Alumni in the News

Aaron Lichtner (B.S., Materials Engineering, 2009)

February 16, 2017

Aaron Lichtner uses coding to excel in the art world!

Find out how:

Paul Breithaupt (B.S., Manufacturing Engineering, 2009)

February 16, 2017

Paul Breithaupt has been named Director of Engineering for SSI Shredding Systems Inc., an industrial shredder manufacturer based out of Wilsonville, Ore. 

For more information click here:

Kristin Zaitz (B.S., Civil Engineering, 2003)

Feburary 15, 2017

Kristin Zaitz, decommissioning engineering manager for PG&E, has held various roles in her 15 years with the company’s San Luis Obispo, Calif. plant, most recently as supervisor of the Seismic Engineering group.  Previous roles included major plant component replacement projects and in civil design engineering, performing seismic analysis, participating in retrofit and upgrade projects, and leading structural inspections.  Active in various service and professional groups, Zaitz is a former president of North American Young Generation in Nuclear and a co-founder of the environmental group, Mothers for Nuclear. 

Sean Gamette (B.S., Civil Engineering, 1991)

February 14, 2017

Sean Gamette named Managing Director of Engineering Services by Long Beach Board Of Harbor Commissioners.

For related links:

American Journal of Transportation:

Everything Long Beach: 

Roark Lanning (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2001)

January 30, 2017

Roark Lanning to lead onshore wind energy activities at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff.

For more information click here:

John J. Presleigh (B.S., Civil Engineering, 1983)

January 25, 2017

John Presleigh has been named President of the Santa Cruz County Engineers Association of California.

For more information click here:

Kyle Koon (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2016)

January 4, 2017

Kyle Koon has been hired by Metrix Engineers, an engineering consulting firm based out of Renton, Wash. . 

For more information click here:

Scott W. Elder (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 1989)

December 2, 2016

Scott Elder, president of Dream Cars Austin, was recently profiled in Austin Monthly. Earlier in his career he worked for Texas Instruments and later started a software business.

For more information click here:

Scott A. Sawyer (B.S., Civil Engineering, 1989)

October 24th, 2016

Scott Sawyer, a transportation design manager and principal at SCJ Alliance, was presented the Roy Morse Award for outstanding technical and professional accomplishments in public works by the Washington state chapter of American Public Works Association.

For more information click here:

Leonel Arjon (B.S., Civil Engineering, 2015)
Robert Harvey (B.S., Civil Engineering, 2016)
Jorge Navarro (B.S., Civil Engineering, 2016) 

October 17th, 2016

Leonel Arjon, Robert Harvey and Jorge Navarro are described as being among Cal Poly’s “top talent” recently hired by Jensen Design & Survey, a full-service civil engineering, surveying, planning, and construction administration firm based in Ventura County, Calif.  The three will have similar scopes of responsibility that includes analyzing engineering criteria with software, performing research to establish design parameter requirements and helping prepare engineering designs and reports.

For more information click here:

Kate McMahon (B.S., Civil Engineering, 2016)

October 10, 2016

Kate McMahon has been hired as an estimator for Sundt Construction Inc. in San Jose, Calif. McMahon will be responsible for assisting bidding efforts and providing administrative support for the rest of the team.

For more information click here:

William Swanson (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 1973)

October 5, 2016

Pwinie Express, a leading provider of device threat detection for wired, wireless and IoT devices, announced the appointment of William (Bill) Swanson, former chairman and CEO of Raytheon, to its board of directors. Swanson brings more than four decades of leadership experience working with government, enterprise and the armed services to Pwnie and its growing customer base. Swanson is also active in the field of education as chairman of Cal Poly's University Foundation board of directors, and as a member of the Cal Poly President's Cabinet and the University of Massachusetts President's Advisory Council.

For more information click here:

Chuck Black (B.S., Computer Science, 1979; M.S., Computer Science, 1989)

September 22, 2016

Chuck Black has joined SDN Essentials (SDNE), a leader in software-defined networking. As lead SDN instructor. Black brings expertise in software development and software-defined networking to further the company's education and consulting services. 

For more information click here:

Ben Nielsen (B.S., Civil Engineering, 2005)

September 1, 2016

Ben Nielsen waves — it’s his job. As project engineer for Merrick and Company, he designs and engineers open-channel hydraulics and recreational whitewater, including the Boise River Park “which was ground zero for river surfing projects in America,” he said. The Boise River Park has been lauded as one of the top-five river surfing destinations in the world and listed as the top man-made wave in North America. Nielsen is currently spearheading the South Platte River Run project near Denver, which, when completed, will feature six waves — the first two of which were opened to the public on Aug. 25. Nielsen recently made a presentation on the future of river surfing wave design at the prestigious Forum Flusswellen in Germany.

Related links and photos: 

Nielsen solos for U.S. at 2016 River Wave Forum:

Surf’s Up in Arapahoe County:

Shredding the South Platte:

Denver firm’s river wave name Top 5 in World:

No ocean? No problem:


Alessandra Lapadula (B.S., Civil Engineering, 1997)

August 26, 2016

BNBuilders recently recruited Alessandra Lapadula as senior project manager for its San Diego office. The firm, which is doubling its operations in the area, specializes in construction projects for leaders in the biotech, life science and healthcare industry. Lapadula, a LEED accredited professional,  has 17 years of experience in construction, including handling numerous  complex projects at Stanford University, such as the $160 million Huang Engineering Center. At BNBuilders, Lapadula will be working on the Spectrum Vertex Pharmaceuticals project developed by Alexandria Real Estate, which starts in early October, as well as mapping out schedules, budgets and subcontractors for new pursuits.

For more information click here: 

Matt Vaillancourt (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2009)

July 15, 2016

A design for electronically identifying and quantifying drift invertebrates in river and estuary systems won Matt Vaillancourt a $5,000 prize from the Bureau of Reclamation that will enable further development, testing and use of the concept. Vaillancourt works on projects that integrate complementary technologies such as microcomputers, motion control and 3D modeling.

For more information click here:

Rex Blodgett Jr. (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 2013)

July 13, 2016

The June 17 wedding of Rex Blodgett Jr. and  Moriah Tenney, also a Cal Poly graduate, was recently announced. Rex is employed in reporting and analytics at Workday in Pleasanton, Calif. , and Moriah teaches fourth grade at Montclaire Elementary School in Los Altos, Calif. The couple have made their home in San Carlos, Calif.

For more information click here:

Bill Swanson (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 1973)

July 6, 2016

The Tribune’s executive editor recently conducted an extensive interview with former Raytheon CEO and chairman Bill Swanson on topics ranging from Raytheon’s culture and success to leadership.

For more information click here:

Victor Glover (B.S., General Engineering, 1999)
Frank Hepburn (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 1982)

June 21, 2016

NASA Astronaut and Cal Poly alumnus Victor Glover presented the Silver Snoopy Award to fellow Cal Poly alumnus Frank Hepburn for years of suporting NASA's Space Launch System. The Silver Snoopy award recognizes outstanding performance in flight safety and mission success, with less than one percent of the aerospace workforce receiving the award. The presentation took place June 14th, 2016 at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. 

For more information click here:

Eric Adler (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2015)
James Fazio (B.S., Software Engineering, 2016)

June 17, 2016

Flume, originally a Cal Poly senior project, is now an alumni founded company which regulates water usage for the average homeowner. Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo alumni, Eric Adler and James Frazio, together with current electrical engineering student Jeff Hufford, created the product with hopes of aiding homeowners with water regulation during California's drought. Flume is a water meter, attached to an application with the ability to monitor water usage, check for leaks, and analyze water trends. The graduates have plans of launching their product in 2017.

For more information click here:

 Don Wilmot (B.S., Aerospace Engineering, 1990)

June 2, 2016

Bakersfield is home to one of the first high school science, technology, engineering and math programs in the United States. And Don Wilmot, a teacher at Bakersfield High School (BHS), is leading the way in youth engineering education. After graduating from Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo, where he majored in aeronautical engineering, Wilmot wanted to inspire young people. He became a teacher at BHS and has been teaching for 22 years.

