William H. Swanson graduated magna cum laude from Cal Poly in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. He retired in October 2014 from Raytheon Company where he held the position of Chairman and CEO. Swanson is a member of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation board, the NextEra Energy, Inc., board and is vice chairperson of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation board of directors. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Business-Higher Education Forum. Swanson is also active in the field of education as a member of the University of Massachusetts President’s Advisory Council, as well as the honorary chair of MATHCOUNTS®. He was selected as the 1991 Cal Poly College of Engineering Honored Alumnus and received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Cal Poly in 2005.
Peter L. Oppenheimer earned his bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly in 1985 in agricultural business. He retired in October 2014 from Apple, Inc. where had mostly recently held the position of Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since 2004. In his role at Apple Peter was responsible for the controller, treasury, investor relations, tax, information systems, internal audit and facilities functions. Oppenheimer has also served on the Board of Directors for Goldman Sachs since March 2014.
John A. Ronca, Jr., earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration at Cal Poly in 1975. He attended Pepperdine University School of Law graduating with a Juris Doctorate Degree in 1978. In 1979, Mr. Ronca graduated from Denver University School of Law, earning a master’s degree in the Laws of Taxation. Mr. Ronca began his law practice in San Luis Obispo in 1979 and has been certified by the California State Bar as a Specialist in Probate, Estate Planning and Trust law since 1991. Mr. Ronca is currently Chair of the Cal Poly Athletic Director’s Council, Chair of the Mission College Preparatory High School Board of Regents, President of the Northern California Golf Association, Chair of the Straight Down Fall Classic Golf Tournament, and served as Chair of the French Hospital Community Board for 2007-2009.
Michael J. Applegate earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Cal Poly in 1980. An active entrepreneur with several business interests, he is principally engaged as President of TimeValue Software, a market leading provider of specialized loan amortization and tax-related software solutions used by accountants, attorneys and other financial professionals in the US and internationally. Prior to founding TimeValue Software in 1985, Mr. Applegate was a CPA with Price Waterhouse. A wrestler in high school and college, Mr. Applegate is a strong supporter and advocate for student athletic programs and activities in support of USA Wrestling. He serves on the Cal Poly Athletic Director's Council.
Philip S. Bailey, Jr. is dean of the College of Science and Mathematics and a chemistry professor at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Prior to joining Cal Poly’s faculty in 1969, Dr. Bailey earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Texas, Austin, and a doctorate from Purdue University. He became associate dean in 1973 and dean in 1983. He served as Interim Vice-President for Academic Affairs in 1989-90 and is currently the CSU’s senior science dean. He and his wife, Dr. Christina Bailey, professor emerita and former chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, are co-authors of Organic Chemistry: A Brief Survey of Concepts and Applications. The Baileys have performed their chemistry magic show for over 125,000 people and distributed 25,000 copies of a professional DVD of the show. Dr. Bailey has taught almost every term during his 40 years at Cal Poly.
Stephen J. Barnard earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural business from Cal Poly in 1975. He is President and CEO of Mission Produce in Oxnard, a leader in the avocado industry. Barnard is Chairman of the Western Growers Association, an agricultural trade association, and past Chairman of the Produce Marketing Association Foundation. Barnard serves on the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Dean’s Advisory Board, and in 2003 he was selected as the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Honored Alumnus.
Paul R. Bonderson, Jr. holds a BSEE and Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Cal Poly. Bonderson is retired from Brocade Communications Systems, where he was a cofounder of the company and CTO. He has more than 30 years of technical experience in the computer industry including engineering careers at Intel and Sun Microsystems. His technical career spans hardware and software engineering, engineering management, and product development. Bonderson is currently president of Lone Oak Ventures, which has holdings in the venture capital funds, private equity investments, and real estate. He sits on the board of directors and is First Vice President for Ducks Unlimited and is on the Board of Trusties for the Wetlands America Trust. Bonderson is also on the Dean's Advisory Council, College of Engineering, Cal Poly; a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board, College of Agriculture University of California Davis; and on the board of Directors for the Taylor Family Foundation.
Richard J. Bradshaw earned his bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from Cal Poly in 1970. He is Chairman of the Board of Montgomery Street Income Securities, Inc., an investment management company. Previously, he was Operating Partner of Venrock, a venture capital firm, and from 1997-2008 served as Executive Director of Cooley LLP, an international law firm headquartered in Palo Alto. In 1998 he was selected as the College of Science and Mathematics honored Alumnus.
