TACOMA, Wash. (March 12, 2015)—Brockton Gates ’12 walked through a backyard toward the basement of a quiet house in Seattle. He was on his way to interview for a job at a small and successful startup, Porch, where he eventually would become the Head of Executive Communications and Evangelism.
“Coming out of school, I was really keen on the idea of starting my own business, and I had heard from a friend and fellow PLU alumni about a little startup company that he had been working at, and he mentioned they were hiring, so I applied,” said Gates, who earned a degree in Communication with a concentration in Public Relations and Advertising and a minor in Marketing. “Fortunately I got the job and, in the true spirit of how startups operate, I began taking on anything and everything that came my way. Through hard work and long hours, I was able to grow with the company, and to this day, I am continuing to carve out my path.”
Porch is a Seattle startup and home-improvement hub that connects homeowners to renovators through an interactive website. It now has more than 350 employees, has raised $100 million in 19 months and has a partnership with Lowe’s.
Gates was one of the first employees of the company and now is responsible for setting up speaking engagements for the company’s CEO and COO.
Gates said he might not be where he is today if he hadn’t made the decision to transfer to PLU his sophomore year.
“PLU made all the difference for me when it came to finding success after college,” Gates said. “I had a lot of stress coming out of college; I was one of those students that was ambitious and hardworking but would get a bit paralyzed at the thought of having to ‘choose a career’ right out of college, especially because I wasn’t even sure of what I wanted to do.”
Gates said PLU offers unique benefits. “A lot of students joke about how small PLU is in relation to other universities, but in my opinion, that is such a huge advantage!,” he said. “I was able to be very engaged with athletics, clubs and professors to an extent that wouldn’t have been possible at other universities and, as a result, I was pushed and held accountable, which prepared me for life in the ‘real world.’”
With his feet firmly on the ground at Porch, Gates offered a few nuggets of wisdom for current students and future PLU grads.
“As a new or soon-to-be grad, it’s OK if you are unsure of what career you would like to pursue; for us millennials, we have to take up lots of jobs and ‘mini-careers’ before we really find our grooves,” Gates said. “But rest assured, you will pick up on things that energize and interest you along the way, which will ultimately shape who you want to be as a professional.”