Alumni in the News

Cal Poly alumni make news every day, winning awards, impacting industry, improving their communities and changing the world for the better. Here, we present some of the highlights from our alumni in the news.

Cal Poly Alum, Roark Lanning, appointed to Director of Wind Energy at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff

Roark Lanning earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Cal Poly and is now being named the Director of Wind Energy at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff. The global engineering and professional services organization provides technical, management, and advisory services for projects relating to power. Lanning will specifically focus on the development of onshore wind energy. Penn Energy

Birmingham Botanical Garderns names Cal poly Alum, Tom Underwood, Executive Director

After graduating with a degree in horticulture from Cal Poly, Tom Underwood first found work with Walt Disney World, Orlando and has since been named the Executive Director of Birmingham Botanical Garderns. Over The Mountain Journal

Civil Engineering Alum, John Presleigh, named president of County Engineers Association of California

Public Works Director for the County of Santa Cruz and Cal Poly Alum, John Presleigh, has been named president of the County Engineers Association of California. Presleigh has 33 years experience in management and engineering as well as bachelor's degrees in Civil Engineering from Cal Poly, Water and Soil Science from UC Davis, and a master's degree in Civil Engineering from San Jose State Univeristy. Times Publishing Group

Cal Poly Alum, Natalie Junquiero Machado, promoted to National Director of Marketing for FreshSource

Natalie Junquiero Machado, an Orfalea College of Business graduate, has been promoted to National Director of Marketing for FreshSource, an in-store merchandising and sales program. Natalie has been working with FreshSource for four years in both the Business Development and Sales departments. Her exceptional management and operational skills prompted the promotion. And Now U Know

Orfalea College of Business grad Rob Hagen promoted to CFO

The tech accessory company Incipio promoted Cal Poly alum Rob Hagen to CFO. Previously Hagen served similiar roles in BRB/SHERLINe Inc., an environmental services technology company in Rancho Santa Margarita, and at the Hill Corp Inc. in Anaheim. Hagen graduated from Cal Poly with a bachelor's degree in finance and accounting from the Orfalea College of Business. Orange County Business Journal

Siuyin Ko appointed Corporate Director of Sales at Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Cal Poly alumni Siuyin Ko has been appointed as Rosewood Hotels & Resorts' Corporate Director of Sales. Ko graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business and Managerial Economics. In her new role, Ko will make strategic decisions for the Rosewood North American Regional Sales organization as well as establish the new regional office in San Francisco. Hospitality Net

Cal Poly Alum, Nada Duna, Named COO of Gothic Landscape

Nada Duna, a horticulture graduate from Cal Poly, has been hired as the chief operating officer for Gothic Landscape. Duna previously worked as senior vice president of ValleyCrest Companies where she boosted revenue growth and promoted sustainable practices. “I am thrilled to be joining Gothic, a company that shares my passion for the industry, focus on customers and people and doing what’s right,” said Duna. “I am confident Gothic is well positioned to take advantage of the growth opportunities ahead and that we can collectively create the next generation, innovative landscape maintenance company.” Lawn & Landscape

Alum Larry & Lisa Balestra celebrate 3 decades of farm-fresh produce

Larry's Produce, started by Cal Poly crop science grad Larry Balestra and agricultural business grad Lisa Balestra, has been providing the Suisun Valley fresh produce for over 30 years. The husband-wife duo pride themselves in fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables that help keep customers healthy and their tastebuds happy. Since Larry's Produce's opening three decades ago, the business has grown to employ 80 workers to offer 120-plus different varieties of produce to the local community. Daily Republic

Cal Poly Architecture alum, Marc Mondor, and his wife Christine start evolveEA

Graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cal Poly, Marc Mondor and his wife Christine have started a sustainable design firm focused on the interaction between the built enviornment and the natural environment. EvolveEA (short for environment and architecture) won the Pittsburgh Certificate of Merit in Regional and Urban Design in 2016 for their work on the Centre Avenue Corridor Redevelopment and Design Plan. Pittsburgh Magazine

Cal Poly alum, NathalieTaylor, honored with Press Club award

Cal Poly alum, Nathalie Taylor, won three first place, and two second place awards at the San Diego Press Club’s 43rd Annual Excellence in Journalism Awards Banquet held Oct. 25 at Jacobs Center Market Creek. In the highly competitive “Travel” category Taylor took first place with her story, “A Tale of Two Chinatowns: San Francisco and Toronto,” published in the Village News, Sept. 24, 2015. The story was written from a personal perspective as Taylor recalled her experiences in both cities. The two-page layout included her own photographs and many vivid descriptions. Village News

Phil Christianson, Cal Poly alum, Appointed Chief Executive Officer of HealthSmart

HealthSmart, a leading independent provider of managed care solutions for self-funded employers across the country, today announced that Phil Christianson has been named the Company’s new President and Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Tom Kelly, who has resigned from the Company to pursue other interests. Mr. Christianson, who brings more than 30 years of experience in health benefits administration, technology and operations to HealthSmart, will become CEO effective November 14, 2016. Broadway World

Cal Poly alum, John Chandler, appointed to Fresno County Farm Bureu board of directors

John Chandler, a fourth generation Fowler and Selma farmer, has been elected as a new officer on the 2016-17 board of directors for Fresno County Farm Bureau. “There is a great respect for each generation,” Chandler said of his family’s farm. “There is more of a legacy, or duty, to maintain and continue this great gift.” Chandler graduated Cal Poly with a degree in fruit science. The Selma Enterprise

2016 CattleWoman of the Year award goes to Cal Poly alum, Melanie Fowle

Siskiyou County CattleWomen proudly awarded the 2016 CattleWoman of the Year honor to Melanie Fowle of Etna. Melanie grew up on her family's 5000 acre cattle ranch in a remote area of Siskiyou County, riding her horse about 8 miles to a one-room schoolhouse. She graduated from high school in Etna, attended Cal Poly University, San Luis Obispo and majored in History with an English minor. She was one of a few women at that time competing on the Livestock Judging Team for Cal Poly, and brought home the 1st place individual award from the national competition at the Denver show. Siskiyou Daily News

Cal Poly alum Jessica Hanson promoted to Chief Marketing & Sales Officer at Perricone MD

After working just 10 short months at Perricone MD as Chief Revenue Officer, Cal Poly alum Jessica Hanson is being promoted to Chief Marketing & Sales Officer due to her creativity, sales expertise, and ability to be a brand leader. Hanson received her MBA in Marketing at Fordham University Gabelli School of Business and B.S. in Graphic Communication at Cal Poly. SAT PR News

Victor Glover, NASA astronaut and Cal Poly alum, speaks at Las Positas CollegeVictor Glover, NASA astronaut and Cal Poly alum, speaks at Las Positas

