Our business consultants have a wealth of knowledge and diverse backgrounds to provide excellent consulting and business advice. Please click on a consultant’s name below to read his or her bio and expertise.
Amber was born in Colorado Springs and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. At 19, she left Colorado to explore America with her husband Mark. After road tripping for months and stints of living in California & Arizona, they made their way back to Durango. Their 2 beautiful children Isabella and Gabriel were both born at the old Mercy Hospital. They bought a house in Hermosa in 2013 and can’t imagine calling any other place home.
Amber has been providing bookkeeping & payroll services to Durango businesses for over 15 years. She is also the founder of Luminous Sojourns & New Hat Baking, and was the former Operations Coordinator at the La Plata County Economic Development Alliance.
Amber believes fostering the success of local independent businesses is the solution to today’s economic struggles in America. She joined the Board of Directors at Local First in May 2016 to aid in the development of that vision here in Durango. She enjoys gardening, singing, dancing, drumming, and always welcomes a good jam session or dart night with her friends.
Anthony Edwards, “enjoys assisting businesses in moving to the next level.” Edwards helps new and existing businesses prepare for and explore financial options that are available from traditional and non-traditional funding sources.
He has a B.S. in Business and Technology from Capella University, a Master’s in Water Resources and a J.D. from the University of New Mexico.
Edwards is the co-founder of MainStreetCrowd.com a crowd funding platform started in Colorado “to help entrepreneurs see their dreams become reality by assisting with capital endeavors.”
He has worked with a wide variety of businesses on the Western Slope, including the winter ski industry and transportation carriers. From 1999-2005, he worked jointly with San Juan Development and Region 9 Economic Development District of Southwest Colorado.
An experienced entrepreneur, “my passion is to help businesses grow and to assist them in meeting their goals.” Edwards advises new and existing businesses in identifying and obtaining affordable capital financing sources, and with the general legalities involved in doing business.
Edwards, his wife Jane and their two children live in Silverton.
Anthony Russo established TradeHub International in 2005 as a hybrid service and trading company that offers education and training, market research and penetration strategies or door to-door import/export services to companies in over 60 counties regardless of their size or industry. Russo has combined his years of experience, vast global network and proven process to mitigate risk and cut costs for companies looking to enter the global market place. As President of THI, Russo has worked with government agencies, universities, chambers, industry associations and World Trade Centers across the globe. Russo is a graduate of Charleston Southern University with a BA in Marketing and MBA in Business Administration.
Bert is a retail marketing expert and has personally started 4 businesses over the last 25 years in the retail, advertising, travel, and training sectors. He spent the last 10 years in Asia in the retail tech space, helping brands and retailers adopt strategies and implement in-store innovation to engage customers and drive revenues.
My practice focuses primarily on business legal services and related litigation. I graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology and worked as an automotive engineer at General Motors prior to law school. Following my engineering career I attended Seattle University School of Law and worked at a number of law firms in Seattle before opening a solo practice. My wife, Kristina Fox, and I created Fox Law Group, LLC in 2007 in Crested Butte, CO, and we are now happy to call Durango our home.
For the past 16 years, I have litigated a variety of lawsuits in state and federal courts including disputes related to contracts, patents and trademarks, licenses, non-compete clauses, employee terminations, and products liability. Litigation experience has given me a practical approach to legal issues that affect businesses on a daily basis, and it has help me hone agreements and advise companies in a manner that avoids the issues that commonly lead to litigation. In addition, as a registered patent attorney, I help clients acquire value and protection of rights in their inventions and products as well as properly license those rights. Our goal is to create a complete, valuable, and cost effective strategy for success.
Licensed to practice law in Colorado, representative clients include Wilson Sporting Goods, Atomic Ski, Salomon North America, Suunto, Precor Incorporated, and Mavic.
For more information, please visit www.foxgroupllc.com.
Our newest advisor is off to a quick start. Carl Malmberg moved to Durango, offered his services at the SBDC office in July and has already consulted with close to a dozen clients.
Malmberg and his wife, Tara, lived in Steamboat Springs part-time for over 10 years, while also maintaining a residence in the Houston and Dallas area. In 2013, he participated in the Ride The Rockies bike ride and discovered Durango which struck him as “a pretty nice town. It’s bigger than Steamboat with access to the snow, where-as Steamboat is in the snow.”
