Officers & Board

Lisa Shimkat

Lisa Shimkat, Board Chair
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: Iowa State University, College of Business, 1805 Collaboration Place, Suite 1332, Ames, IA 50010; Phone: 515-294-2037; Fax: 515-294-6522; Email:; Website:

Byron Hicks, Vice Chair
North Carolina SBTDC

Byron Hicks is the State Director of the North Carolina Small Business & Technology Development Center. He joined the program in 2011 as a General Business Counselor, continuing as Regional Center Director and then Deputy State Director prior to becoming State Director in January 2021. He is the chair of the UNC System’s Economic Transformation Council and is on the Board of the NCWorks Commission.

Byron has over 30 years of experience in business including with major regional banks, management of a family business, and purchasing and managing a multimillion dollar grading and utility contractor. In addition to a degree in business
administration with a minor in economics, he holds several certifications and awards including Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP), General Contractor’s license, 2015 NC SBTDC State Star and 2019 SBA Collaborative & Partnership Award.

Contact Information: North Carolina State University, 5 W. Hargett St., Suite 600, Raleigh, NC 27601; Phone: 919-600-5920; Fax: 919-715-7777; Email:; Website:

Ted Gutierrez

Ted Gutierrez, Treasurer
State Director, Missouri SBDC

Ted Gutierrez is the State Director of the Missouri SBDC network. His experience includes two years as State Director of the Virgin Islands SBDC, as well as service in the St. Louis SBTDC; the Southern Illinois University (SIU) SBDC in Carbondale, Illinois; the SIU Office of Economic and Regional Development; Managing Director of a public mass transit district; and as a banker (retail, mortgage origination, commercial lender, area bank manager) in San Diego and Southern Illinois. Ted has also served on several boards throughout his career.
Ted holds an MBA from the University of Redlands in San Diego, California, and a B.Sc. from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Contact Information: 540 Hitt St. Room 225, Columbia MO, 65201; Phone 573-882-9869; Email:; Website:

Beth Melnik

Beth Melnik, Secretary
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: Georgia SBDC, 1180 East Broad Street, Athens, Georgia 30602; Phone: 706-542-6989; Fax 706-542-7935; email:; Website:

Elizabeth Gray
State Director, New Hampshire SBDC

Liz Gray assumed the role of State Director at the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center (NH SBDC) in July 2018. NH SBDC is a vital resource for small businesses across New Hampshire, delivering personalized and confidential advising services to over 3,000 businesses in approximately 200 communities annually. Since its inception in 1984, NH SBDC has played a pivotal role in advising and training over 110,000 entrepreneurs in the state, leading to the establishment of more than 2,250 businesses. Liz oversees a dedicated team of 18 professionals who collaborate with government agencies, business partners, and clients to support New Hampshire’s business community. NH SBDC is an outreach program of the University of New Hampshire’s Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics, aligning with the university’s mission to bolster the state’s economic landscape.

Before her tenure at NH SBDC, Liz Gray served as the director of entrepreneurship at the N.H. Business Finance Authority, where she initiated the Live Free and Start program, aiming to create a more conducive environment for innovative companies to thrive in New Hampshire. She has held key roles in economic development, working as the business services manager at the N.H. Department of Resources and Economic Development. Her extensive experience in New Hampshire’s political sphere includes over a decade of service in various capacities within the offices of governors Shaheen, Lynch, and Hassan, as well as serving as a legislative aide in the N.H. State Senate. Liz actively contributes to her community by serving on the UNH Manchester Advisory Board, the boards of directors of the UNH Alumni Association, and the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). Furthermore, she plays a significant role in the America’s SBDC (ASBDC) Legislative and Leadership Committees and co-chairs the UNH Peter T. Paul College’s Business in Practice Advisory Board. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Conservation and International Affairs from the University of New Hampshire.

Contact Information: UNH Peter T. Paul College of Business & Economics 10 Garrison Avenue, Suite Suite 201, Room #265. Durham, NH 03824. email: Phone: 603-862-2200

Michele Hockersmith, PhD
State Director, Oklahoma SBDC

Michele Hockersmith has held the position of State Director for the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center network since 2018, after serving as Assistant State Director for the Oklahoma SBDC. During her tenure as Assistant State Director, she fostered numerous partnerships and collaborations across the state to support the growth of Oklahoma’s economy through small businesses. Michele’s prior experience includes five years in the Office of the President at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where she played a key role in strategic partnerships, policy research, and university outreach programs. With 17 years of experience in education, Michele also served as a counselor and later as Director in the U.S. Department of Education TRIO grant programs, focusing on underserved populations.

Michele is a highly engaged leader, having graduated from Leadership Oklahoma and actively participating in various roles within the organization, including serving on the Executive Board, Board of Directors, and numerous committees. She has also contributed significantly to the Oklahoma Academy and has received multiple accolades for her impactful work, including Journal Record’s Woman of the Year nominations, recognition as one of Oklahoma’s Women Making a Difference, and the Leadership Oklahoma Distinguished Leadership Award in 2017. Michele’s commitment extends to the national level, where she is part of the Leadership Development Committee for America’s SBDC and was elected to serve on the National America’s SBDC Board in 2023. Her diverse involvement includes roles on boards, civic organizations, and her dedication to education and community service. Michele holds degrees in sociology and counseling psychology from Southeastern Oklahoma State University, along with a Ph.D. in history from Swansea University in Wales, where she completed her dissertation on the modern history of the economic prosperity of the Chickasaw Nation and the benefits of social capital in 2023.

Contact information: Southeastern Oklahoma State University, 301 West University. Durant, OK 74701. email:
Phone: 580.745.3326 Website:

Mark Gregory

Mark Gregory
State Director, Oregon SBDC

Mark Gregory is the State Director of the Oregon SBDC. His past experience as a bank manager provides him with unique perspectives on serving small businesses. He previously owned a restaurant chain for eight years and successfully exited. Mark’s 23 years of SBDC experience as a business adviser, center director, associate state director, and most recently for six years as State Director in Oregon, has enabled him to create world-class services assisting small businesses. Mark supports SBDC efforts both statewide and nationally via the Oregon legislature, Congress, host colleges, and numerous public and private partners. Mark’s direct efforts in Oregon have led to over 10 million dollars in new state funding for the Oregon SBDC and $650,000 in new private foundation funding toward supporting substantial client outcomes.

Mark holds an MBA from the University of Alaska and a B.A. from Southern Oregon University, in addition to an Economic Development Finance Certification from the National Development Council. Mark is a graduate of the Pacific Program and engages a number of professional development opportunities each year.

Contact Information: Oregon SBDC, 1445 Willamette Street, Suite 5; Phone: 541-463-5250; Fax: 541 345-6006; email:; Website:

Mike Bowman

Mike Bowman
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: Delaware SBDC , 1 Innovation Way, Suite 301, Newark, Delaware 19711; Phone: 302-831-4283; Fax 302-831-1423; email:; Website:

Kristin Johnson
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: Northern California Regional SBDC, 1 Harpst Street, House 71, Arcata, California 95521; Phone: 707-826-3919; Fax: 707-826-3912; email:; Website: 

Steve Lawrence

Steve Lawrence
Associate Dean/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: Texas Gulf Coast Network. 1455 West Loop South, Houston, TX 77027.  Phone: 713-752-8425  email: Website: www.sbdcnetwork.uh.ed

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: 8990 Burke Lake Road, 2nd Floor, Burke, VA 22015; Phone: 703-764-9850; Fax: 703-764-1234; email:; Website: