Directory

Albany Office

Anne Chaplin, Program Coordinator at the UGA SBDC in Albany

Anne Chaplin

Program Coordinator

Anne Chaplin serves as a Program Coordinator for the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center in Albany Georgia. She attended Darton State College and received her AA in Dance and then received her BS in Public Policy from Georgia State University. Previously, she was the Social Media & Volunteer-Intern Coordinator for the nonprofit Girl Talk, Inc. She also worked with Albany State University as an Admissions Recruiter. These experiences brought her unique opportunities to sharpen her skills with event planning, marketing, and public speaking.

Anne looks forward to experiences small business grow within the Southwest Georgia area.


Education

  • A.A. in Dance, Darton State College
  • B.S. in Public Policy, Georgia State University

Experience

  • Girls Talk, Inc. (Social Media and Volunteer/Intern Coordinator)
  • Albany State University (Admissions Recruiter)

Contact

Phone: (229) 420-1144

Email: achaplin@georgiasbdc.org

Rob Martin, Small Business Development Center

Rob Martin

Consultant

Rob  Martin is a business consultant in the Albany office.  Previously, he worked for multiple large corporations and brings with him a rich background of leadership experiences ranging from manufacturing, sales and distribution to hospitality, culinary and operations management.  He is recognized as a leader that loves to grow business and people to help them reach their full potential.

These previous experiences have equipped Rob with the ability to educate clients through a multitude of challenges and strategic changes needed in today’s marketplace.  His areas of expertise include marketing, retail strategy, financial forecasting, human resources and strategic planning. One of Rob’s major forte’s is the ability to help educate leaders and teams on how to “connect the dots” using innovation and communication.


Education

  • B.B.A., Marketing, Georgia Southwestern University
  • M.B.A., Human Resources, Georgia Southwestern University

Experience

  • Account Manager, Applied Industrial Technologies, Albany, GA
  • Director of Hospitality & Executive Chef, Sherwood Baptist Church, Albany, GA
  • Operations Manager and Account Sales, Motion Industries (Industrial Division of Genuine Parts Company) National and International appointments.

Accomplishments

  • Opened 2 satellite branches for Motion Industries – procured land, assisted in designing and building facilities, hired staff, marketed business and forecasted operations.
  • Took one business from $10,000 in annual sales to over $15,000 in monthly sales in less than 12 months still in operation today.
  • Opened a successful Coffee Shop and Café still in operation today.
  • Awarded Outstanding Marketing Student of the Year by the Atlanta chapter of the American Marketing Association.

Contact

Phone: (229) 420-1144

Email: robmartin@georgiasbdc.org

Heather Sharpe

Heather Sharpe

Consultant

Heather Sharpe serves as a Business Consultant for the University Of Georgia Small Business Development Center in Albany, Georgia. She attended Darton College before going on to earn a B.A in Communication Studies from Clemson University and a M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communication from Florida State University. Prior to joining the SBDC, Heather served in the Marketing Department at Albany Mall where she coordinated special events and social media, as well as worked with merchants to grow their businesses. She has also served as a Program Director at the Albany Area YMCA, where she developed and managed both seasonal and year-round programs.

Heather is an active member of the Junior League of Albany, GA., Inc., where she has served in a variety of leadership roles, including Financial Council Chair, Nominating & Placement Chair, and President. She is currently serving on the Albany Technical College Marketing Program Advisory Committee and the Georgia Agritourism Association Board of Directors. Her interests include marketing strategy, customer service, event planning and management, agritourism, and digital marketing tactics.


Education

  • MS, FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY, 2012 (Integrated Marketing Communication)
  • BA, CLEMSON UNIVERSITY, 2004 (Communication Studies)
  • BA, DARTON COLLEGE, 2002 (Speech and Communication Studies)

Experience

  • ALBANY MALL (Marketing)
  • ALBANY AREA YMCA (Program Director)

Leadership

  • President-Elect, Junior League of Albany, GA Inc.
  • Marketing Advisory Committee, Albany Technical College

Contact

Phone: (229) 420-1144

Athens Office

Stacy Johnson - UGA Small Business Development Center

Stacy Johnson

Program Coordinator

Stacy Johnson has over 15 years of experience in advertising and marketing working as a graphic designer for small advertising agencies in Dallas, Texas. She grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma being involved in her own family’s frozen food business, seeing first-hand the challenges and rewards of owning and running a small business. She currently runs a small crafting business out of her home, offering classes and selling crafting supplies.

Since joining the UGA SBDC at Athens in December 2014, her role as Program Coordinator is to be the first point of contact for the office, to provide entrepreneurs with basic business information and resources to help start or expand their small business, to advertise and organize continuing education programs, and to promote awareness of the SBDC through speaking engagements, social media, and other public relations activities.

Education

BBA, Baylor University (Management Information Systems)

AA, in Culinary Arts, The Art Institute of Dallas

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-7436

Email: sjohnson@georgiasbdc.org

Laura Katz

Laura D. Katz

Area Director

Ms. Katz has extensive experience in marketing and business development for both large corporations and small business. She has helped develop, price and bring to market new products for companies such as Motorola, Hewlett-Packard, Cisco and Levi’s. In the second part of her career, she has worked with small business owners implementing business development and marketing plans.

In 2011, Ms. Katz joined the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center as a consultant and since then has earned several awards: an UGA SBDC Consultant of the Year (2014), recognized as an ASBDC State Star (2015), three UGA SBDC Flewellen Awards for consulting excellence (2013, 2015, 2018) and an UGA SBDC Program Innovation of the Year Award (2017).

In 2015, Ms. Katz achieved the rank of UGA Public Service and Outreach Associate Faculty and was promoted to Athens Area Director. Katz is a nationally recognized speaker on Marketing, Work/Life Balance, and Agribusiness. Her program “FarmSMART” is implemented nationally by the SBDC’s of Alabama, Mississippi and Missouri in response to the SBA’s Rural Initiative.

Recently, two of Katz’s client’s won SBA awards for the state of Georgia for their achievements as business owners: Tonya Barr-Dugas, CEO and Pete Dugas, COO and owners of TSAV were awarded “SBA Small Business Owner of the Year 2018” and Tiffany Hines, President and owner of Global Escapes was awarded “SBA Women Entrepreneur of the Year 2019.”

Ms. Katz enjoys working with small business owners, utilizing her education and experience to help transform their businesses.


Education

  • M.B.A, BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY, BINGHAMTON, NY (Marketing)
  • B.S., BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY, BINGHAMTON, NY (Organization Behavior & Leadership)

Experience

  • PEACHMAC DIGITAL, LLC (Vice President SMB Sales)
  • FINGER LAKES ENGINEERING (Director Business Development)
  • AMPHENOL INTERCONNECTS CORP. (Product Marketing Manager)
  • PAXAR CORP. (Marketing Manager)

Accomplishments

  • Magna Cum Laude, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY 1992
  • “2013 New Faculty Bus Tour,” nominated and selected to attend the University of Georgia, five day tour of the state of Georgia; August 2013

Articles

  • STEPS TO TAKE WHEN NAMING A BUSINESS  Jul 2013 on Athens Banner Herald, Sunday
  • TEN TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS NETWORKING  May 2013 on BIS Business in Savannah, Savannah Morning News
  • TEN TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS NETWORKING  Mar 2013 on Athens Banner Herald, Sunday
  • SIX BEST HIRING PRACTICES THAT MAKE SENSE  Jan 2012 on Georgia Trend Small Business Guide

Leadership

  • Program Lead, “Women’s Business Expo,” Athens SBDC, full day program for 50+ women business owners with speakers, luncheon, and booths. November 30, 2012; lead role on program development based upon attendee research and organization of day’s activities.
  • Invited Speaker, “Medical Practice Marketing Strategies,” developed and facilitated 2 hour program, to residents of the Mercer Medical School Practice Management Rotation program; May 2013.
  • Invited Speaker, “Organizational Strategies to Enhance Work/Life Balance” developed, presented and facilitated exercises for a 1-1/2 hour program to 26 women business owners at Valdosta State University SBDC Women’s Symposium; November 2011.
  • Committee Chair, “Annual Consultant’s Training 2013” for the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center statewide training conference. Over-all development and management of 6 person committee to put on 3 day statewide training conference; June 2012-May 2013.

Honors and Awards

  • “Flewellen Award for Consulting Excellence 2018” earned for outstanding performance as a valued public service professional in the Georgia SBDC Network for 2018.
  • “Innovation of the Year Award 2017” nominated and selected for developing module 1 of the “Beginning Farmers and Ranchers: Journeyman Farmer Certificate Program.” The award recognizes an outstanding continuing education program, that results in a significant impact on the operations or services of the UGA SBDC. The program may be a single class or a series of classes that leads to measurable impact and outstanding outcome.
  • “Flewellen Award for Consulting Excellence 2016″earned for outstanding performance as a valued public service professional in the Georgia SBDC Network for 2015.
  • “ASBDC State Star of Georgia 2015” earned national award as an America’s SBDC “State Star” which recognizes SBDC employees exhibiting exemplary performance, those who made a significant contribution to their state or regional SBDC program and show a strong commitment to small business.
  • “Consultant of the Year 2014” nominated and selected for outstanding accomplishments during the year, including his/her work with the business community, program development, research, publications, presentations, professional development activities, involvement in business-related organizations, projects and programs 2014.
  • “Flewellen Award for Consulting Excellence 2013” earned for outstanding performance as a valued public service professional in the Georgia SBDC Network for 2013.

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-7436

Email: lkatz@georgiasbdc.org

Michael Myers

Michael Myers

Consultant

Michael Myers joined the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Athens Area Office< on October 1, 2015. Before joining the SBDC, Michael was a C-Level executive in the retail  industry for 23 years and has owned his own Contract Consulting firm. Michael has extensive knowledge in the area of franchising, being both a Franchisor and Franchisee. A native of Kansas City, Mo, Michael and his wife Debbie own and operate a small franchised business in the Athens Area.


Education:

  • BSBA – Financial Management – University of Northern Colorado
  • MBA – Management  – University of Phoenix

Experience:

  • Vice President of Operations – Luxottica – Sears Optical North America  – day-today operations of 700+ Retail Optical and Optometrist offices located in within and Sears retail location.
  • Vice President Operations – Solantic Urgent Care managing he day-to-day operations of 35 Urgent Care Centers in the State of Florida
  • President and COO – Back Yard Burgers, Inc. – Michael lead the successful turnaround and subsequent sale of this Publicly traded Restaurant Company.

Accomplishments:

  • Michael has earned the “Food Management Professional” certification form the National Restaurant Association.
  • “Restaurant Finance Monitor”  – top Performing Restaurant Stock of the year – 2002.

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-7436

Email: mmyers@georgiasbdc.org

David Stob

David Stob

Consultant

David J. Stob brings to the SBDC a diverse background of over 24 years in various marketing and business development roles with executive management experience. He has built a career creating new incremental business and product lines that have generated million’s in sales internationally and has managed product lines with gross sales of over $80 million.

Stob started his career combining a Journeyman Plumber’s License and an MBA degree to go work for Kohler and Masco subsidiaries marketing plumbing fixtures. Since then he has been involved with numerous industries from packaging components to cooking oil, which he marketed and sold into grocery retail and food service channels. He also has experience with starting up companies and turn-around situations.


Education

  • MBA – Marketing Management
  • BS – Business Administration – Marketing

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-7436

Atlanta Office

Anna Brumby

Anna Brumby

Consultant

Anna has over 15 years’ experience as an influential business leader with a history of designing and executing successful marketing, branding and business development strategies domestically and internationally. As a consultant for the UGA SBDC at GSU, she applies her extensive knowledge from her work with Fortune 500 companies and owning and running a small family business.

Her areas of expertise include building business growth strategies, designing marketing strategies, competitive intelligence analysis, product development, go-to-market sales strategies and brand design. Recognized as an advocate for small business owners, Anna has conducted a number of live television interviews on stations including Fox Business News, 11-Alive and WSB Atlanta.


