Alumni Spotlight - January 2023
Marty Mickelson '02
Martin Mickelson grew up in Junction City, Oregon, near Eugene, and was always interested in computers. His family had the original Apple IIe, which inspired his studies as a student at Junction City High School. Before graduating in 1996, he attended a college fair, where he first learned about Oregon Tech and explained that it was like fate; once he saw the Oregon Tech booth, something clicked for him, and he didn't even consider any other schools at that point.
Marty was on the residence hall staff at the Klamath Falls campus of Oregon Tech. A computer sciences major, he soon realized the need for video resources on campus. The school's Channel 6 television broadcast showed PowerPoint slideshows of upcoming events, but the channel needed to be updated regularly and contain engaging content. Marty and his classmates wanted to change that, so they submitted a grant to get equipment, and the Oregon Technical Broadcasting (now known as Oregon Tech Broadcasting) club was born. Marty and his friends, including Jacen Bridges, Jake Miller, and Leif Espelund, and many others learned video editing and developed a sketch comedy show broadcast on Channel 6. Although they started with more traditional news broadcasts, the channel became a hit once they began doing comical pieces. The videos of their skits were initially shown in the residence hall lounges but eventually moved to the auditorium because they outgrew the space due to popularity. Even people from off-campus came on campus to see the shows. Just before Marty graduated, the club became a fully funded department of the university as the third arm of the media services, joining the Edge newspaper and KTEC radio. Marty graduated with degrees in software and hardware engineering in 2002.
Marty moved to Seattle after graduation, and in his first post-college job, he filmed the Renton city council meetings, and soon Fun Key Computers hired him. Shortly after, Adobe employed him, where he stayed for nine years. His next and current position was at Silicon Publishing, where he has been for the past 11 years. Marty serves as the CIO of Silicon Publishing as a jack of all trades. He manages cybersecurity, builds installers for the software, works in sales, handles quality assurance, works on scripting/programming, and much more.
In 2019, Marty's brother, Brent Mickelson, an avid television food competition fan, called him with an idea to develop a game about a baking show. The brothers decided to go all in and created a standout card game. They hired an illustrator, invested in the game, and Marty utilized his graphic design skills. Testing was a significant aspect of bringing the game to life. Marty's wife, Jenny, a preschool teacher, tested the game with her students. Marty also held a game night at a retirement community to try the game with residents and tested it at libraries with families as well. Marty and Brent's families had a hand in developing the game, titled Hasty Baker. The Mickelson's focus and goal were that the game appeal to all ages, children, and adults alike. They held a Kickstarter campaign in September 2019 with a goal of $6K, and instead, they raised $10K. The game was produced by mid-December that year, just in time for the holidays. The brothers called their new business venture GoChuckle, and Hasty Baker, their first product, has been honored with various accolades.
The Season 15 Winner of Worst Cooks in America, Allison Victoria-Wolfe, heard about the game and contacted the Mickelsons. They sent her the prototype, and she loved it. Then, Keaton Ashton, winner of both Season 9 and the All-Star Kids Baking Championships, endorsed it! Additionally, the game has won the following awards:
- Creative Child 2022 Game of the Year award
- 2022 Autism Live Card/Board Game Winner (Adult category)
- Creative Child 2021 Game of the Year award
- 2021 Autism Live Card/Board Game Winner (Teen category)
- Creative Child 2020 Game of the Year award
- Tillywig 2020 Best Family Fun Award
Marty has three sons, ages 13, 12, and 9, and currently resides on Vashon Island in the Seattle area. Although busy with two full-time jobs, Marty, an Eagle Scout, enjoys spending time with his family outdoors whenever possible. RV travel and camping are a treat for the family. Marty is also very involved in his church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and is currently in leadership at the Vashon branch.
Marty advises current or potential students to "Go for what you love to do, not just what seems like the best thing for you financially. Make sure you do something you love to do to avoid getting stuck in a job you don't like because your job will suffer.” And one more important piece of advice, Marty says, “Touch grass!"
GoChuckle is now working on their next game, and you can learn more about this Oregon Tech alumnus and his brother at: https://www.gochuckle.com/.
~ Written by Becky Burkeen, Director of Alumni Relations