Malmberg brings vast hands-on experience in all aspects of running businesses from small operations to large corporations. He explains, “Businesses are basically the same. They all have customers, financials, marketing, operations, and human resources.” He feels the knowledge is transferable and “I’ve seen it done correctly and I’ve seen it done wrong.”
In 2009, he retired from the waste industry. He and a team started a medical, surgical and hazardous waste disposal company, based in Houston. They had 15 offices from New York to Los Angeles. The other company with 90% market- share “was getting arrogant and not providing good customer service. We saw an opportunity in a highly regulated industry.”
At Southern Illinois University, he earned a Bachelor’s in Thermal and Environmental Engineering and a Master’s in Mechanical Engineering with an emphasis on Energy Processes. This provided the expertise he needed as a Management Consultant for a company dealing with containerized liquid chemicals from tanker cars into 55 gallon drums.
Prior to that, he contributed his expertise to American Residential Services in Houston. They offered plumbing, electrical, and other home and appliance repairs. He ran the operations overseeing, “a couple hundred trucks and a warehouse full of parts and 7 appliance stores for white goods.”
Through-out his diverse career, Malmberg explains, “I have been involved in over 100 acquisitions and a couple divestitures.”
“Advising is extremely enjoyable. It is my way to give back to the community and to also become a part of the community.” He does this so he can, “help make people’s dreams a reality.” Half his clients want to start businesses and the other half are already in business. He admits to spending lots of time behind the scenes doing research to help those who seek out his advice.
“In between, I do a lot of ‘i-n-g, ing – “Fishing, hiking, camping, biking. If you see Carl around town or around campus, please say Hi and welcome him.
A management consultant specializing in sustainability and sustainable development, Cindy Dvergsten helps clients acquire decision-making skills that allow them to be socially, economically, and environmentally sound.
Dvergsten started her training and development company Whole New Concepts, LLC in 1996.
“My specialty is agriculture, so I teach land planning, grazing planning, and all the things that go along with agriculture. Most of my clients are family-based farming operations,” said Cindy.
Dvergsten works with ranches all across the U.S. and abroad, most of which are looking to develop products, and some of which are just getting into farming for the first time.
“I coach them on defining this or that enterprise,” Cindy says. “Some want to start big but get the cart before the horse, so we go through enterprise by enterprise and analyze which ones can be profitable and fit in with the big picture.”
As the interest in agriculture bounces back, Dvergsten is excited about the new economic possibilities that come with the resurgence.
“Twenty years ago if you mentioned words like ‘sustainability’ and ‘holistic,’ people just looked at you,” Cindy recalls. “Now the concepts are more accepted but people still don’t know the how-to’s. And more people want to get into agriculture and also invest in it, so there are some new opportunities to capitalize on agriculture,” Cindy adds. “There’re good possibilities for entrepreneurs who want to be processors, packers, distributors, marketers, even retailers.”
Dvergsten cites Navajo trail sheep as an enterprise that will be in demand to fill a worldwide shortage in lamb and supply emerging industries like carpet wool.
But more than just wanting to see land used in an enterprising and sustainable way, Cindy is a natural champion of people. “I love coaching and moving people forward, and at this point in my life I get to bring all my experiences and skills into the mix, which is enhancing my ability to help.”
Donna Graves loves research and details. Her special niche as an advisor is to provide specific information for businesses based on their target market. She does “Data Mining.”
Donna searches a variety of data bases to produce detailed reports for mostly start-up businesses. For example, “If an SBDC client were planning to open a fitness studio, targeting a specific demographic, I would search for age criteria, income levels, individuals who have expressed an interest in fitness or have purchased fitness equipment or subscribed to a fitness magazine in their geographic area. This would help them decide if there were enough potential clients to make the business viable,” she explains.
Using data sets that the SBDC subscribes to on an annual basis, Graves can forecast potential niche’s within a market area. This information allows her to determine who competitors are, where they are and how many there are. This data is invaluable for start-up companies and can save them from doing months of research themselves or investing in or starting a business that does not have the client base to succeed.
Using the demographic data she can create reports on customer types, income, gender, ethnicity, age and other quantifiable criteria. She helps business owners refine who they are looking for as potential customers and creates reports based on the demographic information. “This information is essential for accurate decision making.”
Since the Durango area is relatively small, businesses need to supply goods and services locally. Graves could help a company look at neighborhoods that might have the demographic they are looking for and help them plan delivery routes, for example.
She also does economic impact studies for the SBDC and Region 9 Economic Development District. If a new manufacturing company wanted to come to Durango, she could quantify how they would impact the community as far as necessary supporting jobs and estimate the trickle-down effects in other areas.
