published on May 9, 2017 - 11:02 AM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

A trucking industry leader from Tulare has pledged $1 million to benefit the Fresno State dairy science program.

Manuel Mancebo, Jr., 87, helped build Kings County Truck Lines into a thriving family business before selling the company in 2006. Mancebo started as a mechanic’s apprentice for Kings County Truck Lines at the age of 17, eventually taking over the business — founded in 1940 by his father and Portuguese immigrant Manuel S. “Spike” Mancebo — in 1971 at age 41.

Fresno State officials said in recognition of his generosity, Fresno State will request that the campus dairy production facility be renamed the Manuel “Jr.” and Katye Mancebo Dairy.

Mancebo and his late wife were honored by Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro and other university officials at a dairy science club banquet in Tulare on May 6.

“We sincerely appreciate this gift that will benefit our dairy program for years to come,” Castro said in a statement. “The dairy industry is a key part of agriculture in California, so it’s important to modernize our facilities and resources to give our students a real-life experience to prepare them for careers around the Central Valley and beyond.”

At the height of Kings County Ruck Lines operations, its fleet grew to 1,000 trucks and more than 800 employees. It operated in Northern California, Oregon, Arizona and Utah, and counted Safeway and Baskin Robbins as major clients.

Mancebo and his wife of 61 years, Katye, who passed away in November 2014, were also active in supporting area charities, including Valley Children’s Hospital, St. Aloysius Catholic Church and other community and education-based organizations.

Mancebo also donated $1 million to Valley’s Children’s Hospital in 2015, creating the Manuel and Katye Mancebo Emergency Department Waiting Room.

“On behalf of my late wife and myself, we are especially happy to support Fresno State as it educates future leaders for the dairy industry — an industry that played such an important role in our lives,” Mancebo said in a statement.

First-year faculty member and Fresno State graduate Dr. Kyle Thompson oversees operations at the dairy, with a workforce of 20 student milking up to 170 cows. Milk is transported each day to the California Dairies Co-op, and used by Fresno State students at the campus creamery to produce milk, 45 flavors of campus ice cream and other dairy products.

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