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Where Are They Now?

The School of Business and Public Administration is proud to showcase our graduates, where they are in their careers and what support they provide to the community.

Freddy Carias- B.S. Business Administration with a concentration in General Business, Winter 2015

freddy cariasFreddy Carias knew he was destined to attend CSUB when he turned into the parking lot in Antelope Valley. Moving from the San Fernando Valley to Palmdale, Carias saw an exit sign for CSUB near Avenue K and decided to check the campus out. “As soon as I walked in I was greeted and treated very kindly. I even gained access to a counselor who helped me decide on an educational path. I just knew I was in the right place, so I applied and was accepted a year later” said Carias.


During his time at CSUB, Carias said that the professors cared about the success of the students. “They were always attentive and ensured that we (the whole class) understood the concepts. They shared their life stories and experiences with us and that was helpful in figuring out what I wanted to do with my life,” said Carias. Owner of a trucking company, Carias says that CSUB helped him to discover his true passion, business & computers. This led him to pursue a Master degree in Information Systems and Technology at Cal Lutheran University.


Carias has since left the trucking industry to pursue other passions and will be launching a new business in 2018, Carias Marketing in Canyon Country. “I would not be where I am today without the foundation that CSUB gave me. CSUB gave me the tools I needed to chase my dreams. For anyone who is considering CSUB, I would say do not doubt your decision and take the first step into your future!”


Carias is currently a Clinical Data Analyst for Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, CA; Web Development Consultant for Mountain Top Data in Canoga Park, CA; Tax Preparer for D&E Reliable Enterprises in Canyon Country, CA; and Founder of Carias Marketing in Canyon Country, CA.

Pam Binns- BSBA with a Concentration in Management, 2007

Pam BinnsPam Binns chose CSUB because it was close to home making it convenient for her to work full-time while attending college. Already pursuing a full-time career, Binns says her degree gave her the educational backing that helps her every day in her career. If she had to do it all over again, Binns says she would have attended and finished right after high school. “It was so much harder to work and go back to school at the same time. However, I did appreciate the education as an older adult and I took my education more seriously.” Binns says the most useful course she took was Organizational Behavior, “Professor Stark was my favorite professor, even when he gave me a D for punctuation on one of my papers. I’ve never had a D in my life! I was devastated, but he helped me become a better writer.”


Her advice for students considering CSUB, “Just keep at it. Even if you just take a few classes at a time, eventually, you will finish.” She also recommends joining student clubs.


Binns is always looking for ways to serve others whether it be serving through her church or donating to community organizations. “My biggest service project, which lasted three years, was when I collected goods for the military in Iraq. Did you know they need socks? And lots of them! Sometimes they don’t have a way to wash laundry, so socks are really needed.”


Binns’ future ambitions: “I would like to write a book someday on how to survive the corporate world. I’d like to use my personal experiences to make it funny, yet informative.”


Binns is the Operations and Commercial Manager for Walter Mortensen Insurance.

Traco Matthews- MBA 2016

traco MatthewsTraco Matthews knew that he wanted to pursue a master degree, it was just a matter of when and where. Matthews first learned about the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at CSUB from fellow co-workers at State Farm, but it wasn’t until he ran into Dr. Jean West, former MBA director, in the hallway in 2012 that he became interested. After hearing how passionate Dr. West was about the MBA program, Matthews knew the time had arrived. 

After researching other MBA programs in the Southern California area, Matthews chose CSUB because he was committed to living in Bakersfield and contributing to the community. Matthews says that CSUB was an opportunity to connect and establish himself more deeply.

Matthews says that he was “still not sold on the program” until his first class, Marketing with Dr. Jean West. It was the connection with his peers and the diversity of thought that allured and attracted him to stay. From there, Matthews fully immersed himself in the program and began to visualize a broadened and deeper perspective of business development. 

Matthews says that the MBA program supercharged his strategic thinking both professionally and personally and the relationships forged here at CSUB was the key to his success in the program.

“CSUB was a nurturing environment that allowed me to cultivate and find my voice,” said Matthews. 

Matthews community involvement includes: Math and Science Academy mentor at South High School, MESA Community College Program, Hina Patel Foundation, and the Virginia Ruth Grimes Scholarship Foundation. Matthews says his passion for mentoring comes from his roots of growing up in poverty with no mentors and a lack of opportunities. “The MBA program helped me find my passion to encourage and mentor others,” said Matthews.

Matthews was named one of 20 Under 40 People to Watch for 2017 in the Bakersfield Life Magazine June 2017 edition.

Justin Fahsbender- Sports Management 2004

Justin FahsbenderJustin Fahsbender was named one of 20 Under 40 People to Watch for 2017 in the Bakersfield Life Magazine June 2017 edition. Vice President of Operations for the Bakersfield Condors, Fahsbender began his career with the Bakersfield Condors as a game day intern in 2002. Upon graduating from CSU, Bakersfield, Fahsbender held brief positions with a local financial institution and with the Houston Rockets of the NBA, but returned to Bakersfield to continue his work with the Bakersfield Condors. 

In the 20 Under 40 People to Watch article, Fahsbender said he preferred the hands-on experience working in minor league sports compared to working with a major-league team. “I don’t have any desire to go anywhere else. I got to do all that career growth while staying in Bakersfield and being where I want to be,” said Fahsbender in the article.

Fassbender’s community involvement includes: The Kern County Wounded Heroes Fund and the Special Olympics. His personal motto: Be a good human being.

*information for this article was used with the permission of Mark Nessia, author of 20 Under 40 People to Watch



James Hefley- B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance 2014 

James hefleyJames Hefley was named one of 20 Under 40 People to Watch for 2017 in the Bakersfield Life Magazine June 2017 edition. At the age of 14, Hefley was given books by his grandfather on investing and the stock market, which led him towards the pursuit of a bachelor degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from CSU, Bakersfield. 

Hefley accepted an internship position with Northwestern Mutual, which led to full-time employment upon graduation where is currently a Financial Advisor. Hefley says his biggest challenge in his field of work is his age due to majority of their clients being in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. “It made me step up my game and elevate my education level so that, even though I’m young, I know what I’m talking about and have the experience to back it,” says Hefley, “When people ask me if I like what I do, I say I would never do anything else…. I’ve found the thing I’m most passionate about and something that I’m good at.”

Hefley’s community involvement includes: Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Kappa Sigma fraternity, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the Alzheimer’s Association. Hefley’s personal motto: Whatever you do, do well.

*information for this article was used with the permission of Mark Nessia, author of 20 Under 40 People to Watch


Lindsay Reyes, BSBA with a Concentration in Management 2008

Lindsay ReyesCurrent Title: Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis at Kern Schools Federal Credit Union. Lindsay Reyes began working at Kern Schools Federal Credit Union in 2005 as a Member Service Representative and was promoted to Junior Financial Analyst within months of graduating in April of 2009. In June 2012, Lindsay was promoted to Financial Analyst. Lindsay is one of the key organizers of the Credit Union’s Accounting and Finance Internship program. Lindsay is actively involved with Valley Bible Fellowship (VBF) where she is a Jr. high, preschool, and nursery class leader. She also volunteers at the local Ronald McDonald House, community clean-ups, and at local satellite church camps.



Joe DiGiacomo, BS in EconomicsJoe DiGiacomo 

Current Title: CEO and Senior Engineer of Central Engineering & Energy. In addition to his BS in Economics from CSUB, Joe has also received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Akron University and a BS in Civil Engineering from West Clayton University. A member of various engineering associations, and having acquired numerous certifications and several licenses, Joe has an immense knowledge of building codes, regulatory guidelines, and construction techniques. He is a Certified Energy Manager as well as Project Manager.  Collectively, Joe has over 40 years of experience in management and engineering. He is an army veteran and a Captain Green Beret 10th SFG.  “I am old, tired, highly experienced and over qualified,” says Joe.


