01 April 2023

From Analytical Education to Creative Training

Vernon Chalmers Academic, Business, Training and Development Journey

Form Intel Corporation, Foundation of Blu-C, Photography and back to Psychology 

'Left Brain to Right Brain' Education and Training

Vernon Chalmers Labour Relations Training SAS Simonsberg Simon's Town Photo Credit: SA Navy : Mental Health and Motivation
Labour Relations Training SAS Simonsberg Simon's Town, Cape Town Photo Credit: SA Navy
When I was a young first-year student in Cape Town I made a solemn promise on my way to my first lecture - if ever given the opportunity, I will educate, train and develop others for the rest of my life.” ― Vernon Chalmers

Image 1: Vernon Chalmers Training Officer South African Navy
Students and me (I’m back row on the left) from my first ever self-designed training course (on Labour Relations) - as a young training officer / labour relations consultant (responsible for Military Leadership / Military Management / Labour Relations Strategy and Consulting) for the SA Navy at the Military Training School, SAS Simonsberg, Simon’s Town and the SA Naval Staff College (for Naval Officer Training) in Muizenberg during the early 1990’s. Some of my (personal) biggest achievements where two Chief of the SA Navy Awards for Labour Relations / Military Management Training and being selected as one of the youngest members of the Chief of the SA Navy's Steering Committee for Military Management and Leadership Training (across the entire organisation).

Secretly shaping of my interest in Information Management and Technology
As a Management and Social Science student I was recruited (from my second year) by a covert  Information Management and Technology agency involved in Secret and Top Secret national and international projects for the South African Defence Force. I was duly granted an official SA Government Secret clearance and over a three-year period was exposed to some of the best local Information Technology (IT) software engineers / computer systems in the country. What was quite ironic (to keep a secret) was the many days I attended lectures in full business attire - under the pretence of working as a part-time sales representative. I was prohibited to talk to anyone about the existence and / or my affiliation to the agency - and I worked there most afternoons, evenings (and weekends). 

I became fascinated by IT Systems to such an extend that I quickly learned not only to design / integrate complete desktop / workstation IT Systems, but also learned how IT (and the fast-developing Internet) should be applied for improving individual / group productivity, corporate communications and analytical / data management performance objectives. Working for / and be further trained by Intel Corporation a few years later enabled me to consult growing businesses and lecture various Information Systems, Software and Management modules to different groups of graduate and post-graduate students. However, my most important personal learning interests where, above all, still focussed on the cognition, development and further research of human behaviour / motivation.   

Academic / Private Sector Education, Training and Consulting 
The years between Image 1 and Image 2 was quite a journey. During these years I have had the privilege of lecturing (and designing / facilitating many training courses) at various business schools, universities and private training institutions across South Africa (Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban). I was provided with many opportunities for consulting / lecturing / facilitating subjects such as Strategic Management, Financial Management, Human Resource Management, Training Management, Labour Relations / Law, Industrial Psychology, Self Management, Small Business Management, Entrepreneurship, Organisational Behaviour, Consumer Behaviour / Market Research, Corporate Communications, Business Economics, Macroeconomics, Accountancy, Advertising Management, Project Leadership / Management, Supply-Chain Management, Marketing Management, Change Management, Information Systems Management, Information Systems Architecture /  Design / Integration, Corporate Website Strategy / Design / Implementation / Analytics, E-Commerce Strategy / Application, Internet Marketing Strategy / Application, Social Media Strategy / Application and Quantitative Analytics / Global Consumer Visitation / Market(ing) Behaviour Analysis (where applicable).

