Twin alums’ app locates pickup basketball games

Twin brothers Dominic ’11 (Marketing) and Donte ’11 (General Management) Morris are basketball fanatics with an acumen for entrepreneurship. They found an opportunity to meld the two out of the frustration they encountered finding pickup games.

Such was the genesis for Hoop Maps. An app that can find a pickup basketball game anywhere in the world, Hoop Maps had been downloaded about 1,000 times before CBS13 featured a segment on it last week leading into the NCAA Tournament. That number rocketed quickly after the TV coverage: Dominic said in a phone interview March 22 that it had been downloaded 10,000 times in the previous three days. Talk about a pickup.

Dominic said the brothers, 28, had the idea for a while before launching it last year. “We thought it was going to get all the buzz and for almost a year … people didn’t take to it,” he said.

To happen upon a game was as effortless as a Kyrie Irving drive to the basket when the brothers were growing up in Oakland, they told CBS13. But nowadays, finding a game after work hours can be tougher than locating TruTV on your channel roster. They figured a marriage of smart phones’ GPS feature and players’ quest for some good run was a natural.

“So that’s kind of what sparked the idea,” Donte told CBS13.

Going into business together also came naturally for the twins, who Dominic said did “everything” together as schoolkids. Now that they’ve found a potentially worldwide market geared toward players of an immensely popular sport, the Morrises, who also are founders of a local fall baseball league, seem well positioned for a big score. “Now that everything is happening,” Dominic said, “this is how we saw it.”

In addition to the CBS13 segment, you’ll find more coverage and details about the twins’ app on the popular blog Blavity.

Karin Hibma goes solo as a branding maven

Michael Cronan was a branding guru with a knack for names. He dreamed up the moniker “TiVo” on his own and “Kindle” in collaboration with his wife, Karin Hibma. They were partners in the Berkeley naming, visual identity, and brand strategy firm ::CRONAN:: until his death from colon cancer in 2013.

“Michael and I met at Sac State when we were both art students,” says Hibma, a graduate of Sacramento’s Encina High School. “John Fitzgibbon was the art chair, and he brought in all of these young California artists as teachers.

“It was a very innovative faculty, and the great thing about Sac State was that there were a lot of overlapping disciplines where Michael found interesting dialogues,” she says. I remember (underground artist) R. Crumb playing music on the (Library) Quad with his band, and the Art and Mythology professor, Kurt von Meier, brought in Joseph Campbell (author of The Power of Myth) to speak. It was just a great art department.”

Learn more about Hibma and her fascinating life and career in this Q&A profile in the Los Angeles Times.


Presidential Leadership Scholar continues crusade for clean energy

Brandon Kline
Brandon Kline has dedicated his career to the pursuit of energy security in the United States. (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

Can capitalism help save the planet? Proud Sacramento State alumnus Brandon Kline thinks it can.

An energy law fellow at the Green Energy Institute at Lewis & Clark University in Portland, Ore., Kline has dedicated his career to the pursuit of clean energy. And while his master’s thesis is on the role that capital markets play in addressing climate change, that barely scratches the surface of his efforts this past year.

Since 2015, Kline (’05, Government) has graduated from law school, earned his master’s in energy law, and was one of just 61 experts selected for the Presidential Leadership Scholars (PLS) program – one of the nation’s most exclusive and groundbreaking think tanks – all with the ultimate aim of answering America’s most pressing energy questions through public policy.

“This is not something where we should be looking at climate change as a polarizing issue,” Kline says. “Because we’re not really talking about climate change; we’re talking more about securing this nation’s energy sources and looking at what’s the smartest way for us to be able to produce energy.”

In the midst of it all, Kline and his wife, Rosilynn, had a daughter earlier this year. He plans to spend some much-deserved family time before launching his PLS project in the fall.

Now in its third year, PLS is a leadership development program that brings together diverse leaders from all over the country to address some of the nation’s most persistent issues. Each participant proposes his or her own project on a specific issue. They draw on resources from four presidential centers and work directly with former presidents, their senior staff members, and top industry leaders to find solutions that transcend party lines.

Kline was selected from more than 900 applicants for his project on energy security.

His project tackles myriad questions: How can we effectively get energy from areas producing the most renewable resources to the rest of the country? How can federal leadership ensure that states use more renewable energy? How can we create a wellspring of information to inform comprehensive energy policies that don’t change with each new presidential administration? From solar companies to leaders in the coal industry, interests from across the energy spectrum are a part of the discussion.

“The way I’m approaching it is not having only the clean guys at the table; you need to have everyone at the table,” he says.

Brandon Kline with Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush
Brandon Kline and Presidents Bill Clinton (left) and George W. Bush at a Presidential Leadership Scholars event. (Scott Beale/Atlas Corps.)

The project is the latest incarnation of a personal campaign that started over a decade ago at Sacramento State.

Originally from San Luis Obispo, Kline moved to Sacramento for the opportunity to make a meaningful impact in the world through public policy. He enrolled at Sac State and went absolutely gangbusters, taking advantage of as many opportunities as possible to get inside the State Capitol: He interned at the California Energy Commission, which Kline says “had a huge effect on (his) worldview” and prompted him to study energy law; he interned at the California Business Roundtable; he was a member of the University’s award-winning Capital Fellows Programs.

“I had a premier education here; I got everything I needed in Sacramento,” Kline says. “This is where everything’s happening. If you want to make a difference in the world, then you have to go where the people are, where the policymakers are, where the leaders are. So that’s why for me, I wanted to get out of a small town and make a difference.”

Making a difference on the biggest scale is exactly what Kline intends to do. His thesis, for example, proposes reforms to fair disclosure requirements so that public companies would have to divulge the impacts of climate change and legislation on their bottom lines. If this kind of information had to be public, Kline says, investors would naturally get behind cleaner, more profitable companies like Tesla that are ahead of the curve. In that sense, capital markets can actually have a real, tangible impact on climate change.

It’s that kind of high-minded thinking, coupled with an insatiable drive to better the world for generations to come, that has Kline moving faster than ever down a path toward a greener future – and he’s trying to bring the rest of us along.

“We don’t need blue electrons or red electrons; we need electricity throughout this country to be clean. That’s the only way you’re to get energy security here,” he says.“If we’re going to have a comprehensive solution that’s going to impact every corner of this country, we have to be able to have everyone buy in.”