Hilary DeCesare is an award-winning entrepreneur and most recently the co-founder of ReLaunch Life. Experienced in all aspects of launching and growing a business, Ms. DeCesare is a well-known digital media expert, Executive Coach, speaker and is a frequent contributor to major news outlets including ABC, CBS, Fox, and Huffington Post. Ms. DeCesare has been recognized with multiple consumer and technology awards. She was selected as AlwaysOn's “Top 25 Women in Tech to Watch“ in 2010, 2011, 2012, was honored with the prestigious 2010 DEMOgod Award and won the 2012 Golden Bridge Women Founder of the Year Award. Ms. DeCesare also co-founded White Space Ink, an executive management consulting firm specializing in Silicon Valley technology start-ups. She is a renowned coach for entrepreneurs and a regular speaker at entrepreneurial events. She is known as a 'Master of Matches' in both business and personal pursuits. Ms. DeCesare’s career began at Xerox. Following Xerox, she spent 10 years at Oracle Corporation garnering more than 100 worldwide managerial and sales awards including the prestigious Global Top Account Manager award. Currently she sits on the boards of the MaxCure Foundation and Bridge DA Gap, advocating for children’s health and education. She is relentless about her philanthropic work as seen on ABC's Secret Millionaire.
Gary D. Dillabough earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering at Cal Poly. Mr. Dillabough is a managing partner of The Westly Group, where he runs the Smart Buildings and Energy Efficiency practice. Mr. Dillabough serves on a number of boards, including Lunera Lighting, Honest Buildings, Soladigm, One Million Lights and the Foundation at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. Prior to joining The Westly Group, Mr. Dillabough was the General Manager of Corporate Environmental Affairs, and also Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at eBay.
Basia Gillespie and her husband Troy, have been operating family businesses in California and Nevada for over 30 years. Their various business ventures include commercial real estate and farming. This past year, the Gillespie’s vertically integrated their farming operations by purchasing a raisin processing and packaging facility. They now market and distribute their raisins to customers on a global scale under the name River Ranch Raisins. Prior to joining the family business on a full time basis, Basia worked as a Research Analyst covering both domestic and international equity securities for William O’Neal and Company, the publisher of Investor’s Business Daily and for Iron Mountain Records Management as Manager of Budgeting and Forecasting. Basia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and a Masters of Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University. Basia and Troy have two children. Their daughter, Courtney, graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a degree in Wine and Viticulture and is currently working on her Masters of Business Administration. Their son, Austin, is studying business at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
Charles L. Harrington serves as Chairman and CEO of Parsons Corporation, where he has been employed since 1981, the year he graduated from Cal Poly with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering. He also received an MBA from The UCLA School and is a graduate of the Duke University Fuqua School Advanced Management Program. Harrington became chief financial officer at Parsons in 2006 and CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2008. His wife, Diane, received her Cal Poly bachelor’s degree in Ornamental Horticulture in 1981 and her master’s degree in Agricultural Education in 1982. Harrington serves on the Cal Poly President’s Cabinet, and he is a founding member of the Loyal Order of Propeller Heads in the College of Engineering and the Learn by Doing Fund in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.
Mark Harris earned a bachelor’s in business administration in 1995 from Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business and an MBA in 2008 from the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business. Mr. Harris was appointed CFO of Hercules Technology Growth Capital in 2015, a publicly traded Business Development Company. Previously, Mr. Harris served as Head of Asia/Senior Managing Director for Avenue Capital Group's Asia Strategy and CFO. Mr. Harris is an active Certified Public Accountant in the State of California.
Richard C. Jacobsen Jr. earned his bachelor's degree in business administration at Cal Poly in 1985. He received an MBA from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business in 1989. Mr. Jacobsen is a managing director at Greenhill & Co., an independent global investment banking firm. He is also involved with Rocky Hill, Inc., a diversified farming company that is owned by his family. Mr. Jacobsen is a member of the board of directors of Sunkist Growers, Inc., Fruit Growers Supply Company and the California Citrus Growers Association.
