Back in February (wow, does that feel like a lifetime ago), we did a little blog post to highlight some of our talented team here at GRAV. But if you thought Ryan, Maria, and Jake were the only accomplished and interesting people on the payroll, you were mistaken!
Meet Nene, Rudi, and Jose — three more hard-working and gifted members of the GRAV staff, and learn how they find their higher selves.
Nene Gonzales — Run Nene Run
Warehouse manager Nene Gonzales keeps GRAV’s distribution in tiptop shape. From managing inventory to quality checking glass to fulfilling orders and checking in with different departments, not much gets shipped from our warehouse without passing through her capable hands first.
But when she’s not keeping things running at GRAV, she’s keeping herself running, literally.
Although she spent her tween years running on the basketball court, Nene didn’t start running for running’s sake until her mid-20s. Looking for a way to clear her head and get in shape, she hit the pavement.
“When I first picked it up, it was a struggle to run a mile. But I kept pushing myself to complete my runs. After a while, running became easy to me. I would run 3 to 10 miles per day. I ran more on the weekends since I was off work.”
Although she doesn’t run as much as that these days, she’ll still run a mile or two per day to clear her head and keep fit.
One of the best things about running is how little you need to do it. While Nene’s uniform of choice is Nike, any workout clothes and running shoes will do. She likes to run around her neighborhood in South Austin, and at Mary Moore Searight Park off of Slaughter Lane for a peaceful escape.
“I enjoy the mental aspect,” Nene said. “I love to run when I’m going through a lot personally to clear my head and challenge myself.”
Rudi Dizer — Using Every Hour
You know those motivational memes that say “You have as many hours in a day as Beyonce?” They could probably swap out Rudi for Beyonce and it would still make sense.
Customer service rep Rudi Dizer helps answer questions and process warranty claims for GRAV glass. But he’s also a self-taught musician and hip hop artist, performing and recording with four different local groups, plus writing and performing his own music.
Rudi got serious about writing music back in high school, and has been working on it ever since. Adding at least a full workday to each week for music, Rudi spends his “free time” writing and recording, plus learning bass and piano. His lyrical themes cover social justice issues, relationships, and smoking — which, of course, we’re on board with.
When I asked Rudi about his biggest music influence, he named the late Jay Dee/J Dilla. “Most people appreciate him as a master Hip Hop producer, but as an emcee, he and his group Slum Village taught me the importance of style and delivery.”
Although he’s originally from the Portland area, Rudi has been performing around Austin for over 10 years. He’s worked with local artists like Retr0grade, SubKulture Patriots, Short Bus Alumni, and CAPYAC, besides releasing his own music. In 2017, he and CAPYAC played on the Tito’s stage at ACL, and they traveled to Mexico to perform in 2019.
And if all that didn’t sound like enough activity, Rudi is also co-founder of _OF COLOR, a group dedicated to increasing visibility for creatives of color.
Jose Saldivar — Behind the Lens
Jose is one of the lucky few whose passion — photography — is also his day job. Although his title is “Video Specialist” here at GRAV, he also takes tons of photos and does graphic design work for the marketing department. If you’ve seen our website or social media feeds, you’ve seen Jose’s work.
Jose fell in love with design while creating artwork and promo materials for his rapper cousin in high school. After graduation, he pursued a graphic design education. When Instagram hit the scene in 2011, Jose brought his designer’s eye to photography and began to experiment. And a couple years later, he bought his first camera — a Nikon D5200 that he bought on credit at Conn’s.
Like so many of our talented team, Jose is a self-taught artist, although he had a great foundation from his graphic design degree. He also learned from that great repository of information — YouTube.
At GRAV, Jose’s work splits between video projects and photography. And in his spare time, he’s taking pictures of his family, including his young son.
“I love to shoot candid photography. Being able to catch a candid shot with good composition, form, color and balance is a challenge. But when you do, it is so gratifying.”
As a source of inspiration, Jose looks to multi talented entrepreneur Jorge Peniche. Peniche is a photographer, graphic designer, and was both friend and tour manager to the late Nipsey Hussle. “He motivated me by showing me it was possible for a low class, young, Hispanic guy from my street culture to make a living doing photography and graphic design.”
When I asked Jose if there was anything else he thought we should know, he said, “I don’t think I've shot my best photo yet.” Love that.
You can check out Jose’s photography on Instagram: @eastsidejose
Always Looking Higher
We’re super proud of our team (and we miss them — the weekly Friday 4:20 call is just not enough while many of us work from home.) We’re also super proud of you, our favorite people. So let us know how you find your higher self in the comments below.