Meet a PROTEC grad who now has his own company

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SFCC’s short-term classes for PROTEC (Professional Readiness for Technical Careers) often lead to jobs as well as further study.

Aaron Lopez, PROTEC film graduate
Photo courtesy of Joshua Fresquez of Aaron Leon Multimedia.

PROTEC grad Aaron Lopez shares his story:

 “I was an IT tech for a local company in Santa Fe for 10 years, but it was something I didn’t really have a passion for, so I left the job and went back to school at Northern New Mexico College and chose film. I wanted to act. I had no intentions of being a filmmaker. Then my professor suggested I try PROTEC. I graduated from the first PROTEC program SFCC ever offered, PROTEC Film, in 2017. We learned a little bit of everything, from creating a presence of yourself to building a résumé, filming aspects as well as social media aspects.

“Right after PROTEC, I was able to be part of a play production, a collaboration between Northern New Mexico College and Santa Fe Performing Arts. It was the first play about lowriders ever written. I wrote some of the script and acted in it.

“Then, knowing what I learned at PROTEC, I went ahead and made a film about PTSD. At the time, I was suffering from PTSD not because of being in the military but because of things that had happened in my life. Everything I could find about PTSD revolved around the military, so that’s what made me create this video. It was pretty successful, utilized by colleges and universities nationwide. And then I went on to write a couple of thrillers, short films that earned some awards with the New Mexico Film Office and the New Mexico Film Foundation. Since then, I’ve graduated with my associate degree in film and digital media arts and a bachelor’s degrees in integrated studies with an emphasis on anthropology and film.

“I’m the marketing director for Performance Maintenance Inc. and when I’m not working there, I have my own company, Aaron Leon Multimedia. I’ve secured jobs with everyone from contractors at Los Alamos National Laboratory to The Lensic’s Mariachi Christmasin December. Being behind the camera has given me opportunities to travel the country. It’s been amazing.”

—Aaron Lopez, PROTEC graduate