Thomas Knapp (Architecture ’72) has had a long career with Bechtel, working on projects including a city for 300 thousand in Saudi Arabia, SFMOMA in San Francisco, an airport in the Caribbean, St. Pancras Station in London, master planning in the South Pacific, containment solutions for the Chernobyl reactor in Ukraine and residential high-rises in Thailand. After that, he spent several years working for the Presidio Trust on building restoration projects in the Presidio of San Francisco. He has retired, but is still consulting on special projects for both Bechtel and the Presidio.
Robert Kitamura (Architecture ’75) recently joined the board of directors for the Foundation for the Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly. In addition, he is currently a member of the board of directors of the Friends of Hearst Castle and a member of the Robert E. Kennedy Library advisory council at Cal Poly. Kitamura retired from the position of university architect and executive director of facilities planning and capital projects for Cal Poly in 2011. He was responsible for the development of the 2001 Campus Master Plan along with the design and construction of over $800 million worth of projects over an 18-year period. He was the executive editor for the book The Architecture of California Polytechnic State University, 1980-2010. Prior to Cal Poly, he was a vice president and partner with RRM Design Group, a California architecture, planning, landscape architecture and civil engineering firm, for 15 years. He was also a part-time faculty member at Cal Poly from 1978 to 1993. Kitamura is currently responsible for family owned businesses and properties in California, Nevada and Hawaii.
Morten Gjerde (Architecture ’81) has recently become head of the architecture school at Victoria University of Wellington. As an academic he often finds himself referring back to his time at Cal Poly for ideas. “It was such a great education and time of life,” he says.
Jim Tokunaga (City and Regional Planning ’84) retired from the job as a zoning administrator after 31 years with the Los Angeles city planning department.
Paul Hamalian (Construction Management ’88) was named vice president of strategy and organizational effectiveness for Habitat for Humanity International. He has served with the organization for the last 22 years in several countries, but now is based in Atlanta, Ga.
Mario Dutra (Construction Management ’90) went to work for Walt Disney Imagineering in Glendale, Calif., as a project planner and scheduler right out of Cal Poly. For the next 21 years, he was involved in exciting and fulfilling projects all over the world. These days he hopes for something great to happen again, but he still has those memories.
Runjhun Saklani (Architecture ’98) has recently moved to Pasadena, Calif., after working in New York City for more than 17 years. She has joined LCRA Inc. Architects in Pasadena, Calif., as a senior project manager. The firm specializes in designing mixed-use and multi-family residential projects. Runjhun is licensed to practice architecture in California, New York and India. Her move to the West Coast involved a memorable cross country drive with her parents.
Craig Waltz (Landscape Architecture ’04) designed a brand-new skate park with Zach Wormhoudt for the city of Oakdale, Calif. The park boasts 20,000 square feet of unique contemporary skate park terrain for street and transition skaters and bikers alike. The design is a product of three community workshops and is unique to the demographics of the Oakdale skating and biking scene.
Gretchen Johnson (Architecture ’04) is a project architect designing facilities for the U.S. Navy and Naval Facilities Command at various bases throughout California and Nevada, and is thriving in this niche focusing on designing buildings to support the next generation F-35 strike fighter aircraft and their new squadrons arriving on base. She is working on projects at Naval Air Station Lemoore, renovating mid-century modern aircraft hangars to support new aircraft requirements while integrating modern design with the historic legacies of these structures and raising the esprit de corps of the pilots and maintainers that spend their time there. She feels deeply that it is an opportunity to support the Navy’s mission through thoughtful architecture, and reflect their motto of “Honor, Courage, Commitment.”
Dan Stever (Environmental Horticulture ’05) joined the tree board of Lexington, Ky.
Cheryl Lipang Lima (Architecture ’06) returned to the architecture profession after working in project management and real estate development for seven years and is glad to be back. Lima completed all of her intern development program hours and now works for herself in order to have a more flexible schedule, be around more for her family, and help care for her mother who has dementia. She says that it’s been an exciting ride becoming self-employed and working towards obtaining her license. She now has a dozen or so residential new construction and remodel projects throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and is loving the flexible hours.
Keith Houchin (Architecture ’10) completed a Master of Architectural Management and Design (MAMD) from the IE University in Madrid while being based out of London. Having recently moved back to California, he joined SB Architects’ San Francisco office, where he’s a design lead for international hospitality projects.
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