MARCOM: A look inside that one portable in the C lot

Hannah PedersonReporter

A student could come and go through Pierce without ever knowing, or wondering, what goes on inside that one portable in the C lot by the Gaspard Administration Building. It looks like an average nondescript portable: grey, sad and all alone.

Passersby don’t often notice the Marketing and Communications sign plastered out front, but the people working inside don’t mind.

“Ultimately, I think being out here works best for everyone,” Ken Murphy, senior graphic designer for MARCOM, said.

Murphy is one of seven people that work out of the cozy and tastefully cluttered portable office, which has been the Pierce District’s home for the marketing and communications department for nine years.

He’s been working for MARCOM for 37 years and plans on retiring in May.

“It’s the best place I’ve ever worked, and it’s almost the only place I’ve ever worked,” Murphy said.

His newest coworker, Madelyn Vander Poel, has been working as the marketing specialist for the department since January. Already, she’s been welcomed into the MARCOM team.

portable 2“Everyone gets along so well,” Kate Burrows, communications and public relations specialist, said. “It’s like a family. We all like to have fun together. It’s a great place to work; it’s simple.”

Burrows is in charge of the college’s internal newsletter, The Pen, the college’s social media and any press releases.

The department is technically part of Advancement, a division of the college that seems generic and intimidating,  Murphy said.

As part of Advancement, MARCOM works with institutional research, alumni relations, the college’s Foundation and event support as the college’s mouthpiece.

“Mostly, we’re just trying to get everyone’s message out there,” Brian Benedetti, director of marketing and communication, said. “We work for literally every program and department for the college.”

Most of MARCOM operates out of the portable, but two outreach employees go wherever they’re needed. All MARCOM photography and videography is captured by Media Technician Supervisor Matt Wuscher at the Fort Steilacoom campus.

MARCOM is a small, elite team of tightly knit coworkers, and they have the medals to prove it.

“We’ve won over a hundred awards through our professional marketing organization over the years,” Benedetti said, “but we’re also known for our roasted Peeps.”

Vander Poel, though new, has embraced this tradition due to the Peeps ability to get creative juices flowing.

“You know we’re creative, but we’re creatively efficient, too,” Benedetti said. “The college relies on us for creativity so we try to keep it light, but we get a lot of work done. It’s amazing the amount of work that comes through here. It can get pretty hairy.”

The MARCOM team uses a unique system to classify the hundreds of projects that come through their cramped but cozy home.

“We operate off the donut theory,” Benedetti said. “Important jobs are donuts, ones we let go are stale donuts, donut holes are little but still important jobs and veggies are the jobs we won’t take.”

Being in charge of all communications for the college may be challenging, but the employees at MARCOM try to keep the atmosphere light and welcoming.

“Am I the Dwight of our office? I really hope I’m not the Dwight,” Burrows said.

For such an important division of the college, they don’t seem to mind being stuck way out in the boonies, with one exception.

“There’s one serious problem in this portable, and I don’t think anyone would disagree with me,” Murphy said. “There’s no plumbing in here, so we have to hike up to the main building, and it’s not that bad unless there’s bees.”

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Hannah Pederson

MARCOM: A look inside that one portable in the C lot

by Hannah Pederson time to read: 3 min