Mike Loza '03
Regional Director of business development, Sanveo
When Mike Loza ‘03 was a student at Santa Clara University, he was commuting to campus every day from Gilroy, which on a bad day could take an hour and a half. After class, he had to leave immediately because of the long ride home. As a result, he had a hard time connecting with his classmates.
A prototypical can-do guy, Loza decided he needed to address the problem, and he did it by working with the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Loza was in the first cohort of Hackworth Fellows, a select group of SCU seniors who are chosen each year to create programs on ethics that serve their fellow undergraduates.
The ethical question, he says, was, What does the University owe commuter students in terms of integrating them into the community? “We had a lot of success gathering students and opening up a dialogue about how we felt disenfranchised,” he remembers.
Loza was after the sense of connection that he believes forms the networks people rely on in school and later when they enter the working world. “In the real world, it's all about who you know, especially in my role as a business development professional,” he says. The work he did at the Ethics Center filled that bill. “To this day I stay in contact with people from that group.”
It also helped to set the direction he would go in his professional life. Loza’s path led him into sales/business development in the construction industry. Two streams from his Ethics Center experience came together in how he approached his work. The first stream was the idea of networking.
The second was ethics itself. “One of the greatest tools that I took away from my Hackworth Fellowship was the Center’s Framework for Ethical Decision Making,” Loza says. The framework offers different ethical lenses for approaching an issue. “This has always been a great guide for me when I come across any ethical dilemma,” he continues. “It even helps me identify if there is an ethics question involved.”
Over his years in the working world, Loza has encountered his share of dilemmas. “I saw with my own eyes ethics being pushed aside for profits,” Loza says. For example, he explains, “I saw people who wouldn’t take responsibility for their own actions, general contractors would blame the subcontractors, and so forth. I saw what we call in the industry ‘numbers shopping.’ That’s when you waste a contractor’s time getting him to bid a job even though you know you’re not going to award him the contract. You just use his number to beat your own contractor up to go down on his bid.”
Loza decided to bring the streams of networking and ethics together. He realized that there were a lot of SCU alumni in the building industry. “We all had a commonality,” he observes. “We were educated for the three Cs—competence, conscience, and compassion. That’s big on campus. I saw an opportunity there.”
Loza started by forming a group, the SCU Bronco Builders, (SCUBBA) for alumni in the building industries (development, construction & commercial real estate.) About 10 people came to the first meeting. There are now 318 members, all of them committed to promoting relationships among alumni and offering mentorship or internship opportunities for current Santa Clara students. The group is also devoted to promoting sound, ethical business practices and to encouraging sustainability in their industry.
Loza himself found his current job as the Regional Director of Business Development at Sanveo through the organization, whose CEO, Ashfaq Rasheed (Engineering ‘03), is also an SCU alum. Sanveo provides Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) services to construction companies, architects, and engineers.
Bronco Builders, Loza says, “brings me back to my undergrad days, that desire to be connected. A lot of these guys are friends; I do business with them. If it weren’t for my Hackworth Fellowship, I might never have founded it.”