2016: Ryan Cortez
Economic Development, City of Corona
Ryan Cortez headed to college with the idea of studying history and becoming a teacher. But his innate interest in business—shaped by years of working in his family’s firm, Cortez Jewelers—changed his mind.
Ryan chose Norco College for the same reason many of his classmates did: the campus was close to home. It is a decision that he never regretted. Interactions with professors such as Arend Flick taught him to think critically, to examine issues from all sides before reaching a decision or group consensus. A talented student, Ryan made the Dean’s List at Norco College and earned dual associate of arts degrees before transferring to California Baptist University to earn his bachelor’s of science in Business Administration. His stellar academic performance as an undergraduate set the stage for Ryan to enter the MBA program at CBU, and in May 2013 he walked across the stage to receive his master’s degree.
Ryan’s education and experience led to a job as a business retention specialist with the city of Corona—his employer of choice. Last year, he was promoted to economic development specialist and now spends his days managing the business retention program, business expansion projects, and performing demographic data analysis. He is frequently out in the community, working closely with business owners to improve local businesses’ capabilities and maintain local job opportunities. He also works closely with Norco College to ensure that career technical programs align with industry needs. Ryan credits and thanks his parents, his girlfriend (a Norco College alum), and the Corona city manager and city council for their support and mentoring.