Hall of Fame Class of 2014

Ahmad Al-Khatib

Ahmad Adel Al-Khatib
Founder & CEO, SIGMAnet Incorporated
BS Electrical Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1983

Ahmad Adel Al-Khatib came to the United States from his native country of Lebanon at the age of 19 to study electrical and electronics engineering at Cal Poly Pomona, earning his bachelor’s. While taking courses for his master’s and MBA, Ahmad started working with a friend selling personal computers and, in 1985, began teaching DOS, WordStar, SuperCalc and dBASE II courses at Mt. San Antonio Community College.

In 1986, Ahmad started the company that would become SIGMAnet Incorporated, offering computer networking and consulting services to small- and medium-size companies. Today, SIGMAnet is one of the leading information and communication technology companies in California, offering consulting, solutions and services to medium and large companies, government agencies, and educational institutions.

“The College of Engineering’s focus on applied research and practical problem solving form a critical foundation for the success of all businesses, as they did in my own endeavors,” Ahmad says.

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Daniel Cheng

Daniel Man-Chung Cheng
Managing Director, Dunwell Enviro-Tech (Holdings) Limited
BS Industrial Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1981

Daniel Man-Chung Cheng worked full-time while going to school and worked three jobs during the summers to support himself as he pursued a degree in industrial engineering at Cal Poly Pomona.

“The hard work taught me to be humble and made me more determined than ever to succeed,” Daniel says.

After graduating, Daniel worked for several companies in Southern California before returning to his native Hong Kong, where he turned a VHS components startup company into the world’s largest videocassette component supplier before founding Dunwell
Enviro-Tech (Holdings) Limited, an environmental technology company that specializes in used oil recycling and industrial wastewater treatment in 1993.

Daniel received an Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) scholarship while studying at Cal Poly Pomona and started the IIE Hong Kong Chapter scholarship program in 1985 to help other engineering students. He previously served as the chapter’s president and as IIE’s regional vice president. He is serving on many of Hong Kong’s advisory committees including Innovation Technology, Water Resource and Energy Policy. He was also awarded the Medal of Honor and Justice of Peace by the Hong Kong Chief Executive.

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Martin J. Colombatto

Martin J. (Marty) Colombatto
Independent Consultant
Director of the Board, ClariPhy Communications, Luxtera Corporation & PLX Technology

BS Engineering Technology, Cal Poly Pomona, 1982

Martin J. Colombatto enrolled at Cal Poly Pomona after spending a year at the University of Utah and winters working as an electrician. During his more than 30-year career in the semiconductor industry, Marty held positions in sales and marketing, general management, and eventually chief executive officer and chairman of the board with industry leaders including Texas Instruments, Reliance Electric A.G., LSI Logic Corporation, Broadcom Corporation and Staccato Communications.

Today, he serves as an independent consultant and on the board of directors for fabless semiconductor companies ClariPhy Communications in Irvine, Luxtera Corporation in Carlsbad, and PLX Technology in Sunnyvale.

“Take the time and the opportunity to experiment in life and your career,” Marty advises engineering students. “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.”

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Richard Croxall

Richard A. Croxall
Vice President & Chief Engineer (Ret.), Northrop Grumman Corporation
BS Mechanical Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1963

Richard A. Croxall began his engineering career with a summer internship at Giannini Controls Corporation, working in the advanced gyrocompass area. After graduating from Cal Poly Pomona, he was hired full-time by the company as a project engineer. He then moved to TRW Systems Group, Space Park where his assignments included developing a guidance and control subsystem on a major space surveillance program. His 39 year Space Park career included several key leadership roles including director of Mission System Engineering for all of TRW space systems and vice president of Mission Assurance.

“I was one of the few recent engineering grads who could work with the leading scientists and technologists of the time because of my practical solutions to their advanced technology concepts and also develop advanced space system architectures, mostly due to my broad Cal Poly Pomona engineering background,” Dick says. “I relied on that education for my entire career.”

When TRW was acquired by Northrop Grumman in 2002, Dick was appointed sector vice president and chief engineer for the newly formed space systems sector.

Dick was founding executive sponsor for the TRW/Northorp Grumman Women’s Network Group and the executive sponsor of Adelante, the TRW Hispanic Network, and the Native American Caucus.

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Nato Flores

Nato Flores
President & Majority Owner, Tower General Contractors Incorporated
BS Mechanical Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1979

As a high school student, Nato Flores, an immigrant from Mexico, participated in an afterschool program at the Rockwell International Corporation plant in Downey. He was awarded a $4,400 scholarship through the program, which he used to attend Cal Poly Pomona. Despite his passion for mechanical engineering, Nato struggled in his first quarter at Cal Poly Pomona, the math curriculum a challenge for the student who had barely passed Algebra I and Algebra II in high school.

