Wesley Okeke (Mad Scientist)
Wesley Okeke had the spark of creativity and a love of science bred in him from the start. Born and raised in Nigeria to a lively family of six children, Wesley learned much about the world from his parents, a civil engineer and a dietician. As a child, he aspired to be a scientist, often taking things apart and building electronic gadgets from random parts - with the occasional electrical fire here and there. Each year, he looked forward to his annual trips to the U.S., where he would buy new tools and gadgets at Radio Shack to feed his passion for electronics and creative problem-solving.
At the age of 14, Wesley moved to the U.S. to attend Indiana’s prestigious Culver Military Academy. The Academy instilled in him an additional level of discipline, maturity, responsibility and independence. One summer at the tender of age of 16, Wesley returned home to Nigeria to manage a 15-person team at his parents’ hotel, giving him his first taste of managing a team, organizing and building a business.
After graduation, Wesley continued his academic pursuits at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts, majoring in electrical engineering and minoring in computer science. A self-taught computer programmer at the age of 21, he began to build computers and write his own computer programs, which led to his creation of a real estate program that he utilized as a real estate agent, broker and property manager.
At 24, Wesley stepped away from real estate to further a career in computer programming at Arthur Blank. From programmer to Department Manager and finally to a Project Engineer, Wesley steadily continued his career growth in both technology and business. It was then that Wesley met Lance Goodwin, who became his mentor and friend at Arthur Blank. It was under Arthur’s guidance and friendship that Wesley became inspired to pay the support forward by mentoring others and was also compelled to satisfy his burning desire for the advancement of technology in all areas of his company. With a few challenges along the way, including Lance’s departure from the company, Wesley applied his passion for and growing interest in automation engineering. In just three days, he built a solution-based program for his company to the attention of the management team. A decade later, he switched gears to pursue application engineering, working with new technology and quickly moving up in that area of the company over the next year.
Wesley strongly believes that God put him on earth to contribute to society positively and to humanity sacrificially for the greater good of others. Over the years, his strong desire to help people reach their true potential as so many others in his life had helped him to do has become his focus and inspired him to found Fruition Technology Labs.
Industries: MBA candidate at University of Houston-Downtown
Current Position:Business Menor - Fruition Venture Lead
Shabnam Fallahpour currently works as a problem solver, concept developer for a hardware software integrated startup called FoodGarage where she collaborates closely with the founders to further the business operations of the company.
Shabnam is a MBA candidate at University of Houston-Downtown. She holds her BA from UHD and a leadership certificate from Gator Leadership Academy sponsored by University of Houston System. She has also graduated from National Society of Leadership and Success.
Originally from Iran, she has a diverse background, with experiences living and studying abroad. intern for the Houston Technology Center, where she helped develop and manage the HTC-Skolkovo acceleration partnership as part of the new G.R.O. Houston initiative.
Prior to her arrival in the U.S., she also studied business in Iran and worked in National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company.
Shabnam is a constant learner. She welcomes challenges and this sprite of hers has helped her to evolve her career as a mentor for startups. Shabnam believes in economic wellness for everyone. She trusts in Fruition Technology Labs’ vision and mission for the same reason; a hub for entrepreneurs and those who see ideas and are always moving forward to improve consumer experience more pleasant.
Shabnam finds peace in dancing and is mastering two ballroom dance. She also rides horse in her downtime.
Industries: Professional Startup Strategist
Tom Hickey’s faith has played a great role in his drive to manifest meaningful relationships with people from all walks of life. From his postgraduate beginnings at a CPA firm to becoming a president and CEO, Tom has nurtured struggling businesses and provided them the tools and guidance to flourish in competitive markets throughout his impressive 35-year career. Tom’s ability to help increase profitability for a variety of enterprises, from specialty products in the food industry to computer services, demonstrates his deep understanding of not only a successful business framework but also the relationships within it. He also excelled in the acquisition of technologies and companies, taking businesses public and finding buyers for company shareholders.
Though currently retired, Tom continues to consult with developing companies and, as a mentor at Fruition Technology Labs, hopes to assist small businesses realize their own potential and make a difference in the world.
Teofi Gomez is currently the founder of The Platypus Creative a digital marketing agency in Houston Texas. Gomez started her dream as a marketer at in an Insurance Company several years ago and which brought out what she is truly passionate about; increasing a business's revenue through human centered marketing.
Teofi shares that often business owners and startups focus so much on their product, company, or organization that they tend to forget that their mission is to offer solutions to people. Teofi joined Fruition as a gateway to understanding the future of entrepreneurship. She appreciates the help startups received from Fruition by reminding them to focus on their human centered value proposition.
