By Michelle DeLeon

Michelle De Leon is a member of the marketing and communications team at the District Office. She is a Moorpark College alum and student at CSUN.

Alwin Sauers Jr. has kept Ventura College and Ventura College East Campus beautiful and clean for the past seven and a half years as a permanent employee. (He held the position as a provisional employee for a year prior.) But he’s more than a custodian—he is an invaluable resource for any student who may have questions about campus life.

For his dedication to his job, his commitment to increasing students’ connectedness to the college, and helping all those around him, Alwin has been named the Ventura County Community College District’s 2021 Classified Employee of the Year.

"I worked for years in the private sector, and I learned early on that people are the most important thing. If you don't take care of your customers, then you don't have a job or a business. When I joined Ventura College, I saw the student, faculty and staff as my customers. I wanted to take care of them and help them in any way," he says.

Alwin and his wife moved back to California from Colorado to help his sister take care of their ailing mother. Once settled, he says he found it difficult to find employment because of his age and the fact that he’s not bilingual. Ventura College's job posting was a blessing and aligned with the maintenance work experience he obtained working in music and audio production, touring, and with a national chain of storage facilities.

“All of us across the District work hard to serve our students. I am honored and humbled to be nominated. I credit my mother for the success in my life. As a single parent, she taught me that we needed to do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. I try to keep that in mind when I work.”

Alwin goes beyond expectations to make the campus a welcoming space for students, helping anyone who looks a little lost make it to their destination.

“I never know what kind of day someone is having. They might be having a difficult day because of whatever challenge they have encountered. It is not my place to come back negatively to them but to see if I can help in some way to make it just a little bit better.”

Alwin works the swing shift (11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.) and maintains the Performing Arts Center at Ventura College and the East Campus in Santa Paula. Some of his additional responsibilities include filling in for his co-workers if they are out, maintaining inventory and distribution, and ensuring restrooms and other campus facilities are maintained and clean.

He is proactive, reaching out to a supervisor and reviewing the department’s project schedule, which has made Alwin the default person to go to with questions. He interfaces with his supervisor, Joe Esquivel, and at times provides Hector Ayala, VC warehouse operator, additional support in setting up or taking down equipment.

“It is a good group of people and I keep pushing us all to communicate. In working independently, it is easy to forget that we are all part of the same team and communication helps all of us do our jobs better.”

Alwin is committed to being a contributing part of his community, on and off the college campus. He credits his mother for instilling in him a sense of gratitude and for being his role model as a volunteer. He and his wife helped multiple performing arts and animal rescue nonprofits over the years in Oregon and Washington.

Here, even under the restraints that have come with the pandemic, they donate to Food Share of Ventura County and the Ventura County Rescue Mission. He and his wife live in a senior community, but he acknowledges that he is a “young senior” and helps his neighbors with tasks around the house, such as replacing door handles and changing smoke detector batteries.

Employee Life
Ventura College