As a former archaeologist, she comes by the love of research and details naturally. She received a Masters degree in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University and honed her research skills as a field archaeologist and projects manager. After ten years in the field, Graves got tired of moving around to various excavation sites and parlayed her knowledge and skill into a new career.
Donna loves her job because, “I’m always researching something different. Every client has unique needs and I’m constantly learning about new businesses and industries.”
Starting Your Business (Marketing)
Durango Chamber of Commerce executive director Jack Llewellyn has lots of marketing tricks up his sleeve from many years’ experience in radio/TV sales and corporate fundraising.
A Fort Lewis College graduate in English and Communications, Llewellyn started his career as a radio DJ and segued into sales. Jack’s previous posts include sales manager and station manager at Kiss Radio (now Kiss Country), general sales manager at Clear Channel, and corporate fundraiser for FLC Athletics.
“I’ve seen success because of my ability to come up with advertising campaigns that stand out from the clutter, and also from knowing how to coordinate print, radio, TV and cable instead of just shot-gunning the approach out there.”
Llewellyn can help clients write scripts for radio or TV ads and put together a comprehensive campaign. “My focus is more on the creative side,” explains Jack. “I enjoy brainstorming and coming up with fun, innovative ideas. There is a lot to be said for some of the ways you can do it.”
Llewellyn can look at clients’ needs and help come up with a cost-effective media-buying strategy. As Chamber director for four years now, he is also finely tuned into the local business community
“We [the Chamber and the SBDC] try to connect everyone with the right people,” he says. “The Chamber does a lot of member-to-member events. We have about 800 members. There are so many offerings under our umbrella that continue to expand and evolve.”
Jack has also been through various trainings for Ref USA, a national data mining program that can be a guide for marketing, business sector indicators, competition analysis, and revenue projections.
The Durango Chamber, the SBDC, Region 9 EDD and the La Plata Alliance partner to offer Ref USA as a resource for local businesses.
Starting Your Nonprofit
Janice Moen has over thirty years of accounting experience, twenty-two years of that time she was the Chief Financial Officer or Chief Executive Officer of nonprofit agencies. Janice received a BBA and a Master in Accounting from the University of New Mexico. She has been a licensed CPA since 2001. Janice has worked with nonprofit organizations of all sizes, including as the CFO of a nonprofit organization with $25 million in revenue and 700 employees. She has extensive experience in preparing the IRS Form 990 and presented for seven years on the IRS Form 990 and other related nonprofit topics. Janice was faculty at the University of New Mexico Anderson’s School of Business for six years. During that time she developed a graduate level class on nonprofit accounting and the IRS Form 990. She also taught financial accounting and auditing. Janice founded and was the CEO of a NM nonprofit CPA firm focused solely on providing 501(c)(3) organizations CFO and bookkeeping services.
In addition to 20 years’ experience in management and consulting, Jasper Welch has been involved in the Durango business community in various capacities.
Welch owned and operated Basin Reproduction & Printing for seven years, headed the Durango Chamber of Commerce for four years, and served on the Durango City Council for eight. Since 1999 Welch has directed the business incubator at San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico. He also served on advisory boards for local emerging companies like StoneAge Waterblast Tools and FastTrack Communications.
Currently, Jasper is serving on the advisory board for Durango Space, a coworking facility where freelance professionals or mobile workers can utilize office space and other resources; Welch launched Durango Space with business partner Nancy Wharton in February of 2011.
The co-mentoring among that occurs in Durango Space will only add to what Welch has learned from other entrepreneurs over years of advising. “I’ve learned as much from the entrepreneurs I’ve advised as they’ve learned from me, then I take that part of the mix and pump it back in. That cross-pollination helps me do a better job for them.”
Although he just recently joined the Business Advisors Network, Jasper has been involved with the Southwest Colorado SBDC since the 1990s, as a Next Level instructor (now called Leading Edge Entrepreneurial Training) and as a guest speaker for the Marketing for Smarties series. Welch’s area of expertise in business advising covers a broad spectrum. “I am more of a generalist with expertise on a broad range of fields,” explains Jasper. “I’ve focused on start-ups, emerging companies, and have done a lot with negotiation in family- and co-owned businesses, too.
“A lot of times people just need someone who can walk them through issues – when to sell, or management team or growth issues. It can be hard to self-manage your company without outside advice – you just can’t see everything.”
