Our Team

Our value proposition is truly our team; our SBDC consultants can help you start or add value to your business at any stage. Beyond our core services, our team can provide specialized assistance in: retail, franchise and service-based operations, government contracting and the hospitality industry. Some of our staff members include: Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisors who can assist with your accounting systems, marketing specialists who can help you attract new clients and increase your sales, loan consultants with lending preference knowledge, procurement specialists who can help you bid on local, state, and federal solicitations and much more.

We Speak: Cantonese, Mandarin, Spanish, and Ukrainian

Inland Empire SBDC Leadership

Inland Empire SBDC Consultants and Staff

PaulNolta-min

Paul Nolta

Director

Areas of Expertise

  • Debt finance
  • Financial Analysis 
  • Startup Feasibility
  • Strategic Planning
  • Marketing 


Experience
Paul Nolta has been a part of the Inland Empire SBDC for over 16 years. Paul is currently serving as the director and overseeing all operations at his center. Additionally, he is on the leadership team for the Inland Empire Center of Entrepreneurship (IECE). Paul is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and a graduate of San Francisco State University. Paul has an extensive background in financial analysis, business planning, and leadership. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:
You will only be as strong as your network. Never stop building it. Try reaching out to at least one person a day, whether that is someone you have not spoken to in a while or someone you have been meaning to get in touch with. Then watch as, over time, good things happen and get much easier. 

Angel Velasquez

Administrative Assistant

Areas of Expertise

  • Payroll processing
  • Scheduling
  • Document management 


Experience
Angel has worn many hats during his extensive employment history. Although he has worked in banking, retail, customer service, and elderly care, it’s his positions with non-profit groups that have given him some of his greatest accomplishments. During this time, Angel has worked with churches, community service, and education programs. His jobs for these organizations have included clerical, financial, and administrative roles. Angel looks forward to providing his experience to those seeking assistance with small business development.

Damon Santos

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Finance
  • Commercial and Business Banking
 

Experience
Damon is a Navy veteran with over 25 years of experience in the commercial and business banking industry. He has managed and financed hundreds of businesses from large, syndicated deals to micro businesses. Besides financing, Damon takes the time to understand all facets of a business to help solve their problems. He also has a history of volunteering for organizations that support local communities in the Inland Empire. Damon has served as a board member for Steven’s Hope for Children and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Ontario. In addition, he has volunteered for organizations such as Shoes That Fit. Damon’s passion for small business comes from his grandmother who owned and operated restaurants in the City of Los Angeles for over 30 years. She told Damon about the struggles of owning a small business as a woman and how she persevered over the years. He is a fourth-generation Angeleno that has lived in the Inland Empire for the last 30 years. Damon holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from California State University, Los Angeles.

Edgar Mejia

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Traditional and Digital Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Branding
  • Graphic Design
  • Integrated Marketing
  • Public Relations
 

Experience
Edgar is an entrepreneur dedicated to developing and elevating other entrepreneurs. For over 12 years, he ran an integrated marketing and communications agency focused on digitizing and growing chambers of commerce, nonprofit business associations, and entrepreneurial ecosystems across the U.S. Edgar has also worked on marketing small business programs developed by Southwest Airlines, Google, Goldman Sachs, Twitter, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Staples, YouTube, Wells Fargo, AFLAC, and more. In addition, he has served as Marketing and Social Media Director for Maria Shriver’s California Women’s Conference and was a member of the NASA Social Media Civilian Team for several years. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Edgar served as Small Business Program Manager at the LA Area Chamber of Commerce and then went on to serve as Executive Director of the Latin Business Association. There, he designed and produced a multi-million-dollar business convention that featured two U.S. Presidents as keynote speakers and drew more than 10,000 entrepreneurs from across the U.S. Currently as a bilingual consultant, Edgar assists in traditional, digital, and integrated marketing, branding, design, messaging, PR through social media, and event marketing for businesses and nonprofits in Texas and California. He holds a communications degree with an emphasis in graphic design, and an MBA with a focus on social entrepreneurship.