Education

  • B.S. in Political Science and Accounting, Presbyterian College
  • MBA, University of Georgia

Contact

Phone: (404) 413-7830

Email: abrumby@georgiasbdc.org

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Telisha Farrow Jackson

Program Coordinator

Contact

Phone: (404) 413-7830

Email: atlanta@georgiasbdc.org

Thomas "Tommy" Heaton, UGA Small Business Development Center

Thomas Heaton

Consultant

Tommy has financial industry experience that includes leadership roles in portfolio management, commercial lending, process management, and real estate acquisition. His expertise includes loan proposal and business plan preparation, sales strategy, and service delivery. He is also a frequent public speaker and educator.


Education 

  • MBA, Georgia State University
  • BA, University of Georgia (History)

Experience 

  • Piedmont Bank (Commercial Loan Officer)
  • North American Mission Board (Regional Finance Coordinator)
  • BB&T (Business Banker)

Contact

Phone: (404) 413-7830

Paul Wilson, Jr. - UGA Small Business Development Center

Paul Wilson, Jr.

Area Director

Paul has extensive industry experience that spans leadership roles in supply chain management, procurement, marketing, supplier diversity, and small business development. His expertise includes strategic analysis, operational planning, leadership development, contract writing, video marketing, video production, training and curriculum development. Having worked with Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, and educational institutions, Paul brings a diverse wealth of knowledge, perspective, and skills to the small business community.


Education

  • BBA, Supply Management, University of San Diego
  • MS, Organizational Management, Capella University

Contact

Phone: (404) 413-7830

Augusta Office

Dawn Black - UGA Small Business Development Center

Dawn Black

Consultant

Dawn Black is a Business Consultant with the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center in Augusta. Her business career spans nearly 20 years in the banking industry as a loan officer and credit analyst. Her lending experience has primarily been in rural and agricultural lending with Farm Credit and small community banks.

She grew up in South Florida working in her family’s BBQ business and cattle operation. She resides with her husband and two children on UGA’s Southeast Research and Education Center in Midville, GA. This site conducts agricultural experimentation for Georgia’s major row crops including corn, cotton, peanuts, and soybeans. She enjoys the travel ball and Junior Rodeo circuits with her children. She attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness and a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics both from the University of Georgia. Additionally, she holds a vocational degree in Livestock Production.


Education

  • B.S.A. in Agribusiness, University of Georgia
  • M.S., Agricultural Economics, University of Georgia

Contact

Phone: (706)-650-5655

Eric Frickey

Eric Frickey

Consultant

Prior to joining the SBDC, Eric worked at the Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) where he focused on licensing federally-funded technologies to small businesses. For over a decade, Eric’s work involved assessing technologies, securing patent protection, commercial marketing and negotiating patent and copyright licenses. With Eric’s assistance, small businesses were able to secure funding under the DOE-SBIR program.

Eric also served on the Savannah River Plant Federal Credit Union’s Credit Committee where he reviewed and assessed loan applications. In addition, Eric has several years of retail experience in the wine industry.

Education

  • BA, AUGUSTA STATE UNIVERSITY (Finance)
  • BS, AUGUSTA STATE UNIVERSITY (Chemistry)
  • MBA, AUGUSTA STATE UNIVERSITY (Management)

Experience

  • SAVANNAH RIVER NATIONAL LABORATORY (Intellectual Property Management)
  • SAVANNAH RIVER PLANT FEDERAL CREDIT UNION (Loan application review)
  • SUMMERVILLE ACE, INC. (Wine Sales)
  • GEORGIA REGENTS UNIVERSITY, FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE MEDICAL COLLEGE OF GEORGIA (Laboratory Instrumentation Design)

Accomplishments

  • Federal Laboratory Consortium Technology Transfer Award 2007
  • R&D 100 Award 2011

Leadership

  • Leadership Augusta Class of 2007
  • Technology Association of Georgia – Advisory Board Member

Contact

Phone: (706)-650-5655

Rebecca Kruckow

Rebecca Kruckow

Program Coordinator

Rebecca has been with UGA-SBDC at Augusta since November 2014 in the role of Program Coordinator. She provides scheduling, information, and marketing for consultants and clients, presents recurring classes including “Starting Your Own Business,” “Boots to Business,” and assists with other programs hosted by the local office. In addition to class duties, Rebecca Kruckow provides aspiring entrepreneurs with basic business information and direction in becoming a business owner. Her extensive business and education background provides a solid foundation to guide clients toward success. She is the first point of contact for the office and continually works to improve the presence of the SBDC in Augusta.

Before moving to Georgia, Rebecca lived in Missouri where she completed a successful career in education, training and coaching, owned and operated her own retail business, and continues involvement in agriculture through family farm operations. She received recognition for growth and accomplishments in business and education including being named “Young Careerist” by the Business and Professional Women, State Runner-Up in Individual Development Program through BPW, served as a Chamber of Commerce Ambassador, and was selected as District Representative for “Distinguished School Performance Award.” She has presented at various conferences at the local, regional, and state levels on the topics of “Stress Management,” “Workplace Safety,” “Crisis Mitigation,” and “Personal Improvement.” Rebecca believes that attitude, flexibility, and a sense of humor are keys to success in business and in life.

Ms. Kruckow’s ability to identify with business ownership, vast knowledge of characteristics for the aspiring business owner, experience in group dynamics and goal setting, and training in customer service all factor into knowledge to be shared with SBDC class participants and clients. As a former small business owner specializing in retail markets, Ms. Kruckow knows how to read market trends, develop target marketing for small businesses, and develop visually appealing displays in addition to image consulting. She is certified to teach Maximum Service courses through the SBDC and works to develop other opportunities related to client needs including personal presentation and improvement. Her education background aids in identification of skilled and unskilled labor markets for growing businesses as well.


Education

  • MSE, William Woods University (Leadership and Administration)
  • BSE, Central Missouri State University (Mathematics Education)

Contact

Phone: (706)-650-5655

Rick McMurtrey

Rick McMurtrey

Area Director

Rick brings over 33 years of business experience to the UGA SBDC. Prior to joining the SBDC, Rick spent more than 20 years as a Sonic Drive In franchisee, developing the Augusta, GA market to 13 stores and over 500 employees. Rick brings extensive knowledge in franchise development along with significant experience in marketing, advertising, human resources, and personnel management needed to grow from a one store operation to a mid-size business. He served two terms on the Sonic Franchise Advisory Council and was heavily involved in moving Sonic Corporation into its national cable advertising program. Rick served on the committee that interviewed ad agencies and selected a former agency, Barkley & Evergreen Partners, which developed and implemented the national cable advertising program. While a franchisee, Rick was awarded the Brand Leadership Award and the Marketing Award.

Prior to becoming a Sonic Drive In franchisee, Rick spent 13 years at Southwestern Bell Corporation in Oklahoma. He graduated from ECU in December of 1980 and began his SBC career in January of 1981 as an entry level marketing manager in Lawton, Oklahoma. Rick worked his way into middle management while working in Marketing, Public Relations, Installation and Maintenance and Human Resource departments. Rick received significant training in marketing, management, leadership, human resources and management development training that he utilized to start and grow his own successful company and now brings to the UGA SBDC.


Education

  • MBA, Oklahoma City University
  • BBA, East Central University (Marketing)

Contact

Phone: (706) 650-5655

Brunswick Office

David Lewis

David Lewis

Area Director

Mr. Lewis joined the SBDC in 1990 as a rural economic development consultant and is currently the area director of the Brunswick office. He has previous experience in the restaurant and commercial fishing industries. Mr. Lewis’s primary area of interest lies in developing specialized management audits and other innovative methods of assisting business clients.


Education

  • BBA, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA (Risk Management and Insurance)
  • MBA, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA (Business Administration)

Accomplishments

  • Certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor
  • Certified Google Small Business Trainer
  • UGA SBDC Consultant of the Year 2005
  • Association of Small Business Development Centers State Star (1999, 2006)
  • Gridiron Secret Society Member

Leadership

  • Leadership Glynn Graduate
  • Chairman of Finance Committee St Simons United Methodist Church

Contact

Phone: (912) 264-7343

Saundra Phillips - UGA Small Business Development Center

Saundra Phillips

Administrative Assistant

As the first point of contact, Saundra is ready to assist existing and prospective business owners with basic business information and resources. She directs inquirers to the appropriate business training programs, resource materials and/or business consultant. In addition to organizing the office to be effective and efficient, she also assists with program planning and marketing.

Contact

Phone: (912) 264-7343

Email: sphillips@georgiasbdc.org

Jordan Tippett

Jordan Tippett

Consultant

Jordan Tippett joined the SBDC in 2015 as a business consultant in the Brunswick office.  Previously, he worked for multiple large corporations in the consumer products industries in both sales and product management roles.  His areas of expertise include marketing, retail strategy, financial analysis, competitive research, and strategic planning.  He has a passion for working with entrepreneurs and helping them identify the keys to unlocking their full potential as business owners.


Education

  • Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) (Concentration: Finance), University of Georgia, Athens, GA
  • Master of Business Administration (MBA), Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC

Experience

  • Business Consultant – The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center, Brunswick, GA (since June 2015)
  • Product Manager/National Account Manager – Husqvarna Group, Charlotte, NC (February 2013-January 2015)
  • Marketing Performance Analyst – Yodle, Charlotte, NC (September 2012-January 2013)
  • Territory Manager – Whirlpool Corporation, Boston, MA (February 2011-January 2012)
  • Sales Development Rep – Whirlpool Corporation, Providence, RI (October 2007-January 2011)

Certifications

  • Certificate in Personal and Organizational Leadership

Contact

Phone: (912) 264-7343

Email: jtippett@georgiasbdc.org

Carrollton Office

Todd Anduze

Todd Anduze

Area Director

Prior to joining the Georgia SBDC, Mr Anduze served in the United States Navy during the Desert Storm campaign as a Plane Captain for the A-6 Intruder. After service, he worked 4 years as a warehouse manager for WAWD-EAP. Next he spent 12 years as a manager in the mining industry for Lafarge North America. He was involved in numerous projects including the “Big Dig” in Boston Massachusetts, and the runways at Dobbins Airforce Base and Hartsfield International Airport in Georgia. During this time he earned his degrees and eventually became an accountant for Jack F. Gamel, CPA PC. As an accountant, he provided tax services and financial advice/planning to businesses. Mr. Anduze utilizes his experiences in the military, retail/manufacturing environments, and accounting services to promote the UGA SBDC.


Education

  • BBA, UNIVERSITY OF WEST GEORGIA (Accounting)
  • MPACC, UNIVERSITY OF WEST GEORGIA (Accounting)
  • BBA, UNIVERSITY OF WEST GEORGIA (Industrial Psychology)

Experience

  • UGA SBDC (Teaching, Accounting, Public Outreach, Management)
  • JACK GAMEL CPA (Tax Accounting, Payroll, Bookkeeping)
  • LAFARGE NORTH AMERICA (Assistant Plant Manager, Quality Control, Safety)
  • UNITED STATES NAVY (Management, Safety)

Accomplishments

  • Awarded Service Ribbon-Desert Storm, 1991
  • Developed and Maintained the current hiring process for Lafarge North America.
  • Understanding that I can always learn something and the positive outlook that comes with it.

Leadership

  • Nominated for the Villa Rica Economic Development Authority.
  • Currently serve on the Carroll, Douglas, Polk, Coweta counties Small Business Committee.
  • Invited to take part in the interviewing and hiring of University personnel, not only with the SBDC.
  • Recurring speaker for the Main Street in surrounding counties and DCA GA Leadership Academy.

Additional Information

  • Welcome opportunities to speak to groups on any topic.

