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Craig School of Business


The mission of the Institute for Family Business is to preserve the Central Valley’s legacy of family-owned businesses. We strongly believe that the family-owned-and-operated business is an institution upon which the San Joaquin Valley’s economy depends. 


The Institute for Family Business(IFB) at California State University, Fresno was founded by Dr. Karen Bowerman, Lee Lockhart, Doris Payne, Fred Ruiz, Ken Newby and Robert Oliver in 1989. At its inception, the primary activity of the organization was to sponsor an annual conference dealing with matters of importance to family businesses. The first such annual conference was held in 1990.

To assist the Advisory Board, a part-time director, Dr. Bill Rice of the Craig School of Business was added in 1994, later replaced by Tom Burns and Jeanne Cochran. In August 2006, Dr. George Vozikis was named as a full-time Director under the auspices of the Craig School of Business. Dr. Fernando Parra, who was raised in a family business, was appointed the Director in August 2019. 

The IFB provides a forum for exchanging ideas, research findings, academic courses and information about the business and personal issues that are unique to family firms. We strongly believe that the family business is a focal point in Fresno, the Central Valley, and California at large and are proud to be a reciprocal member of The Greater Fresno Area Chamber of Commerce, The Visalia Chamber of Commerce, and The Fresno County Farm Bureau.



Thank you to our Gold and Silver Sponsors

The Business Journal   Producers Dairy   BBB logo

Legacy Members

  • Fred & Mitzie Ruiz
  • Johanson Transportation Services
  • James G. Parker Insurance Associates
  • Steven Deis
  • J. D. Heiskell & Company