Officer Spotlight: Joseph Dukes
Team Fortress 2, Overwatch and stage management, External Relations Officer Joseph Dukes has got esports in his sights.
“Esports is a relatively new market,” Dukes said. “So, I guess it’s a good time to be getting in on it.”
Dukes’s interest in esports began cultivating in middle school, as he got his first taste of competitive gaming through Team Fortress 2. He began competing and practicing with friends, but stopped because his high school had no gaming infrastructure.
Then, he found UTA.
As a high school junior, Dukes was researching colleges. After searching within Texas, he began looking into collegiate esports and found the UT Arlington Esports student organization. The club struck a chord with Dukes and he made himself known before graduating high school.
“So before I even came to UTA, I was already like a recognizable name and face,” Dukes said. “I had been to the club’s LAN parties. Before I finished graduating, I came over a few times, and so people got to know me.”
Soon after joining the club, Dukes turned his sights to becoming an officer. He said he shifted his mentality from member to aspiring officer shortly after involving himself within the organization.
“The mind switch happened very quickly because I had been doing competitive gaming for a while, but now, this was a community that supported somebody who wanted to get experience in the field and in the whole industry itself,” Dukes said.
Especially for the “Maverick Respawn: Back to School LAN” event, Dukes was excited to be working with outside companies to make successful events for everyone. He works closely with the club’s executive officers to secure partnerships. Mainly, he shadows conversations between the club’s president, Kimberly Yee, and potential sponsors
Dukes also has a passion for stage management: setting up, tearing down and ensuring events run as seamlessly as possible so participants have a smooth and memorable experience.
Dukes’s first experience in stage management was working in theatre shows throughout his four years of high school.
“When it comes to running a show for theatre, it’s very similar to running an event for esports,” Dukes said. “I just want to be in the background running that and putting on a good show for people.”
Maverick Respawn had over 400 unique attendees, many staying for its entirety. When Dukes wasn’t overseeing the record-breaking number of participants, he was sitting with his friend who was new to LANs. He also spoke to friends he hadn’t seen all summer, participated in the Teamfight Tactics tournament, and got to see the final matches of Maverick Mayhem.
“A lot of the tournaments turned out really good; a lot of the inhouses turned out really good; Maverick Mayhem had a huge turnout,” Dukes said. “From every part that I saw, it turned out really well, and it looked like it was a pretty big success.”