Andrew Sansom got his first job in 1959 as a lifeguard at Lake Jackson Municipal Pool in his hometown about 55 miles south of Houston. Little did the 14-year-old know the job would set the stage for a lifelong career in parks administration and environmental conservation.

“I stayed with that summer job for eight or nine years, literally until after I was married,” recalls Sansom, who later became executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “I discovered that Texas Tech had a degree in parks and recreation. I couldn’t imagine that you could actually have a career in that, but that’s how I ended up at Tech.”

Read more from Matt Joyce with Texas Highways here.