Welcome to our “Get to Know Me” feature for RVC employees! Today we are going to get to know Dave Costello.
Title: Executive Director of College Communications and Marketing
Department: Communications and Marketing
Tell us a little about your job at RVC.
Along with a terrific team of communications and marketing professionals, I help share RVC’s stories both internally and externally. Our team manages the college website, social media, RVC Insider blog, RVC Daily News, and designs all of the college’s marketing materials and campaigns.
What inspires you?
Creativity motivates me. I also feed off of the creativity of others. I get the greatest rush when the cartoon light bulb over my head lights up and an idea is born.
What do you like to do for fun?
Run 5K races, go to sporting events and festivals, read a good book, write, watch an original movie (they are hard to find these days), and listen to live music/concerts. And with the exception of the reading and writing, I prefer to do all of those things with my amazing wife, Becky. She and I also have an uncanny ability to find a craft brewery in any city we visit.
What was your very first job?
Well, technically my first job was bagging groceries at the old Eagle Supermarket on 11th Street in Rockford. I lasted one eight-hour shift. It was not my bag, so to speak. The next week I applied across the parking lot at Osco Drug, got the job, and worked for that company all through my college years and beyond until I got a “real job.”
Who are your role models?
My parents, for sure. My mom gave up her job to raise me and my two brothers while my dad worked like crazy to provide for all of us. My dad taught me by example about hard work as he busted his butt for 40 years as a machinist. He worked ridiculously long hours every day, every week, including a lot of Saturdays, to support our family. My mom complained about his hours, but my dad never did. When he retired after 40 years, his company gave him a lamp. Now, it was a pretty cool lamp, but it was still a lamp. He didn’t complain about that either. In fact, it’s proudly displayed in his family room. That also taught me, by example, not to act entitled. This is why you will rarely hear me complain about my job. I feel lucky to be at RVC and to do what I do.
If you are a part of any local or national clubs or boards, please share those details.
I have been volunteering as a Wish Granter for Make-A-Wish Illinois for just over a year now. It’s been an amazing and humbling experience. Meeting kids and families who have been through so much stress and pain, and getting to be a part of creating a memorable and happy experience for them is beyond rewarding.
Where is your favorite place to go at RVC?
I love to sit by the creek on a cooler summer day and just listen to the fountain.
What is your favorite quote or words to live by?
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” –Ferris Bueller
“Well, what if there is no tomorrow? There wasn’t one today.” –Phil Connors in Groundhog Day
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I was at a family wedding once and my cousin Tom said something during the normally mind numbing wedding reception table chatter that stuck with me ever since. He said something to the effect of “You should always be open to meeting new people because you never know what impact it could have on your life.” I’ve embraced that and have found it to be profoundly true.
What’s the last good book you’ve read?
Infinite Jest. I started it in 1996 and just finally finished it. I’m kidding of course, but in honor of David Foster Wallace, here’s a footnote to tell you more. 1
Fun side note: David Foster Wallace was my professor for English 102 (Prose Fiction) at Illinois State University in 1994. For more on that, it’s another David Foster Wallace footnote. 2
What’s the last good movie you have seen?
What is your favorite TV show to binge watch?
Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, The Office, and Parks and Rec because I can watch them over and over again when nothing else is on and still laugh out loud every time.
Who is your favorite musician, group or band?
The Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl is my hero.
What is your favorite thing to eat?
Man, this is tougher than the binge watch question. I guess any meat filled pasta (ravioli, tortellini) and pizza. Oh and I love a good burger. I also have a sweets problem. I love chocolate chip cookies and I’ll eat any brownie you put in front of me.
Where do you like to go or what do you like to do when you have a long weekend?
My wife and I enjoy modest little day trips to places like Madison, Lake Geneva, or Galena.
I have a tattoo. I home brew beer. I hate cheese. I’ve always wanted to try stand-up comedy just once to see if I could make strangers laugh.
Oh, also, I was the first person to try on the Arvee suit.
Finish this sentence: “There is no limit to…”
…the number of times someone will tell me I look like or remind them of that guy from The Big Bang Theory. My response is typically, “Bazinga.”
What’s the next big thing coming up in your life that you are looking forward to?
Well, my birthday is coming up next week (May 10).
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- That’s an exaggeration, but not by much. I tried many times over the years to read it, but each time I threw in the towel early. It’s not a breezy “read by the pool” kind of novel. It’s such a workout for the brain and, much like working out for your body, it sometimes helps to have someone working with you to keep you motivated. So I recently formed a two-person book club with a friend who also always wanted to read it and we kept each other motivated and on page deadlines in anticipation of our discussions. Worked like a charm.
- I’ll never forget walking into class the first day and seeing this dude sitting on the desk wearing a bandana and a Batman t-shirt. I remember thinking it was an odd thing for a student to be sitting on the desk. Hey, welcome to ISU, I thought. Turns out it was the instructor, Mr. Wallace, as he would be known to me for the next semester. I’ll also never forget the awkward, albeit humorous in hindsight, exchange we had that first day. If you read anything about DFW you’ll probably read about one of his best friends, Mark Costello. So that first day, as he was going down the class roster, he asked me if I was related to Mark Costello. I said, “Yes! He’s my cousin.” Mr. Wallace got excited and started asking me more questions. We got a few questions deep before we both realized we were talking about different Mark Costellos. Anyway, it’s one of the best classes I ever took and I always raved about him as an instructor even before I knew he was a literary genius. I knew he was already a published author while I was taking his class, and he even occasionally talked in class about the novel he was currently working on. But I had no idea that novel would become one of the most critically acclaimed novels of the last 20 years. I think back to a one-on-one meeting we had in his office to discuss one of my papers and I wonder now if it’s possible that I was sitting near any pages of the Infinite Jest manuscript. I like to think I was. Needless to say, I was shocked and saddened to read about his tragic death in 2008. He made quite an impact on me in just one semester’s time. I can’t imagine the impact he must have made on so many others who were fortunate enough to cross his path. RIP, Mr. Wallace.