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, Assyrian, Cantonese, Chieu Chow, Farsi, French, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Mandarin, Marathi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, and Vietnamese

Lead Center SBDC Leadership and Staff

SBDC Leadership

SBDC Consultants and Staff

MikeDaniel

Mike Daniel

Regional Director

Mike Daniel is the Regional Director of the Orange County Inland Empire SBDC Network, which assists aspiring entrepreneurs and current business owners throughout Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Mike was formerly the director of the SBDC office at Long Beach City College from 2010 to June 2015. As business owner and entrepreneur himself, he started his career as the owner of a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory location in Manhattan Beach and went on to open a second location in Long Beach in 2001. At their peak, the locations had a total of 20 employees and both locations had managers and assistant managers. In 2007, Daniel sold the Manhattan Beach store for an above-market offer then invested in several additional locations as a minority shareholder. Mike currently owns a new venture located in Shoreline Village in Long Beach called, Sugar Daddies Sweet Shoppe, based on “fill-it yourself” candy options.

Mike has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton.


Katrina Smith - IMG_1468

Katrina Smith

Associate Regional Director

Areas of Expertise 

  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Grant Management
  • Operation

Experience
Katrina Smith is the Associate Director for the Orange County Inland Empire Regional Small Business Development Center Network. Prior to working with the Small Business Development Center, Katrina worked for the CSU, Fullerton Auxiliary Services Corporation in the Office of Sponsored Programs as a Sponsored Programs Administrator. In this position, she financially managed all sponsored research projects in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics College, College of Education, and College of Business and Economics. Katrina was responsible for managing budgets and spending, compliance, financial reporting, and audits for these projects. She is also highlighted as an influential leader in Fortune magazine’s 40 under 40.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Don’t listen to criticism from people you would never seek advice from.


Kylee Zhang

Kylee Zhang

SBDC Intel Team Lead

Areas of Expertise 

  • Market Research 
  • Data Analysis 
  • CyberSafe

Experience
Kylee received an MBA from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and a Master of Science degree in Information System and Decision Science from California State University, Fullerton. She currently leads the team of market research and data analysis in the Lead Center.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Life is too short to do something you don’t love.

Languages
Mandarin


RickCalderon

Rick Calderon

Intake Manager

Areas of Expertise

  • Client Intake
  • Business Services
  • Customer Service


Experience

Rick oversees new client intake for the Orange County Inland Empire SBDC network. He comes with years of experience working to help support the SBDC’s initiatives to support local small businesses. Rick is a California State University, Fullerton graduate, having completed his BA in Business Administration with a concentration in Information Systems.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. – Robert H. Schuller

Languages
Spanish


Jessica Juarez - Jessica Juarez

Jessica Juarez

Finance Administrator

Areas of Expertise

  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Research Administration


Experience
Jessica attended California State University, Fullerton, and received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Finance. Before joining the Lead Center, Jessica worked on campus in the Office of Sponsored Programs. She served as liaison to program administrators and university staff. Jessica also assisted in the account set-up and close-out process for all post-award grants and contracts. The four years she spent in her research administration role helped her become familiar with the Small Business Development Center’s accounts.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Never settle for the path of least resistance


Jessica Romero - Unknown (1)

Jessica Romero

Program Manager

Areas of Expertise

  • Call Center Management


Experience
Jessica is dedicated to helping small businesses as they work to achieve their goals. Jessica started a party decor business in 2021 and continues to work hard to create a successful business. As a small business owner, she can relate to the trials of owning a business and uses her experience to continue helping SBDC clients.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Don’t only dream about it, work hard to make your dreams a reality.

