A Magazine from California State University, ChicoSpring 2017 Issue

2017 Distinguished Alumni

2017 Distinguished Alumni


Jose Costa (BS, Agriculture, ’84) is the president of Plamar USA.

Jose Costa, Distinguished Alum 2017

What advice would you give your graduating self? Set your goals and work hard to reach them. Sometimes you feel like it can’t be reached but it all works out.

What do you value most in life? Family and friends.

What is your greatest achievement? My greatest accomplishment was to have two nice kids and to have been able to plan stuff with them and work together.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? How calm I can be.


Paul Lambros (BA, Psychology, ’85) is the executive director for Plymouth Housing Group.

Paul Lambros, Distinguished Alum 2017

What advice would you give your graduating self? Go where life takes you. So many times I could have gone a different way but was always true to myself. I have done things that have made me happy.

What do you value most in life? I value friends, family, and my work. My career is more than a job, it’s a way of life, who I am as a person and a father. Leading this organization is extremely important, so it consumes me but in a really good way. I also value honesty and diversity. In my 20s, I came out as a gay man and never looked back. Overall, people have treated me well, but it does not matter. It matters what I think of myself and what my children think of me. But most of all, I am proud to be a dad. From day one, I have raised my kids on my own, and I think because I desired to be a father and had to work really hard to make it happen, it means even more to me.

What is your greatest accomplishment? Being a dad is the greatest, but next would be Plymouth. When I started out here 23 years ago, it was a small agency doing good work. But now it is one of the biggest organizations dealing with the issue of homelessness, and I am very proud to have led our amazing staff to get all this done. We have helped thousands and thousands over the years.


Steve Goodall (BS, Business Administration; BA, Psychology, ’78) is the retired president and CEO of J.D. Power and Associates.

Steve Goodall, Distinguished Alum 2017

What advice would you give your graduating self? Pick a wave and ride it. When I was growing up in Santa Barbara, I occasionally surfed. I remember successfully riding waves involved picking the right swell before it became an actual wave, and positioning yourself just right so you could catch the wave and have a long and enjoyable ride to shore. The key is keeping your eye on the horizon to see what is coming next. Sometimes it takes patience to wait for the right trend to emerge.

What do you value most in life? Most important is the love and relationship with my wife, Jane, whom I met when we were juniors at Chico State. We have two wonderful children and two adorable grandchildren. We are blessed that two of our parents are still healthy and we have two supportive extended families, and many good friends.

What is your greatest accomplishment? When I joined J.D. Power, it was a tiny, unknown market research company with maybe 10 employees. After earning my MBA, I was given the opportunity to open the first branch office in Detroit. In 1996, I was asked to become president. At that time, we had grown to $40 million in revenue with 200 employees. When I retired as president and CEO in 2008, the company, now known as SP Global, was well over $200 million in annual revenue, had a strong and recognized brand name, and employed over 850 talented individuals across the United States and internationally.


Michael Finney (BA, Broadcasting, ’78) is a consumer reporter and host of 7 on Your Side on ABC7 News—Bay Area.

Michael Finney, Distinguished Alum

What faculty or staff most positively influenced you and how? Professor Bill White was the first person I talked with when I showed up in the broadcasting department. I knew I had picked the wrong major and needed to change. Bill was in his office and gave generously of his time. He told me I was making the right choice. He showed me exactly what forms to fill out and made sure I understood if I messed them up I wouldn’t get classes because I would not have been transferred. I, of course, filled out the forms wrong. But Bill checked the paperwork, redid it all, and made sure I got processed. He never mentioned it to me.

What advice would you give your graduating self? When others say it can’t be done, know they are talking about themselves, not about you. When handed a setback, allow time for healing, but never give up, never cave in, and always roll the dice.

What is your greatest accomplishment? My family is thriving, and I measure success by the good one does. Journalism has allowed me to send criminals to prison, return millions of dollars to consumers, and force recalls and product redesigns that saved lives. I am fortunate enough to have lived the life I dreamed of when studying at CSU, Chico.


