He may be the most behind-the-scenes member of our crew, but Alan Rollins makes our Bird Watcher’s Digest world go ’round, keeping us grounded and on track fiscally as every good controller should. But there’s more than meets the eye to this laid-back financial wizard. Alan is a bit of a renaissance man, and his path to us has been an intriguing one, with some twists and surprises along the way.
BWD: What is your career background, and how did you find your way to Bird Watcher’s Digest?
AR: I started my career as a newspaper reporter and photographer, but I quickly moved into public relations and advertising. I enjoyed PR, but I was never too far away from a barrel of ink, since I worked on designing publications and collaborated with newspapers. I moved more into accounting, because I wanted more financial information to make marketing decisions. Eventually I became a full-time financial guy and even took additional college classes to make it official.
I moved to the Parkersburg/Marietta area and heard about Bird Watcher’s Digest. A magazine that needed a financial person was right up my alley. Not to mention, I had worked for a magazine before and knew something about the business. I joined the BWD family five years ago, and it’s as fine a group as I’ve worked with.
BWD: In a nutshell, please describe your job here at BWD.
AR: First, I’m an accountant. I don’t know how much mystery or interest there is in that. Some might even find it boring. But, I’m still identifying trends to help make management decisions. The editorial side of the magazine runs itself, although I have written a story or two for them. I help out a lot with the Redstart Birding side of the business. I manage inventory and help with customer service.
BWD: What is your favorite part about your job?
AR: My favorite part of the job is identifying financial challenges and finding solutions.
BWD: How do you feel about birds? Do you have a favorite?
AR: My backyard growing up was filled with starlings, wrens, and the world’s least colorful birds, so I never thought of birds as beautiful. Now when someone shows me a colorful bird, I enjoy the view.
BWD: What do you like to do when you’re not living your best life at BWD?
AR: I enjoy spending time with family, traveling, being a 4-H volunteer, and architectural photography.
BWD: Please do tell us more about your celebrity interactions with such awesomeness as Quarterflash!
AR: When I was a PR guy, I represented the second-largest outdoor festival east of the Mississippi. We booked acts like the Beach Boys, Ray Charles, top country artists, Quarterflash, Miami Sound Machine, Michael McDonald… quite a broad listing. I got to squire these artists around doing interviews with the media. I learned the twist from Chubby Checker and fell in love with Kathy Mattea when she wasn’t long out of West Virginia University begging to be an opening act.
BWD: What other interesting tidbits would surprise and delight us about Alan Rollins?
AR: I put myself through college as a photographer. I did everything from weddings to portraits to documentation of legal cases. I didn’t stay with it when photography jumped to digital, but I still buy and shoot film, especially for architectural photography. Although getting it processed is more challenging than it used to be.