Marco Island is a great community. This is the first in a series which profiles some of the City employees that make it that way.
Meet Alex Galiana. Alex works for the Parks and Recreation Department as the Administrative and Facilities Manager. He is tasked with overseeing all the duties and facilities that go into the recreation activities of the Parks and Recreation department.
“I wear many hats in my position,” explains Alex. “On the administrative side, I prepare the budgets, three of them, for the recreation departments. All the administrative and financial responsibilities fall in my lap.”
Alex also makes sure the department is adhering to their set policies, goals, and procedures for the recreation facilities, which includes Mackle Park, the Racquet Center and Winterberry Park.
One point to make clear is the difference between facility maintenance and activities. The cutting of the grass, upkeep, repairs and cleanliness of each facility falls to the Park’s maintenance staff of the Public Works Department.
“I work closely with Jim Hodgdon (of Public Works) to geta site ready for certain activities. I will let him know when we have things scheduled, like a soccer or football game. He will then get the fields physically ready so we can go in and chalk the lines and get set-up for the actual activity. My team is responsible for the ACTIVITIES that happen at each of these sites, not site maintenance. It’s a gray line between the two departments and we work together to make sure all is good so everyone can enjoy their chosen activity.”
In addition, Alex oversees some of the activities at Veteran’s Community Park. He is the Manager of the Farmer’s Market and works with Samantha Malloy and Mindy Gordon to ensure the success of what has become a iconic event on Marco Island.
As with every job, there are challenges. Alex says that sometimes the there are limited resources for what seems to be unlimited activities. His team works hard to maximize the space available for all those wishing to use the facilities.
“It’s a balancing act,”says Alex. “And while everyone may not get exactly what they want, I work hard to give them what they need. We have great team, and although we may not be big in size, I like to say ‘We are small and mighty’. I work with some really good people who truly care about our community programs.”
Another Hat that Alex is now wearing is that of the Project Manager of the new Community Center. The project is currently in the design phase and ground-breaking is scheduled for summer of 2016. It’s an exciting project and in good hands with Alex as the point man.
A Floridian (originally from Miami), Alex, his wife Lori (also a Floridian from Inverness), and two boys, A.J. And Max, moved to Marco Island full-time in 2001. Prior to that, they lived in Chicago where Alex was a commodity broker working the floor at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange for 15 years.
“The goal was always to return to Florida. It just took a little longer than planned.” Says Alex.
After coming to Marco, Alex worked in real estateand then as a business banker before taking on his current duties. This year, Alex celebrates five years with the Parks and Recreation Department.
Alex started the baseball program for the Marco Island Charter Middle School and coached for seven years. Lori taught at the Charter Middle School for six years and is now in her second year teaching at Marco Island Academy. And, given the fact that A.J. and Max grew up on the Island, the Galiana name is well known and respected by many who call Marco Island home.
Alex is especially proud of his work with the Wounded Warriors softball team. They are a national organization of war veterans who have been wounded in action. Alex has worked with them on their two visits to Marco Island.
“I’m living the dream,” says Alex smiling.”I love my job. Seeing the smiles on so many faces, and the fun everyone has with all our activities, makes it so worth while for me. I’m very happy to be part of this community and involved with so many great people.”