This week’s Alumni Spotlight shines on Dana Colwill of Farmingdale, a 1983 Recreation Management graduate of UMM, who is now the director of the Augusta Civic Center.
Tell us a little bit about what you are doing now:
As Director, I oversee the entire operation of the civic center including a 2.6 million dollar budget, staff development, financial oversight and contracting events with clients. This is my 19th year at the Augusta Civic Center. I spent the first 8 years as the Assistant Director and the last 11 years as Director.
What is the most valuable thing you learned while at UMM?
The importance of social skills. Nothing that can really be taught from a book but one must be able to deal with all sorts of personalities when running a business or in life in general. Personalities of staff, customers and contractors differ enormously and being able to bring people to the table to work cooperatively to accomplish a common goal is an important skill. Whether in the classroom, dormitory, club meetings or on the basketball court, I think college in general helps one to build this skill.
Do you have any advice for current students at UMM?
Apply yourself now and it will pay off in the future. Having a college degree is so important today. I think it doesn’t matter what the degree is necessarily, just the fact one has at least a 4 year college degree opens doors. Have a positive attitude. A good attitude will take you a long way. When I’m in the hiring process, I look for a person who has a good attitude and can get along with people and work as a team member. You can’t teach attitude but you can teach skills. I “hire attitude and train skills”.
How did your time at UMM prepare you for what you are doing now?
UMM gave me the foundation to be successful in life. Success has many definitions but, to me, it means being happy, enjoying what you do for a career and the ability to do the things you want in life. Having that degree has afforded me a comfortable living and the ability to have the material things I want.
How has UMM made a positive impact on your life?
I met my future wife Suzanne number one. I still have very fond memories of my time at UMM.