|Paul Viveros ’92, Hotel & Restaurant Management
President and CEO, Alumni Marketing Insurance Services, Inc. President, Cal Poly Pomona Alumni Association
In retrospect, Paul Viveros should have listened to his father instead of his high school academic counselor. Considered an average student in high school, Viveros took note when his advisors insisted he would not be able to face the academic rigors of a university education. Viveros followed his brothers’ hardworking example, enrolling in the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) certification program at Mt. San Antonio College. Trade certificate in hand, he worked in the field for five years, soaking up all he could about the ins and outs of running a successful business. By the time he started his own company, he realized that it was time to master college. After all, he had been successful in business. How much more successful could he be with a college degree?
Viveros enrolled at Citrus College, and after receiving his associate of science degree, he transferred into Cal Poly Pomona’s hotel & restaurant management program.
“Because I already had experience running a business, managing people and working with finances, all ‘left brain’ activities, I decided to focus on a major that could develop and strengthen the right side of my brain,” he says. “Hotel & restaurant management seemed to fit the bill.”
It was a decision that changed his life and also proved his high school counselors need to rethink their system of student analysis. Not only did he earn a coveted President’s Council Scholarship for academic excellence in ’91, he also met his wife, Tina, in Dr. Sakamoto’s MHR 452 class. Since graduation, Viveros has parlayed his college education and Cal Poly Pomona’s “learn by doing” philosophy into a business he and his wife co-own, Alumni Marketing Insurance Services, Inc. They and their staff consult, install and maintain employee benefits for business owners. This includes the all important pension and profit sharing plans, executive carve-outs, and group medical, dental and vision plans. The challenge is selling ideas and concepts as opposed to a tangible product.
“After listening to clients’ issues, I am able to paint a picture for them and help them navigate down a road that makes sense to them,” he says. “I help them turn weaknesses into strengths.”
Viveros isn’t all about business, though. He coached wrestling for nine years — including four state champions — and was delighted to see one of his charges become an All-American. Viveros is also involved in community efforts, sitting on the Board of Directors at MERCI (Mentally Educationally Retarded Citizens, Inc.) in Monterey Park since 2001, an organization that aids people with severe to profound developmental disabilities in maximizing their independence. He serves as an advocate for their rights and is currently MERCIs vice president of finance.
In June 2005, after serving on the Cal Poly Pomona Alumni Association Board of Directors for four years, Paul was elected president. “Being on the Alumni Board is a great way to give back to Cal Poly Pomona. We have an incredibly dedicated and loyal board, who want the best for their alma mater.”
All in all, he has gained a great deal from his education at Cal Poly Pomona, not only in confidence, but a life partner and a great career.
“I come from modest means and a solid set of core values,” says Viveros. “I feel that if individuals have determination, drive and stamina, they will create opportunities for themselves to become successful on many levels.”