The OC CAL Alumni Club is
profiling Greg Haack ('99 Haas School of Business and Lifetime Member of
the OC Cal Alumni Club). After moving to Irvine from San Mateo in
2004, Greg has become an integral member of the club and currently
chairs Prospective Student Outreach.
“It’s a privilege to serve as an ambassador for Cal. The fall College
Fairs and the New Student Reception each April are the most rewarding
opportunities for Orange County alums to give back to and help steer
students to say ‘YES!’ to Cal.”
- 27+ = The number of College Fairs in Orange County in 2012.
- 50+ = The number of Cal Alums that volunteered to staff OC College Fairs in 2012.
- 13,000+ = The number of students reached!
Each fall, with the support of Ana Rafferty with the Office of
Undergraduate Admissions and Matt Ulery with the Cal Alumni Association,
Greg is responsible for coordinating the volunteer training, drumming
up multiple volunteers for each school and connecting them with the
representatives at each high school and assisting with the logistical
challenges of moving supplies from campus to each volunteer so they can
be ready for the throngs of students that await. “The enthusiasm that
the alums have for Cal is infectious! We’re blessed to have dedicated
alums that are willing to carve out several hours after work to meet
with literally hundreds of students and spread the word about Cal.”
Then in the spring, Greg works with President, Merrick Nguyen, and
President Emeritus, Jason Sherr, to coordinate the New Student Reception
(NSR). The NSR is held after the students have been accepted to Cal
and before the deadline to enroll. “It’s our last opportunity to close
the deal and explain, face-to-face, why Cal will be a life-changing
On the third Thursday of each month about 20 alums get together for
lunch at Dave and Busters at the Irvine Spectrum. “People say ‘Buy
American’ I say… ‘Buy Berkeley!’ In a land of Trojans and Bruins, us
Bears need to stick together and make a point to move business between
each other. I’ve been attending the monthly networking luncheons for
years and have made friends with a wonderful group of professional
Greg’s journey to Cal was a long road. After graduating from Manteca
High School in 1995, he enrolled at CSU Stanislaus in Turlock. While at
Stanislaus, he realized that Haas was the best fit for him and he had
his courses evaluated at Cal. While Cal would accept the coursework,
Stanislaus would only sign off on 3 of his 15 credits. Per Greg “they
were insulted that I was treating them as a stepping-stone to Cal.”
Greg then spent the next three semesters taking classes at both Modesto
Junior College and San Joaquin Delta Junior College. Said Greg “I
remember vividly opening my acceptance letter and crying tears of joy
that my hard work had paid off. As a transfer student, the stakes are a
While at Haas “I remember feeling like I was the dumbest student in my
Economics class. I got a D on my mid-term and was relieved! I went
from people asking to be in my study group at JC to finding the ‘smart
kids’ and begging to join their study groups.”
- As a transfer student, by the
time I came to campus the prime housing was taken. I ended up getting a
shabby apartment at the corner of MLK Jr. and Ashby. It was common for
people to knock on my door asking for my recyclables and for me to have
to shoo kids sitting on my car, holding their infants and “smoking.”
- Later that fall I was at a
luncheon for the Alumni Scholars. When my name was announced the alums
were booing me loudly. A retired Oakland firefighter walked over to me
and politely untied my RED necktie and folded it inside my coat pocket.
He then took off his own George J. Good Cal neck tie, placed it around
my neck and scolded me for wearing a red tie.
- Later that year, my “friends”
from high school, Erik Alves (studying at SFSU) and Ethaan Boyer (Cal –
Architecture) executed a successful kidnapping of me. I was tied up,
blindfolded and stuffed into a trunk of a car. After 45 minutes of
driving around, they ended up stopping for pizza, I was carried up a
flight of stairs and thrown into a room. They pulled the pillowcase off
my head and my friends were waiting for me at my surprise 21st birthday
- I was serving as the
President of the Haas Business School Association (HBSA) my senior
year. 1998 was the 100th anniversary of the School of Business and, on
behalf of the undergrads, I was able to speak about Haas and role of the
undergraduate students at the Centennial Celebration party at
- Last year, my friend Ethaan
(played Saxophone in the Cal Band) passed away unexpectedly and the
Alumni Band played at his service. It was quite a moving scene to have
the Alumni Band come together and honor a fellow Bear.
When he is not banging the drum for Cal, Greg is the CEO of Pacific
Group, a full-service national Employee Benefits Brokerage. He joined
Pacific Group in 2002 and was promoted from Regional Manager of the San
Francisco office to Director of Group Sales. In 2007 he was promoted
again to CEO after acquiring an equity position in the company. Along
the way, Greg furthered the growth of Pacific Group’s client base in
both Northern and Southern California. He was also responsible for the
successful opening of the Portland office and expanding the Arizona
client base shortly thereafter. Greg has also completed the required
courses and examinations to earn his RHU® (Registered Health
Underwriter) designation and is a NAHU Certified PPACA Professional.
"We help businesses manage their Health Insurance costs and comply with Health Care Reform."
Before joining Pacific Group, Greg worked for Wells Fargo’s Private
Client Services and NetCurrents in the San Francisco Bay Area. While at
NetCurrents, Greg was the Controller during NetCurrents’ reverse IPO.
Greg is an Advisory Board Member with the National Teen Leadership
Program. Born in Portland, Oregon, Greg and his wife, Thu, and their
daughter, Elizabeth make their home in Irvine.
We also want to thank Greg for his consistent financial contributions to
the club. Greg has made it a point to make the OC Cal Alumni Chapter a
payee on his Bank of American online BillPay account. Each month, he
makes a donation to the club and we thank him for it.
The OC CAL Alumni Club looks forward to profiling other OC CAL alums and sharing their stories.