Our Team

The Coachella Valley SBDC assists aspiring entrepreneurs and current business owners from the community of Cabazon east to the City of Blythe in Riverside County. Our local team of staff and business consultants represent a variety of backgrounds and industry expertise. Aside from our core services, our team possesses additional expertise in: restaurant, retail and franchise operations, manufacturing, interior design, merchandising, performance improvement, human resources and more.

We speak: Portuguese and Spanish

Coachella Valley SBDC Leadership

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Joaquin Tijerina

Director

Areas of Expertise

  • Site Selection
  • Permitting and Entitlements
  • Utility Coordination
  • Construction
  • Management
  • Licensing

Experience
Joaquin has over 25 years of experience working in economic and business development, project management, construction management, and fast-tracking entitlements with the County of Riverside. Joaquin has been the Director of the Coachella Valley Small Business Development Center for the past six years and leads a team of six consultants and two staff to assist local businesses successfully launch and grow.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Lead by example

Languages
Spanish

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Bob Wright

Associate Director

Areas of Expertise

  • Economic Development


Experience

Robert started in his first small business in 1969 with a retail storefront. Since then, has owned construction and service companies with over 40 employees. For the past 30 years, he has owned a nursery brokerage firm and is currently using this expertise while working for Riverside County and the CV SBDC.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it

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Jay Allis

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Food Industry
  • Costing and Pricing
  • Digital Optimization and Guerilla Marketing
  • Operations
  • Licensing and Permitting

 

Experience

Jay has worked for corporate and independent restaurants and caterers for over 25 years.  In that time, he has worked at Michelin-starred establishments, worked with world-class chefs, served celebrity clientele, and traveled the country practicing his trade. He started as a busboy and worked his way up to Sous Chef, Kitchen Manager, and Executive Chef.  He brings a wealth of hands-on knowledge to help business owners start, operate, and streamline their foodservice operations.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Don’t just go through the motions.  Be invested and interested in everything.  Take ownership of everything you do whether you own it or not.

 


Languages

Cantonese

 

Make an Appointment!

 

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Lisa Napolitano

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Sales and Marketing
  • Operations
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Startup Planning
  • Retail, Hospitality, Restaurant, and Service Industries


Experience

Lisa Napolitano is a successful entrepreneur, trusted advisor, business coach, and skilled executive with more than 25 years of experience helping companies improve their processes and people to drive performance. From 1991 to 2006 Lisa ran an industry association, growing it from 2 employees and 150 US-based clients to 20 employees and 6,000 clients globally. Her experience extends to the hospitality industry, having owned a fine dining establishment in the largest suburb of Chicago, and managing operations of a 17-cabin resort in the Northwoods of Minnesota.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.

Make an Appointment!

Lupe Ramos Amith - Lupe (1)

Lupe Ramos Watson

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Accounting and Finance
  • Business Planning, Licensing, and Permitting
  • Marketing
  • Legislative and Governmental Affairs
  • Real Estate Acquisition
  • Food Industry


Experience

Lupe has over 30 years of experience as a small business owner. She started her career as the bookkeeper for her family businesses and has helped many start-ups by assisting them with formation, hiring, training, accounting, and business development. Most notably, she has helped hundreds of businesses secure funding for their businesses pre and post-pandemic.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
If you don’t stand up for the rights of others, then who will remain to protect yours?

Languages
Spanish

Make an Appointment!

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Maria Cruz Lascano

Administrative Assistant

Areas of Expertise

  • Contract Negotiations
  • Microsoft Office/MAC OS

Experience
Maria Cruz Lascano has over 15 years of experience in event planning, contract negotiations, and office administration support services. Prior to joining the SBDC Maria was responsible for planning and scheduling the logistics of equipment set up and tear down for the annual Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival. She also worked on vendor and performer contracts, conducted the daily sales collection from concessionaires for the fiscal department, as well as managed all of the company bid proposals for the Fair. Maria was also responsible for negotiating service contracts for air show performers, professional services, and specialty equipment for Riverside County’s Annual Air Show.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Take life one day at a time.

Languages
Spanish

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Mike Pagani

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Business Loan Packaging and Placement
  • Business Startups and Expansions
  • Business Acquisitions – Valuation, Due Diligence, and Financing
  • Cash Flow Analysis and Projections


Experience

Before joining SBDC as a Business Consultant in 2016, Mike had started or purchased six businesses in several different industries. Earlier in his career, he served as a volunteer SCORE Certified Business Mentor for 3+ years. Mike has dealt with most of the business challenges small business owners may face and understands what it takes to start (or acquire) and grow a successful business.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Everything and everyone in your business should be focused on customer satisfaction.

Make an Appointment!

Ryan Stull

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Digital Marketing
  • B2B and B2C Marketing
  • Web Development
  • Ecommerce Marketing Strategies
  • Content Development


Experience

Ryan has been empowering and educating clients in the digital marketing space since 2009 when he started his own business based around website development and marketing consulting. Digital Marketing is crucial to the operation of small businesses, and Ryan has helped many small businesses take charge of their platforms and ride them to success.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
“Use your fear like fuel.”

Make an Appointment!

Troy Small - Troy Small Headshot

Troy Small

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Government Contracts
  • Validating Business Ideas and Models
  • Business Development Strategies
  • Business Operations
  • Business Start-up
  • SWOT Analysis
 

Experience

Troy is a government contracting ambassador and small business advocate with 28 years of experience in the Acquisition Career Field. He uses his experience as a former Contingency Contracting Officer to teach companies how to properly compete for government contracts and grow their business with the government. Troy is a small business owner and a key member of several high-performing teams. He helps companies start, grow, and expand via the government contracting marketplace. Troy is a retired US Marine with 20 years of service.

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Execution is key!

Make an Appointment!

 

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