Languages
Spanish

BiancaPeralta

Bianca Peralta

Marketing Specialist

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Web Development


Experience

Bianca has experience working at a small business that provided speech and language services to children and educated parents on the use of language strategies at home. She also did pro bono work for a small non-profit and helped them with their marketing and public relations efforts.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Work smarter not harder

Languages
Spanish


Jennifer Gonzalez - Jennifer Gonzalez

Jennifer Gonzalez

Intake Coordinator

Areas of Expertise

  • Payroll Processing
  • Customer Service


Experience

Jennifer has her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Health Care Administration. She has worked in health care for the past 14 years and has helped grow a business from 5 employees to 45 employees. Her most notable professional accomplishment would be assisting in the purchase and renovation of a 15,000 square foot medical office building.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Trust but verify.


Hailey Jacobsen - Hailey Jacobsen

Hailey Jacobsen

Administrative Assistant

Areas of Expertise

  • Food Service
  • Psychological Research


Experience
Before coming to the SBDC, Hailey worked in the service industry as a Service Professional for 6 years. She has seen the joys and struggles of running a small business from the inside out. Hailey has her Bachelor’s in Psychology from CSUF and also volunteers at the Los Angeles LGBT Center as a Youth Leader.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
That knowledge and learning are never-ending and can be found wherever you are and in whatever you do.

Brenna Parker - BrennaParker_Headshot

Brenna Parker

Marketing and Special Projects Assistant

Areas of Expertise

  • Digital Marketing
  • Copywriting
  • Social Media
  • Leadership


Experience
Brenna worked as a digital marketer for a nonprofit fine arts gallery based out of San Francisco. There, she gained experience with social media coordination, website data analysis, and blog writing. Brenna is proud to have played a key role in shifting the gallery’s operations from in-person to completely online. She is currently pursuing an MBA from Cal State Fullerton with a concentration in organizational leadership.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Listen twice as much as you speak

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Charlie Huynh

Marketing and Special Projects Assistant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing 
  • Customer Service


Experience
Charlie is a recent graduate from Cal State University, Fullerton with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Marketing. He has worked alongside a small, family-owned restaurant helping them establish a social media presence. Charlie assists with marketing efforts within the SBDC and is eager to learn and gain more marketing experience as an SBDC intern.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
You have to be consistently good, in order to be great.

Languages
Vietnamese

River Roe

River Roe

Administrative Assistant

Experience

River possesses experience as a former government employee. He is looking to expand his knowledge about the world of small businesses and support clientele needs. His most notable accomplishments are completing his undergraduate, having the opportunity to work for the OCROV, and now being with the SBDC.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

“Turn your failures inside and out. Press them on pass fear and doubt. Never mind if things hold you back a bit. You will come out on top, but you must not quit.”

AdrianSaenz

Adrian Saenz

Market Research Analyst

Areas of Expertise

  • Economics
  • Data analysis
  • Research


Experience
Adrian has worked with small nonprofits and has experience in managing budgets and writing grants. He returned to school to get his Master’s degree in economics in preparation for a doctoral program.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Just do it.

Jonathan Cao - Jonathan Cao

Jonathan Cao

Market Research Analyst

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing
  • Analytics


Experience
Jonathan started his career working with small startup companies. Through these experiences, he gained knowledge on how to conduct market research and turn raw data into information about consumer insights. Since then, Jonathan has been able to apply what he learned to his current position as a Market Research Assistant.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
You must be comfortable with being uncomfortable if you want to grow.

SamanthaFlores

Samantha Flores

Market Research Analyst

Areas of Expertise

  • Programming
  • Management
  • Document Translator


Experience
Samantha has worked in various non-profit organizations and local businesses throughout her career. As she completes her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in Information Systems, she is interested in how small businesses start and operate. By being a part of the SBDC team, she is eager to connect and learn from various small business owners in-person and virtually.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Life is all about managing expectations, sometimes even your own

Languages:
Spanish

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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

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 


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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!

 

Make an Appointment!

 
 
 
MikeHill (1)

Michael Hill

Director

Areas of Expertise

  • Financial Analysis
  • Business and Sales Strategy
  • Equity Capital
  • Brand Development
  • Prototype Design 

 

Experience

Michael is a 25-year entrepreneur and angel investor. As an entrepreneur, he created, launched, and exited two software companies and one professional service firm serving the dental industry. As an angel investor, he has worked alongside startup entrepreneurs to build operational and development teams, raise capital, and execute sales plans.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Customer before concept.