Oscar Salazar- Economics and Business Administration (Management Information Systems) 2016

Oscar SalazarCurrent Title: Wonderful Leadership Program at Wonderful Orchards. As a student, Oscar Salazar was the Vice President of the Economics Student Association (ESA) and the Director of Budget Management for Associated Students Inc. (ASI.) Salazar is currently in his first year in the Wonderful Leadership Program where he is exploring multiple department operations.





Cameron Holder, BSBA with a Concentration in Finance 2012

Cameron HolderCurrent Title: Commercial Portfolio Manager at Wells Fargo & Company (Commercial Banking Branch). As a student, Cameron exhibited strong leadership as the President of the Financial Management Association for the AY 2011-2012. His academic excellence was awarded with a John Brock Scholarship in 2011 for having an exceptional GPA. Cameron gives back to BPA by participating in the Student Professional Development Initiative, where he advised BPA students on their career paths and how to achieve their goals.



Amir Zabrani, BS Business Administration (Accounting and Finance) 2014

Amir ZabraniCurrent Title: Relationship Manager- Wells Fargo & Company As a student, Amir Zabrani served the University Accounting Association (U.A.A.) as both Vice President and President and currently serves on the BPA Accounting Advisory Board.  Amir joined Wells Fargo as a summer financial analyst in 2013 and joined his current team upon graduation in June 2014. He was promoted to Relationship Manager in September 2016. Zabrani has also served as a business advisor for the Student Professional Development Initiative. 






Dr. Isabel Kasselstrand, B.S in Economics 2008

Isabelle KasselstrandCurrent Title: Tenure Track Assistant Professor in Sociology at CSUB Dr. Isabella Kasselstrand (Ph.D.) first came to CSUB from Sweden ten years ago as a student-athlete for the women’s tennis and track and field teams. She was awarded her B.S in Economics (2008) and M.A. in Sociology (2009) from CSUB. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland (2014). Before returning to CSUB in 2016, Isabella spent two years as a tenure-track sociology professor at Colorado Mesa University. Isabella specializes in the sociology of religion and quantitative research methods. Her research has appeared in journals such as Sociology of Religion and Nordic Journal of Religion and Society. Her research explores contextually situated patterns of religious decline and remaining functions of churches in secularizing societies. At CSUB, Isabella teaches Quantitative Analysis for Sociology, Intro to Statistics for Sociology, Sociology of Religion, Classical Social Theory, and Research Methods.


Nancy Solis-Vargas, MBA 2012

Nancy Solis-VargasCurrent Title: Multicultural Communications Manager at Brighthouse Network. Solis-Vargas’s Community Involvement includes: CSUB Hispanic Excellence Scholarship Fund, Community Adviser board member, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce board member, Prospanica Bakersfield Chapter, judge for CSUB’s CAMP Program. Solis-Vargas credits her father for instilling passion and work-ethic, which is a part of her drive. Outside of work, Solis-Vargas finds time to volunteer and be a guest speaker at local educational events.




Matthew Cauthron, Business Administration, Human Resource Concentration

Matthew Cauthron Current Title: Human Resource Consultant for Kelly Outsourcing & Consulting Group. Matthew Cauthron’s Community Involvement includes: Bakersfield Young Professionals, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, CASA of Kern County, Active 20-30 Club of Bakersfield, Kern county society of Human Resource Management, The Petroleum Club, relay for Life. Cauthron’s passion is what led him to be the youngest consultant for Kelly Outsourcing & Consulting Group and it that passion that he hopes to instill on future generations. Cauthron is currently working on a mentoring foundation for children of immigrants.



