Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Business Brief: Terrence Trieu

When Phoenix Visual Arts owner Terrance "Terry" Trieu won an Emmy for the animation he created for Walt Disney’s True Life Adventures Sea of Sharks episode a decade ago, he was shocked. Up against animation done by the Discovery Channel and National Geographic, he expected to lose. But he went to the event anyway. Sitting in the very back of a football-field sized dining room, he said it felt like forever walking to the stage to accept his award. But ever since then, that experience has been a hallmark of his flexible and fascinating career path.

Though Trieu started at Metro State with the intention of becoming a professional pilot, a variety of fortuitous events led him down a different path. Instead of flying, he began to create animation and then eventually generate videos for companies, create commercials, do surveillance video clean-up and enhancement and 2-D and 3-D graphics, and build information kiosk programming programs, among other things.

He started at the Museum of Natural History's Planetarium(now Denver Museum of Nature and Science) after an aerospace internship didn’t work out. There, he spent time building special effects. He then moved on to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), where he created 3-D models of weather systems depicting how they affected aircrafts on takeoff and landing. “I found it more interesting, and so I shifted majors,” he explains. “I found I had a knack for doing animation.” From there, he returned to the museum, where he worked in the exhibits division. He finally started his own business, and after around two decades, still loves what he does.

“I enjoy the process of being able to create things out of thin air,” Trieu says. But, he adds, the best part of the job is “learning what other people do.” For example, when he does animated intros for television shows or videos, each video actually has dozens of people working on different components.

“We are only getting to scratch the surface of what the full picture is,” he says. “You get to learn about all kinds of strange things people do in the world—trekking across Iceland, climbing Mt. Everest, creating a native type of boat and going to the Galapagos Islands. It’s inspiring.”

Trieu also gets inspiration from his community building efforts. Rather than grow his company, he works on the board of his local HOA and continues to build relationships with other local organizations. For example, he works with various police departments in the Denver area doing forensics work. “It’s a direct relationship to what is going on socially, and it benefits society,” he explains. “Plus it’s interesting to see the kinds of things people try to get away with.”

However, no matter how passionate Trieu is about his job, he makes sure to spend time as much time as possible with his wife, Krys, and his sons. He regularly participates in sports with his 16-year-old twin sons, Mica and Mason, and he often works with and/or talks with his older son, Tashi, an aspiring film maker. With a solid career, and a regular dose of family, fitness, and community, Terry Trieu is one satisfied alumnus.

For more information on Trieu’s business, visit his website. Also check out his Emmy-award-winning animation, click here.

The Business Brief is a monthly article published by the Office of Alumni Relations. If you would like to have your business considered for an article, please contact escully at mscd dot edu.

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