Jeff Weinmeister joins the SBDC with a significant amount of experience in Project Management, Information Technology, Operations, Business Process, Marketing, Business Development, Event Management and Training.
Jeff’s organization experience includes The Walt Disney Company, Salt Lake Organizing Committee of the Olympic Winter Games, Ernst & Young, Vail Resorts and AAA of Colorado. Additionally, Jeff has worked with several non-profits in SW Colorado including The Cortez Area Chamber of Commerce, Cortez Cultural Center, Montezuma Land Conservancy and The Pinon Project.
Jeff’s consulting experience includes facilitating Strategic Design Workshops, Specific Environmental Challenge Workshops, Process Improvement and a Guest Satisfaction series.
Jeff holds a MBA from Rollins College and BA in Political Science from Colorado State University.
Starting out as an architect, Joe Bishop transitioned out of architecture into a career in commercial real estate development, interacting along the way with numerous small businesses – both as a landlord, and for some, as an investor/advisor. He started his own business in 1979 and has been involved in different ventures ever since.
“I have always enjoyed the business side of things; that is one reason I left architecture. I enjoy finance and being involved in a project or deal from A to Z, as opposed to only a certain sector,” says Bishop.
Most of Bishop’s advising for the SBDC has a general business focus.
“I’m not an MBA or a CPA,” he states. “My experience is basically in-the-trenches, seat-of-the-pants. I relate well to a lot of people I talk to because they don’t have formal business training; many of them are just trying to figure out how to start a business. I think because of my background and my interest in all aspects of business, I can help bridge the gap between the lack of business knowledge and practical, day-to-day applications.”
Bishop has helped a number of retailers work out numbers and deal with lease issues; he has also advised on marketing strategies.
“I can help retail-related businesses look at financial projections, what their cost of goods should be, rent as a percentage of sales. Sometimes people come in with the ball rolling toward opening, and sometimes they have just planted a seed and are trying to figure out how to grow it. You want to encourage that creativity and energy without giving them false hope that may be due to a lack of planning and analysis.”
In addition to business consulting and pursuing a few of his own business ventures, Bishop runs the Durango division of SOS Outreach, a program that engages at-risk youth in outdoor sports. In his spare time he likes to ski, snowshoe, fly-fish, hike, bike and throw pottery.
Keck retired in 2015 from the position of Director of the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO. In that capacity Keck provided one-on-one business counseling to existing and start-up businesses in the five (5) county area of Region 9 in southwestern Colorado as well as small business training and workshops. Keck has been a small business owner since 1993 and prior to that time worked in planning and economic development capacities with the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian Tribes from 1977-1993. Keck and his wife own Susie’s Gifts on Main in Cortez along with Cortez Catalog Sales, a JC Penney Catalog Outlet. He is a 1975 graduate of Fort Lewis College. Keck has served in a number of public capacities including 8 years of service on the Cortez City Council/Mayor (1996-2004), Cortez Downtown Association, the Colorado Aeronautical Board (2001-2003), Club 20 Board of Directors, Region 9 Economic Development District Board of Directors, and BLM Advisory Committee on the lands designated in the Canyon of the Ancients National Monument. Keck has served as a trustee on the Ballantine Family Fund Board of Trustees since 2001. Additionally he is currently serving on the El Pomar Foundation’s Southwest Colorado Regional Council. Keck currently provides consulting services on a part-time basis as an advisor with the Southwest Colorado Small Business Development Center.
Keck has received specialized training through the National Development Council’s Economic Development Financial Professional Certification Program; through the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC), and through the Hallmark Corporations’ Advanced Retail Training Seminars (ARTS).
After practicing for several years at an intellectual property boutique law firm in Seattle, WA, my husband, Bradley Fox, and I created Fox Law Group, LLC in 2007 in Crested Butte, CO, and we are now happy to call Durango our home.
My practice is rooted in start-up business planning and intellectual property law. I collaborate with clients to maximize productivity; increase brand and product/service value; reduce risks and costs; clear, acquire, and enforce intellectual property rights; and consult on sales and marketing strategy.
For the past 16 years, I have assisted clients with business formation and related agreements; regulatory matters; business branding; funding strategies such as loans or crowd fund strategies; employment, supplier, vendor agreements; dispute resolution, business mergers, acquisition and sale, Internet policies, intellectual property licensing, royalties, ownership, non-disclosure, confidentiality, etc. These foundational matters are so important to business success – ensuring legal rights to use brand or business names is crucial because one is either building value in their name or infringing another’s rights.