Jerry Lohr has played a leading role in developing Cal Poly’s Wine & Viticulture Innovations Center where students learn the foundations of viticulture, winemaking and wine business using the university’s 14-acre teaching vineyard and pilot winery, and stewardship over the Cal Poly Wines brand. In 2008, the founder of J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines was honored as Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance’s Wine Industry Person of the Year. The California Association of Winegrape Growers presented him with a lifetime achievement award in January 2011 for many contributions in the Golden State’s wine industry. Lohr graduated from South Dakota State University in 1958, earned a master’s from Stanford the following year, and completed all coursework, university and department orals for a doctorate in civil engineering in 1961.
Josh Machamer serves at the Faculty Director to the Cal Poly Foundation Board. Professor Machamer is the Chair of the Theatre and Dance Department at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Prof. Machamer teaches courses in Directing, Theatre History, Global Theatre and Performance, Senior Project Seminar, and First Year Seminar. Outside of his department, Prof. Machamer has extensive university experience in a variety of areas, such as General Education, College and University Curriculum, International Programs, the Academic Senate, and Cal Poly’s Center for Expressive Technologies. In the field of international education, he has served several times as a participating faculty and resident director on Cal Poly’s London Study Global Program. Prof. Machamer has extensive college/university and professional directing credits, as well as production experience within the American television and film industry. Prof. Machamer received his MFA from Pennsylvania State University and his BA in Theatre Arts & English from Whittier College. He is a recipient of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s University Distinguished Teaching Award. Prof. Machamer is a member of the Central Coast Performing Arts Center Commission, a campus and community advisory board for the Performing Arts Center located on the Cal Poly campus.
Saira Malik is a managing director and Head of Global Active Equity Portfolio Management for the TIAA organization. Ms. Malik has portfolio management responsibilities for the global equity investment strategies. She joined TIAA in 2003. TIAA is a retirement provider for people who work in the academic, research, medical and cultural fields. Ms. Malik has 22 years of investment experience, including positions with JP Morgan Asset Management as vice president and portfolio manager for a small cap growth fund, as well as an equity research analyst. Ms. Malik is a C.F.A. charter holder from the CFA Institute. She earned her B.S. in Economics at Cal Poly prior to earning her M.S. in Finance degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ms. Malik appears regularly on CNBC to discuss the economy and markets and has been quoted in major business publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s, and Barron’s.
Madison Meredith serves as the Student Director to the Cal Poly Foundation Board. She is a Cal Poly junior majoring in Agricultural and Environmental Plant Sciences with a concentration in Fruit and Crop Science. During the 2016-2017 academic year, she served on the Associated Students Incorporated Executive Cabinet as the Secretary of University Affairs. In addition, she is an active member of the professional agricultural sorority Sigma Alpha and the Cal Poly University Honors Program. Madison also serves as the Internal Director for the Children's Miracle Network Cal Poly Dance Marathon, a program that raised over $36,000 during the first year for the children at Cottage Children's Medical Center.
Jon Monett earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Cal Poly in 1964. Prior to entering Cal Poly he served in the U.S. Air Force. Upon graduation he entered the Central Intelligence Agency, rising to the position of senior executive responsible for managing technical activity worldwide. On his retirement after 26 years he founded Telemus Solutions, a global security consulting and intelligence advisory services provider. During that period he received a master’s degree in international transactions from George Mason University. After selling Telemus Solutions in 2008, Monett made a generous donation to found Cal Poly’s College of Engineering's Quality of Life Plus Laboratory (QL+), a multidisciplinary facility dedicated to the development and application of technology to improve the quality of life of those wounded in the line of duty from the military, law enforcement and intelligence communities. Monett is a member of the Cal Poly President's Cabinet and in 2009 was selected as the College of Engineering Honored Alumnus.
Laura M. Pickering received her bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Cal Poly in 1984. She is CEO and co-founder of Sizijee, Inc. Previously, Pickering was Vice President in the Office of the CEO at NetApp, where she was a key advisor to and member of NetApp's executive team. She is a co-founder and managing partner at Innovation Quest, a non-profit, philanthropic corporation founded by successful Cal Poly graduates and business leaders. Pickering also gives generously of her time to Cal Poly on two committees of the College of Engineering’s Dean’s Advisory Council and on the Women in Engineering Industry Advisory Board.
