By Julia Straka, ’21

Deon Price, C’14, began his undergraduate studies in Information Technology Management at the School of Continuing and Professional Studies the fall semester after his mom, Debra Jones, GC’10, graduated from the school with a master's degree in human resource management. 

Price is currently an asset manager for the Virginia State Corporation Commission, a regulatory agency that oversees businesses across the state in several industries, but has kept his ties with University of Richmond strong. He gives back to the university community by connecting other students with employers like his and serving on the Board of Directors for the SPCS Alumni Association. 

Price grew up during the “computer boom” of the late 90s, and his interest in computers began at the age of 12, when he went to his first computer show with his father. Price remembers taking computers his mother bought at auctions apart and putting them back together as a child; he describes himself as always being a “natural computer guy.” 

He began interning at Reynolds Consumer Products during high school, and even arranged for a school bus to drop him off at his job after class. 

Price credits his family for his decision to go back to school. His mother, Debra Jones, attended night classes and took 17 years to earn her undergraduate degree. Her perseverance paid off with a master of human resource management from SPCS in 2010. 

His mother also influenced Price’s school choice. Price was impressed with SPCS after attending one of his mom’s demo classes; he liked the small class size and the engaging professor. 

At the time, Price was in small classes at John Tyler Community College and appreciated the attention his professors were able to give him. He wanted to keep developing strong relationships with his instructors at his next school. SPCS allowed Price to connect with his professors as he had before: "I really got what I was looking for," he says. 

Price joined the Student Government Association (SGA) during his time at UR and became vice president just before his graduation. He volunteered at tailgates and other social events organized with SPCS students in mind. 

Through SGA, Price was able to become more involved with the college community: “I was intrigued by being part of a university at that stage of my life,” he says. SGA also served another purpose: it allowed Price to experience the inner workings of a board environment. 

Price references the school mascot when talking about the professional opportunities UR has given him: “It seems like every opportunity I’ve had, there’s been a Spider there,” he says. He compares the webs spiders weave to the Spider network.

The manager who led his interview for his former position in infrastructure support at Independent Container Line turned out to be a UR alum. Price's connection to UR helped him land that job and ultimately influenced his career path: “That connection afforded me that opportunity,” Price says. 

Price’s connections and classroom knowledge paid off in his last job interview as well. 

Just before his interview for his current managerial position at the State Corporation Commission, he ran into the human resources director in the elevator. The director invited him into his office, which Price noticed was decked out in UR memorabilia. They bonded over their school experiences, almost losing track of time and the impending interview. 

However, the director ended up being the toughest of the interviewers. Price expected technical computer questions, but instead was asked about his people skills and how he would handle hypothetical situations. Then, they asked him about his personal leadership style. Price remembers feeling stumped by the question, but then recalling a paper he had written for an SPCS class. 

Price says he thought he “had the toughest professor ever” at the time, and remembers writing lots of papers. One of those papers happened to be about leadership styles. Because of the assignment, Price was able to give an impressive, well-thought-out answer and scored the job. 

Price started his own business, Price Services, selling and repairing computers during his undergraduate career at UR. He credits a marketing class he took for teaching him about brand recognition and helping him expand his customer base. 

When asked about how he juggled school, a career and his own business: “a lot of coffee,” Price says. Though he attributes his success to his own motivation and drive for results, he also brings up his mother again. She was diligent and never gave up on her own education, which motivated Price to do the same. 

Now, Price serves as a Board of Directors on the SPCS Alumni Association and is committed to alumni re-engagement, one of the five pillars of the university’s five-year strategic plan. He has shared information about internship opportunities at his own employer with several university offices and attended the last Spider Career Expo. 

As a board member, he is also involved in SPCS scholarships and relates to both the struggles and personal joy recipients who have decided to go back to school encounter. Price can’t seem to help but gravitate back to the school: he feels inspired to “give back because they gave me so much,” he says.