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Alumni in the News - September 2011

Career Moves

All-Star Student Entrepreneur Creates iCracked

A.J. Forsythe (B.S., Psychology, 2011) decided after having his iPhone broken twice in a week he needed an alternative to Apple's costly cell phone repair service. From that experience a business idea was born. Forsythe decided to fix his iPhone himself and turned it into the repair service, iCracked, a company with a projected $200,000 annual revenue.
Read more about Forsythe in Forbes

Crop Science Grad Named Assistant Ag Commissioner

Lisa Correia (B.S., Crop Science, 1985) was appointed assistant agricultural commissioner and sealer of the county’s Agricultural Commissioner and Weights and Measures office by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. Correia has more than 24 years of experience in the field and was most recently involved in leading the state Agriculture Department’s efforts to eradicate the European grape vine moth pest.
Read more about Correia in the North Bay Business Journal

Veterinarian Joins Dog and Cat Hospital

Leah Krugman (B.S., Animal Science, 2006) joined the staff at Nipomo Dog and Cat Hospital in Nipomo, Calif.
Read the write up on Krugman in the Santa Maria Times

Engineer Joins Medical Supply Company

Ian Hanson (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1998) was appointed director of advanced drug delivery systems at Unilife Corp. Hanson was previously with Medtronic Diabetes, where he served as the senior engineering manager and leader of the Advanced Engineering and Systems Department. Unilife is a U.S.-based developer, manufacturer and supplier of advanced drug delivery systems.
Read more about Hanson in PR Newswire

Food Science Grad Joins Chocolate Company

Kim Swisher (B.S., Food Science, 2011) was hired as a research and development technologists to work on product development for Blommer Chocolate Co. Swisher will focus on generating new products, innovations and technical services. Blommer is a chocolate and cocoa products manufacturer that serves customers around the world.
Read more about Swisher in Candy Industry

Engineer Hired by AeroWorx

Robert Smith (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2006) was hired as the new manager of quality control and engineering for AeroWorx, a overhaul and repair service company in the aerospace industry. Smith's primary role will be to ensure the company continues to meet national and international quality standards.
Read more about Smith in the San Francisco Chronicle

Grad Joins Wine Company

Ben Hardisty (B.S., Business Administration, 2005) was hired by Quintessential as inventory control manager. Quintessential is a a wine import, marketing and sales company.
Read more about Hardisty in the Napa Valley Register

New Teacher Talks Passion: Education

Christal Alderton (B.S., Liberal Studies, 2006) teaches a sixth-grade English language arts class and strives to have a positive impact on her students. Alderton became a teacher to help create opportunities for learning, especially in places where these opportunities are not readily available.
Read more about Alderton on

Principal Discusses New Position

Adam Littlefield (B.A., Industrial Arts, 1984 and M.A., Industrial Arts, 1984) has been named the new principal at San Marin High School. Littlefield had previously been principal at Technology High School on the campus of Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park for 15 years.
Read more about Littlefield in the Novato Patch

Business Grad Becomes VP of National Bank SunTrust

Brad Dinsmore (B.S., Business Administration, 1985) joined SunTrust as executive vice president of consumer banking and private wealth management. Dinsmore will be based in Atlanta, Ga., where he will oversee retail banking, card, consumer lending, consumer product and private wealth management businesses.
Read more about Dinsmore on PRNewswire

Just for Fun

Home Ec Grad's Favorite Hobby is Reading

Alice Rew (B.S., Home Economics, 1960) is the "first lady of the library" in Atascadero, Calif. She found her passion working at the Atascadero Public Library -- work that led to a 39-year career as the librarian for Atascadero High School.
Read more about Rew in the Atascadero News

Wrestling a Driving Force Behind Teacher's Accomplishments

Frank Lucio (B.S., Physical Education, 1974) has many talents and passions; he is a retired teacher and coach, a family man and a musician. Lucio has used his many talents to get ahead in life. He wrestled throughout high school and college and later became a teacher and wrestling coach.
Read more about Lucio in the Ramona Sentinel

Disability Gave Polio Survivor Advantages

Richard Kneeshaw (B.S., Engineering Technology, 1970) has fought polio since age 3 but has found a way to to use the condition to further himself. Kneeshaw was a poster child for polio and for 30 years did hundreds of talks for the Shriners and Rotary about the disease. Through it all, he learned how to speak in public and used that skill to advance his career.
Read more about Kneeshaw at Tampa Bay Online

