Moffat County Class of 2019 Graduation: Tyler Gonzales keeps level head in chaos with full-time job
Some students are choosing to chart their own course after graduation, bucking the conventional path of college or trade school, but with no less ambition than their degree-seeking peers.
Moffat County High School senior Tyler Gonzales is one such student, who has chosen to dive into a full-time job at Chaos Ink after graduating and feed his passion for design and entrepreneurialism.
“I started working here last May and I just really fell in love with screen-printing,” Gonzales said. “It’s refreshing to come to work every day and not always know what you’re going to be faced with. I have also always wanted to start up a clothing brand which I’m actually doing now.”
Though Gonzales said he’s done well in school, he just never really enjoyed it.
“I like to learn things that I, myself, am passionate about but being forced to sit in class and learn about things I don’t care about was kind of tough for me,” Gonzales said. “I thought, if I want to be my own boss and go the entrepreneurial route, I could teach myself those things.”
Gonzales has proven to be a valuable addition to the Chaos Ink team, said owner Jeremy Browning, who employs nine full-time staff.
“The work we do here is really detail-heavy and it can be overwhelming sometimes,” Browning said. “What’s really nice about Tyler is if I give him something… I can walk away and know it’s going to be handled. He’s super good like that.”
Gonzales has spent his first year on the job doing a wide variety of tasks: burning screens, assisting the press operator, printing on the manual press, handling logistical issues and delivering orders.
“He’s kind of a jack-of-all-trades,” Browning said. “It’s a really good trade to have. It makes you better at whatever else you have to do. It’s one of those unforgiving things: once you put ink on something, it’s done, there’s no going back.”
For Gonzales, the fast pace and demanding nature of the work are good training.
“I think one of the most valuable things I’ve learned is always being able to adapt and kind of assess challenges as they come at you, not getting bogged down by those challenges and instead facing them head-on, and understanding that it really is chaos sometimes,” he said. “You kind of have to roll with the punches and make things work.”
Gonzales plans to stay on the job for at least a year and then move to Denver. He’s in the midst of launching his streetwear brand, named “The Uns,” for being uncommon, unorthodox, unique and “not always going down the path that people expect you to,” he explained.
For Browning, he’s glad to have Gonzales on board as his business grows.
“I think it’s cool that a local kid that’s really on the ball is sticking around and being part of what I want to build here,” Browning said. “I’m trying to build something big. I hope to be twice as big in the next five years, and local talent is what I hope will get me to the next level.”