Carl Apple, whose work experience includes four years in the U.S. Army, 10 years as a television reporter and tenure as spokesman for a Roman Catholic diocese, has been named the new director of communications for the George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University.
Apple succeeds Ann Lugg, who is retiring from Rice after working for the university for 23 years. Lugg has headed the school’s communications department since it was established in 2006. She will remain at Rice for a one-month transition period.
“Carl has the experience, vision and creativity to lead our communications group at this critical time. Enhanced marketing and communications is an important part of the strategic plan for the school of engineering. We are all excited to have Carl leading this effort,” said Reginald DesRoches, the William and Stephanie Sick Dean of Engineering.
Apple comes most recently from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he has served since 2016 as associate vice president for communications, marketing and public relations. In that capacity he oversaw a five-person staff.
Apple, 42, was born in Holland, Mich., and except for his Army service has always lived in Michigan. He enlisted in the Army in 1993 at age 17, and served as a radio and communications security repairer. He graduated from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids with a B.S. in broadcasting in 2000 and an M.S. in communications in 2003.
“I started out wanting to be a sports anchor. I was a photographer, shooting college and high school sports and eventually got the opportunity to report and anchor sports on the side. Later I began shooting and reporting news and realized I was much better suited for it,” he said.
From 2002 to 2012, Apple worked for WXMI FOX 17 in Grand Rapids, leaving as an investigative news reporter, where he earned an Emmy in 2003 and was nominated for another in 2012. He next went to work as director of communications for the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids, which includes 11 counties in western Michigan with more than 80 parishes and 30 schools.
“I was the eyes, ears and voice for an entire organization,” said Apple, who worked with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2015 to provide media relations assistance in Philadelphia for Pope Francis’ visit.
In 2016, Apple went to work for Aquinas College, where he directed the school’s marketing and communication initiatives, including content development and brand management.
Apple and his wife, Bridget, have three children: Grace, 14; Molly, 12; Charlie, 10. Bridget is a nurse who works as an infection preventionist.