Contact

Phone: (678) 839-5082

Cole Fannin

Cole Fannin

Consultant

Prior to joining the SBDC, Mr. Fannin worked in the areas of sales & marketing, as well as insurance.  During his tenure, he worked for Lorillard Tobacco Company, one of the big three tobacco companies in North America.  During his time there, he worked with small business owners in the C-store arena, assisting with marketing plans, point of sale placements, pricing strategies, as well as provided insight into current market trends and competitor analysis.  After spending over 4 years with Lorillard Tobacco Company, he transitioned into the steel industry where he further utilized his sales & marketing knowledge to penetrate additional markets in the Southeast, providing flat rolled carbon and stainless steel to major OEM’s, and other major metal fabricators.  During his time in the steel industry, Mr. Fannin worked with the VP of Sales to implement a new lead generation platform that increased efficiencies and effectiveness for new business development.  In addition, Mr. Fannin also gained experience in contract negotiations, inventory management, and forecasting.


Education

  • BS, Business Administration (Concentration: Finance), Auburn University
  • MBA. , University of West Georgia

Contact

Phone: (678) 839-5082

Jane Smith

Jane Smith

Administrative Assistant

Jane Smith has been with the UGA SBDC at the University of West Georgia for 19 years. Prior to joining the UGA SBDC, she gained 11 years experience working in credit and many more years in office management. She was awarded the Annual Support Staff Service Award in 2004, 2008, 2011, and 2014. She has an associate’s degree in Data Processing from West Georgia Technical College. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading and gardening.

Contact

Phone: (678) 839-5082

Email: jsmith@georgiasbdc.org

Columbus Office

Todd Carlisle

Todd Carlisle

Consultant

Prior to joining the SBDC, Todd worked in the areas of banking and logistics. During his four year banking tenure, Todd worked at Columbus Bank and Trust in various capacities, including underwriting, branch management, and lending. He also spent several years as a logistics manager for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. During his time at Wal-Mart, Todd managed the day-to-day operations of various departments and provided support to other facilities in the areas of alternate training, coaching, and production techniques.


Education

  • BA, COLUMBUS STATE UNIVERSITY (History)
  • MBA, TROY UNIVERSITY (Business Administration)

Experience

  • COLUMBUS BANK AND TRUST COMPANY (Branch Manager)
  • DANIEL CONSTRUCTION (Carpenter)
  • WAL-MART (Logistics Manager)

Accomplishments

  • 2012 Flewellen Award for Consulting Excellence
  • 2013 QuickBooks Certification
  • Alumni of Retail Banking School for Synovus
  • Alumni of Leadership Columbus Class of 2012
  • National Conference Presenter

Leadership

  • Small Business Recognition Committee for the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce

Additional Information

  • My primary interest is walking alongside business owners as a trusted advisor and resource to help them obtain their goals. One of the main ways I can do that is by helping my clients understand the financial side of the business. Outside of the office I enjoy going to the gym, running with my bride of 6 years, and spending time with our son.

Contact

Phone: (706) 569-2651

Deborah Free

Deborah Free

Administrative Assistant

Often the first point of contact, Deborah’s goal is providing clients with information exercising optimum customer service enriching their experience by creating a friendly comfortable business environment.  As an Administrative Assistant, Deborah provides day-to-day staff support for the University of Georgia SBDC Office in Columbus operations and takes delight in seeing the office running smoothly.

Her other areas of responsibilities are marketing and coordinating University of Georgia SBDC events through multiple social media platforms as well as traditional methods of publicity. Along with organizing events, her duties include preparing promotional materials for seminars, workshops, and other training programs; registrations and retaining event files.

She received a certificate for attending the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program ten week course. This course educates people regarding disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Deborah was a recipient of The UGA Small Business Development Center 2013 Support Staff of the Year Award.

Previous to her employment at University of Georgia SBDC, Deborah worked for the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce in the Small Business Development and Governmental Affairs Department as a member of the support staff. Serving as a team member with other companies which includes Aflac, Oak and Pine Manor Nursing and Revlon, where she has gained extensive experience in the human resources, sales, administrative support and customer service.

First priority for Deborah is God and family. Deborah and John have been blissfully wedded for over 16 years. Together, they share 7 children and 13 grandchildren.  She devotes her spare time to family, friends, Auburn football and scrapbooking.

Contact

Phone: (706) 569-2651

Email: dfree@georgiasbdc.org

Michelle Griffin

Michelle Griffin

Consultant

Michelle brings over 15 years of business experience. The majority of those years were dedicated to the Columbus, Georgia community as a local banker where she served in the areas of management, retail lending, training and development, sales, and operations. Michelle also spent time in human resource management and worked with the Georgia Department of Labor where she facilitated group workshops and provided guidance on the state unemployment and employment programs. Currently, Michelle and her family own a local business where she is responsible for customer service, business development, and human resource management. For her dedication to service and community outreach, Michelle has been recognized as a 5 under 40 professional as well as a distinguished woman in the community.


Education

  • MS, TROY UNIVERSITY (Human Resource Management)
  • BA, GEORGIA SOUTHWESTERN STATE UNIVERSITY (Human Resource Management)

Experience

  • COLUMBUS BANK AND TRUST (Assistant Vice President, Banking Manager)
  • WELLS FARGO FINANCIAL (Credit Manager)
  • GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR (Employment Services & Training Specialist)
  • TIC FEDERAL CREDIT UNION (Human Resource Specialist)

Leadership

  • Member, National Society for Human Resource Management
  • Member, Society for Human Resource Management, Columbus Chapter
  • Advisory Board, Better Business Bureau
  • Volunteer, Chattahoochee Valley Boys and Girls Club
  • Member, Community Emergency Response Team
  • Board of Directors & Vice Chair, Past Member/Officer, Columbus Libraries
  • Board of Directors, Past Member/Officer, Chattahoochee Valley Regional Libraries
  • Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Young Professionals, Past Member/Chair of the
  • Leadership Enrichment Committee
  • Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Past Volunteer Small Business Committee
  • Ronald MacDonald House, Past Volunteer
  • Relay for Life, Past Volunteer
  • “Ladies Act This Way”, Late Marshall Middle School, Past Mentor
  • Recognized “ 5 Under 40” Columbus in the Valley Magazine
  • Recognized “Top Manager” Retail Branch Banking Group
  • Speaks within the community to local schools, organizations, and church groups, on banking, business, and leadership topics

Contact

Phone: (706) 569-2651

DeKalb Office

Mark Collier

Mark Collier

Consultant

Mark Collier joins the SBDC after an accomplished career in the private sector and a temporary assignment with the U.S. Small Business Administration office of disaster assistance. Mark has successfully managed a series of residential, mixed use, and commercial real estate development projects over a 20 year career. Mark brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the SBDC in the critical business functional areas of operations and project management, business process improvement, and efficiency improvement initiatives.


Education

  • B.A., Roosevelt University
  • MBA, Tulane University

Experience

  • JDG Development Group (Project Director)
  • CB Richard Ellis (Senior Project Director)

Service

  • SBA – Disaster Assistance Center Small Business Analyst
  • Tulane Association of Business Alumni Community Service Award
  • Service Award Leader Recipient- Peachtree Middle School

Contact

Phone: (770) 414-3110

Email: mcollier@georgiasbdc.org

Stephen Newton, UGA SBDC in DeKalb

Stephen Newton

Consultant

Growing up on a farm in rural south Georgia, I learned early in life the importance of responsibility and hard work. The entrepreneurial spirit is instilled early in those experiences. In High School I learned the hard lessons and risks associated with agricultural business and the importance of managing cash flow through the seasons of preparing, planting, managing, and harvest. In college I pursued degrees in economics and finance and after graduation applied my education in both public policy and private enterprise. As an ACE Hardware store owner for nearly a decade during one of the toughest economic cycles in our lifetime I learned first hand the many challenges start up businesses contend with. After closing that business in January 2016 I was offered the opportunity to work with the UGA SBDC in Dekalb and hope to use both my education and experience as a business owner to help other entrepreneurs achieve their goals.


Education

  • MBA Finance – DePaul University
  • MS(ABT) Ag. Econ – UGA
  • BS Ag. Econ – UGA

Experience

  • UGA SBDC Business Consultant from August 2016 to present
  • Owner/Manager Ace Hardware Windermere July 2009 to January 2016
  • Partner Ogeechee Peaches, Millen, GA. 2003-2010.
  • Executive Director, Southern Nursery Association, Atlanta, GA November 2006 to July 2009
  • FSA State Director, Athens, GA and Special Assistant to the USDA Secretary, November 2002-November 2006
  • Executive Director, Forest Landowners Association, Atlanta, GA November 1994 – November 2002
  • Legislative Assistant, US Senator Paul Coverdell, Washington, DC November 1992- November 1994

Volunteer

  • President of the University of Georgia Student Senate
  • President of UGA Ag Hill Council
  • President, AGHON, Honor Society,
  • State President Future Farmers of America
  • Member Gridiron Secret Society,
  • Named Outstanding AG Alumni University of Georgia 2004

Contact

Phone: (770) 414-3110

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Ruby Riesinger

Consultant

Contact

Phone: (770) 414-3110

Email: dekalb@georgiasbdc.org

Gainesville Office

Patrick Fulbright

W. Patrick Fulbright

Area Director

Patrick was born and raised in Lakeland, Florida. He started his working career with Publix Supermarkets and then transitioned into retail management with The Home Depot where he worked for the next 15 years. After The Home Depot, Fulbright has had several entrepreneur endeavors and a successful career as an educator as Professor of Business, Finance and Entrepreneurship at Savannah College of Art and Design. Before joining UGA SBDC, Patrick was instrumental in the development of a multi-inspection firm and real estate school teaching realtors in continued educational classes to be better realtors. Patrick is married where his spouse works for Walton Communities and has two fantastic adult children, Winston (SCAD graduate) working in graphic design and Emma (UGA graduate) working as an first grade teacher. Patrick is an avid woodworker, antique collector and outdoorsman.


Education

  • Bachelor of Science (Business Administration), Florida Southern College
  • Master of Business Administration, Kennesaw State University
  • Doctorate of Philosophy ABD, Trident University International

Experience

Patrick brings over 30 years of business experience to the UGA SBDC. Prior to joining the SBDC, Patrick spent 10 years working for Publix Supermarkets, Inc in management and Expense Accounting. Patrick left Publix to join The Home Depot and spent the next 15 years working in retail management, logistic, store operations and as a merchant/buyer for import and domestic goods. Leaving The Home Depot, Patrick has started and sold and developed several Entrepreneur endeavors. Before joining the SBDC, Patrick was Professor of Business, Finance and Entrepreneurship at Savannah College of Art and Design. Patrick brings extensive knowledge in retail management, along with significant experience in human resources, personnel management, marketing, logistics and entrepreneurship. Patrick has served as a board member of ArtsNow and served as Commissioner for the City of Kennesaw Zoning and Planning board. Patrick has received many awards with Publix, The Home Depot and SCAD. One of his cherished award is the 2017 Max award with Berkshire Hathaway Luxury Home Division for Outstanding Marketing Campaign developed in concert with students from SCAD awarded by Georgia State University.

Patrick earned his undergraduate degree in Personnel Management from Florida Southern College, his Masters of Business Administration from Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University and currently is working on his dissertation for his PhD in Educational Leadership from Trident University. Patrick has received significant training in management, leadership, human resources, finance and entrepreneurship that he has utilized to start and grow his own successful companies which culminates in the skills and experiences he now brings to the UGA SBDC.

Accomplishments

  • Eagle Scout
  • Boy Scouts of America Scoutmaster
  • Graduate with Honors – MBA Coles College of Business
  • Value Award – The Home Depot
  • Max Award – Georgia State – Robinson College of Business

Contact

Phone: (770) 531-5681

Email: gainesville@georgiasbdc.org

Molly Knight Small Business Development Center

Molly Knight

Program Coordinator

Molly came onboard as the UGA SBDC Gainesville Program Coordinator in May 2017. Molly is originally from Augusta, Georgia where she participated in Youth Leadership Columbia County. Seeing the integral role the Chamber of Commerce played in her community as well as being employed by small businesses provided her with insight to the value of small business in Georgia. She is a graduate from the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega where she was actively involved in student activities developing the skills necessary to thrive in public service.

