September 28, 2016

Webster Junior finds passion for photography after hockey injury

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Addison Brush working in his studio at World Wide Technology Inc. in Maryland Heights. PHOTO BY EMILY REYNOLDS/THE JOURNAL

Addison Brush licensed his company, Paint Brush Originals LLC, for its LLC last year. He has recorded, edited and produced over 200 videos and works for the no. 34 company on Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work For” list, World Wide Technology, Inc.

Brush is a junior at Webster University working towards a major in video production and minor in business. Though he doesn’t play any more, hockey has been a major part of Brush’s life since he was three. He is now a referee for USA Hockey. And on top of all that, Brush is training to be a competitive cyclist, but just to stay in shape as a referee.

Finding a passion through pain

Brush started experimenting with cameras in eighth grade when he got checked from behind in hockey and fractured the L5 vertebra in his spine. When he was injured he decided to try his hand at photography.  He joined the photo club at Christian Brothers College High School (CBC) where he made a video using fast moving photographs, similar to  a flip book.

While at CBC he produced videos for the student leadership council. In his sophomore year of high school Brush met William Gegg, his future business partner. Gegg is now a sophomore at Webster. The two worked together on videos for the student leadership council and found out they worked well with each other.

“Things he missed I caught … things I didn’t notice he’d be like ‘Oh, hey, you got this over here’ ‘Change your setting to this,’” Gegg said.

Gegg said it is fun to work with his best friend, but it can be annoying seeing the same guy all day long. They have three classes together, both work for World Wide Technology, Inc. and work on projects for Paint Brush Originals LLC.

Brush and Gegg’s first paid gig was the wedding of one of their teacher’s daughter. Since then they’ve produced videos for World Wide Technologies, The Archdiocese of St. Louis and other organizations in addition to doing scouting reels for student athletes looking to play in college and wedding videos.

Gegg would prefer to work for companies who don’t always know exactly what they want because he can let his creative juices flow. If he messes up he can always go back and do it again. With weddings, Gegg said, things only happen once and there’s no way to get a re-do. That’s why, after college, Gegg said he wants to move away from the stressful wedding videos.

“Weddings make me nervous,” Gegg said.

Other side of the puck

Brush has played hockey since he was three years old. He continued to play through high school but knew he would never have a career in it. When one of his friends asked him to go to referee training camp he went, not knowing what to expect and it stuck with him.

Brush continued to train and move up along the referee ranks. He now referees for USA Hockey and said he hopes he can continue to move up.

It would be a dream come true for Brush to referee a Blues game. Being from St. Louis, Brush said he has always been a fan of his home-town team.

Right now he works with lesser known teams, but most of them are still popular in their home towns.

“Usually the towns we go in don’t have NHL teams, or pro leagues, or anything else. Nobody has anything better to do than watch your hockey team. It gets good crowds though,” Brush said.

In the offseason Brush said many other refs run to keep in shape. Brush said he hates running, so he cycles instead. This is only his second year as a cyclist.

Brush has only fallen off his bike once, the first day he got it. When he first purchased his road bike it had the pedals where his feet clipped into the pedals. He said he couldn’t figure out how to get out of the pedals and took a tumble in his garage.

Last month he completed his first, and second, 100-mile race,  Bike MS in Columbia, Missouri.  Bike MS is a bicycle race to raise money to find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis.

He said he was worried about keeping pace for that long a distance but Brush said his times were five hours and 45 minutes for the first 100 and five hours and 36 minutes for the second, around 16 miles per hour. Men who won in their division for the bike portion, 112 miles, of the Iron Man competition in 2011 averaged a speed anywhere from 14.09 to 23.74 miles per hour.

At one point, going down a hill, the cyclists reached speeds of almost 40 miles an hour. Brush said that kind of speed on a bike is a little nerve-racking. He said he could hear the bike whirring underneath him.

“You just hang on for dear life,” Brush said.

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Brush working in his studio at World Wide Technology Inc. in Maryland Heights. PHOTO BY EMILY REYNOLDS/THE JOURNAL

Further down the road

Brush said he wants to focus on both of his passions once out of college. He doesn’t know how long he can physically be a hockey referee, but he will always have video production to fall back on.

“But, you can also manage a video production company kind of on the road. If you do editing and stuff you can do it in the hotel room,” Brush said.

Gegg said he wants to work at a few production companies before he really focuses on Paint Brush Originals LLC so he knows how a successful one works. Gegg said he wants to be as sure as he can about the success of the business before investing in it too much.

Gegg is a sophomore video productions major at Webster University.

Both Gegg and Brush want to move forward with their business after college.

“If we don’t kill each other by the time we graduate,” Gegg said jokingly.

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