Georgia SBDC Network State Office
The University of Georgia Business SBDC
1180 East Broad Street - Chicopee Complex
Athens, GA. 30602-5412
Phone: (706) 542-2762
B.A. in Political Science, University of Georgia
M.B.A, Brenau University
SBDC State Director
Mr. Adams has served with the Small Business Development Center in several capacities. These include roles with the Minority Business Division, the International Trade Division, and the Rural Economic Development Program, as well as serving as Associate State Director. Additional experience includes positions as an Associate Director at the Carl Vinson Institute of Government and as a staff member in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a member of the Georgia Economic Developers Association, the Georgia Cities Foundation Advisory Board, and the national Association of Small Business Development Centers.
Eric Stanley Bonaparte
B.S. in Marketing, Rutgers University
M.B.A. in Finance and Management, Long Island University
Ph.D., University of Nebraska
Assistant State Director for Targeted Programs
Eric Bonaparte is a Senior Public Service Associate who has served the small business community for over twenty two years. Eric has worked with over a thousand small business owners and facilitated over 250 training programs during that time. Eric is also the recipient of the Walter B. Hill Award for distinguished public service. In addition, he is has been awarded the Association of Small Business Development Center’s National “Star Performer” award for excellence in small business consulting. Eric is a member of the Georgia Economic Developer’s Association, the Community Developer’s Forum and the chairperson of the National ASBDC Minority Business Interest Group.
B.S. in Management, Georgia Institute of Technology
M.B.A. in Marketing, Georgia State University
Assistant State Director for Organizational Effectiveness & Marketing in Athens
Prior to joining the SBDC, Ms. Melnik worked for a marketing firm based in Peachtree City and for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia in Atlanta. As the Assistant State Director for Organizational Effectiveness and Marketing, Ms. Melnik conducts needs assessments for Georgia's small businesses, coordinates the unit's strategic planning process, and evaluates the economic impact of SBDC services. She also oversees organizational marketing efforts and provides technical assistance to business and economic development research projects. Ms. Melnik currently serves as vice chair of the national accreditation committee for the Association of Small Business Development Centers. In 2012 she was presented with the University of Georgia’s Walter Barnard Hill Award for distinguished achievement in public service and outreach.
B.A. in Journalism, The University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.B.A., Emory University
Assistant State Director for Capital Formation in Athens
Mr. Maynard leads the organization’s efforts to help its clients raise capital. He also directs the GA SBDC’s medical practice management training and consulting activities. He has counseled hundreds of business owners and facilitated scores of business training programs since joining the Georgia SBDC’s Athens office in 1998. In 2001 he was named the Georgia SBDC’s Consultant of the Year and the national SBDC organization’s Star Performer. Mr. Maynard is active with several national SBDC committees, including the Association of Small Business Development Centers’ annual conference committee. Mr. Maynard began his career analyzing and writing about business as a journalist for the Tampa Tribune and the Atlanta Journal and Atlanta Constitution. He has started two small businesses in publishing and energy sales.
B.B.A. in Management Information Systems, University of Georgia
M.B.A., University of Georgia
Director of Special Programs in Athens
Ms. Williams joined the SBDC in 2005, first as a Business Manager, and now as Director of Special Programs. Her previous experience includes fifteen years with Public Service units at the University of Georgia in the area of financial operations and administration. As a Business Manager, she administered the financial operations of the GA SBDC including financial activity for seventeen field offices. Her current responsibilities, as Director of Special Programs, include quality assurance of SBDC services through field office reviews, coordination and management of an internship/assistantship program, preparing and managing grant proposals, and tracking progress and deliverables of various programs.
Ron E. Simmons
B.B.A. in Management, The University of Georgia
M.B.A. in Marketing, Mercer University
Prior to joining the SBDC in 1990, Mr. Simmons was in the Retail division of BP North America working in retail management and retail site development and store operations. He was a District Sales Manager for Stone Construction Equipment, Inc.; was a District Sales Manager for Kennametal, Inc.; and worked in industrial management. Mr. Simmons received the ASBDC Star Performer Award in 1999 and 2011, for excellence in consulting activity. He was recognized as the Georgia SBDC Consultant of the Year in 2011 and received the Flewellen Award for Consulting Excellence in 2011 and 2013. Mr. Simmons was one of the recipients for the Project of the Year Award for 2011 for his team contributions in the Google training and consulting initiative. His areas of interest include retail management and theft prevention; marketing and sales training; as well as human resource planning and management. Organizational behavior and strategic planning for growth in the digital arena are areas of particular interest to him.
