Hi. I’m Susan Alvillar. I hail from a place you’ve probably never heard of – Atlantic, Iowa. All of my family’s roots are there, but for me, Parachute, Colo., feels a lot like home.
I came in 1982. That’s when I took a job with Unocal doing public relations, government relations, real estate management and environmental remediation. Here’s the funny thing though – my bachelor’s degree is in sociology.
When I graduated from high school in Atlantic, I had my sights set on living in a big city, so I chose to go to college in Denver. My first “real” job after that was in Grand Junction in 1976 where I did social work.
I’ve never left Grand Junction, but I did exit social work. My second job was at a radio station. You can’t find it on the dial anymore, but the call letters were KQIL, or simply “Q” FM.
The broadcasting job, surprisingly enough, led to my career in oil and gas. I was covering oil shale development in western Colorado when Unocal invited me to jump ship.
So I started making a morning and evening commute – two hours in all – back and forth from Grand Junction to Parachute. I’ve done it for the better part of 30 years now.
In 2003, my energy job moved to California, but I didn’t. By that time, I had also acquired a master’s degree in environmental policy, so I went to work for Colorado State University in their 4H extension program in Grand Junction.
In 2006, the job I do now for WPX in Parachute opened, and I took it in a heartbeat. The people, the town, the valley – they’re all such a part of me. It’s what I love.
My position in community relations for WPX allows me to connect with people and build relationships. It’s also given me the opportunity to lead local United Way campaigns and coordinate major grants for St. Mary’s Hospital and Mesa State College.
My favorite project, though, was getting to help save an 1880’s era cabin that was on WPX property. It is believed to be the oldest structure still standing in the Parachute area.
With the full support of my management, we paid to have it stabilized, restored, moved and donated to the Grand Valley Historical Society, where it now sits beside the area’s first school house.
In my free time, I love to play golf. I actually shot my best round ever – an 80 – last year at Tiara Rado in Grand Junction. I’m also a mom, although my kids are grown now.
My husband and I raised a son and two daughters. We will soon celebrate our 30th anniversary and welcome our first grandbaby. Cheers!