Cal Poly Orfalea College of Business Honors Outstanding Students and Faculty

AMA club leadersCal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business honored its 2016-17 outstanding students and faculty at the college’s annual Senior Awards Ceremony on June 2.

Two accounting seniors received the Academic Excellence and Delta Sigma Pi Award for maintaining the highest grade point averages among the college’s nearly 800 graduating seniors.

Laura Byron of Pleasanton, Calif., maintained a 3.99 GPA. During her time at the university, she served as a college Peer Mentor, completed internships with Apple and Fulbright EducationUSA, and worked as an accounting assistant at Cal Poly Corp., which operates the bookstore and campus dining facilities. After graduation, she will return to Cupertino-based Apple as a member of the multinational technology company’s finance team

Classmate Bradley Gritsch of San Carlos, Calif., completed his studies earlier this year with a 3.99 GPA. He participated in a finance internship with Finelite, which designs and manufactures high-performance lighting solutions, and an audit internship with Deloitte, one of the nation’s top accounting firms. Gritsch will join the audit team at Deloitte in 2018. Until then, he plans to travel and prepare for the CPA exam.

Laura Byron and Interim Dean Kevin LertwacharaTwenty other business seniors received scholastic achievement awards for holding a GPA above 3.85.

Cal Poly’s chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA), one of the college’s oldest organizations, was named Club of the Year for its campus and community involvement. It was recognized earlier this year as one of the top 25 AMA college chapters at the organization’s annual international collegiate conference.

This year, the chapter relaunched a mentoring program that pairs students with its executive board members. The club also worked closely with philanthropic partner Samuel Jeffers Childhood Cancer Foundation to create videos and a comprehensive marketing plan for the Grover Beach-based nonprofit. In addition, the club provided more than 40 professional development opportunities for its members, including corporate tours throughout California and hosting its annual Marketing Career Conference.

Accounting lecturer Tim Ridout was named Distinguished Teacher of the Year award for his ability to bring real-world business situations into the classroom. Students voted on the award. Ridout, a finance and accounting alumnus, has taught at Cal Poly since 2016. He obtained his CPA while working with PWC, and his 24-year career includes senior finance roles for a variety of high-growth technology companies, including, VoloAgri Group, Concentric Medical, Cenzic, Geocast, and Sun Microsystems.

Management and human resources Professor Taryn Stanko received the Emeritus Faculty of the Year Award after being nominated by her colleagues. She has taught undergraduate and master’s level negotiation courses at the since 2014.

Stanko is a member of the Women in Business club advisory board, and she leads a negotiations course in the Women in Business Leadership Academy. She is also a faculty fellow in the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, infusing entrepreneurial topics into her courses.

For a complete list of Orfalea College of Business award winners, visit