Doug Bogue understands firsthand the need for Georgia Tech to continue to improve its athletic facilities. He played football at Georgia Tech from 1976 to 1980 before the school began improving its facilities and remembers what it was like to train under difficult circumstances.
This is one of the reasons he continues to support the Alexander-Tharpe Fund. He wants to make sure that future athletes will have it better than him.
“When I went, the program wasn’t really supported,” he said. “We lifted weights in an outdoor facility. During the winter, they installed heaters, since we had no indoor installation. Looking back, it was character building, but at the same time, in today’s environment, if you want the opportunity to compete on the field, you have to be able to compete in the facilities.
Bogue is an Atlanta native who graduated from Crestwood High School in northern Fulton County. When he considered his college options, Georgia Tech was always at the top of his list, but the decision was made when then-assistant coach Bill Curry came to visit.
“Education was a big part of it, but I chose Georgia Tech over the other schools because of Bill Curry,” Bogue said. “Bill came to my house with his NFL championship rings and because he’s such a great communicator and motivator, he sat with me and my parents and I didn’t really think about going anywhere else.”
Once Bogue arrived at Georgia Tech, he was mentored by teammates Mark Bradley and Jimmy Wilson, two Marist graduates who helped him with time management and study methods. He still remembers struggling to keep up with the tough classes taught by Dr. Phil Adler, who taught strategic management classes during a 50-year career on The Flats.
“What I remember most is if you do the right thing, work hard and pay attention, you’ll do pretty well,” he said. “You can’t be intimidated by things that might be out of your reach when you first get there. Some things I had no idea, but I understood.
Bogue had planned to pursue work with Delta Air Lines. He had worked for Delta during the summer and during Christmas vacation while studying. But in 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired all striking air traffic controllers, which temporarily sent the industry into a tailspin.
Bogue was encouraged to wait about six months, but he needed a job and signed up for a training program with Lithonia Lighting. He learned the industry and has worked there for 40 years. He worked his way up to vice president of regional sales and 20 years ago the owner asked Bogue to buy him out. Bogue is now a director of Lighting Associations, which represents and promotes the products of 125 companies.
“When I go to a cocktail party and someone asks me what I’m doing, I tell them, ‘I sell light bulbs,'” he said.
Bogue is pretty sure this wouldn’t have happened without his training at Georgia Tech.
“I look at it with a lot of emotion,” he said. “I believe that one of the keys to my success and the roles I have held over the past 20 years leading and growing the business is the trust you gain through the hard work you put into it. …adversity is the best teacher in many cases and that was definitely for me.