I obtained my Juris Doctor from Seattle University School of Law in 1999 and am licensed in Washington, Utah, and Colorado. I also received art appraisal accreditation through the International Society of Appraisers in 2009 and provide art consulting, management, and valuations. In addition, as a trained mediator, I provide mediation services for intellectual property, art and business disputes in Colorado.
There is so much innovation here in Durango and I hope to help our clients create successful businesses. One thing I learned about living in the small town for Crested Butte, CO is that our practice requires a higher level of accountability. Our clients become our friends, we get to know them well and some times we have to get creative in order to help our clients achieve their goals.
For more information, please visit www.foxgroupllc.com.
Laura Hokanson got interested in accounting while working for the U.S.D.A. Forest Service in the Visitor Center in Bishop, California. Her Associates of Science degree in Forestry Technology from Sierra College in Rocklin, CA, qualified her for a Federal Job. The Visitor Center assigned her to some bookkeeping tasks and she found that she really enjoyed it!
She then pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration on Accounting from California State University in Sacramento followed by a Master’s of Science in Accounting from the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Among her notable honors, Laura received a Fulbright Scholarship in 1994-1995 to study and conduct research in Canada.
For 13 years, she did audits, reviews, compilations and tax returns for Gallina LLP, a CPA firm based in Sacramento. She also conducted new staff trainings and monitored their work.
Laura has been a CPA for over 20 years and is currently in public practice after working with local CPA firm, FredrickZink and Associates. She also teaches an Accounting Information Systems course at Fort Lewis College, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New Mexico Society of CPA’s.
As an advisor for the SBDC and QuickBooks Pro Advisor, Laura enjoys helping client’s set-up their QuickBooks systems and further understand the capabilities of the software as it relates to their business. She explains, “There are different editions of QuickBooks for different industries. The needs of business vary and the edition takes in to consideration the vast inventory of a retail establishment, versus the needs of a construction company, an architect or a non-profit.”
She loves the variety of clients she meets with and looks at their businesses as puzzle pieces. “A new business has different requirements from one that is in a growth phase.” Her experience as an auditor, helps her determine how best to advise the client on what kinds of reports would be most beneficial to gauge how the business is doing. She also assesses and provides advice on employee pay rates and benefits, determining pricing and looks at the hard and soft or indirect costs of doing business.
She thinks, “It is fun to look at what kind of reports would be beneficial in helping the business run efficiently and effectively. Businesses should have an accurate Profit and Loss statement and know what their best selling items are.”
In her spare time, she loves gardening in a greenhouse and in raised beds at her home in Vallecito Lake at 7,800 feet. She likes hiking and then show-shoeing in the winter. In addition to quilting, she “brings the history from the 1800’s back to life in demonstrations of candle making and Dutch- oven cooking.”
Business advisor Louise Garnett has spent over 30 years helping businesses grow through developing, using, and consulting on what she calls the “Marketing Success Formula,” a strategy that segments, targets, develops and executes marketing programs and measures results.
“Most of my marketing expertise is on the strategic side, and taking those strategies into the tactical side of marketing to ensure successful marketing programs,” explains Louise. “I revolve it around the Marketing Success Formula: how do you segment your markets, how do you target the right people in those segments, then how do you develop marketing programs to go after those; it goes beyond just advertising.”
Louise has used her expertise in the past to help companies such as eBay, GE, Nielsen, IBM, HP, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson, Dow Jones, and others.
Her focus in Southwest Colorado is helping SBDC clients with Marketing and Business Planning, Garnett works full-time virtually as vice president at Outsell, a leading global provider of advice to CEO’s in the publishing, media and information industry. Garnett also has 25 years’ experience in the computer industry in the San Francisco bay area, playing consulting and hands-on-marketing and finance roles.
“I have a data background, so I’m used to secondary/primary research,” says Louise. “I’ve got all the tools and know the databases quite well, because I’ve been in the publisher market covering data/information providers for 19 years. This helps SBDC clients with figuring out their target markets by tapping into resources they may not be familiar with.”
A certified Marketing for Smarties instructor, Louise says she’s enjoys working with Durango clients. “I have a real passion for Durango; I’m always impressed with the people here. I volunteered with the SBDC because I really wanted to get to know the Durango business community and provide some business services here in the process.”
SBDC’s newest advisor, Matt Hoaglin specializes in Social Media Marketing. Matt spoke on the panel discussing the topic at the 5th Annual Southwest Colorado Women’s Small Business Conference in July.
