Sac State alumni keep Golden State's economy booming

Multibillion-dollar technology projects? Check. A mission to Mars? Check. Helping boost tourism across the state? Check. You name it and Sac State alumni are leading the charge behind some of California's largest industries from travel and technology to agriculture and entertainment.

California has the largest economy of any state in the nation and the University plays an important role pumping more than $1 billion and sustaining nearly 9,000 jobs annually throughout the state.

In the next few pages, we introduce you to a handful of the 180,000 Sac State alumni who currently live and work in California. You may not know them personally, but you've likely seen their work, used their services or read about their accomplishments.

Successful in their industries, these proud Hornets share their thoughts on qualities and philosophies that define great leaders. The topic is a popular one. In fact, Amazon has more than 30,000 titles on leadership including "Truth, Trust + Tenacity: How Ordinary Leaders Become Extraordinary Leaders," a book written by Ritch Eich ’66 (Speech Communication).

"Sac State's leaders helped me realize that to lead others, you first must learn how to follow and how to listen," says Eich. "And to lead effectively, you have to keep your emotions in check, stay true to your beliefs but admit when you're wrong, know what is truly important to you, and be able to communicate your thoughts clearly and thoughtfully."

Eich's top 5 tips on effective leadership are listed on page 15. But first, take a look at how the professional contributions of our alumni are creating a positive ripple effect throughout the state's economy.

ENTERTAINMENT

There's no business like show business, which brings $30 billion and more than 200,000 jobs into California each year.

Joe Carnahan

And who's putting the tinsel in Tinseltown? Joe Carnahan ’95, Television and Film Director, and Kevin Hale ’92, Television and Film Editor, collaborators on TV and movie hits The Grey and "The Blacklist," among others.

The story of Joe Carnahan ’95 (English Literature and Film Studies) and Kevin Hale ’92 (Communication Studies) spans more than two decades and reads like a feel-good Hollywood movie plot: Young Carnahan hopes to fulfill aspirations beyond his small Midwestern town. Attends college in the Golden State and majors in film studies. Takes a job at a local television station where he meets Hale, a like-minded producer. The kindred spirits begin to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality of making it in Hollywood.

Read more

GOVERNMENT

State government is a major economic driver in the eighth-largest economy in world.

Carlos Ramos

Keeping a close eye on those taxpayer dollars is where you’ll find Carlos Ramos ’86, Director, California Department of Technology.

Carlos Ramos ’86 (Communication Studies) originally envisioned a career filing stories in a newsroom and even interned at Sacramento television station KCRA. Today, Ramos sits in an office perched high above the Sacramento skyline where he manages a multibillion-dollar portfolio of the state's largest and most complex technology initiatives.

Read more

RECREATION

Whether the draw is old-growth redwoods, sandy beaches or snow-capped peaks, California State Parks attract 70 million annual visitors who contribute an estimated $6.5 billion to the state.

Lisa Mangat

The trusted guardian of this recreational treasure trove: Lisa Mangat, MBA ’96, Director, California Department of Parks and Recreation.

There aren't many people who can say that their work is a mainstay on bucket lists across the country and around the world. Such is the case for Lisa Mangat, MBA ’96, director for the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Mangat oversees the state’s nearly 300 parks that span 1.6 million acres across California, ranging from Emerald Bay in northern California to Old Town San Diego in SoCal.

Read more

TOURISM

More than 256 million people made California their vacation destination in 2015 and spent more than $120.7 billion along the way.

David Mering

Spreading the word on California's good vibrations is David Mering ’81, Founder and CEO, MeringCarson advertising agency.

We've all heard the stereotype that Californians are just a bunch of dreamers with their heads in the clouds and their feet not so firmly planted on the ground. And there is nothing wrong with any of that, according to David Mering ’81 (Communication Studies), founder and CEO of Sacramento advertising agency MeringCarson.

Read more

AGRICULTURE

Farm-to-fork is feeding more than foodies. Crop revenue in the state reached $34 billion and the industry employed a record number of 417,000 people.

Ana Klein

Driving the tractor for the new California gold rush: Ana Klein ’95, MBA ’10, CFO and Vice President, Sunsweet Growers, Inc.

Agriculture has played a key role in shaping the life of Ana Klein ’95 (Accounting), MBA ’10 as far back as she can remember. Klein was born into humble beginnings as the oldest of five children raised by parents who worked as farm laborers. Since then, she has risen the ranks to become vice president and CFO of Sunsweet Growers, Inc., the world's largest handler of dried tree fruits—namely prunes—with an annual revenue of $340 million.

Read more

TECHNOLOGY

Space travel is big business back home. Aeronautics and aerospace research generates $1 billion in spending in California each year.

Charles Baker

Developing products that are out of this world (Mars rover, anyone?) is the job of Charles Baker ’92, Aerospace Engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

When it comes to professional goals, those of Charles Baker ’92 (Geography) are literally out of this world. Baker is an aerospace engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, where his work has made international headlines.

Read more

LEADERSHIP

College is a Learning Lab—For Life and Leadership

Eich Ritch photo

Ritch Eich ’66 (Speech Communication) offers his top 10 tips on how to nurture and develop the traits of a true leader. Eich is founder of Eich Associated, a Thousand Oaks management consulting firm. His latest book is "Truth, Trust + Tenacity: How Ordinary Leaders Become Extraordinary Leaders."

Read more

Return to Sac State Magazine