By Stephanie McMillen
With a friendly and welcoming disposition, Ronald Rivera, security officer for the East Campus, said the best part of his job is that he can put his education and training to use.
“I feel honored to work for a great organization like Valencia. I can teach and learn from coworkers on ways to do our jobs more effectively,” Ronald shared. “I also like that I can interact with students, as they appreciate our presence and hospitality.”
Around campus, Ronald is easily recognized by Valencia employees and students. “Ron is a forward thinking individual who brings to our department a strong work ethic,” said Ken Olsen, security field supervisor for East Campus and Ronald’s supervisor. “Ron is a valued member of the security department.”
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Ronald moved to Central Florida at the age of 17, where he graduated from high school. “Soon after, I entered the workforce to explore and identify my interest,” he said. “It was in the workforce where I realized that in order to obtain a more desirable position one needs an education.”
He began his Valencia career as a part-time security officer in 2007, before obtaining a full-time position in 2009. Ronald’s interest in leading others and helping to manage an organization motivated him to complete 770 hours of training in the Law Enforcement Academy at Seminole State College in 2008.
Since he has been with the college, Ronald attributes his success to several of his colleagues, including Patti Riva, operations manager of Energy Education, Grace Acevedo, assistant director of transition services, Anna Saintil, professor of student life skills, Courtney Lewis, professor of speech, and Lisa Potchen, professor of mathematics. “[They] inspired me to have a vision, create a plan, take action, and move forward,” Ronald shared.
In 2012, he earned an Associates of Arts degree at Valencia, and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration (management concentration) at the University of Central Florida.
This semester, Ronald is taking a class in the College of Business Administration that allows students to engage entrepreneurial and professional skills through completing a “real world” project. His team’s objective is to help meet the needs of Fallin’ Pines Critter Rescue – a nonprofit organization that rescues and rehabilitates handicapped, unwanted critters, exotics, farm animals, reptiles, and wildlife. Their goal was to raise $850 to contribute toward the construction of a burrowing enclosure. “So far, we exceeded our goal by raising $1,080,” Ronald shared. “Our success is due to great planning, organizing, and team collaboration.”
Ronald expressed that he is “looking to continue growing within Valencia into an area where [he] can engage and assist with the needs of our students more frequently and collaborate with more with faculty and staff.”
In his free time, Ronald enjoys bowling, going out to eat, jogging around Lake Eola, and spending time with friends and family.
Know of someone doing great work at the college? Send their name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu so they can be one of our featured colleagues!