Dean's Advisory Board of Cal State Fullerton's College of Business and EconomicsAs the 2021-2022 school year begins, the Cal State Fullerton College of Business and Economics welcomes seven new members to the Dean’s Advisory Board, a leadership forum ensuring the college’s curriculum, programs and activities relate to current business and corporate needs. Among the new members are five Titan alumni and one current business student.

“The new board members provide additional perspectives to the future strategic direction of the College of Business and Economics.  I look forward to working with each of our new board members,” says CSUF College of Business and Economics Dean Sri Sundaram.

“I’m excited to welcome the new members. Each brings a passion for CSUF and a diversity in background and experience that will strengthen the Dean’s Advisory Board as it carries out its mission in leading business education by influencing innovative learning opportunities and informative community-focused research,” says Mark Clemens, chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board and office managing partner for KPMG LLP in Orange County.

Here’s a look at the careers and contributions of the recent additions to the Dean’s Advisory Board. Read More

Cal State Fullerton business college aerial viewCal State Fullerton’s Department of Accounting is now the School of Accountancy, a new chapter in the university’s commitment to developing the next generation of accounting and audit professionals.

With the status of a school, Cal State Fullerton stands poised to attract and retain the best faculty and industry partners in accounting, auditing and taxation, and to support top-notch research in these fields.

With more than 1,400 accounting students, the School of Accountancy is one of the largest undergraduate accounting programs in the nation. It’s also one of the most diverse and most accessible, thanks in part to scholarships and awards made available each semester to achieving and under-represented students.

The school also stands alone in Orange County as having dual accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) in addition to the broader accreditation granted to the College of Business and Economics as a whole.

The School of Accountancy’s commitment to preparing students for the accounting industry’s technological advancements is demonstrated by its groundbreaking agreement with UiPath to introduce robotic process automation into the curriculum.

Read more about the accounting program at Cal State Fullerton and the impact of the status change in this CSUF News article.

The Electro Bird flying above the clouds.

The Electro Bird, which will take flight this autumn as a maiden voyage for Panhwar Jet.

Imagine using an app to book a flight to a destination hundreds of miles away on a small electric business jet that is safe, energy efficient, environmentally friendly and affordable. The plane departs from the municipal airport just a few miles from your home. Equipped with video conferencing capabilities, you can participate in a Zoom meeting with your colleagues en route to your destination.

This vision may still be some years away.

But with the support of the Cal State Fullerton Startup Incubator and Center for Entrepreneurship, serial entrepreneurs Ayisha Fareed and Nick Panhwar are moving this future closer to reality. Fareed is an AI expert and Panhwar is an engineer and marketer, and they are applying this wide range of knowledge to their latest innovation. Read More

CSUF dignitaries at Orange County Goodwill

From left to right, Dean Sri Sundaram, Nicole Suydam, Mike Daniel and Chris Swarat at Goodwill of Orange County.

Nicole Suydam, president and CEO of Goodwill of Orange County, needed funding to keep a staff of 1,400 employed during the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While Goodwill’s mission of job training and employment-placement services for the underprivileged is more relevant than ever, the Santa Ana-based chapter of the national organization, like many nonprofits and social enterprises, was facing funding pressures wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Suydam reached out to U.S. Congressman and Titan alumnus Lou Correa ’80 (economics) after having been turned down for the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Correa in turn referred Goodwill of Orange County to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), an on-campus center housed within the CSUF College of Business and Economics. Experts at access to capital and specifically on federal disaster funding options such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and PPP, the SBDC utilized their resources to help Goodwill OC access $10 million in PPP funding. This funding has allowed Goodwill of Orange County to keep its pre-COVID staff of almost 1,400, employed during the pandemic. Read More

Sunil Thomas

Sunil Thomas

Cal State Fullerton’s College of Business and Economics has named Sunil Thomas as the associate dean, graduate programs and faculty development.

A Penn State University marketing graduate, Thomas has served as a professor of marketing at Cal State Fullerton’s business college since August 2005. He has also held leadership roles, including department chair and vice chair of the Department of Marketing, which under his direction expanded its outreach to students and strengthened its focus on teaching and research in light of today’s digital marketing age.

Thomas’ publications have included studies on brand placements, revitalization of declining brands, cross-cultural marketing, brand equity and slogan recall, which have appeared in such journals as Journal of Advertising Research, Business Horizons and Journal of Business Research.

“Dr. Thomas will be playing a key leadership role in developing our graduate programs and also focus on faculty development and related issues in our college,” says Dean Sri Sundaram.

Thomas recently took some time to discuss his new associate deanship, as well as marketing and its impact.

What is it about marketing that initially attracted you to the field?

A business cannot be successful without marketing.

A product or service might objectively be of very good quality, but ultimately what matters is consumers’ perceptions of it, and what drives these perceptions are the firm’s marketing efforts.

I believe marketing is critical in every aspect of our lives. For example, when we as individuals try to build our brands or apply for jobs, we need to learn marketing techniques to distinguish ourselves from others.

It is a very exciting field which gives us the opportunity to think strategically, and to use both the creative and analytical parts of our brain. These aspects of marketing were why I decided on a career in marketing.

What do you enjoy most about teaching students at Cal State Fullerton?

