2016 Speaker Biographies

Jordi Arimany

Economic Development Specialist and Lender Relations Specialist, SBA Columbus, Ohio District Office
Arimany formerly served as a director of Kaya Holdings, formerly Alternative Fuels Americas, Inc., since January 2010. He previously served as vice president of business development for First Diversity Management Group, an Ohio-based small business and was active in ethnic marketing and outreach to organizations such as the Hispanic Chamber of Columbus and the Columbus Chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs. Arimany has worked in international expansion and security issues for Banco Industrial in Guatamala City. Prior to this, he was a national business development manager at Latin American Financial Services in Miami, Florida. Arimany received a Master of Business Administration degree in Entrepreneurship from Regent University and worked on his independent post graduate studies in Economics at Ohio University.

Eric Armacost

Lead Lender Relations Specialist for the Indiana District Office
Eric Armacost is the Lead Lender Relations Specialist for the Indiana District Office, since joining the SBA in October 2012, Eric has enjoyed building and growing relationships with lending institutions and providing technical assistance and training to borrowers, lenders, and resource partners. Eric brings more than fourteen years of banking and financial services experience and expertise to the SBA, and calls on the skills he gained at Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan and the US Navy to provide an outstanding client experience. Eric also serves the SBA District International Trade Officer.

Joseph W. Berlin, PE, EP, CP

President, BLDI Environmental Engineers
Mr. Berlin’s work is focused on the application of scientific principles to environmental regulations and their financial implications, including lender environmental risk management, forensic environmental investigations, and estimating environmental liabilities and reserves. He conducts environmental due diligence projects with specific emphasis on SBA practices and the continued evolution of various state environmental programs, including Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

Mr. Berlin is a registered Professional Engineer in several states, a Certified Professional (Ohio VAP#351) and a member of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers. Mr. Berlin has BS and MS degrees in Civil Engineering, MBA, plus further graduate work in industrial hygiene and accounting. Mr. Berlin’s 25 plus year career has run from DOD “secret” projects to cases with Fortune 500 oil companies to insurance claims for mom-and-pop gas stations.

Brad Berryman

Alternative Lending Specialist, Fifth Third Bank Eastern Michigan
Brad Berryman joined Fifth Third Bank Eastern Michigan as an Alternative Lending Specialist in February, 2003. He has worked in the banking industry for 33 years.

He is an expert in his field, having become NAGGL (National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders) Certified. His strengths include expertise in government lending programs SBA, USDA, MEDC, Grow Michigan as well as having worked in conventional and asset based lending platforms.
As the Alternative Lending Specialist for Fifth Third Bank’s Eastern Michigan Affiliate, Brad’s responsibilities include working with commercial lenders covering Wayne, Washtenaw, Oakland, Livingston, Genesee, and Shiawassee Counties. He works with lenders to provide commercial customers the best possible lending solution for their needs.

Brad earned majored in accounting at Central Michigan University earning is Bachelor’s degree in 1983. Brad is active in the community serving on AYSO’s local soccer board serving 1200 players. Brad also serves as a Captain on a number of races including the Turkey Trot Thanksgiving day run which has over 20,000 runners annually.

Rosalynn Bliss

Mayor of the City of Grand Rapids, MI
Mayor Rosalynn Bliss became the City of Grand Rapids’ first female Mayor when she took office on January 1, 2016. She previously served as a Second Ward City Commissioner for 10 years.

Mayor Bliss also is Director of Residential Services at D.A. Blodgett-St. John’s. St. John’s Home provides emergency shelter and residential services for abused and neglected children. In addition, Mayor Bliss is an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University’s School of Social Work.

She earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and criminal justice from the University of South Alabama and a master’s in social work from Michigan State University.

Mayor Bliss is active in her profession and in the community. She is Vice President of the Michigan Municipal League and serves on the boards of the Interurban Transit Partnership, Kent County Land Bank Authority, Downtown Development Authority, Experience Grand Rapids and Grand Valley Metro Council, among many other organizations.

She is a member of the West Michigan Environmental Leadership Network, and she serves as Chairwoman of the Residential MIN for the Michigan Federation of Children and Families.

Mayor Bliss has been recognized and honored locally as well as statewide for her commitment, dedication and work in the field of child abuse and neglect and for her leadership in the community. Recognitions include:

  • Crain’s 100 Most Influential Women
  • Grand Rapids Business Journal’s 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan
  • Five-time recipient of Grand Rapids Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty distinction
  • West Michigan Public Relations Society of America’s Communicator of the Year Award
  • ATHENA Young Professional Award
  • Tim Pope Memorial Award for Outstanding Young Governmental Leader
  • Christine Nelson Professional Award for Service to Children
  • Michigan Professional Society on the Abuse of Children Special Recognition Award

As Mayor, she is committed to supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs as well as addressing disparities in our community and making sure that Grand Rapids is the place for everyone.

She also is committed to engaging the community in local government and encouraging citizens – particularly women and minorities – to serve on boards and commissions. She believes that local government needs to reflect the diverse community in which we live.

Latifa Bradwell

Lender Relations Specialist, SBA Michigan District Office
Bradwell joined the SBA in 2015 and provides support to the lending community.  Before joining the SBA, she was the Deputy Director of the Tejara Global Business Development Center, a business incubator and accelerator in Dearborn, MI. Prior to that, she served as a Senior Business and Growth Specialist for the Michigan Small Business Development Center, a national program funded by the SBA. She has counseled over 1,500 entrepreneurs and second stage businesses in business and strategic planning, business process improvement, procurement and financial management. Many of her clients have successfully started or expanded their businesses; contributing over $10 million in capital and hundreds of jobs to the local economy.  Bradwell earned an MBA from Eastern Michigan University and a B.S. in Accounting from Wayne State University.

Jane Butler

Vice President, National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders
Jane Butler is the Executive Vice president of the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (NAGGL) where she is responsible for the association’s education program, and is a frequent instructor and speaker on topics related to all aspects of small business financing. She also helps to shape the association’s positions on issues impacting small business lending. Butler joined NAGGL following a 30 year career with the U.S. Small Business Administration during which she worked in all of the Agency’s program areas including approximately 9 years heading its business loan programs including 7(a), 504 and the Microenterprise Development Program.

Sara Coulter

Director/Senior International Trade Specialist, Commercial Service – Detroit, U.S. Export Assistance Center, International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
Sara Coulter is the director of the Detroit U.S. Export Assistance Center for the U.S. Commercial Service of the International Trade Administration—part of the U.S. Department of Commerce—and has been with the department for twenty-three of her 36 years of government service. She provides export counseling to small and medium sized businesses as they enter or expand in the global marketplace. Prior to joining the Commercial Service, she was a military personnel specialist with the Department of the Army, where she worked in a variety of positions and locations in the Midwest. Sara also served in the military, and is a graduate of the last class of the Women’s Army Corps.

Sara obtained her Associate of Science Degree from Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, and received her B.A. in Business from Walsh College in Troy, Michigan. She also studied economics and business at Kansas State University.

Chris Cook

Director of Capital Access, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Chris Cook joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) in 2011 and currently serves as Director – Capital Access. In this role Chris oversees outreach and administration of a variety of programs designed to increase the availability of capital to companies operating in Michigan. The programs include the Collateral Support Program, Loan Participation Program, Pure Michigan Micro Lending Initiative, Capital Access Program, and Private Activity Bonding. Prior to joining MEDC Chris worked for Michigan Certified Development Corporation (MCDC) as a Credit Analyst. Chris earned a degree in Supply Chain Management from Michigan State University.

