Over the course of the next several months, members of the Board of Directors’ (BOD) Communications Committee will be participating in a Q&A, where they share updates on various Board of Directors and Deacon Club happenings. Be sure to read this special section each month to stay in the know with all the latest news.
Alan R. Elia Jr.
What is your affiliation with Wake Forest Athletics?
I was a 1989 graduate of Wake with a BA in physics. I am currently serving on the Deacon Club Board of Directors and I have a daughter who is an undergraduate (class of 2019). Of course, I am also a big supporter of the back-to-back bowl participating football team.
Where do you reside?
I live in Lewiston, NY, which is just outside of Niagara Falls, NY and about 30 minutes from Buffalo.
What is your occupation?
I am the CEO of Sevenson Environmental Services, Inc., which provides a comprehensive range of remediation services for the cleanup of sites and facilities contaminated by hazardous materials. It’s a family business that celebrated 100 years in business this year. My grandfather started the business in 1917. Today, Sevenson employs about 500 people seasonally and has about 250 full-time employees.
Why did you join the BOD?
I joined the Board for a number of reasons. Between work and raising my four children in Western NY, I had become a little disconnected from Wake. My children started looking at schools and I, of course, wanted to take them to see Wake. As child #2 expressed an interest in attending, the best man in my wedding, Dave Clawson, became the Head Football Coach. I very easily and quickly wanted to re-engage with the University.
What does being a BOD member mean to you?
Being a Board member enabled me to quickly feel like I was a part of Wake Forest again. I also wanted to give back to the school that allowed me to grow and helped me be the man that I am. Being a donor is one thing, as I routinely gave to the Annual Fund after graduating, but being on the Board and giving your time for the benefit of the school means so much more to me and hopefully provides a philanthropic example for my children as they become adults.
Something exciting the BOD is currently discussing/working on is…
As part of the Communications Committee, it’s been exciting to sit in on the other committees to understand their communication needs and how we can help with their goals and expectations. I think it was a great idea to hear first-hand the needs of all the committees so that we can send out a consistent message to Wake Forest constituents.
What makes you most proud of the BOD?
Well, these are certainly exciting times for Wake Forest Athletics with the success of the football team going to another bowl, the soccer team winning back-to-back ACC Championships and the tennis team being on the cusp of national recognition. It makes me proud that a small school like Wake Forest can compete in the ACC and for National Championships. Further, it’s hard to not get excited about the prospects that Coach Manning is bringing to the basketball team and the hope for sustained success of the football program. I also love seeing the continued building of better facilities to enable us to compete for the best and brightest athletes.
What can we look forward to in the future from the BOD?
With the success of many of the athletic teams, the challenge is always to maintain this success and take the next step toward ACC Championships and the ultimate prize of a National Championship. Wake Forest does things the right way and doesn’t compromise academics with the students it recruits, who ultimately represent the University. We need to continue to be forward thinking and stay ahead of other schools. We have come a long way with facilities over the last few years and need to continue that momentum to update the Coliseum, getting it back to being a top-notch ACC basketball facility. I am hopeful that we can get there in the near future.
Why do you feel it is important to support Wake Forest Athletics?
Being from NY, it is challenging to see all the home football games. However, I was able to attend three home games this year and it has been great re-connecting with all my friends and old fraternity brothers. I have certainly kept in touch with a bunch of my friends over the years, but I am now seeing and spending a lot of time with a much bigger group of friends. We have had a great time at games this year and I don’t think there is anything like sports to bring friends together. I also think it’s great seeing all the children of friends that are now attending Wake. It just shows how much love people have for their alma mater.