The Visalia Young Entrepreneurs Academy Selects Instructors for 2016-2017 Class

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is proud to announce that Raquel Garcia (Fresno Pacific University – Visalia Campus), Phil Cox (Tulare County Board of Supervisors) and Kim Batty (KB Concepts) have signed on as instructors for the Visalia YEA! class of 2016-2017. YEA! is an innovative program that transforms local middle and high school students into real entrepreneurial successes.

“Raquel, Phil and Kim all have deep and strong ties to our community. Their dedication to helping young people succeed in life makes them all great role models and instructors for YEA! students,” says Gail Zurek, President & CEO of the Visalia Chamber of Commerce. “Our goal is to teach students how to develop the type of entrepreneurial mindset that will give them more options after high school and will help them to become extremely successful no matter what career they choose.”

Raquel Garcia – is Assistant Director of Outreach & Community Development at Fresno Pacific University in Visalia, CA. She received both her Bachelor & Master Degrees from the School of Business at FPU in 2001 & 2003. Raquel has served adult learners in higher education for 15 years, 12 of those years at Fresno Pacific University. She brings with her a unique set of experiences from both the business and non-profit resource sectors, and takes pride in the service and education of others. She is an adjunct professor with her Alma Mater and also teaches at College of the Sequoias where she serves as both a mentor and a member of the mentor council with the “Puente” program, which promotes students of culturally diverse backgrounds to transfer to four year institutions for study. Raquel holds certifications in Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution for the work place and schools. She is a first generation graduate in her family and considers her education, “one of her greatest accomplishments”. Raquel enjoys gardening, cooking and entertaining. She is married to Andy, her husband of 18 years; they have 2 children Sophia (7) & Andy Jr. (6).

Phil is a lifelong Valley resident and is proud of his long history in Visalia. He previously owned and operated two Visalia businesses for some time (Cox Sheet Metal est. 1985 and Visalia Paintball Supply est. 1997). Before being elected to the Tulare County Board of Supervisors in 2004, Phil was very involved in City of Visalia affairs, serving on the North Visalia Advisory Committee (1991-1998); was a member of the Visalia City Planning Commission (1998-2001); and served as a Visalia City Councilman (elected 2001). In that capacity, he served as Visalia’s vice mayor from 2004-2005.

Currently, Phil serves as a Tulare County Supervisor, representing District Three which includes Visalia and surrounding areas. As a County Supervisor, Phil serves on the Tulare County Workforce Investment Board; the San Joaquin Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council; and the Kings/ Tulare Area Agency on Aging Governing Board.

Kim Batty is the owner of KB Concepts, a marketing and business-consulting firm. With over 15 years of advertising and marketing experience, Kim knows how to deliver results. Kim has worked in the consumer package goods industry, managing multi- million dollar product portfolios and worked in an advertising agency environment. Her specialties include; new product development, strategy development, targeted messaging and analytics to measure ROI. Kim is well versed in today’s digital marketing medium, giving her an edge in the industry. Last year Kim was a mentor with the Visalia Chamber of Commerce YEA program and is an advisory member with the Visalia Unified Career Technical Education Linked Learning Business and Media Art Academies.

Throughout the year, students will work in close cooperation with local business leaders, community leaders and educators who use their personal experiences to demonstrate how to develop ideas and objectives, write a business plan, pitch potential investors, obtain funding, register with governmental agencies, establish e-commerce and a web presence, and much more. By the end of the class, students own and operate fully-formed and functioning businesses, which may be carried after their graduation from the program.

Getting ready to begin the fourth YEA! class in Visalia, the Visalia Chamber of Commerce is currently looking for motivated middle and high school students to participate the new class beginning in October. Applications can be found at http://www.visaliachamber.org/yea/. The Visalia Chamber will host an informational session on September 6th at 5:30 pm at the Visalia Chamber office for all interested students and parents. Applications are due on September 15, 2016. For more information call Nicola Wissler at the Visalia Chamber at 559-734-5876.

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