Kathleen Craig

President, HT Mobile Apps
Kathleen Craig, Founder and President of HT Mobile Apps, has over a decade of customer service and banking experience.

Kathleen began her career in the restaurant industry. She worked in leadership for Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, a local food institution who was named Inc. Magazine’s Coolest Small Company in America.

Prior to launching HT Mobile Apps, Kathleen served as the Vice President of eServices at a Michigan based community bank.

Kathleen’s passion for technology, children and financial education led her to the development of HT Mobile Apps and their first product, Banker Jr, launched in January 2013. Banker Jr. is now licensed by financial institutions in 10 states ranging from $90 million to $10+ billion in asset size.
In 2015 HT Mobile took a deep dive in to researching and better understanding the needs of the Millennial market. Their next product innovation, Plinqit will launch in 2016. Plinqit helps Millennials save money for a specific goal using an automated mobile experience that makes it fun, rewarding and social.

Victor M. Cruz

Workflow Specialist, Colson Services Corp
Victor M. Cruz, Workflow Specialist, has been a leader with Colson’s Client Services for 18 years. His commitment to his organizations core values of client focus, trust, teamwork, and outperformance has earned him acknowledgement and recognition from the SBA, its lending partners, and Colson colleagues.

In 2009 Victor accepted the role of SBA Liaison, acting as point of contact for training and development for SBA’s lending partners and service providers on the 1502 reporting process as a subject matter expert. He is a born and raised New York Brooklynite and enjoys extensive travel during time away from the business.

Michael DeWilde

Director of the Koeze Business Ethics Initiative at the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University
Michael DeWilde is the director of the Koeze Business Ethics Initiative at the Seidman College of Business and an associate professor of philosophy. He teaches the MBA Business Ethics and Leadership courses, Theories of Human Nature, and Eastern Philosophy. He has garnered program awards from the American Philosophical Association, a major grant from the Kellogg Foundation and is the winner of a Pew “Teaching Excellence” award.

He has been a featured speaker at universities and businesses in North America, India and France, giving talks on moral psychology, business ethics, and the pedagogy of teaching ethics. He has a chapter on the importance of introspection for developing leaders in the book Social Responsibility, Entrepreneurship and the Common Good, published by Pelgrave Press.

He was, for one year, a Research Affiliate professor with the ESC Rennes School of Business in Rennes, France, and for many years has consulted with west Michigan businesses as an executive coach and “philosopher-in-residence.” His work has been featured in the New York Times and Inc. Magazine, among other places, and his latest publications are a chapter in the book Philosophy Imprisoned from Lexington Press, two op-ed pieces, and an article titled “Social Capital, Economic Diversity, and Civic Well-Being” in the Seidman Business Review. He holds degrees from Harvard University and Grand Valley State University.

Eduard Ekel

Regional Director, EXIM Bank
Ed is an international finance professional with extensive work experience in both the banking as well as the corporate sectors. Ed has been the head of trade finance and credit for a middle market telecommunications provider, a vice president with an Ex-Im Bank DA Lender and has an extensive background in leasing, among others. Ed joined Ex-Im Bank in November 2014 and heads up the Detroit Office of Ex-Im Bank’s Small Business Division.

Patrick J. Fehring

Chairman, President, CEO, Level One Bank
Patrick Fehring serves as CEO and Chairman of Level One Bank headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Fehring was a cofounder of Level One Bank late in 2007 working with a team of dedicated Bankers and a group of business leaders to open the Bank. Level One Bank is a full service Commercial and Consumer bank with over $1 Billion in assets and 11 Branch Offices throughout the Southeast Michigan community. The Bank was recently named by S & P Global Market Intelligence as the nation’s 10th best performing bank in its class. This award was based on various financial metrics for 2015. Level One’s success was also recognized by the SBA in 2015 as “The Community Bank Lender of the Year and Export Finance Lender of the Year”.

Prior to the establishment of Level One Bank, Fehring served as the Market President for a large Regional Bank in Detroit and Columbus Ohio. He began his career in Commercial Banking.

Fehring is an active leader in the local Community where he currently serves as a Board Member for The Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce, Detroit Public Television, Archdiocese of Detroit Endowment Foundation, and the Farmington Hills Police and Firemen’s Benevolence Association. He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford Ohio earning a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business. Patrick and his wife reside in Northville, MI.

About Level One Bank: Level One Bank is a full-service, 5-Star BauerFinancial rated commercial and consumer bank committed to connecting with unparalleled service and delivering effective, customized financial solutions. Owned and managed locally, Level One Bank is headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan with assets of approximately $500 million. It currently operates seven full-service banking centers, located throughout Oakland County and the surrounding communities. Level One offers the sophistication of a big bank, the heart of a community bank, and the spirit of an entrepreneur. For more information, please visit www.levelonebank.com.

Robert D. Fowler

President and CEO, Small Business Association of Michigan
Rob Fowler has been the President and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan since 2003. Before coming to Michigan, Mr. Fowler served as the Executive Director of the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) in Cleveland Ohio from 1995 to 2000. Prior to that he was a lobbyist for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce for ten years where he also served as the Executive Director of the Indiana Small Business Council.

The Small Business Association of Michigan was founded in 1969 and today serves over 23,000 member companies from all of Michigan’s 83 counties. The organization’s mission is to help Michigan small businesses succeed by promoting entrepreneurship, leveraging buying power and engaging in political advocacy. Recently SBAM has become a leading voice for growing the state’s entrepreneurial community through a strategy know as Economic Gardening.
In his capacity as President of SBAM he is a registered lobbyist representing small business before the Michigan legislature. He also serves on the Board of Directors of several organizations including MiQuest, Michigan’s leading entrepreneurial support organization, The National Small Business Association and the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, where he serves as Chair. He is a past Chair of Junior Achievement of mid-Michigan and the Michigan Society of Association Executives.

A graduate of Ball State University with a degree in Political Science, he serves on the National Development Council of Ball State University. Rob and his wife Lisa live in Haslett and have two college aged children. In 2004 he was elected to the Haslett Board of Education and served there for 10 years.

Steve Gregg

Vice President, Data & Analytic Solutions, Dun & Bradstreet
Steve Gregg is Vice President, Data & Analytic Solutions for Dun & Bradstreet, with a primary focus in Financial Services and the Credit Risk space.  Steve works very closely with Banks, Card Issuers and Leasing Companies on a variety of small business analytic-driven solutions, across both risk and marketing applications.

Jorge Gonzalez

Executive Director, West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Jorge Gonzalez is from Grand Rapids and graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Degree in Public Administration and minors in Business and Sociology. Jorge has been the Executive Director of the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for over a year. However his involvement began with the inception of the organization in various capacities over the years such as a volunteer, board member, and Chair of the Board.

Jorge worked for LINC as the Director of Economic Development for 4 years and before that Jorge was in the banking industry for 15 years in various positions serving as VP of Community Development from 2005 to 2010. He has been married for 18 years and has 5 kids, Geraldo 17, Anahi 15, Jorge 11, Toni 10, and Emmanuel 7. In his spare time he enjoys running, occasional golf, and spending time with friends and family.