Prior to the Small Business Development Center, Molly gained experience in social media marketing while employed with small businesses in both Hall and Lumpkin counties. She values the culture and community found in the Northeast Georgia mountains. Her familiarity and love for Northeast Georgia assists her in her role as liaison to the 13 counties served by the Gainesville Office of the SBDC.


Education

  • B.A. in Communications (Concentration: Organizational Leadership , Minor: Spanish Language)

Experience

  • UGA SBDC (Program Coordinator)
  • TAP Pest Control Insulation (Marketing Associate)

Contact

Phone: (770) 531-5681

Email: mknight@georgiasbdc.org

Gwinnett Office

Glenn Kruse

Glenn Kruse

Area Director

Mr. Kruse brings over 30 years of management experience including executive management in large and start-up companies. Prior to joining UGA SBDC, Mr. Kruse was an account executive with Bearcom Wireless in Atlanta, where he was responsible for developing a new customer base from prospects in the Atlanta market. His areas of specialization are business and market development, program management, strategic account planning and general management.

Mr. Kruse has worked in small businesses that focused on site leasing, Wi-Fi ‘HotSpots’, corporate network management and accounting software solutions.  He has experience working in the healthcare, hospitality, telecommunications, utility markets and with internet-based services including SaaS.


Education:

  • Master of Business Administration, University of Kansas
  • Bachelor of Science (Engineering with Distinction), Iowa State University

Experience:

  • Account Executive, Bearcom Wireless, Atlanta, GA
  • Regional Sales Executive, Powerplan, Atlanta, GA
  • Independent Business Development Consultant
  • Customer Engagement Manager, Alcatel-Lucent/Reachview, Atlanta, GA
  • Management Consultant, Rocketlauncher, Inc., Atlanta, GA

Accomplishments:

  • Sprint President’s Club
  • Licensed Professional Engineer- Kansas and New Jersey

Contact

Phone: (678) 985-6820

Email: gkruse@georgiasbdc.org

Benny StaRomana

Benny StaRomana

Consultant

Mr. StaRomana provides coaching and guidance to small- and medium-sized businesses in all stages of the business life cycle, from start-up to exit. His areas of specialization are strategic planning, business process improvement, and marketing & sales.

Prior to joining UGA-SBDC, Mr. StaRomana founded and operated a management consulting company that was awarded the grand prize of Gwinnett County’s 2011 Amazing Entrepreneur competition. Mr. StaRomana offers clients his management and professional experience from more than 20 years working with Global 100 companies as well as small, rising companies.


Education

  • MBA, KELLER GSM (Business Administration)
  • MS, KELLER GSM (Project Management)
  • BS, LA SALLE UNIVERSITY (Business Administration)

Experience

  • SANTAROMANA & ASSOCIATES LLC (Founder & Managing Principal)
  • DOCUFREE CORPORATION (Consulting Executive)
  • LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES (Marketing & Sales Trainer)
  • COCOCHEM, INC. (Export Marketing Manager)

Accomplishments

  • Certified Document Imaging Architect (CDIA+), Comptia
  • Certified Marketing & Sales Trainer, Siebel Systems and Huthwaite
  • Grand Prize Winner, 2011 Amazing Entrepreneur Business Plan Competition, Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce
  • Consulting Executive of the Year, Docufree Corporation
  • Top National Salesperson (Color Imaging Systems), Panasonic USA
  • Outstanding Employee, Exxon/Petron Asia

Leadership

  • Member, Entrepreneur Council of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce
  • Founder, Georgia Masterminds (advisory board of peer entrepreneurs)

Additional Information

  • Can provide expert guidance or deliver talks with considerable authority about: a)strategic planning, b) improving business processes based on Lean/Continuous Improvement methodologies, c) making software system & other capital investment decisions using a graphics- and ROI-enhanced Business Case method, d) professionally managing projects to meet time & budget requirements, and e) consultative selling techniques.

Contact

Phone: (678) 985-6820

Helen Sutherland

Helen Sutherland

Program Coordinator

Helen serves as the administrative assistant for the UGA SBDC in Gwinnett office. She provides day-to-day staff support and takes great pride in having the office run smoothly. Helen is the first point of contact for clients and resource partners – she ensures that all inquiries are either satisfied or directed to the appropriate internal resource. In addition to providing scheduling and administrative support – Helen also provides assistance with the recruitment for and execution of all UGA SBDC in Gwinnett seminars, continuing education classes and special events at the center.


Experience:

  • Helen has been with the SBDC of Gwinnett for thirteen years. Prior to joining the SBDC – she worked in various roles ranging from inventory control, retail support to office administration.

Contact

Phone: (678) 985-6820

Email: hsutherland@georgiasbdc.org

Kennesaw Office

Carole Arnold

Carole Arnold

Program Coordinator

Carole Arnold is the Program Coordinator for the UGA SBDC at Kennesaw State University. She previously worked as a marketing and logistics manager for the Center for Sustainable Journalism at Kennesaw State University on its journalism projects, Youth Today and the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE.org) and numerous conferences and events. For the last four years, Carole handled programming and production of SoCon, a well-known annual social media conference series held at Kennesaw State University that brings hundreds of professionals from around the Southeast. Previous to her position at the Center, Carole was the Operations Support Manager for an advertising and marketing agency that specialized in real estate development. She has developed a versatile skill set including marketing communications and project management. Ms. Arnold holds a Bachelor of Arts from University of South Florida in International Studies.


Education

BA, University of South Florida (International Studies)

Contact

Phone: (470) 578-6450

Andy Fried

Andy Fried

Consultant

Andy Fried has over twenty-five years experience in the financial, retail and real estate sectors. He began his career as a CPA with Laventhol and Horwath in New York. In 1984, Mr. Fried became owner and President of a retail business with locations throughout the New York tri-state area. Andy sold his retail interests and moved to Atlanta where he became an owner, manager and agent of commercial real estate properties.


Education

  • M.B.A, Accounting, University of Rochester
  • B.A., Economics, Hobart & William Smith Colleges

Honors

  • 2012 UGA SBDC Consultant of the Year
  • 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 UGA SBDC Flewellen Award for Consulting Excellence
  • CPA
  • QuickBooks Certified Pro Advisor
  • National presenter on topics including: cash flow, financial management; strategy; pricing
  • Innovation of the Year Award, 2016 ‘Wise & Shine’ program
  • Georgia Mentor Protégé Connection ‘Impact Award’ 2016

Experience

  • CPA
  • MULTI-UNIT RETAILER
  • COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS

Contact

Phone: (470) 578-6450

Email: afried@georgiasbdc.org

Daniel McCoy

Daniel McCoy

Consultant

Daniel has been at the SBDC as a Business Consultant since September 2018 after a successful Banking career and Retail career.  Daniel served as a Loan Officer for Consumer loans and Mortgage, Senior VP of Commercial Lending, Business Development Officer for Government Guaranteed Loans (SBA-USDA), as well as a Bank Branch Manager.  Prior to his banking career, Daniel was in retail operations, moving up to Regional Sales Manager with Edison Brothers, covering fifteen stores over three states. He managed stores in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas and Missouri before his promotion to Regional Manager -Southeast region.

Daniel joined Bank of America in 1996, and was the recipient of several awards, including  Small Business Administration awards for three consecutive years and top 1% Business Banker for three years.  Daniel was a VP, Client Manager, and had both his Series 6 and 63 licenses.  He worked for various banks, until 2009, when he left United Community Bank as a Senior Vice President. He spent the next three years in the Insurance industry, before starting his own Business Services Company, and returned to Lending in 2014.

Having received his Associates Degree from Reinhardt University after high school, he returned to college while at Bank of America and finished his Bachelor Degree in 2001 at Covenant College.  He would return to finish his Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting in 2016 from Benedictine University.  Daniel has recently achieved Certification as a Pro Advisor for QuickBooks and is a Certified Professional for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Daniel strives to give back to the community and continues to work with many nonprofit organizations. Daniel was a co-founder of the Bartow Business Association and served as the first President; served as an Advisory Board member for 8 years for the Adult Education Program for the State of Georgia, Region 42; and as Chairperson and Board member for the Bartow Collaborative/Family Connections.  Daniel is a graduate of the Cartersville/Bartow Chamber of Commerce Leadership program, and is very active in his church.


Education 

  • MBA, Benedictine University (Accounting)
  • BS, Covenant College (Organizational Management)
  • AA, Reinhardt University (Liberal Arts)  

Experience 

  • UGA SBDC (Business Consultant) 
  • C7a/Celtic Bank (SBA Development Officer)
  • FSG Bank (Loan Originator & Branch Manager) 
  • Edison Brothers (Regional Sales Manager & Regional Manager) 
  • Bank of America (Vice President- Client Manager) 

Accomplishments

  • SBA Awards three years in a row while at Bank of America
  • Top 1% of Business Bankers while at Bank of America

Leadership

  • Bartow Business Association (Co-Founder, Past President, & Past Treasurer)
  • State of Georgia Adult Education Program (Region 42 Advisory Board Member)
  • Bartow Collaborative/Family Connections (Past Board Member)
  • Bartow Leadership Program (Graduate)

Contact

Phone: (470) 578-6450

Email: kennesaw@georgiasbdc.org

Dan Regelski

Dan Regelski

Consultant

Dan was raised in an Entrepreneurial home where his family owned and farmed a 200 acre Agribusiness. Growing up in this environment made him realize that hard work, investing in a quality product (produce) branding and personal selling fosters success in a business and in life.

He is a first generation college graduate and was drafted into the United Sates Army shortly after graduation. He trained as a Military Policeman and served 16 months of duty in Korea. Upon return he entered a career in the supermarket industry first in upstate NY and then with a chain of stores with a home office in the Boston area. He enrolled in a night/weekend MBA program. After graduation, his family relocated to FL to change careers and climate.

He was hired as a business consultant at Edison Community College and then was hired as the Founding Director of the SBDC program at brand new Florida Gulf Coast University.
After a great and fulfilling career as a teacher, innovator and leader of a staff of 28, he retired and relocated to Acworth FL. He and his wife Eileen of 46 years are now investing in their new community and embrace the opportunity of now working with the SBDC program at Kennesaw.


Education 

  • MBA, Plymouth State University
  • BS, Alliance College (Biology, Chemistry)

Experience 

  • Florida SBDC at Florida Gulf Coast University (Founding Director) 
  • Edison Community College (Business Consultant) 

Accomplishments

  • Structured an SBDC platform at FGCU, in the five county market of SW FL, to bring individual small business consulting, seminars, workshops and training to assist businesses start, grow and succeed
  • Created and organized focus groups titled “Best of Nascent and Existing Entrepreneurs to Foster Creativity and Development”
  • Developed a relationship with Chambers of Commerce and Offices of Economic Development to support and provide ongoing training and education as a resource not only to the organizations but as a tool for owners
  • Received the Economic Patriotism Award from Governor Jeb Bush for dedicated work in getting entrepreneurs back in business post 9/11
  • Recipient of the Champions Award from SW FL Works
  • Recipient of the 4-Way Test from the Ft. Myers Rotary Club, South
  • Created the Distinguished Entrepreneur of SW FL Program to showcase successful local entrepreneurs in a jump start initiative, post 2008 economic downturn
  • Consulted with over 2,000 entrepreneurs and dedicated numerous hours in educating and developing small businesses

Contact

Phone: (470) 578-6450

Drew Tonsmeire

Drew Tonsmeire

Area Director

Drew Tonsmeire serves as the Area Director with the University of Georgia SBDC at Kennesaw State University.  In 2014, the KSU SBDC was recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as the Southeastern United States winner of the SBDC Excellence and Innovation Award, (similar to the Small Business of the Year award).

With more than twenty-one years’ experience within the UGA SBDC organization, his consulting expertise in strategic marketing, financial packaging, and overall business management has impacted thousands of business owners. His background includes service as President and CEO of a local Chamber of Commerce, as well as, experience in retail, manufacturing, and service environments.

