Spotlight 2018 Award Winners

The inaugural Spotlight Awards celebrated excellence among its alumni and reconnected graduates who are thriving in diverse industries. In addition to gathering more than 200 alumni to network with fellow graduates, current students and faculty, Dean Scott Dawson presented the first annual Spotlight Awards.

The Orfalea College of Business honored the achievements of two outstanding alumni from different generations who are making significant impacts on their ventures and in their communities. Both Spotlight Awards shine a light on the major advancements that recipients have made in the following categories: career achievement, ethical leadership, philanthropy, innovation through Learn by Doing and inspiring or impacting others for the better.

Cal Poly business alumni were proud to honor the following recipients:


Gary Erickson (Business Administration ‘80) – GOLD Spotlight Award Winner

Gary EricksonGary Erickson, along with his wife, Kit Crawford, is owner and co-chief visionary officer (co-CVO) of Clif Bar & Company, a leading maker of nutritious and organic foods and drinks for people on the go. Though resistant to labels, Gary is nationally recognized as a visionary entrepreneur who believes there is more to business than the bottom line. With the founding of Clif Bar & Company, he created his dream job. A baker by trade, a competitive athlete and foodie at heart, Clif Bar combined Gary’s love of the outdoors, cycling and great food with his passion for business and social responsibility.

Gary started the company as a small bakery, Kali’s Sweets & Savories. In 1992, the bakery introduced the first CLIF® Bar energy bars to the public. CLIF Bars are great-tasting energy bars made with a nutritious blend of organic rolled oats and wholesome ingredients for sustained energy. The name CLIF Bar pays tribute to Gary’s father, Clifford, who introduced him to wilderness adventures and encouraged him to follow his passions in life.

An experienced outdoor adventurer, he is an accomplished rock climber, cyclist, mountain biker, skier and backpacker. He has cycled through the French and Italian Alps, trekked in the Himalayas and competed in 24-hour mountain bike events. Kit and Gary have three grown children and share a passion for adventure, travel, family backpacking trips and great food and wine.

Jessie Becker (Business Administration, Entrepreneurship ’11) – GREEN Spotlight Award Winner

Jessie Becker is a visionary young business woman, whose tenacity and social consciousness will help save women’s lives around the world. She is the co-founder of InPress Technologies, a company aiming to redefine the treatment for postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). PPH is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide, and has been specifically identified as a key target for improving maternal health in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. The InPress is a novel device that facilitates the body’s natural mechanism to stop PPH – and save women’s lives. The technology is an incredibly simple, intuitive solution to a huge global problem that is currently lacking sufficient treatment. For this work, Jessie was named to Forbes 30 Under 30 list in Healthcare in 2015.

In addition to founding InPress, Jessie was instrumental in the start of the entrepreneurial movement at Cal Poly. She was a founder of the Cal Poly Entrepreneurs student club, which is now one of the biggest, most active clubs on campus. She was the Entrepreneur in Residence for Innovation Quest, Cal Poly’s innovation competition. Lastly, she was the first Innovation Coordinator for the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE), where she helped to create and lead programs for student entrepreneurs. She is most proud of her work at the HotHouse, helping to design and implement the business incubation, acceleration and co-working programs that are housed there.

During her time at Cal Poly, Jessie pursued Statistics and Spanish minors in addition to her Business Administration major.