State Stars 2023

State Stars 2023

State Stars 2023

State Stars 2023

State Stars 2023

State Stars 2023

State Stars 2023

State Stars 2023

State Stars 2023

The 2023 State Stars, who were chosen by their SBDC networks, are among the best of the best — those who demonstrate exemplary performance, make significant contributions to their networks, and are deeply committed to the success of America’s small businesses. 


Juliana Bolivar

Alabama SBDC Network
Juliana has established the Alabama SBDC at Troy University as the go-to resource for entrepreneurs in Alabama’s Wiregrass region, helped to launch a Hispanic outreach initiative, and received a grant to start a Rural Outreach Food Venture program.


Carlos Machuca

Alaska SBDC
Carlos has been a fantastic Center Director for the network. He has also driven us to integrate AI into our work processes and is leading our business development in more diverse communities.


Dr. Shanette Catan-Bravo, DBA

American Samoa SBDC Network
Shanette has more more responsibility this year. Two of our Business Counselors left last year to pursue other opportunities but Shanette remains and hasn’t skipped a beat even with the additional workload. This year she also completed her Doctorate studies. She is a favorite of the local business community.


Paula Wittekind

Arizona SBDC Network
Paula Wittekind was instrumental in the development and creation of the Clean Data Initiative; and comprehensive training programs which were foundational for improved working conditions and client reporting for the AZSBDC Network. Paula creates programs and opportunities that have lasting effects and support the needs of the communities we serve.


Brandon Horvath

Arkansas SBTDC
“Under Brandon’s leadership, our consulting team helped small businesses access $102 million in capital in 2022, a new record for the Arkansas SBTDC network. His expertise and dedication have earned Brandon the trust and respect of both colleagues and clients alike.” – State Director Laura Fine


Jessica Torres

Central CA SBDC
Jessica joined the Lead Center as our AA in late 2019 and quickly excelled based on her warm personality and commitment to helping clients. She was promoted in 2022 to FSA and continued excel by learning a new University accounting system and completing our 2022 SBA fiscal review without findings!


Karie Armstrong

Los Angeles Regional SBDC Network

Karie possesses exceptional business knowledge and hands-on experience; an outstanding level of emotional intelligence; tremendous teaching skills – both as a workshop instructor and as a one-on-one advisor. She is enegetic and always a team player.


Tim Murrill

Northern California Regional SBDC

Tim is always ready to lend a hand to his fellow Center Directors and has been very supportive of new Center Directors this past year. He also led the region in securing outside money for the SBDC from Solano County. Thank you Tim!


Karla Gonzalez

Orange County Inland Empire SBDC Network

Karla has made a huge impact with the network in developing a new Center for Contracting. This new center has led to huge impact and results for small business owners who are utilizing federal, state, local and corporate procurement opportunities to grow their business.


Yvonne Gao

San Diego & Imperial SBDC Network

Yvonne was a champion helping many businesses in both English and her native Mandarin in obtaining Covid grants. She has now grown to be a strong generalist and is developing in assisting companies with government contracting. Yvonne’s constant work ethic, customer service, and overall professionalism always stand out.


China Califf

Colorado SBDC

Karla has made a huge impact with the network in developing a new Center for Contracting. This new center has led to huge impact and results for small business owners who are utilizing federal, state, local and corporate procurement opportunities to grow their business.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)

Mercilynn Kaneshi Palec


Mercilynn has channeled her entrepreneurial abilities as a private business owner for 10-plus years to become an integral part of CNMI SBDCN’s preliminary phase. Her impeccable networking skills and drive have catapulted the program to exceed forecast expectations and create a prominent economic development presence in our community.


Michelle Augustyn

Connecticut SBDC

Michelle has consistently demonstrated outstanding dedication, exceptional leadership, and unwavering commitment to our profession. Her colleagues note her effort to create and share valuable resources for clients and advisors to use. she creates. Recognizing the power of collaboration and the importance of supporting fellow advisors, Michelle


Lissette Cabrera-Galloza

Delaware SBDC

Lissette (Li) is dedicated and hardworking. She goes above and beyond to help clients, especially through her bi-lingual capacity and connections with the Hispanic community. In one month alone, she helped 15+ clients submit applications to a state grant program. She has grown exponentially since she started at the SBDC.

District of Columbia

LaToya Stephens

District of Columbia SBDC

LaToya has been a welcomed addition to the team. She works with each and every contract counselor on contract and payment issues. She has stepped in to assist other departments within the School of Business to execute their contracts and payments. She has worked beyond the 40 hours per week.


Elizabeth Goldbach

Florida SBDC Network

Elizabeth was a trailblazer in the previous year. She surpassed all of her impact goals and took lead during FGCU’s Hurricane Ian impact. The region only had two employees with Business Recovery Center experience. Elizabeth was such a quick learner that she ended up being a mentor to other consultants.


