Outstanding Communication Alumnus and Career
UCF Nicholson School of Communication alumnus, Clay McMillan, ’90, was awarded the 2015 Outstanding Communication AlumKnight award at the inaugural ceremony in February. McMillan was recognized for his exceptional career and his continued service to the university.
McMillan serves on the UCF Nicholson School of Communication’s Board of Visitors and runs his own production company, CMI Production Services, which offers a wide variety of video production services to the Orlando business community.
McMillan started his radio television career in the mid 1970’s, when a friend approached him about becoming an announcer for a weekend radio show, airing on a local college campus in Missouri. While in high school, McMillan’s interests expanded to the Audio Visual and Theater Departments, earning him recognition for his service and awards by the school.
McMillan’s early college career started at Central Missouri State University, where he became involved with the campus’ PBS television station, switching shows like Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers Neighborhood when he wasn’t attending classes.
In the years that followed, McMillan attended The Broadcast Center in St. Louis, and it was there that he was offered his first paying job in radio. A few years later, McMillan would join the US Army and serve in the AFRTS (Armed Forces Radio Television Service) as a radio announcer. Upon completion of his military service, McMillan moved back to Central Florida to complete his college education at the University of Central Florida.
While working towards his degree in Radio Television, McMillan worked full time at WOFL TV 35, Walt Disney World, WESH TV 2 and Universal Studios. He was also selected into membership in Alpha Epsilon Rho, an Honor Society for students enrolled in the study of Electronic Media.
Then in 2001, McMillan was encouraged by his professional peers to embark on a path that would change his life forever. He started CMI Production Services, an Orlando based video production company that would offer services of every discipline that McMillan had learned in his career thus far. In McMillan’s own words, “I was finally the master of my own destiny. Doing what I wanted to do, making great money while doing it, and having fun in the process! I have been blessed and I am so thankful.”
Being a professional networker, McMillan’s associates have often said that there are two degrees of separation between McMillan and almost anyone in the business. So if you don’t know him yet, it’s just a matter of time.
McMillan shared some more about his time at UCF and offered advice to students and alumni.
Why did you choose to attend UCF?
I was new to Central Florida back in 1985 and I wanted to finish the radio-television degree I started in 1978. UCF had a really good program, so I enrolled.
How has your UCF degree helped you in your career?
I stayed in the Orlando area while earning my degree and when I completed it, it was a great talking point with people in the industry who also worked and lived in the Central Florida area.
What is your best UCF memory?
I have two: The day I was told I satisfied all the requirements for graduation and the day I was told I was to receive the UCF Outstanding AlumKnight Award by the College of Sciences.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
I am self-employed and I have been in some pretty amazing places with some pretty amazing people. Each day brings new challenges and unique opportunities. No one day is the same as another.
What is your most memorable experience on the job?
Meeting Audrey Hepburn.
What piece of advice would you give to current students as well as UCF alumni?
Study hard, take advantage of every opportunity available, take pride in yourself and your school and then go show the world what you can do. Oh yeah…and don’t forget to have fun!
McMillan answered some more questions in our 30 second ‘get to know you’ round of the interview.
If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, with whom would you choose to dine?
I was adopted, and I already met my biological mother, so I would like to dine with my biological father. I would also enjoy dining with Jesus. Lastly, I would enjoy a meal with Ronald Reagan. I love the relationship he had with his wife, Nancy.
What is the happiest and/or proudest moment of your life?
The day I met my wife and soul mate.
What is your favorite holiday (and why)?
It’s actually a season. Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. I love the sights, smells, tastes and love of the holiday season.
Where is the farthest you have traveled?
If you could witness any event — past, present or future — what would it be?
There are so many, but I think one of them would be the signing of the Declaration of Independence.