“I decided right then and there that I wanted to stay and finish, if for no better reason than my father would not have to explain to friends and family that his son had to drop out of college,” he says.

Success in college was achieved by following these five steps: recognize a problem that needs correcting, get organized, understand your environment, get help and go to experts when you need to.

In 1985, Nato and fellow Cal Poly Pomona alumnus Bob Freeman started Tower General Contractors Incorporated, a company that specializes in projects for clients in the educational, healthcare/biomedical, entertainment, retail, industrial, government and defense industries. Tower General Contractors has built many landmark projects such as the Laborers Union International Heaquarters in Los Angeles, the Seismic Upgrades and Renovation of the LAX Theme Building, the Huntington Hospital Emergency Department Expansion, and the Columbia Memorial Space Shuttle Center in Downey, located on the site where Nato attended the Rockwell afterschool program.

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Lawrence Gates

Lawrence M. Gates
President, DRC Engineering Incorporated
BS Civil Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1987
MBA, Pepperdine University, 1993

Lawrence M. Gates spent three months backpacking around the world after earning his bachelor’s degree at Cal Poly Pomona and an MBA from Pepperdine University. Energized by his trip, Larry returned home to found DRC Engineering Incorporated, a consulting, engineering and land-surveying firm, in 1997 with fellow Cal Poly Pomona alumnus Warren Williams Jr. The company’s projects have included The District at Tustin Legacy, the Chino Spectrum Towne Center and the Burbank Empire Center.

“My confidence in the workplace came from the superior and practical education I received at Cal Poly Pomona, and I always felt better-prepared and that I was more knowledgeable than other engineers with degrees from competing universities throughout the country,” Larry says.

Larry is on the board of the Bourke Family Foundation, a charitable organization that delivers lights to impoverished schools in Africa, and is a member of the Orange County Chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).

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Virgina Grebbien

Virginia Grebbien
President, Parsons Environment & Infrastructure
BS Civil Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1986

One of just a half-dozen women in her graduating class from Cal Poly Pomona's College of Engineering, Virginia Grebbien joined Parsons Corporation in 2008 and is now president of Parsons Environment & Infrastructure, an organization that provides customers with full-service engineering, construction and management services in environmental, water and sustainable energy infrastructure development.

"At Cal Poly Pomona I first encountered not only the Learn by Doing methodology but supportive and collaborative teams," Virginia says. "I learned how to work in multidisciplinary teams solving real engineering problems that were consistent with issues I would face in the workforce. It was exciting to work in a team that valued all its members for what we brought to the table and I appreciated the culture at Cal Poly Pomona that encouraged and supported diverse teams."

Prior to joining Parsons, Virginia held executive management positions at water management agencies in Southern California, including the Orange County Water District and the West Basin Municipal Water District.

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Peter Hadinger

Peter Hadinger
President, Inmarsat Incorporated
BS Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1981
MBA, George Mason University, 1996

Peter Hadinger built his first tube radio when he was eight years old. The son of a father who worked at General Dynamics and a mother who had worked for an aerospace firm, Peter worked part-time at General Dynamics on the Standard Missile program while earning his degree.

“Between electrical engineering labs and Rose Float, the ‘hands-on’ Cal Poly Pomona approach to tackling tough challenges made a difference throughout my career. Run towards challenge,” Peter says.

Hired by TRW Systems Group after graduation, Peter designed the processing core of the MILSTAR satellite payload and became manager of a department that developed complex analog and digital subsystems for government satellites. Peter later moved to Washington D.C., was nominated for a Brookings Congressional Fellowship and served as a legislative assistant in the 103rd Congress, focusing on technology, trade and budget matters.

After TRW was acquired by Northrop Grumman, Peter directed programs and initiatives including advanced ISR and Satcom programs, air-space integration, and cyber, international and regulatory efforts.

Today, Peter is president of the U.S. government business unit. of Inmarsat, the owner and operator of global satellite networks that provide communication services to maritime, enterprise, government and aviation clients worldwide.

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Hartenstein

Eddy W. Hartenstein
Publisher & CEO, The Los Angeles Times
BS Aerospace Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1972
MS Applied Mathematics, Caltech, 1974

Eddy W. Hartenstein has used his aerospace background to head up leading media and communications organizations. He began his career at Hughes Aircraft Company in 1972, developing the idea for direct-to-home satellite television while working as vice president of Hughes Communications Incorporated. This led to the 1991 formation of DirecTV, with Eddy serving as founding chairman and CEO. He was elected into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2001 and received an Emmy for lifetime achievement from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2007 for his work on satellite television development.