The Las Positas College President's Speaker Series featured NASA astronaut Commander and Cal Poly alum Victor Glover Wednesday, November 16th. Glover is one of eight to be selected as NASA's new group of astronauts in four years. He received an undergraduate degree in engineering from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo and holds advanced degrees from the Air University and Naval Postgraduate School. He is an F/A-18 pilot and a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School. The Independent

Cal Poly Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Administration graduate, Jamie Tejeda, takes ownership of Grover Beach's Lickety Split Bakery

Already known for its cupcakes, Grover Beach’s Lickety Split Bakery is quickly becoming recognized for a wider array of delectable delights — ranging from croissants to cookies to creative custom cakes. The new approach is thanks to new ownership from newlyweds Lalo and Jamie Tejeda. Five months into their marriage, the Tejedas took over the business in May from Jan Evans. She purchased it in 2011, the same year the Tejedas met.Owning a bakery “was both of our dreams, individually — even before we met,” Jamie Tejeda said. “But it was part of our five-year plan after getting married, not our five-month plan!” SLO Tribune

Cal Poly alum, Judy Lee, starts new position as Senior Vice President of Square 1 Bank

Senior vice president Judy Lee comes to Square 1 from Silicon Valley Bank where she most recently served as vice president in the Venture Capital and Private Equity Services practice, and brings over a decade of experience in financial services and relationship management in Silicon Valley. Her prior experience also includes a senior advisory role in Silicon Valley Bank’s Fixed Income Asset Management group and banker positions within its technology and life sciences practices. Judy received an MS in Financial Analysis from the University of San Francisco and a BS from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. “I am excited to work with a group of energized and knowledgeable bankers and look forward to continuing to build partnerships within the investor community,” said Lee. Financial Content

NBC Boston hires Cal Poly alum, Nick Emmons

Nick Emmons, a 2008 graduate of Cal Poly's broadcast journalism and public relations program, has joined New England Cable News and NBC Boston. Before the offer, Nick worked as a weekend anchor and weekday reporter at WHDH7 where he reported on hitting news stories throughout Boston. "Exciting day!" Nick said in a post to his Instagram account. "I'm very happy to join the team at NBC Boston/NECN! I'm looking forward to a bright future alongside a lot of hard working people! Stay tuned for more details." New England 1

Cal Poly Engineering alum, Scot Sawyer, wins Washington State's American Public Works Association's prestigious awardCal Poly Engineering alum, Scot Sawyer, wins Washington State's American

Scott, a principal at SCJ Alliance and Cal Poly alum, was presented the Roy Morse Award for outstanding technical and professional accomplishments in public works by the Washington state chapter of APWA. As the APWA state winner, he will now be considered in the National Top 10 Public Works Leaders of the Year Award. A graduate of California Polytechnic State University, Scott moved to Washington 17 years ago and has been in the industry for more than 25 years. “The opportunity to serve is what drives me,” Scott shared. “In my profession, I get to serve people, communities and my colleagues, all in the context of solving problems.” 
Thurston Talk

Cal Poly alum, Randy A. Record, reelected Chairman of Metropolitan's Board of Directors

Randy A. Record, under whose leadership the region's primary water import agency has navigated supply and resource challenges during the state's ongoing historic drought, was reelected as chairman of the board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. During his first term, the district confronted unmatched drought conditions after the state recorded the hottest year on record in 2014 and the driest year ever recorded in 2013. In response, for the fourth time in the district's history, Metropolitan restricted wholesale deliveries to its 26 member public agencies to help save water and stretch available supplies, while also establishing the nation's largest turf removal and water conservation program. Benzinga

Girl Scouts of California's Central Coast name Cal Poly alum Jody Skenderian as Interim CEO 

Girl Scouts of California’s Central Coast (GSCCC) today announced Jody Skenderian as the council’s interim CEO. Skenderian, who most recently served as GSCCC’s Chief Development Officer, has been responsible for the council’s fund development, product sales and marketing and communications efforts. With over two decades of experience building and leading business development and community relations teams for Fortune 1000 companies, Skenderian brings a wealth of experience into the new position. She succeeds Gina Jaeger, who served as CEO since 2013. 

Cal Poly alum, Jennifer Jipson, added to Goddard School's Educational Advisory Board

The premier preschool Goddard School has added Cal Poly alum Dr. Jennifer Jipson to the Educational Advisory Board. Dr. Jipson, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Child Development at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, brings experience and knowledge to early childhood education within the domains of science, health and technology. Referencing her studies of how children learn and develop as they engage in everyday routines, Dr. Jipson hopes to shed more light on ways children learn through informal settings and help a larger audience understand child development as a field. Baystreet

Cal Poly alum, Steven Adams, selected to lead King City as new city manager

After an extensive recruitment process, the City Council of King City has selected Steven Adams to be its next City Manager. Based on the excellent results of the process, the City Council has unanimously concluded that Adams is the best candidate to serve in this important position. Adams has over 32 years of experience in local government administration and a consistent track record of success with a number of agencies. Adams’ education includes a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. KSBW

Cal Poly alum to open second Sushi restaurant in downtown San Jose

Cal Poly alum and former cancer researcher, Randy Musterer, has made the transition to successful sushi restaurateur. Three years after opening his first restaurant — called Sushi [Confidential] — in downtown Campbell, Musterer is bringing his operation to downtown San Jose. The new store is slated for 31 N. Market St., the former Sonoma Chicken Coop at San Pedro Square. And it comes about a year after Musterer, who is known to customers and friends as Sushi Randy, first started to hunt for a second location, buoyed by the phenomenal response to his first spot on East Campbell Avenue.
Silicon Valley Business Journal

Paso Robles Chamber honors Cal Poly alumni as 'Roblans of the Year'

Paso Robles Chamber honors Cal Poly alumni as 'Roblans of the Year'John and Marjorie Hamon, both graduates of Cal Poly, were named the 2014 Roblans of the Year at the 94th annual Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce annual awards dinner on Jan. 24. The pair met while attending the university where John studied industrial technology, and Marjorie majored in industrial engineering. After graduation, the couple purchased the business owned by Marjorie’s family and eventually rechristened it Hamon Overhead Garage Doors. Both volunteer extensively in the Paso Robles area. John is serving his third term on the Paso Robles City Council. The Roblan of the Year award is presented annually to members of the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce who have made a significant contribution through community service, action and donations over the years. Tribune

Two Cal Poly alumni make Forbes 30 Under 30 list 

Two graduates of Cal Poly's Orfalea College of Business have been named to the annual Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Hathway's co-founder Jesse Dundon (B.S., Industrial Technology, 2007; M.S., Industrial Technology, 2008) has been named one of Forbes' 30 Under 30 in marketing and advertising for 2015. Hathway helps brands develop mobile applications and campaigns from their offices in San Luis Obispo and Tokyo. Dundon is also a member of Cal Poly's Industrial Technology Advisory Board. Jessie Becker (B.S., Entrepreneurship, 2011), chief executive officer of InPress Technologies, made the 30 Under 30 list for her work in healthcare. InPress Technologies, which got its start in Cal Poly's Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, develops a medical device to stop postpartum hemorrhaging. Tribune.

