Sitting down to dinner with one of New York City’s original Madison Avenue Mad Men sounds like a wild dream to many advertising/marketing professionals, but for TROY alumna Amy Riddle (’09), it’s a fairly normal occurrence.
As a former business administration/marketing major attending classes on the TROY Dothan Campus, a friendship formed between Riddle and Dr. Joseph Fielding, a marketing professor who spent a portion of his career in New York City working on innovative advertising and marketing campaigns in the 1960s. “The knowledge I gained from him and the relationship I have with him has done wonders within my own career,” Riddle said.
Today, Riddle serves as a production coordinator for Durden Outdoor Displays, Inc., Southeast Alabama’s leader in outdoor marketing.
Beginning her career as a receptionist at Durden, Riddle said she was blessed to be able to learn the ins and outs of her company while pursuing her marketing degree from TROY.
“I wanted a 4-year degree, and I needed to be able to work full-time and go to school full-time, so TROY Dothan was the perfect fit for me,” she said. “I knew I wanted to do something creative, and that led me to change my degree from business to marketing after one year at TROY. Durden was the deciding factor for me. Since beginning working here, there’s never been a dull moment! … I’ve been able to work my way up through the company.”
As Riddle worked her way toward her degree, she said she had the opportunity to take courses online as well as in class. “Had those online courses not been available back then, I would not have graduated on time. I would have had to drive between the Dothan and Troy campuses to stay on schedule.”
While Riddle said online courses proved to be a major help in her obtaining her degree, the relationships she made with her professors and the knowledge she gained from their expertise were some of the greatest blessings of her academic career. “I would honestly say Dr. Fielding never taught out of the textbooks. We learned so much through his life experiences. He’d give us scenarios that actually happened and ask us, ‘how would you handle it?’ I learned more from him than if he would have taught straight from the textbook.”
Now, as a proud TROY alumna, Riddle said she is still learning from the friendship she and her husband, Mike, share with Dr. Fielding.
“We all get together for dinner often,” she said. “My husband owns an advertising agency, and if there’s ever anything we want to bounce off of [Dr. Fielding], he’s been great to listen and offer his advice.”
After 13 years at Durden Outdoor, Riddle said she’s still enjoying learning from her career experiences. “I like that I’ve started from the bottom and that I’ve been able to dabble in every department,” she said. “And I’ve found my niche on the production side. Now, I’m in a management position where I oversee a team of 12 who are on the road working throughout the Southeast.”
Since finding her entrepreneurial spirit as a TROY student, Riddle said she’s been able to put her degree to use within her husband’s advertising agency that launched in 2013. “We’ve went from just him and an advisor to an eight-person team,” she said. “Our 5-year goal is for me to eventually go work with him.”