Matthew Altier has only lived in Pensacola for 11 months and is already a game changer.
Altier is the vice president for Administrative Services for the University of West Florida, as well as the Chief Executive Office for UWF Business Enterprises, Inc. He also heads up the university’s expansion into public and private partnerships.
“By creating real-world work experiences while the students are in school, students can learn to run and manage businesses,” Altier said. “With all these different business opportunities, you can imagine the number of majors we can add.”
Altier’s vision, along with the vision of UWF President Judy Bense, is producing plans for a conference center, hotel, Greek village and the much anticipated football stadium.
This is Altier’s third university expansion program. Prior to moving to Pensacola, he was the CEO of University Enterprises in the California university system in Sacramento, Calif. After California, he started a company doing the same work in New Jersey. He was vice president for administration and finance at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.
“Major universities are economy drivers and UWF is no exception,” Altier said. “They bring in more students, faculty and staff and create an educated workforce.”
Altier also noted that statistics show students tend to stay in the area where they earned their degree.
“You can imagine how many educated employees we can pump into the area,” he said.
Beyond his academic career, Altier served 10 years in the United States Air Force as an air traffic controller and Chief of Design and Construction Management.
Altier sees many similarities in his previous projects and Pensacola.
“Many of the kinds of projects I was able to put together in Sacramento and New Jersey, such as faculty and staff housing and hotel conference centers, is very similar to what we’re doing with Scenic Hills,” Altier said. “The only new thing is the historic village, which is exciting because of its potential.”
When Altier decided to move south, it was Bense that sealed the deal.
“When I met Judy Bense, we clicked immediately,” Altier said. “She has new visions for taking UWF to new levels.”
And since Altier made the move, Pensacola has made an impression on him, too. He’s already begun to look toward the city’s future.
“Everybody I have met has talked about Pensacola’s potential,” he said. “The timing is right to tap into that potential.
And his wish-list of future projects looks much like a local’s.
“I see over a million cultural and heritage tourists visiting downtown filled with people, hotels, bed and breakfasts built, a ferry system, and water taxies,” Altier said. “Everything you can imagine in a vibrant, historic town can take place in Pensacola.”