Kinesiology graduate named to team USA coaching staff

Andrew Silva, a graduate of the M.S. in Kinesiology at Cal Poly, has been named to the coaching staff for Team USA Water Polo. Silva was the former Tigers coach from 1999 to 2002 and served as an assistant coach for the Cuesta College men’s water polo team from 2007 to 2012. He is coming from Citrus College in Glendora, California where he is in his second year as head coach of the women’s water polo team. He will be helping to coach the USA Women’s Youth Water Polo National Team at the upcoming Junior Pan American Championships in Riverside. He started working with the USA Water Polo Olympic Development Program as a regional goal keeper coach in 2012. KSBY.

Cal Poly alum develops smart phone application with downloads exceeding 1 million

If Andrew Hughes has his way, Papyrus will be a standard tool in every boardroom and classroom. His Android app, named for the paper-like material produced from the papyrus plant, allows users to take handwritten notes on a phone or tablet. As a senior majoring in computer engineering, Hughes had enrolled in Cal Poly’s first Android class, taught by David Janzen. He developed the app after graduating from Cal Poly with a master’s degree in electrical engineering. His thesis on active pen technology, a type of stylus that communicates with a touchscreen device, was completed before such technology appeared on devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Note. Hughes launched the app in 2012 in the Google Play Store, where it was downloaded about 100,000 times in its first year. A year later, after being featured as a top productivity app, downloads exceeded 300,000 in a single week. The count now sits at just over 1 million. The Tribune

DMI Music & Media Names Alum, Annette Robinson, Vice Presidents of Strategic Sales

Andrew Yeager and Annette Robinson have been appointed to Vice Presidents of Strategic Sales In-Store for DMI Music & Media. DMI is an award-winning, full-service music agency that offers a comprehensive range of expertise and innovative marketing solutions that enable brands to leverage the power of music and entertainment. Ms. Robinson has more than 15 years experience developing, executing and implementing go-forward, brand-building strategies developing ideal in-store experiences that resonate with brand goals. She is a graduate of Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obipso, with a degree in business administration. PR Newswire  

Housing nonprofit names Cal Poly alum as new CFO

Kenneth Trigueiro has been named executive vice president and chief financial officer of Peoples' Self-Help Housing, a nonprofit that provides affordable housing and programs for low-income families, seniors and other special needs groups. He replaces John Fowler who took over as the group’s president earlier this year. Previously, Trigueiro worked in project development management at the Paso Robles Housing Authority and in residential real estate lending at Bank of America, according to the release. Trigueiro holds an MBA in financing and banking from Golden Gate University of San Francisco and a degree in agricultural business management from Cal Poly. The Tribune

Alum creates design for U.S. Mint's first curved coins

Coin collectors across the nation can now hold the work of San Luis Obispo artist Cassie McFarland in their hands. More than a million coins bearing McFarland’s design went on sale March 27 as part of the U.S. Mint’s National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Program. McFarland, who grew up in Roseville, graduated from Cal Poly with a bachelor of fine arts degree concentrating in studio art and design. The Tribune.

Alum Joins Santa Barbara Housing Trust Fund Board of Directors

The Housing Trust Fund of Santa Barbara County (HTF) will welcome Sheryl Flores to the Board of Directors. Sheryl Flores is currently the Vice President for Real Estate Development at Peoples’ Self-Help Housing Corporation (PSHH) where she oversees all the Home Ownership programs. Flores holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business Management from California Polytechnic State University. 
Santa Barbara Independent.

Cal Poly graduates make strides in Google Glass Research

A pair of Cal Poly graduate researchers have built what may be the world’s first spyware proof-of-concept for Google’s Glass computer eyepieces. The software, designed by 22-year-old Mike Lady and 24-year-old Kim Paterson, takes a photo every ten seconds when Glass’s display is off and uploads the images to a remote server without giving the wearer any sign that their vision is being live streamed to a stranger. Forbes.

Alum named Pismo Beach Chief of Police

Cal Poly alum, Jake Miller, has been named Pismo Beach Police Department’s new chief of police. Miller is a 20-year veteren of the Pismo Beach Police Department and has been with the department since 1994. He will replace Jeffrey Norton, who will be retiring July 29th. Miller holds a bachelor of arts degree from Cal Poly, a graduate certificate in criminal justice from the University of Virginia and is a graduate of the Sherman Block Leadership Institute as well as the 249th Session of the FBI National Academy. Santa Maria Times.

Cal Poly graduate (Aerospace Engineering BS/MS 2008) Ted Garbeff was featured in London's Daily Mail today. A U.K elementary school child wrote to NASA with questions about space. NASA Ames engineer Ted Garbeff surprised the student by producing a video for the student and giving him a virtual tour of NASA Ames' campus. The Daily Mail's feature story plays up the fact that a space "expert in America" is helping educate a student all the way in the U.K., London Daily Mail reports.

Graduate Emerges as City Council Candidate

The election to fill three seats on the San Luis Obispo City Council is still nine months way, but several candidates have already emerged to vie for those seats. Two incumbents — Mayor Jan Marx and Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson — are seeking re-election… Meyer is a San Luis Obispo native and a Cal Poly graduate. In the 1990s, he founded and eventually sold a footwear brand called Simple Shoes. He served on the city’s Planning Commission from 2008 to 2013, when he was appointed to the county Planning Commission. He also is chairman of the city’s Land Use and Circulation Element Update task force, The Tribune Reports.

Cal Poly Alumni hired as Associate Attorneys

San Luis Obispo law firm Andre, Morris & Buttery has hired Amber Simmons and Matthew Boutté as associate attorneys. Both Simmons and Boutté earned their bachelors’ degrees at Cal Poly -- Simmons in agricultural business and Boutté in mathematics, according to a news release. Andre, Morris & Buttery, with offices in San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria, has served the Central Coast for more than 60 years, according to the news release, The Tribune reports.

Alum Celebrated as Green Volunteer

The Morro Bay citizen’s committee recognized several individuals for decades of contributions at the kick-off dinner in January. Taylor Newton, 35, and the youngest to be recognized, might be considered representative of Morro Bay’s future. A graduate of Cal Poly, Newton describes the Guerilla Gardening Club in Morro Bay as a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational program that “allows young street-wise men and women over 15 an opportunity to learn about plants, biology and community through the learn-by-doing process," The Tribune reports.

Alum Hired by LDA Partners

The Stockton architectural firm LDA Partners has announced the hiring of several new employees. Rene Basurto has joined the firm as a project manager. He has 30 years of architecture experience and joins the company with a focus on public sector work. Basurto is an architecture graduate from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Stockton Record reports.

Alum Joins Foodbank Board

Foodbank of Santa Barbara County board of trustees recently added two new members — Narded Eguiluz and Wayne Elias. Eguiluz is currently the distribution center manager for Driscoll’s Santa Maria facility and a member of Driscoll’s Philanthropy Grants Committee. He grew up in San Luis Obispo County, earned a bachelor of science degree in agribusiness from Cal Poly, then managed operations and worked in the fields for his family farm, Santa Maria Times reports.

