2011-2020 Alumni News Archive

Laurie Romano, LA Class of 1983, passed away on October 24, 2020. Please visit this link to learn more about her life. Our deepest condolences to her family and friends.

William Millsap (July 31, 1953 - December 9, 2017) LA Class of '78 alumnus passed away  December 2017. Please visit this link to learn more about his life. We send our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones.

Kennedy Love (April 4th, 1995-August 29th, 2017) was hit and killed by a car in San Luis Obispo. Please visit this link to learn more about Kennedy’s life, and the details of his celebration of life to be held on September 8th, 2017 in his hometown of San Diego, California. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

Sara Bendrick (2010) has been making waves on television’s DIY network since 2013 staring in three season’s of “I Hate My Yard”. She’s back at it again, this time co-starring in DIY network’s “Lawn and Order”. The show has been green lighted for 8 episodes and in her down time she’s writing a book. To learn more about Sara’s success and her San Diego based landscape design business please visit this link.

Ian Casey (2010) passed away at home in Oakland, July 29th, 2017. Please visit this link to learn more about Ian’s life, and the details of his celebration of life to be held September 10th, 2017 in Truckee, California. Our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

Ryan Crockett (2009) recently passed away down in San Diego, where he is originally from. He was a beloved student here at Cal Poly and will be greatly missed. If you would like to contribute to Ryan's GoFundMe please go to this link.

Julianna Wild (2014) and Enrique Guzman (2014) got engaged on May 29, 2016. While on an adventure in Alaska, they took a tour of Kenai Fjord National Park, where Enrique asked for Julianna's hand in marriage on the pebbled coastline of Fox Island. Both reside in the Bay Area working for landscape architecture firms. They plan to take their vows in San Luis Obispo in summer 2017.

Sandra Gonzalez (1985) recently accepted a new position as director of community services for the city of Placentia, CA. Gonzalez has had an illustrious career in the public sector, working for Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation and the city of Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine. She decided to shift tracks to work for a smaller bedroom community with the intention of enacting positive change through healthy policies and initiatives and seeing immediate and direct results through the city's senior, youth and underserved populations. Gonzalez is a Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects and a member of Cal Poly's Landscape Architecture Department Advisory Council.

David Gorcey (1974) has retired after 38 years in public service at both the state and local government levels. For 32 of those years, Gorcey held the position of chief landscape architect and park development supervisor for the city of Oxnard, Calif. He also served as a local city resource to consulting private sector landscape architects who were preparing plans for implementation in Oxnard. Gorcey enjoyed working on a variety of city projects and reviewing and approving private sector project plans. In retirement, he and his wife, Judy, continue to live in Oxnard. He focuses most of his time and attention on their two grandchildren, traveling abroad twice a year, ocean fishing (locally and in Alaska), and visiting wineries throughout California.

Ron Johnston (1976) has passed away on Aug. 23, 2015, he was killed by a drunk driver.  His obituary reports, Ron was born to a military family when they were stationed in Merced while his Dad was in the Korean War.
He is survived by his Wife, Paula Johnston, his Mother, Dorothy (Dot) Johnston, his Brother, Doug Johnston of San Diego, a Sister, Jacquie Fletcher and nieces and nephews, Jenny Johnston Webster, Heather Johnston, Kyle Fletcher, Ryan Fletcher, Kearsten Fletcher and Amber Fletcher.   His Father, Spencer (Bud) Johnston is deceased.
Ron earned a degree in Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and obtained a State Contractors license.  He went on to create the Pacific Landscape business in Merced.  Ron was a kind hearted man where his concern was in providing jobs and an income for his employees who had helped him become a successful business man.    He had a sense of humor and was known for his pranks through college and his career.  

