Chico State Alumni Association

2017 Distinguished Alumni Honorees

California State University, Chico honored these eight distinguished alumni at the 24th annual Distinguished Alumni Recognition Dinner on March 24th, 2017. 

Jose Manuel Leal de CostaJose Manuel Leal da Costa

College of Agriculture

BS, Agricultural Mechanics, 1984

Current Position: CEO of Plamar USA

Jose Manuel Leal da Costa is the founder and CEO of Plamar USA, the largest solid surface fabrication and installation company in the western United States. Costa was born and raised in Portugal in a family of five brothers and arrived in Chico in 1980 to pursue his passion for agriculture.

He completed his bachelor’s degree in agricultural mechanics from CSU, Chico in 1984. In addition to his role at Plamar USA, Costa also founded and serves as a board member for Amieira Marina, an organization created as part of Portugal’s $1.7 billion investment in the Alqueva dam and lake project. Amieira Marina is a national and international tourist destination and includes a Michelin-recommended restaurant, Amieira Marina Panorama. Costa has also been involved with Herdade das Amendoas Doces since 2012, a soil preparation and irrigation implementation project that has since become the largest almond project in Portugal.

Jose is married to fellow alum Azita Leal da Costa. They have two children. 

Paul LambrosPaul Lambros

College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

BA, Psychology, 1986
Minor: Business

Current Position: Executive Director of Plymouth Housing Group

As executive director of Plymouth Housing Group in Seattle, Paul Lambros has transformed a once small agency into one of the largest organizations in the statetackling issues of homelessness. He has received multiple honors for his achievements, including the Housing Development Consortium’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Executive Excellence Award from Seattle Business Magazine.

Lambros graduated from CSU, Chico in 1986 with a degree in psychology and a minor in business. After graduation he went on to work as associate director of residence life at Central Washington University and later served as director of Northwest AIDS Foundation.

Lambros dedicates his time to multiple service organizations in the Seattle area. He serves as member and past president of the Housing Development Consortium of Seattle-King County, and is a member of the Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness: Interagency Council.

Lambros lives in Seattle and is a proud father to Jaden and Rachel.

Steve GoodallStephen C. Goodall

College of Business

BA, Business, 1978
BA, Psychology, 1978

Current Position: Retired, former president and CEO of J.D. Power and Associates

Steve Goodall is the retired president and CEO of J.D. Power and Associates, a global market information firm specializing in customer satisfaction and buyer behavior. Goodall received his bachelor’s degrees from CSU, Chico in business administration and psychology in 1978, and went on to complete an MBA from the University of Southern California. He started his career at J.D. Power in 1978 after graduating from CSU, Chico, and opened the company’s first satellite office in 1988 in Detroit, Michigan. Goodall was named president in 1996 and served as president and CEO until 2008. 

Goodall currently serves on the board of directors at Outsell Inc. and Digital Clarity Group, and advises several early-stage information enterprises. Steve also serves on the board for, the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations, and co-leads a small education-focused charitable foundation.

Goodall has been married to fellow Chico State alum Jane Goodall for 37 years, they have two children and two grandchildren.

michael finneyMichael Finney

College of Communication and Education

BA, Information and Communication Studies, 1978

Current Position: Reporter for ABC7

Michael Finney is an award-winning consumer advocate and host of 7 On Your Side on ABC7 in the Bay Area. Prior to his current role as a consumer reporter, Finney worked as a columnist, bureau chief, anchor, and reporter for various news stations in Idaho Falls, San Diego, and the Bay Area. Finney completed his bachelor’s degree from CSU, Chico in information and communication studies in 1978 and worked at both the KCHO and KCSC radio stations as a student. During his time working as a general assignment reporter after graduation, he produced a documentary, interviewed President Jimmy Carter and President Bill Clinton, and covered natural disasters like the Loma Prieta earthquake and Hurricane Iniki.

Finney is also the author of Finney's Finds and Consumer Confidential, a best-seller on Amazon. He has received numerous awards for his achievements in journalism, including an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences; the Golden Microphone Award from the Radio and Television News Association; and the McGraw Hill Editorial Achievement Award. Finney is an active member of the Bay Area Irish community, working as TV host for the San Francisco St. Patrick's Day Parade. He also cofounded the Friends of Camp Concord, an organization that has raised $1.6 million toward sending underserved youth to camp.

