Economics Professor Steve Hamilton Earns Award for Innovative Food Waste Research

Cal Poly economics Professor Steve Hamilton and a colleague received an Elsevier Atlas award for their research paper on strategies to salvage and sell cosmetically flawed produce.

Hamilton and Timothy Richards of Arizona State University in their research titled “Food waste in the sharing economy”analyzed ways in which “sharing economy” businesses similar to Uber and Airbnb can reduce the 40 percent of edible but “ugly” produce that goes to waste in the United States. The paper was published earlier this year in Food Policy, a multidisciplinary journal featuring original research.

The answer is commercial peer-to-peer mututalization systems that directly connect buyers and sellers. And in the same way that Uber connects drivers to riders or Airbnb connects hosts to visitors, similar businesses are connecting growers to consumers, putting “ugly” produce on the market.

The focus of their research is an app called Imperfect Produce. It allows growers to list food that fails the eye test — misshapen potatoes, curved carrots and discolored apples — and users who undeterred by the appearance to purchase the listed items at a 30 to 50 percent discount. The bottom line is customers save money, growers make money, and edible food avoids the landfill.

“It’s a two-sided platform, so the goal is mutual benefit,” said Hamilton, who is recognized internationally for his research and consulting related to environmental and land-use regulation, energy and water markets, groundwater managements and antitrust. “In order for this type of business to grow, growers want to see that the buyers are there, and vice versa.”

Using four years of data from Imperfect Produce, Hamilton and Richards assessed the potential effect similar businesses might have on food waste reduction. Their findings are encouraging. The app increased its customer base from 1,000 in 2015 to 7,500 in 2017, and based on their analysis, is forcasted to keep expanding. Their models show that, peer-to-peer businesses, coupled with targeted policy changes, could become a viable method for reducing food waste at all levels of the supply chain.

The implications are far-reaching in reducing the impacts on other resources. Wasted food accounts for roughly 25 percent of U.S. freshwater use and consumes nearly 300 million barrels of oil per year.

“Food waste is a relevant issue right now,” Hamilton said. “People are realizing just how much good food we discard, not just from farms, but also households and retailers.The question becomes, you’re going to have almost 10 billion people in the world by 2050; how are you going to feed them all ethically and efficiently?”

The pair’s research paper was the top choice in March from a list of works culled from Elsevier’s 3,800 journals “that impacts people’s lives around the world.” Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions for science, health and technology professionals. It and an advisory board, which includes members from the Health and Global Policy Institute and the World Wildlife Federation, awards only one paper its Atlas Award each month.

The article is the first in a three-part series funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Part two will focus on consumer waste, and part three on retailers.


For more information about Elsevier or the Atlas Awards, visit

To see the research, visit

Orfalea College of Business Student Athletes Excel in the Classroom

Ten student-athletes from the Orfalea College of Business were named to the Big West Conference Fall All-Academic Team in February or, in the case of the football players, the Big Sky Conference Fall All-Academic Team. To be eligible, student-athletes (excluding true freshmen and first-year transfers) are required to have maintained at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA through the most recent term while also simultaneously competing in at least 50 percent of their respective games, meets or matches.

Jared MohamedSydney Knauer, Women’s Soccer (Business Administration)
Bryanna Fuller, Women’s Cross Country (Business Administration)
Hannah Hull, Women’s Cross Country (Business Administration)
Mikey Giguere, Men’s Cross Country (Business Administration)
Garrett Migliozzi, Men’s Cross Country (Business Administration)
Colin Goebel, Football (Business Administration)
Jared Mohamed, Football (Business Administration)
Sam Ogee, Football (Business Administration)
Jake Jeffrey, Football (Business Administration)
Jake Smeltzer, Football (Industrial Technology)

Senior business administration major Jared Mohamed, a fullback on the Cal Poly football team, was named to the All-Big Sky Conference first team in November as well as to the 2017 Big Sky All-Academic Team in February. Mohamed is concentrating in financial management and minoring in real property development.

Honored as a third-team All-American by STATS FCS, Mohamed also was named to Phil Steele’s 2017 Postseason All-Big Sky Conference First Team. He became Cal Poly’s 21st 1,000-yard rusher with 1,172 yards during the 2017 season. Mohamed was named the team’s most valuable player and offensive most valuable player at a team banquet in January.

Mohamed is No. 10 on Cal Poly’s all-time list for rushing yards in a season and accumulated 933 of his yards in eight Big Sky games, averaging 116.6 yards per conference contest. Cal Poly has produced at least one 1,000-yard rusher in each of the last seven seasons.

To be eligible for Big Sky All-Academic honors, a student-athlete must have met and/or exceeded the following minimum requirements: 1) Participated in at least half of the team’s competitions; 2) Achieved a 3.2 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) at the conclusion of the most recently completed term; 3) Completed at least one academic term at his/her current Big Sky institution.


Orfalea College of Business Open House Schedule April 12-14, 2018

Cal Poly welcomes prospective students, parents, alumni and friends to campus for Open House from April 12-14, 2018! The Orfalea College of Business is proud to host events throughout the week that will give prospective students and supporters an in-depth perspective on the Learn by Doing education the college provides.

Admitted students, be sure to RSVP for Open House.

For more information, visit the Cal Poly Open House website, parking information and campus maps.

Thursday, April 12: Campus Preview at Farmer’s Market

Open House weekend begins with “Campus Preview at Farmers’ Market” on Thursday, April 12 from 6-9 p.m. Explore downtown and experience San Luis Obispo’s world-famous Farmer’s Market. Cal Poly Clubs and Organizations will be present to showcase what they have to offer.

Friday, April 13: Admitted Students Discovery Day

Time Event Title Location Description
8 a.m.- 12 p.m. Open House Check In Mott Lawn Check in for the day’s events! Bring a digital or printed copy of your ticket.
9-9:45 a.m. University Welcome Rec Center Main Gym Hear from Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong and VP for Student Affairs Keith Humphrey as they welcomes potential students, supporters and alumni to campus. Hear about the major initiatives shaping Cal Poly and Learn by Doing today.
10-10:45 a.m. Orfalea College of Business Welcome Multi Activity Center Hear from Dean Scott Dawson, alumni and current students about what it’s like to attend the Orfalea College of Business. You’ll also learn about the college-specific events happening at Open House.
11-11:45 a.m.
12-12:45 p.m.
Student Panels: Opportunities at Orfalea The Business Silo
Bldg. 03, room 213
Enjoy an interactive panel discussion with current Cal Poly students about the Learn by Doing opportunities they’ve embraced in the Orfalea College of Business inside and outside the classroom. Learn how students gain a competitive edge through college clubs, mentorship, internships and industry connections.
11 a.m.- 1:30 p.m. Orfalea Information Fair O’Neill Green Browse booths from departments, clubs, international programs, student services and more. It’s a great opportunity to interact with current students and ask questions about Orfalea’s programs.
11 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. Orfalea College Tours Breezeway Outside the Student Success Center We will offer tours departing every 15 minutes, take a guided tour of the business building with an Orfalea student ambassador. You’ll explore classrooms, computer labs, lecture halls and meeting rooms while learning more about what the college has to offer.
11:45 a.m.
and 1:45 p.m.
Spanish Speaking Orfalea College Tours Breezeway Outside the Student Success Center Take a guided tour of the business building with a Spanish speaking Orfalea student ambassador. You’ll explore classrooms, computer labs, lecture halls and meeting rooms while learning more about what the college has to offer delivered in Spanish.
11 a.m.- 1 p.m. Accounting Area Demo Bldg. 03, room 107
11 a.m.-12 p.m. Marketing Area Demo Bldg. 03, room 206
11-11:30 a.m.
11:30 a.m.-12 p.m.
Management & Human Resources Area Demo Bldg. 03, room 113
11:15-11:45 a.m.
12:15-12:45 p.m.
Economics Area Demo Bldg. 03, room 306
11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
12:15-12:45 p.m.
Finance Area Demo Bldg. 03, room 302
11:15 a.m.-12 p.m.
12:15-1 p.m.
Industrial Technology and Packaging Area Demo O’Neill Green
11:15-11:45 a.m.
12:15-12:45 p.m.
Entrepreneurship Demo Bldg. 02, room 206
11:15-11:45 a.m.
11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Information Systems Demo Bldg. 03, room 205
7:30-10 p.m. Parents’ Coffee House University Union, Chumash Auditorium While students are enjoying Friday Nite Invite, parents and supporters are invited to Coffee House, where they can talk to current students from all six of Cal Poly’s colleges while enjoying coffee from local vendors. There will also be speakers from Administration as well as Parent & Family Programs.
7:30-10 p.m. Friday Night Invite University Union Plaza Prospective students will enjoy free pizza, bowling, a DJ, games, crafts and club booths while meeting their fellow Mustangs.
8-9 p.m. Transfer Student Mixer University Union Room 220 Potential transfer students will get a chance to meet up and learn from an informational panel with time for Q&A. Food and drinks will be provided!


