While Kevin Vogt was working on his Master of Business Administration at Stanislaus State, he wasn’t actively looking for his next job.
After all, he already had found success in his near-decade as the CFO at Emanuel Medical Center. Yet he found an intriguing quality not only in his educational experience at Stan State but also among his fellow students.
“While I was doing my master’s, I met five or six Hilmar Cheese employees who were students at Stanislaus at the time,” Vogt said. “I remember thinking that if that’s the kind of people Hilmar Cheese is hiring, maybe that’s a place I should look. It was clearly a point of connection for me.”
Vogt joined Hilmar Cheese shortly after receiving his MBA in 2002, and in 2012 became the CFO of the company, which has grown to more than 1,400 employees and gross annual revenues in excess of $2 billion. He’s definitely a Stanislaus State success story, and as such is being honored at this year’s commencement as an Alumnus of the Year for Professional Achievement.
“This comes as a surprise,” said Vogt, 49. “I don’t see myself as an academic, so to receive an award like this from an academic institution at this stage in my career and my life is special for me.”
Just as Vogt’s professional accomplishments reflect back positively on the University, the presence of Stanislaus State in the region made earning his MBA possible.
“It would have been very difficult for me to get my MBA while working at Emanuel had Stanislaus State not been right here,” said Vogt, who has given back to the University by serving on its Business Advisory Board and also has participated in Accounting Club meetings and classroom panel discussions. “I would have had to go through UC Berkeley, which would have meant a four-day weekend, an every Friday-through-Monday thing, to accomplish that. It would have been very difficult.”
He also is proud to be a part of a company that continues to stress the importance of education to its employees. Hilmar Cheese offers its employees a tuition benefit program.
“We support higher education through our company, offering tuition reimbursement for our employees who want to go back to school,” said Vogt, who also is a long-time board member at Turlock Christian School. “Stan State is one of the schools that gives us the opportunity to do that right here.”
Commencement will be a special moment for Vogt, his wife Emily and children Kyndal and Kameron, both of whom attend Westmont College. Because of his responsibilities at Emanuel Medical Center, he didn’t have the time to devote to attending his own master’s commencement ceremony. Not only will he be speaking at one of this year’s ceremonies, but his family will join him.
“It will be my first time being on the podium at this University,” Vogt said. “I was working at the time and was at a time in life where I was too busy. I couldn’t take a day off to enjoy the experience.”