For more information click here:

Will Fletcher (B.S., Civil Engineering, 2010; M.S., Fire Protection Engineering, 2012)

May 23, 2016

One of the first graduates of Cal Poly’s Fire Protection Engineering (FPE) master’s program), Will Fletcher is among the top  “40 Under 40” young building and engineering professionals recently honored by Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine for their professional excellence, personal accomplishments and community involvement. At 27, Fletcher is also the youngest recipient of the award, which will be presented at a ceremony in Chicago on Oct. 4.

For more information click here:

Surag Patel (B.S., Computer Engineering, 2004)

May 4, 2016

Contrast Security, the next generation leader in finding vulnerabilities and blocking attacks on software applications, has appointed cyber security marketing executive Surag Patel as the company's Chief Strategy Officer. Surag will be responsible for developing and leading the execution of cross-functional strategic initiatives, assisting in developing the company's go to market strategy, and focusing on developing key partnerships. He will also lead the newly unified Global Product & Marketing organizations.

For more information click here:

Bill Swanson (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 1973)

April 29, 2016

Bill Swanson, former CEO and chairman of Raytheon, is the featured guest at the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce’s Conversation Series on May 24. His appearance is part of an ongoing series that offers Chamber members access to exclusive conversations with some of the area’s most prominent leaders and inspirational thinkers.

For more information click here:

Daniel McIntyre (B.S., Civil Engineering, 1989)

April 18, 2016

The newly appointed general manager of Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) has his sights on better preparing the district to avoid a water shortage if the California drought continues. Additionally, he's also hoping to work toward ambitious goals that could make the district zero-waste.

Read the story here:

Chris Hagler (B.S., Electronic Engineering, 1980)

April 11, 2016

As hardware engineer director at Lab 126, Chris Hagler is a major force in shaping Amazon’s Echo and Fire TV product lines, among others. On May 6, Hagler will be the keynote speaker at the Cal Poly Electrical Engineering Department annual spring banquet, sharing his thoughts and experiences relating to the event’s theme of mobile computing.

Frank Chandler (B.S., Aerospace Engineering, 1969)

March 29, 2016

The Cal Poly Pomona College of Engineering welcomes its new member Frank Chandler, who spent winter quarter as a new professor at the Aerospace Engineering Department.

Read the story here:

Carolyn Berg (B.S., Civil Engineering, 2008), Eric Veium (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 2008)

March 2, 2016

The San Luis Obispo Tribune’s Top 20 under 40 awards honors San Luis Obispo County leaders younger than 40 who excel in both their profession and community service. Carolyn Berg and Eric Veium, two Cal Poly engineering alumni, made the list.

Read the story here:

Taraneh G. Farazi (B.S., Computer Engineering, 1993; M.S. , Electronic and Electrical Engineering, 1994)

February 29, 2016

Gynesonics, a women’s healthcare company focused on the development of minimally invasive solutions for symptomatic uterine fibroids, today announced that veteran clinical affairs executive Taraneh G. Farazi, Ph.D., has been named Vice President, Clinical Affairs.

Read the story here:

Kevin N. Martin (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 1993)

February 26, 2016

Kevin was recently named director of sales and business development for AVATA, a global consulting firm focused on Oracle supply chain applications, supply chain services, and cloud solutions. In the community, Kevin has served as vice president for the RB Community Foundation, overseeing the growth in its endowment of more than $400,000 and donating nearly $250,000 to local charities.  He was recently named deputy mayor for Rancho Bernardo, a community located north of San Diego.

Jeff Norris (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 1986), Tony Aquino (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 1986)

February 16, 2016

IXI Technology, an established leader in the design, manufacture and support of tactical data communication solutions for military and defense, commercial and industrial applications and test solutions, today announces the appointment of Jeff Norris as Engineering Manager and Tony Aquino as Senior Engineer. Jeff and Tony bring a tremendous wealth of knowledge and expertise in test and measurement technology development as well as military and defense, factory automation, and industrial controls technology to the IXI engineering team.

Read the story here:

Mike Kauffman
(B.S., Electronic Technology, 1990)

February 16, 2016

The common ingredient throughout Mike Kauffman’s career has been magnetics. A microwave engineer at Varian Inc., he recently co-presented a talk at Cal Poly on RF and electromagnetics in product development. For the past 25 years, Kaufman has used his knowledge of RF technology to design coils for chemical analysis and for animal evaluation. Since 2002, he has been at Varian Medical Systems where he has designed waveguide systems, components and linear accelerators.  His special interests include electromagnetics, impedance matching and coupling structures.

Vince Bottoni (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 2009), O.J. Corulli (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 2013)

February 16, 2016

The Cal Poly Power and Energy Society is hosting two Cal Poly alumni, Vice Bottoni and O.J. Corulli,  to present an information session and seminar Feb. 18-19 on campus. Both presenters are electric power engineers for Roseville Electric Utility in Roseville, Calif. Previously with PG&E, Bottoni worked as an operations engineer during the company’s SmartMeter deployment and served as an electric distribution engineer in the East Bay, San Francisco and Peninsula divisions. Corulli was previously an electric utility engineer for the City of Lompoc.

Thomas F. Lebens
(B.S., Electronic Engineering, 1989)

February 2, 2016

Thomas Lebens was this year's CPAA Distinguished Service Award honoree. He lives and breathes service to Cal Poly. A patent attorney at Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery in San Luis Obispo, he is a past president of the Cal Poly Alumni Association, current member of the board of directors, and the chair of the Professional Development and Networking Committee. Lebens is secretary on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Engineering and a member of the Student Affairs Advisory Council. He has served as a member of the Cal Poly Corporation board of directors and enjoys volunteering for the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. It’s not surprising to learn that Lebens was ASI president while at Cal Poly.

Kim Vorrath
(B.S., Computer Science, 1988)

February 2, 2016

Kim Vorrath was the recipient of the Cal Poly Alumni Association’s Honored Alumni Award for the College of Engineering. From a college intern to the vice president of Operating Systems Programs at Apple, Kim Vorrath has come a long way with her computer science degree, including serving as one of the first members of the iPhone software team. Vorrath is a huge supporter of women in technology. At Cal Poly, she has championed Women Involved in Software and Hardware (WISH) and student participation in the national Grace Hopper Conference, which connects, inspires and guides women in computing. Vorrath is a member of the Computer Science Department Advisory Board in Cal Poly’s College of Engineering.

Nicholas Turner
(B.S., Civil Engineering, 2000)

December 23, 2015

When Nicholas Turner becomes general manager of the Montecito (California) Water District in February, he will bring more than 15 years of water industry experience to the agency. A former general manager of the Lamont Public Utility District in Kern County, Turner was previously a district engineer/project manager for AECOM, a global leader in engineering design services, specializing in water and wastewater infrastructure projects for public agencies. 

Read the story here:

Eric Veium
(B.S., Industrial Engineering, 2008)

December 16, 2015

Eric Veium was recently named one of the “Top 20 Under 40” young professionals in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The award, presented by The Tribune newspaper, recognizes local leaders younger than 40 who excel in both their professional work and community service. Veium is an energy and sustainability analyst at Cal Poly’s Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability. He will be among 20 winners recognized at a luncheon Jan. 28 at the Madonna Inn, featuring guest speaker Dan Baum, co-founder of Shutterfly.

Read the story here:

Burt Rutan (B.S., Aerospace Engineering, 1965)

December 8, 2015

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) has selected aerospace engineer Burt Rutan as the 2015 recipient of the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy.  It is considered one of the most important awards in aviation. Rutan, 72, who earned his Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, has connections to this area that date back to his days at Edwards Air Force Base, where he worked on numerous projects from 1965 to 1972 as a civilian flight test engineer. 

Read the story here:

William H. Swanson (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 1973)

December 1, 2015

Retired Raytheon Company Chairman William H. (Bill) Swanson and his wife, Cheryl, have donated more than $10 million to the Cal Poly golf program — the largest single gift in the history of Cal Poly athletics and among the largest ever cash donations to a collegiate golf program in the U.S.

