Marine veteran Jordan McClendon
Jordan McClendon was only a few classes away from finishing his media studies degree at UNCG when the pandemic hit in 2020. “I had an internship and was working for Central Intercollegiate Athletics Association, when everything just stopped.” But in the middle of the summer, he looked for opportunity and found it, starting a small business in Gibsonville selling hemp-based products.
Before McClendon came to UNCG, he was a Marine motor vehicle operator, and he says the discipline that was instilled there carried him through UNCG, starting a business, and now juggling that, his family, and his CIAA work. It also taught him to look for opportunity and seize it. “Everything was shut down, and I had six kids and a family and had to do something. So I took my money and invested it in this business.”
He was already familiar with the burgeoning hemp-based CBD industry, since a cousin is a co-owner of a California and Atlanta-based company. “I knew that it was profitable, but I also knew that it could help people.” He wanted to provide a healthier alternative to pain relief than what he’d seen others prescribed, he explains.
As the pandemic has waned, he has returned to film production for the CIAA—a collegiate sports organization spread across a dozen HBCUs on the East Coast. He travels to shoot footage and edit it.
Now he juggles film, his business, his family, and the one class he has remaining for his UNCG degree. “I went in the Marine Corps when I was 17, and there were lots of things we’d ask ‘What’s that for? It doesn’t make any sense.’ Now I know. You still have to get up at 5 a.m. to do something.”
By Colin Cutler ’16 MA