Grads Find Use for Old Tires

Rob (B.S., Agricultural Business, 1995) and Jana Nairn (B.S., Agricultural Business, 1995) run Rubber Bark, a company that recycles old tires and turns them into mulch used for playground and landscaping products. The Nairns adopted a "green" strategy and found ways to re-use her family's traditional almond processing equipment to launch Rubber Bark.
Read more about the Nairns in the Merced Sun Star

Food & Wine

Winegrower Uses Sustainability to Make Better Choices

Jim Collins (B.S., Agricultural Science, 1983) works as winegrower and terroir ambassador for Frei Brothers Reserve. The Sonama County, Calif., winery is a sustainable business that has begun focusing on reducing carbon emissions, using lightweight glass bottles and recycled materials in packaging.
Read more about Collins in the Boston City Guide Examiner

Local Winery Leaves Tradition Behind

Aaron Jackson (B.S., Wine & Viticulture, 2005) oversees local winemaking for the four-person company ONX Wines, based in Paso Robles, Calif. The tradition in California has been to follow European practices regarding winemaking. However, ONX has created four blends of wine, each with at least four different grape varieties, as they try to become a "progressive region."
Read more about Jackson in The Tribuns (San Luis Obispo)

Couple Sells Organic Milk

Meredith Burroughs (B.S., Animal Science, 2003) and her husband, Zeb, own and run California Cloverleaf Farms, a grass-based dairy on the Merced-Stanislaus county line in California. They started with 700 crossbred heifers in 2003 and two years later began selling organic milk through the Organic Family Cooperative.
Read more about Burroughs in the Merced Sun Star

Couple's Hobby Turned Into Business

Colleen Gerke (B.S., Agricultural Science, 2000) and her husband started making wine as a hobby at their home in Platte County, Mo. They soon found that their wine was in top demand and set up a tasting bar in their home. Now the couple sells a variety of wines and owns an established winery and tasting bar.
Read more about Gerke in the Kansas City Star

Honors & Awards

Farmer, Sports Lover to Be Honored at Nisei Week

Kazuo Ikeda (CER, Crop Science two-year tech, 1940) was nominated by the Central Coast Service Club as one of five 2011 Nisei Week Pioneers. Ikeda was recognized during the 71st annual Nisei Week Japanese Festival (Aug. 13-21) in Little Tokyo. As one of the five pioneers, he represents some of the most active and dedicated leaders of the greater Los Angeles Japanese American community.
Read more about Ikeda in Rafu Shimpo

Substitute Teacher Wins Funds for RMS Media Center

Marilyn Lewis (M.A., Education, 1981) recently won a $1,000 prize sponsored by the Dollar General. Lewis attended the summer 2011 National American Library Association Conference in New Orleans and was one of only three prize winners.  She donated the money to the Wakulla School District in Wakulla County, Fla., where she has been a substitute teacher and school volunteer since August 2008
Read more about Lewis on

Ag Grad Wins Jack Schneider Award

Tom Courtright (B.S., Ornamental Horticulture, 1969) received the Jack Schneider Award for a lifetime of achievement in garden retail from Garden Centers of America. Courtright is the owner of Orchard Nursery in Lafayette, Calif., which was sold to him in 1972 by the founder, Jack Schneider.
Read more about Courtright in Garden Center


Harriet Marion Clendenen

Harriet Marion Horn Clendenen (M.A. Education, 1979) died Aug. 20.
Read more about Clendenen in The Tribune

Ana Maria Dias

Ana Maria Dias (B.S., Electronic Engineering, 1988) died July 22.
Read more about Dias in The Tribune

Clarence Irwin Haydock

Clarence Irwin Haydock (B.S., Biological Sciences, 1960) died July 30.
Read more about Haydock in the Huntington Beach Independent

Dennis Charles Hill

Dennis Charles Hill (CER, Dairy Husbandry, two-year tech, 1960 and B.S., Dairy Husbandry or Manufacturing, 1963) died Aug. 2.
Read more about Hill in The Tribune

Thomas McAleese

Thomas Edmond McAleese (B.S., Business Administration, 1970) died July 12.
Read more about McAleese in The Tribune

Richard Palmer

Richard Palmer (B.S., Journalism, 1972) died Aug. 25.
Read more about Palmer in The Tribune