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Eric Scholz ‘12 “Masters” the Art of Small-Business Ownership

Eric Scholz ‘12 believes in doing things for the right reasons. That’s why the former mechanical engineering major now owns an eponymous music production business specializing in the mixing and mastering of vocal and a cappella music.

While he appreciated the career security an engineering degree would likely provide, as a young college student Scholz struggled to find inspiration in the subject matter. On top of a heavy courseload, he was co-directing Acappology, NC State’s premiere student-run, co-ed a cappella ensemble. He was coordinating programs for the university’s radio station, 88.1 WKNC – for which he received the station’s Employee of the Year award in both 2009 and 2010. Scholz was also performing with various bands and doing sound engineering for musical performances throughout the Raleigh community. In other words, he was overextended.

Eric Scholz ‘12

Eric Scholz ‘12

“I wanted to be involved in everything and I wanted to make everybody happy,” said Scholz. “If I learned anything, it’s that sometimes it’s okay to be spread a little thin, but only in the name of figuring out what you really want to focus on.”

By the latter half of his sophomore year, Scholz decided to end the balancing act between his passion and what he merely felt obligated to do. He changed his major to communication with a media concentration, and enrolled in a music performance minor. Upon graduation, he continued his employment with Liquid 5th Productions, a Durham, N.C.-based music production company where he’d begun working the summer preceding his senior year. There he managed and completed album projects, from arranging and editing to mixing and mastering.

“Music is the best way I know to stay connected with my favorite side of humanity,” Scholz said. “Every project I work on with an artist becomes a shared experience – we learn to communicate our feelings while creating something that conveys those same feelings to an even broader audience. It’s visceral and immediately satisfying, but all parties end up learning valuable life lessons along the way. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life.”

In 2014, he launched his own company and has continued to refine his expertise in the artistic and technical intricacies of vocal music production. Since 2011, he has mastered hundreds of releases. Scholz has traveled extensively to meet the needs of his clients, who are based in the U.S., the U.K., and as far away as Singapore. As a one-person shop, he’s had to train himself to say “no” to opportunities when he lacks the bandwidth to tackle them as vigorously as he’d like.

Eric Scholz ‘12 in his studio

Eric Scholz ‘12 in his studio

“I’m still learning to budget my time to allow for work-life balance,” said Scholz. A healthy business needs a healthy leader who has relatable life experience outside the business. I encourage prospective entrepreneurs to invest energy in endeavors you truly believe will improve lives. Profit is part of every business, but it is easier to attain if the products and services you provide speak for themselves.”

A native of New York’s Long Island, Scholz has fully embraced Raleigh as his home and is an ardent supporter of local businesses. He sits on the board of directors for the Hillsborough Street Community Service Corporation, a nonprofit municipal service district that unites the city and university with property owners, merchants, and residents on and around Hillsborough Street.

Reflecting on his undergraduate experience, Scholz credits the Park Scholarships program with providing him an outlet to take a step back and think critically about his life and impact on others. He hopes current Park Scholars make the same “mistake” he made.

“Try being involved in a wide range of activities,” he advised, “but if you realize some of those activities don’t resonate with you, let those go gently and move on to something else.”

posted 2016.08.31