The Swansons' historic gift will provide essential, competitive support for Cal Poly's men's and women's golf programs and position them to compete for Big West and national championships.

Read the story here:

Kim Vorrath (B.S., Computer Science, 1988)

November 9, 2015

Kim Vorrath (B.S., Computer Science, 1988) may be one of the most important women in technology today. She leads the charge in releasing some of Apple’s most-anticipated technological innovations into the world. Quite literally.

Read the story here:

Kate Van Dellen (B.S., Aerospace Engineering, 2008)

November 6, 2015

A string of company firsts in aircraft systems testing and a selfless passion for promoting women in engineering won Kate Van Dellen (B.S., Aerospace Engineering, 2008) the Distinguished New Engineer Award at the National Society of Women Engineers (SWE) Conference, held Oct. 22-24 in Nashville, Tenn.

Read the story here:

Burt Rutan (B.S., Aerospace Engineering, 1965)

October 26, 2015

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) has selected aerospace engineer Burt Rutan as the 2015 recipient of the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy.  It is considered one of the most important awards in aviation. 

Read the story here:

Peter Kardel (B.S., Computer Science, 1997)

October 14, 2015

“We’ve done very well by doing good,” said Peter Kardel in a recent business profile of he and his wife Amy, who are owners of Clever Ducks, an IT service company in San Luis Obispo, Calif. The Kardels set out to build a strong company by helping other businesses succeed, and believe they have more than achieved their goal. The Kardels launched the IT business together while Peter was studying computer science at Cal Poly.

Read the story here:

Karen Bartleson (B.S., Engineering Science, 1980)

October 13, 2015

Karen Bartleson, senior director of corporate programs and initiatives at Synopsys, has been selected as the 2016 IEEE president-elect. 

Bartleson's responsibilities at Synopsis, an electronic design automation company, include technical standards development, software tool interoperability, relationships with universities and research instiutions worldwide, and customer engagement through social media. She served as 2013-14 president of the IEEE Standards Association; chaired the IEEE Internet Initiative, whose charter is to raise IEEE’s influence in Internet governance, cybersecurity, and cyber-privacy policy; and, as a member of IEEE’s strategy committee, oversaw IEEE's role in global public policy. She received the 2003 Marie R. Pistilli Women in Electronic Design Automation Achievement Award and authored "The Ten Commandments for Effective Standards: Practical Insights for Creating Technical Standards."

Read the story here:

William H. Swanson (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 1973)

September 29, 2015

Resilient Systems recently announced that Bill Swanson, retired chairman and CEO of Raytheon Company, has joined the company’s board of directors. Resilient Systems, based in Cambridge, Mass., is a leading incident response platform provider.

“There’s clearly a growing need for incident response in today’s critical security environment,” said Swanson. “I am excited to join the board of a company that pioneered the incident response market.”

The announcement cited Swanson’s reputation as a business leader and champion of corporate responsibility, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, and armed services support. Swanson is also active in education, including serving as chairman of the California Polytechnic State University Foundation Board of Directors and as a member of Cal Poly President’s Cabinet.

Read the story here:

Coady H. Pruett (B.S., Civil Engineering, 2002)

September 16, 2015

Coady H. Pruett, an account executive at INSPRO in Lincoln, Neb., was most recently an attorney at Cline Williams Wright Johnson & Oldfather where he had a civil trial practice with an emphasis in commercial litigation, construction law, professional liability claims and insurance litigation. The Cal Poly Engineering alum practiced civil engineering for more than four years with an emphasis in land development and transportation engineering and still holds a California Professional Engineer license. He went on to graduate with high distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law where he served as editor-in-chief of the Nebraska Law Review. He and his wife Elizabeth have two daughters.

Read the story here:

Mark Robinson (B.S., Civil Engineering, 1982)

September 14, 2015

Mark Robinson recently retired from Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), whose bus, light rail and paratransit operations serve Silicon Valley, San Jose and surrounding areas. During his 32-year career, Robinson was project manager on the Vasona light rail project; group manager on the BART project to San Jose, responsible for the station, tunnel and maintenance yard; and chief engineering and construction officer for VTA.

Susan Johnson (B.S. Industrial Engineering, 1977)

August 24, 2015

Utah Business magazine reports that Susan Johnson has been appointed to the board of directors of the  Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) in Utah. The board assists the GOED with programs and initiatives that promote a sustainable economic foundation and bolster economic diversity in the state. Johnson is currently the President of Futura Industries in Clearfield, Utah. Since graduating from Cal Poly, she has worked continuously in manufacturing in various capacities such as a plant manager in the largest steel foundry on the West Coast and as president of Mack Trucks’ only wholly-owned subsidiary involved in the production and sales of concrete trucks. Her oldest son is a fourth-year mechanical engineering student at Cal Poly.

Read the story here:

Greg Stahler (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1996)

July 14, 2015

An article in Engineering Advantage (page 7) on Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci Xi Surgical System prompted his father to provide information on Stahler's contributions to the robot that allows doctors to perform minimally invasive surgery. In his first job out of Cal Poly, Stahler helped develop the mechanics of the robotic arms. He is listed on the original patent for the device.

Ray Morgan (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1987)

July 13, 2015

AZoNano recently interviewed Ray Morgan, director of outreach, SEMI Americas. Morgan spoke about startups, venture capitalists and the upcoming Silicon Innovation Forum at SEMICON West 2015.

Read the story here:

Russ Cummings (B.S., Aerospace Engineering, 1977; M.S., Aerospace Engineering, 1985; B.A., Music, 1999)

March 9, 2015

Dr. Russell Cummings, an AIAA Associate Fellow, and a professor of aeronautics at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado, won the 2015 AIAA International Cooperation Award. The award honors his “outstanding leadership of an international team focused on improvement of predictive capability for the stability and control of air and sea vehicles.”

Read the story here: 

Richard C. Holzer (B.S., Environmental Engineering - HVAC, 1980)

February 20, 2015

Southland Industries, one of the nation's largest MEP building systems experts providing engineering, construction, service and energy solutions, recently welcomed Richard Holzer as the managing principal engineer of the company’s Southern California Division. He will provide leadership for the division’s design engineering, building information modeling (BIM) and constructability departments, as well as offer strategic guidance for Southland’s growing engineering services at both a regional and national level.

Read the story here:

Alex Go (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 1991)

February 9, 2015

Freed Associates, a California-based healthcare consultancy, has expanded their Northern California team with the appointment of Alex Go as client executive. Most recently Go served as founder and CEO at Livwell Health, a technology-enabled, services provider that assists seniors to live independently at home and families seeking assistance in their care. Go also spent several years as director of market development and sales at Intel for the Americas and Asia. 

Read about it here:

Jason L. Anderson (B.S., Computer Science, 2010; M.S., Computer Science, 2010)

January 22, 2015

Bring the world's best IaaS to the world's best PaaS. In their session at 15th Cloud Expo, Jason Anderson, a Cloud Architect for IBM Cloud Labs, shared his experience running Cloud Foundry on OpenStack. Anderson is a Cloud Architect for IBM Cloud Labs in Silicon Valley, California. For the past four years, Jason has been engaging customers with Cloud technologies including Cloud Foundry and OpenStack. His previous roles have included product development and solution enablement.

Read the story:

Daniel McIntyre (B.S., Civil Engineering, 1989)

January 22, 2015

Dublin San Ramon Services District has hired two senior managers to oversee engineering and administration. Daniel McIntyre, Public Works Director for the City of Livermore, will join DSRSD as Engineering Services Manager on February 18. McIntyre has been with the City of Livermore for almost all of his 25-year career. He joined the city’s engineering division in 1990 and became City Engineer in 2000. A licensed Professional Engineer, McIntyre earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and a master’s degree in public administration from California State University, Hayward.

