Previous Entrepreneur In Residences

Nelson Sebra (2010 - 2012)

Nelson was born in Florida and resided there until graduating from high school. He attended college in Georgia and, upon graduating, entered the U.S. Air Force and graduated from Air Force Pilot training. During a 23-year career in the Air Force and Air National Guard, he flew several models of fighter aircraft, accumulating approximately 4,500 hours as a fighter pilot, instructor pilot and test pilot.

Nelson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Valdosta State University in Georgia and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the University of San Francisco. He is a graduate of Air War College, Air Command and Staff, Air Force Pilot Training as well as numerous other military schools and courses. He is the recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, and numerous other awards.

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John Jacobson (2009)

During his 34 year career, John J. Jacobson blended both corporate and entrepreneurial management, serving as everything from a sales rep to a CEO, working in a Fortune 100 environment to a self-started private enterprise and everything in between.

Jacobson was instrumental in the creation of business plans and strategic planning and forecasting documents at corporate, divisional and subsidiary level as well as the guidance and implementation of those plans.

Jacobson spent well over half his corporate career in International operations with experience in both subsidiary management as well as third party distributors. He had B and C level responsibilities in private and public companies, focusing on capital formation, manufacturing, sales, marketing, finance and product development as well as serving as the primary interface between the corporation and the technology and business press.

John P. Jacobson passed away in April 2010.

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Scott Graham (2008)

Scott Graham is the Chief Executive Officer for Xtreme Personal Assistant Concierge Services (XPACS).

Before XPACS, Scott aided in the development of two other businesses in the Central Valley of California. He most recently played basketball for California State University, Fresno, under the leadership of legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian.

Graham is an avid speaker at high schools and universities across the country and sits on several Advisory Boards including Cyber Athletic League (CAL), a Human Bio-Electric fusion association, in which pro-athletes own and operate their own franchises.

Graham holds a B.A. degree from California State University, Fresno and released his first book during the summer of 2008.

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Lawrence Young (2007)

Lawrence Young is President and CEO of Active ES, Inc, a Southern California-based corporation which designs and markets energy management technology worldwide.

During his career in the field of high technology, Young formed Talent Investors with his business partner to identify businesses to acquire, turn around, and grow for eventual sale.

His business career began at Technology Training Corporation (TTC), where he eventually served as head of operations in Australia and then in Mexico, and as the Director of Engineering, Manufacturing and Management topics worldwide.

In the mid 90's Young joined Infotec Commercial Systems, a high technology training company specializing in software developer and Engineer training for major software products. He helped to grow the company from 4 branches to over 30 profit centers and to over $30 million in annual sales in 5 years.

Young graduated from California State University, Fresno in 1982. He has also received awards from Novel, Lotus, Microsoft throughout his career.

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Yrma Rico (2006)

Ms. Yrma Rico brought many years of experience in the television industry to the Lyles Center. Rico was General Manager of Univision Denver from 1992 to 2003.

Prior to moving to Denver, Rico was an Account Executive in Fresno, California and later moved to Providence, R.I. and Dallas, Texas, where she was the National Sales Manager.

Rico started her TV career in Fresno, at a Spanish International Network station that later became a Univision Network Affiliate.

Rico is an equity holder of Entravision Communications Corporation, the largest affiliate group of the top-rated Univision television network, with stations in 18 of the nation's top-50 Hispanic markets. She is also a member of many boards including Jones International Cable and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. She is currently the President and a stockholder of Weber BMW, located in Fresno, California.

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Randy Strahan (2005)

As a venture partner, Randy Strahan helps portfolio companies develop operations strategies and has served as interim CEO at a number of MDV's early stage investments.

Strahan currently serves on the boards of Andale and nLight Photonics and is working with Netillion. Prior to MDV, he was president and CEO of Telmax Communications, a privately held company that manufactures and markets telecommunication equipment to telephone companies. Before that, he spent 20 years in various management positions at Pacific Bell, serving most notably as president of Pacific Bell's Service Operations Division where he was responsible for all customer delivery in the company.

Strahan earned a B.A. (summa cum laude) in criminology from California State University, Fresno, and a MBA from Chapman College in Orange, California.

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John Hughes (2004)

John Hughes has served as Board Chair and President for The Coleman Foundation, Inc., before he was appointed CEO of the foundation in 1980.

The Coleman Foundation is an independent, private, charitable foundation engaged in a range of philanthropic programs, largely in the Chicago and Midwest region. Over $85 million in grants have been approved since 1981.

Hughes has held many jobs throughout his career including; accounting with a large national retail and mail order house in Chicago, corporate accounting in a manufacturing, processing and foreign operation with a large food meat processor in Chicago, and an Independent Contractor providing services as Director, Officer, Consulting and management services.

Hughes has also served as a Board Member for various manufacturing, retail, banking, hospital, and non-for-profit organizations in the Chicago area.

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Dr. Richard Houghten (2003)

Dr. Richard A. Houghten is an internationally recognized authority on peptide chemistry and combinatorial chemistry discovery techniques.

Dr. Houghten is the author of over 480 articles and holds 60 U.S. patents. He has been the founder, editor, or board member of ten journals; and Principal Investigator on 15 research grants.

Dr. Houghten is the inventor of the "T-bag technique," a revolutionary method for quickly synthesizing individual compounds. These approaches reduce the time and cost of drug discovery and have presaged the later global advances in combinatorial synthesis by at least five years.

He received his B.S. degree in chemistry in 1968 from California State University, Fresno. After earning his M.S. (1970) and Ph.D. (1975) degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.

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Michael O'Brien (2002)

Michael C. O'Brien is co-founder and CEO of His direction of the company and its Internet marketing strategies has made one of the most successful student loan companies in the country.

Today, funds more than $60 million dollars in student loans each month. O'Brien currently leads the company's expansion into other financial services, including mortgage financing/refinancing, auto loans and credit card debt consolidation.

Prior to co-founding, O'Brien established NationWide Threads LLC, which specializes in brand creation and development through imprinted goods, website design and hosting. O'Brien also served as the Vice President of Marketing for Coastal Mailing, Inc., one of the largest direct mail marketing companies on the West Coast.

O'Brien received his Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from California State University, Fresno.

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Eric McAfee (2001)

Eric McAfee, is a co-founder of Cagan McAfee Capital Partners, LLC, a venture firm focusing on mid-to-late stage and special situation investments in technology-related companies.

McAfee has co-founded many companies including; McAfee Capital in 1996, Berg McAfee Companies in 1998, and CI Systems in mid-2000.

McAfee was a recipient of a Congressional Award in Washington, D.C. in 1985 for his volunteer work. Previously, he was elected President of the US delegation to the USSR for a five-week event attended by 5,000 students from 127 countries.

In 1986, McAfee earned a B.S. in Management (emphasis in Statistics) from Fresno State University. He received five awards upon graduation, including the Outstanding Undergraduate from the Alumni Association and the Business School Dean's Medal. He is also a 1993 graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program, and is a 2000 graduate of the Harvard Business School Private Equity course.

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Gary Cocola (2000)

Gary M. Cocola is the President of Cocola Broadcasting Companies, the licensee of television stations, serving the Fresno, Bakersfield, Sacramento, Santa Maria and Arroyo Grande, California television markets. He also operates the Home Shopping Affiliate, KBSE-TV in the Boise, Idaho television market.

Cocola started his broadcast career as an on-the-air personality in radio and television between 1956 and 1964. He hosted his own programs on both radio & television in the Fresno, Bakersfield and Monterey California markets.

In 1964 he left the Broadcasting Industry to join his father in the family produce business. In 1985, after a seven-year effort to obtain a construction permit from the Federal Communications Commission, he built Channel 59, KMSG-TV in Fresno. He left the produce industry at that time to own and operate the station. KMSG-TV was an affiliate of the Spanish language network, Telemundo. He sold that station in 1991.

In 1992, he formed Cocola Broadcasting Companies. During the next several years, he continued to build, and now operates a total of 20 television stations.

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William Lyles (1999)

William Lyles is a recognized leader in the building industry, having served top roles in many national, state and local organizations.

Lyles is on the board of the National Association of General Contractors and the board of directors of the California State Chamber of Commerce. He also has served on the Board of the Fresno Economic Development Corporation and as a member of the Board of Governors for the California State University, Fresno Foundation.

Lyles has dedicated much of his time to community service, ranging from president of the Fresno Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Playland, East Fresno Rotary and the Fresno Metropolitan Museum's board of directors. He is also an avid supporter of education within the Central Valley.

In 1999, Lyles' service was recognized when he received the California State University, Fresno Foundation Service Award. His extensive community service was also recognized in 2001 when CSUF awarded him with one of the highest honors, an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

Lyles holds a B.S. degree from Purdue University and later served in the U.S. Navy Civilian Engineering Corps where he helped supervise construction of a power plant, roads, water system and building.

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Bruce Musick (1998)

Bruce Musick is the founder and Managing Director of Skyline Concepts Sdn Bhd and its various subsidiaries. Musick is based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Skyline Concepts is an international foodservice (primarily restaurants) licensor operating in the Asia Pacific region.

Skyline develops, owns and licenses its own concepts, including western restaurant brands Mississippi Slim's Real American BBQ, Smokey Ranch Rotisserie Chicken, Miami Spice Tropical Bar & Grill, Coconut Grove BeachClub, Pistol Pete's Steakhouse & Saloon, West Coast Coffee Company and Baker Brothers Gourmet Deli & Bakery. By the end of 1999, Skyline licensed restaurants in China, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia.

Musick is a native of Chowchilla, California, USA. Musick attended California State University, Fresno and graduated in 1981 with a B.S. degree.

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