A.J. van de Ven, Calsense CEO, Receives CLIMB Award for Outstanding Leadership

October 31, 2023

We’re proud to announce a momentous achievement within our company that highlights the exceptional leadership of our CEO, A.J. van de Ven, a distinguished graduate of California State University San Marcos (CSUSM). A.J. has been honored with the prestigious CLIMB Award from the College of Business at CSUSM. This recognition is a testament to the leadership that drives Calsense’s mission and values. 

The CLIMB Award: Recognizing Exceptional Leadership 

The CLIMB Award, or the Center for Leadership Innovation and Mentorship Building Award, is a recognition of individuals who embody extraordinary leadership qualities and inspire those around them to work toward a shared vision. Each year, CLIMB “selects one business leader who typifies the philosophy of the Center and is an exemplar of economic innovation, community involvement, philanthropic contributions, as well as business success.” A.J.’s journey from an aspiring computer scientist to an esteemed business leader resonates deeply with students at CSUSM. The award serves as a reminder of the transformative power of discovering one’s true passion and the impact of adaptability. 

A.J. expressed his gratitude for receiving the CLIMB Award by saying, “I am truly honored and humbled to be among amazing leaders who have received this award over the last 19 years.” 

Empowering Leadership: The ITEC Program 

A.J.’s journey to receiving the CLIMB Award was all the more special as it unfolded during his participation in CSUSM’s “In the Executive’s Chair” (ITEC) program. This program afforded A.J. the privilege of engaging with CSUSM’s College of Business students. In A.J.’s own words, “Every time I am on campus, I continue to be impressed with the caliber of the students. They are engaging, and their questions and comments are thought-provoking. ITEC is also a one-of-a-kind course that provides students the opportunity to interact with a new business leader every week, an invaluable way to gain insights to prepare them for their journey into the business world.” 

A.J.’s Remarkable Achievements 

A.J.’s achievements are not just limited to his recent recognition. As the youngest CEO in Calsense’s history, he exemplifies the power of seizing opportunities, even when they may not be readily apparent. A.J.’s ability to bridge generational gaps highlights his exceptional skill in connecting with diverse audiences. Furthermore, A.J. is dedicated to sustainability and water conservation, values that are deeply embedded in Calsense’s mission. His journey from a software engineer to a leadership role displays his commitment to personal growth and development. 

A.J. has consistently leveraged networks and mentorship throughout his career, a practice he continues by being a mentor to many, especially within the CSUSM community. His sage advice to students, especially graduating seniors, is a call to action: seize opportunities and start building your network now.  

A Lasting Impact on Leadership 

The CLIMB Award is evidence of the exceptional leadership qualities of A.J., Calsense’s CEO. His inspiring journey from a Starbucks barista to a successful business leader, combined with his insightful guidance based on his many experiences, has made a significant impact on the CSUSM College of Business students. A.J.’s leadership journey and his commitment to giving back and engaging with local communities serve as a shining example for us all. We congratulate A.J. on this well-deserved honor and look forward to his continued leadership at Calsense. A.J. van de Ven’s journey continues to inspire and empower all of us to reach greater heights in our own leadership roles. 

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