People

Business entrepreneur fondly recalls tennis playing days at PBJC

Dillard (left) with some friends outside ELA curry kitchen in Palm Beach Gardens.

Gregory Dillard was born and raised in West Palm Beach. After graduating high school in Atlanta, he returned, entering the Business Management program at then Palm Beach Junior College in 1985.

After his father passed away in 1987, Dillard took an alternate path into the Army where he played for their tennis team from 1988-1991. But his tennis prowess developed while at PBJC.

One of his fondest memories of PBJC comes from being a member of the tennis team. “My first year playing on the team was the last year international players were recruited, so the team was very diverse. PBJC’s athletic program was a powerhouse in the late 1980s.”

Dillard’s tennis coach, Jonathan Klorfein, became the most influential person during his two years with the College, guiding the team to a #2 ranking in the nation for two-year colleges. In fact, Klorfein inspired Dillard to continue to play tennis and they both continue to play today.

The two are still friends today, talking and meeting regularly with former teammates. “We try to get together once a quarter to talk about life and memories. It’s great staying in touch with everyone,” says Dillard.

Since then, Dillard has advanced through several business management roles, including Pepsi Co., Metlife and a wine company where he was inspired to develop a wine database. But, when it fizzled, he kept the name and began the video production business he operates today: Grapeseeker TV.

“It was a unique name and I wanted to keep it,” recalls Dillard. “Most businesses in the video industry have a name that doesn’t relate to video, so I felt safe going with it.”

Launching Grapeseeker TV in 2001, Dillard’s graphic design work comprised 90% of his business for the first five years. “The entire industry has shifted to becoming heavily influenced by social media. It has changed so rapidly you have people creating great content, even a short film, from their cell phones.”

Dillard sees his future self as a mentor to those up and coming in the production industry, maybe even teaching the craft. “What young videographers don’t realize are all the accessories that are needed, such as lighting, motion stabilizers and sound control. With accessibility to creative content, the opportunities are infinite. And long gone are the days where you need a six-figure camera.”

Producing projects across the country, Dillard owns and manages one of the top video productions companies in South Florida, providing an array of corporate video services.

Today, Dillard has words of wisdom for students. “Let the word ‘no’ be your motivating factor. What got me into PBJC was a great story. I just didn’t know how strong the school was in tennis, which turned out to be a tremendous part of my own development and life’s journey.”

In recognition of Palm Beach State College’s 90th anniversary, the weekly Alumni Spotlight Series showcases the College’s role in preparing generations of graduates to achieve success in myriad careers and give back to their local communities.

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