Alex Rosales, the youngest of eight children, arrived in Los Angeles at the age of 5 from Mexico along with his parents and siblings. He said his childhood gave him a good foundation, and through his family he learned that “many hands make for light work.”
His extended family also taught him the ground rules for “paying one’s dues” and moving up the chain of command, he said. “In order to give orders you had to be able to take them,” he says.
The Rosales family had an open-door policy for family and friends in need. Anyone was welcome in their home until they were able to move forward on their own.
“Only because of help such as that from other people were we able to get our footing to set a nice base and then flourish,” says Rosales.
Those who know Rosales say he embodies work ethic, willingness to learn and openness to receive advice from others. He considered his first job as a telephone operator interpreter as customer service – dealing with the needs of Spanish speaking callers. By working other jobs, he said he learned more and more and was given additional responsibilities. He feels fortunate to have had good teachers both in management and supervisory positions.
“They were always willing and able to give me good advice and I always had an open ear to hear them out,” he says.
He was promoted rather quickly to management despite being one of the youngest employees. Resentment was overcome by leading by example, he says.
“Once I proved myself, because of my age, they saw that I wasn’t in it for the status or ego thing,” he says. “It was just to make the work we had to do easier.”
In the early to mid-1980s, Rosales worked on early computer systems, using what was then considered state-of-the-art technology. “We printed on new fandangle machines called laser printers,” he says.
He then advanced to an offset press. Throughout this time, there was always some minor “paper-pushing” but in the long run he preferred the artistic and creative part in addition to dealing with customers on the sales end. When he joined a Korean newspaper company, he learned that to print the paper correctly, one had to read it correctly. It was there that he picked up the concept of printing, moved up to prepress work and that slowly led to work with an instant press.
Starting out at a franchise called Kwik Kopy working at the counter, Rosales ended up running the shop. When the owner decided to sell, he asked Rosales to make him an offer with a provision in the contract that the pressman be a partner. Rosales bought out his partner after three years and changed the name to Control Printing.
“At the time it was the short cut on a computer – control plus ‘p’ for print,” says Rosales. “Now people read different things into it.”
Control Printing is a full service printer offering screen printing and embroidery plus trophies and awards. The company motto is “latest equipment and good old fashion know how.”
Rosales said that the best advice he learned from his work experience goes against the notion that “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” If he had an idea for a better system of doing something, his superiors were willing to listen, but he would first have to figure it out on his own time – and with his own money – to prove that it could be done faster and better, he says.
“Believe it or not, with every person I ever trained, I still remember those words and I repeat them with my own employees,” he says.
Rosales was influenced by the kindness of family and community while growing up and believes in giving back himself. The father of two adult sons, he spent many years during their childhood as a coach at Penmar Recreation Center and as president of the Penmar Recreation Center Advisory Board, in which he is still involved. He also participated with the Venice High School PTA (Parent Teachers Association) and alumni association.
He has also served as past president of the Venice Rotary Club. He feels it’s important for community members to get involved with local organizations.
“We have a great deal to do with the outcome of any community,” he says. “The more we get involved, the more we know what’s going on. If there is any way we can help, the only way to know that is by being there.”
Rosales is currently serving a second term as president of the Venice Chamber of Commerce.
“I feel privileged and honored to be at the helm right now,” he says. “I find that the chamber is on an upbeat. Things are happening and we are moving in the right direction. In order for us to benefit as a community we all have to work together.”
The chamber says it is in need of volunteers to serve on a variety of committees. Information, www.venicechamber.net.
The Venice Chamber of Commerce will hold a Members Only Luncheon to acquaint members with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s new initiative focused on the small business community. Among those scheduled to attend are First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner, who heads all of the economic development activities of the city, and Todd Wilson, a member of the mayor’s small business team.
The luncheon is scheduled at noon Wednesday, Feb. 2, at Danny’s Venice, 23 Windward Ave., Venice. Lunch is $20, (includes tax and tip). Reservations are required. Please call (310) 822-5425 or firstname.lastname@example.org, by Friday, Jan. 28.
GM’s note: When Betsy wrote her Jim Morrison (Argonaut Nov. 25, 2010) column, I inadvertently omitted the final sentence which clarified why Morrison’s address was not included. Here is her conclusion: What really excited me at the beginning turned into a topic that I can’t talk about to protect people’s privacy. The sites of Morrison’s rumored stomping grounds are already destinations for foreign tourists who bring their cameras and knock on doors on their pilgrimage to visit his homes.
Venice is home to many celebrities who enjoy, for the most part, a personal life of anonymity. The influx of Internet gossip sites has spawned more paparazzi who troll the streets in search of their famed subjects. But we, as a community, should let these individuals live in peace. So, too, should we let those who inherit the association of the famed live in peace.