Drew is also a certified instructor for Google, eBay University, and GrowSmart.  Mr. Tonsmeire was a recipient for the 2014 Best Continuing Education Program and the 2011 Project of the Year Award for his team contributions in digital marketing training and consulting initiatives. Drew was also recognized as the 2004 Consultant of the Year by the UGA SBDC.  He serves as Chair for America’s SBDC conference, which brings together over 1500 SBDC professionals from across the United States for advanced training annually.


Education

  • MBA, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERSITY (Marketing)
  • BBA, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA (Marketing)
  • AA, OXFORD COLLEGE OF EMORY UNIVERSITY (Business Administration)

Experience

  • CARTERSVILLE-BARTOW COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (President & CEO)

Accomplishments

  • Certified Google Small Business Trainer
  • Certified eBay Education Specialist
  • GrowSmart Facilitator
  • FastTrac Facilitator
  • UGA SBDC Consultant of the Year 2004
  • America’s SBDC State Star 2005
  • UGA SBDC Project of the Year Winner 2011
  • UGA SBDC Best Continuing Education Winner 2014

Leadership

  • Chair, America’s SBDC  Professional Development and Conference Committee
  • Kennesaw State University Economic Development Committee
  • Cobb County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
  • Cobb Competitive Edge Seed 2 Committee Member

Contact

Phone: (470) 578-6450

Macon Office

Trudy Lawrence - UGA Small Business Development Center

Trudy Lawrence

Program Coordinator

Trudy has over 15 years of experience in Retail Management and Buying. She also served as Executive Director for several non-profit education programs for over 12 years. Her areas of skill include reporting, grant writing, board leadership, management and organizational skills. Trudy was awarded the Gloucester County NJ, Education Certificate Commendation – 2015 Friend of Education Award for her work in literacy for adult education in the community. She was a Board Member for Workforce Investment Board Literacy Plan, and Glassboro School Board Special Projects Committee for Bond Referendum. Trudy enjoys involvement in church activities and assisting with the local food bank. Working with small business owners allows her the opportunity to bring these experiences together for the benefit of helping aspiring entrepreneurs achieve their dreams of business ownership and growth.


Education

  • B.S. in Business Administration, Rowan University

Experience

  • UGA SBDC (Program Coordinator)
  • Executive Director (Literacy New Jersey)
  • Project Director (Golden Gate Inc.)
  • TAP Pest Control Insulation (Marketing Associate)

Achievements

  • Gloucester County NJ Education Certificate Commendation – 2015 Friend of Education Award

Contact

Phone: (478) 757-3609

Email: tlawrence@georgiasbdc.org

Lisa Rackley

Lisa Rackley

Area Director

Ms. Rackley worked in Human Resources for a manufacturing facility prior to joining the Small Business Development Center. Her previous experience includes working with consulting firms specializing in retirement and disability plan administration. Ms. Rackley’s areas of interest include employee benefits and recruiting.


Education

  • MBA, GEORGIA COLLEGE MILLEDGEVILLE GA (Business Administration)
  • BS, FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY TALLAHASSEE FL (Human Resources Management)

Experience

  • RJ REYNOLDS TOBACCO CORP (HR Specialist)
  • AIG-VALIC (Financial Services Specialist)
  • VPA INC (Quality Assurance Administrator)
  • NORTHERN TRUST RETIREMENT CONSULTING (Implementation Manager)

Accomplishments

  • Best Continuing Education Program of the Year for Maximum People, University of Georgia Small Business Development Center, 2012

Additional Information

  • Mrs. Rackley served as a part-time instructor at Georgia College from August 2010 until May 2012. Courses taught included Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining and Compensation and Benefits.

Contact

Phone: (478) 757-3609

Peter Williams, Business Consultant

Peter Williams

Consultant

Peter Williams provides business consulting services to businesses in Middle Georgia. Prior to joining the SBDC in 2013, Mr. Williams owned and operated for eleven years a corporate finance consulting firm advising business owners on mergers and acquisitions, business valuation, capital formation and allocation, and other financial issues. His firm was selected as a strategic partner to one of the largest networks of independent accounting firms in the world and maintained that distinction for 5 years.

Mr. Williams previously served as Chief Financial Officer of an Internet start-up, a principal of a private equity investment firm, and an analyst and manager in the investment management divisions of two insurance companies. He also has served as an adjunct instructor at Georgia Perimeter College.

Mr. Williams’ consulting and investment experience includes companies engaged in manufacturing, distribution, retail, commercial and consumer finance, consumer products, food processing, homebuilding, and media. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and has served as a Director of manufacturing and publishing companies.

Peter’s areas of expertise include mergers and acquisitions; business planning and valuations; corporate financial management and business case analysis; capital formation, allocation, and return analysis; and referral-based marketing.


Education

  • CFA, CFA INSTITUTE (Chartered Financial Analyst)
  • MBA, EMORY UNIVERSITY (Finance, Accounting)
  • BA, RIPON COLLEGE (Economics, English)

Experience

  • FAIRVIEW CAPITAL ADVISORS (Founded middle market investment banking firm. Provide M&A, business valuation, and strategic financial consulting services to business owners.)
  • VIRTUAL ADVISORS (Served as CFO; also led business development efforts for this startup, web-based M&A/business valuation advisory firm)
  • RIVER CAPITAL (Team raised $50 million P/E fund; led corporate development/M&A for portfolio companies)
  • CONFEDERATION LIFE & METLIFE (Led new private placement investments and managed private placement portfolio)

Accomplishments

  • Consulting firm was selected as strategic partner to one of the largest networks of independent accounting firms in the world
  • Led private placement investments for major life insurance company totaling over $450 million
  • Member of team that successfully raised proprietary, $50 million private equity fund

Leadership

  • Director, Brighter Tomorrows Foundation
  • Member, Decatur High School Counseling Department Advisory Committee

Contact

Phone: (478) 757-3609

Morrow Office

Cheryl Greenerl, Program Coordinator

Cheryl Greenerl

Program Coordinator

Cheryl Greenerl has served as the Program Coordinator with UGA SBDC at Clayton State University since March 2015 and is the first point of contact with the public.  She assists with client program development, marketing and delivery.  Cheryl grew up working in her family’s hair salon and barbershops as well as operated her own dressmaking business.  Prior to joining the SBDC, Cheryl worked as a Corporate Contract Specialist for a major telecommunications corporation where she was responsible for coordinating the execution and implementation of customer telecom services.  She also served as a Bank Operations officer and managed the corporate account statement processing department.


Education

  • BA, Mount Holyoke College (Urban Studies)

Contact

Phone: (678) 466-5100

Email: cgreenerl@georgiasbdc.org

Alisa Kirk

Alisa Kirk

Area Director

Alisa Kirk is the Area Director of the UGA Small Business Development Center at Clayton State University, which provides business consulting and training for small business owners.  Her advice for entrepreneurs has been published in Georgia Trend, Fayette Woman, We Are Clayton, The Savannah Morning News, and other local and regional newspapers and publications.  Ms. Kirk has delivered eight national presentations and numerous state and local presentations in her areas of expertise: Marketing with Videos and Persuasive Communication.  She has also taught courses on Sustainability and Leadership & Communication for the Clayton State University College of Business.

Ms. Kirk is the recipient of the 2012 Dr. William C. Flewellen, Jr., Award for Consulting Excellence and the 2009 Georgia SBDC Continuing Education Program of the Year Award.  Alisa has a BA in Business Administration from Tift College/Mercer University and an MBA in Supply Chain Management from Clayton State University, where she received the 2009 MBA Award.  The experiences she gained working in her family business and other small businesses have given her a heart for helping business owners.  She uses her knowledge of accounting, technology, and management to help local small business owners and managers develop strategies for growth.


Education

  • BA, TIFT COLLEGE/MERCER UNIVERSITY (Business Administration)
  • MBA, CLAYTON STATE UNIVERSITY (Supply Chain Management)

Experience

  • CLAYTON STATE UNIVERSITY (Center for Instructional Development)

Accomplishments

  • 2012 Dr. William C. Flewellen, Jr. Award for Consulting Excellence
  • 2009 SBDC Continuing Education Program of the Year Award for “Marketing with Social Media.”
  • 2009 MBA Award, Clayton State University.
  • In areas of expertise (Sustainability, Marketing with Technology, and Persuasive Communication), taught two college-level classes, presented research at a national conference, delivered four national conference presentations, and created videos and tools for state-wide SBDC use.
  • Also published articles in numerous local magazines, including We Are Clayton and Fayette Woman, and newspapers.

Articles

  • VIDEO: IT’S NOT JUST FOR ADVERTISING. Jul 2013 on Savannah Morning News
  • BACK TO BASICS: RE-EXAMINING SMALL BUSINESS STRATEGY. Nov 2012 on Business in Savannah
  • USING DIGITAL MEASURES TO OPTIMIZE ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT REPORTING PURPOSES. Feb 2011 on Proceedings of Southeast Decision Sciences Institute 2011 Conference
  • IS IT TIME TO GREEN YOUR BUSINESS May 2010 on Georgia Trend

Leadership

  • Adjunct Professor, Clayton State University MBA Program; revised and co-taught Communications and Leadership.
  • At the request of the Dean of the CSU College of Business, developed and taught green business course, “Going Green & Global.”
  • Has developed and taught four new continuing education courses, “Green Strategies for Your Small Business,” “Hot Tips & Cool Tools for Online Marketing,” “Online Marketing: Links, Likes, & Friends,” and “Finding & Refining Competitive Advantage”, “Games, Stories, & Pictures: Play to Learn.”
  • Invited speaker at numerous state, regional, and local events on topics including persuasive communication, videos for business, and marketing technology.
  • Serves on several economic development task forces and advisory boards.

Additional Information

  • Clayton State University’s SBDC team uses creative and cross-functional methodologies to assist small business owners with strategic planning, change management, and corporate story mapping.

Contact

Phone: (678) 466-5100

Rome Office

Nora Guzman

Nora Guzman

Consultant

Nora serves as a business consultant for the UGA SBDC in Rome. She has a diverse background with extensive experience in management, human resources, manufacturing, quality assurance, and accounting/tax planning. Prior to joining the SBDC, Nora worked for a fortune 500 manufacturing company, an international software/education company, and operated her own consulting firm. 

Nora was born in Michoacán, Mexico but moved to North Georgia at age 12. She attended high school in Rome and received her undergraduate and MBA from Shorter University.  When not at work, Nora continues to pursue her passion for helping others.  In 2010, she founded a non-profit entity, Casa Michoacán, with the mission of enhancing the wellbeing of the community through enhancements in infrastructure.   Nora is fluent in both English and Spanish. 


Education 

  • MBA, Shorter University (Management) 
  • BS,  Shorter University  (Business Administration) 

Certifications 

  • QuickBooks Pro Advisor 
  • Bookkeeping, American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers  
  • Immigration Law Certificate University of Georgia 

Experience 

  • UGA SBDC (Business Consultant) 
  • NG Consulting, LLC (Owner CEO) 
  • Shaw Industries (Training Manager ) 
  • Wolters Kluwer (Tax and Accounting) 

Accomplishments

  • Coordinated/led product-planning process between product manager, marking and sales departments.  
  • Developed first Spanish language AIPB bookkeeping certification course for Wolters Kluwer. 
  • Concept development, launch, and funding of a non-profit which funded infrastructure projects in Michoacán, Mexico. 

Leadership

  • 20 under 40 for the Rome Life Magazine in 2016 

Contact

Phone: (706) 622-2006

Richard Montanaro

Richard Montanaro

Area Director

Mr. Montanaro brings more than 20 years of experience as a senior executive to his role as an SBDC area director. Montanaro’s industry experience includes textile and apparel manufacturing, specialty chemical manufacturing, and investment banking/consulting with responsibility for facilities and relationships in the US, Mexico, Central America/Caribbean, Spain, Northern South America and China.