Computer Science Grad Creator of Urban Dictionary

Aaron Peckham was a computer science student in 1999 when he launched a Web site to compare urban slang used by university students in different parts of California.” OK, so maybe it’s grammatically challenged, and guilty of a serious omission: Namely, that Peckham was a computer science student at Cal Poly when he launched what would become Urban Dictionary. But we love the enthusiasm in that definition, because we, too, are big fans of Peckham’s work, which was profiled in a New York Times story published in Monday’s Tribune, The Tribune reports.

Alum Starts Luis Wine Bar

In March 2012, Luis Wine Bar uncorked a new place to enjoy a glass of wine, a craft beer, organic sodas and some noshes. Located on Higuera Street near the corner of Santa Rosa Street, the wine bar serenely sits in downtown San Luis Obispo without being fully caught up in the hustle and bustle… A graduate of Cal Poly, North was living in the Bay Area and working for Apple’s China division when she opted to move back to San Luis Obispo. In pondering what she was going to do here, she realized that she “wanted to do something that was part of the community rather than just sitting in an office.” That something ended up being Luis Wine Bar, The Tribune Reports.

Alum Has Designs on La Jolla's Scenery

Jim Neri grew up on the bluffs and beaches of La Jolla, gaining an appreciation for the design subtleties found in both natural and built landscapes. Schooled in horticulture at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and armed with a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Cal Poly Pomona. Neri sketched his way through Europe and designed the great outdoors with a San Diego landscape architecture and planning firm before founding Neri Landscape Architecture in 1997, La Jolla Light reports.

Alum Makes Partner at Novogradac

San Francisco-based accounting and consulting group Novogradac has welcomed Kevin Wilson of the San Francisco office, John Cole of the Austin office and Frank Buss and Gregory Clements of the Dover, Ohio office to the partnership. … Mr. Cole oversees the Government Consulting and Valuation Advisory Services (GoVal) group in the Austin, Texas office of Novogradac. … He earned a bachelors degree in civil and environmental engineering from California Polytechnic State University in 1992 and an MBA with a finance concentration and real estate specialization from the University of Texas at Austin in 1999, KLKN-TV reports.

Alum Named Special District General Manager of The Year

The Santa Barbara County Chapter of the California Special District’s Association selected Craig Murray, of the Carpinteria Sanitary District, as its General Manager of the Year for 2013. … Murray, who joined the District as its General Manager in May 2004, is a registered professional engineer and holds a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara Independent reports.

Alum Appointed Interim CEO

Violin Memory, Inc., a leader in persistent memory-based storage solutions, today announced that Howard A. Bain III, Chairman of the Violin Memory Board of Directors, has been appointed interim Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Bain’s appointment follows the decision of the Board of Directors to terminate Donald Basile as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Bain will remain Chairman of the Board. … Mr. Bain holds a B.S. in Business Administration from California Polytechnic University, reports.

Alum Named VP of Instruction at Napa Valley College

Terry Giugni, Ph.D, a research scientist and Napa Valley native, has been named Vice President of Instruction at Napa Valley College. … A Napa Valley (Oakville) native who grew up and was schooled in public institutions throughout California, Giugni received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and completed his Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics at the University of California, Irvine, Napa Valley Patch reports.

Alum is SLO County's New Top Planner

The county has named a city planner from Sonoma County as its new director of planning and building. The Board of Supervisors has offered the job to James Bergman, who has spent the past three years as community development director for the city of Windsor. He replaces Jason Giffen, who left the post in April. … He holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from Cal Poly, The Tribune reports.

Epoch Estate Wines Hires Alum to Oversee Public Relations

Epoch Estate Wines has appointed Faith Wells to their team to direct all public relations activities surrounding the winery. Wells comes with a wealth of knowledge in PR, event management and brand development and will continue to build Epoch’s brand through media outreach and other creative avenues… Wells is a Central Coast native who began her career at Meridian Vineyards in Paso Robles while obtaining an Agriculture Business degree from Cal Poly. In Napa Valley, Wells worked as a public relations manager at Icon Estates, Wine Business reports.

Alum Announces Intention to Retain Seat

San Luis Obispo County 4th District Supervisor Caren Ray (Master of Educational Leadership and Administration, 2009) will be a candidate in the June 2014 primary election to retain her position. Ray’s name will be on the June 3, 2014, primary ballot and, if necessary, on the ballot in the November general election. She announced her candidacy Friday, Santa Maria Times reports.

New Hearst Castle App Created by Cal Poly Grads

An app developed by recent Cal Poly graduates that lets Hearst Castle visitors carry a virtual tour guide in their pocket tops the iTunes “best new app” list in the travel category, is number 12 among best new apps overall and in the top 10 in paid travel apps. The location-aware GuideKick app, which launched Nov. 7, is the brainchild of Mark Paddon, Aaron Rivera and Joshua Holland, all 24-year-old 2012 Poly grads, and Garrett Lauringson, 26, who graduated in 2009, The Tribune reports.

Alum Named Executive Director of Templeton Chamber of Commerce

The Board of Directors for the Templeton Chamber of Commerce hired a new Executive Director Wednesday, according to KSBY News. Sarah Taylor Maggelat (Master of Business Administration, 2001) is taking over for Bardette Robison, who resigned back in October. Maggelat has been volunteering with the Chamber, and recently served as an ambassador and co-coordinator of the Chamber's Wine and Roses Bicycle Ride. She is the President of the Rotary Club of Templeton.

Alum Named Buellton Finance Director

Carolyn Galloway-Cooper(Architecture), former city administrator in Guadalupe, has been hired as finance director in Buellton, the city announced today. She is expected to begin work Monday, Nov. 18. A certified public accountant with an accounting degree from Cal Poly, Galloway-Cooper has more than 25 years of experience in finance, most recently as the finance director for Guadalupe, Santa Maria Times reports.

Alum to Speak at National Academy of Sciences Symposium

Oceanographer Matthew Oliver (Cal Poly) will join a select group of outstanding early-career scientists to speak at the Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences in Irvine, Calif., Nov. 7-9. The prestigious event convenes distinguished researchers in various fields to discuss a broad range of scientific topics, from asteroid impacts to protein folding, UDaily reports.

Alum Honored for Philanthropy Work

Cal Poly alum Tim Martinez (Architecture) and his wife, Jane Martinez, will be honored at the 2013 Celebrate Philanthropy! awards luncheon at the Santa Maria Country Club on Nov. 7. Hosted by the Santa Barbara Foundation and sponsored by the Santa Maria Times, Celebrate Philanthropy! recognizes individuals who have had a major impact on the local nonprofit landscape. Martinez and his wife are well-known in their community for volunteering with organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Maria Valley, the Rotary Club of Santa Maria, the Santa Maria Valley Sportsman's Association, and others. Martinez is the president of the Santa Maria-based architectural firm Tom B. Martinez & Associates.