Intel Corporation and the founding of Blu-C (and beyond...)
During this busy time (of lecturing and consulting day and night) I was very fortunate to be recruited by Intel Corporation (USA) as the company entered the local Information Technology market with Marketing and Sales offices in three South African cities. At the time Intel was a Global Top 10 company in the S&P Fortune 500 Company Index (as one of the world's largest semiconductor / CPU manufacturers) - to manage the commercial desktop Central Processing Unit (CPU) 'Intel Inside' advertising / education campaigns and the more industrial 'Intel Product Integrator' and (Intel Workstation / Server / CPU's, related high-performance Motherboards / Network Interface Cards) Sales, Marketing and related Dealer Training programmes in Cape Town. Intel Corporation entered the South African market in 1997 and as one of only a few South Africans I regularly attended Intel CPU / Information Systems Architecture and Integration Training in various UK  / European cities. 

Iconic Reading: "The Intel Trinity: How Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore, and Andy Grove Built the World's Most Important Company" by Michael S. Malone Amazon

Inspired by Intel's PhD founders, Robert Noyce, Gordon Moore and Andy Grove it was more than an honour and privilege to work for one of the world's top-ranked (Information Technology) companies at the time. I have had the opportunity to meet / work with the U.S.-based Intel Corporation CEO and Chairman of the Intel Board, Dr. Craig Barrett in Johannesburg and was impressed by his charismatic and highly intelligent, but humble global business leadership approach. In many ways Intel Corporation (with it's famous founders and extraordinary semiconductor / technology journey since the 1960's) motivated me to do even more (on my own) with Information Technology, Education and Training. 

Don’t be encumbered by history, just go out and do something wonderful.” ― Robert Noyce, Intel

I left Intel after a few years to pursue further post-graduate studies in Business Administration, International Economics, Organisational Behaviour etc. - and to do the exciting 'dot.com' start-up of Blu-C with my friend, Joseph Inns - a creative Internet, Information Technology (Desktop System Integration and Networking), Database Development, Public Relations and Photography agency in Pinelands and later Rondebosch, Cape Town. During this time I maintained my part-time lecturing and after four years as executive partner at Blu-C returned to (almost) full-time lecturing, JSE Derivatives Trading, Organisational / Information Technology consulting and private Internet Marketing / Social Media Strategy consulting / training across the Western Cape, Durban and Johannesburg.

Today Blu-C is the registered name of my Photography Training Studio / Private Accommodation Apartment (with Joseph Inn's personal blessing before he sadly passed away in 2021).

Privilege and Responsibility
I never had a favourite or preferred subject. The privilege to contribute to so many careers and lives came with an enormous sense of responsibility and motivation during the entire 'left brain' lecturing / facilitation period. I have very fond memories of lecturing at the SA Navy's Military Training School / Naval Staff College. I enjoyed the discipline, military organisational structure and the close-knit social environment. I also learned about / enjoyed international traveling and was subjected to a sublime professional business culture at one of the most successful global IT organisations (while working / training at Intel Corporation). One thing I did not really enjoy after leaving the SA Navy was the endless driving between university campuses during the week and many Saturday mornings, but always with the same objectives of being prepared and never to be a minute late (albeit with the same privilege and motivation). At Intel Corporation it was more / less the same, the endless travelling schedule across South Africa and abroad took its toll on all the other plans 'I had in my head'. Nevertheless, I am still grateful for each and every opportunity/ I received. 

Paradigm Shift: Education and Training to Creative Application, Research and Training
Since 2010 I started with a complete paradigm shift, transitioning from the above to photography / photography training. I transformed my photography hobby into an educational, training and support system by first educating myself with a thorough academic understanding of the art and science of photography, followed by application through the research, design, development and facilitation of various Canon EOS Camera & Photography Workshops and currently, one-on-one Training Programmes (Birds in Flight / Landscape / Macro / Speedlite Flash / Lightroom Post-Processing) at my Milnerton training studio apartment (opposite Woodbridge Island), Cape Town. My Photography Training Philosophy.