John Hey

Chief Operating Officer for Trivalent Group
John is Chief Operating Officer for Trivalent Group – a Michigan leader in I.T. solutions that help organizations manage, access and protect their data. At Trivalent, John provides leadership of daily operations, strategic leadership and visioning while driving continuous improvement. Deeply passionate about culture, quality of service and community leadership, John vigorously pursues Trivalent’s successful standing in each. John’s specific areas of expertise in business, coupled with technical acumen around business continuity, practical security and IT infrastructure make him unique in the marketplace.

Chris Holman

CEO, Michigan Business Network
Chris Holman, a former high school teacher, coach, university instructor, and college Dean, has become one of Lansing’s most prominent businessmen. Not only is he a successful entrepreneur with over 40 years of experience, he is also a business owner influencing the entire state of Michigan.

Chris has been promoting the mid-Michigan business community since the 1980’s. He is one of the original founding members of Michigan Celebrates Small Business. He previously hosted a Sunday morning TV show called “Business Today” on WILX TV 10 and prior to that he was business editor and on-air personality at WLNS TV 6. Chris recently ended a 14-year run as a daily morning radio show host on WILS 1320 and WJIM 1240.

In 1984, Chris founded H&H, Inc., a Lansing marketing consulting firm. Soon after, he started The Greater Lansing Business Monthly magazine in 1987, selling it in 2013. On July 4, 2011, Chris launched a statewide 24/7 business news Internet website and broadcast company called “Michigan Business Network.” He is currently CEO of the company, co-hosts “This Week in Small Business,” and serves as the primary host of the network’s anchor program, “Michigan Business Beat,” which is heard each weekday. He has also been involved in international business for over 30 years and owns a factory near Beijing, China.

In early 2006, Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed Chris as Michigan’s Small Business Advocate. He served as a liaison between the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and small business owners across the state of Michigan while working closely with the Michigan Business Ombudsman’s office.

Chris is involved with several other business ventures and serves on numerous community boards. He has 25 years experience as bank board member of three different banks. He has also served as Board Chairman of the Capital Area United Way and as Chairperson of the Board of Governors of the Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau. Chris is the Board Chairman of The Capital Region International Airport in Lansing, a Past-President of the Rotary Club of Lansing, Past Chairman of the SBAM (Small Business Association of Michigan), and also Past-Chairman of the NSBA (National Small Business Association) in Washington DC. Due to his passion for education, he has also severed for several years as chairman of the tri-county Keep Learning committee. Most recently, Chris assumed the role of AARP State President

Chris holds two degrees from Eastern Michigan University and has been a Lansing-area resident for more than 40 years.

Bobby J. Hopewell

Mayor, City of Kalamazoo, MI
Born and raised in Kalamazoo, Mayor Bobby J. Hopewell has spent his entire adult career in the service of others. From his professional positions in healthcare to his board memberships and civic responsibilities, he has demonstrated leadership and passion for improving the lives of all citizens in Kalamazoo.

Mayor Hopewell is President and CEO of Mobile Health Resources (MHR). Prior to his current position, he served as the Administrative Director of the Borgess Health Park where he led a newly constructed 65,000 square foot outpatient delivery center and 100 Borgess associates in Battle Creek, Michigan. Before joining Borgess, Mayor Hopewell served as the Community Relations Manager for Bronson Healthcare Group and was actively involved in community health improvement and wellness efforts.

First elected to the Kalamazoo City Commission in 2003, Mayor Hopewell focuses on comprehensive community development, public safety services, accountability, equality, innovation and efforts to prepare young people for the world.

Like his work on the Commission, Mr. Hopewell has served with distinction in many organizations that are working to improve our community. These include chairing the Kalamazoo Planning Commission (1995-1999) and the Kalamazoo Charter Review Committee (1997-1999) as well as his membership on the Kalamazoo Community Foundation Community Investment Committee (2002-2003), The Learning Network, and the Douglas Community Association.

Mayor Hopewell has also been actively involved with organizations that are dedicated to local economic development. He served on the boards of both the Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce (1998-2001 and 2003-2004) and the Northside Business Association (1993-present).

Mayor Hopewell is a graduate of Kalamazoo Central High School and holds an Associate’s Degree in Health Technology from Kalamazoo Valley Community College, a B.A. in Public Service from Sienna Heights University, and an M.A. from Western Michigan University in Organizational Learning and Performance.

Sonja Johnson

Executive Director, Van Andel Global Trade Center
Sonja Johnson is a licensed U.S. Customs Broker, who specializes in global supply chain, foreign-trade zones administration and Customs compliance. Her past work includes working for multi-national and global companies, supporting their international trade operations, international sales/customer service, global supply chain with responsibilities for developing and overseeing global trade and compliance programs. Sonja joined the Trade Center in 2003, to provide global trade expertise, as a consultant and trainer. She has been in her current role as Executive Director of the Center since 2006. During her tenure at the Center, Sonja has led trade missions to facilitate business expansion with local small businesses to Mumbai, India, Guangzhou Province in Southern China and most recently to São Paulo, Brazil. Sonja is responsible for setting strategic direction and overseas operations for the Center offering innovative international programming and services to assist Michigan businesses with global business growth exporting and importing. Sonja holds a Bachelor of Science with dual majors in International Business and Marketing from Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minnesota.

Thomas A. Kabel

Shareholder at Butzel Long, a professional corporation
Thomas Kabel is a shareholder at Butzel Long, a professional corporation, and is currently the chair of the Firm’s Corporate Department. Mr. Kabel concentrates his practice in the area of commercial real estate and real estate-related finance. Mr. Kabel has also been involved in all facets of acquisition, disposition, leasing, financing and development of real property throughout his career, representing both developers and commercial lenders in conventional financing and has also served as bank and bond counsel on numerous industrial revenue and other tax-exempt financings. Mr. Kabel is certified by the National Association of Development Companies (a trade association of companies that have been certified by the Small Business Administration to provide funding for small businesses) to close SBA loans under the SBA’s 504 Loan program, and closes dozens of such loans each year. Mr. Kabel is currently Chair of the State Bar Real Property Law Section’s Continuing Legal Education Committee and is an active Council member of the Real Property Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan. Mr. Kabel graduated from Wayne State University Law School in 1999, where he served as senior articles editor of the Wayne Law Review, and received his B.S. degree from Grand Valley State University.

Eric Kehler

Senior Loan Officer for the MCDC
Eric Kehler is a Senior Loan Officer for the MCDC. Eric has been with MCDC since 2004. Eric markets the SBA 504 program throughout the state of Michigan and works with lenders, small business owners, and other referral sources to secure SBA 504 financing. He works with the MCDC underwriters to review the eligibility and obtain the SBA approval.

Before joining the MCDC staff in 2004, Eric was the Administrator/Business Manager for 7 years for a church in Lansing, Michigan. Prior to that, he worked for Ford Motor Credit Corporation for 7 years as a Loan Officer, Dealer Sales Representative, and the Customer Service Supervisor.

Eric earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Richard King

Director of the Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Southeast Region
Richard King is the Director of the Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Southeast Region which serves Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties and is hosted by the Eastern Michigan University College of Business. In that role he leads a team of professional small business consultants that provide business, marketing and financial planning counsel to both early stage entrepreneurs and established business owners. In 2015 the Southeast Region supported clients in the acquisition and utilization of over $55 million in capital and was named the Michigan SBDC Center of Excellence and Innovation by the US SBA Michigan District.