See story here:

Keay T. Nakae (B.S., Electronic Engineering, 1989)

January 21, 2015

Chardan Capital Markets is pleased to announce today the hiring of Keay Nakae Senior Research Analyst – Healthcare. Mr. Nakae has over 15 years of experience as a sell-side research analyst covering healthcare companies, and has previously worked at Ascendiant Capital Markets. "We are delighted to have Mr. Nakae join us and believe his experience, depth of knowledge and strong analytical capabilities will be a valuable addition to our Biotechnology, Healthcare and Pharmaceutical research universe," said Jay Srivatsa Managing Director of Equity Research at Chardan.

Read story:

William H. Swanson (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 1973) 

December 31, 2014

U.S. News & World Report is pleased to announce the 2014 STEM Leadership Hall of Fame, honored during the U.S. News STEM Solutions conference. In choosing the honorees, U.S. News sought out leaders who, among other things, have achieved measurable results in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields; challenged established processes and conventional wisdom; inspired a shared vision; and motivated legions of aspiring STEM professionals.

William H. (Bill) Swanson was among the honorees. He is chairman of Raytheon Company, active in education as vice chairman of the Cal Poly Foundation board, member of the University of Massachusetts President’s Advisory Council, member of the Business-Higher Education Forum executive committee and the honorary chair of MATHCOUNTS®.

Read story:

Cindi Christenson (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1982)

December 29, 2014

Cindi Christenson has been named the first female registrar of contractors of California’s Contractors State License Board in its 85-year history. She assumes her new duties on Jan. 1. A lawyer and mechanical engineer, Christenson has been serving as chief deputy registrar of the Sacramento-based CSLB, which regulates and licenses the state’s construction industry. It currently licenses nearly 300,000 contractors in more than 40 classifications.

Read more here:

Kenneth Beard III (B.S., Metallurgical & Materials Engineering, 1990)

December 19, 2014

The Sierra Northern Railway announced Friday that Kennan Beard III is the company's new CEO.

Beard has more than 20 years of experience in railroad operations, most recently as the chief operating officer of the Modesto & Empire Traction Co. and also of Beard Land Improvement Co. in Modesto.

He's a fifth-generation railroader, and his experience includes track design and construction, locomotive design and operation and intermodal operations.

Read more here:

Clement Huang (B.S., Computer Science, 1997)

December 16, 2014

China's leading mobile ad platform company Madhouse today announced to appoint Clement Huang as its Chief Product Officer (CPO). … Huang comes from Yahoo USA where he led the product team of ads and data platform and was responsible for building and managing the product team to create Yahoo's new Programmatic Buying Platform. In 2012, Huang was the product leader of global ad platform at GREE, the world's second largest mobile social gaming network

Read story:

Jeff Tolman (B.S., Computer Science, 1986)

December 11, 2014

The Petaluma Chorale welcomes Jeff Tolman as their new director, a lifelong lover of music who came to the position after a major life change. Tolman spent 18 years working as a software engineer with a degree in computer science from California Polytechnic University, before he decided to pursue a life of music and go back to school for a degree. He moved to Creston, Iowa in order to attend the School for Music Vocation, led by famous jazz arranger Phil Mattson.

Read full story here:

Gurpal Bhoot (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 2012)

December 5, 2014

California-based Swaive, founded by Cal Poly alum Gurpal Bhoot, aims to launch its infrared ear thermometer during the first quarter of 2015 — as early as January. The device, which will retail for $99.99, connects to iPhones via Bluetooth to help users track whether a fever is trending up or down. 

Read about the device:

Aaron Rivera (B.S., Computer Science, 2012)

December 2, 2014

After a graduation trip to Machu Picchu, Aaron and some friends decided to come up with  an application that would serve as a tour guide sidekick--Guidekick. It's a travel guide, an audiobook and a tour guide wrapped into one cell-phone-sized package that users' can keep in their pockets.

Read about the app here:

Mark Paddon (B.S., Computer Science, 2012)

December 2, 2014

After a graduation trip to Machu Picchu, Mark and some friends decided to come up with  an application that would serve as a tour guide sidekick--Guidekick. It's a travel guide, an audiobook and a tour guide wrapped into one cell-phone-sized package that users' can keep in their pockets.

Read about the app here:

Wolfgang Struss (B.S., Electronic Engineering, 1980)

November 7, 2014

The Board of Directors of MicroPlanet has named Wolfgang Struss to serve as interim President and Chief Executive Officer of MicroPlanet. Mr. Struss will serve as interim Chief Executive Officer of MicroPlanet, providing continued focus on increasing and financing the market penetration of its "best in class" Low Voltage (LV) regulator products in Australia.

Read more about his duties here:

And here:

Cameron Peck (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2012)

November 6, 2014

Laura Hackett and Cameron Peck exchanged wedding vows Oct. 11, 2014, at Mt. Woodson Castle in San Diego. The bride is a Davis High School graduate. She earned bachelor’s degrees in kinesiology and nursing at Cal Poly and Mt. St. Mary’s and works as a registered nurse at Scripps Hospital in San Diego. The groom earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering at Cal Poly and is a mechanical engineering sales specialist for Trane in San Diego.

Read more about their wedding here:

Rosemarie Gaglione (B.S., Environmental Engineering, 1997)

November 3, 2014

Rosemarie Gaglione beat out 30 applicants for the position of Public Works Director.

See other accomplishments that got her there:

Randy Iwasaki (B.S., Civil Engineering, 1982)

November 3, 2014

Last week the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) Executive Director, Randy Iwasaki, will serve as the new Chair of the National Freight Advisory Committee.

Read here:

Wade Horton (B.S., Environmental Engineering, 1998)

November 3, 2014

The County of San Luis Obispo announced Tuesday it has hired Wade Horton as its new public works director. Horton will be directly responsible for overseeing the operations of the public works department, which has approximately 190 full-time employees. Currently, Horton works for the City of San Luis Obispo as the deputy director of the utilities department. Before his post at the City of San Luis Obispo, Horton was a senior engineer for Penfield & Smith, a construction field engineer for Modern Continental, and an associate engineer for URS Corp/Radian international. He earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and has served in the United States Navy Reserve for 10 years.

Leonard Pieroni III (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1986)

October 29, 2014

Leonard Pieroni III announced this week he is launching his campaign for one of three seats that will be open on the La Cañada Flintridge City Council in the March election. Pieroni, currently a member of the Public Works Commission, grew up in this city, where he attended Paradise Canyon Elementary and Foothill Intermediate School before graduating from La Cañada High School. He holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and is currently a project manager at WorleyParsons, an international engineering firm with offices in Monrovia. He and his wife, Brenda, have been raising their family here since 1995.

Read the story:

Tyler Hill (B.S., Aerospace Engineering, 2012)

October 27, 2014

Cal Poly alumnus Tyler Hill is learning what it might be like to inhabit the moon or Mars in a terrestrial live-aboard module.As mission engineer, Hill is part of a three-person lunar/Mars mission simulation by the University of North Dakota (UND) Human Spaceflight Laboratory. The project, which ends Nov. 6, includes experiments from the Kennedy Space Center, JPL and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), as well as UND whose students built the module, space suits and rover. The project was made possible through NASA funding.

Related links:

Space Suit Lab blog

Ben Curren (B.S., Computer Science, 2003)

October 17, 2014

The San Jose Mercury has a Q&A feature with Ben Curren, founder of Green Bits, a fledgling startup with four employees that provides point-of-sale and inventory-management software for the legal marijuana industry.

Silvia Osuna (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 2008)

October 8, 2014

Northrop Grumman Corporation employees Silvia Osuna and Pablo Gonzalez were honored for being outstanding role models in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) Oct. 3 at the 26th annual Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Conference (HENAAC) put on by Great Minds in STEM in New Orleans. HENAAC recognizes the best and brightest STEM professionals on a national level who serve as role models to inspire young people to pursue technical careers with a focus on the Hispanic community. Award winners are peer reviewed and selected by a committee of representatives from industry, government, military and academic institutions. Osuna received a Most Promising Engineer award …Osuna earned a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.