Cameron Hockenson (2002) passed away on August 22, 2015 at the age of 40. He was born on March 18, 1975 in Sacramento, CA. Cameron was an artist Fellow at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, CA, as part of its Sculpture on the Grounds program. He worked on a site-specific installation, "Control Tower," that integrates nesting sites, experimental coded sound responses to live bird song, and birdscaping to increase habitat for populations in the area. In Fall 2010, Cameron was an artist Fellow in residence at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France where he developed two site installations and a series of drawings reconstructing neolithic, ancient, and modern relationships to the Mediterranean landscape.

Robert Brockman (1988) passed away suddenly at his home on April 16, 2014, at the age of 50. His obituary reports that he is survived by his wife, Karen, his son Daniel, daughter Emily, mother Marie McCarthy and brothers, Pete and Todd. He was born in San Francisco on August 9, 1963, and raised in Greenbrae, CA where he attended elementary school in the Kentfield District and graduated from Redwood High School and College of Marin. He graduated with a degree in Landscape Architecture from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 1988. It was at Cal Poly where he met Karen Rossi, and they married soon after their graduations. They first lived in Marin County and for the past 20 years resided in Petaluma, CA where Rob led Alfreso Designs, a full-service landscape architecture, home building design and water-feature design firm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Emily and Daniel Brockman Education Account #1544428491 c/o Wells Fargo Bank. 

Theresa Zaro (2002), has started her own practice, Theresa Zaro Landscape Architect, in Auburn, CA, serving clients throughout Northern California. Theresa writes: "I bring a holistic approach to each project, pursuing my goal of delivering site-specific design solutions with a watershed-wide vision."

Andrew Wickham (2007), project coordinator at LPA Inc., has started the film company wickFILMS in his down time. He has worked with several national organizations, including ASLA and the National Park Service, to produce a variety of web-based marketing videos. Andrew, along with his film partner Lance Hunter, wrote, directed, filmed, and produced a documentary about Chicago's green movement. His film, CHICAGOgreenopolis, highlights landscape architecture's role in sustainability and has been accepted to an international film festival. To view the film, click here.

Michael Cook (2001), principal with Firma Design Group in Petaluma, CA, was awarded the North Bay Business Journal's Top Real Estate Project in 2012 in the single-family residence category. To read more, click here.

David Gal (1987) was promoted to Principal with the SWA Group. Michael Hee (2008) and Michael Samarripa (2008) were promoted to SWA Associates.

Jeffrey Yuen (2008) recently completed his Masters in Urban Planning at Columbia University with a concentration in housing and community development. He was recognized with academic excellence awards from the APA, AICP, ACSP, GSAPP and the Center for Architecture. His thesis on community garden land tenure also secured the Donald Schon Award. Yuen serves as a research fellow at the National Community Land Trust Network where he is investigating and co-authoring a Lincoln InstituteWorking Paper on non-residential applications of the land trust model, especially urban and rural agriculture. He works as the Impact Assessment Coordinator at New Jersey Community Capital, a certified community development financial institution, and manages their effort to evaluate and demonstrate the impact of community revitalization strategies. Yuen's collaborative design with David Reed Landscape Architects was featured on the 2011 National ASLA Garden Tour in San Diego.

Randalle Hunt Moore (1980) was featured in the Winter 2012 edition of the CAED's "Connections" magazine. The article describes how Hunt Moore and her firm, Moore Planning Group, were hired by FEMA to transform some of the areas in Louisiana affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, including the award-winning Lake Front Promenade and Bord du Lac Marina at Lake Charles, dedicated in September 2010, that includes a 2,700 foot pedestrian walkway, decorative paving and lighting, benches, landscaping, and public art.

Craig Waltz (2004) was featured in Cal Poly's Mustang Daily in an article by journalism major Meghan Legg. Legg writes that Waltz is wrapping up the construction documents for the local skate area in San Luis Obispo's Santa Rosa Park, the exact location and subject of his senior project. Waltz is a project manager with Wormhoudt Inc., a firm specializing in skate park design.