Eddy has been the Publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Times since 2008, as well as the CEO and a board member for The Times’ corporate parent, Tribune Company.  He also serves on the boards for Broadcom Corporation, City of Hope, SanDisk and SiriusXM Radio.

“Cal Poly Pomona’s emphasis on strong academic knowledge in conjunction with hands-on experience provided me the confidence to successfully tackle a lifelong variety of career challenges and opportunities,” Eddy says. “For this, I remain forever grateful.”

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Darcel Hulse

Darcel L. Hulse
President & CEO (Ret.), Sempra LNG
BS Mechanical Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1970

Darcel L. Hulse began working for Unocal Corporation as an engineer in its Los Angeles refinery after earning his mechanical engineering degree from Cal Poly Pomona. He rose through the company’s ranks, serving as vice president for the company’s corporate engineering and construction division, then as president of the geothermal power division and president of Asia-Pacific ventures.

Darcel joined San Diego-based Sempra Energy International in 1999 and later served as its president. He retired in 2012 as president and CEO of Sempra LNG, a subsidiary of holding company Sempra Global.

“Above and beyond the engineering principles learned while obtaining my engineering degree, my career has been more served by the disciplined problem-solving approach that is ingrained into every engineering student at Cal Poly Pomona,” Darcel says. “The process of formally writing down everything you know about the problem and then focusing on how you address the unknowns is a skill that is applicable to every facet of life. Good leaders usually possess good problem-solving skills.”

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Brian Jaramillo

Brian Jaramillo
President, Tilden-Coil Constructors Incorporated
BS Engineering Technology, Cal Poly Pomona, 1987

Brian Jaramillo spent his first two years after graduating high school working full-time. He then earned an associate’s degree at Chabot Community College before enrolling at Cal Poly Pomona to study engineering technology.

Brian joined Tilden-Coil Constructors, a general contracting and construction management firm, as an intern during his junior year. He was offered a full-time position with the company after
graduating with honors, starting his career with Tilden-Coil as a project engineer.

Brian was named Tilden-Coil’s vice president of construction in 1998 and then purchased a minority ownership stake in the
company. He became president in 2006 and is now majority owner.

“From intern to president, I was blessed with opportunity I would not have had if I did not attend Cal Poly Pomona,” Brian says.

Brian served as the corporate walk chairman for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Inland Empire Light the Night Walk. He represented the Mission Inn Foundation Board in its bid to secure the land and Father Junipero Serra Cross that sits atop Mount Rubidoux.

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Bob Kallenbaugh

Bob Kallenbaugh
CEO, RBF Consulting
BS Civil Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1974
MS Civil Engineering, Stanford University, 1975

Bob Kallenbaugh grew up loving camping, backpacking and fishing, and enjoyed studying math and science, so he felt pursuing a civil engineering degree was well suited to his interests and strengths. He began his career with the Orange County Flood Control District and, in 1977, joined RBF Consulting, a company that provides civil engineering, land surveying, planning and construction management, as a project engineer, working on projects for public and private clients. He was named president in 1991 and, in 2008, was named CEO of the company, which was acquired by the Michael Baker Corporation in 2011.

“Cal Poly Pomona prepared me well for the future,” Bob says. “From meeting my wife, Chris, in the dorms as a freshman to developing leadership skills that could be applied later to some of our nation’s premier projects, Cal Poly Pomona was the right university for me as the foundation for a successful future.”

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Jack Kulp

Jack H. Kulp
President, TrafFix Devices Incorporated
BS Mechanical Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1963

Jack H. Kulp and his wife, Sue, founded TrafFix Devices Incorporated, a producer of traffic control and safety products, out of their home in 1986. Today, the company’s products are sold to barricade rental yards, traffic control companies, highway contractors, state government departments, cities and counties around the world.

“My Cal Poly Pomona experience provided me with a solid, practical education and helped me to look for simple, practical and cost-efficient solutions to complex and difficult-to-solve product design problems,” Jack says. “It has worked for the past 50 years of my professional building career.”

Jack began his career working at Vard Incorporated as a design engineer, designing a cutting and welding machine to weld in and remove control rod mechanisms for nuclear submarine reactors. He later worked in sales for the Dairy Industry Company, as a sales engineer for Terra Tires & Wheels, as a sales engineer for Royal Industries and as president for the signal division of Lear Siegler Incorporated.