Daniel McCoy

University of Georgia SBDC

Daniel McCoy, senior business consultant at University of Georgia SBDC at Kennesaw State University, was selected based on outstanding accomplishments during the year, including work with the business community, program development, research, publications, presentations, professional development activities, involvement in business-related organizations / projects / programs, and consulting and continuing education activities. 


Marty Kennedy

Hawai'i SBDC Network

Marty is an enthusiastic business advisor who offers expertise and encouragement to all of her SBDC clients. Marty goes above and beyond to get them the information they need, be it by research or reaching out to her network.


Kim Sherman-Labrum

Idaho SBDC

Kim is consistent, hard-working, volunteers to help and teach others. She exceeds the needs of both her clients and fellow co-workers of the Idaho SBDC. Kim has taken on greater responsibilities each year, and created and taught classes and implemented programs that have earned her a stellar reputation. 


Arla Murphy

Illinois SBDC

Arla was nominated and awarded the Illinois SBDC State Star award for showing exemplary leadership in operational excellence, collaboration and partnership building, productivity and impact, and network promotion. Arla is a resource for existing and new members of the network. Her selflessness demonstrates her commitment and dedication to the program.


Julia Plumb

Indiana SBDC

Julia consistently goes above and beyond to help the small businesses in her region. Not only is she an asset to Indiana’s small business community, but is also seen as a mentor to her colleagues. She applies her knowledge, dedication, and entrepreneurial spirit to everything she does.


Todd Rausch

America's SBDC Iowa

Todd was selected because of his dedication to his clients and to the network. He is always available to mentor his colleagues and takes pride in doing the job well and beyond what his clients expect.


Nadia Arbelo

Kansas SBDC

Nadia was selected by her peers for her selfless, tireless, and passionate approach to her work on behalf of Kansas small businesses. The result has been dramatic in terms of new business starts and new capital infusion for those companies she serves in a 12 county region of NE Kansas.


Aaron Harned

Kentucky SBDC

The Kentucky SBDC voted Aaron Harned as its 2023 State Star because he epitomizes what it means to be a valuable, hardworking Business Coach. Aaron revitalized a Center that had been sitting stagnant by networking with local leaders, engaging with the community, and coaching clients to positive, results-driven change.


Dianne F. Sclafani

Louisiana SBDC

During recent disasters, Dianne worked with 620 hardest-hit businesses, with a majority being food businesses. She achieved $20 million in capitalization the last three years and is on target for $9 Million in 2023. Dianne represents LSBDC with Excellence by teaching her clients to be resilient in our ever-changing economy.


Anne Lancaster

Maine SBDC

Anne is known to both clients and colleagues for her ability to listen, her patience, and her thoughtful and collaborative spirit. As a certified Clifton Strengths coach, Anne is helping the Maine SBDC team to understand one another, work better together, and create a more successful Maine SBDC network.


Anastasiia Kucher

Maryland SBDC

We chose Anastasiia because

    1. She is dedicated to providing us with accurate and relative data to help us make network decisions;
    2. She is responsive and willing to assist anyone in the network with data entry or research, and
    3. She is such a joy to work with.


Northeast Regional Office

Massachusetts SBDC

The MSBDC Northeast Regional Office exceeded all performance expectations working closely as a team while engaging and leveraging partner resources throughout its region. Partners including the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce, UMass Lowell Innovation Hub, and multiple financial institutions provided tremendous, positive feedback about the performance and responsiveness of staff.


Julie Oldham

Michigan SBDC

Julie is a treasure to Michigan SBDC. She is an Export expert and a master at all aspects of financial analysis, always leading a client down a very truthful path to help them overcome challenges. She is a ready resource undeterred by the complexity of challenges presented to her.


Pam Thomsen

Minnesota SBDC

Throughout her 30-plus years of service with the North Central SBDC, Pam Thomsen has had incredible impact on our regional economy. Pam is a master accountant and is not afraid to take on big projects and complicated clients. Her dedication to the SBDC is evident in her hours of service.


April Williams

Mississippi SBDC

April Williams, a retired U.S. Navy veteran and seasoned entrepreneur, joined Mississippi SBDC in 2016. With certifications in leadership, contract management, and internet marketing, she’s a recognized entrepreneur and a graduate of various veteran entrepreneurship programs. Her teamwork and collaboration encompass all the qualities of State Star. She now serves as the Mississippi SBDC Training Specialist, administering the delivery of entrepreneurship education and training throughout Mississippi.