Mr. Montanaro grew up in North Georgia attending high school in Dalton, receiving his undergraduate from Berry College in Rome, GA and receiving his MBA from Kennesaw State University. While Richard has spent the last several years working across the United States and internationally, he has always maintained his home in North Georgia. Mr. Montanaro speaks both English and Spanish fluently and is learning Brazilian Portuguese.


Education

  • MBA, KENNESAW STATE UNIVERSITY (Marketing)
  • BS, BERRY COLLEGE (Internal Auditing)

Experience

  • THE CATAMOUNT GROUP, LLC (Managing Director)
  • CPC CHEMICAL HOLDINGS, LLC (President)
  • ORACLE BEAUTY BRANDS, LLC (CEO)
  • ASTRO DYE WORKS, INC (President and CEO)

Accomplishments

  • Business / Strategic Planning & Launch $23 million in sales growth attained by developing and rolling out a product concept / model and marketing plan to penetrate the automotive textile segment, driving EBITDA from $250,000 to $7+million.
  • P&L / Budget Accountability Reduced losses by $150,000 and off-quality production by 30% for platform company by identifying internal accounting problems and implementing changes across accounting information systems and manufacturing practices.
  • Turnaround / Cashflow Management Negotiated forbearance from senior lenders by improving cash flows by $150,000 and quality of receivables using credit insurance to prevent shutdown of operations and increase available credit under existing agreement.
  • M&A Due-Diligence & Negotiations Sales price of 5 1/2 times EBIDTA for 60-unit restaurant franchise realized by preparing memorandum and identifying potential buyers to successfully market and sell distressed asset on behalf of client in an accelerated timeframe.
  • New Market Development $500,000 licensing deal with large medical/surgical textile manufacturer secured by demonstrating 33% reduction in drying time representing $300,000 savings per customers laundry facility.

Leadership

  • Developed and Leveraged key relationship with FIDE Honduras to consult on $100+ million in transactions, including major call center, chemical manufacturing, gypsum board manufacturing, and major resort development projects.
  • Led Joint Team consisting of senior members of the Catamount Group and BAC & Asociados for development of interests in Guatemala, Ecuador, and Peru.
  • Member of The Young Presidents Organizational (Southern 7 Chapter)
  • President of Calhoun Optimist Club
  • Leadership Calhoun and Gordon County Program Graduate

Contact

Phone: 706-622-2006

Matt Pearce

Matt Pearce

Consultant

Matt’s previous work experience includes financial management positions in the computer, freight/logistics and investment management industries. He also owned a business in northwest Georgia. He has worked in the Fortune 100, international business, and start-up operations. He brings an extensive background in the areas of financial planning and analysis, general management, business modeling, cash management, management reporting, taxes, sale & acquisition of businesses, and payroll & personnel management. With this broad background and perspective, he is able to help his clients determine the best course of action for their businesses or situations.


Education

  • BS, THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY (Business Administration, Finance)
  • MBA, THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY (Finance)

Experience

  • UGA SBDC (Business Consultant)
  • BARTOW POWERSPORTS (Owner/General Manager)
  • LEP PROFIT INTERNATIONAL (Controller)
  • INTELLIGENT SYSTEMS CORPORATION (Controller, Division Controller, Accounting Manager)
  • DATAPOINT CORPORATION (Financial Manager, Financial Analyst)

Accomplishments

  • Took business from concept to operating dealership – bought land and built facility, hired staff, marketed business.
  • Negotiated $20 million line of credit
  • Prepared financial analysis for spin off of division as separate company
  • Coordinated product planning process between marketing and manufacturing divisions

Contact

Phone: (706) 622-2006

Emily Tippett

Emily Tippett

Program Coordinator

Emily serves as the Program Coordinator for the UGA SBDC in Rome. She has a background in event planning and public speaking, having hosted events for up to 800 attendees and 30 staff under her supervision. As a student at Toccoa Falls College, Emily held elected positions, such as Student Government Association President and Vice President. In these roles she gained extensive experience in organizational leadership and teamwork.

Having grown up under the wing of an entrepreneurial father, who owns a catering business for 25+ years, Emily has a first-hand knowledge of challenges and rewards of running a small business. She values community involvement and enjoys her role as liaison to the 13 North Georgia counties served by the Rome Office of the SBDC.


Education

  • BS, Toccoa Falls College (Communication Studies)

Experience

  • UGA SBDC (Program Coordinator)
  • Event Specialist (WinShape Camps)

Accomplishments

  • Managed team of 16 specialty positions (WinShape Camps)
  • Championed new initiative to be implemented College-wide and written into the TFC Student Handbook (Toccoa Falls College)

Contact

Phone: (706) 622-2006

Email: etippett@georgiasbdc.org

Savannah Office

Becky Brownlee

Becky Brownlee

Area Director

Mrs. Brownlee has been a small business owner for over 20 years. She has owned businesses in manufacturing, specialty retail, beauty and trade schools, health and fitness, agriculture and real estate and construction. In addition to owning her own businesses, she also has experience in the financial, hospitality and insurance sectors. Mrs. Brownlee’s businesses have encompassed both independent and franchise operations. She specializes in financing and access to capital and all aspects of commercial real estate including site/space selection, building/ land acquisition and financing, lease negotiations, zoning, construction and permitting.


Education

  • MBA, South University
  • BA, UNC Chapel Hill (Industrial Relations)

Contact

Phone: (912) 651-3200

Chase Cowart

Chase Cowart

Consultant

Chase joined the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center in 2018. He has previous experience working in insurance and health care administration with an emphasis on using information systems, digital tools, and data to improve operations, marketing, and strategic decision making. Chase brings a technical skillset to the SBDC that can be used to help small business owners with marketing, financial analysis, and strategic planning.


Education

  • Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Georgia (Management Information Systems)
  • Master of Business Administration, Georgia Southern University

Experience

  • St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System, Business Development/Strategic Planning Analyst (2015-2018)
  • Aflac, Systems Analyst (2014-2015)

Contact

Phone: (912) 651-3200

Email: savannah@georgiasbdc.org

Liz Overstreet

Liz Overstreet

Program Coordinator

Liz Overstreet helps new entrepreneurs by providing them basic business information, from the center’s current program offerings to sample business plans. Ms. Overstreet teaches the center’s monthly “Starting a Business” workshop to aspiring entrepreneurs and helps them start with a solid foundation. Ms. Overstreet assists with program planning, development, marketing, and execution. She is the first point of contact at the center and conducts introductory meetings with clients.


Education

  • MBA, Georgia Southern University
  • BBA, The University of Georgia (Real Estate)

Contact

Phone: (912) 651-3200

Email: loverstreet@georgiasbdc.org

Statesboro Office

Valerie McElveen

Valerie McElveen

Area Director

Prior to joining the Small Business Development Center, Valerie worked in the areas of accounting and operations. Her experience ranges from working in a large manufacturing environment to working with small local companies. She brings to the SBDC knowledge financial aspects important to small businesses including cost accounting, financial analysis, cash flow management, and financial forecasting.


Education

• BBA, Eastern Michigan University (Accounting)
• MBA, Georgia Southern University

Contact

Phone: (912) 478-7232

Email: southerncoastal@georgiasbdc.org

John Myers

John Myers

Consultant

With extensive practice in new business development, sales, and operations John has developed and implemented revenue growth processes at large and small companies. He has been a key partner in growing small businesses and bringing new products to market. John has studied and implemented processes for lead generation and developed roadmaps to bring about company evolution through organizational changes. He has advised and trained professionals in tactics, strategy and resources to achieve business objectives.


Education

  • Master of Business Administration, Georgia Southern University
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Colorado

Contact

Phone: (912) 478-7232

Email: statesboro@georgiasbdc.org

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Christy Pease

Program Coordinator

Contact

Phone: (912) 478-7232

Valdosta Office

Cindy Corgan

Cindy Corgan

Program Coordinator

Cindy Corgan is the Program Coordinator for the University of Georgia SBDC at Valdosta State University. As a graduate of Valdosta State University she brings with her over 18 years of teaching experience within the business administrative technology field. She is Microsoft Certified and has first-hand experience as a current business owner. She provides instruction for the Boots to Business and the Starting a Business classes, as well as being the first point of contact for our clients. Cindy supplies the clients with information on how to start a business and markets awareness of the SBDC by giving presentations, utilizing the social media platforms, and engaging in other public relations events in the 10 county service area. She also arranges and implements the marketing for the Continuing Education programs.


Education

  • MEd, Valdosta State University (Educational Leadership)
  • MEd, Valdosta State University (Middle Grades Education)
  • BSEd, University of Central Florida (Elementary Education)

Contact

Phone: (229) 245-3738

Email: ccorgan@georgiasbdc.org

Alyssa Foskey

Alyssa Foskey

Consultant

Mrs. Alyssa Foskey serves as a business consultant for the UGA Small Business Development Center at Valdosta State University. She joined the Valdosta team in January 2019 with 20+ years of customer service experience and training and 11+ years of contract training that includes customization and instruction in Business Management. Additionally, Mrs. Foskey has specialized knowledge of the logistics and transportation industry from her employment in account management for Southeastern Freight Lines. Specialty areas include streamlined order processes, efficient packaging techniques, and appropriate systems of transportation. Mrs. Foskey strives to give back to the community and continues to work with nonprofit organizations serving in a variety of leadership and support roles.


Education

  • M.B.A, Aspen University
  • B.F.A., Speech Communication, Valdosta State University

Experience

  • Wiregrass Technical College (Economic Development Instructor/Business Management Program Coordinator); Georgia Work Ready Gold Certified and Georgia QuickStart Instructor Certified in Customer Service
  • Southeastern Freight Lines (Account Manager)
  • Valdosta Lowndes Chamber of Commerce (B2B Networking Event Intern)

Recognition

  • Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year– 2015
  • President – Lambda Pi Eta National Honor Society

Leadership

  • Advisor Collegiate Fellowship at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College
  • Active Member Excellence in Academic Advising Committee – Wiregrass Georgia Technical College
  • Event Coordinator/ Abundant Life Church of God, Valdosta
    Ladies Ministry Board Member

Contact

Email: afoskey@georgiasbdc.org

Walt Moore - UGA Small Business Development Center

Walt Moore

Area Director

Mr. Walt Moore serves as a business consultant for the UGA Small Business Development Center at Valdosta State University. He has over eight years of experience as a former consumer and commercial lender working with small and mid-sized lending customers. Prior to joining the SBDC, Walt recently served as the Department Chair of the Business Education Department, as well as the Banking and Finance Program Coordinator at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.  His areas of expertise include cash flow management, credit reviewing, financial counseling and loan packaging.  In addition to his financial background, Mr. Moore also has an extensive background in agriculture.


Education

  • M.B.A, FINANCE, ASPEN UNIVERSIY, ASPEN, CO
  • B.A., FINANCE, VALDOSTA STATE UNIVERSITY, VALDOSTA, GA

Experience

  • MOORES BLUEBERRY FARM. (OWNER/OPERATOR)
  • WIREGRASS TECHNICAL COLLEGE, (Department Chair & Banking and Finance Coordinator)
  • BANK OF LENOX (Loan Officer)
  • PIONEER SERVICES, MIDCOUNTRY BANK. (Market Manager)

Accomplishments

  • Delta Epsilon Tau National Honor Society
  • Lanier County Farm Bureau. Young Farmer – 2012, 2013
  • Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year Nominee – 2012r

Leadership

  • Chairman of Finance Committee  – Wiregrass Technical College
  • Treasurer, Association of the United States Army, Braxton/Bragg Chapter
  • President, Association of United States Army, Costal Empire Chapter
  • Business and Core Science Internship Coordinator

Contact

Phone: (229) 245-3738

Email: wmoore@georgiasbdc.org

State Office

State Director's Office

Allan Adams

Allan Adams

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 and the national Association of Small Business Development Centers.