John F. Salmonson earned his bachelor’s degree in crop science from Cal Poly in 1967. Mr. Salmonson was the past president and owner of Monterey AgResources headquartered in Fresno. The company was acquired by Brandt Consolidated in 2009. He currently serves as a Corporate Director on the Brandt board. Mr. Salmonson is currently a member of Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council. In 2011, Mr. Salmonson was named the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences Honored Alumnus.
Kenric B. Stone earned his Cal Poly bachelor of science degree in architecture in 1979 and his bachelor of architecture degree in 1980. He is a Vice President with The Austin Company, an international architecture, engineering and construction services firm, where he oversees key client projects nationally and also serves as Chairman of Austin’s business operations in Mexico. The Austin Company is a part of Kajima USA, a whollyowned subsidiary of Tokyo-based Kajima Corporation, a Fortune Global 500 construction organization. In 2005, Stone was named the College of Architecture and Environmental Design Honored Alumnus. Stone has been involved with the Cal Poly Alumni Association for more than twenty years, serving twice as President. He also recently served as the President of the California State University Alumni Council representing the over 2.8 million alumni of the CSU’s 23 campuses. In 2011, the Cal Poly Alumni Association awarded Stone its Distinguished Service Award for his service to Cal Poly and to the California State University.
Robert C. Taylor, Jr., attorney and trustee for the Oreggia Family Foundation, has been intimately involved with several CSU campuses. Taylor has served as a member of the CSU-Monterey Bay Foundation Board of Directors since 2001 and received special recognition from the CSU Board of Trustees for facilitating major gifts to Monterey Bay, Sonoma and Cal Poly.
Stan Van Vleck, Stan Van Vleck is a fifth generation cattle rancher and is President of Van Vleck Ranch with operations in the States of Texas and California in the counties of Amador, El Dorado and is headquartered in Sacramento County. Stan was raised on his family’s ranching and farming operations in the Sacramento region. Stan has a BS in Agriculture Business from Cal Poly SLO, where he received the award as the outstanding graduate from the College of Agriculture. Stan was very involved in the Student Body where he served as President, Vice President and Chairman of their Board of Directors. He is the only person in the University’s history elected to all three offices. Stan has a Juris Doctorate from UOP’s McGeorge School of Law where he attended as a full-time student while he worked full-time at regional law firm specializing in agriculture. Stan also has worked as a legislative policy staff member specializing in agriculture in the California Legislature, US Senate and for California Governor Wilson. Stan currently holds multiple careers ventures. He is an attorney and Partner at one of the largest law firms in Northern California, Downey Brand LLP, and served as it first Chairman from 2014 through 2016. Stan represents clients throughout the state on complex issues involving the environment, government and agriculture. Stan has been awarded as one of the top attorneys in the Sacramento region both in the Business Journal and Sacramento Magazine. Stan also has a lobbying firm, Cal Connected, where he represents some of the world’s largest companies, including Siemens. Siemens recently awarded him as their top lobbyist in the United States. Stan is also President and owner of Van Vleck Ranch, which is one of the oldest businesses in the Sacramento region. Stan bought out 7 family members in the mid 2000s and has increased operations by almost 10 fold and their beef is now recognized by top chefs as some of the best in America. Their beef is served in top restaurants in the world such as the French Laundry and Michael Mina’s. Stan also created a new division within the company, Van Vleck Properties, which owns and operates investment grade commercial real estate in Texas. Stan has been involved in multiple leadership positions in the Sacramento community including Vice Chair of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, chairing the effort to build Golden 1 arena and served as legal counsel to Mayor Johnson to help keep the Kings in Sacramento when the Maloofs put the franchise up for sale. Stan also serves on the California Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Chairs its Water Committee. Most importantly to Stan, he is father to Christian age 20 (Cal Poly Business 2022) and Tori 17 and husband to Nicole Montna Van Vleck, who runs Montna Farms, a vertically integrated rice company.
Robert E. Wacker, is president of Wacker Wealth Partners, the largest fee-only wealth management firm on California’s Central Coast. An industry leader, Wacker is a past national President of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. He has for several years been named one of “America’s Top Financial Advisors” by Worth magazine. Wacker is also president of the Board of Directors for the Cuesta College Foundation, was the 2005 Board Chair of the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, and was the 2003-04 president of the Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo. The San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce named Wacker “Citizen of the Year” for 2008 for his extensive community contributions.