Alum appointed to the Board of Directors of Courage to Connect New Jersey

Donovan Hall, a landscape architect and urban planner in Berkeley Heights, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Courage to Connect New Jersey (CtoCNJ), a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that assists citizens and local government through the consolidation process, according to Hall graduated from California Polytechnic State University with a degree in landscape architecture and a minor in sustainable environments.

Alum Appointed to Board of Supervisors

Arroyo Grande City Council woman Caren Ray (M.S., Educational Leadership) will succeed Paul Teixeira on the County Board of Supervisors, according to The Tribune. Gov. Jerry Brown announced Ray’s appointment. Ray has been a member of the Arroyo Grande City Council since 2010 and a teacher at Santa Maria High School since 2007.Her term runs until the end of next year.

Alum Joins Albertson & Davidson, LLP as Litigation Partner

Attorney Mark D. Perryman (Cal Poly) was announced as the newest addition to Albertson & Davidson, LLP as a partner, according to Perryman grew up in Southern California and attended Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and Arizona State University where he was a competitive wrestler. After becoming an attorney, Mr. Perryman concentrated his focus to the litigation arena, where he has successfully completed multiple jury trials and bench trials.

Two Incumbents in Contest for Tomale's Post

Two incumbents seek a single two-year post at stake on the tiny Tomales Village Community Services District, according to Both Eric Knudsen (B.S., Food Science) and Sue Sims want the two-year seat now held by Sims, who was appointed to fill a vacancy. Knudsen's term in a four-year seat is expiring, and he expects to retire in two years. The agency, which serves the agricultural community at the tip of northwestern Marin, was formed in 1998 to manage wastewater treatment and take care of the community park.

Grad Launches a Way to Buy-Back Old Iphones

iCracked, the company that built itself on repairing broken iPads and iPhones, is launching a way to call someone on demand to buy your old phones back. Founder AJ Forsythe started iCracked while studying at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. iCracked has a new idea where you can call someone on-demand to take iPhones or iPads off your hands in return for money, according to

Grads Offers Free Online Guides for Consumer's Devices

iFixit, a Central Coast company, offers free online guides for fixing everything from your smartphone to your washing machine. iFixit in San Luis Obispo employs 50 people. The company was started in 2003 by two Cal Poly students in their dorm room. Kyle Weins launched iFixit along with fellow Cal Poly engineering student Luke Soules, Central Coast News Reports.

Alum Participates in Annual Dahlia Daze Event

The president of the American Dahlia Society, Kevin Larkin (Cal Poly Ag Studies) has scheduled another visit to participate in Morro Bay’s annual Dahlia Daze on Friday evening and Saturday. Larkin quit his job as a pest-control adviser when his family nursery, Corralitos Gardens in Monterey County, consumed his full attention, according to The Tribune.

Alum Appointed Assistant Winemaker

Fess Parker Winery, located on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail of Santa Barbara Wine Country, has announced David Baird (B.S., Agribusiness) as Assistant Winemaker, according to Baird will work under the guidance of Head Winemaker, Blair Fox. As Assistant Winemaker, he will be tasked with managing the Enology Laboratory and Cellar staff.

Grad Becomes Atascadero’s New Director of Administrative Services

Jeri Rangel (Cal Poly) is the city of Atascadero’s new director of administrative services, a position vacated by Rachelle Rickard, who became city manager earlier this summer. The City Council unanimously approved the promotion at its Aug. 13 meeting. She took the position the next day, The Tribune reports.

PRP Companies Hires Grad as New Sales Representative

PRP Companies, formerly Poor Richard’s Press, has announced the addition of a new sales representative, Allison Silva (Cal Poly) of San Luis Obispo. Silva will help in outside sales efforts and customer relations, according to

Alum Promoted to Associate

Danielian Associates Architecture + Planning appointed three team members to the firm’s Associates Leadership group, according to Louis Bretana, Lead Designer, Mojgan Momenan, Project Manager, and Victor Alvarez-Duran (B.S., Architecture), Designer, were recognized for their years of significant contributions to the Irvine firm's success.

Alum Appointed Executive at bioTheranostics

bioTheranostics, Inc announced the addition of three industry veterans to its senior management team as it prepares for further commercial expansion and launch of its Breast Cancer IndexSM (BCI) molecular test. Gail Sloan (B.S., Business) joins the company as chief financial officer, Macey Johnson, III, as vice president of managed care and reimbursement, and Matt Sargent as Breast Cancer Index commercialization leader, reports.

Alum Leaves NASA to Join Virgin Galactic

NASA astronaut Rick “CJ” Sturckow (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1984) has left NASA and accepted a pilot position with Virgin Galactic's Commercial Flight Team, according to Aero Tech News. Sturckow is a veteran of four space shuttle missions and was known for his experience in spaceflight and ground operations.

Alum Receives U.S Small Business Administration Honor

Ty and Trudie Safreno (B.S., Agribusiness, 1992) owners of Trust Automation Inc. have been named the 2013 Central California Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Trust Automation is a specialty manufacturing company that employs 65 at a 49,500-square-foot facility in San Luis Obispo and exports products around the world, The Tribune reports.

Grad Joins Jensen Precast

Walt Stein (B.S., Civil Engineering, 1988) has joined Jensen Precast as the head of its Stormwater division, PR Web announced. Jensen Precast is one of the largest independently owned precast concrete manufacturing companies in the U.S. Stein will oversee the production of stormwater detention and retention products.

Alum Appointed Senior Analyst

Erin Hichman (B.S./M.S., Industrial Engineering, 2004) was appointed senior analyst and lead for industrial technology consulting research of Kennedy Consulting Research & Advisory, the leader in market analysis on the consulting profession, according to Business Wire.  

Ag Business Grad Named Manager of Retail and Produce Development 

Jeff Weaver, (B.S., Ag Business, 2011) was named manager of retail and produce development of Poindexter Nut Corporation in Selma, Calif. Weaver will lead the sales growth in the packaged nut line, which is expected to double in the next three years, according to The Produce News

Soil Science Grad Becomes Advanta's Western Region Sales Manger

Advanta US, a leading international supplier of proprietary agricultural crop genetics and seed, has named Tim Jacobsen, (B.S., Soil Science, 1981) as its western region sales manager, Agrimarketing reports. Jacobsen will manage sales of both private label seed and the Alta Seeds brand west of the Rocky Mountains. His other responsibilities will include technical and agronomic support, product training, test plot supervision and business development.  

Grads Accepted into Almond Leadership Program

Daniel Bays (B.S., Ag Engineering, 2011) and Samantha Perez (B.S., Ag Business, 2008) have been chosen as participants in the 2013 Almond Leadership Program, hosted by the Almond Board of California, according to the Patterson Irrigator. Almond Leadership Program participants attend monthly seminars covering various topics, including almond marketing, research, scientific affairs, sustainability, production and environmental issues. Both hope the program will expand their knowledge to contribute to the almond industry. 

