More than 150 Central Valley leaders and entrepreneurs attended the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s end-of-the-year banquet in May. The event honored Fresno State students and community leaders for their dedication to the mission of the center throughout the past year.

Garrett Jones was awarded with the Laval Entrepreneur Mentor of the Year Award. The Laval Entrepreneur Mentor Program matches students with a mentor who aligns with their area of interest, providing them the opportunity to network and gain professional insights from local business leaders.

“Throughout my life I have been fortunate to have mentors who took their time to nurture me,” said Jones, president of Laval Underground Surveys, which specializes in underground cameras and video systems for well inspections. “Knowing that I was now paying that deed forward meant a great deal.” Jones has participated in the program since 2013.

The Claude Laval Mentor Student Award was presented to Richard Ortiz of Tulare, a double major in kinesiology and communicative disorders and deaf studies. The prize is awarded to a distinguished student in tribute to the support Laval has provided as a mentor and co-founder of the program.

“Richard has fully embraced all of the resources the Laval Entrepreneur Mentor Program and the Lyles Center have to offer,” said Marisela Hamm, coordinator of the program. “I’m confident he’ll take the entrepreneurial skills he’s learned or improved and apply them to future projects.”

Other awards given at the event include:

  • The Spencer Prize: Renan De Lima, senior majoring in business administration with an option in finance
  • Betty Lou Laval Entrepreneur Mentee Scholarships:
    • Aubrey Lim, freshman, major undecided, Smittcamp Family Honors College member
    • Aaron Cook, junior majoring in business administration with an option in entrepreneurship
    • Shervin Zoghi, junior double majoring in mechanical engineering and economics, Smittcamp Family Honors College member
    • Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship Mentor of the Year: Florenza Galbadores, Duncan Polytechnical High School
    • Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship Teacher of the Year: Linda Jean Voth, Roosevelt High School
    • Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship Global Entrepreneur of The Year: Kelsey Hershey, Roosevelt High School
    • Coleman Fellow of the Year: Richard Wanjema, assistant professor of art and design with the College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State
    • Vision Award: Dr. Timothy Stearns, executive director of the Lyles Center and Coleman Foundation chair in Entrepreneurial Studies

For more information, contact Dr. Timothy Stearns at 559.278.3735 or