8 — WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17, 1998 Commerce THE URIAH DAILY JOURNAL. Hollyworlds' Philip S. Heller is one of a new breed of architects. I .os Angeles Times photo Cutting edge tech careers By DEMISE HAMILTON Los Angeles Times Syndicate E ver since high school, Philip S. Heller knew he wanted to be an architect. But he never aspired to build houses or bridges, at least not in the traditional sense. "I wasn't sure how to describe to people what I wanted to do, because the words didn't exist then. I just knew I wanted to create 3-D worlds on the computer that people could interact with," the 30- year-old Brentwood architect explains. Then along came the Internet, virtual reality and CD-ROMS. Suddenly, Heller had the vocabulary, as well as the technology. At UCLA's Graduate School of Architecture, from which he graduated in 1993, Heller used Silicon Graphics machines to build 3-D models. His thesis project was a 3-D performance space where computer users could gather at a virtual intersection of the 405 and 10 freeways. Upon graduation, Heller joined Virtual Vegas, a Santa Monica tech start-up, where he designed a virtual reality casino online and on CD-ROM. His starting salary was $30,000, more than he would have made as a beginning architect at a large firm, he says. But the real payoff was working in a fledgling industry where he could establish a track record. Heller is now the architect designing virtual reality Internet worlds for Hollyworlds, a Santa Monica-based company with 25 employees responsible for the cutting-edge 3-D Web sites for such sci-fi movies as "Spawn," "Lost in Space," "The Fifth Element" and "Titanic." Heller designs the worlds and produces the project, working with a team of programmers, artists and other tcchies. "It's a job that's half architecture, half special effects, and I think it's going to be one of the world's largest professions in the coming years, as everything that already exists is (re)built in cyberspace," says Alex Lightman. CKO and founder of Hollyworlds. Working out of his home office. Heller often spends more than 12 hours a day at the computer, and he says an experienced VR architect can make $75,000 a year - more than he would be making at this stage at a traditional firm. It's no wonder that more architecture graduates want to move into this field. Students already use computers to model projects. But now they're also learning how to design an entire 3-D universe. "It's become very strong in the last year," says Don Leeper, the network manager for UCLA's architecture school, who says the program recently hired two more faculty members to teach students how to integrate computers with architecture and electronic design. At least one course in 3-D design is taught each quarter, he adds. Not by Heller, though. In his spare time, he works on his own private project, America VR, a community of 3-D worlds on the Internet, which is at http://www.americavr.com Planning seminar to take place next Wednesday Organizations need to position themselves to catch the crest of market trends and customer needs. In "Strategic Planning, an Organization's Key to Success," Jim Mayfield, local businessman and community leader, will iden- tifty the tell tale signs of market trends and share innovative planning strategies which will position organizations to "catch the cud" to growth and prosperity. The seminar, co-sponsored by the Leadership Alumni Association and the Greater Ukiah Chamber of Commerce, will be held 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 25 at the Ukiah Branch of American Savings. Call 462-47605 for information and reservations. A $25 donation is requested. HOME EQUITY LOANS NO Points! NO Documentation Fee! NO Kidding! We can SAVE you a bundle of $... do it now while rates are low. We Want to Say to Your Loan Request... I 462-6613 • 9644723 • 937-0545 OF MENDOC1NO COUNTY A Full Service Community Bank Member FDIC DELIVERS! INCLUDES: Air Conditioning, alloy wheels, AM/FM cassette, bedliner, Payload package, rear seat, gauge package, rear anti- lock brakes, power steering, 3 year 50,000 mile warranty and even a full tank of fuel on delivery! -j 5 995 -1000 SALE PRICE INSTANT REBATE ID#TM05120 * Upon approval of credit. Price + tax, license, & $45"° doc. fee. KEN FOWLER AUTO CENTER PONTIAC • CADILLAC • BUICK • CMC TRUCKS • MAZDA • SUBARU 2150 N. STATE ST. • UKIAH • 468-0101 • 1-800-287-0107 Education equals earnings By JOHN CUNNIFF AP Business Analyst NEW YORK - There is an income split in the American work force that no amount of Congressional legislation is likely to close. Attempts to do so, such as through minimum wage legislation, conceivably could even worsen it. The problem is illustrated by a deadly set of statistics compiled at the University of Michigan showing the relationship between education and income, but it is not the only way in which the widening split is demonstrated. The Michigan study shows inflation-adjusted incomes for high school dropouts actually fell from 1984 to 1994, while workers with college degrees or better rose. In fact, the biggest rise of all, 13 percent, was among workers with more than a college degree. This is the age of technology, which places a premium on expertise. On, for example, an engineering degree with a master's in business administration. As a rule, but with notable exceptions, the greater the education, the higher the income. It is the age of information too, and those with the greatest or most specific information generally can look forward to good jobs. It is an entrepreneurial age too, both within established corporations and among the very smallest companies. Technology It is a world of swift change as well. Companies never could sit back and enjoy their success because eventually they would be overtaken. But today, as opposed to a few decades ago, they can be overtaken in a matter of weeks or months rather than years. Change demands adaptation, and without question those with the best educational bases are those who can make the changes. For them, education is a lifelong pursuit, whether they work for a large company or a tiny business run out of a home office. In such a society, the high school dropout must first fight for a job, and then fight to keep it, and the fight is a lifelong fight and usually a losing one. Lacking a good base, the uneducated worker receives meager raises and slips farther and father behind. And it could get worse in spite of legislated increases in the minimum wage. Think-tank studies suggest that minimum-wage increases are followed in the next year by a decline in beginner-job creations. Potential employers simply remove the bottom rung on the ladder. True, a worker without a high school diploma can succeed, and some do. In fact, there is a type of dropout so inherently bright and anxious to get on with the "real" world that he or she cannot abide school. They live by their wits, sometimes make great entrepre- neurs. . * This type, however, is me exception, and the modem world has become so complex and demanding that there is less opportunity for them. They .'do succeed, but do so in spite of. all obstacles. Generally speaking, the world today requires more and more education. The Michigan study shows that the head of household with less than a high school diploma earned $20,291 in 1984 but only $17,918 in 1994. These are comparable figures -each of the yedrs is stated in 1996 dollars so that they can be measured against each other. •'* Even those with a high schdol diploma earned less in 1994 than in 1984. The figures, based «on 7,000 interviews in 1984 and more than 10,000 in 1994. In the earlier year they earned $34,569; in the latter year, $31,648. ».' l i * The study suggests that eyfcn those with some college ediipa- tion are losing their income momentum. In 1984, this category of household head earned $41,794, and only $366 more a decade later. '! " ! . The deadliest evidence of all is revealed by figures for those household heads with more than, a college degree. They earned $56,798 in 1984, but $64,294, in 1994. And, while the Michigan study does not say so, the gap may have widened since then. '. Continued from Page 3 They're not working the way they used to; fewer people are responding and, in fact, a lot of people are paying down their existing credit cards. The response rate on 3.01 billion solicitations last year fell to a record low of 1.3 percent, according to Behavioral Analysis Inc., a market-research firm. Recent rates have been even lower-just 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter. The rate for platinum card solicitations was even lower at just 1 percent, said BAI, despite the fact that it accounted for 40 percent of all mailings. Standard- card solicitations attracted a 1.7 percent response rate. One major factor in the change is the popularity of home equity loans at much lower cost. And that cost is lowered still if interest is deductible from income taxes. •Big sales. They tend not to be effective as they once were. The big problem for^sellers is that buyers expect everything to be'-bn sale at a discount. Moreover, today's consumer is far more aware of marketing techniques than the shopper of 1970. The vast growth of discoiJrit clubs, the development of everyday low price concepts and tjje popularity of factory outlets accounts for some of the* l$st effectiveness of what used tabe considered typical promotibns, such as white (household linens). sales in January. ••-> .••••;•. •(,«•# • K.C. Meadows Editor Ukiah Daily Journal Meet the editor Ukiah Daily Journal Editor K.C. Meadows wants to meet you. Head' down to Schat's Courthouse Bakery 113 W. Perkins Street Thursday ;! morning at 7 a.m. to discuss ,• current events, give her story ideas'^ respond to stories you've read in ,. the Daily Journal, or just chat. ; Groups of local residents have had- rousing conversations /^ about education, yv] transportation, \ X. ^ child rearing, supervisors' salaries and more. Join in!
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