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Content Any Way U Want It!

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The BG News
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September 21, 2023

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BGSU professor Gene Poor inspires students to pursue passions

When an owner starts his or her own business, they usually run it their own way, but Gene Poor puts his trust in the hands of his students when it comes to running his business.

Poor, an instructor in the Marketing Department, started LifeFormations, which is one of four manufacturing companies in the United States that makes amusement and entertainment theme park electronics.

The company has been around for 25 years and is located in downtown Bowling Green.

“Each year is different thanks to my students who helped make it what it is,” Poor said.

While LifeFormations has been a success for Poor through the years, he also created one of the well-known programs at the University: Visual Communication Technology.

“I wanted to offer graphic design to students and my passion is teaching, so this all really fell into place,” Poor said.

Poor began to teach in 1970 and taught every single VCT class since the program was available, until he was moved to the College of Business 10 years ago, where he now teaches entrepreneurship.

“I don’t miss teaching VCT at all. It was fun to put together a great program for the University, but I love what I was meant to teach, which is business,” he said.

Alumnus Andrew Clair graduated in 2012 and had Poor for an Introduction to Entrepreneurship class. He was happy Poor switched to business.

“He inspired me in a number of ways, most notably for me in his fascination with learning and the learning process itself,” Clair said. “He would explain the things he was trying to make poignant in different ways so everyone could understand.”

Clair currently works for Raseri, Inc., as an account representative.

Because everyone learns in different ways, Clair said Poor did a good job teaching in multiple ways for everyone.

“With Poor, every day is a discovery waiting to happen,” he said.

Poor also inspired two other graduates of the University when he taught VCT, who called him recently to ask a favor he couldn’t refuse.

“They asked if they could shoot an American Express commercial in my factory,” Poor said. “I didn’t actually believe it was happening until every step that was taken toward the commercial was happening and I had to step back and say, ‘this is happening.’”

Mike Blasko and John Kaplan both interned with Poor while at the University, and started their own animatronic robot company for amusement and theme parks in 2008.

“We didn’t have our own building and it was easy and accessible to have it in Bowling Green,” Blasko said. “Plus, it was where we learned most of our skills in this career.”

Poor said he was more than excited to shoot the video at his business, even though he hasn’t, and probably won’t, see an increase in sales because it has been around for so long already.

“It is very rich and has a lot going on inside, as you can see in the commercials, which made it a great spot,” he said. “I was just shocked at how the producers were spending money like it was no big deal; that also made the situation so surreal.”

The highlight of owning his business is the fact that he has “access to the best kids,” and that he can allow them to run with their own ideas, Poor said. Since Poor has dedicated most of his time to teaching, he has little to do with LifeFormations now.

“I get the cream of the crop of students to work and intern at LifeFormations, which is incredible,” he said. “I get to work with the future, so why not let try new things and bring new ideas to the table?”

Poor’s success in Bowling Green has afforded many opportunities to students, which is a main reason he said he does what he does in the first place.

“I live such a blessed life to do what I love and get paid to do it,” Poor said.

More Information: Don’t forget to check out Part 1 of this article in the Sept. 23 edition of The BG News, on stands now.

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