State Office

Contact

Address:

1180 E. Broad Street
Chicopee Complex
Athens, GA 30602

Contact:

Phone: (706) 542-2762
Fax: (706) 542-7935

 

 

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Staff

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: (706) 542-2762

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

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Macy Thomas

Digital Marketing Manager

Contact

Email: mthomas@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

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

Business Office

Jessica Hearn

Jessica Hearn

Business Manager

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

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

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