The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Former city executive takes on new role for college

Chief operating officer Susan Alanis is in the newly created position after working with the city of Fort Worth for 30 years. Photo by Joseph Serrata/The Collegian

By Juan Ibarra/editor-in-chief

TCC has gained not only a new executive employee, but a new position as well, in the form of new chief operating officer Susan Alanis.

Since 1996, Alanis had worked for the city of Fort Worth as Assistant City Manager and was part of major projects such as the evolution of Sundance Square and the creation of the recently built Dickies Stadium. Originally she started as a budget analyst and for the last 23 years has built her career up from there.

After being a budget analyst, she realized she would need more experience in other aspects of the city if she wanted to pursue growth in her career.

“I realized I didn’t know anything about land use, which is really important in city management, and so I made a move into what was then the developmental department and eventually became director of planning and development.”

Her move into these new roles helped her learn more about zoning and developmental activities around the city. Her newfound experience helped to further her career, but it was when gas drilling was exposed to the city council that she found her next step that would give her the experience she would need to become COO.

“I ended up getting promoted to assistant city manager and was there for nine years in that role,” Alanis said. “My portfolio was very similar to here [TCC] in a lot of ways it was all of the support services, like IT, HR, finance and budget at one point.”

The two roles of assistant city manager and COO share more than one similarity and allowed an easy transition for Alanis from one job to another.

“I currently have HR, IT, I interestingly also have police and emergency management,” she said. “I worked with the police department for six years with the city running their administrative services. I also have real estate and facilities.”

Prior to the creation of COO, real estate and facilities as well as finances were separate positions held by two different offices.

“The vice chancellor for finance and vice chancellor for real estate and facilities positions have been eliminated at TCC,” said Reginald Gates, vice chancellor of communications and external affairs.

The idea of shifting the two roles into one new one came from a plan to increase the strategy at TCC and plan for the future.

“The new role of chief operating officer aligns the departments of finance, procurement, real estate and facilities, police, emergency management, business services, human resources and information technology under one leader and will allow the college to more efficiently leverage these support resources to advance the strategic work on the college’s three goals and eight principles,” Gates said.

Although the change has taken the work of two jobs and combined it into one, Alanis is familiar with the workload and her experience allows her to be comfortable in her new job.

“I’ve never been in higher education before, but it is also another form of public service and it is very mission-oriented, much like what my work with the city was,” Alanis said. “So, lots of similarities.”

When deciding on someone for the position of COO, Alanis’ skills, knowledge and experience helped to confirm that she was the right person for the job.

“Susan brings outstanding experience in the operational management of a large organization which includes leadership of large-scale system implementations, debt sales, financial reporting and budgeting in a $1.7 billion operation with 7,000 employees.”

Alanis’ executive assistant Frida Castañeda-Lomónaco, who was also the executive assistant to former vice chancellor of finance Mark McClendon, believes Alanis brings a fresh take to her position.

“I was a little nervous, just not knowing who was coming in and their personality and all of that,” Castañeda-Lomónaco said. “It’s been really impressive to see her.”

Alanis was hired at a time when TCC is doing some large things, such as the upcoming bond election, on top of that she is taking on the responsibilities of two jobs, however she remains positive and up to the task.

“Being a part of higher education is going to be really fun and I’m excited to learn more and be a part of something that I value so highly.”

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