Richard joined the SBDC in 1998 following a successful career in corporate marketing with such firms as Leo Burnett Advertising, Burger King Corp. and Domino’s Pizza Inc. He also operated his own marketing consulting company serving small and mid-sized companies for five years in southeast Michigan before joining the SBDC.

He holds a BA degree in Economics from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

David Kramer

Vice President – Operations for the MCDC
David Kramer serves as Vice President – Operations for the MCDC. Dave has been with the organization since 1998. During that time, he has served in a variety of capacities within the organization including Portfolio Manager, Senior Loan Officer and Senior Underwriter. In his current role as Vice President – Operations, Dave manages the Underwriting, Closing and Servicing departments along with other administrative duties including IT and Accounting.
Dave has a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Central Michigan University.

Rois Langner

Architectural Engineer and Building Scientist in the Commercial Buildings Research Group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL),
Rois Langner is an architectural engineer and building scientist in the Commercial Buildings Research Group at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), located in Golden, Colorado. Rois has worked at NREL since 2010 on various research projects focused on energy efficiency in commercial buildings, utilizing OpenStudio software to analyze and optimize building design and performance. She has worked with military and large commercial buildings, and with organizations to develop, implement, and maintain energy management policies and systems for continual energy improvement. More recently, she has supported the U.S. Department of Energy¹s Better Buildings Alliance leading the Plug and Process Load technical solutions team, and also leads efforts to support the small commercial building sector in overcoming barriers that inhibit the adoption of energy efficiency solutions.

Debbie Lester

Assistant Center Director for the Portfolio Resolution Division (PRD) in Herndon, VA.
Debbie Lester is the Assistant Center Director for the Portfolio Resolution Division (PRD) in Herndon, VA. Debbie has worked for SBA for over 10 years and manages a staff of 22 loan officers, 6 supervisors and 4 loan servicing assistants.

The PRD team is primarily responsible for the review and processing of 7A loans that are ready for Charge-off and the review and payment of CPC expenses. The PRD team also reviews requests for Receiverships, Note sales, Assumptions, offer in compromises and other lender liquidation actions through our loan resolution mailbox.

The PRD team also assists our Birmingham office and our Treasury Division on disputes received from obligors, requests for loan documents, requests to recall a loan from Treasury, requests to release collateral and other issues that may lead to a potential denial or repair of the remaining balance.

Patrick Lonergan

Community and Economic Development Manager, Fifth Third Bank
As the Community and Economic Development Manager for Fifth Third Bank in West Michigan, Patrick leads the Bank’s community reinvestment initiatives in 40 counties in lower Michigan. His 31 years of banking experience include 21 in CRA compliance and community development and 10 in small business lending. Patrick has been active in the community for many years and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Fair Housing Center of Western Michigan, The Hispanic Center of West Michigan, and Neighborhood Ventures, Inc. He is also a member of the Program Related Investment Committee of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and the Heart of West Michigan United Way Impact Council. In addition, he serves as the executive sponsor of the Fifth Third African American Business Resource Group. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in finance and risk management and his master’s degree in finance, Pat is an avid Badger and Packer fan.

Michael J. Manica

President & CEO, United Bank of Michigan
Michael J. Manica joined United Bank of Michigan in 1980, and is currently President and CEO. He also serves as Executive Vice President and COO for United Community Financial Corporation, and Board of Directors, Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis.

Manica has previously served as Vice President and Governor of the West Michigan Chapter of Robert Morris Associates. His experience includes Treasurer of the Michigan Bankers Association (MBA), and a former member of the Board of Directors of the MBA Service Corp.

He has volunteered his time to benefit Habitat for Humanity of Kent County and WGVU public television. Manica won the SBA Michigan Financial Advocate of the Year Award in 1992.

Manica holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from University of Michigan. He also graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Graduate School of Banking.

United Bank of Michigan is a $560 million bank located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, specializing in small business and community banking.

Dubelsa Mata

Business Development Associate, Women’s Business Center
Dubelsa Mata-Garcia joined the Women’s Business Center at Cornerstone Alliance as a Business Development Associate in 2013. She provides business start-up counseling and early-stage operational support to potential and existing small business entrepreneurs in the tri-county service area of Berrien, Cass and Van Buren with an emphasis in engaging the Spanish speaking community. Dubelsa currently manages funding for the microloan program for Cornerstone Alliance Small Business Services. Dubelsa is from South Texas and has been in Michigan’s Great Southwest since 2007 where Dubelsa found her passion in talent development and career counseling in the non-profit sector.

Tom McFadden

Lender Relations Specialist, SBA Michigan District Office
Prior to joining the SBA staff, Tom was a Manufacturing Assistance Specialist for the Michigan Small Business Development Center, an SBA funded program.  Tom has owned his own consulting firm, where he worked with a variety of small and large clients, including the University of Michigan Tech Transfer office.  Prior to that, he held commercial lending positions at a number of Michigan banks, and was a portfolio manager for Liberty BIDCO Investment Corporation.  Tom also worked for GE in various financial positions in their plastics, aerospace, transformer and appliance manufacturing businesses. Tom received a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Indiana University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Notre Dame. He is a graduate of GE’s Financial Management Program.

Karen McHugh

Manager of Training and Partner Development at banc-serv
Karen McHugh is the Manager of Training and Partner Development at banc-serv. Karen is responsible for mentoring, training, and guiding new and existing Partners. She provides ongoing, consistent communication as it relates to SBA regulations and she helps banc-serv’s Partners become well versed in SBA and USDA lending. Karen assists lenders in building product knowledge and also provides internal training to team members. She is a constant source of support for SBA technical questions and ongoing product dialogue. She has been in the SBA industry for 30+ years, serving as a lender, a trade association (NAGGL) COO and instructor, consultant, and SBA software designer. Over the years, Karen has a proven record of success in specialized areas including SBA loan audits, policy and procedures, credit underwriting, and SBA program eligibility. During her time at NAGGL, she designed instructional courses, provided technical assistance to lenders and advocated on behalf of SBA lenders to SBA policy makers.

• SBA lender (loan officer, SBA department manager)
• NAGGL Board Director for 3 years
• NAGGL Chief Operating Officer, Instructor and lender advocate for 12 years
• SBA industry consultant/advisor
• SBA SOP Expert

Ann Marie Mehlum

Associate Administrator, SBA Office of Capital Access
Ann Marie Mehlum is the Associate Administrator for the Office of Capital Access at SBA. Mehlum oversees SBA’s loan guarantee programs, including the 7(a) and 504 programs that help make capital available to small businesses. Prior to joining the SBA with 35 years of banking experience, Mehlum was the President and CEO of Summit Bank in Oregon. As a longtime community banker, she has held leadership roles in the Oregon Bankers Association, the International Women’s Forum, and the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce. She was appointed by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber to serve on the Oregon Growth Board. Her previous banking experience also includes serving as the Vice President in Wells Fargo Bank.

Bonnie Nawara

CEO of Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women
Bonnie Nawara is the CEO of Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women, a Women’s Business Center in Grand Rapids, MI. A former business owner, she is a facet in the local business community and was recognized as one of the Top Fifty Most Influential Women in West Michigan by Grand Rapids Business Journal in 2012 and 2014.

