14:58 PM

Bellevue “Bandmates” Boost Arrowood to ITOP Degree

Bellevue “Bandmates” Boost Arrowood to ITOP Degree

By Dan Silvia, Communications Manager

Brian Arrowood is all about the band. You can find him on YouTube ripping through a rendition of The Devil Went Down to Georgia with Charlie Daniels or catch him on tour as the fiddle player with country music legend Travis Tritt.

ArrowoodSo when he set his sights on earning his bachelor’s degree in Bellevue University’s Information Technology Operations Management (ITOP) program, he made sure he had the backing of some solid players to help him out. Those bandmates included Adjunct Professor Leslie Olsen, ITOP Program Director Anna Verhoeff, and fellow student Tim Bosford among others.

Olsen helped Arrowood off to a solid start as he knocked out some General Education requirements in her English Composition II class.

“She really had an impact on me, an excellent professor, and extremely knowledgeable, very assisting,” Arrowood said.

For her part, Olsen enjoyed working with the engaged student.

“Brian's strengths as a student are his willingness to ask questions that challenge and clarify the material and his enthusiasm for applying what he learns,” said Olsen, who saw Arrowood play at a Travis Tritt show last year. “Brian engaged in multiple revisions of his written work, which helped articulate his argument. He has an eye for detail.”

Once into the 13-month long cohort, Arrowood frequently collaborated with Bosford on group projects.

“I had somebody who took their education as serious as I did. That’s what the interaction was all about,” Arrowood said. “I feel fortunate that I was able to have him as a partner. He was extremely self-disciplined.”

Bosford, a Lead Analyst for CACI International from Orange, Virginia, echoed those feelings back at Arrowood.

“Brian's strengths were legion. His attention to detail is incredible. Brian is also a great team member as he is willing to hear other points of view from his own,” Bosford said. “My experience in the ITOP course would have been drastically different if Brian and I did not get along.”

Arrowood is on track to graduate this spring having completed the cohort program. He is currently enrolled in the Kirkpatrick Signature Series, the final requirement for his degree. While pursuing his degree, Arrowood has also earned CompTIA's A+ and Project + certifications along with the ITIL V3 and Prince2 foundation-level certifications.

So is a career in IT in the offing for Arrowood?

“I’m a musician. That’s what I do. That’s what I’ve done for as long as I remember. That’s never going to stop,” Arrowood said.

“This is a personal achievement. It’s something that I’ve been working towards. There are things that I can do and continue to play music and be able to utilize my degree. What I’ll have to do is explore those options in more depth to see how I will be able to do both in a symbiotic manner.”

Like a lot of students, Arrowood had to fit his education in around his work schedule.

“I would go and play a show. I might have to be awake at 5:00 in the morning and in my bunk on the bus typing on the computer in order to get something finished. You just do it,” he said.

Arrowood has been back home in Nashville, Tennessee for the early part of 2016 as Tritt plays solo acoustic shows, but the band will be back at it in March including a show in Kansas City on Friday, March 11. Arrowood relishes the idea of getting back on stage.

“This will be the beginning of my seventh year with Travis Tritt,” he said. “It’s the response from the crowd. There’s interaction whenever you’re on stage -- the energy. You’re playing for that audience; you’re conveying your enjoyment and that energy to them.”

In addition to his work with Tritt, Arrowood is working with banjo player Mike Scott on a collaborative project.

“Hopefully, by the springtime we’ll have that completed and he and I will be able to play some gigs,” Arrowood said.

Whether it is collaborating on school work, on stage, or in the recording studio, it is all about relationships for Arrowood.

“You really can’t do everything alone. I love relationships. I value relationships in life,” he said “People look out for you. I’m a big believer in karma. You give someone respect and you get it back.”