College of Engineering
Martin J. Colombatto
Class of '82
If Martin J. Colombatto were to speak to new college graduates, he would offer this: “Take the time and the opportunity to experiment in life and your career. Don’t let money be your only guidepost. Do what you like and are passionate about, but whatever you decide to do, commit to it, work hard, and be the best you can be.”
It is advice that has served Colombatto well through the years. After earning a B.S. degree in engineering technology in 1982 from Cal Poly Pomona, he started his career in the semiconductor industry as a field sales engineer with Texas Instruments and followed up with positions in sales and marketing, general management, chief executive and directors with Reliance Electric A.G., LSI Logic Corp., Broadcom Corp. and Staccato Communications (now Veebeam Corp.). Currently, he serves as a director of the board for ClariPhy Communications and Luxtera Corp.
Colombatto arrived at Cal Poly Pomona after a year at the University of Utah and a couple of winters working in Utah as an electrician, which convinced him to go back to school. “I knew I wanted a technical degree,” he recalls. “I was looking for something that was a cross between theory and application.” Colombatto, who loved science even as a child, found it in the Cal Poly Pomona engineering department.
“Electronics was a field with extraordinary growth opportunities,” he says. He praises Cal Poly Pomona’s learn-by-doing philosophy, which provided hands-on training. “It’s the way my brain is wired. If I learned how to build a circuit in a book, I sort of got it. But if I had the chance to build and test the circuit in a lab, I really understood it.”
The married father of three also has found time for philanthropic endeavors through the years. In 2012, he and his wife, Stefanie, contributed to the College of Engineering to completely refurbish an electronics lab. It has been named the Colombatto Family Laboratory.
“I was really happy to do that given how much those labs contributed to my education,” he says. “Cal Poly gave so much to me.”
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