Editors Note: The headline of this article was changed for clarity
The campus-renowned manager of the Satellite in the Student Union Building walked away from a legacy of iced coffee, warm muffins and University of New Mexico connections, last Friday. Richard Perce, former community staple at the SUB, experienced his last day of work at Satellite on Friday, Oct. 11.
Though many people have seen Perce behind the shiny metal counters of Satellite, he has spent many days outside of the SUB. Not only did he manage to help out with last year's Raza Graduation, but he assisted with University events such as Late Night Breakfast and Friday Night Live, as well.
Though his prominence and impact on campus life may allude to him being at UNM for decades, he has only been at the SUB Satellite location for seven years. Before that, he had been working for the company, off and on, for 19 years.
“Back in 1995, I was one of the employees who opened the Juan Tabo Double Rainbow, before the name change to Flying Star... (I) eventually became the head coffee roaster, back when we were Double Rainbow Coffee Roasters,” Perce said.
Following this, Perce found himself gravitating away from the company and ended up working for Heads Up Landscape. After spending eight years there, he discovered he was craving new challenges, and returned to the café.
“I was given the opportunity to return to the field and potentially help not only the UNM Community but our larger community,” Pierce said, in regards to returning to Satellite.
During his time at the University, Pierce said he experienced several small acts of kindness. He described himself as lucky to have been able to make some amazing connections with people over the years.
“I was able to build up the SUB location into an important hub on campus. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of all the employees I worked with over the years, nor the support of my boss,” Perce said.
According to Perce, Satellite Coffee supports up to hundreds of small events on campus, every year. He said it was through events like these that he was able to gain a sense of community, causing him to really solidify his drive to work within our community to make it better.
“My favorite part of this job, or any job really, is knowing that it is the little details that can make such a huge positive impact on people’s lives,” Perce said. “I have received an enormous number of cards and well-wishes... recognize(ing) it was the smiles and kindness that we show to our customers that would really help some people get through their days.”
When asked what his interests were outside of work, he responded with a variety of subjects.
“I love to cook, and I love to research recipes, even if I never make them. I love the outdoors, (mostly hiking or camping when we get the chance,) and I love a good book. I also have a really amazing family, and I really love just hanging out with them.”
Today, Perce said his plans are to focus on decreasing our water use and to create spaces more reflective of our region, at the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority. He will be working as their Irrigation Efficiency Specialist.
Luisa Pennington is the Culture Editor and Co-Opinion Editor of the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @_luisapennington_