Bronco by day, DJ by night, Kalamazoo fan 24-70
Jayson Rose is Kalamazoo's version of a renaissance man. He can DJ a party for the likes of Michael Jordan, Jeremy Piven, and Derek Jeter; help run a publishing company; plan a wedding; and manage alumni and donor relations for his alma mater, just to name a few of his talents.
"I have two professions," Rose said. "First and foremost, I work for my alma mater, Western Michigan University, in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations as an Engagement Manager. I handle alumni and donor relations for the Haworth College of Business. Essentially, I oversee fundraising stewardship and marketing of our various alumni events in the Midwest.
"Secondly, I have been a professional disc jockey for many, many years DJing at various clubs including The Underground Chicago and venues throughout the Midwest. I have DJed for countless celebrities and numerous corporate organizations."
"In 2011, I was named the number two DJ in the Chicagoland area out of hundreds of the top DJs in the area," Rose added.
Rose's path to Kalamazoo and his current professions was winding, but interesting.
"My parents were both in the journalism world and met in Syracuse, NY, where I was born. Upon my parents separating, I moved to Virginia where I was raised until high school. For my high school years I moved to the suburbs of Chicago so I could live with my dad. I fell in the love with the Midwest and when it was time to go to college, I decided on WMU after getting into such schools as University of Illinois, University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech," Rose said.
"I had various jobs in my younger years working at the mall and retail and such like most high schoolers, but I always had a passion for music. I'd sit around with my cousin, Andre, for hours listening to music and trying to make mix tapes with dual tape deck machines. Trust me it wasn't easy.
"From there I began acquiring as much music as possible and ultimately built my catalogue of music in excess of 10,000 songs. I started DJing various house parties here in college and things really took off when I started DJing for the Greek community. Ultimately, I owe a lot of my beginnings to the whole Greek community for their support throughout the years," Rose said.
"After making a name for myself in the market, I then began DJing at various bars and clubs in Kalamazoo and that was where JRose was born. From there I began DJing in Grand Rapids and then to Detroit and Chicago. Around 2008, I decided it was time to take a new journey and decided to head back to Chicago."
Upon his return to Chicago, Rose also looked to gain business experience.
"I felt I needed some corporate experience because my ultimate dream is to own my restaurant or bar one day. There I began working 9 to 5 at a media and publishing company called Schofield Media which ultimately turned into Phoenix Media Corporation. I worked on one of our flagship publications, Food & Drink, and did quite well," he said.
"Phoenix Media and the folks there really helped me transition from the DJ world to the corporate world, and I am forever thankful for that. After working there and another place for five years or so, it was time to come back to Kalamazoo.
"I am engaged and will be getting married this August to a wonderful woman, Kimberly Haines. She is from this area and we ultimately decided Kalamazoo would be a great place to lay some roots down. I began applying and interviewing at various organizations in the area and one was Western Michigan University," he said.
After seeing an opening in the Development and Alumni Relations office, Rose knew the position was the one for him.
"I have so much love and affinity for this university and I thought it would be a great place to not just have a job, but a career," he said. "I ultimately got the job and began working at WMU in February of 2014. It has been great ever since.
"I've enjoyed visiting with various alumni all over the country as well as working with Dr. Kay Palan, Dean of the Haworth College of Business, on a day-to-day basis," he said.
Though Rose wouldn't change his career path, he stressed the importance of education and networking.
"If I could go back and tell myself something upon graduation, I would have made sure I stayed in school and got my MBA," he said. "I think getting the extra education could have paid dividends for not only my corporate career, but also my DJ career, too. I plan on going back to school in 2015, by the way, to obtain my MBA.
"I would tell someone following in my footsteps to take risks, build relationships, and maintain your integrity along the way. My path hasn't been typical of most with a college degree, but I wouldn't change a thing considering the experiences I've had and the people I've met," Rose said.
Despite his successful DJ career and a network of business connections in the Midwest, Rose and his fianc have chosen to call Kalamazoo home.
"I had such a wonderful college and post-college experience here; I thought it would be a great place to settle down," he said.
"I enjoy the pace of life here. It is so nice to be able to get somewhere in a short amount of time and everyone here is so friendly."