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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. 

 
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Reuben Franco

Director

Areas of Expertise

  • Banking 
  • Lending
  • Small Business Assistance


Experience
Reuben is the Center Director for The Finance Center SBDC and the CEO for the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Reuben is a former commercial banker who has helped hundreds of Southern California entrepreneurs obtain funding for their businesses. Prior to that, Reuben owned and operated two successful small businesses in the medical and electronics industries. He currently serves on the Boards of the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation, the Los Angeles Mission, and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Reuben holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Live for a greater purpose than yourself.

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Roger Lloyd

Director

Areas of Expertise

  • Retail
  • Technology
  • Startups 

 

Experience

Roger has led several startups to over $200m in revenue in both retail and artificial intelligence.  He has over 15 years of experience in the franchise industry where he led one of the fastest-growing franchises in the country.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Embrace change and never stand still.

 
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.

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!

 

Annie Qi

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Digital Marketing
  • Business Growth
  • Branding Marketing
  • Technology
  • Pricing
  • Cost Reduction
  • Channel Management
 

Experience
As a seasoned and accomplished marketing strategist, Annie strives to teach clients about various marketing and business development topics in both consumer and business-to-business environments. She has provided business leaders and client executives with marketing transformation projects to deliver tangible improvements in topline growth. Annie was also a producer for a top-ranked technology podcast and has received international media interviews for her expertise in the past. ​

The best advice I have ever been given is:
To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. Winston Churchill

Languages
Chinese and Japanese

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!

 
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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!

 
Carla Panzera - Carla Panzera JPG-min

Carla Panzera

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Business Lending
  • Notary Public
  • Tax Preparation
  • Social Media
  • Wedding Industry


Experience

Carla Panzera brings years of experience in financial consulting, underwriting, marketing, and business development from her previous positions in banking and other community micro-lenders. Throughout her career, Carla has coordinated training events, conducted one-on-one consulting with business owners, and evaluated the financial health of small businesses in the region.


The best advice I have ever been given is:

When someone tells you no. Ask why. Then stop, think, learn and accept the challenge.


Languages

Spanish

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 
 
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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

Brendan Ryan - Brendan Ryan-min

Brendan Ryan

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Graphic Design
  • Logo and Packaging Design
  • Branding
  • Digital Modeling
  • Prototyping 

 

Experience

Brendan Ryan is an industrial designer with 7 years of experience. He has worked largely in the automotive field on concept and production cars – there’s a chance you drive some of his work. Upon departing Karma Automotive in 2020 he became one half of a multi-disciplinary design consultancy operating in Southern California.


The best advice I have ever been given is:
A closed door is still a door. Open it, that’s how doors work.

 

Languages


Some Spanish


Make an Appointment!

 
Brian Smith - bks

Brian Smith

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Asia/South East Asia
  • Strategy
  • Operations
  • Manufacturing
 

Experience
Brian has 32 years of business experience in international trade, foreign investment, and operations. He spent 23 years launching new businesses in Vietnam in the industries of oil & gas, wood & metal manufacturing, building materials, cosmetics, and education. He first started his international career leading California manufacturers overseas to expand exports. Brian later moved to Vietnam to develop and implement market entry strategies for American companies. As a result, Brian later launched his own trading company that imports and distributes USA-branded industrial and consumer goods.

The best advice I have ever been given is:

You must have an unwavering commitment to seize every dollar of opportunity and obliterate any and all resistance to that objective.

Languages:

Vietnamese

Make an Appointment!

 

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!

