While attending Weber State University in the early 1980s, Alan Stock swept floors and popped popcorn at a local Ogden theater. He returned to Utah last week from Cinemark headquarters in Dallas, Texas, as CEO to open a new theater in time for the premiere of the much-anticipated conclusion to the Harry Potter movies.

“I’ve been in the theater business since I was in college,” Stock said. “I worked for a local theater chain called Consolidated Theaters back in those days. My dad is a veterinarian, so I was actually going to school for more medical — I was premed, and I actually got accepted to optometry school, but for this whole time I’ve worked in theaters. My very first theater job was when I was 14 at a drive-in theater in Colorado.”

Although nationally, WSU isn’t very well known, it has created an educational background for many big-name CEOs like Robert Dotson, president and CEO of T-Mobile, and now Stock, CEO of Cinemark. Stock, while attending WSU, was named the district manager for Consolidated Theaters in northern Utah, eventually leading him to move to Texas, the headquarters of Cinemark, and become the CEO of the company.

“I love the theaters and decided to stay in the business,” Stock said.

According to the United States Census, business was a popular field of training at all levels beyond high school.

“I think, certainly, any time you want to go to college and learn and understand the basic principles of business and all the experiences that you gain will help you on your path,” Stock said, “so there’s no question that Weber’s a great school. There are great professors, and it’s a great background to prepare you for things you’ll encounter in the real world. For me, it was very helpful to me, obviously; I got a combination of both real world and school because I was working in the theater chain at the same time I was going to school. From a practical basis, you’re not only learning from books; you’re learning how to apply that stuff in a business environment.”

Although Stock never actually graduated from WSU, he was able to rise above in a profession that he loved. Stock has been with Cinemark for more than 25 years, during which he has helped it grow both domestically and internationally, with 1,100 screens in many other countries.

“I think probably one of the biggest things is the application of what you are doing in school and how you are going to apply it once you get out of school,” Stock said. “That’s the key to me. You’re going to learn and develop and you’re going to understand things in a book world and for your professors, but how are you going to translate, what are you going to do to translate that into a real job? I think kids need to make sure, as they’re studying and as they’re learning, to think about how they can apply it in the real world.”

Stock said that one of the main things he thinks made him a successful businessman was his ability to stay on top of change. Stock said that it is important for students and entrepreneurs to know what they love to do, and stay on top of the growth in that chosen field.

“Success for any business person relies on their relationships with people — how do they interact with people, your values and your statements. I’ve always been one that says for me to be successful — for our company to be successful — we all need to be aligned in that same direction, and I think your values and your principles and where you’re headed are incredibly important to that. If you have that foundation and you have those values and you have what you’ve learned and you apply them, then I think you can definitely be successful.”

The Signpost will be giving away free tickets to the new Farmington Cinemark for the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 premiere today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., or until tickets are gone, in the Signpost office (Shepherd Union Building Room 401). Free tickets will be given to those who can answer a question about this article, as well as a question about the Harry Potter series.

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