According to Investigative Report 15-92 dated Feb. 12 , the now former director of the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fresno State had numerous “actual conflicts of interest and the appearance of conflicts of interest.”
The report further states of the director’s personal corporate interest. “The director has ongoing conflicts of interest related to his financial interest in the corporation, including the hiring of his business partner to do consulting work for the center and his use of center resources that benefited his corporation.”
By definition, an entrepreneur is a person who organizes and operates a business while taking on greater than normal financial risks to do so. Does this entrepreneurial mindset justifiably explain away the director’s actions? This type of behavior in the private sector would likely result in personal accountability with serious consequences.
Perhaps even more important than establishment of strong written policies, the top leadership role at the Lyles Center should be filled with someone whose core values cause them to instinctively exhibit good judgment and personal integrity.
Ultimately, we are depending on the director and the culture that he or she establishes within the center to appropriately train and prepare our next generation of businesspeople.
Rod Stark, Fresno