Michele Abraham, Board Chair
State Director, South Carolina SBDC
Michele Abraham has served as State Director of the university-hosted South Carolina SBDC since January, 2010, and she served as State Director of the state-hosted Ohio SBDC from 2006 to 2009. Her career has spanned work in both the private and public sectors, including positions in marketing, business development, sales management, strategic planning/management, product management and general management for small, medium and large companies. She also owned and operated two successful businesses for over 15 years. Her experience traverses many industries, ranging from consumer products to aerospace/aircraft and defense.
Michele serves on the America’s SBDC Marketing & Communications Committee. She also oversees the SC PTAC program that is hosted by the SBDC in South Carolina. Since joining the SC SBDC, Michele has led the organization through a successful re-accreditation with no conditions. She works extensively with partners and stakeholders, including helping to create and participating on the SC Department of Commerce small business council, and supporting key initiatives for the Governor. Michele received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications with minors in Journalism and Public Relations from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She also has earned numerous business and technical certifications in management, strategic planning, balance scorecards, marketing, TQM and advanced materials technology.
Contact Information: Michele Abraham; State Director, South Carolina SBDC, USC, Moore School of Business, 1705 College Street, Columbia, SC 29208; Phone: 803-777-3130; Fax: 803-777-6876; Email: email@example.com; Website: www.scsbdc.com
Linda Rossi, Board Vice Chair
State Director, Vermont SBDC
Linda Rossi is the State Director of the Vermont Small Business Development Center. She joined the program in 2005 and was a business advisor, Assistant Director and Associate State Director prior to becoming State Director in 2013. She is Chair of the New England region’s professional development program, including Core Competency onboarding for new advisors, and has been a member of the America’s SBDC Marketing and Communications Committee.
Prior to joining the SBDC, Linda spent 20 years in the private sector as a national project manager for IBM, business manager for four start-ups and growing small businesses, as well as an adjunct faculty member in higher education and the treasurer and founding board member of a non-profit organization. In addition to a degree in business management, marketing and psychology, she holds several certifications in leadership, project management, entrepreneurship education and workforce development; and she received recognition for her efforts in disaster recovery with the SBA Phoenix Award.
Contact Information: Linda Rossi, State Director, Vermont SBDC, Vermont Technical College, P.O. Box 188, 1 Main Street, Randolph Center, VT 05061-0188; Phone: 802-728-9101; Fax: 802-728-3026; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.vtsbdc.org
Kristin Johnson, Board Secretary
Regional Director, Northern California Regional SBDC
Kristin Johnson has been Region Director for the Northern California SBDC for 12 years. She wrote the original Norcal SBDC proposal for Humboldt State University in 2005, and has been at the helm ever since. As of January 2018, Northeastern California also came under her leadership and was merged with Norcal SBDC. Kristin was a founding member of the California SBDC Leadership Council and has served as its statewide Chair twice since its formation, seven years ago. As Chair, she led legislative efforts to reestablish funding from the State of California. In 2018, Kristin worked with the other four regional directors in California to secure full match funding from the state. As of October 2018, the Governor’s Office will provide funding to the SBDC program along with other federally-funded technical assistance programs in California.
Kristin leads New State Director and Associate Director Training annually at the America’s SBDC Conference. In the six years she has had this responsibility, she has had the pleasure of meeting and working with more than 40 of the nation’s incoming State Directors and Associate Directors. She also sits on the America’s SBDC Operations and Leadership Committees. Prior to becoming Region Director at Humboldt State University, Kristin was the SBDC Center Director serving Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. A serial entrepreneur, she launched her first company at age 19. She studied Economics and Design at University of California, Davis, and she is also a graduate of the Sacramento Entrepreneurship Academy.
Contact Information: Kristin Johnson, Regional Director, Northern California Regional SBDC, 1 Harpst Street, House 71, Arcata, California 95521; Phone: 707-826-3919; Fax: 707-826-3912; Email: email@example.com; Website: www.norcalsbdc.org
Marquise Jackson, Treasurer
Regional Director, San Diego & Imperial Regional Network
Marquise Jackson is the Regional Director for the San Diego & Imperial Regional Network. Marquise is a tireless advocate for and ally of the small business communities of San Diego and Imperial counties, as evidenced by his dedication to promoting greatly increased access to capital for the local small businesses community. He has led and managed the implementation of numerous federal and state initiatives, including the Jobs Act with the Small Business Administration, and the California Governor’s Office Capital Infusion Program.