 
 
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Craig Russom

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Strategic Financial Planning
  • Cash Flow Analysis 
  • Projections
  • Project Management
  • Quickbooks
  • Debt Financing and Lending

 
Experience 
Craig Russom is the President of Arual Concepts, Inc. and has over 15 years of senior-level leadership experience solidifying sustainable business relationships and leading all aspects of bookkeeping, budgeting, forecasting, financial analysis, and project management across numerous industries. Before that, he was a Series 7 and 66 financial advisor for UBS Financial. Craig is also a California Real Estate Broker.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Know your numbers…

Make an Appointment!

 

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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!

 

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Edna Ruiz

Administrative Coordinator

Areas of Expertise

  • POS Systems
  • Microsoft Suite


Experience
Edna Ruiz is the Administrative Coordinator at the SBDC Finance Center. She is a recent graduate from the California State University, Fullerton with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. Her responsibilities include keeping financial records updated, preparing/organizing reports/invoices, planning events, and budgeting. She is also in charge of monitoring/developing engaging content for social media platforms and oversees daily operations.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
You have to risk it to get the biscuit

Languages
Spanish

Elizabeth Gutierrez - Bio Pic

Elizabeth Gutierrez

Administrative Assistant

Areas of Expertise

  • Administrative Billing
  • Written and Verbal Communication Skills
  • Excel Reports and Data Collections
  • Office Management
  • Problem-solving


Experience
Elizabeth has a strong background in customer service, communication skills, and office management. Her business background consists of extensive administrative work, primarily in clinical settings and non-profits for mental health. Elizabeth’s most notable accomplishments are her bachelor’s degree in Social Work, experience in helping launch non-profit sectors in mental health, and her beloved family.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Invest in a car at the age of 16, so you can work and go to school.

Languages:
Spanish

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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!

Fred Delariva - 1516522640727 (1)

Fred Delariva

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Email and Social Marketing
  • SEO
  • Web Development
  • Management
 

Experience
Fred has 20 years of experience in lead generation, marketing operations, project management, and more. Having owned two separate businesses, he understands the needs and struggles business owners go through. Fred is an AIPB Certified Bookkeeper and has a Bachelor’s degree in both Marketing and Accounting.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Bosses make deals, employees complete tasks.

Languages
Spanish

Make an Appointment!

 

Gisele Hasman

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Digital Marketing Strategy
  • Cross Channel Media Buying
  • Big Data
 

Experience
Gisele has been in marketing for over 20 years, focused on digital marketing for the past fifteen years. Gisele’s background includes brand strategy, competitive/customer analysis, strategic planning, cross-channel marketing campaigns, affiliate marketing, and big data in client-direct and agency settings.

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

Languages
Spanish

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!

 

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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!

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Hugo Loyola

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Strategic Planning
  • Digital Marketing and eCommerce
  • Business Development
  • Finance
  • Educational Publishing


Experience

Hugo is an innovative senior management executive with multiple years of experience working with multi-functional teams and global business units. He is a skilled leader credited for a collaborative communication process. Hugo is also a strong bilingual communicator in English and Spanish and is also fluent in Brazilian Portuguese. He is driven by mission, vision, and results.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Read (A LOT).

Languages
Spanish, Portuguese

Make an Appointment!

 

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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!

 

Jackie Guilfucci

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

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

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.

Languages:

Spanish

Make an Appointment!

 

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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!

 

JosephWyno-min

Joseph Wyno

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

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

 

Experience

As a former small business owner, Joseph prides himself on giving expert advice on strategy, problem-solving, and developing skills to SBDC clients. Whether a client is a startup or a seasoned business, he will spot challenges, implement solutions, and achieve goals. Joseph has worked as a business consultant in 8 countries ranging from Europe to Asia. 

 

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!

 

 

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!

 

 

KarlaGonzalez-min

Karla Gonzalez, MBA

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

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


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!

 

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!