Gomez absolutely loves art. Both in making art and admiring it. In college she had her work featured twice in the university's annual gallery and has visited almost every museum in Houston and hopes to visit many more around the globe. She is also a music junky. and loves all kinds of music, anything from jazz to hip-hop. She also collect vinyls.
Current Position: DirectPerla-Rodriguez
Perla graduated from St. Mary’s University, where she was awarded the “Maximizing Access to Research Careers Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research” grant from the National Institute of Health. She was fortunate to experience and participate in numerous research opportunities across the state of Texas before completing her biology degree: UNT Health Science Center, UT Southwestern, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, UTMB, and UTHSCSA. She pursued a doctorate at Baylor College of Medicine in the Integrative Molecular and Biomedical Sciences program. She worked in Dr. Henry Pownall’s lab at the Houston Methodist Research Institute (HMRI) to complete her thesis work and deciphered the metabolic pathways of a novel lipoprotein, neo HDL. Perla also joined an innovative Master in Clinical Translation Management program where she learned the difficulties of translating a potential therapy or medical device from idea to clinic. This program gave her the tools and entrepreneurial spirit to help life science start-ups bring forth their ideas.
Combined with her scientific background, she has a deep understanding of the scientific rigor and business strategy necessary to move a life science product into the clinic. At the moment, Perla is in a career transition, striving for opportunities that positively impact others lives.
Perla believes that the most important qualities to success are a willingness to learn, perseverance, and an open-mind. She has joined Fruition Technology Labs because she believes in its mission to create purpose-driven companies. Perla aims help healthcare start-ups make a difference in patient’s lives.
Perla is also passionate about fitness and travel. To stay in shape she dances and runs. In 2015, she qualified for the Boston marathon at a time of 3hrs 33min while also having performed a salsa dance routine at the annual Houston Salsa Congress. Her recent travels took her to Bali, Indonesia, where she taught children English and basic healthcare education.
Current Position: Electrical Engineer at ABB
Kelvin Ihaza has worked as an Electrical Engineer for the past 8 years. He actually started with a small local industrial equipment supplier while still attending the University of Houston. This company provided industrial grade UV filtration systems for the food & beverage industry as well as wastewater treatment facilities. After graduating, Kelvin joined a much larger company as an Automation Engineer in their Oil, Gas & Petrochemical division.
Mr. Ihaza believes that some of the most important qualities to have ito achieve success is an open mind. A professor of his once told him to absolutely never stop learning. He has found this helpful especially when approaching new problems. Kelvin have found that always staying open to new ideas and concepts generally led to productive outcomes and new innovation. Another quality that helps achieve success is humility. Seeking the "right" solution as opposed to "my" solution ironically leads to much more personal career success than trying to stick with "my" ideas only.
In regards to Fruition Kelvin hopes to provide a springboard to new innovation for multiple technology projects such as the Obella Project and possibly others. Fruition provides a platform for ideas and concepts to transform into actual real-life products and services. He believes that he can contribute towards this mission.
Kelvin also produces music and loves to travel.
Industries: Project Manager - Construction
Current Position: Fruition Venture Lead
Jon's current occupation is Project Manager at a construction project management firm. He began his career studying architecture, and was quickly attracted to the fast pace working with diverse teams as he pursued a career path in project management after university. Jon's consulting experience ranges from working with large cross-functional teams at Fortune 5 corporations to small sole proprietors, and across various industries including healthcare, oil and gas, technology, construction, non-profit, and public sectors.
Qualities that have helped Jon reach success include interpersonal skills with all levels of team members, from executives to tradesmen, and the focus to envision big-picture strategy while also cultivating the fine details that are necessary along the path to success.
His experience building these qualities has provided him crucial communication skills and the intuition needed to make timely decisions to drive teams to successful outcomes.
Jon's interest in Fruition aligns with the Lab’s goal of helping entrepreneurs achieve success, and supporting companies whose mission is to impact societal issues.
In his free time, Jon enjoy engaging with his community as Director of Development at Open Architecture Houston, where he brings together architects, designers, nonprofit organizations, municipalities and local community groups, enabling underserved communities to take ownership of collectively created places.
Industries: Information Technology
Reginald Wade is a New York City-native who has called Houston, Texas, home since the age of six. Since the age of 13, Reginald has been developing software, always applying his keen sense for reverse engineering problems to uncover their solutions. He is known not only for solving software development issues at which others have failed but also for providing quality customer service in the process.
Having worked with companies like Visual Numeric (now Rogue Wave Software), the Rolls-Royce-owned subsidiary Optimized Systems & Solutions, TGS-NOPEC, Fort Bend Premier Care and 3 Logiq, Reginald continues to be enamored with technology and how he can deliver software solutions that add value and efficiency to businesses. He understands that what works for one company does not always work for all. This awareness helps him to see businesses in their own unique ways to ultimately improve their processes and over-all success.
In both his profession and personal pursuits, Reginald finds gratification in bringing together the right people locally and globally. For this reason, he and his wife sit together on the advisory board of HOPE Worldwide, where they tirelessly engage in community food drives, safety awareness, health fairs and neighborhood cleanup. They also helped to coordinate a bible study group in their neighborhood.
Outside of work and his volunteer efforts, Reginald loves to spend time with his family and friends, who know him best as “Reggie”. His life-long goal is to make a profound impact on the world in any and every way he can, while continuing to pursue his love for technology and learning. He is proud to be a part of the Fruition Technology Labs mentor team.
Industries: Military, Aeronautics, Education
Current Position: Teacher and IT Technology Rep at DeZavala Elementary School
Driven by knowledge, the desire to serve and a fascination in math and science, Geoff Porter jumpstarted his career in technology by joining the United States Coast Guard. Geoff earned several awards and medals while working alongside some of the finest aviators and professionals during his 30 years with the Coast Guard. Among his many responsibilities, he supervised a 50-person team, providing technical and logistics support for deployed aircraft.
Upon completion of his Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Geoff decided it was time to turn his passions toward helping improve the people’s lives through education. As a Special Education Teacher at DeZavala Elementray School in Houston, Texas, he received the Teacher of the Year award and also serves as the campus IT Technology Rep.
Outside of his rewarding career as a teacher, Geoff cherishes time spent with his family; supporting HOPE Worldwide, World Vision and Houston's Star of Hope Mission; and growing in his faith.
Geoff feels privileged to be part of the Fruition Technology Labs team and looks forward to pass on his vast knowledge in technology, aerodynamics, energy and education.
Andrea Nguyen (Queen Of Hearts)
Industries: Journalism, Marketing and Communications
Current Position: Journalism Teacher at HISD; Consultant for San Jacinto RV Resort
Andrea Nguyen came to the U.S. with her family as a Vietnamese boat refugee when she was just five years old. Planting roots in Houston, she fondly recounts learning English by listening to country music.
Andrea's television debut came at the early age of nine when she sang on Vietnam Vision of America, the first Vietnamese television station in Houston. As a rising star in Houston’s Vietnamese community, she performed at many community events, modeled for the cover of several local magazines and hosted and anchored various Vietnamese television shows.
Inspired by her native country’s own lack of freedom of speech and of the press, Andrea majored in broadcast journalism at the University of Houston. She worked as a news assistant at KTRK-TV (ABC 13) in Houston before landing a reporting position at KNDU-TV (NBC 25) in Kennewick, Washington, where she broke a national story, appeared on Dateline NBC and received an award from the prestigious Society of Professional Journalists.
Andrea also volunteered as a Sunday school teacher and established her church's first Vietnamese youth group. In 2004, Andrea returned to Vietnam on the 20th anniversary of her family's escape from Communism. KNDU aired her 30-minute special "Back to Vietnam: A Journey Home" that summer, which appeared on the front page of the Tri-City Herald. Her growing fame led to her second trip to Vietnam that year as the only broadcast journalist invited to join Washington Governor Gary Locke's trade mission tour to Asia. Governor Locke introduced her to Vietnam's Prime Minister and other high-ranking officials as "one of Washington's most successful reporters."
Andrea then moved to San Diego, California, to work for FOX 6 News, where she covered hundreds of stories, including San Diego's city hall corruption case, wildfires, mudslides and the controversial Border Minuteman Project. In 2006, Houston's CW39 made Andrea's dream of returning to her hometown a reality when they hired her as a general assignment reporter. During her four years with CW39, she covered thousands of stories including the Enron trials, the deadly shooting at NASA, Hurricane Ike and the story of Baby Grace.
After the birth of her two boys, Andrea rethought her career and decided to segue to public relations and marketing. In her years as the Communications Director for San Jacinto Riverfront RV Resort, the company’s occupancy rate not only skyrocketed and remains above 95% but also became one of the nation’s highest-ranking RV resorts.
In 2012, Andrea followed her growing desire to impact young minds and became a journalism teacher. For her work, she was nominated as the State of Texas’ “New Teacher of the Year”. In order to keep her marketing skills sharpened, she still continues her work as a consultant with the San Jacinto Resort.
Andrea currently lives in Pearland with her husband and two young boys. Andrea recently become a mentor with Fruition Technology Labs and hopes to use her unique skill set to help innovators and entrepreneurs market their products.
Current Position: Chemical Engineer
Bill Newton unearthed his intense fascination for chemistry while growing up in his pulp and paper hometown of Everett, Washington. After college 25 years ago, he entered the chemistry industry as a registered California Process Engineer. With his experience in taking projects from inception to production, Bill is known as an expert in his industry for providing innovative technology solutions, specifically in waste reduction. For the past four years, he has trained other fellow engineers in the areas of project processing and support integration of acquired sites, work that he finds to be incredibly rewarding.
Bill credits his faith, wife and family for inspiring him to be a great husband, father and friend and for motivating him to make every place he leaves better than he finds it. Bill and his family enjoy volunteering and supporting HOPE Worldwide, Walk and Ride-A-Thons, community Thanksgiving dinner outreaches and facilitating Financial Peace University, a program that teaches personal financial responsibility.
The Fruition Technology Labs team is pleased to have him on board as a mentor. Bill looks forward to helping others find and use their strengths to rise to their fullest potential.
Industries: Finance, Real Estate
Current Position: Real Estate Agent and Board Member at private real estate investment business
Vision and turning problems into solutions have always driven Peter Sterling’s career as an entrepreneur. A native of Jamaica, Peter began his career as the financial planner for his family’s Montego Bay hotel. Later, in 2008, he received the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table Award three times.
Peter’s desire for new challenges and growth soon led him to open his first of two physical therapy rehabilitation centers in the Greater Houston area followed by a successful dry cleaning business. Today, as a licensed real estate agent, he continues to pursue real estate investments and serves on the board of directors for his family’s real estate investment business.
Spurred by his unwavering faith and entrepreneurial spirit and with the love and support of his wife of 28 years, Peter helps others through business consulting, life coaching, group recovery counseling, marriage counseling, evangelism, church building and HOPE disaster relief efforts and missions work. He unwinds by playing golf, dancing, listening to jazz music, traveling and attending social events.
As a Fruition Technology Labs mentor, Peter looks forward to helping other future entrepreneurs turn their ideas and passions into realities.
Kyle McClue (Venture Lead at Fruition Technology Labs)- An oil financier with a penchant for entrepreneurship, McClue is using his skill-set to ensure the completion of FTL’s projects as venture lead. Upon graduating from Xavier University in 2014 with a major in Accounting, he became a land owner representation for Chevron. His day to day duties include making sure that partners in oil and gas operations are paid their respective shares in the production and revenue of operations in accordance to previously established contracts and agreements. Subsequently, McClue is a hybrid of legal and finance expertise.
His current role as the venture lead of FTL has given him the opportunity to gain exposure in project management, product development and entrepreneurship. Through FTL, he states that he has learned quite a few invaluable lessons that will support the success of his career. Regarding leadership, the importance of listening and being open to feedback are absolutely vital, regardless of profession or ambition. He also claims that the ideal environment for effective team engagement is a place where everyone is focused and buying into team objectives. So far, McClue believes that the experience he has had within FTL has been fulfilling, developmental and invaluable. A basketball enthusiast, McClue has won several high school state championships and countless other league championships throughout college.
Sean Guillory (Data Merchant)
Current Position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
A graduate of Dartmouth College’s Ph.D program in neuroscience, Sean Guillory believes that anything can be solved with a clear plan and the right team. He is currently involved in a research program that hopes to map behavior and cognitive functions in brain tumor patients in order to protect the basic functions of the brain during neurosurgery. His training also includes the study of social and emotional brain processing in neurotypical and epilepsy surgery patients.
According to Sean, the foundation of a good plan always begins with honest assessment. As a project mentor for Fruition Technology Labs, Sean is interested in creating products that have the potential to improve countless lives and in developing his knowledge of proper business plans.
Industries: Security Consultant
Keith Fulcher (Security Consultant at Securitas Security Service USA)- Fulcher believes that the phrase “protect and serve” lacks any real meaning until a community recognizes that their law enforcement genuinely cares about their well-being. His exciting career in law enforcement and private security has earned him employment in reputable companies like Dow Chemical, TPC Group, NA Industries, and Enterprise Products. His career began in Washington D.C. as a corrections officer, which led to the opportunity of joining an Emergency Response Team. He also served as an instructor for the D.C. Department of Corrections.
Along with several other ERT members, he became a part of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department’s SWAT team. After moving to the Gulf Coast area in 1997, Fulcher joined the Department of Homeland Security as an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer with multiple duty stations in Louisiana and Florida. Eventually he secured a position as a private security officer in Houston, where he subsequently served as a member of the security consulting panel to Mayor Bill White. According to Fulcher, a successful career relies on selflessness and knowledge- knowing just what to do in a given span of time is vital. With Fruition Technology Labs, Fulcher hopes to align himself with the altruistic goals implemented into every product. Fun Fact: One of the most interesting roles he played during his career was as a bodyguard for Caroline Kennedy.