Education

  • B.A. in Political Science, University of Georgia
  • M.B.A, Brenau University

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-2762

Email: aadams@georgiasbdc.org

Melody Banks

Melody Banks

Administrative Associate

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-2762

Email: mbanks@georgiasbdc.org

Mark Mayfield - UGA Small Business Development Center

Mark Mayfield

Assistant to the Director

Mark returned to the University of Georgia in 2013 to pursue a PhD in Higher Education and work at the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center. In 2017, he joined the state office full-time, serving as assistant to the director and managing several state-level projects. He supports the SBDC as liaison to student programs, HR, and advancement on campus as well as assisting with research and assessment projects.


Education

  • PhD Higher Education, University of Georgia, Athens, GA (expected completion, December 2018)
  • MA Religion, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
  • BA English, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA

Experience

  • Assistant to the Director, University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center, Athens, GA (2017-present)
  • Instructor of Religion, Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, GA (2011-2017)
  • Instructor, University of Georgia, Athens GA (2010-2012)

Accomplishments

  • As a PhD candidate, Mark’s research focuses on finance and innovation at Christian colleges and universities. Prior to joining the SBDC, he taught courses in religion at the University of Georgia and Georgia Gwinnett College

Contact

Phone: (404) 626-1110

Email: mmayfield@georgiasbdc.org

Beth Melnik

Beth Melnik

Associate State Director

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.


Education

  • MBA, Georgia State University (Marketing)
  • BS, Georgia Institute of Technology (Management)

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-2762

Email: bmelnik@georgiasbdc.org

Teresa Williams

Teresa Williams

Director of Special Programs

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.


Education

  • MBA, University of Georgia
  • BBA, University of Georgia (Management Information Systems)

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-2762

Email: twilliams@georgiasbdc.org

District Directors

Suzanne Barnett

Suzanne Barnett

District Director

Suzanne Barnett is one of two District Directors for The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center. She works with multiple office throughout the state of Georgia and directs economic development efforts in her territories. Prior to this appointment, she was the Area Director of the UGA SBDC at Valdosta State University 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.


Education

  • MBA, Valdosta State University (Marketing)
  • BA, University of Arkansas (History)

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-2762

Ron Simmons

Ron Simmons

District Director

Ron Simmons is one of two District Directors for The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center. He works with multiple office throughout the state of Georgia and developmental efforts in his territories.  Mr. Simmons received the ASBDC Star Performer Award in 1999 and 2011, for excellence in consulting as well as the ASBDC Extra Mile Award for his contributions to the disaster recovery services with the businesses of the Mississippi Gulf region following Hurricane Katrina. He was recognized as the Georgia SBDC Consultant of the Year in 2011. Mr. Simmons was one of the recipients for the Project of the Year Award for his team contributions in the Google Training Project and the Digital Marketing Bootcamp. His interests 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.


Education

MBA, Mercer University (Marketing)

BBA, The University of Georgia (Management)

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-2762

Josh Walton

Josh Walton

District Director

Mr. Walton is a former commercial and small business lender. He has over 12 years experience working with small and mid-sized lending customers. His area of expertise is cash flow management, financial analysis and loan packaging. Previous to banking he spent some time in the healthcare arena, in outside sales and management.

Education

  • MBA, BERRY COLLEGE (Business Administration)
  • BS, BERRY COLLEGE (Economics)

Experience

  • UGA SBDC in Macon (Area Director)
  • ANGELICA HEALTHCARE TEXTILES, INC. (Business Development, Customer Relations)
  • AMSOUTH BANK (Small Business Lending)
  • SYNOVUS FINANCIAL (Small Business Lending and Credit Underwriting)
  • HERITAGE FIRST BANK (Small Business Lending and Credit Underwriting)

Accomplishments

  • Graduate of Financial Analysis Credit Training School, Synovus Financial
  • Graduate of Leadership Calhoun/Gordon County, GA
  • Graduate of Georgia Academy of Economic Development Program

Leadership

  • Graduate of Leadership Calhoun/Gordon County, GA program
  • Regional economic and leadership development, GA Academy of Economic Development
  • Perry Chamber of Commerce Business Development Committee

Additional Information

  • Mr. Walton also has experience in sales and business development in the commercial printing industry, and management experience in a healthcare materials management setting. Also has experience in sales, customer relations and business development in the healthcare textile industry.

Contact

Phone: (478) 757-3609

Business Office

Jessica Hearn

Jessica Hearn

Jessica Hearn

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-2762

Email: jhearn@georgiasbdc.org

Penny Johnson

Penny Johnson

Senior Accounting Technician

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-2762

Email: pjohnson@georgiasbdc.org

Morgan Robinson

Morgan Robinson

Accountant

Spatial analytics has always been an interest for Morgan. After completing her degree in Geography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Morgan was hired by an engineering company to work on floodplain mapping. When Morgan came to the UGA SBDC she began applying her GIS knowledge to business research for Georgia’s small businesses.

On her own time, Morgan enjoys spending time with her family and community organizations.

Education

  • Bachelor of Science, University of Georgia (Geography  |  Geographic Information Systems Certificate)

Experience

  • GIS Specialist – AECOM, 3.5 years. GIS floodplain mapping and assisted in client and public meetings on mapping projects.

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-2762

Email: mrobinson@georgiasbdc.org

Melissa Stoker

Melissa Stoker

Administrative Financial Director

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-2762

Email: mstoker@georgiasbdc.org

Information Technology

Guillermo Londono

Guillermo Londono

Application Programmer

Contact

Phone: (706) 583-8307

Email: glondono@georgiasbdc.org

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Mike Parrish

IT Manager

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-2762

Email: mparrish@georgiasbdc.org

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Steve Quinlan

IT Support

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-2762

Email: squinlan@georgiasbdc.org

Meredith Reeves

Application Programmer

From the time that internet access started to become a staple in every home, Meredith has wanted to know how just how it worked. When she stumbled across a website builder called Tripod that allowed her to look at the code after building her page, she was hooked. What started as an after-school hobby eventually blossomed into a career when she accepted a position at University of Georgia Griffin Campus that allowed her to redesign and manager the campus website. After several years, she decided to come back home to Athens where she joined the UGA SBDC team in June 2017 as an Application Programmer Associate.

When she’s not in front of a computer, Meredith can probably be found doing crafty stuff with yarn or thread, watching cheesy sci-fi shows, or spending time with her husband, dog, and two cats.


Education 

  • A.A. Web Design, University of Phoenix

Experience 

  • UGA SBDC (Application Programmer Associate)
  • UGA Griffin Campus (IT Professional Principal)
  • Cbeyond (Procurement Analyst / Internal Mobile Specialist)

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-7457

Email: mreeves@georgiasbdc.org

Entrepreneur Outreach & Development

Bill Boone

Bill Boone

Entrepreneur Outreach Specialist

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-2762

Email: bboone@georgiasbdc.org

Debbie Finney

Debbie Finney

Entrepreneur Development Specialist

Debbie Finney 28 years of work experience in the private sector to the SBDC where she now consults with Georgia businesses in the areas of marketing strategies, branding, social media marketing, digital marketing strategies, strategic planning and business management. She has instructed business owners throughout the state on marketing and digital marketing strategy and has presented her program, “Branding – Smart Move for Small Business” nationally.

She started her business career in retail family business, and later opened a second retail business. During her many years in retail, she developed a marketing expertise and strategy that distinguished her two businesses in the market place as the local industry expert. Prior to joining the SBDC, Debbie worked in medical practice management where she was instrumental in opening and managing two medical offices in the Greater Atlanta area. She also has experience in hospital based medical practice management and marketing medical practices. Debbie Finney has also been an instructor of Marketing, Labor Relations, and other business classes at Darton State College.

She holds an MBA, University of Georgia and a BBA, Emory University.


Education

  • BBA, EMORY UNIVERSITY (Business with concentration in Finance)
  • MBA, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA TERRY COLLEGE OF BUSINESS (Finance)

Experience

  • ALBANY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (Small Business Committee)
  • ALBANY/DOUGHERTY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (Business Retention Committee)
  • DOUGHERTY COUNTY ROTARY CLUB
  • WOMEN IN NETWORK

Accomplishments

  • Started and operated a successful retail home décor and gift shop in addition to managing business operations a third generation family business
  • QuickBooks Expertise

Contact

Phone: (229) 420-1144

International Trade

Mario Gonzalez, UGA SBDC Consultant

Mario Gonzalez

Consultant

Mr. Gonzalez has over 18 years of combined professional experience in information technology, telecommunications, project management and international trade/business. Over the last 10 years, he has been responsible for sales and marketing, P&L management, as well as customer acquisitions and development for a wide variety of industries across the Americas (banking, utilities, software, telco operators, higher education, retail and government). This includes work with SMEs and multinational corporations.


Education

  • International MBA, Universidad Europea de Madrid
  • Master in Project Management, Universidad para la Cooperación Internacional
  • BS in Computer Engineering, Universidad Latinoamericana de Ciencia y Tecnología

Experience

  • International Sales Director, Peleman Industries
  • Sales and Marketing Director, Secure-IQ
  • Board Member, British-Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce
  • Senior Account Manager, British Telecom Global Services
  • CEO, MGS-It
  • Senior IT Consultant, KPMG
  • Business Unit Manager Data Center Enterprise, ITS Infocomunicación

Contact

Phone: (770) 551-5681

Darrel Hulsey

Darrel C. Hulsey

International Trade Consultant, Trade Financing Specialist

Mr. Hulsey previously worked for a large commercial bank serving in various lending and management positions. He also has experience as an independent financial consultant performing acquisition/merger, loan portfolio and credit system analysis for banks. Since joining the SBDC in 1992, Mr. Hulsey has worked extensively in the following areas: international trade financing, trade risk mitigation, loan proposal preparation, financial analysis, business evaluations and alternative financing. He is also a Certified Global Business Professional. Mr. Hulsey was recognized by the Georgia SBDC Network as Consultant of the Year. Additionally, Mr. Hulsey was awarded the Georgia State Star for consulting and honored with the Distinguished Service Award by the national organization, America’s Small Business Development Centers.

Education

B.B.A. in Marketing, North Georgia College
M.B.A, Brenau University

Contact

Phone: (678) 985-6820

Email: dhulsey@georgiasbdc.org

Dimitris Kloussiadis

Dimitris Kloussiadis

Consultant

Dimitris has over 28 years’ experience in international business, in both the public and private sectors. While in the private sector, he established an extensive network of international distributors and dealers in the Middle East and North African markets. Earlier in his career he owned an import business which marketed European and Asian products to US architectural and construction firms, and to major US department stores. He holds a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Louisiana, and an M.B.A in International Business from Georgia State University.

Contact

Phone: (678) 985-6820

Email: dkloussiadis@georgiasbdc.org

Rick Martin

Rick Martin

Center Director

Rick has over 30 years of experience in international business in both the public and private sector. During his career, he established and developed distribution networks in Latin America and the Asia/Pacific region.


Education

  • Bachelors Degree, University of Texas at Austin
  • M.B.S., International, University of South Carolina

Contact

Phone: (678) 985-6820

Email: rmartin@georgiasbdc.org

Medical Program

Matt Lastinger

Matt Lastinger

Medical Management Specialist

Mr. Lastinger works in the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center’s Medical Practice Management Program leading its medical consulting and education activities. He consults with numerous practices around the state each year on topics such as finance and accounting, marketing, leadership, and practice startup. “Business of Medicine” education is also a large part of Mr. Lastinger’s duties. Classes covering entrepreneurial topics are offered at SBDC offices around the state targeting independent medical practice owners and managers. Mr. Lastinger’s, and the SBDC’s goal is to help medical practices in the State of Georgia maintain their independence.

Mr. Lastinger also consults with independent pharmacies in Georgia and serves as a preceptor for the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy’s Entrepreneurship Rotation. He is also co-faculty for the College of Pharmacy’s Entrepreneurship for Pharmacists and Beyond Dispensing classes.

Additionally, he assists in MP2’s veterinary student education efforts. Mr. Lastinger began his career working with Deere and Company in sales and operations management. Mr. Lastinger holds B.S.A. and MBA degrees from the University of Georgia.


Education

  • MBA, Finance, University of Georgia
  • BS, Agriculture, University of Georgia

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-8322

Jeff Sanford

Jeff Sanford

Director of Entrepreneurial Studies

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.


