Paid to Talk about Duke

Retired U.S. Army Major Randy Garcia raises money for Duke 

RGarcia_bluedevil_web_BD.jpg
Randy Garcia with his daughter Anastasia, 11, and son Ryan, 4, ready to head to Tae Kwon Do class. Photo courtesy of Randy Garcia.

Name:Randy Garcia

Position: Assistant director for annual giving, Duke annual fund.

Years at Duke: 2  

What I do at Duke: I raise money for the Duke Annual Fund. I educate people about how Duke's endowment is smaller than our peer institutions and we need to raise millions of dollars each year to help run this institution. I have the pleasure of working closely each year with the people planning the 40th and 45th reunions, which means each year I work with a different group of alumni. 

How I got to Duke: I came to Duke as a student while I was in the army. I had joined the army when I was 17, and when I became an officer, the army wanted me to get a college education. I was stationed at Duke full time as a student from 1999 to 2001 and graduated at age 32 with a degree in sociology and a certificate in Markets and Management Studies. When I retired after 23 years in the army, I came back to this area so I could support my ex-wife in raising our daughter. I'm a fan of Duke and had volunteered a lot as an alum, so I applied for a job in development, and here I am. 

My dream job: The one I have. For so many years I supported Duke as a volunteer. Now I get paid to talk about Duke. 

A memorable moment at Duke: In 2011, the Duke Alumni Association honored me with a Forever Duke Award for my work as a volunteer. That was special.

My first ever job: I cut and seasoned cases of chicken as a prep cook for Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits. 

What I love about Duke:  Having been a student, an alumni, a volunteer and an employee, I can tell you that the best part of Duke is the people. This university attracts great people.

When I'm not at work I like to: Travel with my family. I have a two-year-old Ford Focus with 68,000 miles on it already. I also spend a lot of time at the gym and do Tai Kwon Do once or twice a week with my daughter.

A superpower I'd like to have: I hate traffic and I hate to wait, so I'd like to be able to transport myself from one place to the next like a genie. 

Something unique in my office: I enjoy learning about Duke history, so I collect a lot of Duke memorabilia. I have a 1925 Chanticleer, postcards of Duke Quad from the late 20s when the trees were still small, and even a piece of the Cameron Stadium wall from when they were renovating to put in air conditioning while I was a student at Duke.

Something most people don't know about me: I volunteered for about six years as a Sheriff's Deputy in Georgia. I was honored to be able to use my army Green Beret knowledge to help train a SWAT team.