SBDC Advisory Board

The mission of the Colorado SBDC Advisory Council and Governor’s Small Business Council is to enhance the development, growth and prosperity of Colorado businesses by:

  • Serving as a resource to the governor and General Assembly on statewide business issues, including regulatory reform and access to capital
  • Gathering and disseminating information about capital resources and technical assistance available to small businesses
  • Acting as an advocate on behalf of small businesses

Click here to view the 2012-2013 Colorado Small Business Community Forum results.

Meet the current members of the advisory board below.


Susan Allard

Susan Allard is a 5th generation Colorado native with strong roots in the community. Her work at the Denver Business Journal introduced Susan to the world of micro/small business and various opportunities to help them achieve success. She currently owns a consulting business and works in senior move management.

Susan currently serves on the Advisory Board for A Precious Child, previously served on the board of directors for Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute (RMMFI) and has been a long standing member of the Colorado JCI Senate.

Owner, CourtSide Consulting

Courtney Berg

Courtney Berg is the owner of CourtSide Consulting, a human resources consulting firm. Berg works with small business up and down the front rage of Colorado. She has more than 28 years of human resources and operations management experience, with for-profit and not-for-profit companies ranging in size from a family-owned furniture store to a national insurance corporation.

In December 2008, Berg was featured in Inc Magazine. She was a 2009 Denver Business Journal “Outstanding Women in Business” nominee and was awarded the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce “Chamber Champion” award in the spring of 2011. She was also the 2011-2012 Denver Metro Chamber Leads Group Program Chairperson.

Berg has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in management from the University of Northern Colorado. She received her Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) designation in January 2005 from the HR Certification Institute/Society of Human Resource Management.

President, Connectionmark

Mark Bittle

Mark Bittle has been associated with the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center for the past eight years as a Certified Business Consultant, NxLevel Facilitator, and a member of the advisory board. He enjoys helping his clients manage and grow their businesses by identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that they face on a daily basis.

Bittle founded Connectionmark™ after seeing the opportunity to help businesses and key leadership become more productive and profitable through strategic planning and design. He works with his clients to assist them in growing and Optimizing their Businesses through empowerment, strategic development, design, and execution. Bittle is passionate about small businesses and used a small-business-mindset in the corporate environment most recently as the director of marketing and development for one of the largest media companies in Southern Colorado. Prior to that he was a local executive for a Fortune 150 company.

Before Connectionmark™, Bittle successfully founded and worked in his own small businesses, served on a national trade association delegate council board, served on education and certification committees, became a Certified NxLevel Facilitator and Certified IceHouse Facilitator, and traveled the country as a national instructor teaching mortgage compliance, ethics, and business development.

Bittle, an Iowa native, resides in Colorado Springs. He earned his bachelor’s degree in communications with certifications in leadership and conflict management from Regis University.

Educational Resource

Tony Gagliardi

Named by the Denver Business Journal as one of the region’s top-performing business newsmakers two years in a row, Tony Gagliardi is the Colorado and Wyoming state director for the National Federation of Independent Business, America’s largest small-business association.

He runs the lobbying, political and educational operations for NFIB in both states, which includes the constant reminder to policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of big businesses, but instead have different difficulties in remaining solvent.

In the 10 years he’s been NFIB’s state director, Gagliardi’s lobbying successes have included lower business-personal-property-tax rates, protection of small-business owners from unfair liability, and defeat of attacks on the rights of independent contractors to earn a living. In the last session of the Colorado Legislature, Gagliardi helped bring about the end of the state’s Pay Equity Commission for straying from its original purpose and becoming a hive of big labor and big government supporters who started threatening businesses with adopt-our-recommendations-or-else policies.

Prior to joining NFIB, Gagliardi ran his own government-relations, consulting and lobbying firm, Tony Gagliardi & Associates, for eight years, whose stable of clients included Quiat International Resources, Cripple Creek Casino Association, Mobil Tool International, Colorado Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, National Association of Royalty Owners, Colorado Childcare Association, and Intelaguard.

Known for his humor and easy going nature when discussing issues affecting small business, Gagliardi is a sought after speaker by various community and business organizations.
His civic involvement has included service on the state’s workforce board, and his community involvement has included service as a volunteer fireman. He also served on the board of directors for the Colorado Society of Association Executives.

Mr. Gagliardi and his wife of 37 years make their home in Denver.

Small Business Advocate

John Hart

John Hart is an experienced and accomplished business affairs professional with over 25 years business and legal consulting experience. Currently, Hart is an independent consultant offering strategic advice to small businesses in Colorado on federal regulatory matters and consulting on construction and real estate transactions. Recently, he served as a Regional Advocate for the Office of Advocacy at the US Small Business Administration. He was responsible for advancing the message of the Office of Advocacy and representing the Chief Counsel for Advocacy in Federal Region VIII, including Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. This included analyzing complex federal regulations, their impact on our small business constituent class, and interacting with constituent stakeholders throughout the region, primarily small business entities and non-profit groups fewer than 500 employees. The Office of Advocacy’s role is to represent small businesses throughout the country in all federal regulatory matters, congressional legislation and White House executive actions. He routinely spoke on public forums, conducted small business roundtables and communicated directly with the public on changes in federal regulatory policy.

