Fresno State alumni were honored at the Valley Business Awards Luncheon hosted by the Fresno Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday. The awards given to the alumni were “Student Entrepreneur of the Year” and the “Leon S. Peters Award” and recognized their contributions beyond university life.
Fresno State graduate Daniel Malcolm, who graduated with a degree in entrepreneurship in December 2017, received the student entrepreneur of the year award. Malcolm received the award for the business he founded – Sparkle Ties.
Sparkle Ties offers ties featuring twist-like designs with rhinestones and Swarovski crystals.
“I wanted something more to my tie,” Malcolm said. “They’re ties that when you wear [them], you’ll be remembered.”
Malcolm said that he was “pleasantly surprised” upon learning that he received the award.
He said his interest in business began early because his father also founded his own business, Malcolm Media Ag Publishing. It specializes in agriculture publications.
“As we grew up, it was natural for us to help out,” Malcolm said.
Malcolm is still involved in the family business, working in advertising. He said his time at Fresno State also contributed to his success.
“Fresno State is full of amazing people that are supportive and have given so many opportunities to students,” Malcolm said. “Many students don’t realize how many resources and great, supportive people that we have.”
Malcolm added that his academic career in the Craig School of Business played a role in the creation of his business.
“I loved being able to apply what we learned in class to my business,” Malcolm said. “There were a lot of great professors. Many of them are currently entrepreneurs. It was great to learn from their past experiences as well as their current experiences.”
Robert Harper, dean of the Craig School, said Malcom is “very passionate” about his business.
“As a student, he got a business started that has sales and is successful,” Harper said. “He’s taken something unique and [is] making a name for himself.”
Jim Pardini, who graduated from Fresno State with a degree in social science in 1968, received the Leon S. Peters Award. He owns Pardini’s, a Central Valley based catering and banquet company.
Pardini said one thing he appreciates about his career is getting the opportunity to collaborate with others.
“It’s not like going to work every day,” Pardini said. “It’s more like going to someone’s house.”
Pardini said he personally knew Leon S. Peters. The building at the Craig School is named after Peters.
“I know the kind of a man he was and what this award exemplifies,” Pardini said.
In his lifetime, Peters engaged in philanthropic work in the Central Valley. His and his wife’s foundation, the Leon S. Peters Foundation, donated millions of dollars to numerous causes.
Pardini said the Leon S. Peters Award represents “success in business, being a very good person and philanthropy.”
He said those are ideas he tries to live by.
Pardini received the award for several reasons, including his community service efforts. He has been involved with the Boys and Girls Clubs as well as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central California.
“I have a special place in my heart for underprivileged youth, in particular, even though I’ve been involved in a lot of different charitable groups,” Pardini said.
Fresno State alumni Scott Miller and Natalie Clark received the community champion of the year award for their nursery, Gazebo Gardens. Miller and Clark each earned a Master of Business Administration. Miller received his in 2005 and Clark received hers in 2007.
Gazebo Gardens is a nursery on Van Ness Boulevard. It also includes Cafe Van Ness, which offers coffee and food. In addition, Gazebo Garden hosts a beer garden with food trucks and music performances on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.