United States

Meet RSM Pursue Your Passion Winner: Nick Crombie


Senior Associate | Raleigh, NC

I want to express my gratitude to RSM for running its amazing Pursue Your Passion program; it’s a great thing that even though the firm gets bigger each year, it continues to care for the happiness of its people.

I have three main passions in life: creating stories, using technology and helping inspire kids to dream and chase their own imaginative ideas. I have spent years working on each and searching for unique and fun ways to combine all three. As a kid, I loved tinkering with my old computer and understanding how its operating system worked, and I loved using and creating programs to save time. I also loved to read books, such as big fantasy stories about different earths and strange creatures, and I would then come up with my own tales which I still enjoy writing. As a parent, I have enjoyed watching my kids grow up and use their own imaginations, and I have been lucky enough to share some things with them, like creating a pirate board game for my son and creating interactive experiences for camps that they attended. While I have enjoyed all of these things,  I’ve longed for the ability to really challenge myself and create something amazing for kids using futuristic technology which finally exists.

I would use the money from RSM’s Pursue Your Passion program to acquire an augmented reality visor and software, and items to enhance the things I currently do for the children of my local church community. I serve on the Children’s Ministry Committee and have been actively involved in children’s camps. For the past two years, I’ve been involved in the church’s wizarding camp, with a strong emphasis on a certain English wizard who shall not be named. Last year, I created a darkened hallway with a makeshift projector screen. Using my old computer, trial graphics programs and a cheap projector, I was able to bring some magic to the kids so that when they focused on a happy memory and chanted the correct spell, a magical animal appeared and defeated their fears.  I was overjoyed when I heard that one of the campers was caught on a baby monitor casting their spell to overcome their fear of the dark. This was a great start, but my grand plans last year for the kids to move objects on the projector screen and have an even further interactive experience weren’t fulfilled as the software and motion camera technology was 10 years old and could not work correctly on my aging computer.

Specifically, what I plan to do is build apps to create an augmented reality experience for kids (and for any of the other big kids like me who enjoy it). The first app I would create would be for the wizard camp. I would create a story where the kids travel to different rooms with each room teaching them about self-belief, teamwork and caring for others. The technology can be programmed to recognize physical objects in the rooms so the child physically moves to the room while the lens overlays it with 3-D projections and landscapes. It also allows the child to move computer-generated objects or encounter computer-generated creatures. I would work with the other camp staff, children’s ministry staff and children to get some unique ideas for something amazing. The second app I would try to create would be a dreaming tool, which the kids could use to fill an empty room with generated images or interactive hologram-style objects that they can move using their hands or voices.

Undertaking this project would not be an easy thing. I do have programming experience, but learning how to program in the augmented reality environment would require additional training and will be a challenge of my logic and creative skills. This really would be a once in a lifetime challenge: committing many hours using the extra vacation days and weekends, having cutting-edge tools and leveraging my ideas to create something amazing for kids.

I think this project, while very different from traditional accounting, does a good job of putting RSM’s values of teamwork, excellence and stewardship into practice. It would challenge and satisfy my creativity as well as help children have fun and let their imaginations grow bigger so they can be inspired to follow their own pursuits.

Specifically, I would need to purchase the following: AR set with developer’s software, new computer with graphics and processing power to create apps for the headset, developer network access and app hosting, augmented reality training courses and other books and props for the camp.