In addition Bonnie received the Remarkable Woman Award in 2012 from the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Outstanding Volunteer Award from the Center for Empowerment and Economic Development, The John H Logie Neighborhood Business Champion Award from the Neighborhood Business Alliance in 2014 and most recently was recognized by Center for Community Leadership as a 2015 Extraordinary Leader.

Bonnie owned Sir Speedy printing center for fifteen years prior to joining GROW in September of 2010. Bonnie has a wealth of knowledge in business, including start-up, finance, operational growth, human resource management, and marketing. She uses her deep understanding to lead GROW in fostering the economic development and growth of our community’s women-owned businesses.

“I was an in-the-trenches business owner, always thinking on my feet, learning as I grew and at times making critical decisions based on very few facts. I learned a lot from that experience and can transfer that knowledge to our clients. It is crucial for business owners to understand that they are not alone in making tough decisions and that they can surround themselves with experienced professionals to help them succeed.”

In addition to small business ownership, Nawara spent six years as a Planned Giving Officer for the American Cancer Society. For five years in a row she was named Top Fundraiser for the Great Lakes Division. She also spent seven years as parts manager for Freightliner of Grand Rapids—the only female parts manager in the country at that time.

Bonnie Nawara has a litany of further accomplishments. She was the first female board member for the Golden K. Kiwanis Club and founded a chapter of the Toastmasters. She has been a member of Grand Rapids Economic Club, Greater Lansing Estate Planning Council, West Michigan Estate Planning Council, and is a graduate of Leadership Grand Rapids.

Bonnie has had leadership positions with West Michigan Planned Giving, of Women Entrepreneurs, Kent County Silent Observer, National Day of Philanthropy, Michigan Women’s Foundation, and Quota International. She served two years as chairperson for the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce CEO Roundtable program, and served for ten years as facilitator of the CEO Roundtable. Additionally, she is a former mentor for United Way’s FACT Program where she mentored 3rd grade students in reading comprehension and currently volunteers for the Wyoming School District One to One Mentoring program.

Bonnie is proud to serve the business community in Grand Rapids.

Neal Patel, CBA, CVA

Principal of Reliant Business Valuation
Neal Patel, CBA, CVA is the Principal of Reliant Business Valuation, a business valuation and equipment appraisal firm specialized in SBA related valuations nationwide. He is a Certified Business Appraiser through the Institute of Business Appraisers (IBA) and a Certified Valuation Analyst through the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA). Neal is also the Chair of the IBA Board of Governors.

Neal has extensive experience with small business valuations and financing, and firsthand ownership experience of multiple small businesses. This comprehensive experience helps him understand the intricacies of the businesses he appraises, while enabling him to add unique value to a nationwide roster of clients.

Reliant Business Valuation is a leading business valuation and equipment appraisal firm for SBA lenders and currently works with over 150 of the nation’s top SBA lenders.

Lou Pham

Team Lead, East Region of SBA’s 7a Lending Program.
Lou Pham is the Team Lead for the East Region of SBA’s 7(a) Loan Program. Lou and his team of financial analysts manage and provide oversight of approximately 2,200 regulated institutions in the Eastern portion of the United States with an aggregate SBA portfolio balance of $40 billion. Before joining SBA, Lou was a Director in the Working Capital Guarantee Program at Ex-Im Bank, which provided asset-based loans to U.S. exporters to help finance their export working capital needs. Lou was also a commercial loan officer at a large super-regional bank in the Southeast. Lou is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and received a post-graduate degree in finance from Georgia State University.

Kelly Potes

President and CEO of ChoiceOne Bank
Kelly Potes, President and CEO of ChoiceOne Bank, has more than 30 years of financial, investment and bank management experience. In Kelly’s time as President, he has managed over 170 employees, grown the bank’s assets to over $585 million and developed a loan center in downtown Grand Rapids.

Among his significant previous positions, Kelly served as Senior Vice President of Retail and General Manager of ChoiceOne Insurance Agencies, Inc. In 1998, Kelly became the President and Owner of Kent-Ottawa Investment Advisors, an investment advisory firm.
Kelly Potes holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance. He also graduated from the American Bankers Association Stonier Graduate School of Banking held at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.

Holding numerous community positions throughout his career, Kelly is currently a member of the Community Bank Initiatives (CBI) and its Member Services Advisory Board, and past president, treasurer and trustee of the Sparta Board of Education.

Brian Picarazzi

Senior Area Manager, SBA West Michigan Office in Grand Rapids
Brian Picarazzi is the Senior Area Manager for the SBA West Michigan Office in Grand Rapids. He is responsible for marketing and outreach activities to lenders and small businesses. Prior to joining the SBA, Picarazzi was a branch manager and small business banker at Regions Bank in Florida. Brian holds a Bachelors Degree in criminal justice from Mansfield University.

Lisa Preston

President, The Preston Group
Lisa Preston is President of The Preston Group, a financial consulting firm specializing in SBA loan program compliance, process improvement, loan review, and liquidation assistance. Preston has over 26 years of financial experience including over 10 years with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. She established commercial risk mitigation procedures at a national PLP lender and was an Examiner-In-Charge on behalf of the SBA conducting numerous risk based reviews.   Preston is an instructor for both NAGGL and the National Association of Certified Development Companies. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from Florida State University and a Mediator designation from the University of Houston Law Center.

Steven E. Price, CHMM

Principal and Vice President, PM ENVIRONMENTAL, INC.
Steve specializes in transactional due diligence and risk management, with a focus on lending institutions and risk management, lender environmental risk policy development, implementation and training.  Steve has extensive experience in navigating the SBA’s environmental process for his clients on all types of transactions.

Steve has 29 years of experience and has been involved in over 20,000 property transactions during his career.  Prior to joining PM in November 2004, he was the Environmental Affairs Officer for a large regional bank and involved in the environmental risk evaluation of real estate transactions of all types. Since joining PM, Steve has written and implemented environmental policy for over 40 lending institutions with a combined total of over $150 billion in assets, and serves as an out-source Risk Manager for numerous institutions.

Michelle Richards

Executive Director, Great Lakes Women’s Business Council
Michelle Richards has been the Executive Director of Great Lakes Women’s Business Council, formerly Center for Empowerment & Economic Development (CEED) since its inception in 1984. CEED is a nonprofit organization which assists women and minorities in small business development and expansion.

Michelle is in the trenches championing for level playing fields and advocating for women and minorities. Under her leadership, the organization began as one of the first microloan programs in the country in 1984. Since then, they made over $ 6 million in microloans, creating 1,800 jobs in southeastern Michigan.

Great Lakes Women’s Business Council focuses on providing small business owners with the tools and resources needed to succeed including financing, women’s business certification, matchmaking and contracting opportunities and business education for existing business owners.

Adrianna Rockford

Statistician & Lead Analyst, Dun and Bradstreet
Adrianna Rockford is a statistician and the analytical lead for Dun and Bradstreet’s Loan/Lender Monitoring System (L/LMS) for SBA OCRM. She has worked with SBA OCRM’s performance and risk data for 3 years and leads the analytical team that updated OCRM’s lender purchase rating (LPR) and designed the PARRIS and SMART frameworks

Genevieve Sansom

Relationship Manager with Bank of New York Mellon
Genevieve Sansom is a Relationship Manager with Bank of New York Mellon in the Corporate Trust division. In that role, she provides on-site support to SBA as well as works on initiatives for the development of SBA One.

