David Ochs '73

Dave Ochs ’73 awoke one day to participate in his normal early morning workout, just like he had every other day.  Or at least he thought it would be normal. As he spoke with his wife afterwards, he was suddenly unable to recall where he was employed or who was serving as President. After rushing to the hospital and running several tests, doctors concluded that he had experienced transient global amnesia (TGA.) TGA is a sudden, temporary episode of memory loss that can't be attributed to a more common neurological condition, such as epilepsy or stroke, according to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.  

“I have no memory of the event, so I have to talk about it as if I was watching a television show,” says Dave. “For me, it was just a bizarre story for me to go out and tell my buddies, but for my wife, it was absolutely terrifying.”

TGA is usually caused by physical stress to the body. Dave’s episode was triggered by his early morning workout. “My brain just stopped making memories, and I could not recall any recent events,” added Dave. Thankfully, transient global amnesia is harmless and unlikely to happen twice, so Dave now has no problems with his memory. He is thankful for his caring family and successful career, all of which he has many fond memories of.

After a 30 year radio career, he currently is employed as the Manager of Stewardship Communications for Fairfax County Park Authority. On top of writing newsletters, preparing social media posts and recording podcasts for this organization, Dave has the opportunity to cover events such as the Bass Master’s Classic and other outdoor activities, where he feels right at home as a veteran bass fisherman.

Previously, Dave worked for the Associated Press for 23 years as a Senior Broadcast Sportswriter, where he covered events on a national basis. In this role, he was lucky enough to cover nine different Olympics since 1984, traveling to places such as Canada, Norway, Japan, Australia, Italy and Greece.

“It was the best and worst experience of my life,” Dave says. “I loved sports, so dealing with the world’s greatest athletes in a mass competition was amazing. However, we had about 14 hour work days filled with chaos, which was pretty exhausting.”

The long work days didn’t matter to Dave though, because it felt more like a hobby than a job for him. As someone who grew up in a sports-oriented family, he found the experience to be “extremely rewarding in many ways.”  

Dave graduated with a Bachelor of Art in English from Lewis University. On campus, he was heavily involved with WLRA radio, which inspired him to choose radio as a career. “Working at the radio station was independent volunteer work that gave us great hands-on experience,” Dave says. “We made tons of mistakes, but we learned from them.”

Dave was able to grow both professionally and personally during his time at Lewis, gaining experience that helped him to be so successful in his radio career and beyond. He has been happily married to his wife, Carol, for 17 years, and they have raised two beautiful daughters together. In his spare time, Dave loves to spend time outdoors hiking and bass fishing.

Dave is thankful for all of the opportunities he has had in his professional career, even the not-so-great ones. As he accepted the Lewis University Alumni Achievement Award in 2004, he told a story about a bad day at work he experienced. He continued to explain how, after a very discouraging radio show, his boss gave him a subtle message of encouragement to let him know he was okay and remind him to keep his chin up.

“There are moments in our lives when people do something unexpected, big or small, that sends you a message of support,” says Dave.  He encourages others to actively seek out those moments. “Look for those subtle messages that someone believes in you, and enjoy knowing that they want you to succeed.”

August 2016


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