Robert Bibbo and Nina Bibbo are two students scheduled to graduate in May. Robert is Nina’s father, and they have that kind of tight relationship that seems like it’s out of The Cosby Show. They joke with one another and clearly respect one another. When Robert competed in last year’s New Venture Competition, Nina was his date. He also brought her to last year’s Reason to Taste fundraiser dinner.
They let me pick their brains a little this week, and there was a lot of laughter all around. They told me about why they chose Ivy Tech and their favorite flicks while Nina’s daughter, Iiley, 4 (pronounced EYE-lee), played with the paper airplane that had been on my desk all week. In return for the gift, I was treated to a show: The ABCs.
Why did you choose Ivy Tech?
Nina: They’re the only school in this region that offer respiratory for my degree. And it’s always been the local college.
Robert: I chose Ivy Tech because she was going here. I thought it would be neat if we went to the same college and possibly graduate together. I still have to take some classes over the summer.
Nina: He’ll walk for the certificates for sure, but we still need to find out about the associate degree.
Why did you choose your major?
Robert: I am studying CINS (Computer Information Systems) because I’ve just always been a geek, a computer nerd, I guess. Even in my military career, it just seemed like a natural transition. My first career was logistics. You start a family, and sometimes the job picks you. You don’t get to pick your job. Became a warehouse manager at Office Furniture USA, to shipping supervisor. Basically I joined the military at that point. Before I started office furniture, I started Abracadabra Detail. I started as an entrepreneur. I started two businesses before American Combat Veteran Clothing (the company Robert started to win last year’s New Venture Competition). The second was Paintball USA.
(Above: New Venture Competition finalists put together a video explaining their businesses for judging)
Nina: I am studying Respiratory Care because I’ve always had an interest in health care. I like the respiratory, cardiac side of it
Robert: She actually had a lot of personal experience. She had asthma really bad as a child.
Nina: That’s another thing I always had, the respiratory therapists around me, taking care of me.
Robert: As a little baby, she was probably 2, she had a bad cold that turned into phenomena. She spent two weeks inside a little tent.
Nina: Which turns out to be horrible for asthmatics. It’s one of the first things I learned as respiratory therapist. I was in and out of the hospital five or six times at least. Went to an asthma and allergy specialist, and we got it taken care of. I also know I wanted to do health care but never wanted to be a nurse.
Where do you want to be one year from today?
Nina: Working at either Parkview North or Lutheran, one of the two bigger hospitals here, and working in critical care–I like the fast-pace of that–and hopefully getting into a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) soon after that. I like working with the babies. You feel like you did something when they leave.
Robert: Hopefully we’ll be able to grow American Combat Veteran Clothing into a national brand. I don’t know how long it’ll take.
Nina: I was gonna say, a year’s really optimistic.
Robert: I’ve seen other garment/clothing stores, that within one year’s time, they did a million dollars. But of course, they had Miley Cyree …
Nina: Miley Cyrus.
Robert: They sent her T-shirts, and she wore them on stage.
What’s your favorite movie?
Robert: This one is from my childhood: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. All the Indiana Jones, really. I guess if I could be anything in the world when I was a high school student, it was an archeologist, with the whip and the hat. I’d say I’m into a lot of science fiction, so the Star Trek movies, the Star Wars movies. Star Wars over Star Trek.
Nina: I could never get into those. Remember at the beginning, he told you he was a geek.
Robert: And of course, my favorite TV show right now is Big Bang Theory. I actually put “bazinga” on my phonetic shirt (using each letter in his last name as the beginning of a descriptive word): Brave, intelligent, brava, bazinga, outstanding.
Nina: I did think about The Notebook, but everybody says that. Since we’re talking about nerdy movies, I like Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. That’s about as nerdy as I get on that side.
Where is one place you want to visit one day?
Nina: Jamaica. That was easy. I like tropical areas.
Robert: The one thing I have to see before I die is a space launch. Either that or the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. But you now what we are gonna do in 2017.
Nina: He’s been planning this since like 2010. He wants to go see a solar eclipse.
Robert: Aug. 17, 2017, it’s going right across the continental United States. Start in the Washington area and through Midwest, so we only have to go to a couple states, somewhere in North Carolina. (The eclipse will hit North Carolina is mid- to late-August.)
What is one thing I should know about your daughter?
Robert: If I was her age, if I had the responsibility she has when I was her age … Up until the time she had this little one right here, she was a little hellion herself. But this one here, I’ll say, made her grow up fast. She’s really career driven. She’s special, is the only thing I can say.
Nina: That’s it?
Robert: She didn’t actually graduate high school. She had to get her GED.
Nina: That’s another reason I chose Ivy Tech. Ivy Tech had a program where they’d take you before you took your GED. I had taken it in June 2010, but I actually started at Ivy Tech before I got my results back. I got my results a month after I started.
What’s one thing I should know about your dad?
Nina: He is very many things. He’s a hard worker, always has been. That was part of my getting him to go back to school. You can’t work so hard your whole life. Eventually you have to sit behind a desk. He’s also brave. Like 99 percent of people who join the army, you have to be brave.
Robert: I enlisted to deploy …
Nina: … in the middle of a war, the day before his 40th birthday, the cut off. Everything he does, he does full-force, aims for the fences. He never slacks at anything.