Doug Bogue understands first-hand the need for Georgia Tech to continue to improve its athletic facilities. He played football at Georgia Tech from 1976-80 before the school began to improve its facilities and remembers what it was like to work out under trying circumstances.
That’s one of the reasons he continues to support the Alexander-Tharpe Fund. He wants to ensure future athletes will have it better than he did.
“When I went there the program wasn’t really being supported,” he said. “We lifted weights in an outdoor facility. During the winter they had heaters they put up, because we didn’t have an indoor facility. Looking back on all that, it was character building, but at the same time in today’s environment, if you want to have an opportunity to compete on the field, you’ve got to be able to compete in the facilities.”
Bogue is a native Atlantan who graduated from Crestwood High School in north Fulton County. When he was considering his college options, Georgia Tech was always high on his list, but the decision was nailed down when then-assistant coach Bill Curry came to visit.
“The education was a huge part of it, but I picked Georgia Tech over the other schools because of Bill Curry,” Bogue said. “Bill came into my house with his NFL championship rings and, because he’s such a great communicator and motivator, he sat with me and my parents and I didn’t have much of a thought of going anywhere else.”
Once Bogue arrived at Georgia Tech, he was mentored by teammates Mark Bradley and Jimmy Wilson, a pair of Marist graduates who helped him with time management and study methods. He can still recall struggling to get through the difficult classes taught by Dr. Phil Adler, who taught strategic management courses during a 50-year career on The Flats.
“The thing I remember most is that if you do the right thing and work hard and pay attention, you’re going to do pretty well,” he said. “You can’t be intimidated by things that might be out of your grasp when you first get there. Some of the things, I didn’t have a clue, but I figured it out.”
Bogue had planned to pursue a job with Delta Air Lines. He had worked for Delta during the summer and over the Christmas break while in school. But in 1981 President Ronald Reagan fired all the striking air traffic controllers, which sent the industry into a temporary tailspin.
Bogue was encouraged to wait around for six months, but he needed a job and enrolled in a training program at Lithonia Lighting. He learned the industry and has been working in it for 40 years. He worked his way up to become vice president of regional sales and 20 years ago the owner asked Bogue to buy him out. Bogue is now principal of Lighting Associations, which represents and promotes the products of 125 companies.
“When I go to a cocktail party and someone asks me what I do, I tell them, ‘I sell light bulbs,’” he said.
Bogue is pretty sure it would not have happened without his training at Georgia Tech.
“I look back at it very fondly,” he said. “I do believe that one of the keys to my success and the roles I’ve had over the last 20 years in leading and growing the business, is the confidence you get from the hard work you put in. … Adversity is the best teacher in a lot of cases and it certainly was for me.”