Adam Alvidrez, MPA 2004

Adam AlvidrezCurrent Title: Community Engagement Specialist for Chevron Public Affairs. Alvidrez’s Community Involvement includes: Board member of The Boys and Girls Clubs of Bakersfield, Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce chair-elect, Bakersfield North Rotary member, board of directors member for the California Living Museum Foundation, volunteer for the Bakersfield Mavericks Baseball Club. Alvidrez has spent the last eight years increasing the importance of STEM education for students and parents in the region. The idea behind pushing STEM education is nor for every student to work at Chevron after college graduation, but the importance of communication skills, time management skills, and other important characteristics that apply to any career.


The following Alumni were featured in the April Issue of the BPA Newsletter.

Amanda Frank, B.S. Business Administration (Economics) 1998

Amanda FrankCurrent Title: Director of Development at San Joaquin Community Hospital Amanda is a Bakersfield native with a passion for helping our community grow and flourish. She has served as a mentor for the Kern Economic Development Foundation Health Careers Academy and is active with the American Cancer Society, CASA of Kern County, and the Housing Opportunity Foundation of Kern. In addition, she serves on the Plank Foundation Board and the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce Leadership Bakersfield Advisory Council. In her development role, she works to raise funds for vital programs, services, and capital projects that help to elevate the healthcare landscape in Kern County. Over the past 5 years, the SJCH Foundation team has raised more than $10 million to help build the AIS Cancer Center and bring other significant programs to those in need. She has been married to her husband Ryan for nearly 20 years and they have 2 active and fun teenage daughters.



Danielle Loustalot, B.S. Economics 2014, GOCF 2014 hire

Danielle LoustalotCurrent Title: Marketing Associate at Sun World International. Danielle Loustalot came to California State University Bakersfield from Frontier High School and graduated in 2014. During her time at CSUB, Danielle studied and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations, and spent an extra year to achieve a double major of Communications and Economics. Danielle completed four years of classes in the CSUB Hawk Honors Program, was inducted into the Economics Honors Society Omicron Delta Epsilon and spent a period of time involved in the Public Relations Student Society of America. Today, Danielle is the Marketing Associate at Sun World International, a produce company headquartered in Bakersfield that specializes in breeding, growing and shipping table grapes around the globe. As a member of the marketing department, Danielle manages the tactical execution Sun World’s marketing strategies including advertising, consumer relations, tradeshow planning, packaging design and more. She gained the opportunity to work at Sun World upon attending CSUB’s Growing Opportunities Career Fair just months before graduating and has now been with the company for two years. The skills Danielle learned in both Communications and Economics are essential in her daily responsibilities at Sun World including internal and external communication, as well as a continuously growing understanding of the produce industry and of ever-changing market landscapes.



The following Alumni were featured in the November Issue of the BPA Newsletter.

Amanda DiGiacomo, BS Economics 2015

Amanda DiGiacomoCurrent Title: Asset Management Analyst- Grimmway Farms, Office Manager- Central Engineering and Energy. As a student, Amanda worked with fellow peers to charter the student organization known as the Economics Student Association. and states “My experience at CSUB, especially within the BPA department, was extraordinary. The support I received from the stuff and the opportunities given to me truly helped me make the transition into the workforce.” Amanda began her career at Central Engineering and Energy as a part-time assistant to the CFO and was promoted to Office Manager upon graduation. Her role at Grimmway Farms (GF) began with the help Jeff Green (GF attorney and adjunct professor of Ag Law at BPA), who encouraged her to submit her application. Although it is a challenge to balance both jobs, Amanda states “CSUB prepared me to be able to manage my time appropriately.” Amanda has plans of returning to CSUB for the MBA program.




Cindy Palcios, Minor in Agricultural Business 2015

Cindy PalciosCurrent Title: ADP Time Supervisor- Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds (WP&A). Cindy began her career at WP&A in 2013 as a Production Clerk and was promoted to Time Supervisor at Wonderful Pistachios and Almonds upon graduation. As a student, Cindy balanced working full-time while also attending CSUB full-time. In December 2014, Cindy transferred to the time department. Her manager, Justin Sperbeck, states “Cindy embraced the role and proved herself as a leader with her optimistic and energetic approach to managing employees’ time.” When asked about her experience at CSUB, Cindy states “my experience at CSUB was stressful at times, but nonetheless enjoyable and satisfying. I owe my success to my two wonderful advisors (Dr. Hegde and Dr. Price), and I could not have completed my journey (successfully) without their advice and guidance.”