With a deep background in technology commercialization, Marquise has held several positions in that arena subsequent to joining the SBDC, including advising and training tech entrepreneurs and startups, and working with senior scientists at the Army Research Lab to facilitate taking technology products to market. Marquise has a Master of Business Administration from California State University, San Bernardino, in addition to a B.S. in Physics from Benedict College.
Contact Information: Marquise Jackson, Regional Director, San Diego & Imperial Regional Network, Southwestern Community College, 880 National City Boulevard, Suite 103, National City, CA, 91950; Phone: 619-216-6718; Fax: 619-216-6692; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: sdivsbdc.org.
Charles “Tee” Rowe, President & CEO
C. E. “Tee” Rowe is the President and CEO of America’s SBDC. He joined the Association in August of 2009. A graduate of Dartmouth College (AB, Russian Language/Literature, 1983) and the Tulane University School of Law (JD, 1989), Mr. Rowe has a long history of legislative and advocacy experience on behalf of the small business community. Prior to joining America’s SBDC. he served as Associate Administrator for Congressional and Legislative Affairs for the US Small Business Administration from 2005 to 2009. Before that, he served as Assistant Administrator for Congressional Affairs and was the Assistant General Counsel for Legislation and Regulation at SBA from 2001 to 2005.
Tee also worked for ten years (1991-2001) in the US Congress as the Counsel to the Committee on Small Business in the US House of Representatives. In that role, he was responsible for drafting most of the major small business legislation passed by the US Congress. He resides in Great Falls, VA with his wife Laurie and his daughter, Alex.
Contact Information: Edward Rowe III, President and CEO, America’s SBDC, 8990 Burke Lake Road, 2nd Floor, Burke, VA 22015; Phone: 703-764-9850; Fax: 703-764-1234; E-Mail: email@example.com; Website: www.americassbdc.org
State Director, Delaware SBDC
Mike was appointed Associate Director of the Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships (OEIP) and State Director of the Delaware SBDC at the University of Delaware (UD) in 2013. The position was designed to integrate the DE SBDC, DE PTAC, and the leadership of Delaware Technology Park (DTP) with the existing intellectual property management and economic development interests of UD.
Prior to joining UD, Mike was Chairman and President/CEO of DTP, a non-profit partnership between the State of Delaware, UD, and the private sector. DTP’s mission is to foster economic development of technology based companies and entrepreneurs, a strong segment in Delaware. Mike’s association with the SBDC began when the SBDC moved into DTP as the home of the Lead Center. Prior to 2000, his career was with the DuPont Company in and around Delaware. He held many different positions in technical, manufacturing, marketing, and business leadership. In 1998, Mike left as VP/GM of Advanced Material Systems to spin out his unit to form a new company in Arizona. Within 18 months it was acquired by a New York Stock Exchange company. He chose to return to Delaware and start his own composite structures business. In 2000, he became President/CEO of DTP. He proceeded to expand DTP and helped launched over 100 start-ups, with an outcome of 16,000 jobs over 20 years. Mike received a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati, and the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2000. He has undertaken graduate course work at Wharton, Columbia, and the American Management Association.
Contact Information: Mike Bowman, State Director, Delaware SBDC , 1 Innovation Way, Suite 301, Newark, Delaware 19711; Phone: 302-831-4283; Fax 302-831-1423; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.delawaresbdc.org
Executive Director, District of Columbia SBDC
Carl Brown is the Executive Director of the D.C. Small Business Development Center on the campus of Howard University. He has a wealth of small business development knowledge with over 25 years of experience in consulting, training, human resources, sales, marketing, procurement, contract compliance and contract administration in the public and private sectors. Additionally, he was a warranted contract officer and has many years of experience in government contracts, GSA schedules and GWAC’s, and socio-economic certification programs. He is a certified Sherpa Executive Coach.
Contact Information: Carl Brown, Executive Director, District of Columbia SBDC , Howard University, 2600 6th Street, N.W., Room 128, Washington, DC, 20059; Phone: 202-806-1550; Fax 202-806-1777; Email: email@example.com; Website: dcsbdc.org.
State Director, Arkansas SBTDC
Laura Fine took the helm as state director of the Arkansas SBTDC in January 2017. She joined the Arkansas SBTDC in 1989 and has held management roles since 1992. Previously, she was the associate state director, with responsibility for programmatic oversight of the ASBTDC network, contractual oversight of its regional offices, and grants management.
Fine holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Central Arkansas. She earned her master’s in Public Administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She previously worked for Levi Strauss & Company where she served as a trainer and special projects manager. Fine also previously served as a member of the Accreditation Committee of the national Association of Small Business Development Centers.
