Alum believes in making every opportunity count
Sioux City, Iowa – One could say that Sioux City Community Schools alum Adrian Kolbo looks at life through a curiosity lens. Adrian’s journey since his graduation from West High School in 2000 has taken him across the country.
Education and the arts played an important role in the Kolbo family, including Adrian and his three siblings who all attended Roosevelt Elementary, West Middle School, and West High School. Having parents that were both art and music majors led the Kolbo children to focus on creative activities and music.
It also provided Adrian with a unique way of looking at the world, something that was encouraged by his teachers in school.
“I vividly remember Mrs. Malek at Roosevelt Elementary. She was so funny, relatable, and witty with a bit of sarcasm that made you feel like you weren’t walking on eggshells to be perfect in her eyes,” recalls Adrian. “We were able to work on things together. So much of learning at that age is less about getting As and Bs and more about establishing a desire to learn and an understanding that teachers are people too.”
In middle and high school, an opportunity to participate in a “micro-society” activity introduced Adrian to the principles of starting a small business, managing money, and trading in the stock market – something the Siouxlander likes to do even today.
“My education was extremely well-rounded and guided by passionate teachers who loved teaching as a profession but also knew the value of passing on lifelong learning as a value,” says Adrian.
After high school graduation, Adrian attended studied mass communication and music at Morningside University, before taking some time off to work for his dad’s small business, focusing on sales and marketing. Intending to compose and produce music, Adrian eventually landed at the University of Indianapolis where he learned recording techniques that he used to make records while living in Indianapolis and Seattle.
A decision in 2015 to move back to Sioux City and be with his dad who had a terminal illness offered Adrian the chance to serve as an event producer for the City of Sioux City. Working on some of the city’s largest events including the NAIA Tournament, Saturday in the Park, and The Big Parade also gave Adrian the chance to work in tourism and promote Sioux City as a great place to visit.
“I have never felt stuck or stagnant. I know that if I am willing to work hard and dedicate myself to a new topic or subject I’ll be able to grasp that subject and communicate with others in that field,” says Adrian, who currently serves as the Director of Wholesale for Stone Bru Coffee Company and volunteers with the City’s Events, Facilities, and Tourism Board. “This has given me a deeper appreciation not just for the things that I do daily to earn a living but empathy and curiosity for others. It’s made me a better manager and helped me seek out new opportunities.”
It has also helped Adrian see the value of authenticity.
“I would encourage students to put down their smartphones and be mindful of social media as a time- waster. Be intentional with your time. We only have a short time while on Earth, and all of us need to leave our unique imprint on it.”