Spartans at Work: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

(This summer, SJSU Today hit the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job at summer destinations throughout the Bay Area. Our 2013 Spartans at Work series continues with hospitality, tourism and event management alumna Gladys Rodriguez.)

Gladys Rodriguez, ’13 Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management, remembers childhood trips from her hometown of Watsonville to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Little did she know that she would grow up to help run the same Friday Night Bands on the Beach concert series she enjoyed when she was younger.

“I have pictures of me on rides when I was two years old, and looking back now, I never thought I would have the opportunity to work at the Boardwalk, and I never thought I would be helping manage such big events,” she said.

A recent SJSU graduate, Rodriguez is a promotions assistant, working closely with the director of promotions and entertainment. Her schedule varies depending on the festivities happening that week.

On Mondays, she focuses on office tasks, such as contacting vendors for an upcoming extreme sports expo. Wednesdays consist of monitoring activity and attendance during Movies on the Beach

The focus of Fridays is supporting the weekly evening concert, from the beginning of the day when she’s picking up the band until the end of the show.

“My favorite thing is that every day is different,” she said. “It’s not only office work. I’m not always sitting. I love that I get to work on something, and at the end, there’s a big event where you see how your hard work pays off.”

Rodriguez was working at the Student Union’s information center when lecturer Rich Larson stopped by to tell her about an open position at the Boardwalk. Larson is program director of the SJSU Special Event Management Team.

Rodriguez was a student manager at the 2013 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, participating in Larson’s program. Working at the golf tournament in addition to other internships and her event management education prepared her well for her current position.

“This job has really shown me that you are ready,” she said. “School did prepare you. School helped you out, and the hospitality program is amazing.”