Alumni Spotlight: Michael Rivera (PR '97)

Michael RiveraStaying Connects to Be the Difference

Michael Rivera is a 1997 graduate from the Marquette University Diederich College of Communication with a bachelor's degree in public relations. He is the President/CEO of Rivera & Associates, Inc., a full service public relations and marketing firm located in Milwaukee. While board president of the Marquette College of Communication Alumni Association for the 2014-2015 school year, Michael helped create new ways to promote the university and the Diederich College of Communication.

1. How did you become involved on the DCCAA board?

Many years ago Marquette University reached out asking a group of Communications alumni to build a board for the Diederich College of Communication. At the time I thought there was a board in existence and realized there wasn’t. This provided the catalyst for me to get involved and assist in creating a new board. We got busy in creating a student scholarship fund raising event, getting involved in helping the theatre program, and developing ways to connect to other MU alumni associations. I created the facebook page for us and have been very interactive on social media as well.

2. What kinds of projects does your company do?

The kinds of projects we get involved in are connected to the private and public sectors and involve public relations, marketing, public information and outreach. In the past we've been involved with city of Milwaukee projects and airport related design projects as well as focus group facilitation.

3. How is yours different from other public relations firms?

It's different in the sense that we lean towards becoming involved in many community-related projects and generating awareness for clients. We also conduct much in the way of multicultural marketing and reach out to diverse audiences. We possess the proper certifications from the state of Wisconsin as well.

4. Tell me about your environmental watershed project.

The environmental watershed involves redesigning the current structure and returning it to a more natural state. This includes reintroducing native plants and species to the area that existed prior to construction of man-made waterways. The purpose for this is to alleviate the high velocity of rainwater flow increasing safety and decrease the percentage of basement flooding to homes in the area. We are managing the public information and outreach efforts for this project.

5. What is the Marquette mind set of service to the community?

The Marquette mindset of service involves cura personalis, which is Latin for “care for the whole person.” This means simply focusing on improving the lives of others and being inclusive of other ideas and perspectives that move a society forward in achieving beneficial milestones. It means caring for the community and actually getting involved in worthy causes and projects that make a difference. It is the embodiment of "Be the Difference."

6. Why do so many graduates help new grads to get established, such as through the Mentor Program?

I believe Communication alumni get involved because they remember and understand what students are going through and the commitment needed to persevere and attain a degree. Through the Mentor Program, we have the opportunity to offer insight and advice to students helping them navigate around possible pitfalls and become successful. We are always looking to add new Communication alumni our DCCAA board, and this important interaction with students now will hopefully inspire them to join the board in the future. Once things slow down a little, I plan on becoming a mentor in the future.