Education

  • MBA, Mercer University (Finance)
  • BBA, Mercer University (Economics)

Additional Information

  • Joint Faculty – College of Veterinary Medicine and College of Pharmacy

Contact

Phone: (706) 542-6811

Minority Business Development

Geoffrey Loften

Geoffrey Loften

Program Coordinator

Geoffrey joined the SBDC in August of 2015 as the Program Coordinator at the DeKalb office. He earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Economics from the University of Georgia.

While a student at the University of Georgia, Geoffrey held positions as a Library Office Assistant in the Walter J. Brown Media Archive home of the George Foster Peabody Award. In this role he assisted in the intake and processing of new archival collections, Peabody Award entries and donations. He also created and presented a compilation piece entitled “That’s Legit” chronicling the 1980s as part of the Peabody Decades presentation and discussion series of 2014.

In 2014 Geoffrey worked as a Political Fellow for the Georgia District 22 senatorial election as well as the gubernatorial election of Georgia. In these roles he was responsible for voter outreach, event planning, volunteer organizing, policy research and analysis and strategic planning.


Education:

  • B.A. Economics, B.A. Political Science, University of Georgia

Contact

Phone: (770) 414-3110

Email: gloften@georgiasbdc.org

Bart Njoku-Obi

Bart Njoku-Obi

Consultant

Bart’s expertise spans strategic planning, sales operations, business process improvement, B2B partner ecosystems, and M&A. He’s entrepreneurial-minded with management and project experience at VC-funded technology startups and large enterprises, coupled with public service in regulatory compliance. He’s garnered over 16 years of experience in legal counsel and business risk mitigation. Bart’s worked with several firms in Silicon Valley CA including Hewett-Packard in Palo Alto and Sunnyvale, and start-up ventures in Georgia, North Carolina, and overseas.

Bart’s also experienced in change management leveraging metrics-driven TQM and Lean concepts: root cause analysis, cross-functional team collaboration, design and deployment, organizational development needs-analysis, communication strategies, and performance measurement.  He’s a Certified Manager of Quality /Organizational Excellence by the American Society for Quality.


Education

  • MBA, WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY (Information Technology Management & E-commerce)
  • JD, NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL UNIVERSITY (Law, Cum Laude)
  • BS, NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY (Economics, Ag. Economics, minor in Environmental Science)

Experience

  • Director, Business Operations at Hewlett-Packard (HP cloud services)
  • Business Operations at PDCPC (family dental practice); Consultant (new ventures)
  • Interim Director, Corporate Development at JRG (tech start-up)
  • Director, Corporate Development at Pivia (tech start-up)
  • Interim Director, Corporate Development at Crossweave (tech start-up)
  • Assistant Attorney General at NCDOJ (environmental protection)
  • Legal Intern, Office of the General Counsel at Duke Power (now Duke Energy)
  • Industrial Trainee at Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (environmental dept.)

 

Accomplishments

  • Certified Manager of Quality /Organizational Excellence, American Society for Quality, 2016.
  • Licensed legal counsel: State bars of Georgia, 2015, California, 2009, and North Carolina, 1996.
  • State case law – published NC court decision – constitutionality of a county noise regulation ordinance. State v. Taylor, 128 NC App 616. (Appellant, Bart Njoku-Obi on behalf of the NC Attorney General.)

 

Additional Information

  • Bart has in-depth finance and P&L experience having worked with businesses at various life cycle stages: seed (formation, funding), startup (sales operations, cash flow management, commercial transactions), growth (process automation /scalability, partner ecosystems), and expansion /exit (mezzanine financing, competitive analysis, M&A, windup).
  • Former NC assistant attorney general in environmental protection. Extensive experience in regulatory analysis, compliance reviews, litigation management, and negotiations.
  • Bart offers a global perspective, having lived or worked in multiple states and overseas.

Contact

Phone: (470) 268-5793

Carolina Ramon, Director, SBDC Office of Minority Business Development

Carolina Ramon

Center Director

Carolina Ramon joined the University of Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Office of Minority Business Development (OMBD) October 1, 2015.  Before joining the SBDC’s Office of Minority Business Development, she served as a contract employee for OMBD from 2013 through 2015.  A native of Cali, Colombia, Carolina has been instrumental in the design, creation and execution of business training for Hispanic business owners, and she created and implemented marketing strategies to reach minority business owners.


Education

  • B.A., Mass Communication and Marketing
  • M.B.A., Business Administration, Georgia State University

Experience

  • Served as Director of the Small Business Administration’s WEDA Metropolitan Atlanta Women Business Center (MAWBC) for many years. There she oversaw the day-to-day operations of MAWBC programs and services, including managing and evaluating staff, third-party consultants/providers, and community partners.  In this position, she delivered quality bilingual training and consulting services in business development, market research, loan packaging, and certification and procurement opportunities.
  • Served as Marketing and Media Professional for CNN en Español and serves as the organization’s primary liaison to the Latino community, including individuals, business owners, media, associations and other stakeholders.

Accomplishments

  • Carolina is an experienced small business counselor and certified federal procurement instructor with an extensive history of launching business enterprises and designing entrepreneur programs for non-profit organizations in Georgia.
  • Carolina is fluent in both English and Spanish.

Contact

Phone: (470) 268-5793

Email: cramon@georgiasbdc.org

Program Development

Kyle Hensel

Kyle Hensel

Director of Continuing Education

Kyle Hensel is the former Area Director of the UGA SBDC at Savannah and the current Director of Continuing Education at the State Office. He received his BBA in Marketing as well as his MBA from Georgia Southern University. Prior to joining the SBDC, Kyle Hensel held various management positions within the retail industry including Wal-Mart and several other large and small retailers. He also was an instructor at Georgia Southern University where he taught courses in the areas of marketing, retailing, and management. He also has consulted with many for profit and not for profit companies and associations. While with the SBDC, he created the popular small business series Maximum Marketing which teaches small business owners how to be innovative, and was the co-creator of Maximum Contact which shows business owners how to use technology to drive their sales. In 2009 he was named the University of Georgia SBDC “Consultant of the Year.” In 2010, the Association of Small Business development Centers (ASBDC) named him the State Star of Georgia. His interests are in the areas of marketing, advertising, market research, digital media and logistics.


Education

  • MBA, GEORGIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY (Business Administration)
  • BBA, GEORGIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY (Marketing: With Emphasis in Sales and Sales Management)

Accomplishments

  • 2011 University of Georgia SBDC Program of the Year
  • 2010 ASBDC State Star of Georgia
  • 2009 University of Georgia SBDC Consultant of the Year
  • 2009 University of Georgia SBDC Continuing Education Program of the Year
  • 2008 University of Georgia SBDC Program of the Year

Leadership

  • Georgia Southern University Sales Center Advisory Board

Additional Information

  • While with the SBDC, he created the popular small business series Maximum Marketing which teaches small business owners how to be innovative, and was the co-creator of Maximum Contact which shows business owners how to use technology to drive their sales. He is also involved in research, where he has co-authored many articles for publication in such journals as The Journal for the Advancement of Marketing Education, Entrepreneurial Executive, and the Southern Business Review. Mr. Hensel also is asked to speak nationwide at conferences and events on the subjects of marketing, digital marketing, and website analysis.

Contact

Phone: (912) 651-3200

Mark Lupo

Mark Lupo

Business Education/Resilience Specialist

Mr. Lupo joined The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center in Columbus in 2005 as a Business Consultant and was promoted to Area Director for the Columbus office in July of 2012. He earned his undergraduate Bachelors of Science from Auburn University in 1987 and his Masters in Business from Brenau University in 1990. He served with the U.S. Army 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, NC during the 1980’s as the medical supervisor for an “A” detachment, with a language specialty of Turkish. He served in both the Middle East and Europe and was deployed during Operation Desert Shield/ Desert Storm in 1990 and 1991.

Mr. Lupo had a 20 year history within the healthcare field, working in both clinical and administrative roles, primarily in the perioperative and home health arena. Mr. Lupo and his wife owned two Thomas Kinkade art galleries from 1999-2004, where Mr. Lupo was involved with the day to day operations of the two-gallery business. He currently also serves as President and CEO of Lupo Properties, Inc., a real estate investing company started in 2001, specializing in renting single family homes in the Columbus, GA/Phenix City, AL area.

Mr. Lupo is a recipient of the 2012 and 2016 Flewellen Award for Consulting Excellence for the University of Georgia SBDC network. This recognition is given out to the top UGA SBDC consultants in the state of Georgia each year. He recently obtained his Master Business Continuity Professional (MBCP) certification, accredited through the Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII), having become a Certified Business Continuity Professional through DRII in 2009. Mr. Lupo specializes in assisting businesses in developing emergency preparedness and business continuity plans. He has a passion for working with entrepreneurs and small business, helping others successfully identify the path, and the resources, needed to develop a successful, profitable, and prepared business.

Education

  • MA, JEFFERSON COUNTY LAW ENFORCEMENT ACADEMY (Law Enforcement)
  • MBA, BRENAU COLLEGE (Business Administration)
  • BS, AUBURN UNIVERSITY (Nursing)
  • Master Business Continuity Professional Certification: Completed certification course through the Disaster Recovery Institute International (DRII) and passed the national Master Case Study exam to obtain the Master Business Continuity Professional (MBCP) certification. The MBCP certification process requires both the passage of the Master Case Study exam and the successful documentation of at least five years proficiency in seven of ten professional practice areas within the business continuity field. Has been certified as a CBCP with DRII since 2009.

Experience

Mr. Lupo joined The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center in Columbus in 2005 as a Business Consultant and was promoted to Area Director for the Columbus office in July of 2012. He earned his undergraduate Bachelors of Science from Auburn University in 1987 and his Masters in Business from Brenau University in 1990. He served with the U.S. Army 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, NC during the 1980’s as the medical supervisor for an “A” detachment, with a language specialty of Turkish. He served in both the Middle East and Europe and was deployed during Operation Desert Shield/ Desert Storm in 1990 and 1991.

Mr. Lupo had a 20 year history within the healthcare field, working in both clinical and administrative roles, primarily in the perioperative and home health arena. Mr. Lupo and his wife owned two Thomas Kinkade art galleries from 1999-2004, where Mr. Lupo was involved with the day to day operations of the two-gallery business. He currently also serves as President and CEO of Lupo Properties, Inc., a real estate investing company started in 2001, specializing in renting single family homes in the Columbus, GA/Phenix City, AL area.


Accomplishments

  • Flewellen Award for Consulting Excellence, UGA SBDC, 2012, 2016
  • Promoted to Public Service Associate, The University of Georgia, in 2012
  • Jefferson County Law Enforcement Academy, Graduated in 2011, APOST certified law enforcement officer, Served as Class President, Reserve Session 16, 2010-2011| Awarded the Directors Award and the Physical Fitness Award
  • Earned the Certified Business Continuity Professional certification (CBCP) by the Disaster Recovery Institute International in 2009

Articles

  • THE NEED FOR SMALL BUSINESS, BUSINESS CONTINUITY. Sep 2009 on The Disaster Recovery Journal

Leadership

  • Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Instructor
  • Deputy Coordinator, County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Deputy program, Alabama
  • Chattahoochee Valley Citizen’s Corps, Executive Committee
  • Chattahoochee Valley Community College, Advisory Committee

Additional Information

  • Committed Rotarian of 13 years with the Rotary Club of Columbus (The Downtown Club) 1980 through 1984 – Special Forces Medic, 1st of the 5th, U.S. Army, 5th Special Forces Group: Served as Medical Supervisor, “A” Team, with 5th Special Forces Group, stationed at Fort Bragg, NC. Graduated DLI at the Presidio of Monterey, CA, with a language specialty of Turkish. Served in the Middle East and Europe. Accepted commission in 1989 into the U.S. Army Reserve and was activated and deployed to the Middle East in Operation Desert Shield/ Desert Storm. Served in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq.

Contact

Phone: (706) 569-2651