Getting to know...Scott Cochran
Scott Cochran is happy to be home again.
The 1988 Wofford graduate proposed to his wife on the steps of Old Main. Twenty-one years later they have six kids, aged two to 18, and Scott is back at Wofford, working as director of career services.
“I worked at UPS Capital, a financial services company for seven years,” says Cochran. “I was with GMAC Financial Services for 13 years before that. I had lunch one day last February with Calhoun Kennedy (89), who is in development at Wofford. We played baseball here together and have stayed in touch over the last few years. He kept me updated on what was going at the college. I had toyed with the idea of teaching at a college and asked him his thoughts on the matter.
“He said ‘Hey, do you want to come work for Wofford?’ I said, ‘I can’t teach at Wofford. I don’t have a Ph.D.’ He said, ‘I’m not thinking about teaching, I’m on the search committee for career services. We’re looking for a new director, someone who can bring a business perspective to the campus. I think you’d be great fit.’”
After a phone call with Dean Roberta Bigger and an interview with the search committee, Cochran was offered the job. So here he is, helping students prepare for the corporate jungle that awaits them upon graduation.
“I’m not confident enough to say that I can completely make a difference in a student’s life, but what I can do is give them insight that I don’t think they can get from just anyone. I’ve been out there for the last 20 years. I’ve hired a lot of people in that time. I’ve seen a lot of changes and I know what it takes to be successful in organizations. I can give them inside information going into an interview on what people are looking for when they interview them.
“I think when they hear that the economy is struggling the way it is and they keep hearing about job losses piling up, they realize that Career Services can really offer them something valuable. There ARE jobs out there, but they’re only going to the best. Students are competing against a legion of others who are graduating. If they’re not razor sharp, they’re not going to get the job.”
Over the last couple of years, in addition to being responsible for marketing, technology, and the credit card business at UPS Capital, Cochran focused on developing people from a leadership, behavioral, and culture standpoint. This paved the way to a smooth transition into his new job.
“I’m doing a lot of the same things here,” he says. “I’ve always enjoyed helping people improve. And I believe I have learned things over the last 20 years that can help students be successful. Plus, I’m really enjoying myself. This is the first job I’ve had where I’ve told people ‘If I hit the lottery I’m not quitting.’ I’ve never had a job where I could say that before.”
Cochran already feels like he’s hit the lottery once. He’s very proud of his family, with whom he spends most of his time away from work.
“We spend a lot of time together,” he says. “We love to ride bikes and take walks. My oldest daughter competes in Cowboy Mounted Shooting. That involves shooting off of a horse traveling at 30mph. She recently won the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship. She was first out of 93 competitors. My two older sons are excellent cyclists. My oldest has actually been invited to represent the U.S. in the Tour de L’abitibi the last two years. It’s the junior Tour de France, basically.”
But don’t confuse Cochran with Lance Armstrong.
“I’m getting older,” he laughs. “I don’t ride quite as much anymore. I ride with them on their off days…those are the days when they ride slowly. When my son is training in season, he might do 200-300 miles during a week.”
The return to Wofford has opened a whole new venue of activities for the family. They love coming to Wofford sporting events and they take advantage of cultural events such as the Troubadour and Chamber Music series’ whenever they can.
It was a long journey back to Wofford for the Cochran family. They’re not about to slow down now.