Raleigh at Work: Cool Jobs

Squash Blossom

Ever wonder who gets the cool jobs? Raleigh Magazine takes a look.

Culinary Adventurist

Wendy Perry, 57, travels and works in a gypsy-like camper dubbed Squash Blossom, fancyingWendyPerry herself a roving culinary adventurist.

As a food stylist, she prepares dishes for photo shoots. Her very first attempt was tricky. Food doesn’t always tastes as good as it looks in her world.

“I learned really quick that you don’t always cook food to eat if you’re going to photograph it.”

She says it might sound glamorous, but styling food can be boring. “It took an hour and a half to shoot three pieces of cornbread!”

Perry and Squash Blossom are currently promoting George’s BBQ Sauce, a Nashville, North Carolina-based company whose vinegar and tomato based sauce is sold across the state, including in all Food Lions and Lowe’s Foods.

Squash Blossom gets her where she needs to go and provides a workplace for all Perry’s food ideas. “I wake up in the middle of the night thinking of recipes.”

 

 The ultimate whistle-blower

DSC_5414acmykA trip to Pullen Park with his grandson led to a job for Don Coey after a chat with the train driver. “It looked like a pretty good gig.”

The retired investment adviser drives the miniature train two days a week except for the winter months he says are too cold for him. That’s the downside: no protection from the elements.

Riding the Pullen rails has its perks, though, like being hugged around the knees by pint-sized patrons, says Coey, 70. “But the biggest thing is that we’re right across the street from the Morehead School for the Blind. Those kids are so appreciative that you feel like you’re doing God’s work.”

Pullen Park
Pullen Park

 

 

#SocialmediapaysKristinaKelly

At Ignite Social Media, the company’s core values are in hashtag form.

“What else would you expect?” asks Kristina Kelly, 35, a community manager with Ignite Social Media in Cary.

Twenty-four-hour Twitter parties are part of the job.

“I get to help brands all over the world develop their social media strategies and content,” says Kelly. “I write copy for different brands in different voices, so every day is new and exciting.
We all work hard and play hard. There’s a keg in the office to prove it!”

One challenge of the job, she says, is placating her parents when they ask, “So you get paid to play on Facebook?”

Nice work if you can get it.

—Cindy Schaefer


Check out our other stories in the “Raleigh at Work” series: “Who’s hiring, who’s not” and “The local job market”.

Cindy Schaefer

Cindy Schaefer

Cindy Schaefer spent 15 years as a copy editor for The Raleigh Times and The News & Observer before embarking on a freelance career in 2000. A graduate of UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism, she writes regularly for several local publications, has been the principal editor for several books and serves as a writing coach for high school seniors. She and her husband of 30 years live in Cary, where they raised their three children. Much of her free time is spent advocating for families affected by Spinal Muscular Atrophy, including her own.
Cindy Schaefer

Latest posts by Cindy Schaefer (see all)