Christine Anderson (1988) has been elected as Region V Director for the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB). Prior to becoming a CLARB Regional Director, Anderson was a member of CLARB's Task Analysis Focus Group in 2010 and has attended various CLARB Annual and Spring Meetings as a representative from the California Landscape Architects Technical Committee. Anderson has served on the California Landscape Architects Technical Committee since 2003. She is currently the Board Chair and served as the Board Vice Chair in 2006 and 2010. Anderson also served as a member of the Education Subcommittee (2005-2009). Additionally, she has been involved with the Sierra Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects since 1991 serving as Member-at-Large, Secretary, President-Elect, President, and Past-President. She was the Sierra Chapter's delegate to the California Council of Landscape Architects from 1996 to 1998 and served on the Landscape Architecture Department Advisory Council at Cal Poly (2003-2007); as a Board Member of the Laguna Creek Watershed Council (2010-present); and as a volunteer with the Stones Lakes National Wildlife Refuge (2006-present and the Sacramento Urban Creeks Council (1998-present).

Jerico Farfan (2000), from ima design, came to campus in November 2011 to present to David Watts's LA 404-Cultural Environments Design Focus Studio and to Astrid Reeves's LA 202-Design Fundamentals I studio. The focus of the presentation was designing a "sense of place" Farfan drew upon his experience as a specialist in landscape design and implementation of new communities and lifestyle spaces to illustrate his process of creating a "sense of place" and his approach to making every destination unique and memorable. He shared the highlights of his career since graduation, reflecting on the growth of his design perspective, and walked through the progression of his career from student to experienced landscape designer. He discussed his experience as a consultant with Walt Disney Imagineering, and concluded with a discussion of the future of communication tools, how he uses them at ima, and what students should be ready to employ in order to be successful in their work. Farfan received his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree in 2000. Since then, he has completed designs for the River Rock Resort in Northern California; the San Manuel Indians in Highland, California; Student Recreation Center at UC Irvine, California; University Park Improvements in Irvine, California; and Cerano Park in San Francisco. To read more about Farfan and his firm, ima, click here.

Lindsay Ringer (2009) worked as an AmeriCorps summer student intern at Piedras Blancas Light Station helping with tours, visitor services, and with eradication of non-native plant species. She is planning to return to graduate school for a Masters in Restoration Ecology. She spent the last two years working for the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board creating geographic information system maps and doing data analysis for the Agricultural Regulatory Program.

Jacob Mar (2006) has joined Mountain-View, CA-based Jenna Bayer Garden Design according to AsianWeek online. Mar was introduced to clients and prospective clients at an outdoor party in Saratoga, CA where the firm's design work was showcased. Jenna Bayer has designed gardens for Bay Area homes and beyond for a wide ranging list of clients.

Colin Miller (2006) and Navid Mostatabi (2006) received eight awards at the 2011 Paul Ecke Jr. Flower & Garden Show at the San Diego County Fair for their design-build firm, Envision Landscape Studio. The garden's theme was "Keep it Local, San Diego," and showcased local materials such as cobblestones, native plants, locally manufactured LED lighting,and water harvesting and greywater displays. The goal was to educate the public on sustainable landscape principles while creating a space that could easily fit into a residential lot. Awards included an Award of Merit, Environmental Award, New Exhibitor Award, and Unique Landscape Award. In addition, Miller and Mostatabi received the American Horticultural Society's Environmental Award; an Agri Service award for best use of mulch; a MiraCosta College Department award for successfully integrating principles of sustainability, functionality, and aesthetics; and the San Diego Horticultural Society's Best Expression of Garden Education Award.

Desi Bogdanova (2011), together with her sister, has opened a fresh olive oil boutique in Hermosa Beach, CA. The shop specializes in selling certified extra virgin olive oil produced by family olive farms in central and northern California. To read more about Desi's new business venture, click here.

Michael Sanchez (1996) completed his MLA in December 2010 at University of Oregon. His master's project was a visual essay of Mission Santa Barbara. His project's focus was on visual communications and new methods for visually exploring and documenting a place. He was the 2008 recipient of the GCA/Douglas Dockery Thomas Fellowship in Garden History and Design. This $4,000 fellowship award helped Michael fund expenses for a two-week research trip to the Mission and its archive. To download his master's thesis, "Mission Santa Barbara / Visually Explored," click here. Michael works for Schirmer Satre Group in Eugene, Oregon as Senior Landscape Architect.