Canon Camera News Website
I started archiving and researching the entire Canon EOS SLR / DSLR / EF / EF-S lens, PowerShot camera ranges (and related accessories, manuals and international media releases) and during 2012 launched my Canon Camera News website. Today the website (with the full range of the current Canon mirrorless EOS R System cameras - and RF / RF-S lenses) is an 'one-stop online destination' to more than a million global Canon camera (and to a lessor extend Canon small office / home laser and inkjet printer) users for the viewing / downloading of historic and up-to-date Canon camera and printer-related support information (for a growing international user circulation of +- 130 countries per year).

The 'ever-present' Joseph Inns
My friend, photography lecturer and former business partner, Joseph Inns, played an extraordinary role in assisting me with my transition into photography. He's knowledge, experience and personal qualities guided me in more ways he would ever have known. Joseph unfortunately passed away in 2021. I dearly miss my friend, but will never forget the 'mindful' impact he has made on my life and career. Grieving the loss of my friend, Joseph Inns

Delegates during a Vernon Chalmers Landscape Practical Session on Milnerton Beach : Mental Health and Motivation
Delegates during a Landscape Practical Session Milnerton Beach, Cape Town : Photo Credit: Steve Williams

Image 2: Vernon Chalmers Photography Training Milnerton / Woodbridge Island

Students during a recent Landscape / Seascape Photography Workshop at Milnerton Beach. Theory (settings / composition) was presented at Intaka Island, Century City and practical sessions for Canon and Nikon photographers were facilitated around Woodbridge Island and Milnerton Beach.  About everything during the years stayed the same (although I have completely changed subjects). I have the same intensity and interest in the development and training of people. 

Vernon Chalmers Intaka Island Photography View >>

Vernon Chalmers Kirstenbosch Garden Photography View >>

Vernon Chalmers Woodbridge Island Photography View >>

Vernon Chalmers Photography Training View >>

Photography is absolutely more creative than any of the left brain subjects I facilitated, but the personal responsibility, research, preparation, support and ultimately the privilege is the same (for me).

Mental Health and Motivation Website
The website was created during May 2021 as an online journaling project expressing my experiences and views with reference to Emotional Wellbeing, Neuropsychology and Sense of Self Research / Resource Sharing. More >>

Human Brain Asymmetry and Lateralization
With my omnipresent interest in education, training and developmental psychology I have found contemporary neuroscience as a fundamental physiological requirement for gaining more insight into cognitive vs. emotional decision-making biases and subsequent behavioural responses. Learning more about human brain asymmetry and lateralisation and how the limbic system controls our cognition, motivation, emotions and stress reactions etc. are indeed fascinating, but also serves as important personal guidance in understanding more about human behaviour challenges / development.   

Photography Training Research Project 2023 / 2024
Metacognitive Assessment and Review Opinion: Photography Training and Development. 
This research project will be inclusive of a fundamental pedagogic assessment orientation with emphasis on creating assumptions of the adult learner's challenges in improving cognition, behaviour, skills and creative ability. More >>

Hybrid Mode: CFD Trading on the JSE
What I did retain form my more analytical 'left brain days' is my Contract for Difference (CFD) trading on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE). This is an effective way of keeping my mind sharp and it provides for my only 'set' daily schedule - the JSE is open Monday to Friday between 09:00 - 17:00. I live every week day with these 'office hours' in the back of my mind - even if I don't trade and just walk around Intaka Island, Kirstenbosch Garden and / or Woodbridge Island doing my photography. I trade only for myself therefore the research, decision-making and management of my own derivatives portfolio is a personal, but 'challenging strategy, application and risk management exercise' for stimulating analytical thinking.

© Vernon Chalmers : Mental Health and Motivation (Education and Training)

Vernon Chalmers Academic, Business, Training and Development Journey

“Optimism is an essential ingredient of innovation. How else can the individual welcome change over security, adventure over staying in safe places?” ― Robert Noyce, Intel

"We are bringing about the next great revolution in the history of mankind - the transition to the electronic age."  Gordon Moore, Intel

"Not all problems have a technological answer, but when they do, that is the more lasting solution."  Andy Grove, Intel

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