Cal Poly to Host Central Coast Lean Summit Feb. 19-20

Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business and its Central Coast Lean program will host the fourth annual Central Coast Lean Summit to showcase “lean” advances in healthcare, manufacturing, law enforcement and higher education. The event will take place Thursday and Friday, Feb. 19-20, in the Performing Arts Center on campus.

The lean concept seeks to maximize customer value while minimizing waste. To accomplish this, processes are created that need less human effort, less space, less capital, and less time to make products and services cost less with fewer defects. Companies are able to respond quickly to changing customer desires with high variety, high quality and low cost. Also, information management becomes simpler and more accurate.

This year’s theme, “Frontliners Engaged in Problem Solving,” will focus on lean innovations, trends and best practices that are valuable to practitioners in a variety of industries. Organizers also hope to foster a community of local leaders who can build their network with likeminded managers engaged in lean strategies.

“Lean is not just for manufacturing anymore,” said Eric Olsen, Cal Poly’s Industrial Technology area chair. “There are folks from government, education, service industries and agriculture, to name a few. Lean provides a common set of tools and approaches that can work for any organization.” Olsen also serves as director of Central Coast Lean, a research project in the Orfalea College of Business.

Programs throughout the event will be led by industry professionals, many of whom have achieved black belt status in lean practices through the International Association of Six Sigma Certification. The event will begin with a pre-summit workshop Feb. 19 to help attendees learn the lean language through a hands-on simulation.

The summit on Feb. 20 will feature interactive workshops led by Tom Jackson of Rona Consulting Group; Beau Keyte of the Keyte Group; Andrea Church Kreisa, a lean six sigma master black belt; Peggy Huston, chief operating officer, UC Berkley’s Campus Shared Services; and Keith Inglis, Helix Medical. Norbert Majerus, a senior master six sigma black belt at Goodyear, will deliver the keynote address, “Principle-based Problem Solving in Lean R&D.”

A “coaching café” will openly discuss lean challenges and offer best practices during a facilitated peer group discussion. Attendees will be able to network with lean experts from different parts of California and collaborate with Cal Poly faculty.

“The summit is a great opportunity for the Central Coast lean community to hear from nationally respected experts and local teams with success stories to share,” Olsen said.

For more information and to register, visit

TechPitch Brings Together Entrepreneurs, Community Leaders & Business Alumni

Tyler Dycus, alumnus and Business Development Lead at Tandemech Engineering, stands with the wall-scaling robot.

Tyler Dycus, alumnus and Business Development Lead at Tandemech Engineering, stands with the wall-scaling robot.

Orfalea College of Business alumni made a big impact on the fourth annual TechPitch event on October 22, hosted by Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, the Economic Vitality Corporation and Softec. The event brought together six early-stage technology startups from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties to pitch to a panel of angel investors for a $5,000 prize.

The Cardboard Guys, founded and run by three business alumni, pitched their product line of inexpensive, recyclable corrugated cardboard furniture for kids and college students. Justin Farr (Industrial Technology ’14), Jordan Keplar (Industrial Technology ’14) and Jake Disraeli (Entrepreneurship ’13) shared their plans for a crowd-sourcing campaign to propel production forward.

Tyler Dycus, recent Orfalea College of Business graduate and co-founder of Tandemech Engineering, supported Tandemech’s presentation of its wall-scaling robot. Tandemech and The Cardboard Guys were both part of CIE’s HotHouse Accelerator program during the summer of 2014. The ventures are now involved with CIE’s Incubator program to help sustain key growth and secure funding.

The winning team from the pitch competition was Superior Solutions Manufacturing, who presented the removable lift gate for pickup trucks, called the LiftGator. Superior Solutions Manufacturing swept both the judge’s award and the audience choice award. Their cash prize also comes with professional consulting services to aid the business’ launch.

S. Brett Whitaker (Business Administration ’86), who owns Whitaker Construction, donated the cash prize for the pitch competition and served on the panel of judges. Fellow judges included Jo Anne Miller, co-founder of SLO Seed Ventures; Paul Meyer, managing partner of TechCXO; Laura Pickering, partner of Innovation Quest; Rick Stollmeyer, co-founder and CEO of MINDBODY Inc.; and Helio Fialho, founder of LeftLane Sports and CEO of Auspient Inc.

Douglas Hutcheson, former CEO of Leap Wireless, was the evening’s keynote speaker. He discussed how he founded Cricket Wireless to pioneer unlimited wireless calling in the 1990s. His business was acquired by AT&T in March 2014.

For more information on CIE, visit

Business Students and Alumni Shine at Entrepreneurship Forum

Students, alumni and faculty from the Orfalea College of Business gathered at the Performing Arts Center for Cal Poly’s first Entrepreneurship Forum of the academic year, hosted by the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. The event attracted campus-wide participation in the student pitch competition and a panel discussion on the entrepreneurial journey.

