For Austin Metoyer ‘11, connections are everything.
Connecting with people is key to Metoyer’s career as the Downtown Long Beach Alliance’s (DLBA) economic development and policy manager. Networking mixers are some of his favorite events, and it was the connections he made during his time at Cal State Long Beach that shaped his career path and led him to where he is today.
Metoyer studied international business and minored in Japanese, and it was his involvement in Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) as well as his fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, that guided him to his current career.
“The various roles I have in life is through connections on campus,” he said.
During his time in ASI, it was Metoyer’s mentor - David Edwards, who served as Associate Executive Director for ASI and Executive Director for the University Student Union (USU) – who shepherded him toward a successful career.
“I still reach out to him if I have questions,” Metoyer said during a recent 49er Chat. “I think it’s really important to find someone who is invested in your own personal growth just as much as you are. When you can find that person, it really helps guide you through life.”
After graduating, Metoyer landed an internship with the National Foreign Trade Council in Washington, D.C. He then gained experience in housing development with real estate firm Brailsford & Dunlavey, Inc., which has offices in both Washington, D.C., and Southern California. After deciding to move back to California, he found the opportunity in policy management at DLBA, where he is today.
When he served on CSULB’s Alumni Board from 2016 to 2020, he continued to home in on making connections.
This time, it was all about building generational bridges.
“It’s important to show that the Alumni Board isn’t composed of people who are more established,” he said.
During his time on the board, his viewpoints and input allowed CSULB Alumni to look at programs and outreach that span generations. “It’s also about understanding where people are,” Metoyer said.
“When you are fresh out of college, giving back thousands of dollars to have your name put on a building is not the first thing you think about,” he added.
As a new graduate, Metoyer found ways to give back that were not always financial, including mentoring students in ASI and in his former fraternity.
He started bonding with students who were once in his shoes by serving as an alumni representative on the USU Board of Trustees.
“I like to think that what he [Edwards] was able to teach me, I am able to provide back to those students,” Metoyer added.
As for the fraternity, during his time, alumni weren’t too involved. Metoyer saw an opportunity and stepped into that role.
“I wanted to be sure I was engaging with our active students,” he said. “In that sense it was a little bit of pride.”
Today, Metoyer remains an active CSULB Alumni volunteer. He believes that staying connected to the university, whether it’s through a financial gift or volunteer opportunities, is a way to support students who are doing great things.
“It's a little city, it’s a microcosm,” Metoyer said about The Beach. “When you get away from the campus, you forget how busy and how active it is … when you go on campus and see the life that’s happening there, it may make you reconsider.”
Metoyer has also made gifts to programs like ASI’s Beach Pantry.
"Student-lead organizations like ASI come up with really good programs that support students,” he said. “It’s important to me that we support those programs.”
He said he knew that there were students on campus during his time at school who were food insecure, but the awareness wasn’t quite there yet. After Dr. Rashida Crutchfield and a team of researchers brought to light the actual figures of food insecure students, CSULB became a model campus for the CSU to create programs that can help address student needs.
“It’s an invaluable program at CSULB,” Metoyer said.