Read story here:

Hugh Tuck (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1969)

October 7, 2014

Innovation requires having at least three things: a great idea, the engineering talent to execute it, and the business savvy to turn it into a successful product. Nolan Bushnell scored a trifecta when he was 29, which is why he became the innovator who launched the video game industry. Like many computer science students in the 1960s, Nolan Bushnell was a Spacewar fanatic. … Bushnell sold the idea to Bill Nutting, who had formed a company to make an arcade game called Computer Quiz. In keeping with that name, they dubbed Bushnell’s game Computer Space. He and Nutting hit it off so well that Bushnell quit Ampex in 1971 to join Nutting Associates. As they were working on the first Computer Space consoles, Bushnell heard that he had competition. A Stanford grad named Bill Pitts and his buddy Hugh Tuck from California Polytechnic had become addicted to Spacewar, and they decided to use a PDP-11 minicomputer to turn it into an arcade game.

Read more about his role in the birth of Pong here:

Kristen Maitland (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 2000; M.S. Electrical Engineering, 2002)

September 11, 2014

Kristen Maitland, associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been elected society director for SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. Maitland’s research interests focus on the development of optical instrumentation for improved detection and diagnosis of disease, primarily cancer and bacterial infection. To improve detection of early cancer, Maitland’s lab has developed a multi-scale multi-modal optical imaging system that is being evaluated in a clinical trial. She also is developing optical sensing and imaging technologies to enable rapid diagnosis of tuberculosis. Maitland, who also serves as director of graduate programs for the department, received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from California Polytechnic State University and her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from The University of Texas at Austin.

Read more about her accomplishments:

Brad Underwood (B.S., Civil Engineering, 1984)

September 9, 2014

After completing a statewide search, the City of San Mateo announces that Brad Underwood, Foster City Public Works Director will cross city-lines to begin the next phase of his career as San Mateo’s Public Works Director. Underwood will begin his new role with San Mateo on September 29th and brings 30 years of public works experience to the position. Underwood holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from California Polytechnic State University. He lives in Foster City with his wife and has two grown daughters.

Read the full article:

Cody Hunter (B.S., Computer Engineering, 2014)

Cody Hunter, who graduated magna cum laude, is making a new home in Seattle where he's working for Zillow, the online real estate database company.

John Kilpatrick (B.S., Environmental Engineering, 2000; M.S., Engineering Management, 2001)

August 19, 2014

New York American Water has recently announced that John Kilpatrick will be joining the company as engineering manager. In this new role, Kilpatrick will be in charge of managing New York American Water’s engineering team, handling capital projects, producing designs, and support the advancement of GIS mapping and planning for New York American Water. … Kilpatrick holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering and a Master of Science with a concentration in Engineering Management from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA. A native of Northern Ireland, who moved to California at the age of six, he is currently relocating to Melville, NY, from California with his wife and two children.

For more on American Water:

Indar Sethi (B.S., Electronic Engineering, 1964)

May 23, 2014

Indar Sethi recently spoke to Cal Poly Engineering students about the life cycle of satellites. For the past 40 years, Sethi has worked on all phases of satellite design, development, integration, testing, launch and in-orbit support activities, including numerous NASA scientific, deep space and other exploratory missions. He has also worked on various commercial satellite programs. In addition, Sethi holds a patent for his research on rapid-charging batteries for automobiles and other applications. Currently, he is focused on developing the next generation of GPS satellites.

Marissa Schmidt (B.S., Computer Engineering, 1995)

May 23, 2014

'95 Grad on CPE Advisory Board

Marissa Schmidt, director of product management at Citrix Systems, writes about her new position on the Industrial Advisory Board for Cal Poly's Computer Engineering Program. "It's an honor to be on IAB and help department stay apace of the changes in technology and the Internet of Things."

Her thoughts on the role:

William Swanson (B.S. 1973, Industrial Engineering)

May 20, 2014

U.S. News Features Op-Ed by Raytheon Chief

In a recent op-ed piece in U.S. News and World Report, William Swanson, chair and CEO of Raytheon Company, notes that jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math are outpacing the rest of the economy by 300 percent — but asks, "Will there be young workers to step up to do them?" A study by U.S. News and Raytheon finds that although strides are being made,the nation continues to fall short in preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s innovation workforce.


Barry L. Dorr (B.S., Electronic Engineering, 1984)

May 20, 2014

Barry Door, Electronic Engineering alum, has been recently published by John Wiley – IEE Press. His textbook Ten Essential Skills for Electrical Engineers is a fundamentas-based review of practical skills that students learn in the EE curriculum, and it is intended to help students prepare for technical interviews. 

 You can purchase the textbook here:

Aaron Rivera (B.S., Computer Science, 2012)

May 14, 2014

SLO start-up business honored


A business started by a group of Cal Poly graduates is being honored by a state organization dedicated to small businesses.
GuideKick is a company that builds virtual tour travel apps for historical places around the world. Mark Paddon, Aaron Rivera, Joshua Holland, and Garrett Lauringson started the company by making an app for Hearst Castle. They came up with the idea after a graduation celebration trip to Machu Picchu and their frustrations about a lack of information available about what they were seeing each day. 

Mark Paddon (B.S., Computer Science, 2012)

May 14, 2014

SLO start-up business honored


A business started by a group of Cal Poly graduates is being honored by a state organization dedicated to small businesses.
GuideKick is a company that builds virtual tour travel apps for historical places around the world. Mark Paddon, Aaron Rivera, Joshua Holland, and Garrett Lauringson started the company by making an app for Hearst Castle. They came up with the idea after a graduation celebration trip to Machu Picchu and their frustrations about a lack of information available about what they were seeing each day. 

Lori A. Blanc (B.S., Computer Science, 1993; M.S., Computer Science, 1995)

May 5, 2014

Lori A. Blanc receives Virginia Tech's 2014 Diggs Teaching Scholars Award 

Lori A. Blanc, a research scientist in the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Science at Virginia Tech, has received Virginia Tech's 2014 Diggs Teaching Scholars Award... "Throughout Lori's academic career, she has distinguished herself by developing an incredibly diverse profile of student learning and experiences that challenge students to consider themselves and the world in which they live from new perspectives,” wrote Jill Sible, assistant provost for undergraduate education, and Eleanor Finger, director of housing and residence life, in their nomination letter... Blanc earned a bachelors degree in computer science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 1993 and a masters of science in computer science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 1995.  

Ray Patel (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1997)

April 28, 2014

A staff engineer working in advanced weapon design and development at Dallas-based Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control for almost 10 years, Ray Patel has also been involved in a wide range of entrepreneurial activities. His latest startup venture, Rocketmeter, allows users to rapidly prototype and debug electronics gear. Recalling his days as a Cal Poly student, Patel said: “I pretty much lived at the hangar. I headed up the HVP team for a year and participated in the Formula SAE and Formula Hybrid programs.”.

Related links: and

Mark Perry (B.S., Computer Engineering, 2005)

April 18, 2014

Tall and lanky, Mark Perry looks like the professional baseball pitcher he once dreamed he’d become. But it’s his coding, not his fastball, that got him into the major leagues.Perry is a lead engineer for Sportvision, developing software to analyze pitches, hits, and soon, the movements of the players themselves. It’s the perfect job for a baseball fanatic turned engineer.

Timothy Weise (B.S., Aerospace Engineering, 1994; M.S., Aerospace Engineering, 1995)

April 2, 2014

Timothy Weise is part of the flight team for NASA's Dawn mission that recently received the 2014 Trophy for Current Achievement from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.   Having explored the giant asteroid Vesta and on its way to the dwarf planet Ceres, the Dawn spacecraft is designed to conduct an in-depth and up-close study of these two celestial bodies. In 50 years of space exploration, no other spacecraft has orbited a distant solar system body, then left to travel to —and eventually orbit —another extraterrestrial body.