In the past, he has also worked as a project manager in the private sector as a business and financial analyst in industries as diverse as large sector banking and bond training, multi-media and film production, small financial investment companies and as an independent contractor helping small and medium businesses develop business plans for securing development capital. This work has encompassed conducting in-depth financial analysis and preparing and presenting summary reports to board members, senior executives and senior management.

Hart also served as the director of asset management, planning and development for the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (Maryland), where he oversaw project management of city-owned housing and housing development. He was a business affairs coordinator, multimedia, and bank financing analyst with Canal+/Studiocanal in LA, where he advised on over $1.5 billion on current multimedia joint venture projects. He has served as a consultant in numerous small business startups focusing on venture financing, business plan development, and asset acquisition. Hart has a juris doctor degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of California at LA. He is a licensed lawyer in the State of Colorado.

Managing Partner, Anton Collins Mitchell LLP (ACM) Boulder Office

William (Bill) F. Jones

Bill is a Colorado native and graduated from Metropolitan State College of Denver. He has over 25 years of professional accounting experience and specializes in providing comprehensive audit and tax services to nonprofit organizations. Some of Bill’s specific areas of expertise include business and management consulting, financial reporting, individual, business, and nonprofit income taxes, and business and accounting software consulting. Bill also has six years of private-industry accounting experience, including two years with one of the nation’s largest real estate developers, where he was involved with various aspects of accounting and treasury areas. Bill has overseen engagements from small, privately owned companies to companies with over $ 1 billion in revenue.

Professional affiliations include the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Colorado Society of Certified Public Accountants, Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Board with Colorado Society of CPAs, and he serves as Treasurer for the Erie Chamber of Commerce. He also participates in various other community and civic organization and activities.

President, 2MK Consultants

Michael Keaveny

Michael Keaveny is the President of 2MK Consultants. He consults with businesses and international non-profit organizations in Colorado as they look to expand or strengthen their overseas operations. He also is a consultant to a Denver-based employee recruiting company and is a tax preparer. Among his volunteer professional activities, he is a member of Irish Network Colorado, the Conference on World Affairs at CU Boulder, and the Rocky Mountain World Trade Center.

Prior to returning in 2009 to Colorado, Michael served 17 years as a trade diplomat for the U.S. Department of Commerce, assisting U.S. companies, mostly small and medium size, to trade and invest in Saudi Arabia, India, Switzerland and Canada. He also served as a private sector officer with the U.S. Agency for International Development in Egypt and Honduras, assisting micro and small businesses with their commercial development. During his four year stateside assignment he directed the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Baltimore, MD – along with partners from SBA and Ex-Im Bank – that assisted hundreds of small companies from the Mid-Atlantic States with identifying and fulfilling business opportunities around the world. Prior to federal service, Mr. Keaveny was the Vice President of an environmental education organization in California and an accountant in the manufacturing sector. He was raised in Colorado and is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley.

High Country Restaurant Holdings

Pete LaBarre

Pete LaBarre has been involved in numerous successful business ventures – many of which were in real estate. In the 1980’s. he was the organizer, marketer and general partner of two real estate general partnerships, sold and managed multifamily and residential real estate, was one of three principals that developed and managed a private second mortgage fund returning to investors 20+% on investments. Along with family members, he owns and operates multiple single and multi-family properties, a mobile home park, the only code compliant park model / tiny home community in Colorado, and three commercial properties. He has performed multiple commercial and residential remodels and renovations, having worked in various trades since he was 12 years old. Currently, he and his business partners are developing 43 acres in Woodland Park, CO for retail, multi-family, storage and Park Model uses. Additionally, Pete owned, developed new locations, operated, and sold 8 Denny’s restaurants in Southern Colorado.

Mr. LaBarre earned both his undergraduate degree in Finance and MBA from the University of Colorado, CS. He worked with the Small Business Development Center at the CS Chamber of Commerce. He taught economics, business management, and statistics at a Pikes Peak Community College and was a guest lecturer at The Faculty of Economics at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic. Currently, he serves on the Governor of Colorado’s Business Advisory Board, the Colorado State Small Business Development Center advisory board, the Colorado Springs Police Department Foundation board and was the Teller County Republican Chair. Additionally, Mr. LaBarre serves as president of two HOAs.

Executive Director, Grand Junction Business Incubator Center

Jon Maraschin

Jon Maraschin is the executive director of the Business Incubator Center in Grand Junction, Colorado. The BIC was founded in 1987 and is a 60,000 square foot mixed-use campus which includes manufacturing and office space as well as a commercial kitchen. The center hosts a business loan fund and the Grand Junction SBDC. It also administers the Enterprise Zone tax credit program.

Maraschin started as a volunteer with the Incubator for more than six years before coming the director in 2011. Prior to joining the staff, he had a successful career for more than 15 years as a commercial banker in Salt Lake City, Steamboat Springs, and Grand Junction.

