Business professor recounts anecdotes, life lessons to students

Adjunct lecturer of the School of Business Robert Vlosky not only teaches marketing and advertising at Geneseo, but also imparts knowledge about his life experiences to his students. From photography to working in the Navy to lessons on cooking, Vlosky’s multitude of interests allows him to be well versed in every field in which he involves himself.

Growing up in downstate New York, Vlosky developed a love for photography in high school. Vlosky attended Rochester Institute of Technology where he majored in photography—although he recounted that he participated more in “beer and partying” during his college years.

After just one year at RIT, however, Vlosky decided to join the United States Navy. Vlosky returned in 1978 to rejoin RIT, this time making the Dean’s List. After graduating in 1981, he returned to the U.S. Navy.

While in the Navy, Vlosky compiled a variety of experiences, close relationships and interesting stories. One particularly remarkable story chronicles how he almost—accidentally—started a conflict with Japan. Vlosky was a tactical aviator and bombardier-navigator in an A-6 intruder attack jet with his pilot near the coast of Japan during the Cold War. Russian fighters began shooting down fighter aircrafts, so Vlosky and his crew had to be very wary of other aircrafts.

“We were intercepted by the Japanese defense force fighters,” Vlosky said. “When the Japanese aircrafts joined on us, we didn’t know who they were, and it almost turned into something.”

Vlosky worked a total of 12 years in the U.S. Navy and Army Reserves. While he enjoyed being in the military, Vlosky left due to his obligation to his family. His last duty station was the Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corporation unit at Savannah State College as a teacher, where he discovered his love for educating.

In 1990, Vlosky left the Navy to attend Wake Forest University to obtain his master’s degree in business administration, which helped him acquire valuable business skills and sparked his passion for business.

Once he received his MBA, Vlosky worked at a number of jobs, including Sara Lee Corporation, Planters Lifesavers Co., Now & Later, Brach Candy, Canandaigua Wine Company and—for a year in 1997—Kodak. Vlosky then started his own photonics tech company in Rochester, which he later sold.

After selling his company, he became more involved in teaching at RIT, and eventually at Nazareth College, Saint John Fisher College and Geneseo. The dean of Nazareth College was the one who referred Vlosky to Geneseo.

“Here I’m teaching marketing principles and advertising and promotion, and then I teach 14 different classes at the different colleges—all business [courses],” Vlosky said.

In addition to teaching, marketing and business, Vlosky enjoys culinary arts. He not only worked in several food service establishments in the past, but he also makes his own cheese. Vlosky spends his time making his own charcuterie and even built a pizza oven once in his backyard. His other hobbies include stamp collecting, furniture building and photography.

“Over the years, I’ve done a lot of different things and they’ve helped me grow in a lot of different ways. The one thing I like about teaching is that I bring all those experiences to the classroom.” Vlosky said. “You know, I’ve done a lot of things in different industries … and I try and use those experiences in the classroom—I can relate to real world events for the students.”