Bradley E. Hagemann (B.S., Environmental Engineering, 1981)

March 28, 2014

The Wallace Group recently hired and appointed former Paso Robles city employee Brad Hagemann as the director of the public works administration department for the firm. Hagemann brings a lifetime of knowledge, skill and industry know-how to the firm, the company said in a press release. Hagemann earned his Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering and his Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering at Cal Poly.

Rory Aronson (B.S., Mechanical, 2013)

March 17, 2014

FarmBots are open-source, scalable, automated precision farming machines.
Rory Aronson has received a $123,000 grant  to work on his open-source, scalable automated precision farming machine called FarmBot. "It's like a giant 3D printer, but instead of wielding a plastic extruder, its tools are seed injectors, watering nozzles, plows, sensors and more," said Aronson. The grant, awarded by the South Africa-based Shuttleworth Foundation, includes a one-year salary and $50,000 for project development.  Previously the shop manager for SLO MakerSpace in San Luis Obispo, Calif., Aronson began full-time work on FarmBot on March 1. But he remains involved with the community-operated makerspace facility for tinkerers and innovators. "I'm retaining my seat on the board of directors, teaching classes,and renting one of the co-working spaces for myself and FarmBot -- essentially, I will be running the FarmBot project out of the SLO MakerSpace," he said.

Alvin Trivelpiece (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 1953)

March 11, 2014

Trivelpiece: Unique perspective on science education, DOE. 

Oak Ridger

Alvin Trivelpiece, ORNL director from January 1989 to April 2000, grew up in the agricultural community of Stockton, Calif., and rose to become director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Research (now Office of Science)…
Trivelpiece gave a book report once on E O. Lawrence and visited the University of California at Berkeley, where he later taught. He became interested in mathematics. He got a job as a construction lineman, but was laid off when a recession hit California in 1948. He started to hitchhike to New Orleans, but stopped off at the home of his aunt in San Luis Obispo. Her husband was on the faculty at Cal Poly (California Polytechnic State University).
“I was wet, cold, and hungry,” Trivelpiece said. “They took me in and discouraged me from going to New Orleans. They suggested I go to Cal Poly. It cost me all of $5 a quarter to go there then.” 


Jackie Yee (B.S., Civil Engineering, 2000)

March 6, 2014

California Community Enhances Recycled Water Usage

Jaclyn Yee, an associate civil engineer in Dublin, Calif., was featured as the cover story of PM Engineer Magazine for leading a major project as the local water district expanded its recycled water system to retrofit potable water irrigation at parks and schools.

David Woodard (B.S., Environmental Engineering, 1991)

October 17, 2013

Cal Poly Alum new Manager of Workplace Health and Safety for East Bay Municipal Utility District

David Woodard, Environmental Engineer Alum, recently took a new position as the Manager of Workplace Health and Safety for East Bay Municipal Utility District in Oakland, Calif.

John Cole (B.S., Environmental Engineering, 1992)

January 2, 2014

Novogradac Elevates Four to Partner

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.

Andrea Gardiner (B.S., Environmental Engineering, 2001)

October 17, 2013

Cal Poly Alumna Enrolled in PhD Program at Vanderbilt University

Andrea Gardiner, Environmental Engineering Alumna, began her PhD in Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University in January 2013. She is currently working on projects relating to Nuclear Environmental Engineering, including fuel cycle evaluation decision framework. Gardiner currently works for Barge, Waggoner, Sumner, and Cannon as a staff engineer.

Aaron Peckham (B.S., Computer Science, 2005; M.S., Computer Science, 2005)

January 6, 2014

Urban Dictionary: How a Cal Poly Computer Science grad turned a modest website into the Internet's lexicon of slang

Aaron Peckham started Urban Dictionary in 1999 when he was a freshman at Cal Poly -- and he's now mulling the crowdsourced dictionary's next phase. The New York Times post can be read here:

David Caneer (B.S., Transporation Engineering, 1977)

September 3, 2013

David Caneer, P.E., QSD/QSP, F.ASCE, Sr. Supervising Civil Engineer, with Parsons Brinckerhoff in San Francisco, has been recognized as an American Society of Civil Engineers Fellow (F.ASCE).  His election to F.ASCE is based on his 36+ years of continuous service to the public and the Civil Engineering profession on over 200 site development, transportation, and public works projects in California, Idaho, Washington, Utah, Oregon, Hawaii, and Delaware.”

Joshua Holland (B.S., Graphic Communication, 2012)

December 30, 2013

Out and About: New app for Hearst Castle allows you to wander on your own

If you are one of those locals who hasn't taken a tour of Hearst Castle in years, maybe even decades, you may want to clear some space on the calendar. It is a much different experience these days than it was the last time you paid a visit. And that is especially so since four Cal Poly grads decided to make taking a tour as easy as taking along your smart phone. …  Cal Poly grads Josh Holland, Aaron Rivera and Mark Paddon have come up with a app for your mobile devices that makes it easy to explore and educate yourself at the same time. Your phone keeps track of where you are, and what notable pieces of history your approaching on your stroll.

Mark Paddon (B.S., Computer Science, 2012)

December 30, 2013

Out and About: New app for Hearst Castle allows you to wander on your own

If you are one of those locals who hasn't taken a tour of Hearst Castle in years, maybe even decades, you may want to clear some space on the calendar. It is a much different experience these days than it was the last time you paid a visit. And that is especially so since four Cal Poly grads decided to make taking a tour as easy as taking along your smart phone. …  Cal Poly grads Josh Holland, Aaron Rivera and Mark Paddon have come up with a app for your mobile devices that makes it easy to explore and educate yourself at the same time. Your phone keeps track of where you are, and what notable pieces of history your approaching on your stroll.

Aaron Rivera (B.S., Computer Science, 2012)

December 30, 2013

Out and About: New app for Hearst Castle allows you to wander on your own

If you are one of those locals who hasn't taken a tour of Hearst Castle in years, maybe even decades, you may want to clear some space on the calendar. It is a much different experience these days than it was the last time you paid a visit. And that is especially so since four Cal Poly grads decided to make taking a tour as easy as taking along your smart phone. …  Cal Poly grads Josh Holland, Aaron Rivera and Mark Paddon have come up with a app for your mobile devices that makes it easy to explore and educate yourself at the same time. Your phone keeps track of where you are, and what notable pieces of history your approaching on your stroll.

Craig M. Murray (M.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, 1996)

December 22, 2013

Local Official Named Special Distric General Manager Of The Year
Santa Barbara Independent

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.

Russell M. Cummings (B.S., Aeronautical Engineering, 1977; M.S., Engineering, 1985)

November 26, 2013

Russell M. Cummings was named Head of the Department of Aeronautics at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. He also co-authored the Sixth Edition of Aerodynamics for Engineers which was recently published by Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Jonathan Moss Becker (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 1999)

October 24, 2013

Jonathan Becker passed the electrical and computer engineering Ph.D. prospectus exam at Carnegie Mellon University in October. His doctoral degree will be awarded following the defense of his thesis,  "Dynamic Beamforming Optimization for Anti-Jamming and Hardware Fault Recovery." 

John S. Mattis (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1962)

October 24, 2013

After retiring in 2001 from a 40-year career in engineering at Raychem Corp. and Tyco Intl., John Mattis remains active in the field. He is currently in the process of getting 30 patents. In his leisure, Mattis is dedicated to duplicate bridge, as well as biking, hiking and being a regular at the gym with his wife Linda. "And I still downhill ski," he notes.

Paul Lancaster (B.S., Aeronautical Engineering, 1996)

August 30, 2013

BTU International Promotes Paul Lancaster to Director of Sales-Americas
U.S. Tech

BTU International, Inc. today announced the promotion of Paul Lancaster to the position of director of sales – Americas. Lancaster’s previous role was regional sales manager at BTU. … Lancaster holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from San Diego State University.

Brian Selvy (B.S., Aerospace Engineering, 2003)

August 27, 2013

Systems Engineering Staffs Up

The LSST Systems Engineering team at the project office has tripled in size recently, as Senior Systems Engineer Brian Selvy join LSST Systems Scientist Chuck Claver to define, integrate, and validate the incredibly complex subsystems and elements of LSST into a cohesive operational observing facility. Selvy received his Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, graduating Cum Laude.