Rose Esposito-McCallen (BS, Mechanical Engineering, ’80) is a researcher and project lead at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

Rose Esposito-McCallen, Distinguished Alum 2017

What faculty or staff most influenced you and how? Mechanical Engineering Professor Emeritus Robert Colwell influenced my interest in heat transfer phenomena. Electrical Engineering Professor Saad Amer provided me with much needed encouragement when I started pursuing a degree in the male-dominated field of engineering. He believed in me and was the first to tell me about the opportunities at a national lab.

What advice would you give your graduating self? The most important piece of advice is don’t give up and keep working toward that dream. Apply and accept positions that push you to work at and achieve your full potential. Encourage and welcome the challenge.

What is your greatest accomplishment? Completing my PhD was a big accomplishment, and then the resulting technical leadership roles I have held. I am also proud that my work is important to our nation’s security.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? I am a first-generation college graduate. My parents had to quit school to support their poor families at a very young age without even receiving a high school diploma. As a result, they highly valued education and had a strict work ethic.


J’Anna Jacoby (BA, Music, ’87) plays violin in the Rod Stewart Band.

J'Anna Jacoby, Distinguished Alum 2017

What faculty or staff most influenced your life and how? David Mallory—my violin teacher. I took private lessons from Mr. Mallory during all four years I attended Chico State. He coached and prepared me for recitals and auditions that came after graduation. He also mentored me in the orchestra as I sat next to him when he was concertmaster. I learned a lot about quiet leadership from Mr. Mallory. I admired him as a steady and accomplished teacher and very skilled musician and artist.

What advice would you give your graduating self? The right job will eventually find you. It’s all grist for the mill. Some people are lucky to know exactly what they want to do or what they want to be when they’re very young. Some people feel a drive or a calling. Others of us seem to be on a lifelong exploration of twists and turns and discovery. I am cut from the latter cloth.

What do you value most in life? Personally, I value freedom. Freedom to choose where, how, and with whom I spend my time. In society, I value education. It is the most powerful tool to transform our world for the better; especially early childhood education and an education that includes the arts and humanities.


Jenelle Ball (BA, Chemistry, ’82; Credential, ’84) is a chemistry teacher and the science department chair at Chico Senior High School.

Jenelle Ball, Distinguished Alum 2017

What faculty or staff most influenced you and how? Carol Buckmann ran the stockroom during my senior year. She really made me feel like I could be independent as a chemist. She taught me the practical side of running a stockroom and setting up labs, which has been of tremendous value as a high school chemistry teacher. Years later, Carol offered amazing support to me when I became a teacher at Chico High School. From deionized water and advice on how to organize the stockroom to leading tours of the Chico State chemistry department for my students and helping me find answers to safety questions, Carol never stopped doing whatever was needed to help me and my students.

What advice would you give your graduating self? Don’t be afraid of life. You can have confidence and still be humble. You have been well educated, you have the ability to learn, and your life is going to be one fantastic journey! Go, girl!

What is your greatest accomplishment? Getting accepted to UC Santa Barbara for grad school, after so many years, with a scholarship. I received a sabbatical leave from the school district (almost unheard of!) and I was determined to really study. Also, winning the Conant Award and being elected president for the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT.)


Candy Solari (Attended, ’63–’66) is a retired small business owner and longtime member of the Gateway Science Museum’s Advisory Board.

Candy Solari, Distinguished Alum 2017

What faculty or staff most influenced you and how? Ken Gompertz taught us the power of the written word and the importance of research and accuracy. He put great trust in our Record staff to produce a progressive yearbook that reflected current events and changes on campus. And Dr. “Hutch” Hutchinson taught me an appreciation of history. Anyone who attended his classes can attest to his storytelling method of teaching. History would come alive and when the bell rang ending the class session, he would often have to tell us to move along to our next class.

What advice would you give your graduating self? You are only beginning to learn. Just because you now have a college degree, you should not expect perfection in performance and job skills. Allow yourself to find your niche and be patient with your progress.

What do you value most in life? Trust in God. Because of that, I have a great sense of faith and optimism. I believe there is always a way to make things work. Maybe we might need to tweak our goals a bit, but we have not exhausted our possibilities. Perhaps life doesn’t always play out the way we desire, but we are by far stronger than anything that can happen to us.

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Alum Notes



('08) was promoted to assistant superintendent of Calcrete Construction.

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(’12) runs his own sustainable furniture business.

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('88) received a distinguished service award from the Boy Scouts.

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