Antelope Intros: David Lemus and John Clayton
Antelope Intros is a recurring GCU Today feature that introduces some of our new employees to the people around them in a way that is fun and informative. Employees are eligible to be featured in the month following their orientation.
Job location: Grand Canyon University Golf Course clubhouse
What attracted you to GCU? An odd set of circumstances led me here, and I ended up falling in love with GCU. My family and I went to the Rock and Worship Roadshow Tour in Anaheim, Calif., and during that time I was getting ready to apply to schools and transfer out of Irvine Valley College. During the show, they played an advertisement for GCU. My mom nudged me and told me she thought it would be a great fit for me, so my family and I went to the booth and spoke to a representative. I eventually signed up for more information and ended up getting a guy named Kevin as my counselor. Kevin reached out to me and asked me to meet up at a local Krispy Kreme by my house. When we met up I’ll never forget the first words he told me: GCU’s ratio of girls to guys is 70/30. I promise we weren’t being creepy, but that was how he sparked my interest. Meanwhile, I had paid a company to send my transcripts to four other different schools in California, and they all were denied. Apparently, the company I paid didn’t send my transcripts to any of the California schools. I later got an acceptance letter to GCU, and at this point I realized God had shut the doors to every other school I applied to and left one door open. So Grand Canyon University it was! I graduated in December with my degree in Accounting and was hired as the accountant for GCU Golf Course the following Monday.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? Music. Whenever I need a break I’ll pick up my guitar, sing and worship. I grew up in the church but became a follower of Christ when I was 20. I started singing in choirs, plays, musicals, etc. at a young age, and that musical experience mixed with my passion for Jesus turned into leading worship for college groups, youth groups, churches and other gatherings. I decided to learn guitar in 2014 and really only picked up the four basic worship chords that can be used in almost any worship song. I lead worship at my church, and my worship pastor, Bodie Wade, has been a huge inspiration to me in pursuing my musical knowledge and in growing me in ways I never could have accomplished on my own.
What are you passionate about? Sriracha. I once followed a Sriracha chili truck to the factory so I could get a free tour. It was a dream come true. The factory was located in Irwindale, Calif., and had barrels on barrels on barrels of Sriracha. I would have taken one home if they would have let me pay for it. One Christmas I got more than 15 bottles of Sriracha, all from different people, because they know it’s one of my favorite gifts. I’ve tried Sriracha chocolate, Sriracha candy canes, Sriracha popcorn, Sriracha chips, Sriracha beer, a gourmet Sriracha grilled cheese and even have a pair of Sriracha underwear to match my Sriracha Halloween outfit. I could go on and on.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? First Friday in downtown Phoenix, and hiking at Squaw Peak or Camelback.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: My dad and I won $22,000 on Wheel of Fortune. My mom loves the show! She watches it all the time and can guess puzzles before letters are even on the board. So one day she was on the website signing up for audition calls and she got an email in 2010 that they were auditioning for the show with the theme “Dads and Grads.” This happened to be the year I was graduating from high school, so we were eligible. The next thing I knew we got a phone call that we had an audition, so my dad and I decided to give it a shot. The audition was held in L.A. and was three different cuts. We had to fill out crosswords and other puzzles, introduce ourselves to the judges and basically show them who we were. We left the audition having no idea if it was what they wanted, but we had fun. Weeks later, we got the call. I thought we were going to get crushed because I was a 17-year-old against college grads, but we ended up winning an all-expense paid trip to Costa Rica for 10 days.
What are you most proud of? Achieving my degree in Accounting and pursuing my Masters in Accounting. My dad is a business owner and owns his own shipping company, so he always has been adamant on his kids graduating with an accounting degree. I used to butt heads with him on a daily basis because I didn’t want to pursue it. My dad even offered to pay for school if I majored in Accounting, but in all my stubbornness wouldn’t accept it. I eventually moved out and began pursuing forensic science. After a year of working three jobs and supporting myself I finally burned out and decided to go down the accounting path. It has been a tough road, but God has brought me to a place where I am so thankful for my dad and his willingness to pay for school. I now feel blessed to have been given this opportunity, especially since it has led into a full-time position with an organization I love.
Job title: Enrollement counselor
Job location: Peoria, 27th Avenue
What attracted you to GCU? I worked at University of Phoenix for 11½ years starting in February 2004, when Brian Mueller moved up the ranks there. I have been watching what he has been doing over the last six years as president of GCU, and the change has been impressive, to say the least. I am ready to advance my career and need to be in a growing environment to do so.
What do you do for fun and where do you find that outlet? I find enjoyment in a lot of things, from working on cars to playing video games with my two sons. I also enjoy writing fictional novels and have published one that is designed to make people think about where they spend their time, money and resources and if they are making a significant difference in society. I am working on my second novel, which is intended to be the first in a book series in the murder and mystery genre.
What are you passionate about? Because I came from a broken home, my No. 1 passion is my family and doing everything I can for them. I don’t want my kids to ever experience what I went through with my family, and I take my responsibility as a father and as a husband very seriously. I also am passionate about helping others become better at what they do and how they do it. I accomplish that by spending time to get to know them, then teaching them how to overcome their fears and take the first step, whatever that step is, toward something better. I would love to own my own business someday and maintain a safe and secure work environment for others. One idea is an urgent care facility, and another is a customization auto shop. The latter is more of a hobby — I like working on cars.
What are your favorite places or events in the Valley that you like to visit? I spend more time than I would like at Desert Ridge Mall because my wife loves to shop, but mainly I like hiking, shopping and going to the movies.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know: I was the first in my high school to run a mile in less than four minutes. I always have enjoyed distance running, but I also like martial arts, soccer, football, basketball, bowling and shooting pool. I have won two pool tournaments and have started taking an interest in parkour, a training discipline developed from military obstacle courses.
What are you most proud of? My kids. Despite everything that is going on in our world today, they have a solid morals and a good grasp on how to be a positive part of our society.