Introducing Ruby Perez -
Riverview's New Director of Business and Operations
Ruby Perez and her children, AJ, Jeremiah, and Ramzie (L-R)
Photo courtesy of family
It is not just any person who can say that, at the age of 18, they worked as an operations manager overseeing 2,500 employees. And yet for Riverview’s new Director of Business and Operations, Ruby Perez, exposure to business management came early in her life, helping manage her family’s business - Northwest Aide Farm Labor Consulting.
“Our company was the very first of its kind in the State of Washington,” she mentions. When she began assisting her father as a freshman in high school, she had no idea where the next few years would take her. “We provided farm labor to the agricultural industry throughout the State of Washington,” Perez adds, indicating that, as business increased, her father handled communications while she moved into a business management role. At the time of her graduation from high school, the Othello-based company had grown into a multi-million dollar company with more than 2,500 employees.
When the company was sold in 2007, Perez had recently graduated with a degree in Business Administration and Accounting from Washington State University and began working with the Washington State Auditor’s Office. She received invaluable insight into what would later become an integral reality of her career - facing annual audits as a director of school district finance and operations.
“Honestly, that experience makes the work I do now better in every way. Knowing what auditors look for helped me recognize how practices and procedures can improve. And in my school district experience, I can proudly say that I have yet to have an audit finding at any school!”
In 2007, Perez found an opportunity to return home and work for the Othello School District as an Assistant Fiscal Coordinator for two years, before working for three years as the Director of Finance with the Warden School District.
“I liked Warden because it felt like I was self-employed. I am an entrepreneur at heart and we were able to implement lots of great ideas and practices that are still in place today.”
A move to Issaquah, working as the Director of Finance for the Issaquah School District in 2013, offered more experience and insight into her eventual role with Riverview, where she replaced the retiring Director of Business and Operations, Bill Adamo, in February 2017.
“Riverview provides me a chance to get back to things I had been missing, direct interaction with the Superintendent and School Board. I also have a chance to embrace the district’s vision and work with hard-working people in lots of different departments. I have been able to find my passion again. I’m not just crunching numbers, and I am not isolated into one role. It’s been exciting and rewarding already!”
Finding that work-life balance can be tough, but Ruby smiles wide when talking about her children - a son, Jeremiah, in 11th grade, a daughter, Ramzie, in 8th grade, and a son, AJ, in 6th grade. “Oh, they keep me busy!” she laughs. “My two oldest kids play soccer, my youngest plays football and baseball, and my oldest son is heavily involved with music. They are my life!”
As Ruby settles in to a job that offers something new and unexpected each day, she is excited about the direction the District is moving. “I love coming to work everyday and I have a great team to work with. This has been such a rewarding transition and I feel home again, even just being here for a few months.”
When asked if she misses her time in Eastern Washington, now as a transplant to the eastside of Seattle, Ruby acknowledges that she goes back and visits when she can, but indicates she’s where she wants to be.
“I love the culture, the scenery, the diversity that this side of the state offers,” Then, as she looks out the window, reflecting on the rain that has saturated our Valley this year, she smiles - “I do miss the sun though.”