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.

Archery Summit Announces Cal Poly Alum Ian Burch As New Winemaker

Archery Summit, a benchmark producer of estate-grown Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, announced Cal Poly Wine & Viticulture alum Ian Burch as the new winemaker. Burch will be responsible for overseeing all winemaking operations. PR Newswire

Santa Barbara City College Appoints Cal Poly Alum Priscilla Mora As Dean of Educational Programs

Cal Poly English alum Priscilla Mora has been appointed as the dean of educational programs (arts, humanities, social sciences) for Santa Barbara City College. Mora has been teaching for more than 25 years. Noozhawk

Cal Poly Alum Kristoffer Antigua Promoted to In-House Counsel for Optio Solutions

Cal Poly Political Science alum Kristoffer Antigua has been promoted to in-house counsel of the legal department at Optio Solutions, a national debt collection agency in Petaluma. Antigua has been with Optio Solutions since 2015 as a collections attorney. North Bay Business Journal

Cal Poly Alum Todd Exley Hired as Senior Account Manager for Elevate Brand Marketing

​​​​​​​Elevate Brand Marketing, a leading branded merchandise and custom packing provider, announced Cal Poly Economics alum Todd Exley as the senior account manager. Exhibitor

Cal Poly Crop Science Alum Rachel Land Announced as Territory Sales Manager

​​​​​​​Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc., a leading provider of bio-based pest management and plant health products for agriculture, announced Cal Poly Crop Science alum Rachel Land as the territory sales manager for Idaho. She has previous experience with Dow AgroSciences and the Cal Poly Fruit Science Operation. Globe Newswire

Cal Poly Alum Melisa Augusto Joins Agricultural Retailers Association

Cal Poly Agricultural Business alum Melisa Augusto joined the Agricultural Retailers Association as director of communications and marketing. AgWired

Cal Poly Alum Kendra Niedziejko Promoted to xMatters Chief Financial Officer

​​​​​​​xMatters, the integration-driven collaboration platform that accelerates incident response and resolution, has promoted Cal Poly Business Administration alum Kendra Niedziejko to chief financial officer. Niedziejko had been the vice president of xMatters since 2014. Globe Newswire

Cal Poly Alum Bob Francis Named Chief Marketing Officer for QiO Technologies

​​​​​​​Cal Poly alum Bob Francis has joined the executive leadership team for QiO Technologies as the chief marketing officer. Francis was previously the vice president of marketing at Meridium. PRWeb

Cal Poly Alum Eric C. Wagner Joins Van Ness Feldman as Senior Policy Advisor

Van Ness Feldman LLP, a nationally recognized law firm, has hired Cal Poly alum Eric C. Wagner as the senior policy advisor. Wagner has many years of experience advising clients on government relations matters. Business Wire

Cal Poly Alum Tom Atmore Named Senior Vice President and Director of Loan Administration for Luther Burbank Corp.

Luther Burbank Corporation, the holding company for Luther Burbank Savings, has named Cal Poly architectural engineering alum Tom Atmore as the senior vice president and director of construction loan administration.  North Bay Business Journal

Cal Poly Alum Randy Simonson Elected to University of Minnesota Board of Regents

Cal Poly Biology alum Randy Simonson has been elected to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. Simonson is also the chief executive of Cambridge Technologies. Twin Cities Pioneer Press

Cal Poly Alum Jon-Paul Ewing Named ‘Teacher of the Year’ for Paso Robles Joint Unified School District

PRJUSD named Cal Poly biological sciences alum Jon-Paul Ewing the 2018 Teacher of the Year. Ewing has been a science teacher at Paso Robles High School for 13 years. Paso Robles Press

Cal Poly Alum Jim Olmsted Elected to Redwood Credit Union Board

Cal Poly alum Jim Olmsted was elected to the Redwood Credit Union’s board of directors. He has served as a volunteer official for the credit union since 1993. CUInsight

Cal Poly Business Alum Troy Bettner Appointed to Head of Sales and Marketing for OHP

OHP Inc., a provider of pest control products and services for the greenhouse and nursery production industry, has appointed Cal Poly Business graduate Troy Bettner as the head of sales and marketing. Greenhouse Grower

Reactful Appoints Cal Poly Alum Meagan Eisenberg to Board of Directors

Reactful, an AI-driven engagement, guidance and conversion platform, announced that Cal Poly alum Meagan Eisenberg has been appointed to its board of directors. Eisenberg has a list of accomplishments, working in marketing for the high-tech industry for over 20 years. PRWeb

Cal Poly Alum Chad Sessions Appointed to Identify Clark County Board

Identify Clark County, an organization comprised of business leaders who want to build a stronger community, has appointed Cal Poly alum Chad Sessions to the board. Sessions is also the co-owner of Real Living The Real Estate Group. Clark County Today

Cal Poly Ag Science Alum Jim Barbee Appointed to Churchill County Manager

The Churchill County Commission has announced Cal Poly Ag Science graduate Jim Barbee as the new county manager. He is formerly the director of the Nevada Department of Agriculture. Nevada Appeal

Sacramento County Farm Bureau Appoints Cal Poly Alum Lindsey Liebig to Executive Director

​​​​​​​Agribusiness Alum Lindsey Liebig has been appointed to be the executive director of the Sacramento County Farm Bureau. Liebig is currently pursuing her master’s degree in agribusiness from Cal Poly. Elk Grove Citizen​​​​​​​

Cal Poly Ag Business Alum Neal Job Named USA Business Manager for STK Bio-Ag Technologies

STK Bio-Ag Technologies, a leader in biopesticides, has announced Neal Job as the new USA Business Manager. He will be responsible for introducing and promoting new biofungicides in the US. Fresh Plaza