Todd Davis (1996) is the author of "Handy Dad: 25 Awesome Projects for Dads and Kids," published in 2010 by Chronicle Books LLP. Another book, "Handy Dad in the Great Outdoors," is in the works. Todd is also the main host of the HGTV show, Room Crashers. He owns Epic Spaces, a landscape architecture design/build firm, in San Francisco, CA and, in his spare time, he enjoys wingsuit flying.

David R. Gal (1987) was SWA Group's primary on-site Landscape Architect for the Burj Khalifa Tower Park in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and was responsible for the landscape construction administration of the project's 27-acre site. Working in close collaboration with Skidmore Owings & Merrill (architects), SWA's landscape design surrounding the Burj Khalifa - the world's tallest building - includes the park plazas, oasis gardens, water fountains, and streetscape for downtown Burj Dubai - a new urban center in metropolitan Dubai.

Rob Maday (2004) has designed and developed a California-based web resource and online community, LandscapeResource.com. The web site was launched in October 2010. The site offers landscape design tools and resources for home gardeners and California landscape professionals. It presents California landscape ideas, practical tips for designing California native gardens, provides a venue for landscape photo sharing, and suggests real-life solutions for sustainable garden design.

Jeffrey Gordon Smith (1989), the principal at Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture, created a garden exhibit for the 2011 San Francisco Flower and Garden Show, March 23-27, at the San Mateo Event Center, and tied with Sandy Ayers (1995) for the top, "Best in Show,"Award, the Golden Gate Cup, for the most overall meritorious exhibit. The exhibit also received a show record of an additional six recognition awards, including: the Garden Conservancy Award, for the garden most likely to withstand the test of time; the American Society of Landscape Architects Award; the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society Award; the Pacific Horticulture Magazine Award, for the garden that best demonstrates the regional nature of garden design; the Sunset Magazine Western Living® Award, for the garden most filled with fresh,useful, achievable ideas that enhance outdoor living in the West; and a Gold Medal Award for garden creation. The exhibit, "Pi r Squared," focused on sustainability, and incorporated ideas such as up-cycling, the goal of which is to prevent wasting potentially useful materials by making use of existing ones. The garden utilized discarded materials which were set to be recycled in conjunction with drought tolerant plantings.

Sandy Ayers (1995), a partner at The Garden Route Company, also created a garden exhibit for the 2011 San Francisco Flower and Garden Show, and tied with Jeffrey Gordon Smith (1989) for the top, "Best in Show,"Award, the Golden Gate Cup, for the most overall meritorious exhibit. The exhibit also won a Gold Medal Award. The exhibit, "A Garden for Life - To Fight, To Love, To Live," illustrated the Filoli Center's dedication to the preservation and stewardship of the land. The garden celebrated Filoli’s cultural tradition and its commitment to organic food production. The garden design reflected some of the traditional elements present in Filoli’s formal gardens, kitchen garden, walled garden, vegetable garden and orchard. The garden drew inspiration from the English renaissance and Celtic features present at Filoli.

Dan Panetta (1976), a professor in the Cal Poly Architecture Department, died Monday, March 7, 2011, in San Luis Obispo. He was the first in his family to have earned a degree (Cal Poly, 1976, with a degree in Landscape Architecture, then master's from UC Berkeley, 1986). He joined the Department of Architecture at Cal Poly in 1986. He was a talented artist and rarely left home without his sketching journal, and he inspired his students to do the same. He also encouraged his students to be of service, most recently having coached winning teams of interdisciplinary students in statewide low-income housing challenge competitions. He was instrumental in developing a minor in Sustainable Environments and was a founding member of the Sustainable Environments Education (SEE Group) on the Cal Poly campus.

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