Social Media seems daunting to new and experienced business owners who know they need to do it- but don’t know where to start. Matt delicately guides clients through the various options and steers them to the platforms that would best serve their business.
Clients want to discuss SEO – or Search Engine Optimization tactics for their web sites. They need guidance on spending time on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and the myriad of other options. “Knowing which key words potential clients are using to search for your business is almost common sense. Try the first ones that come to mind, then look at your competitors pages and see which words they use.”
Matt suggests, “First of all, know who your target market really is. If you don’t know who they are, you don’t know where to find them. In order to get traction with Social Media you have to be on the one where your ideal client is spending time.” It’s not necessary to have a presence on places like Pinterest if your clients are on LinkedIn.
Understanding who your ideal client is, helps to build your brand and target your marketing. He uses the analogy, “Are you selling a $20 purse or a $1,000 purse? You are going to send a different message depending upon who your client is.”
He cautions that it’s not necessary to discount your services to advertise on Google or Facebook. You can market your product or service at full price. Consider what discounting will do to your brand. He suggests using ads specifically targeted to your ideal audience on Facebook.
Matt loves doing research, investigating and learning about new developments in Social Media Marketing. He enjoys being around other successful business people and spends time to get to know the experts in his field. He regularly attends national conferences and likes to “bring nuggets back and be a resource in the community.”
Matt regularly uses his expertise to market his wife and business partner’s services- Allison Ragsdale Phototgraphy.
Advisor Mike Rich is new to the SBDC advisor network bringing with him a wealth of knowledge and experience from a previous career. Rich retired the Federal Government in 2013 after 35 years of service with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he administered the Colorado River Salinity Control Project and other programs.
Rich managed an annual budget of 1.5 million and supervised a 15 member staff. “I was also on the National Training Team teaching “Managing for Excellence”. He incorporated principals from “Managing for Excellence” when he taught the Leading Edge for Entrepreneurs class in Cortez in 2014 for the SBDC.
Rich has lived in Montezuma County since 1984 and operates Arriola Sunshine Farm with his wife selling produce and grass-fed lamb. The couple has 60 lambs, some sheep and some rams. They sell them as breeding animals and as butcher animals.
His experience lends itself to specializing in consulting with start-ups in the agriculture industry but he explains, “Agriculture is not just farming. It’s more involved now and involves selling retail and wholesale to restaurants and providing value added services.”
He finds that the issues start-ups face regardless of the industry are very similar. He’s worked with various businesses in different stages of start-up and growth. He credits his career with teaching him the skills of organization, critical thinking, looking at and analyzing data and the ability to see the big picture. He uses all these skills to serve the businesses he consults with.
Recently, Rich was working with a client who wants to open a food and beverage establishment in Cortez. They looked at financials and projections to accurately assess what the start-up costs will be. They researched location, menu and what it would cost to remodel to meet their needs. Research included learning about the prices being garnered by other similar establishments and advertising costs.
The client knows that establishments serving affordable food and locally crafted beer are booming in Colorado now and with access to the number of tourists visiting the area for various reasons, they determined their business could be a success.
Rich likes using the Business Model Canvas with clients since it incorporates all the aspects of running a business that need to be considered. It is a less linear approach and provides a more interrelated perspective.
He shares, “Being a part of the SBDC Business Advisory Network provides me an opportunity to put the management skills I gained in my career to use. I enjoy giving back to my community by helping people be successful with their businesses.”
Employer-to-employee issues are what Nancy Schaufele loves helping SBDC clients work through. “Every business has something in common, and that is people,” says Nancy. “How do you keep your people, how do you communicate with them, value them, confront them? How do you keep them on track?”
Starting out as a psychologist specializing in post-traumatic-stress syndrome, Nancy shifted careers and launched an employee-assistance program called Counseling Connection, which helps find resources for employees and employers. “We helped employers with all of their employee needs – terminations, hiring, policies/procedures,” Schaufele describes. “Then the employees had 800-number access to us, so we could find them counseling resources. I did that for about 20 years and really enjoyed it; we helped a diverse range of companies.”
Fifteen years ago, Schaufele sold her share of the business to a partner and moved to Cortez, where she nurtured her horse addiction and engaged herself in the Montezuma community. Schaufele helped formulate the Summit Leadership Series, a program of the Southwest Community Leadership Collaborative, and became involved with the Cortez Chamber and the SBDC.
