Ted Talks: Building Character

Kelvin Whitehurst, Staff Writer~

If you had the chance to meet Ted Duvall last Friday, you’d know that Duvall is a beekeeper, Lynchburg Alumni and Executive Producer of The Incredible Dr. Pol at National Geographic. Duvall returned to campus to hold his seminar titled “LC to TV: A 30 Year Career in TV” and visited classrooms, telling his story as a student here on campus as well as his experience in the ever-changing media industry.

Duvall as a person is calm, collected and down-to-earth, like most college students. During his time at Lynchburg College he lived his days out much like any student would on campus, playing intramural soccer, driving on the Blue Ridge and hanging out with friends.

“I wasn’t a big library guy, but I did keep up on the homework stuff. For the most part, I was an average student; I had no intent to be an amazing scholar on my part,” Duvall jokingly admitted.

During his time at Lynchburg College, Duvall formed multiple networks and had a stable friend group, two of which he still keeps in contact with. Duvall graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history, but when he graduated he didn’t find his career in anything right away; rather, he went into the food industry – restaurants to be specific.

Students may be under the impression that as soon as you graduate you enter the job of your dreams, but Duvall noted that your dreams may not come true right away. In his presentations, Duvall made constant references to his humble beginnings working in food service.

“If you’ve ever worked in the food industry and lasted longer than a week and a half, you know the definition of hard work.” Duvall understood that the food industry can be a stressful job, and even now as a media professional he has respect for the industry.

“A lot of kids come out of school and haven’t had to work before because of their financial status, because it’s bigger or better than others, and they don’t have that exposure and they get into a white collar job and they’re whiny.” Duvall stated his experience working with employees fresh out of college. “It’s like nah man, maybe go work at a restaurant for a bit and call me back, and you might not whine a whole lot,” he continued.

As Duvall continued to work in the food industry, he experienced his fateful moment by serving a manager who happened to be dining at the restaurant Duvall worked at, and his career into media began from there. Duvall would later go on to be a writer, producer and director in his career in media, and he scored big roles like his current job executive producing The Incredible Dr. Pol on National Geographic.

As many students prepare to take off in the fall or those who are already in situations of working starter jobs, it may be easy to think that life will settle with something as simple as a restaurant job, but as we can see with the story of Ted Duvall, things may turn out just fine.