The Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship presented two outstanding students with awards for their efforts as budding entrepreneurs.

Connor Alstrom, a sophomore majoring in business administration, received the Spencer Entrepreneur Award, named for local business and civic leader Richard Spencer. This distinction is reserved for the student who best exemplifies the goals and mission of the Lyles Center. Additionally, to be considered for this award, students must be active in the center’s initiatives and programs.

Alstrom has served as president of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization at Fresno State since the spring of 2013. He also mentors high school students through the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship program.

“I am honored and grateful for receiving the Spencer Entrepreneurship Award,” Alstrom said. “The best part is that I am receiving this as a sophomore, so I still have two years left to continue my involvement with the Lyles Center in multiple ways.”

Kodey Wells was recognized with the Betty Lou Laval Entrepreneur Mentor Award, named for the wife of Claude Laval, co-founder of the Lyles Center Entrepreneur Mentor Program (EMP) at Fresno State. Awarded annually to a mentee who is committed to the goals and ideals of the EMP, the scholarship is given as a tribute to Betty Lou Laval who continues to demonstrate outstanding civic engagement and support of entrepreneurs.

“The Betty Lou Laval Entrepreneurship Mentor Award is a true blessing and is another step toward the right direction in my future,” Wells said of the award. “My hard work and determination is now shown through being awarded this prestigious award through the gratitude of the Laval family.”

Wells is currently pursuing a degree in business administration through Fresno State’s Craig School of Business. He participated in the EMP in the spring of 2014 and was mentored by local businessman, Ed O’Neill.

O’Neill said he found his mentee to be enthusiastic, energetic and endowed with street smarts. “I know the Entrepreneur Mentor Program will become increasingly proud of Kodey, as will I. He definitely deserved the honor.”

Both awards were presented at the Lyles Center annual banquet in May.

For additional information, contact Dr. Timothy Stearns at (559) 294-2045 or

Related links:

Lyles Center 

Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization

Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneur Mentor Program