 
 

Kelly Than

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Construction (General and Specialty Contractors)
  • Finance and Accounting Operations
  • M&A sell-side advisory
  • Real Estate (multi-family, self-storage)
  • Renewable Energy (solar photovoltaics)
  • Retail and Wholesale
 

Experience
Kelly grew up in an entrepreneurial family and worked in various roles in each new business venture, directly exposing her to business operations at a young age and influencing her career path. This experience plays a significant role in her passion for advocating for small business owners. As a consultant to small businesses, she advises clients on how to uncover new opportunities or create new efficiencies to optimize operations within their business.

The best advice I have ever been given is:

From the sadness, learn something; from the happiness, learn something. From the setback, learn something and even from the success learn something. Never stop learning from any situation in life, for that is where the wisdom lies.

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!

 

 

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!

 

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!

 

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%

 

LisaNapolitano-min

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!

LynnStewart

Lynn Stewart

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • International Expansion
  • Exporting
  • Importing
  • International Marketing
  • Training
  • International Trade Missions/Shows
  • Foreign Direct Investment
 

Experience
Lynn has 30 years of international trade experience as an exporter, consultant, and teacher. She ran the Orange County Center for International Trade Development. There, she assisted importers, exporters, and foreign investors in expanding their businesses. Lynn has also done business in over thirty countries and worked in various business industries as a trade consultant and business advisor. She is also a NASBITE Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) and trainer. She has received awards for her contributions to advancing international trade in both Orange County and the state of California.

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Your target market is not EVERYONE.

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!

 
Maria Cruz A Lascano - Maria Cruz Lascano-min

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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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!


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Michael DeDonato

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Business Planning 
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Marketing 
  • Government Contracting 
  • Retail, Food, and Professional Services Industries

 

Experience

Michael has been a business consultant and finance and accounting professional for 35 years. He currently serves as the Managing Member of DeDonato and Johnson Advisory Group, LLC. Since 2016 he has served as a business advisor for Small Business Development Centers in the South Bay region of Los Angeles County where he mentors startups and small businesses. He has also prepared and negotiated multimillion-dollar aerospace and defense contracts and is well versed in government contracting.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Trust in God and believe in yourself. 

 

Make an Appointment!

 

Michael F

Michael Faraj

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Government Contracting
  • Contract Bonds 
  • Cost Accounting 
  • Business Certifications


Experience
Michael is a small business owner providing accounting and administrative assistance to small businesses that procure with Government Agencies. Michael has helped his core market of small businesses grow into effective and profitable companies with the Federal Government. Michael focuses on assisting socially and economically disadvantaged individuals with certifications and programs governed by The U.S. Small Business Administration and The US Department of Veterans Affairs. The essential elements of Michael’s business life revolve around government contracting and providing assistance to small businesses entering the government contracting world.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Don’t join the group to be a member, join the group to be a leader

Languages
Spanish

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!

 

Mike Pagani - Mike Pagani Headshot-min

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!

Nanci Cisneros Lopez - Nanci Lopez-min

Nanci Cisneros Lopez

Business Services Coordinator

Areas of Expertise

  • Startups
  • Marketing 

 

Experience

Nanci has been a part of the Small Business Development Center since 2006. She has worked in different roles throughout the years. Currently, she is the Business Services Coordinator; she plans, budgets, implements, and coordinates business services, training, and entrepreneurship programs and oversees the daily operations and services. Her passion is seeing entrepreneurs come in with an idea and turning their dreams into reality!

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Find a mentor and do what they’re doing.

 

 

Languages

Spanish 

Ngoc Tran

Project Management Intern

Experience
Ngoc is a project management intern at the SBDC Digital Marketing Lab. She is a recent graduate from the University of California, San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in General Biology. Her responsibilities include the preparation of reports, project coordination, documentation, and research.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
When you can’t control what is happening, try to control the way you react to what is happening.


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!

 

Pamela Coleman (1)

Pamela Coleman

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Video Production
  • Content Planning
  • Customer Relations Expert
  • Project Management

Experience
Pamela is best known for her sense of humor and commitment to customer services, not only toward clients but with her project team members. She started Pamiz Studio, a media and video production service, in support of other small businesses. She uses her skills to help small business owners at the Digital Marketing Lab; she is dedicated to her role as a consultant, photographer, and videographer as it is her sincere goal to assist local businesses in making an impact on their community.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Always dignify others.