Giovandi Lewis

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Accounting
  • Bookkeeping
  • QuickBooks Pro
  • Payroll
  • Tax Preparation
 

Experience
Giovandi earned a Bachelor of Science degree from California Polytechnic University, Pomona. She has worked in the accounting, and tax preparation field for over 30 years. Giovandi is an entrepreneur, IRS enrolled agent, member of the CA Society of Enrolled Agents, QuickBooks Pro consultant, and member of the Inland Valley Chamber of Commerce. As an entrepreneur, she specializes in accounting, bookkeeping, and payroll for small to medium-sized businesses and organizations. Giovandi has assisted hundreds of companies and organizations with business formations including corporations, non-profits, and LLCs. As an IRS Enrolled Agent, the highest credential the IRS awards, she has represented taxpayers (Corporations, Non-Profits, and LLC) before the Internal Revenue Service, the State of CA Franchise Tax Board, and various state and local tax agencies.

Jackie Guilfucci

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Outreach Events
  • Marketing
  • Strategic Planning
  • Project Management
  • Business Training

Languages

  • Spanish

Experience
Jackie Guilfucci has a successful history of identifying and securing new business opportunities in transportation, education, and public works market sectors. She was responsible for identifying new business opportunities on behalf of prime contractors and teaming opportunities with new and existing clients.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Be transparent and ethical.

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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

Languages

  • Cantonese

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.

Karla Gonzalez, MBA

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Contracting
  • Business Certifications
  • Business Planning
  • Financing/Lending
  • Start-Up

Languages

  • Spanish

Experience
Karla specializes in assisting clients to start their business by helping them through financing, licensing, the permitting process, business planning, and projections. She specializes in contracting and certifications where she assists clients in applying for the correct diverse designations and provides them with a good understanding of the contracting/procurement process. 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 
In order for a dream to become reality, you need to write it down and set goals!

Laura Turnbow

Budget and Data Analyst

Areas of Expertise

  • Bookkeeping


Experience
Laura worked for over 30 years assisting local businesses while working at a local chamber of commerce. She currently assists with operations by facilitating the disbursement and accounts payable process.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Whatever you do, give it 100%

Safko-Lon

Lon Safko

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Startups
  • Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Business Development 


Experience
Lon has more than 30 years of experience in building, owning, growing, and coaching new and small businesses. He has built 14 companies in his career, including a company that created the “First Computer to Save a Human Life” as coined by Steve Jobs. Lon has 18 inventions in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. along with more than 30,000 of his professional papers in their collection. Lon also has 14 inventions in the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

Lon has extensive experience in intellectual property and holds 125 copyrighted software programs in the Library of Congress, several trademarks, and three U.S. patents for “Three-Dimensional-Internet-Advertising.”

Lon has worked across the country with the Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Centers, and Service Core Of Retired Executives (SCORE), where he was awarded the title of the very first “Ambassador” to SCORE. He built a company with 25 national sales offices and three international offices and another with more than 60,000 customers and $1M in revenue.

Lon has authored 22 books on business and marketing, including “The Social Media Bible,” which hit #1 on Amazon and sold more than $2M, “The Fusion Marketing Bible,” and his latest bestseller, “The Innovative Thinking Bible.

He has been recognized with such prestigious awards as the Westinghouse Entrepreneur of the Year, Arizona Innovation Network’s Innovator of the Year, the Arizona Software Association’s Entrepreneur of the Year, the Public Relations Society of America’s, and Edward Bernay’s, Mark of Excellence Award; he was also twice nominated for the Ernst & Young / Inc. Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year,

He has presented at more than 20 universities across the United States, worked with top executives at the largest companies around the world, and was an adjunct professor at the Indian School of Business.

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

Languages

  • Spanish

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?

NathanielQuinn-min

Nathaniel Quinn

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Business Startups
  • Business Planning
  • Digital Marketing
  • Social Media
  • E-commerce
  • Strategic Planning


Experience
Nathaniel applies expert knowledge, real-life small business industry experience, and relentless focus to problem-solving integrating technology in today’s business market. He’s a California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) graduate with a master’s degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Entrepreneurship. Nathaniel began his career as a small business entrepreneur and now has over 15 years of small business experience. Through a focused enthusiasm for entrepreneurship, he became an award recipient in CSUSB’s Innovation Challenge Pitch competitions. Today, Nathaniel specializes in working with small business owners to achieve success and overcome challenges head-on. He works with strengths through problem-solving while integrating full electronic commerce and pronounced expertise in digital marketing.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Life sucks then you die so you better enjoy what you can.

