Written by David Castellon
Vice PresidenT | Lyles Diversified, Inc.
Education: BS in finance | Family: Married with one son and one grandson
Education: AA in architecture
AS in U.S.A.F. munitions systems technology
BS in construction management
Master’s in public administration | Age: 50
What we do:
Celebrating 75 years, Lyles Diversified is truly a “diversified” organization managing and administrating a wide range of business partnerships from real estate development, housing, apartments, financial and agricultural operations while its corporate subsidiaries operate construction firms that primarily perform water treatment, wastewater treatment, pipeline distribution, road and bridge construction, gas infrastructure utilities, to mechanical, plumbing and distribution systems.
The Rotary Club of Fresno, est. in 1916 as Club #203 out of 36,000 today, is an organization “uniting business professionals to take action and create lasting positive transformation in ourselves, our community, and across the world.”
Tell us a little about your career to your current position.
Beyond working on my own business while in college, I started teaching at Fresno State as an adjunct professor upon graduation and felt that connecting education and a passion with what you choose to be employed in was important. I tell my sons (age 17 and 15) that “you should learn a little bit about a lot of things.” Seven years at Fresno State and 18 years here at Lyles is primarily based upon a hard work ethic with dedicated business skills, a little luck and lots of mentors along the way. All have contributed to my career opportunities and current position within Lyles Diversified.
How is business for Lyles Diversified these days?
What is the best part of your job?
There are no two days that are similar. Working with Gerald Lyles, as a mentor in business and life, has been fun, encouraging, educational and memorable.
What is the most challenging?
In a way, that’s no different than the “best” part because no two days are similar. It’s challenging to address numerous projects and partnerships on any given day…but that challenge lends itself to being fun as well.
What are some noteworthy projects Lyles has worked on?
There are too many to list or properly identify. We make impacts every day.
What did you learn from your time in the Air Force?
Beyond the pride of overall military service, I learned to lead as a follower as well as know that there is truly service before self in the amazing actions of individuals that raise their right hand in dedication to this great nation; no matter its faults or political concerns.
I have no patience for:
The lack of using your turn signal. It’s not optional equipment on your vehicle.
Tell us about a cause/organization that is close to your heart.
I’ve served on many boards and committees but currently serve on the Chawanakee Educational Foundation for my sons’ school district as well as with the Rotary Club of Fresno. I consider education, albeit not particularly good at it, extremely important with never-ending results. It’s certainly a life-long passion. Within the Fresno Rotary Club, I consider leadership, service, and a connection to a larger organization a passion over the last decade. Business and life are about connections and service. Rotary allows us to do better for our local community while making impacts in our world.
What are your roots in the Central Valley?
Iowa is my birth state and core but California and the Central Valley have molded a good chunk of my being. Clovis High School (Go Cougars!), College of the Sequoias, to Fresno State are where running cross-country and track became a part of my soul forever.
What was your very first job and what did you learn from it?
McDonald’s on Shaw and Peach, and I loved it! I’m a big fan of work experience in any service industry as well as working with a diverse team of individuals. While I have several memorable experiences, I started to learn that expanding your communication skills so you can relate with a wide-range of people would be beneficial in business and in life.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy being a dad and all the aspects by which I can be a positive force in my boy’s life. Beyond that, I am resigned to being a “jogger” these days but happy to fill my breadth of past athletic competition with CrossFit (Iron Buffalo on Fulton!) and driving my jeep in the mountains or in the desert always lowers my blood pressure. Big fan of watching and attending sporting events from soccer (San Jose Earthquakes/Fresno FC/any Bundesliga), basketball (Sacramento Kings), football (Minn. Vikings), to baseball (SF Giants).