Our Team

Our Network of more than 100 staff and consultants spans across generations, regions and backgrounds. We are energetic, diverse and fully committed to the success of our clients. Get to know our leadership staff or visit our location page to view more about our staff who range from current or former business owners to practicing attorneys, angel investors, procurement experts, former bankers, marketers, web designers, CPAs, student interns and more.

We speak: Arabic, Armenian, Cantonese, Chieu Chow, Italian, Japanese, Farsi, French, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin, Marathi, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese

CSUF SBDC Leadership

CSUF SBDC Consultants and Staff

ManalRicha

Manal Richa

Director

Areas of Expertise

  • Start-up Assistance
  • Marketing
  • Retail
  • Software
  • Financial Projections and Micro Loans

 

Experience

Manal owns her own business and understands the challenges that small businesses face.  At the SBDC her focus has been on guiding entrepreneurs in launching and starting new businesses and helping established business owners take their companies to the next level. She is very knowledgeable of the digital world, e-commerce, SEO, and social media.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Surround yourself with people who lift you up, personally and in your career.

 

Languages

Arabic, French 


Ace Tarakchian - ace 1

Ace Tarakchian

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Business Planning and Formation
  • Finance
  • Government Contracting
  • Franchising
  • Healthcare 


Experience

Ace has been consulting for over 9 years. He has experience in healthcare, education, bioengineering, entertainment & media, wholesale, franchises, and nonprofits. Ace has consulted private SMEs throughout the U.S., Canada, South America, UK, and UAE. He currently manages a tech business accelerator in Los Angeles and is the recipient of the SBDC Network Star Award 2020.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Sometimes the one thing you need for growth is the one thing you are most afraid to do; without action, an idea is just a dream.

 

Languages

Armenian

 

Make an Appointment!

 

Alain Chu - 16115204575313353805266109082083

Alain Chu

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Restaurant Operation
  • Debt Relief
  • Mas90 and Quicken Accounting Software
  • Payroll

 

Experience

Alain started his own import company with his brand and products. He also started a distribution company that services 150-200 accounts per day. Along with that, he owns and operates Benihana-style Japanese Restaurants. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

People do not know everything, no harm to ask for help.

 

 

Languages

Mandarin, Cantonese

 

Make an Appointment!

 

Alexa Pidwell (1)

Alexa Pidwell

Administrative Assistant

Areas of Expertise

  • Dining industry
  • Retail industry
  • Graphic Design
 

Experience
Alexa is a Cal State Fullerton alumni and was raised in an entrepreneurial household, exposed to business since she was young. Although her background is in customer service and hospitality, Alexa admires the many challenges small businesses face and conquer. As an administrative assistant, Alexa is looking forward to helping her team continue supporting and strengthening small businesses.

The best advice I have ever been given is:

What you feel, you make real. So focus on what you want to create for yourself, not on what you are lacking.

Chris Ponzillo

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Digital Marketing
  • Branding
  • eCommerce Development and Strategy


Experience

Chris is an award-winning marketing executive, product management specialist, and business owner with over 20 years of experience transforming innovative product and service concepts into successful, profitable, high-volume brands. He has demonstrated passion for pursuing excellence in every aspect of business including design, development, launch, omnichannel marketing, leveraging of social media, and optimization of new technology.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
“In order to succeed you have to dare to fail.”

Make an Appointment!

 

Christopher Terry

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Sales Strategies
  • Account Management
  • Operations
  • Customer Service
  • Manufacturing

 

Experience

Christopher has many years of experience working for small and large companies. Additionally, he has his own startup business selling into diverse industries, completed acquisition as a business owner, and had two successful product launches.  He has an MBA from Chapman University & Marketing Strategies Certification from Cornell University. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

There are no problems in the world, only opportunities

 

Make an Appointment!

 
 
FrankPlasso-min

Frank Plasso

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Amazon
  • Online Sales
  • Branding
  • Product Development
  • Wholesale and Distribution


Experience

Frank specializes in branding and online sales. He has owned, operated, licensed, and managed over 30 retail and online stores over the years. His experience with Amazon, retail, wholesale, and distribution allows him to help clients with branding and developing an effective sales strategy.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Stay the course

Make an Appointment!

GregBell

Greg Bell

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Food Purchasing
  • ServSafe
  • Customer Service
  • Quickbooks
  • Costing and Pricing 

 

Experience

Working alongside his two partners, Greg became the first operating franchisee of Blaze Pizza in Irvine. After retiring from being a Blaze Pizza franchisee, he restarted his catering company which led him to join the SBDC as a consultant in 2017. The opportunity to impart his experiences and advise others in starting their food-based business is a rewarding extension to his career in food. Greg is now the lead consultant for the SBDC EATS program and helps clients with restaurant development, operations, labor, and profit management. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Friends buy from friends. Experience is learned. 

 

Make an Appointment!

