College loses a good friend
A good and long-time friend of the College of Engineering passed away this morning. Admiral Ronald Joseph “Zap” Zlatoper was 80 years old. He graciously served on the College’s Dean’s Council since its inception in 2007, contributing his wisdom and insight through three deans. Most of all, we will remember his friendly, charismatic, and lively personality.
The Admiral was also the 24th Trustee of The Estate of James Campbell, serving since 2000, after successful earlier careers in the high technology industry and the United States Navy. During his service in the private and public sectors, Admiral Zlatoper served for over 10 years as the Chief Executive Officer of large organizations in the national defense and commercial sectors.
Prior to joining The Estate of James Campbell, Admiral Zlatoper served as Co-Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Sanchez Computer Associates, Inc., a banking software company rated 45th on the Forbes magazine list of the 200 best small companies in the U.S. As the CEO, he oversaw operations in the areas of finance, production management, investor relations and client services. From 1997 through 2000, Admiral Zlatoper was instrumental in the addition of new offices, business associations, and partnerships worldwide, as well as corporate acquisitions, as Sanchez grew from a $50 million market capitalization organization to a $1 billion corporation.
Before joining Sanchez, Admiral Zlatoper completed a distinguished naval career. His final assignment was Commander in Chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, the world’s largest naval command encompassing half the Earth’s surface, and including more than 190 ships, 1600 aircraft, and 200,000 personnel, with an operating budget of $5 billion per year. In this command he was directly responsible for naval relations with 45 countries throughout the Asia Pacific rim. He is a combat experienced naval aviator with over 4,000 flying hours and 1,000 carrier landings.
Throughout his professional career, he was called regularly to testify before the U.S. Congress. He contributed to many Washington “think tank” studies; served as a consultant for several commercial corporations; published articles on management, logistics, and naval strategy; and serves on the advisory boards and boards of directors of four corporations.
Admiral Zlatoper held an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Master’s degree in Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Master’s degree in Administration from the George Washington University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from RPI. He was a distinguished graduate of the Naval War College. Admiral Zlatoper regularly lectured on leadership, management, and military matters at universities and corporate conferences around the country and overseas.
Community involvement was very important to Admiral Zlatoper. He served as a Trustee for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Regent for Chaminade University, and a Board of Visitors member of the School of Business & Public Management at the George Washington University. He also served on the boards of the U.S.S. Missouri Memorial Association, the Military Aviation Museum of the Pacific, the East-West Center, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation, Chamber of Commerce of Hawai’i-Military Affairs Committee, Catholic Charities Hawai’i, and was a member of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of the United Way. He was also Slovenia’s honorary Consul General in Hawai’i.
He will be missed.