Corporation Life

Corporation Corner

Letter from the CEO

In January I could not have imagined I would be issuing my final update as Cal Poly Corporation CEO in the midst of a global pandemic. I could not have foreseen that all in-person events would be canceled, spring quarter meal plans refunded, Campus Dining closed for the summer, months would go by without us seeing each other in person or even across a room, parking lot or plaza, and that we would not hold our end of year event to recognize and celebrate the great work of our team and the successes achieved this past year. Most importantly, I would never have thought that as I wrap up my 24 years at Cal Poly, I would not be able to shake your hand and share my tremendous respect, gratitude and appreciation for the work you do and the support you have given me as we all strive to make the Corporation and Cal Poly a better place.

These past few months have been a time of huge adjustments to our professional and personal lives. I would like to thank everyone for their excellent response to the COVID-19 crisis. Corporation employees have always risen to meet our challenges head-on, and this pandemic is no exception. You have been measured, practical and flexible in your response. Your willingness to adapt and react in support of our organization, each other, our students, and our community has been remarkable and truly appreciated.

As you are all aware this pandemic and the subsequent stay-at-home order have caused enormous economic hardship to millions of people and organizations. I wish I could say we were able to weather this disruption with no furloughs or salary reductions. That was not the case and these difficult decisions will forever weigh on me and be remembered as the most challenging of my career. We remain optimistic that we will begin bringing students and our staff back to campus this fall and gradually get back to a new kind of normal operation.

All of this has happened while we prepare to open the new Vista Grande Dining Complex and introduce Cal Poly to a whole new level of dining and community experience. Even with the shadow of the pandemic, the future truly does look bright with this shining new facility, the renovation of building 19 and the University Store getting underway, and the chance to move staff into new locations where they can better partner and work with their colleagues to support and grow our programs and services. Our Conference and Event Planning team will join Campus Dining staff in the new Vista Grande offices and our Marketing and Communications team will join our other support units in the Corporation business office in building 15. University Catering will also have a new home in the Avila House once work is completed. While the months ahead will continue to require new ways of operating, serving and collaborating, I can see that the results will be a much stronger organization going forward. These remarkable results are a testament to the Corporation team’s work ethic, culture and can-do attitude. Well done!

The challenge now is to continue to provide service and responsiveness while defining our new normal. But first, please know that the health and safety of our employees remain paramount. We ask everyone to use your good sense and keep practicing safe hygiene and social etiquette, self-monitor your health and if you feel ill or have an elevated temperature, stay home, contact your supervisor, and seek appropriate medical attention.

Let’s then consider all we have accomplished and all there is to look forward to in the months ahead. Our next steps under the new normal are to follow our state, campus and EOC guidance in planning and gradually opening more of our operations. We must use all of the tools at our disposal as many in our workforce continue to telecommute and provide outstanding service. And as always, we must be prepared to adjust our plans as circumstances change.

Since the appointment of Cody VanDorn as incoming Corporation CEO in June, we have been working together to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. Cody and I have met weekly to go over operations, and budgets as well as the workings and duties of auxiliaries and our units. All directors and senior leadership team members have met and presented to Cody to give him a deeper understanding of each department. Last week Cody joined me and others who have worked to bring the new Vista Grande dining complex to fruition on a tour of the nearly completed facility. Cody has shown time and again his understanding of and commitment to the organization, and he has my complete confidence. The Corporation will be in good hands.

I am so grateful to have served in this role with the Corporation during a time of immense change and progress. I will forever be #calpolyproud to have been part of something that will change the landscape of Cal Poly for years to come. You truly have Delivered the Difference and I know will continue doing so in a hundred different ways every day, ensuring that our mission and the goals set out in our strategic plan have a positive impact on campus.

Please enjoy this edition of Corporation Corner.

Warm regards,
Lorlie Leetham

Chief Executive Officer
Cal Poly Corporation