Human Resources VP leaves BC

Cesar Portillo
Cesar Portillo

Bellevue College’s Vice President of Human Resources Cesar Portillo will be stepping down on June 21. Portillo will begin a new position at California State University, San Bernadino on June 24.

Portillo has held his position since June of 2010, serving previously as Executive Director of Human Resources at Highline Community College, and at the University of Washington School of Medicine and San Diego State University.

As VP of Human Resources, Portillo oversaw all functions of the department including recruitment, labor and employee relations, workers’ compensation, benefits and training and development. In his time at BC, Portillo reorganized the Human Resources department and played a large role in reforming the selection process for the college president. Portillo was also a key player in implementing pluralism training for hiring committees to help BC bring in a more diverse faculty.

“In my short tenure at Bellevue College, Cesar has been an amazingly valuable resource and trusted colleague,” said BC President Dr. David Rule in an email announcing Portillo’s transition. “I will miss his true expertise, wise counsel and wonderful sense of humor.”

Portillo said he was leaving BC to go back to California, where he lived for 16 years before moving to the Pacific Northwest. He and his partner have been planning a retirement in southern California, and this move will be a step towards achieving their long-term goals. “Also, there was a very good opportunity for me which was difficult to turn down,” he said.

“I will certainly miss the wonderful friendships I have built here and will miss the students,” said Portillo.

Administrative Assistant to the VP of Human Resources Jewell Evans has worked with Portillo for eight years. “I’m happy for him but it’s kind of bittersweet,” she said. “He’s a person you want to work for…He’s a great supporter, a person that’s concerned about the college and its future. His ideas and commitment to policies, connection with faculty, staff and students [will be missed].” She went on to say that Portillo was a great leader and boss, and always focused on supporting the students. Portillo attended nearly every event put on by Student Programs to show his support for the students.

“He’s very committed to every organization [within the college],” she said.

Evans said his would be “hard shoes to fill.” According to Evans, Portillo brought about “much-needed change” within the college.

Current Human Resources Director Yvonne McGookin will fill the role of interim vice president in addition to her directorial duties.