After starting at the Orlando Business Journal (OBJ) as a reporter in 2008, Richard Bilbao ’07’s has been appointed editor-in-chief for the publication. In his sixteen years at OBJ, the UCF journalism alum has also worked as a digital producer and as an associate managing editor. As an experienced journalist, Bilbao has also won awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists, just to name a few.

“It’s wonderful to see Nicholson School alumni making significant contributions to the field of journalism, especially right here in our central Florida community,” says Robert Littlefield, UCF’s Nicholson School of Communication and Media (NSCM) director. “Our journalism degree equips students with the knowledge and skills to successfully tell stories in today’s changing world, and industry leaders like Richard Bilbao represent what’s possible for UCF students.”

NSCM is part of UCF’s College of Sciences and includes communication, film and mass media, and games and interactive media degree programs, as well as the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy.

Here are a few questions to get to know Bilbao better personally and professionally.

1. You’ve spent much of your career post-UCF working for the Orlando Business Journal. What brought you to UCF, and how did your experience at the Nicholson School of Communication and Media prepare you for this role? 
The Nicholson School of Communication got me prepared to enter an industry I knew little about as a 24-year-old graduate. I was supported by professors and fellow students to be confident in myself and the training I got from UCF. The curriculum and the staff taught me all it could, and the rest I learned on the job. If I had to do it all over again, I would choose to be a Knight every single time.

2. You recently posted that you are excited for the opening of Epic Universe Super Nintendo World because of the special place that Mario and his friends hold in your heart. Who is your go-to player and favorite map or track? Who is usually the first-place winner in your household?
As a little brother, I have always loved Luigi. My favorite Mario Kart track is Mute City from Mario Kart 8, the musical score is from the video game series F-Zero. I am the current reigning Mario Kart champion at home, but my two daughters are getting better. As long as I can perform the speed boosts better than them, I’ll always have that edge.

3. Other than the Epic Universe news, what are some other highlights of reporting on the Orlando business community that have excited or interested you?
Most recently, Orlando Business Journal has closely covered the ongoing discussions related to Orange County’s tourist development tax collections and the projects tied to that. The importance of those funds to many local business leaders was a focal point. Also, we had great coverage on the projects including the upcoming expansion to the Orange County Convention Center. We also closely followed the recent tussle between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and The Walt Disney Co. While it appears those disagreements have been settled, it was an interesting battle to cover.

4. What’s your favorite family holiday tradition and recipe?
We try to watch a holiday movie every night in December, and bake a treat or do an activity. My wife makes a great reindeer chow that is hard to pry myself away from each year. My kids love to bake and decorate cookies to the point where we always have way too many.

5. If you could trade places with anyone for a week, who would it be?
My kids. As adults we remember how fun it is to be a kid and enjoy the simplicities in life. Making friends and enjoying the little things are simple, yet so magical and filled with wonder.