Kyle Anne Sasena

Vice President- Commercial Lending, Level One Bank
Kyle Anne Sasena, Vice President of Commercial Lending and International Product Specialist at Level One Bank, began her banking career over ten years ago. Sasena has a broad range of commercial banking experience with proficiency in export financing, medical lending, and income analysis for commercial real estate. Prior to joining Level One, Sasena served as Assistant Vice President of Wealth & Institutional Management at Comerica Bank.

Sasena chairs the Advisory Council for Henry Ford Hospital Sandcastles and Hospice Programs, and has formally served on the Board of the Risk Management Association. She is also an active member of the Detroit Athletic Club and volunteers with Read to a Child Detroit.

She won Detroit Crain’s 40 under 40 in 2015. Then in 2016, she won Corp’s Most Valuable Millennials award.

Sasena graduated from Oakland University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and currently resides in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

Level One Bank is a full-service, 5-Star BauerFinancial rated commercial and consumer bank committed to personal service and sophisticated financial solutions. Owned and managed locally, Level One Bank is headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan with assets exceeding 1 billion. It currently operates multiple full-service banking centers, located throughout Oakland County and the surrounding communities. The U.S. Small Business Administration named Level One Bank the 2014 Community Lender of the Year and 2013 & 2014 Export Finance Lender of the Year.

For more information about Level One Bank, please visit www.levelonebank.com

Jeanne Schlaufman

Specialist for BEAs and Due Care with the Department of Environmental Quality, Remediation and Redevelopment Division
Jeanne Schlaufman has been with the Department of Environmental Quality, Remediation and Redevelopment Division for 24 years. Since 2002, Jeanne has been the RRD’s statewide specialist for BEAs and Due Care. Jeanne is currently a member of the Part 201 Criteria Update Team working on the proposed revisions to the cleanup criteria rules. She is also a member of the Vapor Intrusion Technical and Program Support (VI TAPS) Team and one of the Southeast Michigan District Offices Point of Contact for vapor intrusion issues. Jeanne also serves as a project manager for Part 213 and Part 201 and oversees multiple private party cleanup efforts conducted in the Southeast Michigan District. Jeanne has a BS and BA degree from the University of Michigan and a Certificate in Hazardous Material Management from Wayne State University.

John Schmitt

Business Consultant, Southwest Michigan SBDC Office
John Schmitt has been a Business Consultant with the Michigan Small Business Development Center since 2007. Prior to his role with MI-SBDC, Schmitt was a serial entrepreneur opening a number of small businesses throughout Michigan over the past 30 years. These businesses have ranged from starting a restaurant, Food Dance Cafe, to a self storage facility, The StorRoom in Canton Michigan. John received the MI-SBDC Statewide Leadership Award for Business Consultants in 2009. Schmitt has served over 800 clients during his tenure a Business Consultant for MI-SBDC

Mark Schoettmer

Vice President and SBA Manager, MainSource Bank in Indianapolis Indiana
Mark Schoettmer is Vice President and SBA Manager for MainSource Bank in Indianapolis Indiana.  He has been with the bank for 28 years holding a variety of positions with the bank in commercial and retail administration including Credit Officer, Commercial Lending Officer,  Region President and most recently overseeing the SBA area of the bank for the last 3 years.  He has a BS from Ball State University in Muncie Indiana and is a 2015 Graduate of the Graduate School of Banking.

MainSource Bank is a $3.4 billion bank headquartered in Greensburg Indiana with 81 branches in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Kentucky.  Its current SBA portfolio is $70 million among 268 loans.    It closed $39 million in new money loans in 2015.  It became a preferred lender with SBA in late 2014.

Myrna Segura

Director of Business District Development for Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA)
Myrna Segura has been doing commercial revitalization in Southwest Detroit for more than 16 years, with 10 years of experience working with the City of Detroit Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Commercial Revitalization, using the Main Street Four-Point Approach to revitalize the Mexicantown and W. Vernor & Springwells Business Districts by leveraging local assets – from cultural or architectural heritage to local enterprises and community pride. Segura has provided more than 1000 one-on-one bi-lingual (English/Spanish) counseling sessions to small business owners and offered support with the creation, expansion and retention of numerous local businesses. In addition, she has leveraged over 1 million dollars in public and private investments for improvements in commercial areas in Southwest Detroit, by providing financial incentives, architectural and technical assistance to local business and property owners thru the Façade Improvement Matching Grant Program.

Since joining The SDBA in 2008, Segura has overseen a range of physical development, event planning, and small business technical assistance initiatives. She implemented and managed the 1st Bi-lingual Annual Hispanic Business Conference in Southwest Detroit and has been offering bi-lingual (English-Spanish) counseling, business development workshops and food safety training to local entrepreneurs.

Prior to joining The SDBA she worked at the Mexicantown Community Development Corporation (MCDC) as their Mercado Business Incubator Manager, Mexicantown-Hubbard Communities Main Street/Revitalization Program Director, and Marketing/Special Events Manager and led physical, business development and event planning efforts. During her time with MCDC she managed and promoted numerous cultural awareness events (temporarily business incubators/pop-ups) attracting around 50,000 visitors to Mexicantown each year. Segura also managed the successful Mexicantown Mercado Entrepreneurial Program.

Myrna Segura came to Detroit in 1996. She graduated from the Monterrey Center for Advanced Design Studies in Monterrey, Mexico, with an area of concentration in Fashion Design and Merchandising. She also attended The School of Communication Studies at the University of Nuevo Leon. Additional studies were completed at the Central St. Martins College of Art and Design in Fashion Accessories Design and Production, in London, England. She is the co-founder of Art & Fashion Metropolitan Detroit, a collective aiming to inspire, support and showcase the work of local and international artists and designers in Detroit.

Eric Seifert

Growth Consultant, Michigan Small Business Development Center
Eric has been a consultant with the MI-SBDC West Michigan office since early 2010 assisting small businesses throughout the state of Michigan. Eric brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of financing and small business management to the Growth Group team.

In addition to a busy client load, Eric is currently assisting the recently-formed Muskegon Angels with administrative support. He was instrumental in raising over $600,000 in investment capital from 24 Muskegon area Angel investors.

Before joining the MI-SBDC, Eric held a position with the mergers and acquisitions firm in Grand Rapids. In addition, he assisted his wife in growing her home health care business into $2 million in sales and over 100 employees. Prior to that, Eric was a senior level manager for a bank lending group where he specialized in SBA loans. Eric has received many recognitions for his efforts and is highly regarded among his peers. In 2006, he was awarded Financial Services Champion of the Year for the state of Michigan. Eric was honored with the 2015 State Star Award from the Michigan Small Business Development Center.

Eric earned his MBA in Finance from Grand Valley State University and holds a BBA from the University of Michigan. He is a certified Small Business Consultant and certified in export finance by the SBA.