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Lynne Lachenmyer

Lynne Lachenmyer
Senior Vice President, ExxonMobil Chemical Company
BS Chemical Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1980

Lynne Lachenmyer’s love of math and science led her to pursue a career in engineering and earn a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Cal Poly Pomona in 1980. 

Upon graduation, Lynne began her career as a process engineer with Mobil Oil at the Torrance refinery.   In a career spanning more than 30 years with ExxonMobil, she has had the opportunity to work in manufacturing and business assignments that span environmental, sales, marketing, planning and logistics functions.  In 2004, Lynne moved to Singapore as regional manufacturing director.  Since 2010 Lynne has been accountable for several global petrochemical businesses as senior vice president for ExxonMobil Chemical Company.

Lynne believes there is tremendous value in education, such as the one she received at Cal Poly Pomona. Consequently she supports STEM activities in the community, sponsors scholarships for studies in engineering and serves on the Board of Junior Achievement. 

“A Cal Poly Pomona education opens doors,” Lynne says. “Have confidence in your capabilities—with an engineering degree, an inquisitive mind, hard work and perseverance, your dreams can also come true.”

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Rick Morrow

Rick Morrow
Senior Vice President, Gas Operations & System Integrity
Southern California Gas Co.
San Diego Gas & Electric

BS Chemical Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1972
MS Chemical Engineering, UC Davis, 1974

Rick Morrow began his career with the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) in 1974 as a materials and equipment application engineer. He later led efforts to develop and secure new gas supply sources and then became manager over the company’s underground gas storage operation.

Rick next joined the company’s marketing department and was named vice president in 1995. He held various executive positions in customer service and marketing for SoCalGas and San Diego Gas & Electric before being named vice president of engineering in 2010. Rick became senior vice president of gas operations and system integrity in January 2014.

“My chemical engineering education at Cal Poly Pomona set the foundation for my career at the Southern California Gas Company,” Rick says. “Of particular importance was the industry focus and practical problem solving that was emphasized throughout the curriculum. This training and education allowed me to experience a wide variety of exciting and challenging positions that have had a significant impact on the energy industry in Southern California.”

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Cordelia Ontiveros

Dr. Cordelia Ontiveros
Associate Dean for Academic Programs & Student Services
Cal Poly Pomona, College of Engineering

BS Chemical Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1978
MA Chemical Engineering, Princeton University, 1980
PhD Chemical Engineering, Princeton University, 1983

Dr. Cordelia Ontiveros’ parents were her biggest source of support and inspiration. The daughter of an engineer and a registered nurse, Cordelia came to Cal Poly Pomona to study chemical engineering. Cordelia went on to receive a master’s degree and a PhD in chemical engineering from Princeton University. In addition, she attended the Harvard University Management Development Program.

Her career has included work in the private sector, at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center and in academia. Within the California State University, Cordelia has held positions as professor, department chair, associate vice president for faculty affairs and senior director for academic human resources. Today, she is associate dean for academic programs & student services.

Cordelia is an accomplished dancer who has performed and competed in flamenco, west coast swing, ballroom and a variety of folk dances at venues such as Epcot Center, Orange County Performing Arts Center and the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships.

“Accept opportunities even when they are outside of your comfort zone, such as moving out of the area,” Cordelia advises engineering students.

“You will meet so many interesting people and have great experiences.”

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Rebecca Rhoads

Rebecca Ritt Rhoads
President, Raytheon Global Business Services and
Chief Information Officer, Raytheon Company

BS Electronics Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1980
MS Electronics Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1986

Rebecca Ritt Rhoads studied electrical engineering at Cal Poly Pomona because she believed electronics would play a significant role in the future. She began her career as an electrical engineer at General Dynamics in 1979 and, through a series of acquisitions, became part of Raytheon Company in 1997.

Today, Rebecca is president of Global Business Services, an organization that provides innovative, high technology services and solutions to Raytheon, and is also CIO for Raytheon. She was inducted into the CIO Hall of Fame by CIO Magazine in 2007 and was listed by The Boston Globe as “The Most Powerful Woman in Technology.”

“Remember that the job you’ll be doing in five or 10 years probably doesn’t exist yet, but you’ll help define and develop it on the way,” Rebecca advises. “Take the hardest jobs that no one wants, do them well and then move on, yet always balance work and life—it will help you stay energized and passionate about both.”

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Joseph Rivera

Joseph M. Rivera
Director, Gas Engineering, Southern California Gas Company
BS Civil Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1973

Southern California native Joseph M. Rivera grew up knowing that he would attend Cal Poly Pomona to study civil engineering. After earning his bachelor’s degree, he began his career with the Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) as an associate engineer in 1974. Today, he serves as director, gas engineering, for the utility.