David Lyman, Ph.D. BS Business Administration (Accounting) 1980; MPA 2002

David LymanCurrent Title: Manager, Visit Bakersfield (formerly Bakersfield Convention and Visitors Bureau). David has been with the City of Bakersfield for 31 years and has been in his current role for four years. David is also an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy and Administration with BPA. David is a frequent presenter on economic development topics and enjoys motivating others about the power one person can make in his or her community. David states “I have been in the trenches of economic development for my hometown of Bakersfield since 1984 and now help visitors spend their money in California’s 9th largest city.”





Dalton Kelley, MPA 2014

Dalton Kelley Current Title: Juris Doctor Candidate 2019, focus in Environmental and Natural Resources Law - University of Colorado, Wolf Law School. As a MPA student, Dalton balanced life as an accomplished CSUB wrestler and worked for the Kern County Farm Bureau where he gained hands-on experience working with agricultural policy. Upon graduation, Dalton worked as a Measurement While Drilling Technician for Ensign Directional Drilling Services in Bakersfield from 2014-2015, where he gained experience working in the energy industry. Dalton will be attending the University of Colorado in the Fall of 2016, where he is pursuing a law degree. His interest in pursuing a career as a Natural Resource Lawyer was sparked by several BPA faculty members he worked with on his thesis.  Dalton states, “The faculty of the MPA program does an outstanding job of incorporating theoretical framework with projects that give students hands-on experience with current issues affecting Kern County, California, and the United States.” Dalton’s community involvement includes his continued support of the CSUB wrestling program through grant writing, nonprofit management, and organizing funding initiatives.




The following Alumni were featured in the September Issue of the BPA Newsletter in addition to being recognized by Bakersfield Life Magazine’s yearly “20 Under 40 People to Watch” in the Bakersfield business community.

Raji Brar, MSA-HCM 2003

Raji BrarCurrent Title: Chief Operations Officer at Countryside Market & Restaurants. Brar’s Community Involvement includes: Director of the Bakersfield Sikh Women’s Association, and a director of the Kern County Fair Board. Brar was born to immigrant parents who started off as farm workers in the Central Valley, and now she is a successful businesswoman. She recently co-founded the Bakersfield Sikh Women’s Foundation, which is a first for the city. (*source information: Bakersfield Life Magazine, June 2015, author: Mark Nessia)






Justin L. Cave, MPA 2011

Justin L. CaveCurrent Title: Executive Director for the Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired and Advanced Center for Eyecare. Cave’s Community Involvement includes: providing free glasses and exams to visually impaired children in Kern County. Cave is the force behind two nonprofit organizations that focus on serving the blind, visually impaired and medical eye needs of Kern County: The Advanced Center for Eyecare (ACE) and the Center for the Blind & Visually Impaired (CBVI) complement each other and share common values and goals. To date, 1,760 children and counting have received these vital services, increasing their ability to do classroom work and manage school assignments, Cave said. (*source information: Bakersfield Life Magazine, June 2015, author: Mark Nessia)





Jacquelyn Kitchen, MPA 2014

Jacquelyn Kitchen Current Title: Planning Director for the City of Bakersfield. Kitchen’s Community Involvement includes: being a motivational speaker at schools and youth groups, and one-on-one counseling with students bound for college. Kitchen’s one focus: Create development in Bakersfield that is sustainable, enduring and facilitating the big picture of a community that is modern and an enjoyable place to be. The Bakersfield native … works with out-of-town developers who want to bring the next big thing to Bakersfield. She also meets with local business owners who want to expand their business. (Bakersfield Life Magazine, June 2015, author: Mark Nessia)






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