“I’ve had my fingers in a lot of leadership/business pies,” says Nancy, who is currently working on creating a dialogue between those who offer business and leadership trainings. “I am hoping this dialogue will lead to a web page that can be on the Chamber’s site, so businesses can look up transformational leadership or interviewing courses – whatever they are interested in.”
Schaufele hopes to bring the human factor to the forefront of people’s minds and encourage business owners to think outside the box when it comes to benefits.
“When you say ‘human resources’ sometimes people jump into the benefits piece of it, which is extraordinarily valuable, but so are conflict management, communication, performance reviews, supervisor skills. One of my goals is to not have employers and boards call me in a crisis; I’d much rather they have the skills ahead of time and not be putting out fires.”
After obtaining a master’s in library and information science, Nancy Wharton started working in the research departments of public and corporate libraries, including San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, where she completed industry analyses for their economists.
Then came a stint at Pacific Gas & Electric, where Wharton automated their corporate library and became an IT supervisor for 22,000 work stations, doing tasks from LAN (local area network) administration to writing trainings. In 1999 Nancy went to work for an internet startup that specialized in software distribution. “They were doing well and had 400 employees, then when the market bottomed out, they laid off 200 people in one day and retired my product (a training system for IT personnel).”
It was then that Nancy launched her consulting career. “I had managed large numbers of people and knew how to do research from my academic and corporate background. After consulting in California for a couple years, I started going back and forth to Durango, met (business partner) Jasper Welch at the incubator (at San Juan College in Farmington) and started doing projects with him.”
In February of 2011, Wharton and Welch launched Durango Space, a coworking facility where freelance professionals or mobile workers can utilize office space and other resources.
One of Nancy’s favorite advising tasks is helping people write comprehensive business plans, complete with a vision together that makes sense. “I like to work with customers who have not done any documentation of their systems and processes, or haven’t put their marketing package in a nice-looking portfolio, so they have something to sell.”
In between consulting clients, Wharton does a lot of training, from supervisory management training to customer satisfaction, including surveys and recommendations.
“To me, advising is almost like a human puzzle: people will say they need help with marketing and sometimes they don’t,” states Nancy. “They may have a good brand and some of the pieces, but they don’t have the customer-interaction glue. Putting it all together is where my master’s in library science is invaluable: I can listen well, piece things together, and show the gaps.”
Nathan Morris has been building websites since 1994 – since before there was a dot-com. Since then, Mr. Morris has worked in Austin, Silicon Valley, and Durango tech scenes, including stints as the webmaster for Toyota, Global Star, and the Durango Herald. Mr. Morris is a founding partner, lead software architect, and webmaster for Web Services Management.
Patti Zink has thirty years of experience managing successful, profitable, results oriented and diversified businesses. Her expertise include marketing, sales, media relations, customer service, employee retention and satisfaction. Zink has experience in increasing revenues, efficiencies and productivity.
She has owned several business over the based 30 years, currently she owns Animas River Wetlands, Animas River Top Soil and Mountain Bike Specialists. Zink and her husband Ed work together and live at the Waterfall Ranch north of Durango.
Zink is interested in contributing to our community and consulting with a businesses that will provide long term employment for the area.
Rich Lindblad taught entrepreneur workshops on the East Coast at the undergraduate and graduate level for 15 years. His interest in small businesses led him to launch, run and sell several small businesses himself, including a Christmas tree farm in New Jersey, where picking out hand-trimmed trees was a festive experience, not just an errand.
Rich currently teaches the Next Level Leading Edge program in Pagosa Springs and, as a business advisor, spends a fair amount of time with “business owners and people who think they want to go into business but are not sure,” he says. “It’s a coaching exercise, and if you can do it right, you can help lots of people.”
He describes his advising areas as having “no limit.” “You never know what you’re getting into when you provide advice to people – restaurants, cafes, retail stores, private businesses. To be able to turn them around and have them see what they don’t see – that is my job,” Lindblad states. He also offers what he terms as “an environmental scan” of a business. “If you trust me long enough to let me come and hang out with you, I’ll notice things about your retail establishment that customers see that you don’t see because you are too close to it. That is the fun part.” Rich also enjoys working on financials and sharing the concept of utilization.
A self-proclaimed “wannabe chef” who has taken close to 40 cooking classes, Lindblad gives cooking classes in the winter for seniors at the Pagosa Community Center. His favorite cuisine to cook? “Southwestern – not too hot but with a lot of unusual flavors.”