Anastasia Tiedemann

Missouri SBTDC

Anastasia embodies our values of being people focused, collaborative, and innovative. According to our Network, she is always willing to collaborate and is a valuable team member that supports regional and statewide initiatives. She always has a positive attitude, a smile on her face and not afraid of new challenges.


Kayla Vokral

Montana SBDC

Kayla created and hosted four large events and was instrumental in developing “The Vault at 201 N Broadway” podcast. She surpassed our expectations, as well as the expectations of her clients. Entrepreneurs thrive under her consulting; this is well-deserved recognition.


Colleen Loges

Nebraska SBDC Network

Colleen, a vital member of the Nebraska SBDC, demonstrates exemplary proficiency in Neoserra Management, EDMIS Upload, invoice processing, logistics, and client-consultant connections. Her exceptional attitude and commitment significantly impact the SBDC program every day. Colleen’s commitment to provide assistance internally and externally is truly commendable. Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition!


Brian Bonnenfant

Nevada SBDC

Brian has worked for the Nevada SBDC for more than 30 years and provides important niche program services for small businesses in Nevada. These services include analyzing and presenting economic insight and outlooks, providing feasibility assessments, and presenting economic information to help governments and businesses make better decisions.

New Hampshire

Andrea O'Brien

New Hampshire SBDC

Andrea O’Brien has been a business advisor with NHSBDC for over 25 years, also leading the Business Sustainability Program. In 2021 she became our Community Navigator Lead Advisor. With grace and success, she worked tirelessly helping BIPOC and New American clients start and build businesses, always putting the client first.

New Jersey

Rafael Mata

New Jersey SBDC

Rafael is an innovator. He is creative, action oriented and a positive force in our network. He has created new programs, services and excelled in his expertise on certification/procurement efforts that supports the entire state. He is an amazing team player and always willing to step up!

New Mexico

Stuart Graw

New Mexico SBDC Network

Stuart superbly manages the myriad of accounting and other financial transactions for the numerous NMSBDC Programs we receive from Federal and state government and Congressional sources. His continued efforts to flawlessly oversee our 18 SBDC service centers and special programs has resulted in effective service delivery to NM small businesses.

New York

Jacqueline Franco

New York SBDC

Jacqueline improves Hispanic small business economic mobility across industry sectors. She advises and conducts workshops in Spanish to help Hispanic entrepreneurs fully comprehend what they need to do. She oversees bilingual newsletters and en español portion of her center’s website. Jacqueline has won numerous awards for her efforts.

North Carolina

Michael Moore

North Carolina SBTDC

In addition to leading his team to exceed regional goals, Michael has designed and implemented innovative programs. These include client-facing programs like the Business Model Accelerator, and team development programs including Top Talent. He often takes on additional special projects such as business succession, professional development, and key partner coordination.

North Dakota

Laura Weber

North Dakota SBDC

Laura is wonderfully passionate about her clients and their success. She is always willing to bat for “the little guys.” Her heart lies with the smallest and most rural clients, she is the loudest cheerleader for their success. Without a doubt, she is a champion advocate for the ND SBDC!


Karla C. Boldery


Karla’s high-profile achievement as Founder and Leader of the “Latina Entrepreneur Academy” (LEA) stands alone as a testament to why she is deserving of this award. Since 2017, Karla has inspired, educated, and certified almost 200 women (and men) in seven (7) cohort programs.


Claudia Pannell

Oklahoma SBDC Network

Claudia Pannell serves as a mentor to the advising team in Oklahoma, contributes innovative thought to new processes for the network, and leads by example. Claudia understands the importance of establishing an ongoing relationship with her clients and does everything possible to see that they are successful.


Roger Wong

Oregon SBDC Network

After more than 40 years working in business, Roger Wong has selflessly dedicated the last decade of his life to helping the small business community of Lane County through business coaching and advising, overseeing training, orientation, and ongoing support for all the Lane SBDC business advisers.

Pacific Islands

Ketsen F. Haregaichig

Pacific Islands SBDC Network

Despite continued covid border closure during 2022 in Chuuk State resulting in limited business activity, Ketsen worked with partners such as Chuuk Women’s Council, Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Authority to reach new clients. She completed 12 trainings with 141 attendees and was able to secure a $38k loan.


Gretchen Kukuchka

Pennsylvania SBDC

Gretchen strives for excellence in everything she does. She works hard to understand the unique needs of her Northern Tier clients and goes above and beyond to serve them. Gretchen is a quiet leader but is very well-regarded by her clients, our partners, legislators, and local leaders.

Puerto Rico

Ginette Fraticelli

Puerto Rico SBTDC

Ginette Fraticelli is a business counselor committed to exceeding goals and helping the business class. Her greatest achievement has been that she is selected as a Star Performer of our network for the second consecutive year for her high performance, customer service and for modeling our values.

