Corporation Life

Corporation Corner

April 28 Board of Directors Meeting Report

A look into Wine and Viticulture, the latest on a potential name change, an update on the Chartwells transition and more on the upcoming faculty and staff housing projects, were all discussed during the board of directors meeting on Friday, April 28.

The meeting kicked off with Wine and Viticulture Department Head, Dr. Benoît Lecat joining the board to present and give a department overview and recap of a recent trip.

Lecat led the board and visitors through a recent California wine tour that he took with a group of students and faculty over spring break.

The five-day tour took the group on a series of visits to vineyards and wineries from Healdsburg, Santa Rosa and Napa, and back to Paso Robles. The tours included Serres Ranch, Matthew Bruno Winery, Beckstoffer Farm Center, Clif Family Wines and J. Lohr.

Wine and Viticulture is home to many of the programs that the Corporation backs with financial, managerial and staff support. The Corporation supports more than 300 programs, projects and student enterprises.

Next up was the Corporation’s own Ellen Curtis, the associate executive director of Marketing and Communication. Curtis took over the lectern and led the room through the most recent work done as well as the pros and cons and how changing the name could positively impact the Corporation.

As shared previously, after a year and a half of study, research and campus feedback, the name choices have been narrowed to two choices, staying with Cal Poly Corporation or changing to Cal Poly Partners.

A potential name change will serve to improve the brand equity, how the community feels toward the Corporation, to closer match our brand identity, how the Corporation works and presents itself.

“We are all doers,” Curtis said. “We are all here because we believe in positive doing.”

Current board member and chair of the Finance area of the Orfalea College of Business, Cyrus Ramezani was on the board in 2006 when the decision was made to divide the Cal Poly Corporation and the Cal Poly Foundation into two separate entities.

“At the time the Corporation name was chosen for a number of reasons, one of them being that we needed a corporation charter,” Ramezani said.

He went on to explain that it is routine for businesses to update and refresh and that it is time to revisit the name and realign it with the Corporation’s new mission and campus involvement.

“You do a whole lot of things that you didn’t use to do,” Ramezani said. “It’s time for a change.”

The Chief Financial Officers report followed and was truncated in preparation of the larger full report coming at the Corporation’s Annual Meeting on June 2.

During Cody VanDorn’s Chief Executive Officer Report, Associate Executive Director Andrea Burns was invited to the front of the room to share an update on commercial services and the expanded partnership with Chartwells Higher Education.

Following the Feb. 3 board of directors meeting a lot has happened in the transition. Two major focal points throughout the work have been the impact on students and Campus Dining employees.

The expanded relationship will offer access to new systems and industry expertise, as well as financial support that will further the success of the Campus Dining program. Ultimately, the agreement will help create a new model and maintain an affordable dining program as the campus grows.

It will also help the Corporation reach it’s goal of 50,000 meals given to further support food insecure Mustangs.

Burns also reiterated the positive feedback that they have received from Campus Dining staff. Each staff member has been given an offer letter for employment with Chartwells Higher Education and 95% of them have accepted.

Chartwells has been able to offer very competitive wages, in many cases higher than were previously available, as well as a 401K retirement package, and leadership training.

“Things are going really well,” Burns said. “Thank you for your support.”

VanDorn then ended the meeting with a quick update on the upcoming faculty and staff housing project on the corner of Slack Street and Grand Ave.

The plan is still in place for 50 single family and 150 multi-family homes surrounded by outdoor space.

The floor plans shown included three- and four-bedroom single family homes lower on the hillside that range from roughly 1,600 to 2,000 square feet.

The four-bedroom, 2,000 square foot floor plan is an accessible unit with a primary bedroom and a majority of the living space downstairs.

The next Board of Directors meeting will take place on Friday, June 2.