Cal Poly

Orfalea College of Business

Faculty Facts

Faculty Facts

Get to know a few of the professors and lecturers who drive Cal Poly’s unique brand of experiential business education.

Pratish PatelPratish Patel
Assistant Professor of Finance
Specialties: Real estate finance and investments
Q: How do you challenge your students?
A: In one class, I ask students to reverse engineer the Madoff strategy. In the process, they learn the power of derivatives in a financial portfolio along with history and ethics.
Q: What has been your favorite moment from teaching this year?
A: When Eric Morley, who is involved with the new Apple campus, visited my class, he spoke frankly about personal integrity and ethics in local politics. I will remember that moment forever.

Li DangLi Dang
Associate Professor of Accounting
Specialties: Financial accounting and managerial accounting
Q: What’s been the biggest challenge in your career?
A: Being from a different culture requires me to work that much harder. Like my students, I hold myself to high standards.
Q: Who is your go-to for faculty collaboration at Cal Poly?
A: Tad Miller. There’s a reason he’s one of our best faculty members and our students like him so much. When I need someone to help me work through a classroom issue, his wisdom and kindness always shine through.

Javier de la FuenteJavier de la Fuente
Assistant Professor of Industrial Technology & Packaging
Specialties: Product and packaging design, particularly in healthcare
Q: How has your subject changed in the last five years?
A: Design thinking is now used as a disruptive method to achieve innovation, and rapid prototyping technologies are making product development easier and cheaper.
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: My mom always used to say that if you don’t ask, the answer is already “no.”
Q: How have you challenged your students?
A: I try to convey that anybody can create innovative solutions with clear objectives, the right methods and hard work.

Solina LindahlSolina Lindahl
Economics Lecturer
Specialties: Micro and macro economics
Q: What’s been the biggest challenge in your career?
A: Trying to ignite passion in a GE course in a discipline that has a reputation for being hard or boring.
Q: How has your subject changed in the last five years?
A: The financial crisis really disrupted macroeconomics and reinvigorated the debate about the health and stability of capitalism. Breakthroughs in neuroscience are also allowing us to explore decision-making in much deeper ways.

Joan Lindsey-MullikinJoan Lindsey-Mullikin
Professor of Marketing
Specialties: Product management and Marketing area senior projects
Q: What’s been your favorite industry position?
A: I negotiated price and contract terms and conditions for weapons missile systems at McDonnell Douglas. It was a very intense, male-dominated position, but my persistence made me a good negotiator. The frequent travel, interactions with government and time with other defense contractors taught me so much about the industry. This is where I found my research interest in pricing.
Q: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: Keep your chin up, and take it one step at a time!

Herb HuntHerb Hunt
Professor of Accounting
Specialties: Financial accounting and reporting; federal income taxation
Q: How has your subject changed in the last five years?
A: Federal income tax law changes all the time. Financial accounting has also shifted as the U.S. moves closer to adopting international accounting standards and recognizes new revenues in this high tech global economy.
Q: What is your hidden talent or hobby?
A: Drumming. I played in band and orchestra throughout high school and briefly considered a career as a rock ‘n’ roll drummer. But I decided to pursue something a little more practical.

Kevin KuhnKevin Kuhn
Lecturer in Industrial Technology and Packaging
Specialties: Manufacturing, supply chain, and materials processing; aerospace engineering
Q: What did you do before teaching?
A: I was the president of an aerospace company that designed and manufactured parts for all the major players in the industry.
Q: What has been your favorite moment over the past year of teaching?
A: Teaching IT 407: Applied Business Operations, our capstone course, in the fall. I loved seeing the students show off their products at Cal Poly and at the San Luis Obispo Farmers Market.
Q: What is your hidden talent?
A: I am a serial entrepreneur. I used to own a restaurant, among other businesses, and have consulted in the aerospace and hospitality industries.

Taryn StankoTaryn Stanko
Assistant Professor in Management and Human Resources
Specialties: Organizational behavior and negotiations
Q: How has your subject changed in the last five years?
A: Some organizations are moving more toward self-managed teams and more entrepreneurial self-starting cultures. This puts greater responsibility on each employee to lead, motivate and understand organizational behavior and negotiation to be successful.
Q: What’s been your favorite moment of teaching recently?
A: A student recently used his negotiation skills to ask for things in a job offer that he might not have had the courage or the foresight to ask for before. Obviously messages like that make my job very meaningful.

Jim BurlesonJim Burleson
Assistant Professor of Management
Specialties: Information systems and social media
Q: What are your favorite parts about teaching at Cal Poly?
A: I love walking into a classroom full of students who sincerely want to learn. The palm tree outside of my window isn’t bad either.
Q: What has been your favorite moment from this last year of teaching?
A: A local alumnus working for a software company tasked my class with identifying opportunities to improve the user interface of a mobile app. It was so much fun watching the students seek to improve a tangible product in a meaningful way.

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