Shawn Parrish got into the optical business as a means of paying his way through college, where he studied history.
He grew up in Palestine, where his dad was on the police force and his mother was a homemaker.
“The demands of being the child of a peace officer weren’t what you would think,” he said, although he tried getting the “inside scoop” on cases his father handled.
Parrish attended Westwood High School, where he played linebacker for the football team. He also was involved in Future Farmers of America and raised steers for competition.
“I placed several different times but never did get first place,” he said.
After graduating from high school in 1994, he studied his basics at Trinity Valley Community College in Palestine. He began attending The University of Texas at Tyler in 2004, with a focus on history.
By then he had experience in the optical field, having worked for an ophthalmologist in Palestine and then later in Tyler to put himself through school.
“Upon graduation, I was debating on getting my master’s or to go ahead and start teaching,” Parrish recalled.
Two years later, Sears made him a regional manager of its optical stores. He joined Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in 2009.
“They had just opened up their eye clinics and wanted to open optical shops,” Parrish said. “I assisted in creating and opening the optical shops in Tyler and Jacksonville for Trinity Mother Frances.”
He oversees the daily operations of the facilities, works with doctors and sees patients.
His favorite part of the job is interacting with people, and balancing it all creates the biggest challenge.
“I guess I’m almost like a perfectionist in a way,” he said. “I always think things can be better. There’s always room for improvement.”
While he has yet to pursue a career in what he studied in college, it’s still something he might do in the future.
He met his wife, Sandra, at Trinity Mother Frances, where she works in the Internet technology department. They went to dinner and a movie on their first date.
Together they have four children: Erin, 3; Robert, 13; Alex, 15; and Erika, 17.
Parrish, 37, spends most of his free time engaged in family activities, such as going to the movies or exploring the outdoors. His hobbies include hunting, fishing and golf.
“And I really love college football,” he added.
Most subjects for this column come from business cards randomly pulled from a briefcase. Send cards to Managing Editor Brian Pearson, 410 W. Erwin St., Tyler, Texas, 75702.