Senior Staff

Lorlie Leetham


Lorlie Leetham joined the corporation as executive director in July 2014. Prior to this, she was with the university as assistant vice president for fiscal services and auxiliary reporting. Lorlie has been with Cal Poly for more than 18 years, having previously worked in public accounting specializing in audit and tax. She has been involved in various aspects of campus finance, including five years as a liaison to the Cal Poly Foundation board on behalf of the university CFO. She has also been active with campus auxiliary policy, programs and reporting. In her current role, Lorlie is responsible for management of the programs and activities administered by the Cal Poly Corporation, including Campus Dining and the University Store, Sponsored Programs Administration, student Aid-to-Instruction operations in support of the university’s Learn by Doing educational philosophy, faculty staff housing, technology park, and various other business, administrative and real estate-related services.

Ms. Leetham is a fourth generation San Luis Obispo native. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Cal Poly, with a concentration in accounting, and is a licensed CPA.

Starr Lee

Starr Lee

Associate Executive Director

Starr Lee joined Cal Poly Corporation in August 2001 as associate executive director, administration. She provides legal counsel to CPC and the Cal Poly Housing Corporation. Her career includes serving as a sergeant in the U. S. Army, a director of a nonprofit organization, working as a federal lobbyist stumping for drug patents, and providing marketing support for American Airlines.
Prior to joining CPC, Starr managed business development and post-sales support for various high-tech and internet companies. In addition, she spent two years starting up her own Internet enterprise.

Starr enjoys traveling, and has spent considerable time in Thailand, Abu Dhabi, Russia, Cairo, and Europe for both work and pleasure.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Kansas State University, a law degree from the University of San Diego, and an MBA from the University of Texas, Austin.

Mike Thornton

Mike Thornton

Director, Business & Concept Development

Mike Thornton joined Cal Poly Corporation in July 2002. Mike has spent the past several years with Campus Dining, where he has steadily moved up through management roles within the organization. Mike attended and studied political science and pre-law at Cal Poly after serving four years in the U.S. Air Force.

He began a cooking career at age 18 at a gourmet Italian restaurant, and he continued working in various restaurants after moving to San Luis Obispo County. He owned and operated two restaurants and a catering company on the Central Coast before joining the Campus Dining staff.

Mike is passionate about food and customer service and believes in developing programs reflective of customer needs and the university’s stature.

Frank Cawley

Frank Cawley


Frank Cawley served as the director of the University Store for 16 years prior to his retirement from the Cal Poly Corporation in 2012. He has returned as the store’s interim director. Frank has spent his entire professional life working in university stores. He worked as the director of the DeAnza Community College Bookstore, as manager of Robert’s Bookstore at San Jose State and as supply/office buyer at Santa Clara University. Frank has a Master of Arts in theology and an M.Div. in adult education.

Kacey Chun

Kacey Chun

Director, Human Resources

Kacey Chun joined Cal Poly Corporation in 2014 as the director of human resources. Prior to joining the corporation, Kacey was the senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Mission Community Bank in San Luis Obispo. She possesses more than 25 years of human resources experience holding various positions including vice president and human relations manager, human resources manager, and personnel director in the banking, higher education, retail and hospitality industries.

Kacey’s current and previous community service background includes service on the Advisory Board for the Grizzly Youth Academy, as the personnel commissioner for the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education, on the Diversity Council for the SLO Chamber, and as a member of the Human Resources Association of the Central Coast.

Kacey has a Master of Arts degree in counseling and guidance from Cal Poly and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from CSU Northridge. She also holds certifications as a mediator, and as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).

Ellen Curtis

Ellen Curtis

Director, Marketing & Communications

Ellen Curtis joined Cal Poly Corporation in January 2015 as director of marketing and communications. She leads the planning, development and implementation of all marketing and communications programs for university food services, stores and other corporation activities. She brings 20-plus years of marketing experience, working on the world’s top brands as a copywriter, creative director, social media director and agency owner. Ellen has received more than 200 major awards for her work’s creativity and effectiveness.

In addition to her extensive experience, Ellen has taught at various universities and portfolio schools and donated her skills to numerous non-profits. Currently, she mentors marketing and communication students at Cal Poly and sits on the board of the SLO Food Bank.

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in communication from Boston University.

Dan Banfield

Dan Banfield


Dan Banfield joined Cal Poly Corporation in January 2015 as the controller. He is the lead accounting officer for the corporation, with responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day financial operations. Dan brings 10 years of experience in public accounting, working primarily in the Southern California markets. As an auditor, Dan has served a variety of organizations in various industries, including the California State University System.