The final round of the 5th annual Ray Scherr Elevator Pitch Competition was the highlight of the evening. Of the 282 video pitch submissions, 10 finalists ranging from freshmen to graduate students were selected to pitch their big idea in just 90 seconds. Two business students were among the entrepreneurs on stage in the preliminary Idea Cloud division and more mature Launch Pad categories.

Katherine White, a business administration freshman, won the Audience Choice Award for ClockIn, an app that would use mobile geolocation technology to create a digital time card for hourly employees. Fourth year Industrial Technology student Katie Boe pitched an app called DingBot that aims to collate and streamline frequently used mobile app functions for quicker access. The competition’s judges awarded her idea 3rd place in the Launch Pad category. The evening’s overall winner was Chad Kihm, an industrial engineering student, for his pitch introducing a suite of mobile game education tools, called “Game of War Real Tips.” He was awarded $1,000 to develop his idea and the opportunity to pitch at the Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization’s National Elevator Pitch Competition in Florida.

Entrepreneurship professor and CIE co-founder Jonathan York led the panel discussion, “From Dorm Room to Board Room,” exploring how successful entrepreneurs transition from a big idea to a successful venture. The panelists, who also served as judges in the pitch competition, included two Orfalea College of Business alumni. Sander DiAngelis, a 2014 entrepreneurship graduate and 2013 pitch competition participant, spoke about how his company, Moja Outdoors, benefited from CIE’s HotHouse Accelerator and Incubator resources. Romy Taormina, a marketing alumna from 1993, described her path toward the successful launch of her invention, Psi Bands, to combat nausea in pregnant women and chemotherapy patients.

DiAngelis and Taormina joined Alex DeNoble, executive director of the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center at San Diego State University, and Jo Anne Miller, co-founder of SLO Seed Ventures and managing partner at Brown Dog Partners, on the panel. Their discussion ranged from the importance of passion in a startup, to “bootstrapping,” to taking advice from other entrepreneurs.

The forum is the first in this year’s series, which will cover topics like entrepreneurship education and finance. For more information on CIE, visit

Cal Poly Accounting Club Hosts Fall Symposium Recruiting Fair

The Cal Poly Accounting Club (CPAC) hosted its annual recruiting fair, Fall Symposium, with record attendance by students as well as local, regional and national corporations. Orfalea College of Business students graduating with degrees in accounting, finance and information systems attended the event to make critical connections with corporate recruiters in advance of fall interviews for internships and entry-level positions.

The event, now in its 27th year, welcomed 43 firms to campus, including the “Big 4” accounting firms, regional accounting firms, and corporations such as Clorox. Local accounting firms, including Glenn Burdette and Longcrier & Associates also recruited for internship and associate opportunities. Roughly 300 students attended the event.

Scott Dawson, dean of the Orfalea College of Business, says this thriving event is a key indicator of career-readiness among business students. “Many of these firms recruit from select schools, and Cal Poly has cemented itself on those short lists,” he said. “It’s due to the talent of our students, the strength of our curriculum, the commitment of our faculty, and the fact that our hands-on methods give students more practical experience before graduation.”

According to Michelle Bissonnette, CPAC’s faculty leader, this is the largest Fall Symposium event in the club’s history in terms of student and corporate participation, with more than 200 professionals present, many of whom are Cal Poly alumni. In her 15 years at Cal Poly, she has witnessed the event evolve into an important opportunity for students to secure internships, interviews and contacts for students nearing graduation.

The event has grown to include firms, such as Leprino Foods Company and Lockheed Martin, which hire a variety of graduates in finance and information systems as well as accounting. Ryan Moore of Lockheed Martin noted that Cal Poly’s business students are sought after because of the strength in curriculum and work ethic across disciplines.

The day was adapted to the needs of under and upperclassmen. While juniors, seniors and graduate students met with recruiters one-on-one, freshmen and sophomores attended a professional development seminar to prepare them for a successful career fair experience. At Fall Symposium’s conclusion, all students were able to network with recruiters, faculty and one another.

For more information on CPAC, visit their website

PolyCultural Weekend

Hosted by the University, the weekend event offers conditionally accepted culturally diverse high school seniors and transfer students a unique look into other cultures and backgrounds available at Cal Poly. Students are invited to stay on-campus over the weekend and to attend dinner on Friday, breakfast and dinner on Saturday, and a Sunday brunch with other Cal Poly students. Parents are invited to attend the dinner on Friday and brunch on Sunday. Throughout the weekend, there are keynote speakers, downtown tours, club showcases, and much more to allow students to engage and interact. Some of the clubs involved are Indian Student Association and Persian Students of Cal Poly.