Nicolette Wilson

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Startup
  • Business Plan/Business Formation
  • Business Management/Operations
  • Financial Analysis/Projections
  • Quickbooks/Payroll
  • Leadership
  • Clarifying Vision/Mission
  • Service Based Marketing
  • Community Integration
  • Customer Service
 

Experience
Nicolette launched her first successful startup at the age of 20 in the fitness service and retail industry. Since then, she has built and led multiple thriving business ventures. One of Nicolette’s ventures reached #2 in the national transportation industry by providing extraordinary customer service and driven by her corporate vision, resulting in $4.7M gross revenue by year three. Now she devotes time to lead wine industry education and experiences, pours into kids with challenging lives, and guides budding entrepreneurs.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Everything rises and falls on leadership (John Maxwell)

Patrick Flaherty

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Human Resources
  • Employee Development
  • Sales Management


Experience
Patrick has over 40 years of experience in operations and sales management, and 20 years of experience in the outsourced human resources field. He is currently an HR instructor at several universities and founded an HR consultancy firm in 2014. Patrick holds senior HR certifications from industry associations.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Do what you say you are going to do and treat your employees with respect and compassion.

Paul Kirwan

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Strategic Management
  • International Business
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Tech
  • Sales
  • Marketing
 

Experience
Paul has over 20 years of experience teaching at the university level and consulting entrepreneurs. He has previously started two non-profit organizations and comes from a family of small business owners. Paul currently teaches entrepreneurship, strategic management, and international business at several universities in southern California. His consultancy experience has included businesses across various industries, including medical, manufacturing, and software industries. Paul holds a Ph.D. in Entrepreneurial Management from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, focusing on the network development of global start-up firms and how technology entrepreneurs develop their networks to start and grow their companies. Before starting his academic career, Paul worked as a business development officer in a high-tech startup and worked in various sales and marketing roles.

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Rachel Jimenez

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Startups
  • Business Planning
  • E-commerce (Etsy)
  • Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Event Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Leadership
 

Experience
Rachel has a passion for driving success and fostering growth. Throughout her career, Rachel has made significant contributions across nonprofit organizations, higher education institutions, as well as small businesses and startups. Her versatility and adaptability have allowed her to thrive in various settings, consistently delivering outstanding results. Beyond her consultancy work, Rachel is an accomplished business owner. She has a talent for launching thriving e-commerce stores on Etsy and is proud to be a top seller on the platform. Rachel has also been featured on CNBC, the Today Show, and Business Insider and loves to help her clients bring their entrepreneurial stories to life to attract attention and grow their businesses. Rachel holds a bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship with a minor in Finance. She also has an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Management from California State University, San Bernardino, and advanced studies in Positive Organizational Psychology at Claremont Graduate University, enabling her to apply an insightful and holistic approach to her consulting practice.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.

Robert Kirkpatrick

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Commercial and Industrial Real Estate


Experience:

Robert has extensive experience in commercial real estate serving in several senior management positions including President & CEO at The Rancon Companies, a large multi-faceted real estate company with brokerage offices in SoCal and developer/owner of $300+ million (per SEC) of commercial real estate. Robert also served as President and COO of CataList Homes, Vice Chairman of the Board and Director of Fallbrook & Community National Bank, and was the President and Co-founder of Benchmark Escrow, a full-service escrow company in Los Angeles County.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Debt is the devil

RoberUsher-min

Robert Usher

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Finance
  • Business Planning
  • Franchising


Experience
Robert has been exposed to small businesses from an early age due to his parents owning one. He managed a small business in college and then started consulting with convenience store franchisees (7-Eleven) shortly after graduating. He has worked with thousands of small business owners on everything from startup licensing to business plans to financing in his 21 years at the Inland Empire SBDC.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Do or do not; there is no try.

Vic Londot Pic IMG_6183 (1)[75] (1)

Victor Londot

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Government Contracting (Federal, State, Local)
  • Bidding
  • Proposal Guidance


Experience
Victor has more than 35 years of experience working for a Fortune 20 corporation in the government/aerospace industry. His specialty is government contracting, bidding, proposal development, and government acquisition lifecycles.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Always take the high road.

Yadira Dominguez

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Retail
  • Customer Service
  • Sales
  • Merchandising
  • Employee Training

Languages

  • Spanish

Experience
Yadira is an energetic, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable consultant with over 12 years of retail experience. Yadira has worked in many different positions for a variety of large and small businesses. Because of this, she understands what it takes to be successful regardless of business size. Yadira brings a unique set of experience, skills, and perspective to any business. Her areas of expertise are transferable across many fields allowing her to assist a diverse range of clients.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Things don’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.

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