published on July 5, 2019 - 12:00 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff


Cornerstone Structural Engineering Group is pleased to announce the following promotions:

Tyler Wilfong has been promoted to Structural Designer. Wilfong recently graduated magna cum laude from California State University, Fresno with a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering. In the fall, he plans to continue working towards a Master’s degree at Fresno State. He enjoys the positive work environment and helpful nature of the engineers at Cornerstone.

Darren Fagundes has been promoted to Structural Designer. Fagundes recently graduated summa cum laude from California State University, Fresno with a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in structures. He is planning to obtain his Master’s degree in the fall from California Polytechnic State University. The thing he likes best about Cornerstone is the friendly atmosphere of the office as well as the innovative solutions the more experienced engineers come up with on their projects. This inspires him to develop his own creative designs. 

From left, QK’S Assistant Project Manager Andrea Pedraza, Greg and Alejandro.

A hashtag gone viral has caught the attention of QK’s Visalia office. Having already picked up eight large bags worth of garbage in the four blocks immediately surrounding the office at 901 East Main Street, their #TrashTag mission continues. According to Trevor Nace, contributor at, “The challenge, started on social media, has made it around the world and encouraged people to get outside and help to clean up the environment.” After the first pickup, QK team members felt they could still do more, so Assistant Project Manager Andrea Pedraza reached out to the City of Visalia to see where they could make a difference. Team members from QK’s Visalia and Porterville offices headed out June 29 with hopes that more members of the Visalia community would join in. 


Kathleen Powell joins DiBuduo & DeFendis Insurance Brokers as a Crop Sales Executive based in the Fresno office. Powell has been in the insurance industry since 1987, but moved her focus entirely to crop insurance in 2001. She has been involved in sales, training, policy and  procedure as well as management over marketing, underwriting, claims and compliance. Deeply rooted in the ag industry, Powell grew up on a family farm and has traveled extensively to learn as much as possible on commodities and growers’ risk management needs. She is a seasoned pro, serving as a resource and crop insurance educator for the community, while taking DiBuduo & DeFendis’s values of knowledge, accessibility, stability, and trust to the next level.


Dr. Sandra Witte, the dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology at Fresno State who is credited with increasing industry partnerships with the University, announced her retirement, effective July 1. Witte served the University for 38 years in various capacities. She was named the Jordan College dean in March 2016 after assuming the role of interim dean in December 2014. Since then, new community and industry partnerships have enhanced scholarships, internships, career placement, advisory boards, research support and student recruitment. Students, staff and faculty have also benefitted from key renovations to the food science and nutrition laboratory and mechanized agriculture laboratory among other facility enhancements.


Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino recently presented American Legion Post 100 with a check for $6,664 with funds raised at its monthly community breakfast. American Legion Post 100 is a patriotic veterans organization devoted to charitable work, serving the city of Lemoore. Approximately 675 people attended the fundraising breakfast. A total of $3,332 was raised at the door and Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino and the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tribe matched the amount bringing the grand total of the donation to $6,664. Santa Rosa Rancheria Tribal Chairman Leo Sisco presented the check to American Legion Post 100 President Randy McCord.

From left, Sierra Inocensio and Tachi Chairman Leo Sisco.


State Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger), representing the 14th Senate District in California, which includes cities in Fresno, Kern, Kings and Tulare counties, is pleased to announce securing investments totaling $50 million from State General Funds. The investments will address a broad range of services including access to clean drinking water, asthma prevention, defense against family separation, aging and disability centers, short-line railroad projects, and more.


ValleyPBS and18THIRTY Entertainment took home two wins in the 48th Annual Northern California Area Emmy Awards in San Francisco at the SFJAZZ Center. The first Emmy win came early in the evening for Outstanding Achievement in Lifestyle-Program/Special for “Outside with Greg Aiello, Iceland Episode.” The Emmy was accepted by Jeff Aiello, Co-Owner of 18THIRTY Entertainment, who produces the show. The second win for the night for ValleyPBS and 18THIRTY Entertainment was for Outstanding Achievement for Documentary Cultural/Historical for “Silent Sacrifice: Stories of Japanese American Incarceration.” Accepting the Emmy on behalf of PBS was Elizabeth Laval, Executive Producer of the documentary. 

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