Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business Celebrates Alumni with Inaugural Spotlight Awards

Dean Scott Dawson, Gary Erickson, Jessie Becker and President Jeffrey D. Armstrong

Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business hosted the inaugural Spotlight Alumni Awards in San Francisco on Saturday, January 20. More than 200 alumni, faculty and students gathered to network and celebrate the success of business graduates.

The event included remarks from Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong and Orfalea College of Business Dean Scott Dawson about the future of business education and how the network of more than 28,000 alumni can shape opportunities for students.

The event established the Spotlight Awards, given by the college’s Dean’s Advisory Council. The honor is given to alumni who have achieved inspiring career success through ethical leadership, innovation and philanthropic work. Alumni submitted nominations to the committee, which selected two winners.

The Green Spotlight Award went to Jessie Becker (Business Administration, ‘11), who co-founded medical device company InPress Technologies. Becker worked as the first Innovation Coordinator at Cal Poly’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship when she helped found InPress Technologies, which manufactures a patented device that stops post-partum hemorrhage in new mothers without medication or surgery. The company has completed first in woman trials in Indonesia and is currently enrolling in their pivotal study in the United States and Uganda.

The Gold Spotlight Award was given to Gary Erickson (Business Administration, ‘80), founder, co-owner and co-chief visionary officer of Clif Bar & Company. Erickson and his wife, Kit Crawford, transformed a small bakery into one of the biggest, privately-held food brands in the world through an expanding line of energy bars, organic foods and drinks. The company now employs more than 1,000 employees across locations in Emeryville, Calif. and Twin Falls, ID. In addition to emphasizing organic ingredients and carbon-neutral power for its facilities, Clif Bar consistently ranks as one of the best places to work.

“Celebrating the success of alumni like Jessie and Gary is the ultimate validation of our mission,” said Dean Dawson, “and is a shot of adrenaline for all of the Orfalea College of Business community.”

Proceeds from the event will support student scholarships for Orfalea International Business Tours sponsored by the college. The 10-day excursions provide international experience to students who many not be able to study abroad. During the event, business senior Brittany Oliveira of San Jose also shared highlights from tours where she learned from business leaders and cultural experiences in China, Japan, Vietnam and Taiwan.