Contact Information: Laura Fine, State Director, Arkansas SBTDC, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2801 South University Avenue, Room 260, Little Rock, Arkansas, 72204; Phone: 501-683-7700; Fax: 501-683-7720; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: asbtdc.org.
Executive Director, America’s SBDC – Texas Gulf Coast Network
Steve is a U.S. Navy veteran and has over 40 years of business experience successfully creating, restructuring, leading and managing and improving wonderful client-focused organizations around the world. While having a strong corporate background, his history with small businesses also goes back a long way. Steve’s father started and owned a successful small business in Springfield, Illinois, where Steve worked every day that he was not in school, from the time he was 13 until he graduated with his Bachelor’s degree. Steve’s first full-time job after receiving his undergraduate degree in business administration was as a young business consultant, advising small businesses and preparing their SBA loan packages. And most recently, he led the Texas Gulf Coast SBDC and Houston small businesses through last year’s devastation from Hurricane Harvey, witnessing the communities that the SBDC serves and the great SBDC organization come together and help each other through the recovery.
Steve’s broad business experience is particularly useful for a board member, as he has worked in the non-profit, government, corporate and entrepreneurial segments. He has held executive level positions as Division President/CEO, Senior VP, COO, Group Vice-President and Area Vice-President, for Pepsi Cola in Spain, Mexico, Western Europe, South America, Canada and the US. He also served as President and General Manager of Dell Computers in Brazil prior to founding and operating a successful wine importing business for 10 years. He has worked in university and government organizations, worked as Executive Director for a non-profit organization in the public health sector, and served on the board of directors of a NYSE listed company. Steve holds a DrPH degree in Community Health Practice from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston, Texas; an MBA in Finance from the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado; an MPH degree in Community Health Practice from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston, Texas; and a BS in Business Administration from the Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois.
Contact Information: Steve Lawrence, Executive Director, America’s SBDC – Texas Gulf Coast Network, 2302 Fannin, Suite 200, Houston, Texas 77002; Phone: 713-752-8425; Fax: 713-756-1500; Email: email@example.com; Website: www.sbdcnetwork.uh.edu
Associate State Director, Georgia SBDC
Prior to joining the SBDC in 1992, Beth Melnik worked for a marketing firm based in Peachtree City and for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia in Atlanta. As the Associate State Director for Organizational Effectiveness and Marketing, Beth conducts needs assessments for Georgia’s small businesses, coordinates the unit’s strategic planning process, and manages the assessment of the UGA SBDC’s economic impact. She also oversees organizational marketing efforts and provides technical assistance to business and economic development research projects.
Throughout her tenure she has designed systems and processes to enhance client impact, organizational culture, and brand advocacy. In 2012 she was presented with the University of Georgia’s Walter Barnard Hill Award for distinguished achievement in public service and outreach. Beth is currently a member of the America’s SBDC Accreditation Committee and was elected vice-chair and chair of the committee (2011-2017). Because of her deep involvement with research and economic impact studies, she has also been assisting America’s SBDC with the national economic impact process over the past few years. Beth is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology (B.S. Management) and Georgia State University (M.B.A. Marketing).
Contact Information: Beth Melnik, Associate State Director, Georgia SBDC, 1180 East Broad Street, Athens, Georgia 30602; Phone: 706-542-6989; Fax 706-542-7935; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.georgiasbdc.org
State Director, America’s SBDC Iowa
Lisa Shimkat is the State Director of America’s SBDC Iowa. Lisa has adapted to the changes within the business environment to create a strong resource and learning center with the SBDC, which is more beneficial for entrepreneurs and creates a stronger ecosystem for small businesses within the state.
Lisa served on the Security and Exchange Commission’s National Advisory Committee for Small and Emerging Business, representing rural and small business interests. She has 12 years of experience within the SBDC network. Prior to joining the SBDC, her experience encompasses plant management in a privately held agricultural rebuilder, as well as experience running national accounts for a warehouse and logistics company. Lisa received an MBA from Iowa State University. She also holds several other certifications, including Certified Business Advisor and Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) certifications through the National Development Council.
Contact Information: Lisa Shimkat, State Director, America’s SBDC – Iowa, Iowa State University, College of Business, 1805 Collaboration Place, Suite 1332, Ames, IA 50010; Phone: 515-294-2037; Fax: 515-294-6522; Email: email@example.com; Website: www.iowasbdc.org