Spring 2010 Issue

Whiz kid

At the age of 6 Daniel Velasquez ’04 could edit computer codes and alter programming to change a game’s look and feel.

“I can still remember the first time my dad showed me how to use [Microsoft] Word or even start up a computer game by typing in a ‘DOS’ command,” said Velasquez, who naturally majored in computer information sciences. “I was hooked from the first time I put my hands on that keyboard.”

Now the director of graphic arts and design for Leon Advertising - part of Leon Medical Centers in Miami – Velasquez took on a new challenge in the biggest game of all by writing, co-producing and co-directing a 60-second commercial that aired locally on CBS4 during Super Bowl XLIV. The commercial aired three times; before kickoff and during the second and third quarters of the game.

“My family was very proud to see ‘their Danny’s’ commercial shown during the Super Bowl and my friends got a kick out of it,” Velasquez joked, adding that he could remember feeling just as proud when he drove past the first bus bench or highway billboard displaying print ads he had designed.

s the middle child of three sons, all of whom are Barry graduates, Velasquez credits much of his personal and professional success to his parents - both immigrants from Peru and Cuba.

His father, Gustavo Velasquez, left his home in Peru to establish himself as a programmer for one of the largest technological companies, Canon. His mother, Maribel, left Cuba in search of a promising future and found one working in Barry’s Department of Communication.

“Their love and motivation have always kept me going,” he said. “Their Hispanic identity always brings back a lot of great memories from my youth.”

Velazquez recalls it was those same principles of loyalty and hard work that sparked the idea for the ad during dinner one night. The company’s president, Benjamín León III, starts the commercial by asking “who is Leon Medical Centers” and his medical staff answers with words like strong leaders, medical team and advanced equipment. Founder Benjamín León Jr. makes a statement in Spanish solidifying their loyalty to their Hispanic patrons as a leading health care services provider for Medicare recipients in Miami-Dade County.

“The concept was a focus on the traits that define a true champion,” he explains. “Those traits were paralleled within the commercial; creating a similarity between characteristics you would find within athletic champions to those that you would find within champions of health care,” Velasquez said. “Through [Leon’s] unmatched dedication they have redefined the health care industry much like some of history’s most famous athletes have redefined the games that they have been a part of.”

Since graduating from Barry, Velasquez has often returned to visit his professors and particularly those from Barry’s graphic arts program. The then-fledgling program provided him what he describes as “the perfect balance of artistic expression and technological advancement that [he] had been searching for.”

In Velasquez’s senior year, Thomas Rockwell, a graphic arts professor along with several others, put in motion the university’s first graphic design courses. Before graduating, Velasquez rushed to take all the classes he could and learned how to use a number of applications that served him well years later.

“My only regret is that I wasn’t able to be there to experience the graphic arts program grow into what it is today,” he said. “I’m proud to see how far they have come and honored to have been a part of its birth.”

“I am exactly where I wanted to be; creating my own concept on the medium of my choice - computer graphics,” said Velasquez. “It really makes a difference to enjoy what you do for a living and I can honestly say that I do.”