Camarillo, Calif., Aug. 17, 2011 – CSU Channel Islands (CI) is pleased to announce the newly elected executive team for its 2011-2012 Alumni & Friends Association Board of Directors.

The Alumni & Friends’ executive team governs a 22-member volunteer board and an association composed of more than 1,200 CI alumni and friends, with the goal of keeping members connected to the University and each other. The association organizes special events, perks and programs throughout the year, including mentorship and career networking opportunities, baseball and hockey nights, special member discounts and newsletters. It also strives to increase membership and engagement and showcase the success of CI alumni.

The new executive team members are as follows: 

Fernando Mora – President

Mora, of Oxnard, graduated from CI in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish. He is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Sage Network Inc. in Camarillo, and has served on boards for the Boys & Girls Club of Camarillo and the Camarillo Chamber Young Professionals Group. As President, Mora will preside over board and member meetings, set the tone and key focus areas for the association, and report annually to the University President.

“This is a very important opportunity for me to give back time and energy to the University, staff and students,” stated Mora. “CI has played a crucial role in my development as an adult and as a business professional. I feel honored to help the Alumni & Friends Association continue to provide programs and opportunities to students and graduates and look forward to working alongside the executive team and the entire Alumni & Friends Board of Directors.”

Gary Wartik – Vice President

Wartik is a co-founder and Senior Consultant at Vision Consulting Group in Camarillo, which specializes in economic development, general business planning and business turnaround/Chapter 11 situations. He served as the Economic Development Manager for the City of Thousand Oaks between 1998 and February 2011. He holds a J.D. from San Fernando Valley College of Law, a Master’s in Public Administration from USC and a B.A. from CSU Northridge. As Vice President, Wartik will lead the association in the absence of the Board President and help in the day-to-day governance of the group. A longstanding “friend” and board member of the association, Wartik’s experience will help balance the talents of the younger committee members.

Austin Walker – Secretary

As Secretary, Walker is responsible for meeting minutes, membership lists and records, and reports and mailings for the association. Walker is a 2009 business graduate of CI who found his career through the Alumni & Friends mentorship program. He works as a Business Development Manager for Dale Carnegie Training in the greater Los Angeles and Ventura County areas and lives in Newbury Park.

Brandon Blake – Treasurer

As Treasurer, Blake will oversee financial records and accounts for the association. Blake is the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of the Arete companies, which acquire and invest in distressed real estate properties and also work with some of the nation’s largest health plans to identify and recover claim overpayments. Blake is a 2005 business graduate of CI and a resident of Ventura.

Leah Lacayo – Immediate Past President

As Immediate Past President with two consecutive terms under her belt, Lacayo will provide institutional knowledge that will carry over into the new executive team. She has been a “friend” of the association and an active supporter of the University since its inception. Lacayo volunteers her time for more than a dozen boards, committees and organizations that benefit the community, including the Congress of California Seniors, Downtown Center for the Arts in Oxnard, Ventura County Community Foundation - Destino, and the Ventura County Fair Foundation. She lives in Newbury Park.

For more information, visit or contact Tania Garcia, Director of Alumni Relations, at 805-437-8952 or

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About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands 
(CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more by visiting CI's Social Media.