From Kean to the NBA, Alumnus Talks Careers with Students
Every time NBA fans watch an instant replay or read the statistics that crop up during broadcasts of the games, they see the work of Kean alumnus Chris Halton.
And he credits Kean with helping him get started.
Halton, a Kean graduate who is now senior vice president for media technology and operations for the National Basketball Association, visited Kean recently to talk to students about his career and offer insights on how they can succeed on their own professional paths.
“Everyone is going to walk in with a resume that says they graduated school, but you have to show how you differentiate yourself,” he said. “You’ve got to be a sponge. Never stop learning along the way. I can say with absolute confidence that what I learned from Kean enabled me to get my first job.”
Halton, who graduated in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology, spoke to students at Kean’s School of Computer Science and Technology about his path from working as a design engineer for a firm that made car parts to vice president for technology at CNBC and then to the NBA.
At the NBA, Halton manages the league’s statistical capture systems, video footage archive, replay center technologies, content production tools and the nationwide network connecting arenas across the country to a technology center in Secaucus.
“We’re able to move nine angles of video in real time from the court back into one centralized location,” he said. “All of the replays are happening from this location. Our content creators, using specialized tools, are able to create highlights in near real-time for all social networks and NBA platforms. For example, a content creator can say ‘look at that historical career highlight’ or ‘look at that great dunk by LeBron.’ Within seconds, we can create multi-angle short video clips for each platform and distributed globally. All that happens in our facility on a nightly basis.”
Halton told students they should seek work experiences to differentiate themselves; develop a strong work ethic; and learn how to present themselves well and look people in the eye.
“I was on this campus at one time thinking about what I was going to do after graduation -- how I would get my first job,” Halton said. “I want to tell you that it’s possible. I went to Kean. Here I am, I work for the NBA.”
Patricia Morreale, Ph.D., director of the School of Computer Science and Technology, and Assistant Professor Wai-Tak Wong, Ph.D., who hosted Halton in a software engineering class, said the visit helped students see their professional paths.
“He did a great job of showing that career paths are not linear. It really hit home with our students,” Morreale said.
Wong said Halton’s presentation was vivid: “He was a witness from Kean’s alumni - a living example to imitate.”
Kean student Marko Karanikic, who is from Montenegro and expects to graduate next year with an M.S. in Computer Information Systems, said it was inspirational to hear from an alumnus who had gone to the same school, and walked the same campus as he does.
“The part of his speech when he explained that completing college was just a ticket to enter the workforce, and the advice that we should struggle and hustle to succeed was the one that made the biggest impact on me,” Karanikic said.
For his part, Halton said he also enjoyed being at his alma mater. He took the time to walk through campus and see how Kean has changed.
“It was nice to go through and see Rogers and Whiteman halls where I lived,” he said. “The bones of the campus are all there, but I can see the change, which is great. It’s a good school; it’s a good education and a beautiful campus; and I’m proud to say that I see it developing.”