Energy and motivation have always run high for Kevin Faul, MBA ’04. As a competitive rock climber, kayaker, cyclist, and alpine sports buff, Faul got an early start in both athletics and academics—skipping two years of his school to finish a degree in geology and anthropology at the tender age of 20. But ten years ago, that drive to succeed had left Faul feeling burnt-out and disconnected from his outdoor passions.
Faul, 33, knew when he was just a teenager that he wanted to work in finance. He studied hard and landed a job trading interest rate futures before he was even old enough to join his colleagues for an after-work drink. Faul climbed the financial ladder, and by 2002, he was an options and arbitrage futures trader with memberships at the Chicago Board of Options Exchange and the Chicago Board of Trade. It was exhilarating and stressful, and every weekend, Faul would drive at least four hours to climb, run, or bike outside the city.
Then September 2001 rolled around. Faul, like so many of his peers, took a hard look at his life. He had achieved his goals, but Faul wanted more. He was eager for adventure, deeper education, and better access to a wilderness playground: “My heart was still out there in the mountains.”
With Northwest topography whispering his name, Faul researched MBA programs in California, Washington, and Oregon, looking for an inspired combination of opportunity and affordability. At the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business, Faul realized that his key interest areas--entrepreneurship, finance, and sports marketing—were perfectly aligned with the MBA program’s academic tracks.
In 2002, Faul quit his job, traded his car for a gear-friendly truck, and drove across the country to start the MBA program. He focused his studies at the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship with a focus on finance, and cross-trained extensively at the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center. He created business plans, worked on consulting projects, and focused on one core question: “How do you build a business? How do you actually create something and make it successful?”
“It was all about becoming confident and learning how to make good decisions.”
After graduating in 2004, Faul moved to Arcata, California, and joined Watermark Paddle Sports (which later became Yakima Products) as a senior financial analyst. In 2007, Faul received a call from a former colleague who was working for RealD in California. He wanted to hire Faul as the director of finance. “When I heard 3D, I almost hung up the phone,” recalled Faul. His friend, however, convinced him to see a RealD trailer playing at a nearby theatre. Just eight seconds elapsed before Faul recognized a game-changing technology with applications far beyond entertainment. He visited the company in Los Angeles and left ready to join the team.
Today, Faul is vice president of business development for RealD Pro—a company segment that licenses and sells 3D technology to entertainment, broadcast, defense, medical, education, design, and oil and gas industries. He works closely with studios and post production companies to integrate RealD in new 3D films, television shows, and multimedia projects. And every day, Faul aims to answer that same core question from his time at the University of Oregon: How do you build a strong business and make good decisions? It's a challenge that continues to thrill and motivate him.
Faul’s lifestyle is the icing on his professional cake. He lives six blocks from the beach in Santa Monica, with a mountain trailhead just five miles away. He recently trained and ran a breathtaking 50-mile ultra marathon and has learned to surf. Armed with confidence and a greater sense of his skills, Faul said he couldn’t ask for a better position. Learning how to build and grow businesses is the pilot light that fuels his career. “You can’t be successful when you’re just going through the motions,” said Faul. “You have to be excited and energetic about what you’re doing every day.”