Make an Appointment!

Patrick Flaherty - photo-min

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.

 

Make an Appointment!

 
Paul Roberts-min

Paul Roberts

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Podcasts
  • Live Streaming Production
  • Content Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Radio and TV Production

 

Experience

Paul has over 20 years of experience in entertainment, marketing, and corporate PR. He has worked as a podcast producer and host for 10 years and created Orange County’s only online radio station and live podcasting platform, OC Talk Radio, based out of UCI Beall Applied Innovation Center. In 2018, Paul won the Innovator Award from Radio World Magazine. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

In today’s online world, perception is reality. 

 

 

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!

 

Scharrell Jackson - Rachel Svoboda_headshot_sunday brunch agency-min

Rachel Svoboda

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing and Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Website Design and Development
  • Graphic Design and Copywriting

 

Experience

Rachel Svoboda is the CEO of Sunday Brunch Advertising/PR Agency and the Founder and visionary behind Lynxx Spirits. Svoboda has represented companies across Southern California for the past 20-years. Svoboda has handled advertising, marketing, and public relations for clients ranging across industries from restaurants to technology, real estate, design, nonprofits, and many more. She is currently an official MBA mentor at Chapman University and a featured speaker on the university’s inaugural Women in Business Association series. Svoboda was also named Women of the Year by The National Association of Professional Women.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

The harder I work, the luckier I get!

 

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!

 

 
RobbDorf

Robb Dorf

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • International Trade
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Operations
  • eCommerce
  • Go to Market Strategy
  • Packaging Design
  • Logistics
  • Accounting
  • Customer Service
 

Experience
Robb is the former Founder and CEO of PureFit, the world’s first gluten-free protein bar. After expanding its distribution in over 20 countries, he sold the company in 2020. Before starting PureFit, he was heavily involved in the growth of PR*Bar, which was later sold to Twinlab. Robb specializes in helping grow businesses both domestically and internationally.

The best advice I have ever been given is:

It takes a long time to build a successful company.

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!

 

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

Make an Appointment!

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.

 
 
 
 
 

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!

SaritaJackson

Sarita D. Jackson

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Export and Import
  • Trade Agreements
  • Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers
  • Political Risk
  • Trade Facilitation and Capacity Building
  • Textile and Apparel
  • Food Manufacturing
  • Agriculture
  • Services Sector
  • Market Research
  • Competitive Strategy
  • Qualitative Methods
 

Experience
Sarita has extensive experience assisting small businesses as the owner of an international trade research firm and the Global Research Institute of International Trade, LLC, which was awarded the SCORE Los Angeles Certificate of Entrepreneurship. She has collaborated with several universities and government agencies throughout Southern California to offer customized market research to small businesses, train on conducting proper research to identify the right markets, and develop a competitive strategy for a company’s product or service. As a result, small businesses have better assessed their global competitiveness and were connected with the funding sources to expand. Lastly, Sarita’s most recent book, International Trade in Services: Effective Practice and Policy, was published by Routledge Taylor & Francis Group in 2021.

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Gain in-depth, hands-on experience at a small company first! Working with smaller firms will allow you to expand your knowledge and offer you tools to succeed in the future.

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!

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!

 

 

 

Silvano Kim

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing
  • Digital Marketing
  • Design
  • Branding
  • Events
  • Beauty Industry
  • SEO/SMO
  • Retail
  • Photography
 

Experience
As an experienced and accomplished marketer and creative marketing director, Silvano has a wide range of experience within all areas of the industry. Since the start of his career, he has done marketing for branding, packaging, websites, social media, and print for hundreds of clients. His most recent projects have been for clients in the beauty industry, retail chained stores, cosmetics, Hyundai Motors of America, Asiana Airlines, and Banks.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; just go for it!