Kristen Maitland’s (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 2000/M.S. Electrical Engineering, 2002) recent research of an advance in noninvasive imaging of epithelial tissue will appear on the cover of the May issue of “Biomedical Optics Express.’ Her research in partnership with Associate Professor Brian Applegate focuses on the development of a chromatic confocal microscope that may enable noninvasive detection and diagnosis of epithelial cancer. Maitland currently serves as assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University

Ag Business Alum Named JC Cellars' Assistant Winemaker

JC Cellars has appointed Rory Sheehe, (International Ag Business, 2010) to assistant winemaker. Sheehe has an extensive background in the wine industry starting as a vineyard manager intern while attending Cal Poly. In this position, Sheehe will provide direct winemaking support to president of JC Cellars, Jeff Cohn, according to Wine Business.

Computer Science Grad Receives President’s Volunteer Service Award

Ralph Crosby (B.S., Computer Science, 1985) has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award directly from the desk of President Barack Obama in a ceremony held in April. Crosby was selected by the Monte Cristo Center for Volunteer Development for his significant contributions to the Graduate Teaching Academy fellowship program. Crosby currently serves as the Academy’s co- director, contributing his time to advancing the program according to Texas A&M University

Grad Promoted to Vice President of Insurance Agency

Buckman-Mitchell has promoted Richard Nunes, Jr. (B.S., Agribusiness, 2001) to vice president. Previously the company’s assistant vice president, Nunes joined Buckman-Mitchell in 2002 and specializes in property and liability coverage for mid-to-large sized accounts with a focus on agribusiness accounts. With his promotion, he is expected to maintain continued growth of the company, the Visalia Times Delta reported.

Computer Science Alum Named CEO of Whodini

James P. Chappell (B.S., Computer Science, 1982) has been named chief executive officer of Whodini, Inc. Whodini provides engagement analytics tools that enable individuals and groups within organizations to increase their productivity, according to PR Web. Chappell’s technological experience will significantly help the business grow and deliver new solutions to customers. Chappell also currently sits on the Cal Poly Computer Science Industry Advisory Board and was a founding board member of the Enterprise Device Alliance. 

Alumnus of the Year Appointed to Brandt Board of Directors

John Salmonson (B.S., Horticulture and Crop Science, 1967), past College of Agriculture & Environmental Science Alumus of the year, has been appointed to the board of directors of Brandt. Brandt provides new processes and strategies for the agriculture industry, according to Agri Marketing. The new board of directors brings more than 85 years of experience to the company. 

Grad receives Andrew H. Ekern Award

Steve Shea (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 1991) has received the Andrew H. Ekern Award presented by the Insurance Brokers & Agents of San Diego. Shea received the award because of his commitment to the community and his leadership in the local insurance industry, according to Enhanced Online News. Shea is an associate at Barney & Barney, one of the nation’s largest independent insurance brokerages.

Animal Science Grad Becomes Department Head at University of Georgia

The University of Georgia’s College of Agriculture Environmental Sciences has named Kathleen D. Kelsey (B.S., Animal Science, 1984) as head of the college’s Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication. Kelsey was chosen because of her leadership ability and potential to guide the college to success and growth, according to a press release from the university.

Dairy Science/Ag Business Alum Joins Alltech

Brian Azevedo (B.S., Dairy Science and Ag Business, 2011) has joined Alltech, the Fresno Bee reports. Alltech is among the top 10 animal health companies in the world and is a global leader in the animal health and nutrition industry. Azevedo will provide on-farm technical support to dairies in California through farm audit and employee training.

Grad Promoted to Executive Director of Morgan Autism Center

Brad Boardman (B.A.,English, 1993; Special Education Credential, 2000) has been named executive director of Morgan Autism Center, the leading provider of individualized educational services for people with autism in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Alum Named Vice President of Architecture Firm

Rick Gunter (B.S., Architecture, 1991) has joined Luckman Salas O’Brien, a full-service architectural, interior design, and planning firm, as vice president in the Burbank office. Gunter will work closely with the firm’s president to grow and develop the firm,through design solutions for commercial and educational client,s according to Business Wire.

CRP Grad Named Marketing Director at Regatta Solutions

Regatta Solutions has named Yolanda Sepulveda (B.S., City and Regional Planning, 2002) its director of marketing and initiatives. Regatta Solutions is a leader in distribution of microturbine energy. Sepulveda’s role will be to guide the strategic message and presence of the company's renewable energy offerings, according to Business Wire. 

Grad Becomes Director of Architecture at Newport Beach Firm

Tom Greer (B.S., Architecture,1980) has been named director of architecture of Newman Garrison + Partners, an architectural firm based in Newport Beach, Calif.. Greer has more than 30 years of creative design experience in all phases of architecture, master and specific planning, 3D visualization, graphic design and marketing, according to West Side Today. 

Alum Named Chief Executive Officer of Alameda County Fair

Jerome Hoban (B.S., Agriculture Business, 1998) was chosen by the Alameda County Fair board to become the organization’s new chief executive officer. Hoban previously worked for the Orange County Fair, serving as their CEO in 2012. Hoban was chosen for his enthusiastic spirit and drive to make the Alameda County Fair’s vision a reality, according to Inside Bay Area. 

Food Science Grad Joins Azzules Systems

Kerry Bridges (B.S., Food Science, 2003) has joined Azzules Systems as director of the Primus Global Food Safety Auditing Scheme, according to Perishable News. Bridges will start off directing the approval process of Primus GFS to the sixth edition of the GFSI Guidance Document as well as keeping the company’s focus in compliance with current and future certification bodies. 

Grad Promoted to Assistant Winemaker

Samantha Taylor (B.S Wine and Viticulture, 2009) has been promoted to the position of assistant winemaker of Hope Family Wines, according to Wine Business. Taylor joined the family-owned, Paso Robles-based vineyard three years ago. She was promoted because of her attention to detail and organization of the cellars.

Pacific Cost Business Times Alum Receives Honors

Marlize van Romburgh (B.S., Journalism, 2009) was added to Editor & Publisher’s 2013 class of “25 under 35.” Editor & Publisher is the leading trade publication for the newspaper industry and annually reports on emerging leaders in new business. Romburgh manages digital content for the Pacific Coast Business Times.

Graphic Communications Grad Helps Company Expand Western Region  

Skye Holyfield (Graphic Communications, 2005) has joined the Krisam Group and Global Events Partners as a National Sales Manager in San Francisco. Both companies were looking to expand their presence in the West Coast market and selected Holyfield for her West Coast ties and background in event planning, design, and sales, according to PR Web. Holyfield is excited to develop new clients with both companies.

