Mario Sorci '71 Science

Mario Sorci Photo

A career in science seemed inevitable for Mario Sorci.

“As a child, I always wondered how things were made,” he says. “And if I could borrow my dad’s tools, I would try to build things.” 

He was a transfer student to Cal Poly Pomona from a junior college.

“I needed an affordable school that was nearby with a good science department,” Sorci says. “I was working full-time at a chemical company to pay for college, so having Cal Poly Pomona in my backyard was great.”

His interest turned to chemistry, and to a student, Karen Dundas (’71, biology), who would become his wife and business partner. Her father, chemist and medical equipment designer George Dundas, was a role model.

“My father-in-law worked on the alkaloid curare to extract a pure form so modern anesthesia was possible,” Sorci says. “He then went on to design medical devices.”

Studying at Cal Poly Pomona was an eye-opening experience for Sorci.

“Dr. Arnulf Vollmar changed the way I began to look at everything when he emphasized in an organic chemistry class that it was not good enough to just make something, you had to be able to make a profit.” 

After graduation in 1971, Sorci worked for a small medical company in Vancouver, British Columbia, until 1973, when he moved to the Seattle area, and soon founded Anesthesia Equipment Supply. In 1984, after the death of his father-in-law, he also became director of research and development for G. Dundas Co Inc., a small innovative medical company.

He remembers difficulties he had as a college student. “I really liked my chemistry classes, but struggled with the humanities,” he says. “I didn’t like classes where I couldn’t find a real solution.”

He pledged to help others get their education and has provided an endowed scholarship for deserving science students.

Sorci says he is mostly retired, but at times tackles projects for his former company.

“I just accept what comes and try to make things better whenever possible,” he says. “I am still passionate about collaborating with people to improve their products and, of course, education.”

Sorci and his wife have two children, who now manage his two companies.