Languages
Korean

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!

 
 
Steven Barth (1)

Steven Barth

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Branded Content
  • Email Marketing
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Business Plans
  • Unified Communications
  • Digital Marketing


Experience

Steve is a digital media and marketing leader who has built a unique group of organizations in Southern California. He specializes in creating go-to-market strategies for local businesses and nonprofits to exceed organizational growth goals. He has expertise in digital executions, including search, social, programmatic targeting, and streaming video. Steve also has experience leading teams and building significant digital business units in several companies.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Match your skill and passion with market needs, and never, ever give up.

Make an Appointment!

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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!

 
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Tony Crisp

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Technology
  • Brand Strategy
  • New Product Development
  • Digital Marketing

 

Experience

Tony Crisp is a marketing consultant who is helping businesses fight commoditization to increase the sales of their own branded products. In addition to being the Founder and Chief Strategist at CRISPx, an award-winning, data-driven, creative agency, Crisp is a speaker at the Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California, Irvine and at the UCLA Anderson School of Business, where he is an Alumni. Crisp also sits on the Advisory Board of the Emerging Media and Design Program for the Trever Clair School of Arts at UC Irvine and serves on the Board of Directors of the Tech Coast Venture Network. 

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Leave it better than you found it…including humans. – Mom

 

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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Uriel Argüelles

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Financial Strategy Development
  • Finance
  • Cashflow Analysis
  • Loan Packaging


Experience
Uriel has held various leadership roles in several Fortune 500 financial services companies. As a Corporate Banker, he supported and guided business clients with planning, problem-solving, and navigate complex economic events. Uriel graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Management from California State University, Northridge, and earned an Executive MBA from Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA. As a Financial Consultant, he prides himself on helping entrepreneurs and business owners navigate business finance complexities and obtain access to capital.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Cash flow is the fuel that runs your business; understand it and don’t take your eyes off it.

Languages
Spanish

Make an Appointment!

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Victor Londot

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Aerospace and Defense Industry
  • Procurement Strategy
  • Subcontracting Pre-Award / Post-Award Performance
  • Manufacturing and Operations
  • Root Cause, Corrective Action, and Variance Analysis
 

Experience
Victor has extensive experience in the Aerospace & Defense industry and is knowledgeable in the process of requesting information, quotes, and proposal processes solicited at the U.S. Federal level. He has worked in supplier management, procurement, manufacturing, and operations roles, developing and executing strategies to achieve company goals. He has also been a speaker at several supplier diversity conferences, speaking on topics including “Demystifying the RFx Processes,” “Responding to Proposal Solicitations,” and “Doing Business within the Aerospace Industry.”

The best advice I have ever been given is:

Always take the high road.

Make an Appointment!

 

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Violet Oh

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Website Design and Development
  • Graphic Design
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Email Marketing


Experience
Violet self-started the digital marketing agency, OhViolet Agency, and is the executive coordinator of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce of Orange County. She has experience working with a variety of small businesses including beauty, technology, real estate, educational institutions, lawyers, and more. She also has over nine years of experience in graphic design and has worked with National Geographic to help design their online store.

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord 

Languages
Korean

Make an Appointment!

 

Vivian Nguyen - vivian nguyen-min

Vivan Nguyen

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

  • Marketing
  • Business Planning
  • Food Industry 

 

Experience
Vivian has 8 years of experience in both digital marketing and marketing strategy. Additionally, she has a wide range of experience in the tech, restaurant, and senior care industries. She has taken a single start-up franchise and grown it to 50 locations. She also has won first and third place in Start-up Weekend OC.

 

The best advice I have ever been given is:
Never be afraid to ask for anything

 

Languages 
Vietnamese, Some Spanish

Yadira Dominguez - YD-min

Yadira Dominguez

Business Consultant

Areas of Expertise

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

 

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.

 

 

Languages

Spanish

 

Make an Appointment!

 

 

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