La Salle graduate is utilizing his education as a leader at PECO
February 8, 2024
Doug Oliver, M.A. ’02, MBA, currently serves as the senior vice president of government, regulatory, and external affairs at the company.
A movie inspired Doug Oliver, M.A. ’02, MBA, to pursue a career in communications.
The 1992 comedy Boomerang starred Eddie Murphy as a successful advertising executive. Oliver saw an African American man in a glamorous career and saw himself one day owning his own advertising agency.
“I don’t know if I wanted that specific job or that feeling,” he said.
The Philadelphia native ultimately decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania because of the opportunities the career would bring to be creative, work closely with others, and build something of his own.
While in his first job following graduation, Oliver decided he wanted to grow his communications toolkit even more. While his undergraduate program made him a strong writer and editor, he wanted to learn more about the mechanics of the communications industry. This led him to the strategic communications (previously known as the professional communications) graduate program at La Salle University.
“I find use for what I learned in the program in every aspect of my personal and professional life,” he said.
The program gave him a greater foundation in communication theory, persuasion, media analysis, social judgement theory, and the ability to identify and effectively speak to specific audiences. Oliver has utilized all of those academic experiences to prepare him for every job throughout his career that’s taken him to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Philadelphia Gas Works, City of Philadelphia, and even a Philadelphia mayoral campaign.
“La Salle gave me the academic underpinnings of strategic work,” he said. “I’m doing all the things I learned in my communication classes, and I’m applying it.”
In June 2023, PECO, Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas energy delivery company, announced Oliver’s appointment to senior vice president of governmental, regulatory and external affairs. This role includes leading PECO’s regulatory and legislative strategy, and the company’s community and philanthropic initiatives.
Prior to this position, Oliver served as PECO’s vice president of governmental and external affairs, and director of communications. In his current role, he spearheads the development and implementation of strategic initiatives to enhance PECO’s position in the region, engage stakeholders, and strengthen the company’s relationships with public and private organizations.
Oliver said PECO is an organization that’s allowed him to find all the elements he wants in a career. He’s able to be creative while working with others and finding solutions for the company’s customers. Plus, the roles he’s held have allowed him to learn more about the energy sector.
And while he doesn’t own and operate his own advertising firm, he’s found ways to be an entrepreneur every day in his career by taking ownership of the projects he works on.
To students currently pursuing communications at La Salle, Oliver reminds them that in this industry, a career typically isn’t linear and can take you many places. He encourages them to welcome the unexpected and grow from all the experience a communications degree can give them.
And for all students, he recommends gaining mentors and then becoming a mentor as they can take something from both experiences.
“For me, I learn a lot from every experience I am in,” Oliver said.