CEO, digital media content creator wants Black youth and adults to learn 3D animation, emerging technologies

Black Dubuque, Iowa, business leader: "I feel I have a calling here."

Black Iowa News is profiling Black community leaders and residents across the state about the triumphs and challenges present in their communities: the good, the bad, the real. This is the third installment in an ongoing interview series. Know someone who would make for a great interview? Email me at Support Black Iowa News. Thanks for reading.

Dale Campbell Jr.

Age: 64

Birthplace: Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Family: Campbell is divorced and has three children and eight grandchildren, with a ninth grandchild due on Sept. 18.

Occupation: CEO and Founder of Positive Productions Plus, a media creation company he founded in 2018, that works with clients across the country. The company creates 3D animation and works with virtual reality, augmented reality, extended reality and mixed reality technologies also known as the metaverse. Campbell also founded Engage Media Pros.

Education: He studied drafting and architecture at a technical college, received mentoring in computer graphics and 3D and is self-taught.

Community Service: Campbell teaches 3D animation to fifth-graders through a summer program called Kids on Campus at Northeast Iowa Community College. He also teaches 3D animation to adults. He's a member of Dubuque Black Men Coalition.

Dale Campbell Jr., CEO Positive Productions Plus. Photo courtesy of Campbell.

Dale Campbell Jr. rejects the misperception that Blacks don’t belong and can’t excel in booming tech industries. He started Positive Productions Plus, a media creation company in 2018, and now he spends his professional life honing his storytelling skills, creating cartoons, developing local Black historical documentaries using 3D animation, virtual reality, augmented reality, extended reality and mixed reality.

He wants to make sure young Black Dubuquers learn about technology and see examples of Black men exceling in the field. He wants them to have the opportunities he didn’t.

“I did this when nobody else really believed I could,” he said.

Representation matters, he explained.

“In famous realms, like in Disney, it wasn’t a big thing that people of color did,” he said. “It was just the perception that we did not have the knowledge, the understanding, the ability to do these types of things.”

His company provides 3D design, animation, video production, website design, video editing and more. Campbell networks with and advocates for small businesses. He also shared his experiences with fifth-graders. He wants everyone to invest in youth who will become the future workforce and community leaders.

Ultimately, it’s important for Black youth to reject messages that place limitations on what they can achieve, said the Pennsylvania transplant, who has found mentors and community support as a business owner. He also received a grant from the city of Dubuque.

He wants Dubuque city leaders, community leaders, residents and others to deliver on their promises to make change.

"I have a mantra or motto that I live by: on purpose, for a purpose," Campbell said. "I live by that."

Black Iowa News: Describe how you’re working with young people, and why that's a priority for you.

Dale Campbell Jr.: “I wanted to set up a way I could start teaching people 3D animation that will put an emphasis on people of color. Because I need to increase the workforce around me, and the best way I can do that is to team up with them . . . and mentoring and helping kids because I think they have to start at an earlier learning these technologies. I believe technology and media creation is the future that people of color need to go into because people of color are very, very creative people. It has been proven by scientists. We created some of the first artwork in the caves in Africa and we did it earlier and sooner than anybody else. But we as a people don’t realize that . . . I remember being a young man and loving to paint . . . And talking to my parents and others about being a painter and going to school for that, and they told me you need to do something with the sciences . . .

"I think young children of color are discouraged far too much for being creative and using the great minds and creativity they have. We just don’t encourage that."

Black Iowa News: “How will the early exposure to technology benefit Black youth and adults?”

Dale Campbell Jr.: “We don’t want to be 10 steps behind where everyone else is at. This is a driving force. Every new job coming out, in some way, is being driven with media, virtual reality, photography and graphic design for the animation. It’s all a part of who and where our society is at. It’s driven by data in so many ways. And plus, we just need to get to the point where we’re expanding the opportunities that people of color have, so they don’t feel like the only opportunities they have are the ones that are available now. The machine shop, working for the city, owning a restaurant are all great jobs and great businesses our society needs, but we need more parameters, more people that are designing and working in AI.”

Black Iowa News: What about the backgrounds of the kids in Dubuque. What skills do they need to have to participate in the trainings you’re offering?

Dale Campbell Jr.: “I’m just introducing this to young people who are out there. It’s just a matter of creativity and the desire to be creative. A lot of kids in school are getting into making movies, gaming.

"The difference is trying to change the mindset of young people of color that they can do this, and that they should try it.”

Black Iowa News: What do small business owners in Dubuque need?

Dale Campbell Jr.: “I want the city and entrepreneurs and larger businesses that have the money to start considering businesses of color in their everyday decisions when it comes to services and products . . . But I also agree we have to come together, put aside any of our differences and any jealousy we have, then we start giving back.”

Black Iowa News: Why is Dubuque a good place for your business?

Dale Campbell Jr.: "It's the place I know and for the moment I feel I have a calling here."

Positive Productions Plus

Dale Campbell Jr. CEO Positive Productions Plus. Photo courtesy of Campbell.

Top Banner: Dale Campbell Jr. Photo courtesy of Campbell.

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