In love with the world of architecture, Courtney Larsen thought he had his life all figured out. But it wasn’t until he fell in love with his future wife, while at UAA as an Architectural and Engineering Technology (AET) drafting student, that he really found his passion.
Courtney received a bachelor’s of science in architectural studies from the University of Utah in 1999. Architecturally-driven, he decided to attend UAA to get reacquainted with architecture and gain more technical skills. So, Courtney enrolled in UAA’s AET drafting program.
But Courtney always had a fine eye for things—whether it was apparel, jewelry or building design. So, when it came time to propose to his soon-to-be wife, Jessica, he searched everywhere for the perfect ring. But to Courtney’s dismay, he could not find a ring that he dreamed to give her. So, Courtney designed her ring through Microsoft PowerPoint.
While at the UAA AET program however, he then learned how to use a 3-D drafting and design program, AutoCAD, that’s typically used for designing architecture. But Courtney used it to design the perfect wedding band for him. “In the olden days, you would draw a design on paper, and to impress a client you would make a physical model. Today, modern technology allows us to create that 3-D model digitally in AutoCAD.”
After they were married, Courtney said he began thinking more about becoming an entrepreneur. “I always wanted to start my own business, and then I kept getting compliments on my ring. So, I was like ‘what if I start this as a business?’”
Jump starting a line of jewelry seems like a cool and fun idea, but Courtney found out it was much harder than he thought. “Well, first I needed to establish my business, and then develop a product line, render the designs in AutoCAD, send them to the jewelry manufacturer, and then to a patent attorney.”
Courtney now holds four design patents. He is owner of Eternally Classic Jewelry (www.eternallyclassicjewelry.com) which was launched August 2006. “One of the design concepts behind my jewelry is the symbolism of two pairs of hands clasped in matrimony.”
“I think UAA’s instructors pushing me to go the extra mile really rubbed off on me. This whole process has been really long, and it’s come a long way,” he said. Eternally Classic Jewelry has developed well over time, including the development of a website, coined names for each ring design, the securing of private-investor funding, partnerships with other complimentary businesses and more.
But it’s not only UAA’s instructors Courtney’s thankful for. Courtney said if it wasn’t for UAA funding from various sources, including donors and private donors, students may not have the advantage of training with expensive programs like AutoCAD.
“UAA has evolved a lot over the years, so the fact that someone somewhere said we really need this product for this curriculum and it benefited me, speaks volumes. Someone in leadership took a risk to obtain the latest and greatest software technologies for the school to have a leading edge program and curriculum, and it paid off. And for that I’m grateful.”
Born and raised in Anchorage, Courtney and his wife still reside here and have two boys—Tallis, 1, and Rhys, born April 16, 2010.