Thomas Katona

Interim Co-Executive Director | Asst. Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Tom teaches entrepreneurship at Cal Poly and primarily works with the students who come through the CIE Hatchery.

He received his Ph.D. and M.S. degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He holds an M.B.A. from the University of South Carolina Moore School of Business and a B.S. in Engineering Physics from Westmont College.

Tom works jointly with the Orfalea College of Business and the CIE, focusing on Entrepreneurship, Product Development and Commercialization, and Design Thinking. Prior to joining Cal Poly, he served in senior roles for three successive startups (SET Inc., Soraa, and NEXT Lighting), commercializing novel light emitting semiconductors and lighting systems.

In his free time, Tom loves to sing karaoke and participate in the SLO Holiday Parade — just look for the guy dressed as Buddy the Elf!

Connect with Tom on LinkedIn