We had the pleasure of interviewing Andrew Markey, program coordinator at Discover Bugs, LLC, and amateur entomologist infamous for his huge collection of bugs from around the world.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have always been interested in insects since my early childhood. The earliest memory of my fascination with them was after I discovered a large grasshopper in my backyard, which led me to catch and observe it. I told one of my elementary school teachers about the grasshopper and he told me that the study of insects is called entomology, and suggested that I should visit the library for some books on insects. I checked out several books and field guides but one specifically talked about how to collect and preserve them. This is what led me to the road to perdition.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
The greatest part of my educational program is that my business associate, Ryan, and I get to share our passion for insects with others. The goal of our organization is to spark children’s interest in science, particularly entomology. We bring both preserved specimens from our collections as well as live critters. The funny thing is, most of kids are very willing to see these bugs up close, with many wanting to hold them. It is the teachers and parents that are most afraid. So I found it interesting that the children were not afraid but the grownups were.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Ryan and I weren’t so organized when we were first starting up. I contacted a lot of school administration offices telling them about our company and what we do. One time, a school got back to my email and called us during our normal day job (we do Discover Bugs outside our main occupation), and so we were trying to come up with a good time and day to do a presentation for the entire school. The woman had little patience and quickly got fed up with us being incoherent. Lesson learned: Be organized and know your availability before reaching out to people about your product or service.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
What makes Discover Bugs different is that there aren’t many organizations that do this kind of thing to be honest. Most entomology outreach programs are organized by university clubs and presented by knowledgeable entomology students. That’s about it. Not only does Discover Bugs do classroom presentations, but we offer workshops to community non-profit organizations, as well as visit residential homes for foster children.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Have a good healthy breakfast, get plenty of sleep, and work at a pace that is comfortable to you. Like I mentioned before, Discover Bugs is a side job. It is something that I am passionate about and it fills many voids in my life. I highly recommend colleagues find something to do outside of work that they are passionate about that will help them relax and stay motivated.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
It is hard to name just one name as a lot of people have helped me along the way. My family and girlfriend have supported me since the beginning with their advice and positivity, and coworkers gave me the confidence to overcome my fear of public speaking. I’d also like to give a special shout out to Oliver Greer for inspiring me to pursue the hobby nearly seven years ago. Oliver has an enormous collection of over 2,400 insect specimens on display at the Harrell House of Natural Oddities in Santa Fe, NM.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I’d like to believe that every classroom presentation or workshop that I organize, or even social media posts, inspires at least one person to become enthusiastic about bugs. Such inspiration may lead to future scientists, and depending on your attitude towards science, has considerable importance and will ultimately change the world… hopefully in a positive way.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I post many photos and videos of my insects on Instagram. Please follow me @bugboy and say hi!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
And thank you for the interview!
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