Grad Named Chappellet Vineyard’s Chairman of the Board

Cyril Chappellet (Agricultural Business, 1980) has been named Chairman of the Board by Chappellet Vineyard, Wine Business reports. Cyril becomes the only person other than the winery founders to hold this position in the business’s 46 years.

Grad Named Vice President of Oak Valley Community Bank

Roxanna E. Smith (B.S., Ag Business, 1981) has been named vice president and  commercial loan officer of Oak Valley Community Bank, reports. Smith has more than 30 years of commercial and agricultural lending experience centered in Stanislaus and Merced counties. She will serve out of the Modesto- McHenry Branch for her new position. 

Alum Promoted to Senior Principal Engineer

David Stephenson (B.S., Electronic Engineering, 1980) has joined Ruckus Wireless as senior principal engineer within its system architecture group, reported Daily Markets. The company is a global supplier of advanced wireless systems. Stephenson has more than 20 years of networking experience and chose to join the company because of its industry commitment to making Wi-Fi easier to use for both the subscriber and service provider.

Chemistry Grad Gives Back to Cambodia

Daniel Chan (B.S., Chemistry, 1994) reminisces on his rough childhood in Cambodia and has decided to go back to provide medical care to the poor and hungry, according to the Belmont Shore Patch. He and more than 100 medical professionals - including surgeons, optometrists, nurses and pharmacists – estimate they will treat about 1,000 patients a day. Currently Chan serves as the lead clinician and senior partner at Healthcare Partners in Los Alamitos. He will depart mid-February for his services in Cambodia. 

Ag Business Grad Named 2012 Paso Robles Wine Industry Person of the Year

Wine Business announced The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance named Dana Merrill (B.S., Ag Business, 1975) Paso Robles Wine Industry Person of 2012 at the organization’s annual winter gathering. Merrill has been growing winegrapes since 1981 and since has founded Mesa Vineyard Management, which works with some of the top wine brands in the industry. He serves an integral part of the Paso Robles wine community. 

Santa Maria Winery Appoints Grad as Director of Direct-to-Consumer Sales

Presqu’ile Winery has appointed Katy Westgaard (B.S., Ag Business, 2009) as director of direct-to-consumer sales, announced Wine Business. Westgaard also has a background in marketing and French and previously served as the territory chain sales manager for the Gallo company. Presqu’ile Winery is set to open in summer 2013. 

Business Admin Grad Named New Regional Business Development Director

Jeffrey Giali (B.S., Business Administration, 1987) has been appointed regional director of business development for Worldwide Supply, reports Times Union. Giali is a veteran telecommunications sales professional leaving Trimble Navigation to join Worldwide, which is recognized as a leader in secondary networking hardware marketplace.

Ag Engineering Grad Nominated for Citizen of the Year

The Oakdale Chamber of Commerce hosted is annual awards dinner recognizing its Citizen of the Year nominees. Steve Knell (B.S., Agricultural Engineering, 1979) received nomination because of his outstanding work and community involvement. He was previously recognized as the director of the year for the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce in 2011 according to the Oakdale Leader.

Alum joins Diamond V as Regional Sales Manager

Agrimarketing announces Leah Sanches (B.S., Diary Science, 2003) joins Diamond V as regional sales manager for the Northern Central Valley of California. Diamond V is the global leader in fermentation technology. 

CRP Alum Joins RE/MAX Gold Coast Realtors’ Camarillo Office

Michael Badner (B.S., City and Regional Planning, 1985) has joined RE/MAX Gold Coast Realtors, citing the firm’s incredible training classes, materials and support, reports Vstar Ventura. Badner has spent the past 27 years in the development industry. He has been a planner for a civil engineering firm, a project manager for large home builders and, most recently, the senior vice president of project management for a residential equity finance company where he managed six homebuilders and 19 projects. 

History Grad is New Dunes Center Director

Doug Jenzen (M.A., History, 2011) took over as executive director of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center on Jan. 1, according to Times Press Recorder. His job includes promoting conservation of the dunes through outreach, research and education, all of which meshes perfectly with Jenzen’s background. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history, a teaching credential and a background in business management. And he has a love for the dunes that began when his parents visited Nipomo looking for a new home.

NRM Grad Named Monterey County Parks Director

After a national search, Michael Ferry (B.S., Natural Resources Management, 1986) has been appointed chief ranger/parks director, effective Feb. 1, according to The Californian. Ferry currently serves as parks superintendent III, responsible for the Asilomar sector of the Monterey District of the California State Parks system. This district includes Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds as well as 14 historic properties in downtown Monterey.

Mazak Hires Account Manager for Western Regional Headquarters

Fabricating and Metal Working report Mazak Corporation recently hired Eric Dean (B.S., Manufacturing Engineering, 2003) as an account manager for its Western Regional Headquarters and Technology Center (Gardena, Calif.), which serves as the company’s center of expertise for the aerospace sector. Dean is a certified professional who can explain Six Sigma philosophies and principles, including supporting systems and tools. Six Sigma is a quality management and improvement process.

Laguna Beach City Council Selects New Planning Commissioner

Ken Sadler (B.S. Architectural Engineering, 1985) was chosen as the new planning commissioner for the Laguna Beach City Council. Sadler has lived in the city for 17 years and is a licensed professional engineer, reports the Orange County Register.

Local Man Puts Career on Hold to Teach Children Overseas

Jim Mackerras (B.A., English, 2010) spent 2012 residing in Tanzania, living in a mud hut with no running water, and no electricity. For now, Mackerras' plans for a teaching career in America will have to wait. His present passion is with a nonprofit called One Heart Source, according to the Orange County Register.

FMC Announces New Retail Marketing Managers in California

FMC Corporation is pleased to announce the addition of Doug Hudson (B.S., Agricultural Business, 1979) as retail marketing manager in the western region, reportsAgrimarketing. Hudson will cover the southern San Joaquin Valley. Prior to joining FMC, Hudson worked with SipcamAdvan as an account manager and with Wilbur Ellis Company. 

Hilda Zacarías Joins Allan Hancock College Board of Trustees

Hilda Zacarías (B.S., Accounting, 1989) has been sworn in as the newest member of the Allan Hancock College Board of Trustees. In 1995, Zacarías was one of 75 distinguished alumni selected and honored as part of the 75th anniversary celebration at Allan Hancock College, according to Noozhawk.

Brennan Ready For Role As Tuolumne County Supervisor

Beginning this January, Sherri Brennan (B.S., Animal Science, 1983) will become Tuolumne County District One’s new supervisor, reports My Mother Lode. Brennan was Wednesday's KVML "Newsmaker of the Day". 

Pacheco High Adds Learning Director/Assistant Principal

Trevor Agnitsch, 35, is the new learning director and assistant principal at Pacheco High School in Los Banos, CALIF according to Los Banos Enterprise. "I have got unlimited energy," said Agnitsch (B.S., Kinesiology, 2000). "You can talk to the closest people I know. I am very passionate about everything I do." The graduate of Cal Poly taught in Benicia and later moved to Los Banos in order to commute to his job at Gilroy High School.