The strengths of the student body here at CSUF include the diverse backgrounds and life experiences of our students. Many of our students successfully balance the different aspects of their lives including work and school. I really enjoy teaching the students at CSUF because their backgrounds, enthusiasm for learning and entrepreneurial spirit create a great learning environment in the classroom.

There are many exciting options and career paths available within marketing, depending on your interests and skills. Our marketing students have gone on to have successful careers in a variety of fields such as product and brand management, social media marketing, sports marketing, marketing analytics, and advertising and sales.

What is one aspect of the associate dean position you look forward to taking on?

I am excited about interacting and working with the talented faculty, students, and staff at the College of Business and Economics. One of the main aspects of my role will be to help enhance our graduate programs, and I look forward to taking on this responsibility.

Under Thomas’ leadership, the business college looks forward to a new era in world-class graduate education and expanding its commitment to student and faculty development and applied research.

Congratulations, Sunil Thomas, on your new position!

Matthew Hemenez, CEO of Pneu-Con

Matthew Hemenez ’09

Pneumatic Conveying Inc. (Pneu-Con), a designer and manufacturer of dry bulk material pneumatic conveying solutions, named Cal State Fullerton MBA grad Matthew Hemenez ’09 as its new CEO this July.

Hemenez has more than a quarter century of experience in high-tech manufacturing leadership in Southern California and globally. It is a career that began in the U.S. Marine Corps, where Hemenez was a captain.

“I was introduced to leadership in high tech as a telecommunications officer in the Marine Corps. There, I discovered a previously unknown interest and aptitude in collaborating with engineers and technicians to design and implement systems, and a similar affinity for the operational challenges of troubleshooting those systems when things didn’t go as expected,” says Hemenez. “This carried over into my civilian career in the manufacturing environment. Since that transition, I have been fortunate to have built a career in high-tech manufacturing, applying cumulative experience within the organizations that I have led.”

After leaving the Marine Corps in 1996, Hemenez pursued a higher education at the University of Oklahoma and then at Cal State Fullerton. His career took him to PairGain Technologies Inc., Raytheon, SureFire LLC and corporate leadership at Silynx Communications Inc. Read More

Chris Swarat

Chris Swarat

Cal State Fullerton College of Business and Economics welcomes Chris Swarat back to the college’s leadership, this time as the first associate dean, Centers of Excellence and external relations.

In this role, Swarat will work closely with faculty, staff, students, alumni, center directors, college and university development officials, and community partners to develop and strengthen working relationships and external engagement, while building the college’s standing and impact in Orange County and beyond.

Previously, Swarat served Cal State Fullerton as associate vice president of Extension and International Programs, director of the B.A. in international business program, and director of global outreach focused on developing globally aware business leaders. Read More

Chad Armstrong

Chad Armstrong

An entrepreneur. A mentor. A U.S. Marine combat veteran. All are integral aspects of the personal experience of Cal State Fullerton entrepreneurship grad Chad Armstrong ’17.

Earlier this month, Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson named Armstrong as coordinator, a role supporting all aspects of the Cal State Fullerton entrepreneurship program, including the Startup Incubator and consulting initiatives.

“I believe that entrepreneurship is good for people and good for society. I want to see everyone be an entrepreneur. That doesn’t mean everyone has to build a trillion-dollar company. Even an individual bringing in 100 bucks each month on a side hustle is going to be a better person because of the experience. The challenges of entrepreneurship help individuals to grow. And strong people make strong communities,” says Armstrong. Read More

Cal State Fullerton's humanities building, as seen in springtimeAmong the 79 Cal State Fullerton faculty members receiving tenure or promotion at the start of the 2021-2022 academic year are 10 from the College of Business and Economics. Their new titles are effective Aug. 17.

  • Jianxin Gong, professor of accounting
  • Ryan Gottfredson, associate professor of management
  • Yuhong He, associate professor of information systems and decision sciences
  • Tsuhsiang Hsu, associate professor of management
  • Emmanuel Lartey, professor of economics
  • Mitchell Livy, associate professor of economics
  • Hung-Yuan Lu, professor of accounting
  • Amr Soror, associate professor of information systems and decision sciences
  • Heejin Woo, associate professor of management
  • Jia Xie, associate professor of finance

Congrats to all of these esteemed members of the Titan family for their achievement!

John Bradley Jackson, director of Cal State Fullerton's Center for Entrepreneurship

John Bradley Jackson

Now that the Orange County economy has largely reopened, many economists feel optimistic that growth will continue in coming months. There are still concerns about inflation and the possibility of real estate bubbles, and continued uncertainty around COVID-19. But experts are more optimistic than they have been in a while.

John Bradley Jackson, director of the Cal State Fullerton Center for Entrepreneurship, told the Daily Pilot that while the future may be hopeful, it will be different, with the business world looking significantly different from its pre-pandemic form.

Looking ahead to teaching a new generation of entrepreneurs this fall, Jackson says he plans to challenge them to become problem-solvers in the new environment: “Rather than just reverting back, what can we do different? … I think a lot of new ideas have been percolating. I think a Phoenix will arise from the ashes.”

Jackson is betting that entrepreneurial students will be eager to solve perceived challenges and deficiencies, having lived through nearly two years of hardship and disruption. And the need to improvise during the pandemic may spark an interest in startups and innovation.

Read more about Jackson’s expectations and the views of other experts from across Southern California in this Daily Pilot article.