Matt Sherwood

Executive Director, VetBizCentral
Matt Sherwood, an Army veteran is the Executive Director for VetBizCentral. This organization was granted a three year grant in 2015, and is structured as a nonprofit 501- 3-C, which is funded by The US Small Business Administration, the organization is commonly referred to as a VBOC, or Veterans Business Outreach Center and is based out of Flint Michigan. The agency has been open for over 10 years and was one of the first Veteran Business Centers to be awarded grant funding in 2009 under the Office of Veteran Business Development within the SBA. VetBizCentral covers a three state region which includes Michigan, Ohio, & Indiana. The organization is one of 15 such centers located throughout the United States and Guam. VetBizCentral provides free business counseling to active military, Veterans, National Guardsmen, and Reserves. The organization conducts regional workshops on starting a business, marketing your business as “veteran owned” and also conducts networking events to help veteran business owners connect with Federal & State procurement agencies as well as Corporate America.

Matt earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and graduated cum laude from Baker College in Flint, he also holds a minor degree in Marketing Management from Mott College. Mr. Sherwood brings a high level of commitment to the organization and has focused his efforts on providing new veteran business owners his business insights and experiences. He also works with existing veteran business owners and helps them to develop strategic marketing strategies focused on leveraging ones status as Veteran; or Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business.

Mr. Sherwood’s previous work experience in municipal government as well as the private business sector has provided him with a solid foundation to provide current and new client with some of the basic business skill sets which will be required by any successful business owner. Mr. Sherwood is passionate about helping his fellow veteran business owners be as successful as possible by helping clients understand and navigating the abundance of veteran entrepreneurial resources that exist to help them succeed.

  • 2014 Veteran Volunteer of the Year.
  • 2013 ESGR Employer of the Year for working with Veterans.
  • 2010 US Small Business Administration’s Small Business Champion award for work related to helping veterans achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.

Andrew Smith

Director of Technical Services at IT Resource
Andrew Smith is the Director of Technical Services at IT Resource providing professionals with the technical horsepower to achieve their business goals. He has been involved in technology since the early 80s with a focus on meeting business needs. He is constantly looking at current technology and “the next wave” of new technology that is coming soon. Andrew speaks frequently at numerous events concerned with technology, security, and compliance in the technology industry and is passionate about aligning technology, business requirements, and the laws and compliance items that dictate their success.

Ethan Smith

Partner, Starfield & Smith P.C., Attorneys at Law
Smith is a partner in the law firm of Starfield & Smith with a focus on government guaranteed lending, commercial lending, banking, real estate and commercial law and has closed thousands of government guaranteed loans. He assists lenders nationwide with SBA guaranty purchase issues and has been retained as an expert witness on SBA related litigation matters. Smith is a licensed title insurance agent for Chicago Title and Fidelity National Title in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He is a member of the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders and is a frequent speaker, and serves as a member of its Associate Member Committee. Smith is also an affiliate member of the National Association of Development Companies and is a member of its Attorney Advisory Council and is qualified as a designated closing attorney for the SBA 504 Program. He earned his B.A. degree from Johns Hopkins University and J.D. degree from the College of William and Mary School of Law.

Traci Smith

Business Programs Director for USDA Rural Development
Traci Smith is the Business Programs Director for USDA Rural Development, a federal agency serving the needs of rural Michigan residents through financial and technical assistance including direct loans, grants and guaranteed loans. She heads up the division specializing in Guaranteed Loans to a variety of businesses in nearly every industry, as well as Renewable Energy System and Energy Efficiency Guaranteed Loans and Grants to farmers and small businesses. Over the years she and her staff have processed hundreds of millions of dollars in federal loans and grants to private industry, non-profit groups and public entities throughout Michigan.

Zara Smith

Strategic Programs Manager, Michigan Small Business Development Center
Zara is responsible for the implementation of key network programs, including the SBDC export program, cyber security program and the development and implementation of network technologies.

Zara’s professional background includes 15+ years of business planning and strategy development, project management and program development, international business, data analytics and technology strategy. Her unique set of skills allows her to work within the complex SBDC network and be able to relate to small business clients.

Zara is a graduate of Grand Valley State University’s M.B.A. program, and in 2013, she achieved her NASBITE Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) certification.

Samuel (Sam) Spencer

Interim Vice President of Finance, Operations and Process at the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC)
Samuel (Sam) Spencer is the Interim Vice President of Finance, Operations and Process at the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) where he is responsible for streamlining the Council’s business functions while creating new business development programs designed to increase the capacity of minority business enterprises (MBEs).

Prior to joining MMSDC in 2015, Sam was a member of Morgan Stanley’s Investment Banking Division and supported the Chicago Office’s North American Industrials coverage efforts with a focus on Automotive and Commercial Vehicle clients. In this role, he worked on buy-side and sell-side transactions as well as complex capital structure solutions. After receiving a Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in finance and accounting from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Sam focused on the Industrials sector at UBS Investment Bank and joined Morgan Stanley in 2012.

Sam also held various roles at Dana Holding Corporation, a Tier I automotive supplier where he worked with Supply Chain and Product Group teams to help identify cost savings and rationalize the supply base. A certified Six Sigma Green Belt, Sam supported management processes such as the Chronic Supplier tracking tool and identified $800MM of procurement spend allocated to risky suppliers as a Supply Quality Systems Analyst. Sam started his business career as a Business Analyst at A.T. Kearney, where he supported manufacturing excellence and strategic sourcing initiatives across several sectors including Airlines, Automotive and Construction.

In addition to his professional experience, Sam has worked with Habitat for Humanity and provided pro bono services to the Small Business Development Center in Toledo, OH. He earned his BS in Chemical Engineering from Northwestern University.

Ron Stevens

Associate Regional Director, Greater Washtenaw Michigan SBDC Office
Ron’s current position with the SBDC started in 2007, as a Senior Business Consultant, in the Greater Washtenaw Region where he’s helped guide hundreds of businesses through the startup process and beyond. Ron was promoted to Associate Regional Director in 2013. He has specialties in retail, restaurant and brewery’s and has worked on various projects thought out Michigan. In addition, he has also received professional certification as a NASBITE Certified Global Business Professional and is part of the SBDC’s State Export Assistance Team.

Ron started his career right after graduating college from Oakland University with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. In 1988, he started working for the Kmart Corporation. Ron was tasked with working on numerous special projects pertaining to visual merchandising initiatives and implementing new store concepts. He also served on a regional team dedicated to improving store performance in the southeast Michigan area. Ron then made the move to managing stores for Marshalls, in 2002, where he specialized in correcting and eliminating deficient operations throughout the metro-Detroit. By 2005, Ron pursued a new career track in the business consulting industry as a Senior Business Consultant for one of the largest small business consulting firms in the country. While there he worked throughout the United States and Canada, helping small to medium size businesses improve overall operations and financial performance.

Craig Street

Director, United Midwest Savings Bank
Craig Street is a career banker with over 20 years direct experience in SBA lending. Over the course of his career, he has led SBA efforts at numerous institutions including community banks and national banks. Most recently Mr. Street helped lead the capital raise to acquire the majority of the holding company for United Midwest Savings Bank, where he is a shareholder, Director and Executive Officer.

Mr. Street began his SBA career in 1994 with The Money Store Investment Corporation as an underwriter. He soon developed an interest in the origination side of the business, and moved to Cincinnati to become a Business Development Officer in late 1995.

After First Union acquired The Money Store in 1998, Mr. Street moved to a position with Bank First National, a Central Ohio based institution with an appreciation for SBA lending. He was promoted to SBA Program Director, and led the Bank to become the largest SBA lender in the state of Ohio (by dollar volume). In 2006, they were acquired by Huntington National Bank.

