Lepley Launches Career as Lighting Director Using Trevecca Opportunities, Connections

| Alumni

Clayton Lepley headshotClayton Lepley knew lighting design was his calling from a young age. While he was growing up in church, he joined the tech team and discovered that it was an exciting career path.

“I enjoyed lighting because it's a creative outlet,” Lepley said. “It's fun and challenging to get to piece together a show and use lighting to really enhance the experience for the crowd.” 

When he was searching for colleges to pursue this line of work, he had a number of options, but there were things that set Trevecca above the rest. 

“Trevecca just blew everyone else out of the water with the scholarships I was given, between the academic scholarships and the missionary kids scholarship, which applied to me,” Lepley said. “At that point I knew that I wanted to do something in the music industry. And Trevecca  had a music business program. So having the aspirations of going into the industry and then with the scholarships to help, I knew this was the place to be.” 

He had a great time in his classes with professors who equipped him for his career and gave him the flexibility to pursue important opportunities well before graduation. 

“The faculty was super knowledgeable in the industry and they really invested in us,” Lepley said. “My dean was willing to work with my schedule when I had the opportunity to go on tour during the fall semester in 2019. We got really creative in finding a way to allow me to stay enrolled in school while I was doing that. My professors knew this was what I wanted to do and they were willing to go the extra mile to make it happen.” 

Lepley graduated in May of 2020, when the pandemic had all but eliminated the need for his chosen line of work, so out of necessity he took a job with a major airline. But before long he was able to get back into lighting, and through his connections he found an opportunity to work on TobyMac’s Hits Deep tour. Later he went on to tour with Casting Crowns, and then an unexpected opportunity arose. 

“I got a call one day from Nathan Doss, the tour manager for Zach Williams. He said, ‘We're looking for a lighting guy. Are you interested?’” Lepley said. “I started with Zach in May 2022 and I’ve been there since.”

He is now the lighting director for the Grammy award-winning singer, and is responsible for loading equipment and making sure the shows run smoothly. 

As Lepley reflects on his burgeoning career, he can see how his time at Trevecca helped prepare him for success through a relatable, supportive community and networking opportunities he may not have found anywhere else. 

“My experiences at Trevecca helped me meet people who were like-minded. They wanted to work in this industry and we were able to lean on each other,” Lepley said. “When I started college, a friend and I were both traveling with the summer ministry team and his family owned a lighting company. I was able to work with them and that's how I got my start in Nashville. 

“The biggest thing has always been the community.”