PEMBROKE — Photographer Quinyon DeBerry is no stranger to taking pictures that make people say “wow.”
But it was his business acumen that has amazed officials with The University of North Carolina at Pembroke Business Visions.
Deberry was honored last week as the 2016 Business Person of the Year at UNCP’s 19th annual Business Visions banquet.
A native of Laurinburg, DeBerry started MQSC Digital five years ago, setting up a studio in the loft of his home. In April 2015, he brought the business downtown to a Main Street storefront.
Jamie Litty, chair of the UNCP mass communications department, presented DeBerry with a plaque. She also took the opportunity to formally bestow a few of the videography awards that never made it to DeBerry after his graduation in 2008.
“I wish we could take credit for him, but he came to us fully formed as a smart and creative person,” Litty said. “He was eager to learn, eager to share knowledge and eager to please and work hard. He was more mature than the other students, more resourceful, always with professional decorum, can-do attitude, self-reliant and tenacity. He always raises the bar.”
For DeBerry, his selection for the award and Litty’s words of commendation validated the years of hard work behind his success.
“The cool thing about it was having somebody that you look up to present you with an award,” DeBerry said. “Dr. Litty even noted how she followed me on Facebook and saw the evolution from my first start to being a sought-out photographer. The award was great, but to hear her say those things about me was an award in itself.”
DeBerry was among 13 recipients during the event, which also recognized individuals and businesses in the areas of entrepreneurship, agriculture, and “spirit of unity.” University faculty also recognized outstanding students in the departments of Business Administration and Public Administration.
Among those recognized during the event were others, like DeBerry, who came to business on an unconventional path and excelled regardless. DeBerry himself studied mass communication, then tried his hand at music production while staying involved with his family’s Laurinburg upholstery business before taking the plunge into full-time photography.
“When you’re in business, you never imagine somebody watching you in third person,” he said. “To put yourself in the ranks with those people, to receive an award alongside them, it’s humbling and lets you know you’re on the right path.”
The Business Person of the Year is awarded to an executive who makes a significant contribution through success in a local business or industry as well as through contributions to the civic, cultural and social life of the community.
“His photography business has taken off like gangbusters,” Litty said. “It’s no wonder: his work is so good, so technical and so artful at the same time. I have watched it grow from a fledgling outfit to the most in-demand visual service provider in our region. He really classed up Main Street in downtown Laurinburg when he opened up his store front.”
The dinner and ceremony were held at the Office for Regional Initiatives on April 28. The keynote speaker was Dr. Patricia Mitchell, assistant secretary for Rural Economic Development for the N.C. Department of Commerce.