Mihaylo Alumnus Leads Funding Company, Gives Back to His Alma Mater

Mike Gold '04, MBA '12

Ben Gold ’04, MBA ’12

Mihaylo alumnus Ben Gold ’04, MBA ’12 has achieved entrepreneurial success as co-founder and president of Orange-based Quick Bridge Funding, recently recognized by the Orange County Business Journal as the fastest-growing private mid-sized company in the region. Gold is also actively involved in his alma mater, through support of the Executive Council, Mihaylo Leadership Academy and internship and scholarship programs.

Mihaylo marketing and business administration alumnus Ben Gold ’04, MBA ’12 has utilized his business education and entrepreneurial spirit to succeed and thrive in the Orange County business community.

From 2003 to 2011, Gold gained experience as an innovative leader as vice president of operations for Orange-based Alliance Funding Group, a company that provides business loans and equipment leases to corporate customers nationwide. Gold was responsible for oversight of all non-sales activities in this role, including development of credit and funding policies, team management, development benchmarks to ensure efficiency and creating and maintaining relationships with the company’s funding sources and underwriters.

In June 2011, Gold co-founded Orange-based Quick Bridge Funding with Jason Osiecki, David Gilbert and Brij Patel ’95. The company provides short-term working capital for small and medium-sized businesses. Under Gold’s leadership, Quick Bridge Funding has grown from a small business with two employees to a company with a workforce of more than 70 in only three years. It is now recognized as one of the leading alternative lending providers for small and medium-sized businesses in the United States, having lent more than $200 million to more than 5,000 different businesses since inception.

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Mihaylo Alumnus Drives Success at Toyota Financial Services

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Mihaylo management alumnus Mike Groff ’78 is president and CEO of Toyota Financial Services, the automaker’s financial operations in the United States. Groff discusses his career, the importance of his education and advice for aspiring managers.

Mike Groff ’78 has spent his nearly 40-year career in the financial sector of the automotive industry. First working at the General Motors Acceptance Corporation, the financial services wing of the Detroit-based manufacturer now known as Ally Financial Inc., in the late 1970s and early 1980s after his graduation from Mihaylo, Groff joined the newly-formed Toyota Motor Credit Corporation in 1983 as an operations administrator. The corporation, designed to help consumers develop the credit necessary for purchasing Toyota’s automobiles, has helped the Japanese manufacturer in its meteoric rise to become the world’s largest automaker.

After holding leadership positions in Toyota for several decades, Groff was named president and CEO of Toyota Financial Services in 2013, leading an organization of 3,200 associates, four million finance accounts and six million insurance agreements. The financial wing of the automaker offers insurance, credit cards, financing for automobile sales and selling corporate bonds to investors.

“The automobile business is quite complex and very capital intensive, but cars are what take people where they want to go and is a very interesting and exciting business,” Groff says.

In addition to his position at Toyota, Groff is a National Trustee for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, a major youth education and development program. He has guided Toyota Financial Services’ philanthropic efforts, including an environmental sustainability initiative that encourages customers to select paperless billing, with funds donated to the Boys and Girls Club for each customer that agrees to go paperless.

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Guzman-Cash Media: Marketing for Small Businesses

Mihaylo business students Scott Cash and Efren Guzman utilize their skills in marketing and finance to develop effective marketing campaigns for small businesses. The entrepreneurial students share their experience and lessons learned in building their start-up marketing company.

Scott Cash and Efren Guzman alongside their business fraternity brothers (Delta Sigma Pi)

Efren Guzman (far left) and Scott Cash (2nd from right) alongside their business fraternity brothers (Delta Sigma Pi).

Efren Guzman ’15 (marketing) and Scott Cash ’15 (finance) have different backgrounds in business; however, they share the same entrepreneurial spirit. They wanted to start their own business using the resources that were available to them. Knowing the importance of social media in maximizing customer outreach and promoting services and products, they realized that small-business owners likely don’t have the resources or time to spend on it. So, the two saw this as an opportunity – and Guzman-Cash Media began.

Guzman-Cash Media is a social-media marketing firm that creates personalized marketing solutions for small businesses. They provide services such as brand development and management, email marketing, college campus marketing, and direct sales and distribution. They manage social media profiles and online marketing activities to boost a business’ online presence through organic search engine optimization.

Both Guzman and Cash have experience in marketing from their courses at Mihaylo, however, Guzman generally decides what strategies to use and has the final say on their marketing campaigns. Cash handles the Quickbooks, finances and analysis of their marketing campaigns. They work together on scheduling social media posts and scouting new clients.

The company has grown greatly since its development despite starting with few resources. Guzman-Cash Media has successfully held Oggi’s Pizza & Brewhouse as a client, helping the restaurant build connections with the local college campuses and spreading awareness of their promotions. They have also worked with other local restaurants and retail stores and managed social media profiles for a small insurance company that helped boost their customer base.

