Alumni Spotlight: From tech enthusiast to business leader


Courtesy of John Buccola

John Buccola is the CIO of billion-dollar laundry soap, WASH laundry.

Michelle Ki, Feature Editor

Most, if not, all high school students have probably thought about majoring in business at one point in their lives. However, many do not end up pursuing it due to the fact that business is one of the most competitive and risky fields. Diamond Bar High School alumna John Buccola, however, defied expectations as he found huge success, climbing his way to the top as the Chief Information Officer of WASH Laundry, a billion dollar outsourced laundry service company. It currently has over 70,000 locations and 500,000 machines.

A few months ago, Buccola was awarded Microsoft’s Visionary Award at their annual conference in Atlanta. He spoke to an audience of 12,000 people in Times Square. Microsoft employees start nominating companies that use technology in the most innovative ways. With over 500 companies in the running, Buccola felt “surprised and humbled” at the same time.

“Speaking to such a large amount of people is energizing and gives you an incredible natural high; I prepared and practiced many, many hours for just a few minutes. I’m fortunate to work for a company that pushes the limits of how technology can be used to help it reach its full potential,” Buccola said via email.

As a freshman in high school, Buccola served as USB’s first ever commissioner of technology. He was responsible for USB’s student database and held fundraisers so that USB could have their first ever laser printer, the most cost effective option at the time.  He graduated from DBHS in 1995, and moved on to pursue a major in Business Administration at the University of La Verne. Buccola earned a Bachelor’s degree in 2004 and a Master’s degree in 2006.

“Looking back, it was a taste of things to come in my professional life,” Buccola said.

As a college student eager to get into the workforce, Buccola didn’t take college all that seriously. However, without a degree, he realized he would not be able to take the next step in his career.

Eventually, he married and found himself working with no degrees. In order to pursue his dreams of becoming a business man, Buccola went back to the University of La Verne and earned degrees in Associates of Arts, Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration— “three degrees in 10 years.”

“It turned out to be one of the best things I had ever done; there’s no way I would have landed at my two recent jobs without my education,” he said.

Buccola was previously CIO of Panavision, the world’s largest camera and lens provider to the motion picture industry before he began working for WASH Laundry.

John Buccola also happens to be the son of a DBHS Spanish teacher, Chris Buccola, who will be retiring after this school year.

“She taught me Spanish one year. She showed no mercy on me—perhaps my hardest class ever, and one that taught me life lessons beyond just another language. Mr. Favier, the Activities Director, was also outstanding. He really challenged all of us to become better people,” Buccola said.

In the future, Buccola would eventually like to teach at a community college. He spent many years in the community college system, which led him to become a firm believer in the system’s “value to society.” Buccola advises students to pursue something that “challenges and interests [them], and not something others have told [them] to pursue.”

“I grew up in a large family with loving parents who provided a safe environment for me to explore my independence. They taught me so many virtues—hard work, honesty and humility,” Buccola said.