At Huntington, Mr. Street grew the banks SBA lending efforts from 116th in the country (fiscal 2005), to the largest SBA lender in the nation (fiscal 2014). Additionally, under his leadership, the bank was ranked #1 in both number of loans and total dollar volume in every state that the bank was operational (Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania). This was accomplished while maintaining portfolio quality at top tier levels within both SBA and bank policy. During his tenure at Huntington, the banks utilization rate of the SBA program grew over 500%.

After leaving Huntington in late 2014 Mr. Street had a clear vision to invest, develop and build on his experience and create a new SBA program. In February of 2016 Mr. Street fulfilled his ambition with the consummation of the United Midwest Savings Bank transaction. United Midwest Savings Bank operates its SBA program nationally as Midwest Business Capital.

Mr. Street now serves on the Board of Directors of both the bank and the bank holding company, as well as its Executive Management committee, serving as Chief Lending Officer. He has recruited a number of highly skilled SBA professionals in both Sales and Operations to grow the institution originating high quality SBA loans as well as conventional lending.

Mr. Street is a native of Columbus, Ohio and is a graduate of Ohio University, where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and an MBA in Finance. He lives in Powell, Ohio with his wife, two sons, and daughter. He coaches spring baseball as weather permits.

Colin Taggart, CPA, CISA, Manager

Colin has eight years of information systems security and information technology audit experience with banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, family offices, and government. Colin’s experience includes: cybersecurity risk management framework implementations, information security reviews, compliance reviews (GLBA/PCI/HIPAA), application audits, and assistance in developing policies and procedures such as information security programs, incident response plans, and disaster recovery plans. Colin holds a BA degree in Accounting and Information Systems and an MS degree in Accounting and Information Systems from Michigan State University. Colin is also a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA).

Dante Villarreal

Regional Director for the Michigan Small Business Development Center at Grand Valley State University.
Dante Villarreal is the Regional Director for the Michigan Small Business Development Center at Grand Valley State University His work with the business community allows him to assist clients in preparing business plans, market research, as well as financial assessment and cash flow projections. Under these responsibilities, Dante works with entrepreneurs who want to start their own business and with existing companies who want to expand their operations.

Dante holds a Bachelor Degree in International Business and a Master of Business Administration from Grand Valley State University. Dante is active in his community, serving on the boards of the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, the West MI Minority Contractors Association, the Regional Alliance for Diversity in Public Purchasing, and Hospice of Holland.

Kendra Vincenty

Government Lending Manager of First Financial Bank
Kendra Vincenty is the Government Lending Manager of First Financial Bank. She has been actively involved in SBA lending since 1999, when she began her career at a local Community Development Corporation organizing the MicroLoan program to promote economic development throughout the city of Columbus. Vincenty moved into lending in 2002 when she joined Commerce National Bank to develop their SBA programs. In 2009, after that bank was consolidated into First Merchants Bank, Vincenty was named Director of Government Lending. Her long tenure in SBA lending provides her the insight to work with organizations throughout the industry. Vincenty was recently elected to serve a three-year term on NAGGL’s board of directors as a representative of small lending institutions. She also serves on NAGGL’s Technical Issues Committee and chairs the association’s Region V Liaison Committee. As an instructor for NAGGL, she trains her peers on a variety of topics.

Kendra Vincenty

Government Lending Manager of First Financial Bank
Kendra Vincenty is the Government Lending Manager of First Financial Bank. She has been actively involved in SBA lending since 1999, when she began her career at a local Community Development Corporation organizing the MicroLoan program to promote economic development throughout the city of Columbus. Vincenty moved into lending in 2002 when she joined Commerce National Bank to develop their SBA programs. In 2009, after that bank was consolidated into First Merchants Bank, Vincenty was named Director of Government Lending. Her long tenure in SBA lending provides her the insight to work with organizations throughout the industry. Vincenty was recently elected to serve a three-year term on NAGGL’s board of directors as a representative of small lending institutions. She also serves on NAGGL’s Technical Issues Committee and chairs the association’s Region V Liaison Committee. As an instructor for NAGGL, she trains her peers on a variety of topics.

Carla Walker-Miller

President and Chief Executive Officer, Energy Services, LLC
As president and CEO of Walker-Miller Energy Services, LLC (WMES), Carla Walker-Miller is a savvy entrepreneur and a visionary leader determined to change lives through energy. With decades of energy industry leadership, her 15 year old Detroit-based firm develops and implements energy efficiency solutions for utility, residential and commercial building owners. These innovative services help decrease energy waste and the associated financial burden, providing a positive return on investment, and contributing to the safety, health and comfort of building occupants.

Carla is a sought after speaker on urban entrepreneurship, highlighting 21st Century diversity and inclusion as an imperative for success, and how the role of energy in the workforce relates to economic and community development. Ms. Walker-Miller is a proud Detroit booster, and champions issues related to water affordability and the intentional recruitment, training and employment of black Detroit residents.
In 2014, she graduated from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and was honored as the class speaker. Her firm has grown to more than 60 team members, and on track to gross more than $25 million in 2016 revenue.

Widely recognized locally and nationally, the company’s awards include the 2016 Women Presidents Organization 50 Fastest Growing Woman Owned Companies, the 2015 Best Small Business in Southeast Michigan by the Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the 2015 Michigan Small Business Administration (SBA) Woman-Owned Business of the Year, 2016 ICIC Inner City 100, 2015 Business of the Year by Michigan League Conservation Voters (MLCV), The Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies, Crain’s Detroit Business 2015 Cool Places to Work in Michigan, and the Michigan Chronicle Legacy in Motion award. Ms. Walker-Miller has been featured in national publications such as FORTUNE, EBONY, JET, Black Enterprise, EEI’s Electrical Perspectives, and Crain’s Detroit Business.

Mark A. Williams

President, Michigan Certified Development Corp.
Mark Williams joined the MCDC as President in June of 2015. Mark has a long and accomplished career in finance going back to his first position as a Bank Teller in 1982. Over the years, Mark has developed his skills in credit and financial analysis, loan review, portfolio management and sales at various institutions including Bank and non-Bank lenders. It was during this time, in 1999, when Mark completed his first SBA 504 loan working with the MCDC.

Mark’s diverse background includes stints as an entrepreneur having owned multiple businesses which further developed his management capabilities and leadership skills. Mark has been responsible for serving the entire state of Michigan in a sales capacity, partnering with Commercial Real Estate brokers, Business Bankers and Commercial Lenders to provide SBA 504, 7(a) and Express loans to create economic opportunity for small businesses throughout the entire state of Michigan and parts of northern Indiana.

Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Financial Administration from the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University.

Edith Wiseman

President, FRANdata
FRANdata is the only independent research company that provides objective information, analysis and consulting about the franchising sector. Wiseman is a 16 year veteran of FRANdata. As President, she is responsible for sales, product development, and market strategy. She also leads FRANdata’s diversification into international and other vertical markets. Prior to her role as President, she spent the last five years as the Executive Vice President where she had a leadership role in the strategic growth of FRANdata’s Capital Access and Franchise Business Intelligence suite of solutions. Wiseman was recently named to the IFA Supplier Forum Board and has co- chaired the Women’s Franchise Network.  She is a frequent speaker and has led industry roundtables as well as written articles for numerous industry publications.