Kristen Maitland (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 2000; M.S., Electrical Engineering, 2002 )

August 13, 2013

K. Maitland named IEEE Senior Member
College of Engineering- Texas A&M University

Kristen Maitland, assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been recognized as a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). As a senior member, Maitland joins a select eight percent of IEEE’s 419,900 total members. Her elevation to senior grade is based upon extensive experience and reflects professional maturity and documented achievements of significance, stated IEEE President and Chief Executive Officer Peter W. Staecker in a letter to Maitland. She joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering in 2008 after completing her undergraduate studies and master’s degree at California Polytechnic State University and earning her Ph.D. at The University of Texas at Austin.

Eugene J. West (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1957)

August 12, 2013

'Santa Claus of fair' returns to exhibit for 16th year
Thousand Oaks Acorn

Toymaker Gene West is celebrating his 16th year of sharing his craft at the Ventura County Fair. West, a resident of Oxnard, attended college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he majored in mechanical engineering. Many of the toys relfect his engineering backgroung, with gears, sprials and cranks to teach the laws of physics to those playing with them.

Randell Iwasaki (B.S., Civil Engineering, 1982)

July 17, 2013

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces National Freight Advisory Commitee Members
U.S. Department of Transporation

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced the members of the National Freight Advisory Committee, a diverse group of professionals that will provide advice and recommendations aimed at improving the national freight transportation system. A strong freight transportation system is critical to the nation’s economy and essential for helping meet President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015.  Randell Iwasaki, one of the Advisory Commitee members, received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Walter Stein (B.S., Civil Engineering, 1988)

July 7, 2013

Jensen Precast Hires Walt Stein to Head Up Their Stormwater Systems Division
PR Web

Jensen Precast is pleased to announce the recent hiring of Walter G. Stein, P.E., Civil Engineer, to head up their stormwater division, Jensen Stormwater BMP/LID Systems. Jensen Stormwater Systems products include those for stormwater detention and retention; infiltration treatment; evapotranspiration; and bio-retention. Mr. Stein acquired his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He furthered his education by receiving a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from San Jose State University.

Pete Nortman (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 1989; M.S., Electronic & Electrical Engineering, 1993)

June 25, 2013

CODA Energy Takes the Next Step in Grid Storage
Electric Energy Online

A consortium of investors led by global investment management firm Fortress Investment Group (NYSE: FIG) has acquired the core technology, engineering and energy storage assets of CODA Holdings, Inc., … Ed Solar and Pete Nortman will co-manage the company. … Nortman … holds M.S. and B.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.


Marcus Yasutake (M.S., Engineering, 2001)

June 20, 2013

Folsom Names New Environmental and Water Resources Director
Village Life

Folsom City Manager Evert Palmer recently announced that Marcus Yasutake has been appointed as Environmental and Water Resources director for the city of Folsom. Yasutake … holds a Bachelor of Arts in bioResource and agricultural engineering and a Masters of Science in water engineering from California Polytechnic State University. He also holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.


Marcus Simon (B.S., Materials Engineering, 1997)

June 20, 2013

Dorsey Adds Patent Practice in Salt Lake City Office with Experienced IP Partner
Enhanced Online News

International law firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP announced today that Marcus S. Simon has joined the Firm’s Patent group as a partner, establishing a patent practice in the Firm’s Salt Lake City office. … Mr. Simon … received a JD from the University of Utah in 2003, an MS (Materials Science and Engineering) from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998 and a BS (Materials Engineering) from the California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, in 1997.


Tom Trott (B.S., Civil Engineering, 2003)

June 07,2013

Tawin Harte Has a New GM

The search is over for a General Manager to take over the Twain Harte Community Services District (THCSD). Tom Trott is taking over the post. He went to grade school in Twain Harte and high school at Summerville. He has civil engineer degree from Cal Poly.


Arvand Sabetian (B.S., Civil Engineering, 2008)

May 29, 2013

Cal Poly Engineering Entrepreneur Named to Inc. 500's 30 Under 30 List

Founded in 1979, Inc. magazine is a monthly publication focused on growing businesses. Each year it publishes the popular Inc. 500, a list of the private companies experiencing the fastest growth. The 30 Under 30 list is a sub-list highlighting the young entrepreneurs making a real difference in the world of business. Arvand Sabetian is the owner-operator of Arvixe, a web hosting company that he started as a junior in high school… Arvand Sabetian graduated from California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in 2008 with a degree in civil engineering. At the time, Arvixe was generating steady level of revenue, and his take-home from that was not far off what he would earn as an entry-level civil engineer.


Tim Sink (B.S., Engineering Technology, 1983)

May 25, 2013

Deep space engineer Tim Sink speaks to Upland High School students
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Upland High School freshman interested in one-day entering the field of engineering were paid a special visit Friday.Tim Sink, an employee with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, spoke to students about his work maintaining JPL's Deep Space Network…Sink had attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and have changing his focus a few times, finally decided he was meant to be part of some of the biggest engineering feats in the space industry.


Walter Stein (B.S., Civil Engineering, 1988)

May 17, 2013

PR Web

Jensen Precast is pleased to announce the recent hiring of Walter G. Stein, P.E., Civil Engineer, to head up their stormwater division, Jensen Stormwater BMP/LID Systems. Jensen Stormwater Systems products include those for stormwater detention and retention; infiltration treatment; evapotranspiration; and bio-retention. Mr. Stein acquired his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He furthered his education by receiving a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from San Jose State University.


Rick Sturckow (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1984)

May 9, 2013

NASA Astronaut Rick “CJ” Sturckow Leaves Agency

NASA astronaut Rick "CJ" Sturckow has left the agency and accepted a position with Virgin Galactic as pilot on their Commercial Flight Team. … Sturckow holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from California Polytechnic State University and a Master of Science in mechanical engineering.


Kristen Maitland (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 2000; M.S. Electrical Engineering,2002 )

May 8, 2013

Research by Kristen Maitland and Brian Applegate featured on cover of 'Biomedical Optics Express'

Texas A&M University

An advance in noninvasive imaging of epithelial tissue by two researchers in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Texas A&M University is featured on the cover of the May 1 issue of "Biomedical Optics Express".The work by Assistant Professor Kristen Maitland and Associate Professor Brian Applegate focuses on the development of a chromatic confocal microscope that may enable noninvasive detection and diagnosis of epithelial cancer... Maitland joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering in 2008 after completing her undergraduate studies and masters's degree at California Polytechnic State University and earning her Ph.D.


Ralph Crosby (B.S., Computer Science, 1985)

May 2, 2013

Computer Science Students Recognized for their Volunteer Service

Texas A&M University

Manoj Prasad and Ralph Crosby received the President's Volunteer Service Award directly from the desk of President Barrack Obama in a ceremony April 19 on campus... Crosby received his B.S. in Computer Science from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., and an MBA in management from Fordham University in New York City.


James P. Chappell (B.S., Computer Science, 1982)

April 30, 2013

Whodini Announces New CEO James P. Chappell

PR Web

James P. Chappell has joined Whodini, Inc., a company with expertise in linguistics, analytics, social graph and artificial intelligence, as CEO. Chappell brings more than 30 years of high technology experience and proven expertise in leadership to his new position….Chappell currently sits on the Cal Poly Computer Science Industry Advisory Board and was a founding board member of the Enterprise Device Alliance. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from California Polytechnic University at San Luis Obispo, California.


Jason Len (B.S., Engineering Technology, 1975)

April 24, 2013

No Place Like Home: XK Unlimited in San Luis Obispo


San Luis Obispo is known at the Happiest City in America to a lot of folks. It's also know as a mecca of sorts for people who love classis British cars. That's because there's a business just off Borad Street that has a serious global presence in the world of classic cars and it's More Proof There's No Place Like Home...Len started XK Unlimited 40 years ago when he was still a Cal Poly student. His love of them and for San Luis Obispo led to the idea. He was just looking for a job. "The local Jaquar dealer used to send me his jag's to repair, so..."


