Updated: Mar 28, 2018
When Gary Martin arrived on the SDSU camps in 1978, he soon realized the value of a large social network. The freshman from Chula Vista lived in an off-campus apartment and like so many other students, was anxious to meet more of his classmates. “One day I saw an old friend from high school who mentioned that he had joined ΣΑΕ,” Gary recalled.“I didn’t know anything about fraternities but decided to rush—only ΣΑΕ. As soon as I walked through the front door of the Cal Theta house, my life changed. From knowing very few people on a 35,000 student campus, I was soon acquainted with several hundred.”
Gary not only enjoyed an enhanced social life but also got involved in the fraternity, serving as Cal Theta’s pledge trainer, treasurer and then EA.
Graduating in 1981 with a Business/Information Systems degree, Gary was ready to jumpstart his career. “Sales had always been my objective, with a focus on getting into the business computer profession,” he explained. “The PC industry was expanding in the early 1980s and my degree helped me get on the ground floor.” His first stop was with Control Data Corp. in Sunnyvale, Calif.“I was fortunate to get a good job with a great company right out of college.”
Brother Martin subsequently took a career detour when he realized another goal—working as a stockbroker in Boise, Idaho. A few years later, he returned to the computer industry, receiving an attractive offer to join Seagate Technology (hard disc drive manufacturer), first in Orange County and later in Georgia and North Carolina. “This was a major career boost. I managed the company’s important IBM account and was eventually promoted to global sales director.”
During his tenure with Seagate, Gary participated in Harvard University’s Director’s Leadership program and various training courses in strategic selling, negotiations, statistical analysis and presentation skills.
“For 20 years, I enjoyed a good career in a high growth industry; enabling me to travel the world, work with people of different cultures and develop great relationships,” he said.
When the high tech market slumped in 2009, Gary adapted and found a new place in the wellness industry, as director of business development for startup RivalHealth. He applied the same business development skills that had made him successful in previous positions. But he also was receptive when a fraternity brother offered him a chance to return to San Diego last year—to join NetApp, a data storage company. “It was good to be back and reconnect with extended family members and friends, and attend Aztec games again.”
Gary also had the chance to volunteer on the ΣΑΕ Alumni Association’s Board of Directors; assisting with both new member development and chapter support. “I’m anxious to help expand the Association’s membership. I want to see more of my contemporaries and other alumni get involved; attending events and offering support.”
When not busy with work or his Alumni Association responsibilities, Gary enjoys playing golf and traveling with his wife Cynthia, including visits with their four children, and stops at micro-breweries around the country. He also welcomes the occasions to see the fraternity brothers he first met as a young SDSU student. “The fondness ΣΑΕs have for each other is evident as we get together,” he emphasized. “Becoming a member of Cal Theta provided me with the camaraderie I wanted; a lifetime of friends.”
~ By David Robinson