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Alumni Spotlight: Roger Reedy

What is your current position? Why were you drawn to this line of work?

Roger Reedy, Cal Poly English Alumnnus
Roger Reedy

I am director of business development of BDSI. We are a business consulting group we work with small businesses and startups, and I’ve been with them for over 20 years. The company actually evolved, I joined them right out of college and to be honest at the time I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Marketing business interested me. I’m in the Silicon Valley and I had a short tenure with a company that worked out well got an offer from BBSI and I’ve been with them ever since.

What accomplishments are you most proud of in your career/life?

It’s always weird for me to say I’m so proud I did this or this or this just because it seems a little self-serving, but my company was very small when it first started. They liked me because I was an English major so I could speak well and write well so I did a lot of the marketing in the beginning. We were less than one hundred employees, way back when. Today we have well over a thousand employees, publicly traded—I’m actually the longest tenured employee at my company today. I don’t want to say that this was all me because it wasn’t, but I’m proud of being a part of a team that had a vision on where this company could go and being a part of building that.

I’ve also spent a lot of my time when I’m not doing work, working with nonprofits. I’m very, in some ways, more proud of that. That’s not the business of making dollars and such, that’s about giving back to the community. I’ve been associated with, for fifteen years, a nonprofit called Project Hired. I’m very proud of them, I served as chairman of the board for two years and as a regular board member for thirteen years.  

How has your English degree from Cal Poly impacted your career/life?

When I came to Cal Poly back in the 80’s I was rather shy in high school I didn’t like public speaking; I avoided that to the best of my abilities. And something happened almost in the moment I got here, I kinda came out of my shell, I started taking a lot of public speaking courses, I was highly influenced by a professor in the English Department named Al Landwehr who was a successful writer. He’s still a friend of mine today. But he was more like a mentor to me, he was my senior advisor my senior year but I credit Cal Poly and teachers, professors, my friends that I met here as being a big part of what’s lead to my success today.  

Do you have any advice for current English majors at Cal Poly?

One thing I’ve noticed, especially over the last six, seven years meeting the students, you guys are a lot more confident, a lot more mature than we were back in the day in our years. I’m always so impressed with how friendly and outgoing the students are today. My advice would be to enjoy the time you’re here, because I still look back on college as just a tremendously fun time and a tremendously great learning experience as well. Stay in contact with all the friends you make here. You guys have the chance now to make sure you keep those friendships and then most importantly the teachers that touch your lives. You guys have the chance to maintain those relationships with those professors or advisors that mean a lot to you throughout your whole careers. Don’t lose touch with them. If you have a favorite professor, stay in touch with them after college. Let them know how you’re doing and let them know what impact they had on your life. 

Favorite author/book and why? (or if you can't choose, favorite genre?)

John Irving, The World According to Garp. I read that when I was here at Cal Poly. I don’t know why, it’s kind of a quirky novel if you’ve ever read it. He’s just a fascinating writer. I’d recommend other books of his too, but that’s the one that stands out as my all time favorite.

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