Cal Poly Alum Ashley Hunter Promoted to Vice President of Business Development for Avoya Travel

​​​​​​​Avoya Travel, an innovative travel brand, has promoted Ashley Hunter to vice president of business development. The Journalism and Public Relations graduate has over 11 years of leadership experience with the company. Globe Newswire

Downtown Association of Yakima Hires Cal Poly Alum Yvette Lippert as Manager for Downtown Farmers’ Market

​​​​​​​Cal Poly Dairy Science graduate Yvette Lippert was hired by the Downtown Association of Yakima to be the manager of the Downtown Yakima Farmers’ Market. Lippert has run booths for farmers’ markets since 2012. Yakima Herald

Cal Poly Alum Jenny Luciano Appointed as CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of SLO County

​​​​​​​Cal Poly Journalism grad Jenny Luciano was named the new CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County. Luciano has spent her career in nonprofit management and is excited to support children in our community. Paso Robles Daily News

QSC Appoints Cal Poly Alum Jay Wyatt as Sales Engineer

​​​​​​​QSC, LLC, a leader in global manufacturing of cinema solutions, has announced that Jay Wyatt, a Cal Poly in Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies graduate, has joined the company as a Sales Engineer. DCinema Today

Cal Poly Grads Maxwell Fong and Elan Timmons Win $100,000 for Sexual Assault Prevention App

​​​​​​​Maxwell Fong and Elan Timmons won $100,000 at the Central California Angel Conference on March 29 for their sexual assault prevention app, Ulzi. The competition was held at the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship where the app impressed investors. The Tribune

Cal Poly Architecture Alum, Kent Aden, Inducted Into The San Diego Building Industry Association's Hall of Fame

After receiving his BA degree in architecture from Cal Poly and MBA degree from Cal State Fullerton, community developer Kent Aden has now been inducted into the BIA's Hall of Fame which is the highest honor bestowed by the organization made of 800 member companies in San Diego County. Coronado News

Cal Poly Alum, Elise Warren, Recognized as Contra Costa County's First and Only Female Police Chief

Elise Warren graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in physical education and recently swore in as Clayton City Council's ceremony as its first female police chief. She is also the only woman chief in Contra Costa County. East Bay Times

Lockheed Martin names Cal Poly Alum, Greg Ulmer, as Vice President and General Manager of the F-35 Program

Cal Poly graduate, Greg Ulmer, has been named vice president and general manager of the F-35 Program succeeding Babione. These changes are effective March 19… For the past two years, Ulmer served as vice president, F-35 Aircraft PBU. He was responsible for executing all production contracts and set the priorities and strategy for the F-35 PBU as the enterprise approaches global full rate production. Ulmer’s leadership was instrumental in the team meeting its delivery milestone of 66 aircraft in 2017 – the highest number on record. Aero Tech News

Maui County appoints Cal Poly Alum, Don Medeiros, as New Deputy Transportation Director

Transportation Director Don Medeiros announced he has appointed John Buck as the new Deputy Transportation Director. For the last seven years, Buck has served as an executive assistant to the mayor and served as the Deputy Director of the Department of Parks & Recreation from 2003 to 2007. Maui Now

Cal Poly Alum, Carina Cortez, Joins Ellie Mae as Executive Vice President of Human Resources

Ellie Mae®, the leading cloud-based platform provider for the mortgage finance industry, announced that Cal Poly Business Administration graduate,Carina Cortez, has joined the company as Executive Vice President of Human Resources. CU Insight

Talley Farms Names Cal Poly Alum, Derek Sass, as New Sales Manager

Talley Farms, a fourth generation family farming operation located in California’s Arroyo Grande Valley, today announced that it has named produce industry veteran Derek Sass as sales manager for the company, which this year celebrates 70 years of farming in the fertile region near the central Pacific coast. “We are pleased to welcome Derek to the Talley Farms family,” said Todd Talley, chief financial officer and co-owner of Talley Farms.  “He is a consummate professional who has spent his entire career working and building relationships within the produce industry.  His successful track record in sales and commodities management will serve him well as part of our team.” Perishable News

Cal Poly Alum, Chris Dahms, Promoted to Creative Director at SCOTTeVEST

Chris Dahms has been promoted to creative director at SCOTTeVEST, a travel and technology-friendly clothing designer. In his new role, Dahms will develop and manage the artistic direction for all SCOTTeVEST advertising campaigns, including national television commercials, social media and online display. Idaho Business Review

Talend appoints Cal Poly Alum, Eric Johnson, as New CIO

Cal Poly alumni and IT industry veteran Eric Johnson has been appointed as the new Talend CIO, bring more than two decades of experience to the role. Specifically, Johnson brings deep expertise in scaling IT infrastructure, leading digital transformation initiatives and supporting strategic sales. IT Brief

Ventura County Promotes Cal Poly Alum, Mike Pettit, as Assistant CEO

Information technology chief Mike Pettit has been promoted to assistant executive officer in the top office overseeing Ventura County government. County Executive Officer Mike Powers said he selected Pettit after a nationwide search that drew almost 200 applicants. Tech Wire

Cal Poly Alum, Richard Gearhart, Lands Co-Anchor Position for KSBY News

Long-time anchor and Central Coast native Richard Gearhart will co-anchor KSBY News at 6, 10 and 11 p.m. alongside his former co-anchor, Carina Corral. Gearhart joined KSBY News in 1990 as a reporter and weather anchor. He has been co-anchoring Daybreak since 1991. He is a Central Coast native, born and raised in San Luis Obispo County. Gearhart graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. He also holds a master’s degree in agriculture from Cal Poly and attended the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UCSB. Noozhawk

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

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

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

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

 

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