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: Product Design Engineer
Current Position: Luana Ramcharran – Fruition COO
Luana has had always had two great passions, science and art. Her experience grew in high school in an Art Magnet school while doing micro-biology research at the same time. At Syracuse University Luana had the opportunity to create her own major (Integrated Product Development) which comprised of Bio-medical Engineering, Industrial design and Anthropology.
Luana is a product design engineer with extensive experience in human factors, biomedical research, and industrial design. She has demonstrated success in graphic user interfaces for web and mobile, innovative ergonomic solutions for household products and medical devices, as well as results-driven e-mail and ad marketing campaigns. She has also contributed to ground-breaking research in the fields of HIV, TB, diabetes, and tissue engineering. Luana is an impactful team leader and project manager with successful track record of designing new product lines resulting in company growth.
Her interest in Fruition Tech Labs comes for her purpose of using her skills to help create products to help and improve lives.
Specialties: User Interface Design (UI/UX Design), Biomedicine, Human Factors, Graphic Design, Product Design, Prototyping, E-mail Marketing, Online sales strategy, Mixed Media artwork, Microbiology lab techniques (cell culture, stains, gels, spectrometry, RT-PCR)
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.
Industry: Financial Consultant
Current Position: Global Venture Lead Coordinator
Melanie Mock - A young financial consultant with a penchant for translating, Mock’s financial experience both domestically and internationally makes her a prime mentor to assist growing entrepreneurs in the world of finance. A recent Rice University graduate, Mock’s spirit for entrepreneurship began as a child after watching her father develop a successful vehicle customization and restoration business. Growing up in Milwaukee, Mock was passionate about learning foreign languages and cultures, which attributed to her proficiency in Spanish and Mandarin. That very passion led her to summers abroad in Spain and China during her college years, which furthered her interest in international marketing and social development overseas. Now a consultant in a CPA firm that focuses on forensic and investigative accounting, Mock hopes to develop her own business as a translator, which ultimately led her to Fruition Technology Labs. As a mentor and a part of the company’s business advisory group, Mock is eager to see her ideas and advice further the success of Fruition.
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: 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: Career Management
Current Position: IT/ Executive Coach for Career Management Services
Monique LaCour - Starting her career in the developing IT world of the 80s, LaCour’s desire to own her own business has made her the successful entrepreneur she is today. During several internships at small firms when she was studying at the University of Houston, LaCour began to dream about owning her own business. After graduation, she held various roles as a successful IT professional: systems engineer, business analyst, project manager and IT consultant. At her last corporate job, she was offered a position as an IT Director, but instead decided to start her own business. 22 years later her company, Career Management Services, is still flourishing.
To become a successful entrepreneur, LaCour believes in the following qualities: Curiosity, excellent, perseverance, and an enduring belief in yourself. When she first encountered Fruition Technology Labs, its humanitarian focus resonated with her. With over two decades in executive coaching and career development experience, LaCour plans to contribute her expertise to projects in need. Adept at various forms of martial arts, LaCour also prides herself in mastering the unicycle.
Industries: Healthcare Delivery
Current Position: Healthcare Consultant
Gary Triche has over 30 years of experience in healthcare delivery, policy and program management in the Military Health System (MHS) as well as private sector healthcare systems. He has extensive executive leadership experience in business and clinical operations in academic medical centers, community health and dental clinics, research centers, as well private sector health systems. Gary provides subject matter expertise regarding improving healthcare delivery processes for large and small healthcare organizations with specific interest in organizational design, creative operational solutions, and deploying effective strategic marketing research and service delivery. In addition, he has established a reputation for providing successful organizational leadership in transitional environments. For the past nearly four years, Gary provided consultative leadership to the Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence, filling in as the first chief of staff building the organization from a staff of just two, to a robust staff of now over 40 subject matter experts.
The former Colonel Triche served over 26 years in the U.S. Air Force Medical Service Corps. In 1978, he received a B.S. in Community Health Education from Texas A&M University. In 1989 he completed graduate studies at The George Washington University, specializing in healthcare strategic planning and marketing.
Current Position: Founder of revXmktg
A true marketing guru with twelve years of notable success in sales, Virata credits her achievements to maintaining resilience in all levels of business. Her current marketing company revXmktg is growing at an impressive rate as it assists small businesses and nonprofits by offering quality marketing strategies with plenty of vamp. Virata also founded “WearevertheWeather.com” to assist fashion wary travelers in selecting weather appropriate apparel for their destination.
Virata’s personal beliefs revolve around her love of learning and her faith, which she says motivates her to realize how far she’s come and how far she can go with the right passion. Virata’s interest as a mentor in Fruition Technology Labs stems from her interests in humanitarian-aimed projects as well as further acquaintance with the tech world. An avid traveler, Virata has been to over nineteen countries, and expects plenty of stamps to adorn her passport in the years to come
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.
Industry: Business, Integration
Current Position: Business & Systems Integration Senior Analyst at Accenture
Kishen Raghunath - A former mechanical engineer for the U.S. Air Force, Raghunath is currently partaking in the booming Houston energy sector as an IT consultant. A graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology, Raghunath believes that throughout his schooling and career, in both group and individual achievements, there are three qualities that ensure success: hard work, determination, and trust. His impressive career, from working with air-to-air missile systems to designing conceptual passenger jets, makes him a distinguished engineer.
His first acquaintance with Fruition Technology Labs began after attending an “Engineers Without Borders” meeting, where he was immediately drawn to the concept of a “humanity-focused” technology incubator. Eager to utilize his “start-up spirit”, Raghunath hopes to contribute his talents to making the world a better place through technological means. Fluent in Tamil, Raghunath enjoys playing the tabla and violin in the Carnatic style of south Indian music.
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.
Industries: Social Impact, Gaming
Current Position: Perspective Implosion Studios, LLC
Heather Ross is somewhat of an anomaly as a woman in the tech world and even more so in the area of gaming. For the past three years, she has dedicated time outside of her role as founding CEO of the innovative culture and arts company Perspective Implosion Studios, LLC, in Austin to several organizations that help make game development opportunities more accessible to students, women and minorities. She is the Chapter Leader for Women in Games International’s Austin chapter, provides free career guidance to game developers through Game Mentor Online, is a board member for the diversity-focused nonprofit Gamers Against Bigotry.
While on a business trip in Houston to mentor youth at a local hackathon, Ross connected with Fruition founder Wes Okeke. With gaming becoming an important aspect of a few new education-based technologies Fruition is helping to develop, Okeke invited Ross to join the team as the mentor dedicated exclusively to these projects. The opportunity to work with a diverse group of inventors and to help turn their ideas into successful businesses appealed to Ross, and she immediately accepted. She is already hard at work on a few projects, providing comprehensive, honest analysis at each step as well as guidance to help inventors make the best decisions toward their success.
“Women have historically made revolutionary contributions to the tech industry. From the days of Ada Lovelace, to Grace Hopper, to the Women of ENIAC and to countless other women around the world, technology wouldn’t be what it is or where it is today without them. We need more women in tech to continue revolutionizing the industry in new, unexpected and unforeseen ways.” – Heather Ross
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.
Industries: Medical Device Technology
Current Position: VP of Product Development at InGeneron, Inc.
Ron Stubbers - An expert in the development of medical devices, specifically neuroscience, Stubbers believes in an ever-present desire to make and do things better. Leading the development of the world’s most popular high-density EEG system for brain research, Stubbers moved into startups early in order to follow and manage an array of interesting projects in the technology and medical field.
Throughout his career, Stubbers has been a leader in the product development and operation sides of engineering, regulatory affairs, and manufacturing startup companies. Thriving in an environment where lots of new things are happening, Stubbers interest in Fruition Technology Labs lies in the chance to help improve products and oversee their growth. His mentorship is sure to get humanity-focused ideas onto the market. A University of Houston graduate, Stubbers admits that the first time he ever boarded a plane was late in his college years
Iris Velazquez (The Stabilizer)
Industries: Real Estate
Current Position: Broker Associate at Keller William Realty
According to Iris Velazquez, her success in the Texas real estate market stems from the values that have driven her since arriving to the United States from Puerto Rico as a full-scholarship student at the University of Massachusetts. She channels her passion for helping people as a broker associate by helping first-time homebuyers, families in distress and people who have relocated to the Houston area find places that they can call home. Velazquez, who holds numerous certifications, believes reputation is everything in real estate and, therefore, approaches customer service with an emphasis on trust and integrity.
When consulting with clients, Iris’ motto is “seek first to understand”.
Proud of her Puerto Rican heritage, Iris had the unique opportunity and privilege to take part in the opening ceremony of the 1979 Pan-American Olympic games in San Juan.
With an extensive background in finance, Iris cannot wait to mentor inventors at Fruition Technology Labs, meet like-minded individuals and form lasting partnerships.
Jide Akinyode (Iron Man)
Industries: Aeronautics, Oil and Gas
Current Position: Research and Development Projects Leader at Baker Hughes
Jide Akinyode’s talent for solving problems and being creative has been the backbone of his career, contributing to such projects as the design of NASA’s Robonaut 2, the first humanoid robot launched into space. Currently, as a project manager at Baker Hughes, Jide outfits existing completion tools with electronic sensors and controllers so they can operate in extreme environments.
In his free time, Jide seeks adventures such as climbing Macchu Pichu in Peru and is a BMW enthusiast.
When it comes to success, Jide takes the Benjamin Franklin approach: Continue to test your experiments or theories, regardless of how many failures it takes to finally succeed. He believes that "you make the most progress by having the courage to try things that may result in failure". Jide loves to work with people who share his interest in technology and seek to apply those technologies to solve various humanitarian issues, hence his interest in Fruition Technology Labs.
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.