Alumni: Class Notes
Three CLA graduates are recognized for their outstanding efforts, and former students share major milestones.
2017 CLA Honored Alumnus Chris Trapani, second from left, with his family.
Three 2017 Cal Poly Honored Alumni from the College of Liberal Arts
The CLA Honored Alumnus for 2017 was Chris Trapani, who graduated in 1990 with a degree in political science. Trapani is the founder and CEO of Sereno Group, a residential real estate company generating more than $3 billion in sales annually, which was named the “Best Place to Work” by the Bay Area News Group for eight consecutive years. Trapani is committed to the environment and community development through philanthropy. He created Sereno Group’s 1% For Good program, through which 1 percent of gross commissions is automatically donated to local charities, resulting in nearly $500,000 annually. Sereno Group was recently honored as one of the top 50 corporate givers in the Bay Area by the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Trapani is a member of the Cal Poly President’s Council of Advisors and is playing a lead role in raising funds for the Expressive Technology Studios, scheduled to open on campus in 2021.
The Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award went to Kelley Bannon Lashley (Political Science, ’95). She is a partner at Calleton, Merritt, De Francisco & Bannon, LLP and a certified specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law. Bannon Lashley played softball for Cal Poly and is the founder and president of the Cal Poly Varsity Club, an alumni chapter for former student-athletes. She has served on the Mustang Athletic Fund board of directors, the Alumni Association board of directors and the Athletics Director’s Advisory Council.
Steve Jones (Political Science, ’92) was honored by Cal Poly Athletics. He is the CEO of Allied Universal, a Fortune 500 company providing security and staffing solutions. Under his leadership, the company has grown from $12 million in revenue to more than $5 billion. Jones was named the top job creator for two consecutive years by Inc. magazine and earned the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Jones played football at Cal Poly and was an honor roll student. He and his wife, Stacy, have made significant contributions to Cal Poly Athletics, including a lead donation to the Steven S. Jones Family Football Locker Room.
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Harry Wiggins (Printing, ’59) was honored by the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture as Man of the Year for being actively involved with the community for most of his life.
Charles Wallace (Graphic Communication, ’74) announced his retirement as publisher for the Winters Express starting on Jan. 1, 2018, after 35 years in the position. / David Tussing (Political Science, ’77), executive director of Hope for Bukwo, built Hope Medical Center, which develops excellent healthcare, education and economic opportunities for all citizens of Bukwo, Uganda.
Marcia Godwin (Political Science, ’86) was promoted to professor of public administration at the University of La Verne where she also directs the Master of Public Administration program. She also co-edited the book “The Roads to Congress 2016.” / Janet Baucom (Child and Family Development, ’88) and her husband Eric (Business, ’87) launched Coastlands Group, a new real estate group in Ventura that includes a charitable giving component. Coastlands Group is committed to giving a percentage of every commission to local and global nonprofit organizations that are helping to change the world.
Robyn Kranz (Journalism, ’90) and her video production company, Brownieland Pictures, produced “Every Opportunity,” a viral video that show teachers and parents how systematically ignoring a child can have disastrous effects. It has over 1.5 million views and counting. / Rachel Rey (Political Science, ’91), Compli Beverage Compliance founder, is working with Cal Poly to provide an internship on regulatory compliance, as well as creating a new center for wine and viticulture on campus. / Rodney Trett (Journalism, ’93) left the theme park industry for the first time since graduating from Cal Poly. After 17 years with The Walt Disney Company and nine years with Herschend Family Entertainment, he now supports the trucking industry as a product specialist for DAT Solutions – Keypoint Software in Springfield, Mo. He is still utilizing his journalism skills by writing training and production documentation for customers and fellow teammates. / Anna Binneweg (Music, ’95) was featured in a Baltimore Sun article for her work as music director and conductor of Anne Arundel Community College Symphony Orchestra and the Londontowne Symphony Orchestra in Annapolis. / Rebecca (Stier) Reber (Child Development, ’98) was awarded the 2017 Riverside County Office of Education Early Childhood Education Teacher of the Year. / Remi Sklar (Journalism, ’98), writing under the pen name Remi Nicole, recently published a children’s book titled “Peck — A Lonely, Little Lovebird Down Under,” which was a bestseller on Amazon in its debut week. She is also a full-time communications executive and mother to two young boys.
Tyrone Galgano (Graphic Communication, ’07) has purchased the El Rey Theater in Chico to keep it operating as an entertainment venue. The venue has been renovated with improvements to equipment and space and will be open for concerts, film festivals, presentations, and events and meetings. / Mark Noce (English, ’05; M.A. English, ’07), a technical writer, published his second novel “Dark Winds Rising.” It is the second in a series of historical fiction novels set in medieval Wales.
Chloe Cruz (Political Science, ’15) is the external organizer for the Service Employees International Union. She travels California, building union membership through National Labor Relations Board elections, card check agreements and partnerships. / Annalee Akin (Political Science, ’16) was promoted to Assemblywoman Catharine Baker’s scheduler after serving in the office through the California State Assembly Fellowship Program.