Former Cadet Wing Commander takes flight after graduation

(Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)
Evan Yanagihara passes along his duty as Cadet Wing Commander at Sac State’s Air Force ROTC Parade. (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

Cadet Evan Yanagihara, who is graduating this spring, is leaving behind a legacy at Sacramento State’s Air Force ROTC program as Cadet Wing Commander of Detachment 088. He will be commissioned in June as an Air Force second lieutenant, joining Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training – an internationally manned, highly competitive training program in Texas.

Yanagihara’s impressive resume includes receiving the 2016 Cadet of the Year Award and the 2012 Civil Air Patrol Life Saving Award for saving a friend’s life, among several recognitions for leadership and academic excellence. He was honored May 13 at the Air Force ROTC Parade with Cadet Wing Change of Command, where he passed along his role as commander to Cadet Matthew Silpasornprasit.

Lt. Col. Kenneth Morse, commander of Sac State’s Air Force ROTC program, calls Yanagihara a clear standout achiever in the program.

“He is the top cadet in our detachment, and I will be proud to send him to be an active-duty officer this summer,” Morse says. “Cadet Yanagihara is the sort of young man I am comfortable giving the reins of our Air Force to. He is truly an exceptional leader, person, and airman.”

In addition to his success in the ROTC program, Yanagihara excelled as a Mass Communication Studies major.

“As a member in the Air Force, it is inevitable that you’re going to have to stand up and give briefings. Because of that, we practice them in ROTC,” Yanagihara says. “A particular class I had that helped me was Intro to Media Creation with Professor  (Diego) Bonilla, which helped me create an instructional poster for our cadets that will hopefully be used for years.”

The El Dorado Hills-born cadet knew he wanted to join the Air Force at age 12, when he joined the Civil Air Patrol. At 16, he knew he wanted to be a pilot after attending local air shows.

Our Made at Sac State graduate is to be honored this June at the Air Force ROTC Commissioning Ceremony at Mather Field.

Top electrical engineering student Tony Rodriguez is making sparks fly

Tony Rodriguez
Tony Rodriguez heads off to his final undergraduate class. (Sacramento State/Jayla Lee)

Meet Juan Antonio Rodriguez Heredia, also known as Tony. He’s rocking our world in the Engineering Department after being named its 2016 Outstanding Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE) Student. And this spring, he is obtaining his dream-come-true degree from Sacramento State.

Born in Mexico but raised on California’s central coast just 20 minutes south of San Luis Obispo, Rodriguez has grown to appreciate cultural diversity in people and places. And he is not afraid to ask questions.

“If someone speaks another language, I’ll ask them to teach me a word or tell me more about how I can learn more,” Rodriguez says. Already proficient in Spanish and French, he hopes to pick up Mandarin and master Japanese after graduation.

His curiosity about people eventually led to a deeper interest in how things connect on a harder, scientific level.

“I’ve always had a fascination with learning how things work,” Rodriguez says.“I like to think I have a very logistical brain, and so I like the problem-solving aspect of engineering.”

Rodriguez has represented Sacramento State through his internships at Gallo Winery and Keysight Technologies, the former test and measurement division of Hewlett-Packard. He has been active on campus as a member of the power engineering society Tau Beta Pi and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). He is a positive source of encouragement and a study buddy to his classmates, according to the EEE Department Executive Committee. To top it all off, Rodriguez has maintained a stellar GPA.

He is currently working on microelectronics for the Defense Microelectronics Activity (DMEA), an internship he obtained through the help of his lab instructor Jeff Siddiqui.

According to DMEA Chief Ted Schantz, a majority of its degreed engineers come from Sacramento State.

“DMEA has 99 engineering positions that are occupied by multiple disciplines such as Electrical, Mechanical, Chemical, Material, and Industrial. Of those, 43 are CSUS graduates, some with two CSUS engineering degrees,” Schantz says, “So if you do the math, 43 percentof all DMEA engineers graduated with at least one engineering degree from CSUS.”

Rodriguez is graduating with highest honors, several full-time job offers, and bright eyes about where he’ll end up next. But first, he will embark on a summer backpacking trip in Europe.

Rodriguez is one of our outstanding students for 2016. Furthermore, he is an outstanding person who was proudly Made at Sac State.