Rhode Island

Yashwant Meghare

Rhode Island SBDC

Yash has met every challenge and made the most of each opportunity that has come his way in the one short year that he has been Providence Center Director. Our clients and partners appreciate his dedication, intelligence, and caring manner, and we are very proud of him!

South Carolina

John Gethers

South Carolina SBDC

John Gethers joined the SC SBDC during COVID, helping businesses obtain federal/state/local funding they desperately needed. Although he was new to the network, he hit the ground running using his finance/banking experience to help clients obtain almost $5.5 million in capital. His stellar performance led to promotion to Region Director.

South Dakota

Mark Retersdorf

South Dakota SBDC

Mark has been an exemplary performer within our already strong network. Over the past twelve months he has led our team in Business Starts and total Clients with very solid Capital numbers. Clients find Mark relatable and he has brought new insights to the network since joining our team!


Gregg Bostick

Tennessee SBDC

Gregg was recently selected as the Director of the TSBDC at Pellissippi State Community College following his time as a CARES Act consultant and Small Business Specialist. During his tenure, he has assisted over 30 businesses launch and helped businesses access more than $49 million in funding. In 2022 he led the TSBDC network in business starts, number of loans, and capital formation.


Amy Reid

America's SBDC - Texas Gulf Coast SBDC Network

Amy Reid has excelled in her 2022 performance reaching over $6 M in capital, creating 665 jobs, and starting 28 businesses. She has outperformed on her KPI’s well over 150% of the goals. Amy runs an efficient center while performing mentorship to multiple centers and has top customer service.


Lori Logan

North Texas SBDC

Lori Logan is State Star for her exceptional leadership, collaboration, and performance on behalf of her community, stakeholders, and clients. Her servant leadership is inspirational as she builds partnerships, demonstrates integrity, and embodies accountability to increase performance. She is an authentic leader with the innate ability to build trust.


Gina Woodard

Northwest Texas SBDC

Gina began as SBDC Program Coordinator in 2009. She quickly moved to consultant and has now served as Center Director for almost 9 years. She has won numerous awards, including ones for her work with businesses during COVID. She had developed programs for helping women entrepreneurs in West Texas.


Arturo Gonzalez

Texas South-West SBDC Network

Arturo earned the honor of State Star after a rigorous competition between all the advisors in the network. Metrics include advancement within our certification program, client-attributed impact, and service to the SBDC program.


Christine Hanks

Utah SBDC Network

Christine Hanks has been selected as the 2023 Utah SBDC State Star for her unending enthusiasm, her attention to detail, and her tremendous success in providing training and networking opportunities for the women-owned businesses throughout Utah.


Heather M. Gonyaw

Vermont SBDC

Problem solver, dedicated, resourceful, professional, collaborative, knowledgeable, attention to detail. Instrumental in the successful implementation of the Community Navigator program. An early champion of our DEI professional development journey. Helped the organization through transitions with ease. Leadership role in two large conferences as they returned to in-person.

Virgin Islands

J'Mari Clarke

Virgin Islands SBDC

J’Mari quickly adapted to the work environment, becoming proficient in customer service, front desk management and administrative support to the entire staff. He continuously builds upon his communication, adaptability and time management skills and displays stamina for teamwork.


Amanda Forrester

Virginia SBDC

Amanda’s passion, drive, dedication, and innovation impact small business owners, colleagues, and partners in her service area and Network.

She led the design/implementation of the Network’s communication platform as well as created informal groups to support the Network on training and fundraising to encourage collaboration, idea sharing, and best practices.

Washington State

Taryn Hornby

Washington SBDC

Taryn Hornby is the network’s go-to expert on loan acquisitions. She provides exceptional assistance to SBDC clients and is always willing to collaborate with colleagues. Taryn owned her own businesses for 18 years and was in banking/financial services for 15 years. She enjoys using that experience to help clients succeed.

West Virginia

Donna Schramm

West Virginia SBDC

Donna Schramm’s exemplary performance and commitment to the small businesses of WV. Donna provides her clients with expert business coaching that resulted in increased access to capital, job creation, and increased efficiencies. She continues to be an invaluable resource not only to her clients but to the entire WV SBDC.


David Stauffacher

Wisconsin SBDC Network

David is eager to help others across the state and often cracks a dad joke to keep meetings fun! His willingness to try new methods for financial projections has had many positive results for his small business clients. We love that David goes the extra mile to help others!


Patricia (P.J.) Burns

Wyoming SBDC Network

P.J. enthusiastically connects with her clients and community. Her devotion to clients is clear; she embodies our mission and helps clients throughout the business cycle. She is there for them through triumphs and challenges. The diversity of clients P.J. assists demonstrates how she is a key member of her region.