Aside from the knowledge gained in school, time management and personal responsibility is key when managing your own business. “A lot of people think it’s easier to ‘be your own boss,’ but there is much more to manage than you can think of,” Cash adds. One of their biggest mistakes was depending on one huge client to pay their bills, so they have learned that diversification is very important. Balancing school, personal lives and managing a business is also an obstacle.

“It’s hard to find new clients when you’re also taking full-time courses at CSUF and working part-time jobs on the side,” he says.

A day in the office at Guzman-Cash.

A day in the office at Guzman-Cash.

Guzman and Cash believe that what they’ve learned from Mihaylo College has contributed to the growth of their company. The skills and knowledge they’ve acquired from their marketing classes have helped them develop better marketing campaigns for their clients. “It’s hard to say which classes were the most helpful, but I definitely believe everything I’ve learned at Mihaylo has come in handy at one point or another,” says Cash.

 

 

At the moment, Guzman-Cash Media is taking a break as the two are looking to gain experience in their individual fields. They are currently focusing on completing their upper division classes, graduating in the spring, and searching for full-time jobs. Their advice for those who want to start their own business is to take a risk and learn from other entrepreneurs. “If you’re in school and you have a chance to start a small business on the side, just do it. If you hate it, at least you’re young, you still have time to try other things and it looks great on a resume.”

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High School and College Students Perfect Their 60-Second Business Pitch at Mihaylo Fast Pitch Competition

Fast Pitch college winner Rafique Sheikh (left) with Center for Entrepreneurship director John Bradley Jackson (left)

Fast Pitch college winner Rafique Sheikh ’15 (left) with Center for Entrepreneurship director John Bradley Jackson (left) CREDIT: Tar Rakhra

Students from local high schools and colleges pitched innovative business ideas in 60 seconds at the Mihaylo Fast Pitch Competition, jointly hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurship and the Center for Economic Education. The top three winners received scholarships of up to $1,500.

Creating an innovative, yet workable, business idea can be difficult to develop. It is even more difficult to explain these ideas, which often take months or years to develop, in only 60 seconds to a panel of judges. That is exactly what student teams from nearly twenty Southern California high schools and universities did on Nov. 8 at Mihaylo’s annual Fast Pitch Competition, hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Center for Economic Education.

The event, held at the Landmark Special Events Center in Anaheim, was co-sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank, Empire Building Services, National StartUp League, Acel Solutions and several of the judges themselves, who represent diverse alumnus and business backgrounds.

The winners of the high school Fast Pitch Competition. From left to right: Brian Loh, Sharlena Luyen and

The winners of the high school Fast Pitch Competition. From left to right: Brian Loh, first place winner, Sharlena Luyen, second place, both of Troy High School, and Ronald Penh, third place, of Long Beach Polytechnic High School. CREDIT: Tar Rakhra

Colleges participating included CSU Fullerton, Chapman University, UC Irvine, Concordia University, Cal Poly Pomona, Fullerton College, GoldenWest College, Irvine Valley College, Orange Coast College and Saddleback College. High schools participating included public and private institutions from throughout Orange County.

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The Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting Nets a $1 Million Endowment

James and Jeanette Woods

James and Jeanette Woods

Mihaylo alumnus James Woods ’67 and his wife Jeanette created a $500,000 endowment for the Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting. The gift was matched by alumni and other friends of the college, providing funds for the center’s economic analysis and forecasting activities.

James Woods ’67, a Mihaylo business administration alumnus, and his wife Jeanette have long been active members of the college community. James, chairman emeritus and former CEO of Baker Hughes Inc., a major oilfield services company, is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board and a Mihaylo college stakeholder. The couple has continued their commitment to Mihaylo by providing a $500,000 endowment to the Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting, the college’s center responsible for analyzing and disseminating economic information to the university and the broader Orange County business community. Various donors, including businesses and individuals, matched the Woods’ endowment, providing the center with $1 million to further its economic analysis and forecasting activities. At the Oct. 23 economic forecast event, CSU Fullerton President Mildred Garcia and Mihaylo Dean Anil Puri announced that the endowment campaign goal had been reached.

“The pledge prompted a challenge to Orange County’s business and community leaders to match the gift,” President Garcia told more than 800 attendees at the economic forecast at the Hotel Irvine. “I am proud to report, we did, in fact, meet that challenge. I want to thank the many individuals and businesses here today that helped make this possible.”

Garcia believes there is a direct link between the generosity of donors and student performance. “Make no mistake, as the community’s generosity and support expand, so too does our students’ and graduates’ success,” she said.

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