Our differences are profound. Especially when it comes to careers and career choices. This year, the Epic News Network’s photo staff decided to explore those differences — especially those careers that aren’t necessarily considered the norm. We’re pleased to share this effort, we call Odd Jobs.
The Hot Sauce Maker by Alexis Adams
The company is called Rescue Dog Hot Sauce. The owner’s name is Tim Heitzman. He sets up shop at the farmers markets in Oklahoma. His hot sauces are made in Oklahoma and they have creative and original flavors/ingredients.
He also works with dog rescue organizations to help spread the word about them and find homes for the animals. He calls it “a business with a purpose.”
All of his dogs have been rescued, he even has a tattoo on his arm of one of his dogs. The dog that is tattooed on his arm is named Tiago. The logo for his company is also one of his dogs, named Maya.
He has a website that is coming soon.
The Speedway Infield Worker by Nathan Ritter
Eric O’hara has been an infield worker at Creek County Speedway for nineteen years. And= infield worker flips the cars over if they wreck or on cautions guild where they need to go. The track marshal, Marcus Long, has done all the flag stuff for 22 years. Long is in control of calling the start of the race, all cautions, black flags, halfway lap call, one lap to go, and the good old checker flag.
There’s also the Track Prepper, who grates and waters the track before the race and at intermission.
The Private Jet Pilot by John Williams
Jim Brewer is a private jet pilot who works out of Duncan Oklahoma. He says he has been interested in aviation for as long as he can remember. He fulfilled his dream of being a pilot when he got his pilot license in 1979 and left the oilfield forever.
For a while, he flew skydivers even owned his own stunt plane and even owned the Duncan airport for 20 years. He now lives in Loco, Oklahoma with his wife, Linda. After he quit flying skydivers, he began flying for a private individual and has done so for 29 years. When Jim decided to become a pilot, his mother-in-law, Lavern Lawrence, decided that she wanted to do the same. She ended up becoming one of very few to build an experimental airplane and fly it 900 miles by herself! Although he plans on retiring soon.
Jim is still flying for a private jet owner at the age of 66.
Jim said the job is demanding, and causes him to be away from family, fly in bad weather conditions, and even deal with the occasional emergency. Although Jim is not responsible for the jet’s expenses, he notes that the cost of upkeep and flying a jet is very expensive.
The jet that he flies, the Citation Sovereign, costs about $400 dollars per hour for wear and tear on the engines and $1000 dollars per hour in fuel consumption.
“Money can’t matter to them,” Jim said of those who purchase their own jets. Jim said he is paid handsomely for his services, about $750 for every day he flies.
The NASH Designer Clothing Studio by Gracie Johnson
Photographer Gracie Johnson visited the independent design studio, NASH. NASH is a family run business. Both sisters went to the same college and it was in Georgia. One woman’s husband is from Columbia; the two sisters are from Edmond. They never thought they would be back in Oklahoma but sense COVID-19 hit they moved back here and opened up NASH.
The owner said she didn’t see herself here now because she wanted to be a fashion photographer and just wanted to learn the basics of sewing but she learned way more in designs and has her own clothing line now.
She also showed me a picture of her when she was about six years old and she made her little sister a paper dress.
The Antique Store Owner by Alexis Adams
The name of the store is Out of the Past (Into our future) Antiques. The owners are Terry and Angela Sowards.
The Antique store buys, sells, and trades. They also have a little hobby of selling plants outside. The plant section started because one of Terry’s family members has a sleep disorder, so they found a way for them to have a job that they could work at any time. Two others that have disabilities have also found a job there that works for them.
The Sowards bring things in and have to dust it off and clean it a little bit. The really nostalgic stuff – they keep it original, most people like it that way. Although some people do like it restored.
“We love nostalgia and advertising it,” Terry said. “It’s fun and what’s exciting about it is that you can offer people something that’s hundreds of years old” and this stuff is made to last, that’s why it’s still around.
He said a person really has to love the antique business it is “not as big in money as people think it is.”
He puts things outside so people can see it when they drive by. Out of site, out of mind.
The Mercantile Shop Owner by Bekah Disney
Menecca Gibs owns a small business in Guthrie Oklahoma. She started Cleveland & Co Mercantile during the pandemic. Before she started this business, she and her husband were in the oil field industry.
However, after losing her job there she focused more on her hobby of making candles and soaps. She also works on supporting local businesses and local people looking for a way to sell their products.