Entrepreneur In Residence
As the Lyles Center’s Entrepreneur in Residence, a prominent entrepreneur is selected to supervise the Student Hatchery, lecture in Fresno State classes, conduct seminars and act as the link between the Lyles Center and entrepreneurial leaders of the Central Valley.
Nelson Sebra is currently in his eighth consecutive year as the Lyles Center’s Entrepreneur in Residence.
Sebra was born in Florida and resided there until he graduated high school. He then moved one state north to attend Valdosta State University in Georgia. Upon graduation, Sebra entered the U.S. Air Force and embarked on a 23-year career. During this time he flew several models of fighter aircraft, accumulating approximately 4,500 hours of flight time. He is also the recipient of numerous awards for his time with the Air Force, including the Meritorious Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal and Air Force Commendation Medal.
Sebra received his Master’s in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco and has been the lead in nine startup businesses, ranging from a restaurant to a hazardous waste treatment company. As the Entrepreneur in Residence, Sebra taps into the knowledge he’s amassed through these ventures to mentor students whose businesses are housed at the Lyles Center Hatchery. He enjoys the interaction with each student, Sebra said, and sharing experiences that would be difficult for them to gain otherwise.
Sebra serves as a part-time faculty member at Fresno State teaching Managing the New Venture (ENTR 155) and New Venture Laboratory (ENTR 157). In May of 2013 he received the Entrepreneurship Education Excellence Award. The following month the Creativity Lab at the Lyles Center was renamed the “SEBRA’s Think Tank” in his honor.
In addition to his work with budding entrepreneurs, Sebra is dedicated to serving the community through various service organizations. He has been a member of Rotary for more than 20 years. He was in Class 1 of Leadership Fresno and later served on the LF Steering Committee for 16 years. He also served on the Board of Clovis Junior Soccer League for 16 years, was a cofounder and board member of the Fresno State Water Polo Boosters and has served in numerous other organizations.
Sebra and his wife of 49 years, Paulla, have two children and four grandchildren.