Dick Harmon: Granite High grad, NFL Films producer Kevin Bushman believes faith works

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 15 2012 3:36 p.m. MDT

The building housing National Football League's NFL Films is seen, Monday, Jan. 22, 2007 in Mount Laurel, N.J. Granite High grad Kevin Bushman had no idea someday he'd be doing Emmy Award-winning work as an associate producer with NFL Films.

Mel Evans, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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When Kevin Bushman graduated from Granite High, he wanted to major in math.

His fascination with crunching numbers remained as he attended Ricks College and went on an LDS Church mission to Venezuela before graduating from BYU.

He had no idea someday he'd be doing Emmy Award-winning work as an associate producer with NFL Films, soaking in the emotion of Dick Vermeil and setting a mic to the very private and powerful New England coach Bill Belichick.

But one day, a dream hatched for Bushman and he chased it. Gone was the desire to do equations and measure triangles. In its place came a desire to tell the stories of football's giants. Bushman's story teaches a lesson that you can do what you hope to do, regardless of the odds.

Today, Bushman is in his 15th year with NFL Films and lives in Mount Laurel, N.J., with his wife Rhonda. They are the parents of five children. He is the only BYU graduate among the 200 employees at NFL Films and the only Mormon he is aware of on staff.

"If it's important to you," Bushman advises young people, "take a chance. You will be surprised how many people will help you reach your dreams if you show them how important it is to you."

How did Bushman get from math major to a producer of some of NFL Films top programs like "Hard Knocks," "A Football Life," "America's Game," "NFL Films Presents," "Top Ten," "Road to the Super Bowl" and "Inside the NFL"?

One day while attending BYU, he approached his uncle, Bob Gillman, who worked at KBYU-TV, to see if he could do something at the station. One of the things he was allowed to do was hold a mic on the sidelines of a BYU football game. "I enjoyed that," he remembers. Within a week, he changed his major to communications.

This was about the time Steve Young and the San Francisco 49ers made their last Super Bowl run in the early '90s. Bushman watched an NFL Films Superbowl video on the event and was fascinated. He decided one day he'd like to tell the stories of NFL heroes.

Bushman got on the Internet and found an 800 number for NFL Films. "I needed to do an internship and I called the number, not knowing if it was a number to order videos or if I'd actually get to talk to somebody."

What he did get was positive reinforcement from that call. The person was impressed that he'd be willing to come across the country and work for nothing for half a year, just to be an intern.

Bushman packed his bags and moved to New Jersey without a place to stay. Once in town, he called the local LDS stake president, Burt Willis, and asked if he knew anybody he could stay with during his internship. Willis said he'd check and call him back the next day. Within a few hours, Willis called Bushman back and said, "Why don't you just come over and stay with us?"

Bushman's internship was filled with basic grunt work, gofer stuff. But one day toward the end of his tenure, the company started up nfl.com, a website devoted to the league. Since Bushman was one of the only gofers who could operate the software and knew how to work a computer, he was given the responsibility.

This led to full-time employment at NFL Films and then the title of associate producer.

Even today, Bushman's attitude and willingness to work on anything has served him well, and it's a lesson to those who want to get into a new business, be it sports, marketing or journalism. Actually, about anything. He was willing to pay the price.

"There isn't anything at work I think is beneath me to work on. I enjoy it. We do get kids in who are new and they immediately want to be working on the highest-profile programs. They want it now."

Bushman advises, you have to take chances, make sacrifices and be willing to accept what happens.

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