Lockheed Martin Buys Alums’ SLO-Based Drone Manufacturing

Lockheed Martin has purchased Arkansas-based drone manufacturer Chandler/May Inc., which had an 80,000-square-foot facility at 125 Venture Drive in San Luis Obispo, for an undisclosed sum reported The Tribune . The San Luis Obispo operation originally began as AeroMech Engineering, founded in 1999 in a Los Osos garage by Cal Poly graduates Thomas Akers and Norm Timbs. Chandler/May Inc. bought a 51 percent ownership stake in AeroMech in August 2009 and changed the name to AME Unmanned Air Systems. Highlights Business Grad's Loyalty Services Company, Belly recently featured Logan LaHive's loyalty services company, Belly, which aims to tailor tablet-based apps for small businesses that replace the familiar "punch card" model. The Chicago-based LaHive (B.S., Business Administration, 2005), said he found his career path as an entrepreneur at Cal Poly. He launched Belly a little more than a year ago with the aim of using cloud technology to provide hi-tech opportunities to small retailers that would normally only be available to large corporations.

Civil Engineering Grad Earns Bronze Star in Afghanistan

Civil Engineering Grad Earns Bronze Star in AfghanistanArmy 1st Lt. Russell Fenton (B.S., Civil Engineering, 2008) was awarded the bronze star for his work overseeing construction of combat bases in Afghanistan, the Modesto Bee reported in September. Fenton lives in Modesto and works as a project manager at Disneyland Resorts as a civilian. Fenton served on the ASI Board of Directors and Poly Reps during his time on campus. According to the Bee report, he earned his medal while serving as construction section officer in charge with the Army's 578th Engineer Battalion, Joint Task Force Empire, managing the largest construction effort in theater and in Regional Command East history. The bronze star is awarded for acts of heroism, merit or meritorious service in a combat zone. It is the fourth highest combat decoration and ninth highest U.S. military award.

Public Policy/Business Grad Empowering Peruvian Women

Cheryl Hedges (Master of Public Policy, 2011; Master of Business Administration, 2011) is empowering rural Peruvian women to market their textile talents through the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development, the Battle Creek Enquirer reports. The Marshall Michigan native and her boyfriend (who founded the alliance) are among a group helping women in a poverty-stricken Andean village to make money selling laptop and iPad covers they weave from sheep's wool. Money made from the sales is being invested back into the community. And the women -- typically viewed, in Hedges' words, as "second-class citizens" -- are becoming more empowered in their community.

Aerospace Engineering Grads Profiled for Business Success

The San Luis Obispo Tribune in September highlighted grads Trevor Foster, Andrew Gibson and Benjamin Schiltgen - founders of ESAero Inc. - in a series on the county's high-tech firms. According to its website, the company provides the engineering community with cutting-edge system designs, development, testing and demonstration solutions through entrepreneurial concept development, aircraft modifications, military and commercial conceptual air vehicle designs, sub-scale technology demonstrators, hybrid propulsion system research and development, and niche engineering support. Foster (B.S./M.S., Aerospace Engineering, 2008), Gibson (B.S., Aerospace Engineering, 2004) and Schiltgen (B.S., Aerospace Engineering, 2004) launched the company in 2003 out of a garage in Arroyo Grande, The Tribune reported. The company is now based at the Oceano Airport.

Journalism Alum Named Media Relations Manager for American Eurocopter

Robert Cox (B.S., Journalism, 1976) has been named senior manager for communications and media relations at American Eurocopter, the number one commercial helicopter manufacturer in the U.S., according to the Helicopter Association International. Cox is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspaper business reporting. Most recently he was senior business writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, covering the aerospace, aviation and defense industries. In his new role, Cox will be responsible for working with the news media, internal and external communications, as well as advertising programs in support of branding and marketing.

City and Regional Planning Grad is City of San Luis Obispo's
New Natural Resources Manager

Robert Hill (Master of City and Regional Planning, 2004) has been named the natural resources manager for the City of San Luis Obispo, The Tribune reports. Hill is a former executive director of the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County and has worked with the city on significant conservation projects in the past.

Ag Business Grad Elected Interior Design Society President

Robin Wilson Carrier (B.S., Agricultural Business, 1986) was elected president of the American Society of Interior Designers, San Diego Chapter, reported. Carrier is principal with Robin Wilson Interior Design in San Diego. According to the report, Carrier established her firm in 1995 and specializes in custom residences, restaurants and clubhouses. She also earned a bachelor's degree from the Design Institute of San Diego.

Home Economics Alum Chosen as Head of Preparatory School

Julie A. Sherrill (B.S., Home Economics, 1984) has been named the new head of St. Gregory College Preparatory School in Tuscon, Ariz, the Arizona Daily Star reports. Her appointment is effectie in July 2013. Sherrill is currently an elementary school principal in Tuscon and has also taught high school in California and Ohio. In addition to her Cal Poly degree, she earned a master's in education administration and a doctorate in professional development of teachers from Ohio State University.

RPTA Grad Honored as State Tourism Leader

Krista Rupp (B.S., Recreation, Parks and Tourism Administration, 2008) was named a "new leader" in tourism by the California Travel Association, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reported. Rupp is the sales and marketing manager for the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council. She received her honor at the association's annual California Travel Summit in Sacramento during summer 2012.

Alumna is First Female Commander of 49th Military Police Brigade

Col. Kelly Fisher (B.S., Home Economics, 1989; M.S., Architecture, 1996), was named the first female commander of the California National Guard's 49th Military Police Brigade in September, the Fairfield Daily Republic reported. According to the newspaper, the brigade serves as the headquarters for FEMA Region's IX Homeland Response Force and represents the Western U.S. and territories ready to support civil authorities in the event of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear events. Fisher served in ROTC at Cal Poly and was a member of the ASI Board of Directors in 1987-88.

Ag Management Grad to Lead Monterey County Farm Bureau

The Salinas Californian reported that Jeff Pereira (B.S., Agricultural Management, 1990) has been elected president of the Monterey County Farm Bureau for a two-year term. According to the newspaper, Pereira manages the King City Nursery, serving the vegetable industry with starter plants. He is a native of King City and has served as mayor and councilman there in the past.

CRP Alumna is New Planning Director for Stanislaus County

The Modesto Bee reported that Angela Freitas (B.S., City and Regional Planning, 1999) has been appointed director of the Planning Department for Stanislaus County. According to the newspaper, Freitas started with the department as an intern in 1998, was hired the following year and became the deputy director in 2008.

Orfalea Grad Profiled in Benefits Selling Magazine

Hunt Tuner (B.S., Business Administration, 1995) was featured in the Sept. 2012 issue of Benefits Selling Magazine. Turner, a vice president for Pasadena, Calif.-based SullivanCurtisMonroe Insurance Services, gives his tips for success in a piece called "What I've Learned." These include embracing technology, learning to say no, and exercising patience.

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