Co Huynh (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 1987)

March 29, 2013

Co Huynh Returns to Calnetix as Vice President of New Product Development

Calnetix Technologies, a pioneer in high-speed permanent magnet motor generators, power electronics and magnetic bearings for a variety of applications and industries, announced today Co Huynh as its Vice President of New Product Development. … Huynh holds a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from University of Southern California, a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University and is a member of the IEEE committee.


Patrick Wilkinson (B.S./M.S., Electrical Engineering, 2005)

March 18, 2013

After Five Years, Move Green Still Gaining Ground


A chance meeting of two high school friends in downtown Santa Barbara more than five years ago was a significant enough event that the reconnected buddies not only vowed to stay in touch, but they also decided to go into business together.  Those friends and former Oregon residents, Erik Haney and Patrick Wilkinson, are the brains behind Move Green, a local moving company that prides itself on environmental efficiency and care of belongings during “green” moves. During that time, Wilkinson was still studying electrical engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees.


David Stephenson (B.S., Electronic Engineering, 1980)

February 11, 2013

Wi-Fi Alliance® Hotspot 2.0 Technical Task Group Chair Joins Ruckus Wireless As Senior Principal Engineer

Daily Markets

Ruckus Wireless, Inc. (RKUS) today announced David Stephenson has joined the company as Senior Principal  Engineer within its System Architecture group… Stephenson has over 20  years of networking experience and actively participates in a number of  industry organizations including the the Wireless Broadband Alliance  (WBA) and GSMA industry trade associations…Stephenson received his  Master of Science degree in electrical engineering from Stanford  University, and his Bachelor of Science degree in electronic engineering from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo, graduating Magna Cum Laude.


William Swanson (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 1973)

February 5, 2013

Q&A with Bill Swanson of Raytheon

The Tribune

Bill Swanson, chairman of the board and CEO of Massachusetts-based Raytheon, has had a “personal vision” for the defense and aerospace systems company where he has worked for 40 years…“I know that for me, the area will always have a special place in my heart, since it provided me with the spark that launched my career, and it is a place where I hope to retire and give back to the community and Cal Poly,” he said.


Brian Hackney (B.S., Electronic Engineering, 1983)

Alumnus Brings Science to the Airwaves

Brian Hackney claims he owes it all to KCPR. The physics and electrical engineering double major (B.S., 1986) got his first shot at broadcasting at Cal Poly's own radio station. Now he's a meteorologist, science reporter, and fill-in news anchor for CBS 5 in San Francisco.


Jonathan Becker (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 1999)

Jonathan Becker is currently a Ph.D. candidate in electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, one of the country’s top five graduate programs in computer science, particularly robotics, computer vision, human-computer interaction (HCI), speech understanding, and machine learning. Becker also serves as a lab associate at Disney Research Pittsburgh, which, in addition to robotics and motion capture, conducts research in radio and antennas, and has a focus in sports visualization. 


Ben Fine (M.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2003)

January 30, 2013

New Public Works Director chosen in Pismo Beach

The Tribune

 Ben Fine, who has worked four years as Pismo Beach’s associate civil engineer, has been named the city’s public works director/city engineer. His appointment was effective Tuesday…Fine had been serving as interim public works director since last October, when former Public Works Director Dwayne Chisam left after four years with the city. Fine was selected after an extensive search conducted by executive search firm Teri Black and Company, which screened more than 55 applicants…He is a licensed professional civil engineer with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering, and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and business administration from Cal Poly.


Kyle Wiens (B.S., Computer Science, 2005) and Luke Soules (B.S., Industrial Engineering, 2006)

January 21, 2013

iFixit peers inside the latest devices


Jake Devincenzi was thrilled to get his hands on Google's new Nexus 4 smartphone. He admired its sleek black case and large touch screen — and he couldn't wait to tear it apart… Devincenzi, a 20-year-old student at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, works part time for IFixit, a company that has less of a business mission than a manifesto: “Repair is independence. We have the right to remove 'Do Not Remove' stickers.”


Erik Rutherford (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2008)

Wallace Group hires three Cal Poly alums                

Wallace Group in San Luis Obispo announced it is expanding in the fields of mechanical engineering, public works and geographic information systems with three Cal Poly alumni. Erik Rutherford joined the firm as an engineering associate. He was previously an engineering intern and associate engineer with the company for two years, beginning in 2007. After earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, he left to pursue a master’s degree in engineering from Cornell University.


John Randolph (B.S., Electrical Engineering, 1983)

October 24, 2012

Alum Named U.S. Representative to CIGRE Study Committee

John Randolph has been named the US representative to CIGRE’s study committee on Substations for 2012 -2019.  CIGRE is an international council for improving electric power systems, based in France. John started his industry involvement as the student chapter chair of the IEEE Power and Energy Society at Cal Poly, and recently completed his role as chair of the IEEE/PES Substations Committee. He has worked the past 30 years in substation design and standards at Pacific Gas & Electric.


Kyle Gazay (B.S., Materials Engineering, 2007)

October 24, 2012

Grad Touts Hands-on Learning at Hands-on Teaching Showcase

At a "Showcase of Creativity” dinner in Silicon Valley presented by the nonprofit Resource Area for Teaching, attendees explored how hands-on teaching engages and inspires learning. Guests signed in as secret agents, visited “agent training” stations and completed tasks such as spy writing, DNA Extraction and Fingerprint Fun. Guest speaker Kyle Gazay, a Cal Poly grad in Materials Engineering, shared with the audience how his choice of careers was influenced by his hands-on learning experiences. He currently works as a senior engineer with thin-film start-up Nanosolar in San Jose.


Aurora Lipper (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1996; M.S., Engineering, 1997)

August 28, 2012

Supercharged Science: Making science cool

Aurora Lipper, owner of Supercharged Science, was teaching mechanical engineering at Cal Poly in the late 1990s when she realized that the way to hook students on science was to do it early and make it cool."Kids were coming through college bored already," said Lipper, who has bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering from Cal Poly...After a hiatus following the birth of her first child in 2002, Lipper and her husband, Al, also a Cal Poly graduate with a background in business, education and psychology, transformed Aurora's hobby into a business that develops hands-on science curriculum and classes that can be accessed online at


Russell ("Rius") Billing (B.S., Electronic Engineering, 1989)

August 13, 2012

Fourth Mars Mission for '89 Grad

Lying on his back in the Sierra Nevada contemplating the mysteries of the universe, Rius Billing had no idea four decades later his work would take him to Mars. ... NASA's latest Mars exploratory rover Curiosity, which landed on the little red planet Monday, is actually the Visalia native's fourth Mars mission, and its robotic arm that he helped design is playing a key role in efforts to solve the age-old mystery of whether there has ever been life on Mars. ... In his pursuit of being constantly challenged he worked toward a career in recording engineering in Southern California, then refocused on electronics engineering at Cal Poly, which included a 6 month on the job stint with NASA's Sothern California Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


Michael Haber (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 1997)

August 7, 2012

From Santa Maria to Space

Michael Haber and Matthew Bush, both application engineers at the Helical Products Co., were on the team that designed the flexible couplings and titanium springs for the newest Mars rover.


Matthew R. Bush (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, 2008)

August 3, 2012

From Santa Maria to Space

Several components designed and crafted in Santa Maria are set to land on Mars as part of NASA’s newest rover mission to uncover the mysteries of the Red Planet. The rover, including couplers and springs made by Helical Products Company, is set to touch down Sunday night on Mars after traveling millions of miles on an interplanetary voyage. … Shortly after joining Helical, Cal Poly graduate and mechanical engineer Matthew Bush began his design work for the Mars rover in early 2008.


Charles Sacavage (M.S., Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2007)

July 25, 2012

Promoted to major in Air National Guard During ceremonies July 16 at Fort Indiantown Gap, Captain Charles L. Sacavage was promoted to major in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard.