OCED staff manages and supports a number of programs and initiatives designed to sustain and improve the San Joaquin Valley and provide a legacy of prosperity for those who call it home, both now and in the future.
Below is an introduction of each staff member who contributes to the overall success of OCED.
Eduardo González, Interim Executive Director
Eduardo González is currently OCED's Interim Executive Director. Previously, he was the the San Joaquin Valley Rural Development Center (SJVRDC) Director and the Director of the Fresno State Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Through Fresno State SBDC, he provided entrepreneurs with consulting and training services. In addition, Eduardo provides support in planning, developing and facilitating OCED's grant-funded projects and various collaboratives. Prior to joining OCED in 2011, Eduardo served more than 10 years in a variety of community-focused roles in the Valley. He was executive director for Youth Centers of America (YCA) and provided vision and leadership to its programming and staff. Eduardo has well over 15 years’ experience in the non-profit arena, grant writing, and has helped develop adult education, leadership and prevention projects/programming in the most underserved rural communities. He has supervised the implementation of various advocacy projects for social justice and social change throughout rural communities of the San Joaquin Valley.
Frida Cardoza, Community & Regional Planning Center Coordinator
Frida Cardoza was born and raised in the unincorporated community of Oro Loma, CA. She moved to Fresno and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation Administration with a certificate in Humanics in May 2016, and completed the prerequisites for the Master of Public Health program at Fresno State in May 2017.
Prior to her current role as Community and Regional Planning Center Coordinator, Frida served as a Student Assistant for Office of Community and Economic Development from 2016-2017. In this role, she relied upon her comprehensive knowledge in recreation administration to assist with all outreach, promotional materials, planning and administrative tasks for: the 2016 San Joaquin Valley Parks Summit, the Sustainable Parks and Recreation Community Initiative, and the 2017 San Joaquin Valley Recreation Summit. In her most recent role, Frida served as Underwriter Administrator for Employers Outsourcing Inc.’s Workers Compensation Department.
As the CRPC Coordinator, Frida is responsible for planning and implementing capacity-building activities for the Community and Regional Planning Center and the San Joaquin Valley Rural Development Center. Frida also provides administrative support to the San Joaquin Valley Housing Collaborative, a regional 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
In her spare time, Frida enjoys music, traveling and collecting stone jewelry pieces. Every season she likes to make it out to a few games at Dodger Stadium with her family and friends.
Cynthia De Leon-Velasco, Communications Assistant
Cynthia De Leon-Velasco has been with OCED since 2018. She started out as a student assistant to the Small Business University. Her job duties as a student assistant ranged from creating marketing materials for the office to working with clients on their business branding. Upon graduation, her job title changed from Student Assistant to Communications & Event Planning Assistant where some of her job duties now include updating the OCED newsletter, posting on OCED social media and helping with event planning. Originally from Southern California, Cynthia has now made the Central Valley her home. In 2019 she earned her B.F.A in Graphic Design from Fresno State.
Luz Ezquivel, Connect Call Center Project Coordinator
Luz joined Team OCED in October as a Fresno State Call Center Program Assistant. She was raised in a rural community in Sinaloa, Mexico. She studied in the city of Culiacan Sinaloa and worked there for three years at Tec Milenio University in the Telemarketing department where she was responsible for promotion, customer service, application and review of admission exams. During the time period, she acquired her BA in Public Relations. In 2011 she moved to the Central Valley where she ventured and decided to become a Cosmetologist. Luz worked for a few years and decided to return to her educational roots in Public Relations.
Shelby Gonzales, Finance Director
Shelby Gonzales is finance director for OCED, overseeing the fiscal and technical activities that support all of OCED’s initiatives and sponsored projects. A San Joaquin Valley native, Shelby was raised in the farming community of Turlock. Prior to joining OCED in 2010, she was a grant accountant at the California State University, Fresno Foundation. Previous positions include associate director of Budget and Planning at San Diego State University, and account analyst in the Extramural Funds Department for the University of California, San Diego and for the University of California, Los Angeles. Shelby earned a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from California Baptist College (now University) in 1982, and a Graduate Diploma in computer science-applied science from Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, in 1998.
Miguel Lopez, Project Manger
Miguel Lopez joined the OCED team in June of 2019 as Project Manager. He comes to us from UC Merced where he served as the Community Relations Representative for the university starting in 2014. He was raised in San Joaquin, CA and attended Tranquillity High School. Miguel attended UC Merced and graduated in 2012 with a B.A. in Political Science. He served as president of the Associated Students at UC Merced in his last year. Miguel was accepted within the Capital Fellows Program in 2012 and placed within the Executive Office of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Upon completion of the program, Miguel was hired as a budget analyst within the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Miguel currently serves on the Merced City School District Board of Trustees and the UC Merced Alumni Association Board.
Emily Lazaro-Salgado, Project Coordinator - Parent University South
Sandra Prado, Project Coordinator - Parent University North
Sandra Prado joined OCED in June 2019 as the Program Coordinator for the Parent University Program. She comes from Madera County Workforce where she served as a Workforce Technician II. In that role she would help with eligibility processes to determine if they qualify for Training programs, education and job placement.
Sandra was raised in Oakland California but was born in Zapopan Jalisco Mexico. She assisted Laney College and Merritt College in the Bay Area and recently completed a class for American Sign Language I at Madera Community College. She is a mother of two wonderful boys, who are 13 and 7 years old.
Jorg Letkemann - Small Business Development Center Project Coordinator.
Jorg Letkemann was born and raised in a small farm town in Paraguay. He moved to Fresno in 2014 to learn English and subsequently got his BA in Business Management and Organizational Studies. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Community Leadership and Transformation at Fresno Pacific University.
His current position is Project Coordinator for the Small Business Development Center. He is working with small businesses on their business plans, and connecting them with the right resources to start, grow, and develop their business.
In his spare time, Jorg enjoys hiking, biking, cooking, and traveling with his fiance. The coast is their primary destination. They especially enjoy Santa Barbara.
Daisy Ballin-Diaz, Call Center Representative
Claudia Sanchez, Connect Call Center Project Coordinator
Claudia Sanchez de Hernandez joined team OCED in October 2018 as a Fresno State Call Center Project Assistant. Claudia was raised in Guadalajara Jalisco Mexico and studied Business Administration at Enrique Diaz de Leon University. After graduating from college Claudia worked at the University of Guadalajara (UdeG) as a administrative coordinator for PROULEX, a school primarily for English and Digital Literacy classes. Claudia moved to the California in 2008 and settled in the Fresno in early 2009. Claudia has spend the last couple of years raising her daughter Mia and is looking forward to getting back to work in her field of education.
Ashley Abrahamson, Communications Coordinator
Ashley Abrahamson joined the OCED team in July 2019 as their Communications Coordinator. She grew up in Kingsburg, CA, where her grandfather owned a small farm. She graduated from UC Davis in 2017 with a BA in Linguistics and is currently a Master’s Candidate in the Fresno State C&I program. Before working for OCED, Ashley worked as a student assistant for the California 4-H Statewide Program, and then as a Community Education Specialist for CalFresh Healthy Living, UC. Ashley is very enthusiastic about OCED’s mission to connect the community to the university, which she hopes to leverage in her role. Ashley is responsible for curating the content of the Rural Development Center's weekly newsletter, the Valley Harvest.
Elaine Cervantes, Project Assistant
Elaine Cervantes joined OCED in August of 2019 as a Project Assistant to various programs in the OCED Department. Before working for OCED, Elaine worked for the Biola Community Services District where she served as the General Manager. She was the workforce of a Poverty Stricken Community with a population of 1706. Her passion along with her husband and 3 daughters have helped many families through their many challenges. Elaine is very excited to be part of OCED and what their mission stands for and to help be the difference in our future generation.
Israel Lara Jr, Project Assistant
Israel Lara Jr. has been with Fresno State’s Office of Community and Economic Development since 2019. He is a Project Assistant at the Office of Community and Economic Development. He is assigned to the Community and Regional Planning Center and his duties range from assisting in planning and implementing capacity-building activities for the Community, Regional Planning Center and the San Joaquin Valley Rural Development Center. Israel Lara enjoys reading, socializing, and hiking in his spare time.
Jennie Fenn, Project Assistant
Jennie Fenn became an OCED employee on October 21, 2019, as one of the project assistants. She looks forward to meeting and working with everyone. Jennie is married to Norman, and ha one son, Norman Jr. She also has two granddaughters, Malia, a nurse and Gina, a student at Fresno State who works for a non-profit. Jennie retired from banking after 45 years and started working for a Certified Public Accountant part-time.
Isabella Gonzalez, Graphic Design Intern
Isabella Gonzalez is a student assistant at OCED and a graphic design student at Fresno State. Isabella assists the graphic designer with graphics, flyers, logos and much more.
Grant Woods, Graphic Design Intern
Andrea Contreras, Communications Intern
Andrea Marin Contreras joined OCED as a communications intern in January 2020. In her current position, Andrea helps curate the Valley Harvest, a weekly newsletter by the Rural Development Center. She also helps with the creation of social media posts and the planning of OCED events.
Andrea is currently working on her Bachelor’s degree in Media, Communications, and Journalism with an emphasis in Print Journalism. She will graduate in May 2020 and start the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at Fresno State in August 2020. In her spare time, Andrea loves writing and reading poetry and fiction books. She enjoys listening to music, watching movies and shows on Netflix, and working out.
Marilyn Castaneda, Communications Intern
Marilyn Castaneda is an OCED communications intern and a student at Fresno State. She is majoring in print journalism with a minor in Spanish and will be graduating in May 2020. Marilyn is from Hanford and currently works as an Editorial Assistant for Driscoll's.