Business consultant, Dr. Robert Blaise, has over 25 years of business management experience as an accomplished entrepreneur, business leader, and scholar-practitioner.” As an instructor within a college faculty or as a business consultant, my mentoring philosophy centers on three principles: to embolden critical thinking, provide clients with a method of connecting empirical knowledge to practical applications, and to utilize impactful teaching aids to engage my audience better.”
Robert’s industry experience includes transportation and logistics, eCommerce, medical device manufacturing and academic instructing. Within academia, Robert served as adjunct faculty member and taught courses in Operations Management for Competitive Advantage Data Analysis for Business Decisions (MBA), Organizational Strategy, and Business Integration Skills.
Robert holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, a Master of Business Administration, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Business Management, with a specialization in Strategy & Innovation. Robert is a published scholar in the field of Internet commerce and has a personal passion for using data for supporting business decisions. “I believe that my combined academic and business experience is a perfect complement to the role of SBCD consultant. Underpinning my approach is a firm belief that business mentoring is a two-way process. It is not the consultant’s role to merely direct; the client is an equal partner in the process, with the consultant facilitating the client’s ability to think for themselves rather than being told what to think to become an autonomous entrepreneur”.
Robert’s hobbies include photography, videography, and woodworking all of which were self-taught. “I feel it is essential to be an ongoing learner; not just from new and classical research, and the application of my ideas, but also from analyzing how others exercise their learning and by observing the outcomes.”
Sandhya Tillotson is the founder of Sagebrush Ltd, a nonprofit consulting firm based in Durango. Sandhya utilizes her years of collaborative problem solving in the nonprofit sector to bring vitality to diverse organizations, with specialties in strategic planning, meeting and retreat facilitation, grant writing, board and leadership development. With Sandhya serving as the Executive Director, The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado was awarded the 2017 Non-Profit of the Year by the Durango Chamber of Commerce.
Sandhya consults across Southwest Colorado and has worked with the Women’s Resource Center, Bear Smart Durango, Dancing Spirit Community Arts Center and the Southwest Colorado Multiple Sclerosis Society. She specializes in effective solutions for rural nonprofits where agility, creativity, and partnership are necessary ingredients for survival.
Understanding Your Financial Statements and Leading Edge
Business Advisor Terryl Peterson garnered most of her expertise working as the chief financial officer for 15 years for Durango-based Lore International (now called Korn/Ferry), a leadership- and executive-development company. “Although I was not the entrepreneur there, it’s a very entrepreneurial company,” says Terryl. “I worked closely with the founder; we grew from seven employees to 50-plus when I was there.”
After leaving Lore, Terryl dove into the entrepreneurial world by starting her own consulting practice a year ago. “Through all of our work at Lore, we had contact with a number of other entrepreneurs and business associates, so I had some third-party exposure to that world and what it takes to launch a business of any kind.”
Although her focus is mostly financial, i.e., how to create cash flow projections, Terryl can offer perspective on the operational side as well. “I do a lot of startup consulting and help people walk through the business plan setup. At Lore I did all the legal and contracts, so I have some exposure to setting up your business entity, what approach to take.”
Between running her own business and pursuing her outdoor passions – which include hiking, skiing, backpacking, camping – Terryl makes time to work as a Business Advisor because she likes the variety. “It’s inspiring to see all the different concepts coming up, and then to be able to help people who would otherwise just be trying to figure it out on their own. Hopefully, we can help them make their idea into something.”
After finishing a large multi-year global supply chain consolidation project, Tyler and his wife decided to relocate from Las Vegas, NV to Durango, CO to be closer to family that had been calling it home for over 20 years.
For the last 17+ years he has specialized in process improvement and supply chain optimization. During that time Tyler managed over 200 new product launches, designed the production flow and layout for 4 large manufacturing facilities built from the ground up and the expansion of 7 large manufacturing facilities. In addition, he advised on the redesigned and physical layout to accommodate a process flow for dozens of smaller manufacturing and fabrication facilities around the world. He has restructured supply chains from domestic to international and from international to domestic. He has extensive experience in supplier evaluations and negotiations, specializing in insourcing vs outsourcing evaluations, facility layout, supply chain optimization and process improvement.
Since being in Durango, Tyler has started his own company, Optimization Dynamics, LLC. a process improvement and supply chain optimization company that provides evaluation of companies current processes and supply chain, identifies improvements, and helps in implementing the improvements.