In the face of adversity, Bradley Soares stands out as a resilient individual. Despite experiencing professional and personal challenges — including a cancer diagnosis — he still managed to balance his studies at Stanislaus State and earn his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in operations management.
Faculty member Stephanie Eubanks describes Soares as an excellent student who has a rich thirst for knowledge, enriches class discussions and fosters an atmosphere of critical thinking.
“Bradley brought to all classes his sense of ingenuity,” said Eubanks, a faculty member in the Department of Management, Operations and Marketing. “He was never afraid to speak up and ask questions or to reach out and collaborate with faculty and students. I am proud to have gotten the opportunity to work with him.”
His determination and commitment to his education enabled him to secure a role as an operations development manager at E.&J. Gallo Winery, Stanislaus County’s largest employer and the largest family-owned winery in the world. Soares was selected for the position after attending the "Gallo Day" recruitment event. Select students were invited from Stan State, University of the Pacific and UC Merced to participate, and Soares stood out as the top recruit for Operations Management Development.
Before enrolling at Stan State, Soares attended Modesto Junior College, where he initially planned to study accounting. His previous experience as a project manager in construction led him to switch his major to business administration with concentration in operations management when he transferred.
But Soares recalls how his life took a significant turn in October 2017 when he received a cancer diagnosis. At the time, he worked as an apprentice lineman for a company in Tracy. His diagnosis heightened his drive for personal growth and guided his approach to his education and his career.
He said he owes much of his success to his wife Stefany. Their partnership allowed him to balance the demands of school with family responsibilities, which created a crucial support system.
“Constant communication with my wife was critical,” Soares said. “For us, it was about understanding what obligations we had and knowing when I had to take a step back due to my coursework or my recovery.”
That included at times getting a pass on certain household chores so he could have extra hours to work on an essay or helping more around the household when his assignments were lighter.
Their teamwork paid off. Soares graduated in December and will participate in Commencement this spring.
“Finishing the semester is a measure of closure for me,” he said. “It feels like I can finally close that chapter of my life and move forward. I value time more than ever, and my battle with cancer has made me extremely aware that we only get so much of it,” Soares said.
Embracing a newfound appreciation for life, Soares received another piece of life-changing news recently: he and his wife are expecting their first child this spring.
“I feel like the clock is really ticking now,” he said. “I want to put this degree to work and provide for my household. I want to give my family the life they deserve.”
With a strong sense of purpose driving him, Soares reflects positively on his time at Stan State.
“Instructors are deeply invested in seeing students succeed,” he said. “I was never turned away when I wanted their perspective. They are always excited to talk about industry situations and developments. That helped me realize and refine the direction I wanted to pursue.”
“Bradley has always shown himself to be a uniquely positive person and a hard worker,” Eubanks said. “He always engaged in class and sought ways to improve himself. Seeing how he is thriving brings tears of happiness and pride.”
Eventually, Soares plans to return to Stan State to pursue a Master of Business Administration.
“All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the faculty and staff in the College of Business Administration, especially in the Department of Management, Operations and Marketing,” Soares said. “The wonderful instructors and their commitment to their students have been a major contributor to my success at Stan State.”