Alvin Gates is currently the IT Manager at Relativity in Chicago, helping to manage large volumes of data and keep client information secure. Alvin has held similar positions with several area corporations, including DeVry University, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Vitas Innovative Hospice Care, and Griffith Foods. He holds a B.S. in Technical Management from DeVry University. As an Information Technology professional, Alvin spends a fair amount of time behind a screen, but his appreciation for the natural world is perhaps magnified because of it. He first became acquainted with The Conservation Foundation through his neighbor and now fellow Trustee, Jeanette Press.


Alvin is a familiar face at our McDonald Farm headquarters thanks to his volunteer service as our Bluebird Monitor at McDonald Farm the last couple of years. While he was working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, he found spending his lunch hour checking on the 20 or so bird boxes on the Bluebird Trail at McDonald Farm was a welcome respite from screen time and the isolation of his four walls. As a young boy, Alvin was a member of the World Wildlife Fund and the animals he read about in those magazines sparked aspirations of being a zoologist. His professional life took a different path, but he’s found glimpses of fulfilling that long ago dream through his work at McDonald Farm. “Fast forward to the present day,” says Alvin, “and I feel like I’ve recaptured that love of nature, a void that technology can’t fill. The world owes a lot to organizations like The Conservation Foundation, who make it a priority for things I take for granted, like preserving land and protecting rivers and streams. I’m excited that with my expertise and experience, I can help advance that mission for nature from a technological perspective.”


Our Green Earth Harvest program is also of particular interest to Alvin, who is very passionate about nutrition and healthy, sustainably grown food. He is well known as a connoisseur of bourbon, enjoys Olympic weightlifting, reading, DJing, is honing a newfound interest in drone flying, and loves to bike and hike on both our local trails and when travelling. Alvin and his wife of 26 years are immensely proud of their adult son and daughter, both of whom live out of state.