Almost six years since graduating with a mass communications degree from USF, Kody Hilburn said he’s working in his dream job.
Hilburn holds the role of the Bucs Vision associate producer with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Growing up just outside of the Tampa Bay area means this role is something more than just a job for him.
“This was always my hope and plan,” Hilburn said. “You go into work and you’re reminded, ‘This is literally what I wanted to do.’”
Bucs Vision is the video production team that manages all videography and video-based content for the Bucs organization.
Some of Hilburn’s leading tasks include producing a weekly show with Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles, Bucs Vision content creation and a weekly interview-style show featuring players on the team.
On game day, Hilburn has worked first-hand with the Bucs coaches and football players. He’s had the opportunity to film the last ‘Mic’d Up’ – an online series giving fans the opportunity to hear what players say on the field – program former Bucs quarterback Tom Brady participated in with the team prior to his retirement earlier this year.
Hilburn has prospered since joining the Bucs two years ago, according to his boss and Buccaneers Producer Brittany Cavanaugh.
“His creativity and willingness to help his team is unmatched, and he’s always radiating a positive attitude,” Cavanaugh said.
Hilburn is known for a readiness to step into various roles within his job.
“On game day, Kody is the first to offer help, big or small,” Cavanaugh said. “He has stepped into nearly every game day role on the fly when we have late callouts and done each with ease and expertise.”
Hilburn credits the start of his dream career to his senior year when he interned for USF Athletics in 2017.
“That’s when I found out exactly what I wanted to do,” Hilburn said. “Looking back, that was one of the most important years in my life to this point.”
Following his graduation from USF, Hilburn was offered the position of media production coordinator for USF Athletics, and later became the director of football creative services.
When he began, Hilburn was most interested in producing social media content. But, over time, his greatest enjoyment has evolved to in-venue production and taking on responsibilities for producing content that thousands of people in the stadium would see on game days.
Having worked at Raymond James Stadium on USF game days, Hilburn collaborated with several Bucs staff members to prepare for the games and had the chance to begin building relationships with them prior to his position with his current team.
“Connections through USF were big for me. I was able to gain credibility in the work I did at USF,” Hilburn said.
Hilburn said mass communications professor Ryan Watson’s courses helped him in his career journey and field of interest.
Watson created new course options that were geared toward newer forms of video production, evolving social media and modern production such as drone videography.
Hilburn said it was important for him to learn more about his own interests through internship opportunities and his classes.
“Just try things. That’s what it comes down to,” Hilburn said.
Cavanaugh said Hilburn’s impact with the Bucs extend far beyond his professional skills.
“Kody’s personality is truly one of my favorite things about him,” Cavanaugh said. “He always brings a positive attitude to stressful situations and keeps morale high in the control room.”