Finney lives in Alamo with his wife, Brenda, and they have two children, Conner and Kelly.

Rose Esposito-McCallenRose Esposito-McCallen

College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Construction Management

Rose Esposito-McCallen

BS, Mechanical Engineering, 1980

Current Position: Researcher and Project Lead at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)

Rose Esposito-McCallen has been a researcher and project lead at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) for more than three decades. During her career at LLNL, she has held several leadership and technical positions, including LLNL’s lead on the Rocket Motor Warhead Impact Modeling Project for the Department of Defense (DOD), and the integration lead for the Department of Energy (DOE)/DOD Joint Munitions Program. McCallen completed her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Saint Mary’s College in 1977 and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from CSU, Chico in 1980. She went on to finish both a  master’s degree and PhD in mechanical engineering from University of California, Davis.

McCallen has received multiple awards for her accomplishments in engineering, including the Distinguished Engineering Alumni Medal from UC Davis, and the Global Security Directorate Award for exceptional performance on a DOE Project. In addition to her position at LLNL, she works as a visiting professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at UC Davis.

McCallen and her husband, David, a fellow Chico State alum, live in Livermore and are parents to one son, Brian.

J'Anna JacobyJ’Anna Jacoby

College of Humanities & Fine Arts

BA, Music, 1987
Minor: German

Current Position: Musician, Fiddler and Mandolin player for Rod Stewart

As the fiddler and mandolin player for Rod Stewart, J’Anna Jacoby is recognized as a talented musician equally comfortable in the studio, playing in an orchestra, or on the Grand Ole Opry stage. She was the first female to win the Grand Masters Fiddling Championship and the second youngest national winner. She made the first of her many records and CDs when she was 11 years old.

Jacoby is a 1987 graduate from CSU, Chico with a bachelor’s degree in music and a minor in German. She went on to graduate from Interlochen Arts Academy and studied at the Vienna Conservatory of Music, where she became fluent in German. Widely sought because of her talent and impeccable sight-reading, Jacoby has recorded and toured with many artists including Michael Crawford, John Tesh, Tony Bennett, Glen Campbell, Shirley Bassie, Pam Tillis, Englebert Humperdink, Natalie Cole, George Benson, and Sir Bob Geldof. She currently plays with the Inland Empire, Riverside, Redlands, and Crystal Cathedral Symphony Orchestras in Southern California.

When Jacoby is not touring with Rod Stewart, she lives and works as a freelance musician in Southern California.

Jenelle BallJenelle L. Ball

College of Natural Sciences

BS, Chemistry, 1982

Current Position: Department Chair, teacher at Chico High School

Jenelle Ball has been teaching chemistry at Chico High School since 1987 and has served as science department chair since 1996. She is currently president-elect of the American Association of Chemistry Teachers (AACT) and a member of the Recommendations Task Force for the American Chemical Society (ACS) Guidelines for Teaching High School and Middle School Chemistry.

Ball graduated with her bachelor’s in chemistry from CSU, Chico in 1982. After graduation, she went on to complete her master’s in chemistry at UC Santa Cruz and taught at Corning Union High School until 1987. She completed her master’s in education from UC Santa Barbara in 1999.

In the last 20 years, Ball has served on multiple national committees and received numerous awards. In 2015 she was only the second teacher in California to have received the American Chemical Society’s James Bryant Conant Award for excellence in high school chemistry teaching. Ball has been published multiple times in the Journal of Chemical Education, and has received several grants and recognitions for her commitment to chemical education.

Ball and her husband, David, met at CSU, Chico and recently celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. They have three children.

Candy SolariCandy Solari

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Retired business owner Candy Solari is a dedicated volunteer and active member of the Chico community. Solari has served as a member of the community advisory board for the Gateway Science Museum since 2007, working on various project like Museum Without Walls lecture series, career days, summer camps, and the annual Evening to Treasure fundraising gala. She also has served on committees for the Enloe Gala, the Enloe Foundation Playhouse, and the Chico High School Foundation, and she worked for 13 years as a volunteer with Children's Home Society, raising funds for children at risk.

Solari attended Chico State from 1963–66 and majored in journalism. As a student she was involved in student association elections, and served as yearbook editor. She also worked as a recruiter, speaking to high school students about attending CSU, Chico and was a member of Alpha Chi sorority. She also spent several years as a board member with the Chico State Alumni Association.

Solari lives in Chico and has two sons, Robert and Mathew.