 

BQ-spCew

Hang Harper

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Accounting
  • Tax
  • Food
 

Experience
Hang has been a CPA, providing tax and business consulting for small businesses since 2004. She also has business ventures in tax and accounting services, restaurants, and healthcare. Hang is very involved with the community. She’s Director of ABAOC (Asian Business Association of Orange County), Director of VACOC (Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce), and Treasurer for Footprints Foundation. To Hang, her best accomplishments are being able to help many of her clients from start-ups to successful businesses, develop a great net profit and buy their own commercial properties.

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Everything is perfect!

Languages:

Vietnamese

Make an Appointment!

Karie Armstrong 2021 Final SM (1)

Karie Armstrong

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Leasing
  • Strategic Planning
  • Team Building Training
  • Financial Analysis Projections
  • Business scaling Business Starts

     

Experience

Karie has over 25 years worth of experience in the retail industry managing and developing large malls. Prior to that, Karie was a  retailer for 6 1/2 years and ran her own consulting business. She has worked with the SBDC for 10 years and specializes in lease negotiations, site selection for retail, restaurants, and any other brick and mortar start-up or expansion.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Stay in your lane and always deliver excellence.

 

Languages

Spanish 

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 

KathleenSwift

Kathleen Swift

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Retail
  • Product Development
  • Event Operations
  • Team Management
  • Customer Service

 

Experience

Kathleen is an engaged and results-centric team leader. She has an exceptional record of driving revenue growth and business success through coordinating and executing multi-faceted product sales, merchandising, and business development strategies. She offers considerable experience in high-profile venue businesses, which includes several years with the Walt Disney Company.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Never ask someone to do something you would not do yourself.

 

Make an Appointment!

 
 
Kyu Jin Kang - kang_kyujin

Kyu Jin Kang

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Food Industry
  • Project Management
  • Social Media Management
  • Graphic Design
  • Localization
 

Experience
Kyu has been involved in the restaurant industry for the past 3 years. He started EATS89 LLC from the ground up and took care of its daily operations as Bubble & Leaf in Cypress, CA. Kyu has a background in business technical management and has previously worked in software publishing and development.

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Life is full of setbacks, what really matters is how you overcome them.

Languages:

Spanish, Korean

Make an Appointment!

 

 

Larry Charpentier Pofile Picture (1)

Larry Charpentier Jr.

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Accounting and Finance
  • Management
  • Operations
  • Strategic Planning
 

Experience
Larry has extensive experience working with start-ups and companies under $15 million in revenue. His goal is to provide financial and management consulting services to ensure the entity is operating most efficiently and cost-effectively. He has owned and operated several small businesses since 2000 and is very intimate with every aspect of the business. He has worked closely with advertising, marketing, operations, accounting, finance, and business development professionals.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Be the best where your feet are at!

Make an Appointment!

 

Matt Dubow - image0 (4) (1)

Matt DuBow

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Management 
  • Operations  
  • Marketing  
  • Sales  
  • Hospitality  
  • Retail Wholesale 
  • Event Management
 

Experience
Matt is an experienced investor with a background working in the wine and spirit industry. He has strong entrepreneurship experience and diverse knowledge of several business concepts. 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Do not give up. Keep working toward your dream!

Make an Appointment!


Michelle Chuang - IMG_4298 (1)

Michelle Chuang

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Brand and Digital Marketing
  • Content Strategy
  • Social Media
  • Real Estate
  • Technology
 

Experience
With over 23 years of marketing experience, Michelle has helped build notable brands such as Starbucks, Chevron, and Staples. During her marketing tenure, she has helped launch the green tea lineup at Starbucks and supported the establishment of go-to-market for Chevron’s Extra Mile convenience store program. Most recently, Michelle served in a marketing leadership capacity for some technology companies, where she led rebranding initiatives that elevated brand value and increased revenue shares.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Successful marketing is about understanding your audience and delivering a solution to their needs with a tremendous amount of passion.

Languages
Mandarin and Cantonese

Make an Appointment!

 

Natalie Murphy - Natalie Murphy

Natalie Murphy

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Multicultural Communications
  • Crisis Management
  • Government Relations
  • Healthcare and Science

 

Experience

Natalie is an accomplished marketing and international communications expert. She has worked for global multinational companies in Europe and America and is now focusing on digital marketing and technology to support small business owners and help her clients grow.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

 

Languages

Spanish, French, German, Italian

 

Make an Appointment!

 

Robert Ahn - Robert Ahn

Robert Ahn

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Management
 

Experience
Robert is a business executive with 40 years of experience leading businesses to grow revenue and profit. He has successfully helped clients leverage sales technologies, software, and CRM data to identify, analyze and act upon leads, opportunities, and sales funnels. Robert’s top priority when working with clients is to exceed expectations by being a personable communicator.

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Never give up

Languages:

Korean

Make an Appointment!

 

Subscribe now

Sign up to stay updated on the latest news and resources!

Select list(s) to subscribe to


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: OCIE SBDC, 800 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton, CA, 92831, http://ociesmallbusiness.org. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact