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, Farsi, French, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, and Spanish

Directors

LaunchPad SBDC Consultants and Staff

EPIC SBDC Consultants and Staff

MartinKlecknerIII-min

Martin Kleckner III

Interim Director

Areas of Expertise

  • SBIR/STTR
  • Equity Capitalization
  • Strategic Planning and Management
  • Finance and Operations
  • Research Translation and Commercialization
  • Healthcare Economics
  • Public Policy, Legislative Advocacy, and Regulatory Affairs

 

Experience

Martin has 29 years of experience in operations and business development in the life sciences, healthcare, and sustainability. He has advised over 115 emerging and Fortune 100 companies with corporate planning and strategy, commercialization, economics, and public policy throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas. He founded five venture start-ups with two exits. His SpyFinder, a hidden camera locator, was showcased in an episode of CSI Miami. He is a nationally trained instructor for the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps™ having taught Lean LaunchPad® business model discovery and validation principles at universities throughout the U. S., the University of California, Riverside (an I-Corps site), and at research universities throughout Chile.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Don’t do that! You’ll poke your eyes out!

 


JosephWyno

Joseph Wyno

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Planning
  • International Trade
  • Supply Chain Retail
  • Sales & Distribution
  • Financial Analysis 

 

Experience

I have over 25 years of experience in the founder/startup ecosystem, both domestically and internationally, and previously served as an Advisor for Octane’s LaunchPad SBDC Accelerator. As an accomplished multi-award-winning business development consultant, I have been instrumental in helping LaunchPad SBDC clients raise $230M of capital over two years by developing teams that precisely address their business needs and capital objectives. “With a track record of success as both an entrepreneurial startup leader and multi-national corporate executive, my professional background is well-suited to the role at LaunchPad SBDC”, I have a “go-giver” philosophy that has been invaluable in elevating team member engagement and fostering collaborative efforts across departments.

As the Director, I am responsible for leading the program and providing individual consulting, resources, and programming support to LaunchPad SBDC startups. I have a people-over-process approach, I am committed to providing personalized support to help each startup reach its unique goals.”

If you’re a startup looking to take your business to the next level, reach out to me to learn more about Octane’s LaunchPad SBDC Accelerator and how the team can help guide you on your entrepreneurial journey.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” – In other words, plan, plan more, and execute.

 

 

Languages

Japanese 

 

Make an Appointment!

Alex Shoer - Headshot (1)

Alex Shoer

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Renewable Energy
  • Sustainability
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Fundraising
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Partnerships
  • Business Model Innovation

 

Experience

Alex co-founded Seeder Clean Energy, a VC-backed sustainability and renewable energy services company that helps the world’s largest corporations procure renewable energy in Asia, where he previously lived for nine years. Alex is also Venture Partner at Elevation Ventures where he seeks investment opportunities in early-stage climate tech companies. Alex has been recognized by President Obama as a Global Impact Entrepreneur, and by the Chinese government as Expat Founder of the Year. Alex has a certificate in entrepreneurship from Stanford GSB and has graduated from China Accelerator, Startup Chile and Fledge Incubator.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Ask for money and you’ll get advice. Ask for advice and you’ll get money.

Languages
Chinese and Spanish

 

Make an Appointment!

 

BillWaldo (1)

Bill Waldo

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Sales and Marketing
  • Food Service
  • Go-to-Market Strategies
  • Funding

 

Experience

Bill was the founder of a food service, sales, and marketing company that grew to over 85 employees with offices throughout Southern Nevada and Southern California. After more than 25 years, he decided on an exit strategy. Once he completed the sale of his company, he joined TechCoast Angels and has been an active investor, Membership Chairman, and Board Member for 14 years. Bill joined the SBDC as a Senior Consultant in 2008, and has counseled over 900 different clients and assisted them in raising over $120 million.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Maintain passion and enthusiasm, and nothing will stop you.

 

Make an Appointment!

 
DavidFriedman-min

David Friedman

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing & Sales
  • Strategic & Product Planning
  • Operations
  • Technology 
  • Management

     

Experience

David is a former tech executive with a couple of engineering degrees and an MBA in Econometrics. He has been a small business consultant for about 10 years and has experience working in smaller technology and service companies. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Focus and PODFU (plan, organize, delegate and follow-up).

 

Make an Appointment!

 

IsabelleBartheadshot (1)

Isabelle Bart

Director, SBDC @ UCI Beall Applied Innovation​

Areas of Expertise

  • Business Planning
  • Marketing/Digital Marketing
  • Communications/PR
  • Market Research
 

Experience
Isabelle currently leads a social enterprise incubator and accelerator, helping impact start-ups build scalable and sustainable businesses. Isabelle has been an Innovation Advisor/Expert-in-Residence at the UCI Wayfinder incubator since 2015. Her first job out of business school was CRM consultant. She has led digital transformation and medtech teams in her previous position, resulting in unprecedented growth in annual membership for the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses in 2017.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Just go for it

Languages
French and Spanish

Make an Appointment!

 

Kenneth Stanigar - Kenneth Stanigar Headshot-min

Kenneth Stanigar

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Finance
  • M&A
  • Sales
  • Operations

 

Experience

Kenneth’s experience is primarily in corporate strategy and finance in large telecom, where he had years of experience doing M&A and business development. He was a key player in the company’s strategy to acquire relatively new companies in non-traditional areas of telecom and to internally develop a portfolio of startup entities to explore opportunities beyond its core telecommunications business.  He spent several years as CFO of one such entity operating in the video gaming industry.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

If you haven’t failed, then you haven’t tried hard enough.

 

Make an Appointment!

 
 

Kevin Nicusanti

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing 
  • Product Development
  • Channel Management
  • Sales and Account Planning Management
  • eCommerce
 

Experience
Kevin has 30 years of experience as a corporate marketing and sales leader in several Fortune 500 companies. He now owns and operates a branded and patented automotive parts manufacturing and eCommerce company called Vent Tabs. He is heavily engaged with Amazon, eBay, Etsy, CARiD, and his company’s website. Some of his top achievements are earning patents in 2020 and building a successful eCommerce business. 

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Sit in the consumer’s seat and understand the full set of requirements to elate the end-user. This will make most brands successful in the long term.


Make an Appointment!

 

 

Laura Beken - Laura.Beken-min

Laura Beken

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Software
  • Pitch Decks
  • Go-to-Market Strategy

     

Experience

Laura Beken specializes in working with startups in the tech and healthcare space (life science and medical device/apps). Equity funding, strategy, and SBIR/STTR government funding are her specialties. She has degrees in Psychology, Visual Arts/Media, and a Healthcare MBA.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

Life begins on the edge of your comfort zone. 

 

Make an Appointment!

 
Marc Bellotti - 203810012-min

Marc Bellotti

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Life-Sustaining Systems
  • Drug and Device Systems
  • Intellectual Property
  • Biomedical Development

 

Experience
Marc is highly regarded as the product of a medical system development executive, experienced at leading organizations to innovate, develop and deliver patient-based medical and therapeutic systems and associated ancillaries. He is known for bridging the gaps between business needs, customer needs, and technology. He is also renowned for solving complex technical and organizational problems. Marc offers a track record of successfully growing organizations via process-driven product and pipeline development. 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 
If someone offers unsolicited advice, ask if they have ever done what they are telling you about. If they say yes, take notes- if they say no, walk away.

Make an Appointment!

 
PaulSymczak-min

Paul Symczak

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Business development
  • Operations management
  • Board of Directors management

 

Experience

Paul has been advising start-up tech and med-tech companies for over 10 years at several SBDCs in the Southern California region. He uses the LaunchPad process to assist them in refining their investment presentations. His background is in high tech, including working with large telecom companies in new ventures and new business development.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is: 

“A long illness is always fatal.”  Don’t continue to pursue something that is a lost cause.  Move on.

 

Make an Appointment!

 

RJTeno

RJ Teno

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Management
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Customer Service
  • Finance
  • Operations

 

Experience

RJ has over 35 years in real estate and mortgage and has consulted for oil supply, hospitality, construction, and auto repair companies. With over 20 years C-Suite, RJ has extensive expertise in management. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

It’s not how many times you get knocked down, it’s how many times you get up. Failure is a blessing.

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 

Shaun Sanders

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing and Branding
  • Commercialization
  • Pitch Decks
  • Investor Presentations
  • Operations

 

Experience

Shaun works with companies of all sizes but is particularly passionate about startups and small businesses. In 2014, he managed the creation of an angel syndication network that tied together resources and members from more than a dozen investment groups throughout the country. Later, Shaun joined other local investors in building out the startup-focused Innovation Institute at the University of California, Irvine. Currently, in addition to advising and working with numerous startups, which has included Reddit, Hipmunk, and several Y Combinator portfolio companies, he invests much of his time into further developing the Southern California startup ecosystem.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

In the end, the “A Students” work for the “B Students,” the “B Students” lease their buildings from the “C Students,” and the “D Students” show up on a red carpet to dedicate the building.

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 

 
tom mattoon - tommattoon-min

Tom Mattoon

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • General Management
  • Finance
  • Operations

     

Experience

Tom has scaled businesses from startups to over $1B. He has experience working with companies in a range of fields including Medtech, computing, communications, and software.

 

Make an Appointment!

 
Arthur Salyer

Arthur Salyer

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Startups
  • Operations
  • Manufacturing
  • Overseas Operations

 

Experience

Arthur has helped start several startups in the technology, medical, media, and renewable energy industries.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Network. Friends are important in business.

 

Languages

Spanish 

 

Make an Appointment!

 
ScottBrovsky-min

Scott Brovsky

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise 

  • Angel and Venture Capital
  • Fundraising and Go-To Market Strategy
  • Deep tech startups
  • Cleantech
  • Agtech
  • Biotech


Experience
Scott has been a Founding Executive of five tech startups including Mobile Games Studio, Muti Labs, and the Temecula-based sports tech company, NZN Labs/LIT Pro. As a brand marketing executive, Scott has a successful track record in launching and driving global product revenue for leading entertainment companies like Disney and Marvel. Scott has a Humanities honors degree from The University of Texas, Austin where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

The best advice I have ever been given is: 
Immunity from what other people think can lead to outsized results. Don’t spend too much time tranquilized by the trivial.

Make an Appointment!

Steve Sharp - Steve Photo-min

Stephen Sharp

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • B2B and B2C Marketing
  • Operations and Related Best Practices
  • Consumer Goods

 

Experience

Stephen has over 39 years’ experience as an executive, board member, and business consultant, spanning startups to F500 companies as a Sr. VP of Corporate Marketing, COO, and General Manager. He has run businesses with a collective value of > $800M. He is currently in his 4th year as an EIR at UCR, with particular depth in marketing, operations, and organizational excellence. Stephen’s background is primarily in manufacturing businesses, though he has mentored teams in medical, Agtech, diagnostics, education, and consumer goods industries. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

The first person speaking in a negotiation loses

 

Make an Appointment!

 
 

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