Cal Poly Honors Two Business Alumni for Service

Honored Alumni BanquetCal Poly recognized two Orfalea College of Business alumni among its class of nine Honored Alumni in 2016. Scott Cooper (Business Administration, ’91) was recognized as the Orfalea College of Business’ honored alumnus. John Ronca (Business Administration, ’75) was give the Sandra Gardebring Orgren Leadership Award from the Cal Poly Alumni Association.

The Honored Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed upon Cal Poly alumni by the university’s Alumni Association, and was established more than 60 years ago. The award recognizes alumni from the athletics program, the university’s six academic colleges, and the Alumni Association.

Scott Cooper graduated with a degree in business administration in 1991. He is the CFO of Allegro Ophthalmics, LLC. He spent eight years as the CFO for WaveTec Vision Systems, Inc., where he raised more than $60 million of new venture-capital backed equity in four financing transactions; secured more than $10 million with three venture-debt facilities; and helped develop the company to grow from zero revenue to $15 million. WaveTec was sold for $350 million to Alcon. A former football player, Cooper is a supporter of the Accounting and International Fellowships, Cal Poly Athletics, and Construction Management. He served on the Accounting Department Advisory Board from 2010-15 and serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council. Cooper and his wife, Laura (CM, ’91), have two children. Their son Thomas is enrolled at Cal Poly.

John A. Ronca Jr. graduated with a degree in business administration in 1975, a doctor of jurisprudence from Pepperdine University School of Law in 1978 and a master’s in the Laws of Taxation (LLM) from the University of Denver School of Law in 1979. Today, he is the owner of John A. Ronca, Jr. Law. As ASI vice president, Ronca implemented a legal aid service for students and was a member of the Society for the Advancement of Management. Ronca has served as chair of Cal Poly’s Athletic Directors Council since 2007. He is a member and secretary of the Cal Poly Foundation Board, and chair of the Governance Committee. Ronca has contributed to the community in many ways. He has served as chair of the French Hospital Community Board of Directors and is on the Mission College Preparatory High School Board of Regents. He is the President of the Northern California Golf Association Board of Directors and member of the board since 2006. Ronca and his wife Tracy are the proud parents of alumna Stephanie (Journalism ‘13) and Rachel (Boston College, ’14).

For a full list of 2016 Honored Alumni, visit the Cal Poly Alumni Association website.

For a full list of past Orfalea College of Business Honored Alumni, visit the college website.

Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business Names Local Business Leader as Honored Alumnus

Honored Alumnus Michael Bickel in the Orfalea College of Business' Metals Lab at Cal Poly.

Honored Alumnus Michael Bickel in the Orfalea College of Business’ Metals Lab at Cal Poly.

Michael C. Bickel, president and CEO of RPS Holdings, was named the 2014-15 Honored Alumnus of Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business. He is a 1995 graduate of the college’s Industrial Technology area, which combines a business education with technical courses covering the operations side of manufacturing. He went on to complete his master’s degree in the same discipline at Cal Poly in 2002.

Bickel has been an involved member of the college’s Industrial Technology Advisory Board since 2005. In that role, he has contributed to the overall strategic plan of the area. Bickel has also guest lectured in a product development course, orchestrated industrial technology projects and mentored student teams. In 2008, Bickel created the Bickel Family Scholarship Endowment to support incoming industrial technology freshmen.

“Mike is a great friend of the college and a prime example of how the comprehensive polytechnic model works here,” says Orfalea College of Business Dean Scott Dawson. “The Industrial Technology area has built such a great reputation, and we know that’s in part to leaders like Mike who help guide it forward.”

Bickel’s company, RPS Holdings, owns Rantec Power Systems, an engineering and upper-tier designer and manufacturer of power supplies for the military and aerospace markets based in Los Osos, Calif. He started his career at Rantec in 1982 as a quality assurance inspector. After he rose to the position of general manager, Bickel purchased the company to oversee its expansion and success. He continues to serve as Rantec’s president. Today, Rantec employs many Cal Poly alumni from the College of Engineering; roughly 60 percent of its professional hires are Cal Poly graduates.

Bickel lives locally with his wife, Lori (Graphic Communications ‘86). His daughter, Alexandra (Recreation, Parks & Tourism Administration ‘12), is also a Cal Poly alumna, and son Aaron is an alumnus of the University of Oregon (Economics ’14).

The title of Honored Alumni is the highest honor bestowed on an alumnus by the Cal Poly Alumni Association. Cal Poly named its first Honored Alumnus in 1953. In the 1970s, the university began recognizing former students from each of its academic colleges. Bickel joins this year’s cohort of Honored Alumni from Cal Poly’s other colleges, as well as awards for leadership and distinguished services.

For more information, visit Cal Poly’s Homecoming website.