Alfred Ortiz, the CEO of a prominent Colorado-based cybersecurity company, is a testament to the power of education and the impact it can have on a student’s career trajectory. Recently, Ortiz testified in front of the U.S. Senate regarding small businesses in the cybersecurity sector.
The Cal Poly Pomona alumnus (‘92, political science), who founded Cyber Software Distributors in 2018, has not only achieved remarkable success in the cybersecurity field.
Even as a social sciences student, Ortiz developed an interest in technology. He found that the skills he was acquiring in his political science courses were adaptable to the tech world.
“CPP was very influential,” Ortiz said. “The learning process I experienced there translated into different aspects of my career. I encountered a lot of technology at CPP, and even though I was in the social sciences, I was able to apply the tech knowledge I gained to various jobs.”
CPP’s, learn-by-doing approach provided a solid foundation for his subsequent academic pursuits.
“The academic standards I experienced at CPP set the stage for me to learn and prepare for an MBA,” he said. “Today, I’m learning and building off my doctorate. The other classes I took at CPP helped shape my career. Learning by doing helped me understand how politics and technology intertwine. It was like getting my feet wet and learning what I needed to do to become successful.”
Ortiz’s involvement in international programs and projects has broadened his global perspective. Additionally, his participation in international relations and international politics courses, as well as the Model UN team at CPP, made him more interested in global happenings.
One person who played a pivotal role in shaping Ortiz’s international outlook was Professor John Moore, the advisor for the Model UN team.
“Dr. Moore helped me venture into the international world. He showed me how people view the world from different perspectives,” Ortiz said. I’ve had the chance to interact with individuals working internationally in various capacities—whether it’s nonprofits, non-governmental organizations, or foreign service personnel. This exposure has given me a profound understanding of international politics and business.”
Ortiz’s career path reflects his expertise in understanding how people make decisions, both in the United States and internationally. He emphasizes that technology is a global entity, and the basics he learned at CPP have translated seamlessly into the organizations he has worked with.
Motivated by the fast-paced changes in the tech world, Ortiz pursued an executive MBA at IE Business School in Madrid, Spain. CPP had laid the groundwork for his academic success and the MBA program proved to be a perfect fit, he said.
“It set me up for graduate school, including my doctorate,” Ortiz reflects. “While an MBA helps you understand the ‘what,’ a doctorate program teaches you to research and understand the ‘why.’ It makes you more inquisitive.”
His work also has made him an expert sought out by governmental agencies such as the Small Business Administration and the Department of Commerce and testified at the senate.
“As a CEO, educator and citizen, I come armed with the wealth of IT experience and the enduring legacy of my family’s entrepreneurial spirit,” Ortiz stated at the U.S. Senate Field Testimony on August 17th. “Through the lens of CSD cyber’s transformative collaborations, I have witnessed firsthand the pressing need for accessible solutions that empower entities of all scales to secure their futures.”