B.A. in History, University of Arkansas
M.B.A. in Marketing, Valdosta State University
District Director, South Georgia
University of Georgia Small Business
Suzanne Barnett is the South Georgia District Director for the Georgia SBDC Network. She works with 8 offices in South Georgia and directs economic development efforts in the southern half of the state. Prior to this appointment, she was the Director of the Valdosta State University Center Small Business Development Center and was a member of the faculty at Valdosta State University. She has served as a board member for the Lowndes/Valdosta Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Lowndes, a local leadership training initiative. In 1999, the Association of Small Business Development Centers recognized Ms. Barnett as a Star Performer. This national organization awarded the honor to only ten SBDC business consultants throughout the United States that year. The Georgia Economic Developers Association also has honored her for her work in Lowndes County and the State of Georgia. Her primary interests lie in marketing research, advertising and social media. She has presented programs for the Association of Small Business Development Centers, the Southeastern Entrepreneurial Education Conference, the National Town Meeting on Main Street, the Valdosta State University Women’s Studies Conference, the Southwest Texas State SBDC Professional Development Conference, and many regional programs throughout Georgia.
B.S. Cellular Biology, University of Georgia
M.B.A., University of Georgia
Director of Commercialization Assistance
Mr. Oruc joined the SBDC in 2009 as the Director of Commercialization Assistance. He has worked in positions in pharmaceutical manufacturing, pharmaceutical R&D, technology transfer, life sciences business incubation and consulting. Mr. Oruc worked as a Research Assistant and Technologist for new vaccine development at Merial Limited, a Merck and Sanofi-Aventis subsidiary. At the Emory University Office of Technology Transfer, he worked as a Consultant and Contracts Specialist assisting with the commercialization efforts of emerging technologies. He served as the Assistant and Executive Director of the Georgia Medical Center Authority and developed the Augusta BioBusiness Center, a life sciences business incubator. He participated in several technology commercialization consulting projects with Mind Force Consulting. Mr. Oruc served as a mentor for technology companies seeking investment in the WBT Showcase. Since 2007, he has been a mentor for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II commercialization plans. In 2008, he served as a judge for the Florida Research Commercialization Assistance Grant Program.
B.B.A. in Economics, Mercer University
M.B.A. in Finance, Mercer University
Joint Faculty – College of Veterinary Medicine and College of Pharmacy
Director of Entrepreneurial Studies in Athens
Mr. Sanford teaches Practice Management at the College of Veterinary Medicine and consults with veterinarians nationwide. He teaches specialized business education programs for veterinarians and has developed practice management tools including the Strategic Marketing Assessment for Veterinarians, the Healthy Practice Assessment (financial analysis), and the Practice Value Assessment (buying or selling a practice). Mr. Sanford’s accomplishments include assisting clients with over $20 million in loans and grants and co-authoring the SBDC publication, Mastering Business Loan Proposals and Starting a Business in Georgia. Additionally, Mr. Sanford has a joint faculty position at the College of Pharmacy where he teaches Community Pharmacy Management, coordinates the NCPA Business Plan Competition and consults with independent pharmacists across the state. Mr. Sanford’s peers selected him as the first recipient of The University of Georgia Business Outreach Services/SBDC Consultant of the Year Award in 1996. In 1998, The National Association of SBDCs recognized him as a “Star Performer”, an award given to only ten of 4,000 SBDC consultants for meritorious service and impact. In 2003, the University of Georgia presented Mr. Sanford with the Walter B. Hill Award for Distinguished Achievement in Public Service. Mr. Sanford received his MBA in Finance and is currently working on his PhD.
Bernard J. Meineke
B.B.A. in Finance, University of Iowa
M.B.A. in Finance, Emory University
Director of Continuing Education
Mr. Meineke held management positions in insurance, retail, and wholesale businesses prior to joining The Georgia SBDC Network in 1993. In seven years as vice president and general manager of a start-up wholesale distribution company, he led efforts in finance, marketing, and operations for this rapidly growing business. His specialties include financial forecasting, cash flow management, loan packaging, and creative financing. Mr. Meineke received the Georgia SBDC Network's 1999 Consultant of the Year award for excellence in business consulting.
B.S. in Accounting, Xavier University
M.B.A. in Accounting, Loyola University
Senior Public Service Associate
Before joining the SBDC in 1991, Mr. Andoh served as business consultant with Xavier University’s Economic Development Center and as a staff accountant for Price Waterhouse Coopers International. His expertise lies in the area of loan packaging, accounting information systems with special emphasis on QuickBooks training. Other areas of expertise include business planning, inventory control and cost accounting. Mr. Andoh has conducted research on minority businesses and their accessibility to capital and he is the co-author of the first edition of the Mastering Loan Proposals manual.
B.S.A. at University of Georgia
M.B.A. at University of Georgia
Medical Management Specialist
Mr. Lastinger works in the Georgia SBDC’s Medical Practice Management Program consulting with independent pharmacists, veterinarians, and human medicine professionals. Additionally, he assists in the continuing education and student education efforts of the Medical Practice Management Program. He has consulted with numerous clients across the state covering a wide range of specialties, and has also taken part in several student rotations with the UGA Pharmacy School and the College of Veterinary Medicine. Mr. Lastinger began his career working with a Fortune 100 company in sales and operations management, and has also started a small business in agri-tourism.