Dave Lucchetti helps build the West – and the community

Dave Lucchetti
“We’ve been very fortunate that we can help,” Dave Lucchetti says. (Sacramento State/Andrea Price)

Related video: Honorary doctorate ceremony for Dave Lucchetti

Dave Lucchetti, a Sacramento State alumnus and president and CEO of Pacific Coast Building Products, always has believed in giving back to the community, with a particular interest in helping the younger members of society.

Lucchetti (Physical Education ’67, Certificate ’68) will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the California State University system during commencement ceremonies for the College of Health and Human Services at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, May 21, at Sleep Train Arena.

He and his wife, Christine, daughter of Pacific Coast Building founder Fred Anderson, are well known in the community for their philanthropic work. The Anderson-Lucchetti family has been involved in numerous campaigns for nonprofits, such as Sierra Adoption Services and Jesuit High School. In 2005, the family pledged funding to the Sutter Medical Center Foundation for construction of the Anderson-Lucchetti Women’s and Children’s Center.

“We’ve been very fortunate that we can help with these efforts,” Dave Lucchetti says. “We’re thankful for the ability to do that.”

Lucchetti came to Sacramento State via Delta College in Stockton. While at Sac State, he was a defensive back for two years under football coach Ray Clemons, although he downplays his contributions. “I didn’t play my senior year, and that team was very good,” Lucchetti says.

It also was at Sac State where Lucchetti met his future wife on a blind date. The two were married a short time later and, after serving with the Army Reserve, Lucchetti went to work at Lodi High School, where he coached various sports, and taught PE and history.

But after two years, it was time for a change.

“I had thought that was what I wanted to do the rest of my life,” Lucchetti says. “But then I realized I wasn’t sure.” So he went to work for this father-in-law in 1970.

Since then, the Rancho Cordova-based company has grown from six or seven locations to about 90, spread over several Western states. Pacific Coast Building Products not only manufactures building materials such as gypsum wall board and asphalt roofing, it also distributes roofing, drywall and masonry products; and in some areas, it contracts for roofing, insulation, and glazing work.

It’s a family-owned and -run business, and takes that designation seriously, not only in the way it treats employees but also in the way it conducts itself in the community.

When considering support for an organization, the primary focus for the Anderson-Lucchetti family is children and young people.

Lucchetti notes that there are families with serious issues and problems, and the children need to see there is another way of life. “We need to break that cycle so that these kids have a chance to be productive,” he says.

One of the organizations the family supports is Cristo Rey High School. Started by a Jesuit priest, Cristo Rey has campuses across the nation. The Sacramento school opened in 2006 and, like all Cristo Rey high schools, provides education and support for children from families living below the poverty level.

Each student takes part in a work-study program, working in office-type settings five days a month. The employer covers the costs of the student’s education, and the student not only learns skills but also sees firsthand what kind of life is available to him or her.

Pacific Coast Building Products employs many Cristo Rey students, Lucchetti says. It even reaches out to them once they graduate, offering them jobs while they attend college. “And college is one of the conditions,” Lucchetti says. “You go to school.”

Joining a company with a reputation for helping the community was an easy fit for Lucchetti. His parents, Frank and Cristina, ran a farm near Stockton. “My mom and dad were not wealthy at all, but always were active in the community and active in charitable organizations,” he says. “They were very giving people.”

The parents also instilled a sense of self-reliance in Dave and his two brothers. They gave the boys a small plot of land on the farm, and the three grew their own crops to sell at the family’s fruit stand. “That’s how we paid for high school and college,” Dave Lucchetti says. “It was a good experience.”

Lucchetti is impressed with the strides Sacramento State has made in recent years. “It’s moving into the next phase, and I think it’s doing well,” he says. “Its involvement in the community has improved over the last seven or eight years.”

He and Christine have met University President Robert S. Nelsen and his wife, Jody, and Dave observes that the new president is enthused about getting Sac State more involved in the community. “Every time I go to a function, he’s there,” Lucchetti says.

Community involvement also means the region needs to support the University, providing jobs for its students by attracting new businesses to the area and retaining those already here, Lucchetti says.

Meanwhile, Lucchetti continues his own personal involvement in helping the Sacramento area. The approach is best summed up by his description of how family members oversee one of the company’s foundations, deciding how funds are spent. “It’s with the condition that you don’t just give money out. You become involved in what the group is and get to know what they do. That works pretty well.”