Ex officio members:
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Matthew N. Ewing - Matthew N. Ewing is the Vice President for Development and CEO of the Cal Poly Foundation. As Cal Poly’s chief development officer, Matthew directs development and administrative activities to advance private support for the university. He has extensive higher education fundraising experience that includes leading university-wide, multi-million dollar building and scholarship campaigns; developing annual giving and student leadership programs; and managing principal gifts.
Prior to joining Cal Poly, he served as Associate Vice President for Development at Boise State University and led fundraising for the university’s top philanthropic priorities, including a three-year scholarship campaign that raised more than $52.2 million — more than twice the campaign’s goal. Before joining Boise State, Matthew spent eight years in a variety of leadership and fundraising roles for the Indiana University Foundation.
Matthew has a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and political science and a Master of Science degree in kinesiology, both from Indiana University. Matthew also graduated from the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business executive management program.
Jeffrey D. Armstrong began his tenure as Cal Poly's ninth permanent president on February 1, 2011. Before joining Cal Poly, he served as dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and professor of Animal Science at Michigan State University, beginning in 2001. Armstrong was head of the Department of Animal Sciences at Purdue University from 1997 to 2001 and served in various positions at North Carolina State University from 1986 through 1997. Armstrong attended Murray State University in Kentucky, where he earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture in 1981. He earned both a master's (1984) and doctorate (1986) in physiology and endocrinology from North Carolina State University.
UNIVERSITY PROVOST & EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS
Kathleen Enz Finken joined California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) in San Luis Obispo as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs in 2012. She brings broad academic and administrative experience to her position as the senior member of the President’s executive management staff. Enz Finken served as Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse from 2008-2012. From 2002-2008 she was Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Minnesota State University Moorhead, and from 2000-2002 she was chair of the university’s Department of Art and Design. She began her faculty career as a professor of Art History at the Minnesota campus in 1993. Enz Finken earned her BA from Douglass College for Women, and MA and PhD from Rutgers University. Her expertise is the art and architecture of the Roman Empire and Early Christian Rome.
Enz Finken has a strong history of service to state university systems and communities, serving on statewide committees as well as numerous boards and task forces devoted to the visual and performing arts, financial sustainability, economic development, technology transfer, education, information technology, housing, and healthcare. In 2011 she was awarded the Burt and Norma Altman Award for Leadership in International Education at UW-La Crosse. At MSU Moorhead, she received both the Academic Affairs Excellence in Service to the University Award (2007) and the Academic Affairs Excellence in Teaching Award (2003). As a faculty member, Enz Finken participated in archaeological excavations in Cyprus and led study tours to Italy and the United Kingdom. She participated in a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar on Ancient Roman Religion at the American Academy in Rome, and served as a member of the American Council on Education Internationalization Collaborative Advisory Council.
UNIVERSITY SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR ADMINISTRATION & FINANCE
Cynthia Vizcaíno Villa began her appointment as Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo in July 2015. Villa oversees a broad portfolio that includes budget and fiscal management, facilities management, construction and planning, procurement, risk management, human resources administration, public safety and oversight of auxiliary operations.
Villa most recently served as the Vice President for Business Affairs at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), a position she held since 2001. Prior to her appointment as vice president, Ms. Vizcaíno Villa served UTEP as both associate and assistant vice president for finance and administration, comptroller, director of financial services and assistant director of budget and payroll. She earned a master’s of education – higher education administration and a bachelor’s degree in business administration at UTEP and is a Certified Public Accountant for the State of Texas.
In addition to her duties as UTEP’s vice president for business affairs, Ms. Vizcaíno Villa has served on a number of governing boards including San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, El Paso Children’s Hospital, Texas Department of Information Resources (gubernatorial appointment) and the Texas Association of College and University Business Officers.
Marc Benadiba earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration at Cal Poly State University. He is the University Controller for Cal Poly State University, and was recently appointed to the Interim Treasurer position for the Cal Poly Foundation where he serves as an Ex officio board member.
In his University Controller role, Marc is part of the Administration and Finance team, where he is responsible for managing the Student Financial Services Office, University Accounting and Reporting, and Payroll Services. Marc has been with Cal Poly State University for 15 years. Prior to that Marc worked 10 years in private and publicly held hi-tech companies in controller level positions, and worked in public accounting for three years focusing on tax and audit services. Marc is a Certified Public Accountant, speaks Spanish fluently, is married and has four children.