Getting to Know the New CFO

April 13, 2018

Welcome Melissa Jarnagin!

We are pleased Melissa Jarnagin accepted the position of Chief Financial Officer and Director of Business & Financial Planning for HDAE this past February. She brings 24+ years of higher education experience in finance and administration, and has worked for both private and public institutions, most recently as the Associate Vice President for Budget and Planning at California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI). We asked her a few questions so we can all get to know her a little better.

What do you do for fun?
Being outdoors, camping, riding quads, walking the dog, cycling. After growing up in the Pacific Northwest having such beautiful weather year-round is an excellent opportunity to get out and about.

Do you have any hobbies?
Spending time at Disneyland! I love to people watch!

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Redmond, Washington, which is now known for the Microsoft headquarters. Prior to Microsoft taking over, Redmond was a small town with one flashing yellow light.  

Where did you go to school?
I got my Bachelors of Science in Business Administration/Management from Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. I was part of a working adult cohort degree completion program.  

So far, what is your favorite thing about working in HDAE?
The people! Everyone has been so gracious and that shows through in the work that is completed, the commitment to employees and student experiences.

What are you looking forward to about living/working in Santa Barbara?
Santa Barbara is very unique, definitely a gem of SoCal. I cannot wait to explore the various restaurants, beaches, and farmers markets, as well as the amazing bike paths that encompass the community!

What is your ideal meal?
Italian! I grew up in a very large, very loud Italian family. My grandmother made everything from scratch. One of our first dining out experience in Santa Barbara was Toma and the food was amazing!

What are some experiences that prepared you for the CFO position?
I think closing down a college (Oregon Graduate Institute merged with Oregon Health & Science University) and then building a University from the ground up (California State University Channel Islands opened in 2002) has given me great insight into the challenges and opportunities that we face. At CSUCI we did a lot of firsts in the CSU system, including successfully selling assets through a Public Private Partnership (P3) which led to a constant cash flow to the campus and substantially reducing the debt portfolio. When I left we were in the final stages of the next P3 project to develop 32 acres of vacant land with 600 additional faculty/staff/age restricted housing.

Is there anything else you think HDAE staff members would enjoy learning about you?
I have two children (son and daughter), they are both 23 and two weeks apart (my husband likes to say it was a really long labor, we met when the kids were 2). My daughter, Kesli, lives in Portland, Oregon, attends Portland Community College, and is a bartender in her spare time. My son, Thad, lives in Thousand Oaks, California, attends California State University Northridge, and works at Great Minds Robotics teaching 5 to 18 year olds programming on robots. My husband, Tim, works for Invisible Fence. He’s been a real trooper supporting me and my career, first moving to California for my job at CSUCI and now to Santa Barbara. We will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary this June.

Any question you'd love to answer that we didn't ask?
I feel very fortunate to be here at UCSB and most importantly in HDAE. I look forward to working with everyone and contributing to the success of the unit!