Dan has held management and leadership positions throughout his career. In these positions, he has directed and overseen the delivery of professional accounting services to a variety of organizations. He is well versed in the preparation of annual financial reports, budgets, audit activities, and other types of financial reporting.

Dan is a native to the Central Coast. He holds a Master of Science degree in accounting from Brigham Young University, and is a licensed CPA.

Eumi Sprague

Eumi Sprague

Director, Information Technology

Eumi Sprague joined Cal Poly Corporation in 1991 and was named director of information technology in May 2015. As the lead technology officer for the corporation, she oversees all IT functions and services for the corporation including the development and application of information management, technology infrastructure, information security and user support. She is also responsible for identifying and recommending IT policies and initiatives, enterprise system objectives and long-range planning in support of the corporation’s strategic direction.

Prior to her current position, Eumi was the corporation’s manager of information technology for approximately 10 years. Before Cal Poly, she worked for PG&E and Bechtel Power Corporation.

Eumi is actively involved in the professional community, as a certified PCI (Payment Card Industry) Professional and a member of Toastmasters International. She also served as IT committee chair for the CSU AOA (auxiliary organization association).

She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with a concentration in management information systems from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and an MBA from CSU Monterey Bay. She also did graduate studies in computer science at Cal Poly.

Melissa Mullen

Melissa Mullen

Director, Sponsored Programs

Melissa Mullen joined Cal Poly Corporation in 2008 and serves as director of sponsored programs. She oversees post-award research administration for the university, including fiscal and advisory services for the university’s research-related and externally-funded projects. Prior to this role, Melissa worked at UC Santa Barbara for nearly 10 years, serving in various roles, including as a contract and grant manager in research administration.

Melissa served as regional chair for the National Council for University Research Administration (NCURA). An outdoor enthusiast, she enjoys exploring the local area with her family.

Preston Allen

Preston Allen

Director, Campus Experience and Logistics Planning

Preston Allen joined the Cal Poly Corporation in 2015 as the director of campus experience and logistics planning. He is responsible for providing leadership and professional expertise in the development, and implementation of new campus initiatives in support of corporation growth and planning. He also has general oversight of Cal Poly’s Conference & Event Planning (CEP) program.

Preston has been with Cal Poly since 1993, when he joined the university as its executive director for University Housing. He subsequently served as senior associate vice president for Student Affairs, overseeing Conference and Event Planning, Student Academic Services, Disability Resources, New Student and Transition Programs as well as a variety of academic partnerships throughout the campus. Preston maintains strong relationships and affiliations with many professional organizations, city officials and the entire campus community.

Preston obtained a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a master’s degree from CSU Fullerton in education administration.

Fatma Umut Spanton

Fatma Umut Spanton

Director, Conference and Event Planning

Fatma Spanton joined Cal Poly Corporation in 2012 as its Director of Conference and Event Planning. She oversees conference and event operations for more than 125 conferences and events held at Cal Poly each year. In addition, she manages summer housing accommodations for the university. Fatma has more than 15 years of experience in hotel, event and convention center management. This includes positions in five-star hotel management, and coordinating events and conventions for Europe’s largest convention center in Istanbul, Turkey.

She is foundation chair for the Rotary Club of San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and has spent several years volunteering with a military Family Readiness Group (FRG).

Fatma has a Bachelor of Science degree with dual focus in business administration/tourism and hotel management. She is also a certified mediator and is currently pursuing a Master of Legal Studies (MLS) as well as a Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) degree.

Jeff Heller

Jeffrey “Jeff” Heller

Operations Manager, Facilities and Projects

Jeff Heller joined the Cal Poly Corporation in 2011 as the operations manager of facilities and projects. He is responsible for the overall management of the corporation’s projects, ranging from small repair and maintenance to renovation and major capital projects. Prior, he served as program manager for Brockwood Group, supporting the design and management of the $239M Poly Canyon Village project, which was completed in 2009. Jeff previously worked in the Los Angeles area, where he managed a $200M bond program at Long Beach City College and was an owner’s authorized representative for the Los Angeles Unified School District bond program. He also worked on the Getty Museum, the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Los Angeles Children’s Museum. In addition, Jeff built multiple custom homes in Los Angeles, including two that were featured in Architectural Digest.

A licensed general contractor and an LEED accredited professional, Jeff is actively involved in related professional and community associations. He serves as a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee and the Community Emergency Response Team for the City of Morro Bay as well as the local chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Jeff holds a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Pomona College and an MBA from Colorado State University. He also has a certificate in building and construction management from UCLA. He enjoys kayaking, biking and restoring his 1936 Lincoln sedan and traveling to visit family in Southern California and New York.