By Jessica Beswick
Collegiate Staff Writer
Grand Rapids Community College has a new Communications Director as of December 13, 2010. “It’s been a whopping four weeks I think…having a lot of fun I might add”, said Raul Alvarez who has been in the marketing and communications field for almost 20 years.
“I have a passion for it, so I enjoy what I do,” said Alvarez. “During the 20 years I’ve been in the field, I’ve had a chance to be part of a variety of causes, organizations, and businesses. It’s what I love doing.”
Alvarez grew up in Holland, Michigan and graduated from Holland High School. He has received a multi-disciplinary studies degree from Michigan State University with a main focus on Communications, Political Science, and Economics. Alvarez then began working in politics. For six years he did constituent and campaign work for a U.S. Senator and a U.S. Congressman. He says he is still a political junkie without working in politics anymore.
After his career in politics, he decided to “pursue the area he enjoyed the most, which is communications,” Alvarez said. “It was a natural transition.”
Alvarez previously worked on a ten-day music festival and for Delta Dental Plan in Michigan. Prior to getting the job at GRCC, he was the Marketing Director for a large credit union in Jenison County for eight years. He had a variety of experiences in those jobs including, financial, public relations, and marketing. Alvarez also did some non-profit work for organizations such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
Alvarez found out about the new job opening at GRCC from an email. “When I saw this posting I thought it would be a really good move for me career wise but also I liked what I saw in the community,” he said.
“There was a lot of preparation work prior to the interviews,” he said getting the job was, “a very rigorous process.”
“The more I learned about the college when I was preparing for the interviews, the more I thought that this would be a really, really cool gig so I was pretty excited.”
Alvarez said there is no such thing as an ordinary day with his job, but that’s what he likes about it. “Since I started, I’ve been averaging three to five introductory meetings a day, and that’s just what I wanted; to get to know the department heads, the deans….getting to know what their needs are from a communications stand point. What has worked, what hasn’t, and more importantly where we go from here and what they need from communications.”
Alvarez says that there is one main thing to tell students about the communications field. “There is only one speed in communication,” he said. “And that is ludicrous speed.”
He is optimistic about the department’s future, “I like to think that we are going to become a proactive department that operates with a sense of urgency and is respected to the point that people hear about the communications department and they want to be apart of it.”