“Cal Poly Pomona provided me a foundation that launched my career and served me well for 41 years,” Joseph says. “The university understood that the foundation must include strong technical skills, and an understanding of the importance of the profession and the keys to becoming successful in the workplace. All three of these critical elements were included in the education and thoughtful mentoring that I received.”

Joseph is the chairman of the statewide board of directors for the MESA (Math, Engineering, Science Achievement) program of the University of California system, an academic preparation program that serves more than 20,000 educationally disadvantaged pre-college, community college and university students throughout the state.

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Gerry Salontai

Gerry Salontai
President & CEO (Ret.), Kleinfelder Incorporated

BS Civil Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1977
MS Civil Engineering, Long Beach State, 1981

Gerry Salontai’s interest in civil engineering was sparked by summer engineering intern jobs his father, a water department engineering design technician, arranged for him when he was in high school. Gerry earned an associate degree in engineering from Imperial Valley College before following in the footsteps of his brother and sister and enrolling at Cal Poly Pomona.

Gerry joined Kleinfelder, an architecture, engineering and science-consulting firm, as senior engineer in the Reno, Nevada office. After spending five years in Reno, he went on to lead a multi-office region, established a national transportation business line and led the California division at Kleinfelder before being named president and CEO in 1998.

“The practical approach to the engineering curriculum at Cal Poly Pomona accelerated my knowledge of how things really work, thus allowing me to take more responsibility than my peers who attended other universities,” Gerry says.

Gerry retired from the company in 2009 and founded Salontai Consulting Group, a strategy, business and leadership consulting company.

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Mark Stevens

Mark A. Stevens
Senior Vice President, Corporate Risk, Fluor Corporation

BS Mechanical Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1975
MBA, Cal State Fullerton, 1983

Shortly after earning his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cal Poly Pomona, Mark A. Stevens joined Fluor Corporation, a Dallas-based company that provides engineering, procurement, construction and project management services. He later served as vice president of power generation, vice president of Latin America operations, president of the company’s oil, gas and power strategic business unit, and president of the company’s energy and chemicals strategic business unit.

Today, Mark serves as Fluor’s senior vice president, corporate risk, with responsibilities for the company’s project risk review processes and for identifying opportunities to improve its commercial approaches.

“My biggest lesson from my years at Cal Poly Pomona was not the memorization of equations in thermo or fluid mechanics, but instead was the ability to analyze any problem and come up with a logical approach to addressing it,” Mark says. “This is a lesson that stays with you for life.”

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Thomas Vos

Thomas Vos
Vice President & General Manager (Ret.), Hewlett-Packard

BS Electronics Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1964

After graduating from high school, Thomas Vos enlisted in the U.S. Navy, encouraged by a recruiter’s promise that his first assignment would be to spend a year in electronics school. He was next assigned to a destroyer in San Diego, on which he rose to the rank of lead operations petty officer. Tom then chose to pursue an engineering career and enrolled at Cal Poly Pomona.
                                  
Tom joined Hewlett-Packard in 1966, where his projects included the 9125A single-pen flatbed plotter, a companion for the 9100 calculator that appeared in the 1971 film “The Andromeda Strain.” At Hewlett-Packard, he held positions as product development engineer, project manager, manufacturing engineering manager, research and development manager, marketing manager of the San Diego division (now the inkjet printer division). He was promoted to general manager of the Colorado Springs division, then general manager of the Electronics Instrument Group and, in 1995, vice president.

Tom retired from Hewlett-Packard in 1998.

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James Williamson

James R. Williamson
Vice President, Technology Standards (Ret.), Sony Electronics and Member of Iggy and The Stooges
BS Electronics Engineering, Cal Poly Pomona, 1982

James R. Williamson joined the band Iggy and The Stooges after graduating from high school. The band moved to London and, in 1972, recorded the album “Raw Power,” which was entirely co-written by James and Iggy Pop. Three years later, the band broke up, which led James to reevaluate his career options and enroll at Cal Poly Pomona.

After earning his bachelor’s degree, James joined semiconductor manufacturer Advanced Micro Devices. In 1997, Williamson was hired as director of applications at Sony Semiconductor of America and then was asked to head up a newly formed Office of Technology Standards for The Americas. James retired from Sony as vice president of technology standards in 2009. That year, he rejoined Iggy and The Stooges and embarked with the band on a world tour. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

“In 20 years, you’ll look back and only regret the passions that you didn’t pursue,” James advises engineering students.

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