Owner/Creative Director, Surface 51
Major: Communication: Visual Arts
Class Year: 1984
Al, a Monticello native, knew he would appreciate having a job that would incorporate what he liked to do best: drawing.
After a few years exploring radio broadcasting in college, Al decided to follow a friend’s advice and try Visual Arts at Parkland College, which he started in 1981.
Al credits former Parkland graphic design instructor Julie Jacobs with boosting his confidence to start his career.
“Julie was wonderful and super practical. She brought to the classroom a real sense of what it would be like once we got out into the workforce. Giving us the tools to work with clients was really important to her. It gave me real-world perspective and a firm foundation to build on.”
After Parkland, Al spent the next 20 years working in the advertising, design, and marketing industry before starting Surface 51, his own full-service creative agency. He oversees all design, sales, and day-to-day operations for the company, and works with clients to craft their marketing strategies. Surface 51 has become one of most successful advertising agencies in the area. “I do what I do because it’s a passion; I love what I do, and wouldn't trade it for any other career.”
Al has also given back to Parkland students through teaching at the college for several semesters. As for Surface 51, these first few years have already fulfilled so many of Al’s professional goals, it seems hard to ask for more. But he’ll try…
“Maybe if we get Puma for a client next year…that's a goal, right?”