Meet Alfredo Perez, the college’s new executive director

Alfredo PerezAlfredo Perez recently joined the college as our new executive director. He began his new post officially on Aug. 12, relocating to Gainesville from the Boston area. He comes to us with a broad background of training and a wealth of academic experiences. Perez holds an M.B.A. degree from Suffolk University, Sawyer School of Management in Boston, and has spent the past 14 years working at several northeastern academic institutions, including Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern University. In his new role at UF, Perez oversees all college fiscal operations, in addition to the college’s human resources office. The Veterinary Page was able to catch up with him recently for a quick interview.

VP:  Welcome to the college! How are you adjusting to Gainesville and UF so far?

AP: My family and I have been adjusting very well. People here have been very welcoming and supportive. Also, we love Florida’s weather! Every day, I look at the weather forecast in Boston, and I compare it to Gainesville, and I wonder how I could have spent fifteen winters in Boston. It is insane!

VP: What were some of the things that attracted you to this position when you applied for it?

AP: The first thing that attracted me was the University of Florida. I wanted to be part of one of the best universities in the country.

Then, I found the College of Veterinary Medicine, and I started learning about its programs. When I came to visit Gainesville for the first time, and I got to meet several people (more than forty to be precise) and their commitment and love for the college, I decided that I wanted to work here. Also, I visited the hospitals and learned about all the great things that are happening here. Finally, I saw that Gainesville was a great place to raise my kids.

VP: Do you have a strategy for how are you approaching your new role and getting to know the different areas of your office?

AP: During the first weeks, I met with several people at the college and the university level to learn about the culture, operations, and expectations. Also, I shadowed several members of the Financial Services Office team to learn how they were handling the financial administration of the college.

VP: What have you set as priorities for yourself and the department, short-term and long-term?

AP: I have two main priorities: the first one is to be able to influence a positive change in culture. I am a people person, and for me, it is essential for the staff to feel fully supported and appreciated. I want everybody to enjoy coming to work and to be proud of working here.

I want to continue to improve the financial administration of the college. As you can imagine, this is an arduous task given the size of the college and the complexity of its operations. To address this goal, I have, together with the Financial Services team, developed a new workflow to streamline financial operations to reduce time, improve customer service’s experience and to provide more reliable information, with a higher sense of accountability.

VP: What are some of the challenges your department faces, and how do you see yourself navigating those challenges?

AP: Instead of challenges, I see several opportunities. We have a fantastic group of professionals in the offices of Human Resources and Financial Services working very hard to provide the best possible support to our faculty, staff, and students.

VP: Is there anything else you’d like to add that I haven’t asked you about? Or something people might not know about you?

AP: I have an open-door policy. I enjoy talking to people and helping them to solve their problems. Also, I welcome constructive feedback, as I am well aware that a position doesn’t make you an “I know all” kind of person. I like learning from people and being able to contribute to their well-being. Also, if you come to my office, please do not hesitate to ask for a good cup of coffee. I would be more than happy to make it for you!

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November-December 2019

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