Discovering a talent after placing second in a statewide oratorical contest in junior high, Eric has always enjoyed public speaking. So perhaps it’s not surprising that the leader of his high school’s future educators club has paired his lifelong interest in learning with a passion for sharing knowledge, sometimes in unexpected places and ways.
- Public Lecturer – in addition to public advocacy, Eric has been regularly invited to speak on topics of his own research or for public education. He discussed the curatorial challenge of interpreting objects of history at the New Winston-Museum, described Winston-Salem’s historic hotels for a National Historic Preservation Month, previewed new Moravian resources for the African American Geneaology Group in Philadelphia, PA [featured section image above and below], and talked about the Moravian experience with persecution as part of an interfaith religious freedom program sponsored by local Latter-Day Saints. Eric was often featured speaker at the Lunchtime Lecture series sponsored by the Moravian Archives and Moravian Music Foundation, talking about that collection’s preservation and topical holdings.
- Teaching– though he held teaching assistant posts for two grad school classes in history of science at the University of Pennsylvania, Eric’s most consistent teaching experience was as a twenty-year instructor for small group studies at Centenary United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, including a year as interim youth minister and founding the Celebration Sunday School Class. Eric’s Sunday School classes were a seminar discussion format, focusing on Bible studies, life issues, religious history and literature. A favorite summer session course he designed surveyed the gospel story as told through art history. He also served a terms as education representative on the church’s administrative board and chair of its child care center board.
- Trainer/Facilitator – receiving training in nonprofit board best practices from Karl Yena and HandsOn Northwest North Carolina, Eric later ran board workshops for Winston-Salem Writers, Inc. and the Moravian Archives. He’s also led training sessions for the Forsyth County Board of Elections and for a variety of group day retreats. Eric’s years of interactive teaching have made him an excellent meeting and discussion facilitator.
- Heritage Tourism – joining in the fight against the destruction of neighborhood historic houses, Eric worked up a sketch of an imaginary tourist brochure and asked the City Council : “What if we advertised the value of Historic Winston as much as we did Old Salem?” With a successful vote against the rezoning of the historic house parcel, Eric became convinced that an intentional marketing of the history of the area was key to its appreciation and preservation by non-resident city-dwellers, guests and future politicians. Working with the local Convention and Visitors Bureau and Historic Resources Commission, Eric went door-to-door to get financial support from area merchants and shared his PowerPoint of the area’s story at community events. In 2002 he produced a first tourism brochure – doing all photography, text and layout – and launched a self-designed website for the area’s attractions. With a registered servicemark he branded his marketing campaign materials with the tagline “Winston-Salem’s Front Porch “ Soon a publisher picked up the brochure and asked if Eric had enough photographs to make a book: by 2004 he did. Six editions of the brochure were created from 2002-2012, all featuring family friend and well-known regional singer Martha Bassett, a few with shots of Eric’s two growing sons as well.. Eric was invited to join the local Association of Visitor Attractions representing “West End Historic District” and helped design cooperative marketing materials for them. Though his marketing campaign has ended, Eric’s branding remains. He continues work in heritage tourism as an occasional tour guide for the area..