcraft.

“I guess you could say that the video games that have interested me the most have always been adventure and story games,” he said.

While preparing for college in 2008, Weavil and several of his friends decided to turn their passion for gambling into a full-fledged career.

“I’ve always loved reading and playing video games and never had the aptitude to be a writer, so I thought, well, I’d do video game development,” he said. declared.

At the time, there were few options to pursue a career in video game development, he said. One was moving to Georgia and enrolling at DeVry University, and the other was enrolling in the two-year simulation and game development program at Stanly Community College. Weavil and his friends chose the latter.

“We thought it was a great opportunity,” he said.

Although he knows very little about the county, Weavil traveled to Albemarle with the still vivid dream of becoming a video game designer.

Design your own mobile app

Once in school, he received hands-on training in programming, 3D modeling, animation, and world building.

“Everything I learned there were things that I carried over into my adult life,” he said. “I found it to be excellent value for the two years I was there.”

After graduating in 2011, Weavil, a few other graduates and a CSC professor began developing their first video game. They decided to start with an app. This made sense because the burgeoning field of mobile apps was easier to get into, as opposed to designing games for established consoles like PlayStation and Xbox.

After about nine months, they created a free app called Skylar’s Cosmic Adventure that people could download to their iPhones and iPads. It was a multi-level program where people navigated in a rocket around various obstacles such as planets and black holes while trying to collect as many stars as possible.

“The difficulty was that planets of different sizes had different gravitational pulls, so if you didn’t get it right, it would just pull you to the planet and you had to start the level over,” Weavil said.

The hope was that the app would serve as a launch pad for Weavil, giving it the ability to develop more advanced video games. In reality, although the app received many downloads, it was a tough job market for video game developers and so the band members parted ways.

Move to another career

While Weavil was enrolled in CSC, he worked at Rite-Aid, starting first as a shift supervisor before becoming assistant store manager. It was during this time that he discovered he had a knack for customer service and enjoyed interacting with the public.

“I had found when I was going to college and doing creative stuff, it was energizing for me, but I also found that in the working world (at Rite Aid), I was really very good at it and it motivated me too,” he said. “I was really focused on trying to balance those two things.”

Once he realized that a career in the video game world wasn’t likely to come to fruition, he decided to pursue a field focused on customer service.

“What is to say is that I discovered that I like being more creative as a hobby, as a way for me to decompress and relax, but what motivates me on a daily basis is this more professional career,” he said. noted.

After spending several years at Rite Aid, where he often worked weekends and shifts, Weavil wanted a more consistent 9-to-5 job. He also realized that while he had always imagined working in a big city, he had started to settle in Albemarle.

He began dating his now-wife Lindsey, who in 2013 informed him of an opening at First Bank in Richfield as a bank teller. He took the job and gradually rose through the ranks until he became a loan processor at a First Bank facility in Charlotte. He also earned his business degree from Pfeiffer University.

In 2015, he joined New Dominion Bank in Charlotte, where he took on the role of Commercial Relations Specialist and really started to take off.

“That’s where I really got hooked on working with big portfolios,” he said, noting that he managed a $45 million commercial loan portfolio.

He really enjoyed working in finance because, like video game design, it was about solving problems.

“When you look at the numbers there is always a story behind it and you have to connect all the dots and come to a decision to make,” he said.

Back home

Around this time, Weavil had made some major changes in his personal life. He and Lindsey got married, had a child, and bought a house in Richfield, so it became much harder to commute three hours a day to Charlotte. There was a lack of new podcasts to listen to and “there are only so many times you can listen to the same radio show,” he joked.

As great as it was to work for New Dominion, Weavil knew he had to find a new job at Stanly.

“I was getting to the point where I was enjoying everything I learned in Charlotte, but I was trying to look for more opportunities closer to home,” he said. “I really wanted to have stability and be able to put my family first.”

The opportunity came in the form of a vacancy in Albemarle’s finance department and he jumped on it. In August 2018, he started working for the city as deputy finance manager. He worked under Conroy for around three years before she stepped down in early 2021.

From his first interview with Conroy, he knew she was looking for someone who could potentially become her successor. He applied for the job of director, hoping that his previous experience as an assistant director would make him an attractive candidate.

“I was extremely confident because I felt that Colleen really gave me all the tools I needed and I was just ready and ready to show the city, especially the city manager, that I was ready. “, did he declare.

Weavil became the city’s chief financial officer in May 2021. Since then, he has played a key role in helping Albemarle remain financially strong despite all the uncertainty associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jacob Weavil gives a financial presentation during a workshop session earlier this year. Photo courtesy of David Fath.

“Having previously served as the city’s deputy chief financial officer, Jake has demonstrated he has the right personality and work ethic to help lead the city through this period of rapid growth,” Ferris said.

For Weavil, the promotion was a blessing.

“It’s everything I could have imagined and hoped for and more,” he said. “This first year has really been a fantastic crash course in which we believe the future will go.”

With more work and parenting, he has a 5-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter-in-law, Weavil still loves video games, but at this point in his life he’s learned to couple it. He has a PlayStation 5, for example, but he also has the more kid-friendly Nintendo Switch.

Jacob Weavil with his family, left to right, daughter-in-law London, son Kyler and wife Lindsey. (Contributed)

“It’s less about games I want to play and more about games we can try out and share with the kids,” he said.

Trying to cut down on time spent on electronics, the family has recently turned to board games.

“I always play video games by myself,” he added, “but like everything in life, you have to balance that with all of your other responsibilities first.”

Source link

Previous Best Online Games for iPad
Next Free games this weekend (March 11-13): Dead by Daylight, Cities Skylines and more