Saturday, April 14: Poly Royal Celebration

Time Event Title Location Description
10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Campus Showcase Lower Campus At Campus Showcase Cal Poly Clubs and Organizations get a chance to show off what they do with booths, activities, food, and much more. Over 200 clubs are represented at this fun and exciting event.
10-11 a.m. Coffee with the Dean Bldg. 02, room 210 Take time to chat with Orfalea College of Business Dean Scott Dawson about his vision for the college and the resources that make it a perfect fit for thousands of students each year.
9-10 a.m. Poly Royal Parade Perimeter Road Wave to a vibrant parade of clubs, community organizations and programs celebrating Cal Poly along Perimeter Road!
10-10:30 a.m. Opening Ceremonies Dexter Lawn Hear Cal Poly’s leaders kick off another exciting day on campus.
10 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. Poly Royal Stage Dexter Lawn Enjoy music, dance and club performances from students on the stage on Dexter Lawn!
1-3:30 p.m. Poly Royal Truck and Tractor Pull Highland Dr. and Mt. Bishop Rd. The Poly Royal Truck and Tractor Pull has been held at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo since 1972. It is one of the largest events at Open House, drawing nearly 4,000 spectators and over 50 competitors from the Western United States. The event is run by Cal Poly Tractor Pull Club and the proceeds from the event bolster a scholarship endowment for students. For more info, visit
2:30-5 p.m. Alumni Beer and Wine Garden Engineering Plaza Join Cal Poly alumni from each college for an afternoon of fun, reconnecting with alumni, faculty, staff, and student ambassadors. You will enjoy local beer and wine, as well as delicious appetizers. The event will be held rain or shine! 21+ with ID; tickets available at
5:30 p.m. Poly Royal Rodeo and Concert Spanos Stadium Poly Royal has been the premier rodeo in the West Coast region since the first Poly Royal Rodeo in 1940. It is the largest college rodeo west of the Mississippi and draws crowds of up to 11,000 spectators. This year, the Rodeo will be held in Spanos Stadium, followed by a concert by Aaron Watson. Tickets available at



Cal Poly to Host Seventh Annual Central Coast Lean Summit April 16-17

The Central Coast Lean Summit, an annual showcase of strategies that maximize customer value while minimizing waste in health care, education, government and non-profit agencies, will be hosted by the Central Coast Lean program in Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business on April 16-17 at the SLO Brew Rock Activity Center.

The theme of the seventh annual conference is “Establishing a Lean Culture.” Industry leaders and lean experts, including Jeff Hastie of the Bose Corp. and Carlos Scholz of The Permanente Medical Group, the largest medical group in the U.S., will focus on creating high-performing workplaces by strengthening the team environment.

“I think this year’s theme will help organizations reap true value from their investment in lean tools and processes by engaging their workforce,” said Cal Poly Professor Eric Olsen, who is host and facilitator of the lean summit. “This event will benefit everyone from CEOs to new hires across a variety of industries.”

The philosophy of lean business practices originated in manufacturing but has influenced other sectors to streamline processes and require less human effort, less space, less capital, and less time to make cost-effective products and services with fewer defects.

Hastie, Bose’s global director of lean enterprise, will share the story of how a Lean Enterprise Maturity Model changed the journey of the company, which designs, develops and sells audio equipment.

Scholz, director of Kaiser Permanente’s strategic initiatives, will talk about the “North Valley Way,” a lean operating system aimed at achieving engagement and continuous improvement by every team member, implemented at Kaiser Permanente, North Valley.

The two-day event will include interactive breakouts led by experienced facilitators to allow participants to actively apply lean concepts to a variety of industries and specific job functions.

In addition, a Coaching Café will give participants the opportunity to discuss lean challenges with Sam MacPherson, lean transformation leader and founder of the Lean Leadership Academy.

Attendees will be able to network with lean experts from throughout California and collaborate with Cal Poly faculty. Participants will also see lean posters of improvement projects from Cal Poly students and the Central Coast Lean community.

A networking reception in the SLO Brew Rock beer garden will take place at the end of the day April 16.

Attendees can also take advantage of a post-summit workshop from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 17.  Jim Benson, author of “Personal Kanban: Mapping Work, Navigating Life,” will discuss continuous improvement processes for back-office employees.

Registration is open. Tickets and corporate sponsorship information can be found at:

Cal Poly’s M.S. Business Analytics Program Ranked Among the Nation’s Top 10

Cal Poly MS Business Analytics ranked among the top 10 in the recently ranked Cal Poly’s Master of Science in Business Analytics program among the top 10 master’s programs in the nation.

Cal Poly was ranked at No. 9 ahead of University of Texas at Austin. The top 10 also included M.S. Business Analytics programs at Columbia, UCLA, University of Pennsylvania, MIT and University of Virginia. The top spot went to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Cal Poly was one of two California programs ranked within the top 10.

The ranking’s methodology emphasized affordability and the strength of the academic program, including enrollment and retention rates, in-state tuition, and average 10 year earnings. Data was provided through a survey to the National Center for Education Statistics.

This is the first ranking for Cal Poly’s program, which launched in 2016 in the Orfalea College of Business. Its curriculum distinguishes itself from others with a focus on data visualization, strategy and storytelling in addition to data science. Students engage in interdisciplinary activities leading to three completed projects, by analyzing real world problems and data provided by industry partners including Oracle and Dignity Health.

For more information on the ranking, visit