Distinguished Alum Bob Mikkelson visits campus

Mikkelson shares his birds-eye view of “College Gameday”

BY Kyle Wahlberg and Thor Thompson

wahlbergky@mnstate.edu

thompsonth@mnstate.edu

It’s not every day you get to meet a legend.

For those in the mass communications department that legend is Bob Mikkelson. Mikkelson, who attended MSUM from 1968-1972, owns his own business, Winged Vision. Winged Vision is a company that Mikkelson started in the ‘80s through which he uses military equipment to help control the stability of his cameras.

“My claim to fame within the business was [that] I was the first one who really brought to the industry a successful, reliable, stabalized camera platform,” he said.

Mikkelson has been in the business ever since, shooting video for golf, soccer, skiing, football, and even the olympics. His planes can do what no others can – get those hard to reach spots all while staying steady and focused. He is the guy who shot the overhead moving shot for ESPN’s “College GameDay” last year in Fargo.

“You don’t realize how lucky you are until you see what being unlucky is. I have lived unlucky and I prefer lucky better,” Mikkelson said about his past experiences.

Mikkelson started out after college as a political appointee for the Federal Aviation Association, and worked with Hubert Humphrey in Washington D.C. He would work during the day at the office and then go to grad school at night. This led him to making many contacts, ultimately leading to him finding out about the military equipment.

“I got a call from a guy at the FAA. So I became a special assistant to the administrator for the FAA, and the two of us traveled all over the United States and Europe together in a private government plane.”

When Mikkelson started his company back in 1983, he said it was successful because of the equipment and because of his education.

“When I started my own deal, I had credibility. I have a degree in communications, so I was able to talk about it.”

For now, Mikkelson spends almost half the year on the road, doing something he always dreamed about. For example, on Saturday Mikkelson was in Fargo shooting aerial shots for ESPN. On Sunday he was in Denver, providing coverage for the Kansas City Chiefs vs Denver Broncos football game.

“I’m on the road 150-160 days a year, that is just normal to me.”

Mikkelson said he appreciates coming back to the university, adding that support from the school and students is what brings him back.

“I still come back, I enjoy coming back to the school. I have great memories, I enjoy talking to you guys.”

For Martin Grindeland, a mass communications professor at MSUM, seeing Mikkelson again is something he is thankful for, citing his time, money, and energy and for students, someone they can look up to.

“Bob has shared so many things with students over the years.  He also has given us equipment which is something we find invaluable.”

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