Maraschin, a Grand Valley native, is an honorably-discharged U.S. Navy veteran. He earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing with an accounting emphasis from the University of Utah.

Principal, My Fractional CFO

Dan Miller

Dan Miller is the Principal of My Fractional CFO. My Fractional CFO provides fractional (part-time) CFO services for small and medium-sized businesses and non-profits that need senior level expertise.

Dan is a Colorado native, and gained his 30+ years of C level experience, (CFO, COO and CEO) in and around the Denver Front Range. He is a hands-on executive with extensive financial and operational expertise. Dan has a keen understanding of the impact finance and operations have on success. He’s easy to talk to and has a unique ability to make complex concepts understandable to employees, managers and the executive team. He’s been integral to many start-ups, mergers and acquisitions.

He has served as the President and Board member of the Rockies Venture Club and the Chairman of the Governor’s Small Business Council. He is currently a board member for the prestigious Young Voices of Colorado and serves on the Governor’s Small Business Advisory Council. He holds an MBA from the University of Denver, Daniel’s College of Business, and a bachelor’s degree in government from Pomona College. He enjoys touring around Colorado with his family and pets, and camping in their renovated RV!

Educational Resource

Frances Padilla

Frances A. Padilla was named the district director for the Colorado District Office in January 2017. As Director, she is the Chief Executive Officer responsible for directing the expansion and delivery of SBA’s various loan and business training services throughout the State of Colorado.

Prior to her current position, she was the deputy district director where she led the Entrepreneurial Development and Lender Relations divisions in the Colorado office. As deputy district director, Ms. Padilla managed the agency’s relationships and collaborations with financial institutions, resource partners, local government officials, and economic development organizations.

Before coming to Colorado, Ms. Padilla served as the deputy district director and chief of finance in the New Mexico District Office providing direction, management, oversight, and deployment of the SBA’s Capital Access programs to internal and external stakeholders. In addition to her responsibilities at the district office level, Ms. Padilla also served as a regional lender relations trainer and has participated on several field advisory committees at SBA headquarters.

During her SBA career, Frances has served as the statewide point of contact for commercial and community-based lending institutions providing lender training and technical assistance. She has also served as the District International Trade Officer, Brand Manager, Public Information Officer, District Office Technical Representative, and Women’s Business Ownership Liaison.

Before joining the SBA team in 2007, Ms. Padilla worked for USDA Rural Development, the State of New Mexico’s Department of Finance & Administration, and the New Mexico Finance Authority. Her career includes over 20 years of experience in public finance, guaranteed lending, governmental relations, project management, strategic planning, and community development. A native of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Ms. Padilla earned her Bachelor of Arts in business management from the College of Santa Fe.

The Colorado District Office serves the entire state, a vast geographic territory of more than 104,100 square miles which includes 64 counties. Frances Padilla serves as an educational resource on the Colorado Small Business Advisory Council.

Senior Vice President, Business Lending, FirstBank

Kyle Sickman

Kyle is a Senior Vice President in Business Lending at FirstBank. Kyle has been with FirstBank since 2008 with experience including retail branch management, residential mortgage and construction lending, commercial real estate lending, and business lending. Kyle’s community service has be focused primarily on economic diversification and career development opportunities within the state of Colorado. He is currently the Chair-elect and Treasurer of the Colorado Workforce Development Council, Commissioner on the Business Experiential Learning (BEL) Commission, Executive Committee Member of the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative, Board Member of the Adams County Workforce Development Board, and a member of Colorado Lending Source’s Community Advantage Loan Committee. Kyle attended the ABA Stonier Graduate School of Banking, obtained his undergraduate degree from Butler University, and his MBA from the University of Denver.

Founder/CEO, Ink Monstr Graphic Design and Printing

Reed Silberman

Reed Silberman is originally a Wall St. broker from NYC, and moved to Colorado in 1999 to pursue his dream of snowboarding for a living. While living in his van in 2004, he founded Ink Monstr. What was once a hobby, became a custom design/print company that competes nationwide, is well know in his industry, and is heavily involved in his local community. Ink Monstr is a “2017 Colorado Companies To Watch” winner, and Reed was honored with “2016 CO SBA Small Business Person of the Year”. Reed joined the SBDC Small Business Advisory Committee at the beginning of 2016.

Owner, Spitz Legal Counsel

Mark Spitz

Mark Spitz is the owner of Spitz Legal Counsel in Denver. His practice focuses on corporate, business, cybersecurity and privacy law, serving entrepreneurs, startups, and small-to-mid-sized businesses.

Before law school, Mark worked in London and Washington, DC. He began his legal career in a large law firm and went on to serve as in-house counsel with several companies, including as general counsel of a publicly-traded corporation, all in the Cincinnati, Ohio area.

Mark moved to Colorado in 2010 when his wife accepted a job at the University of Denver. He worked on education policy issues and taught math for two years in Denver Public Schools before resuming the practice of law. He has also taught as an adjunct instructor at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business and the Sturm College of Law.

Mark has a law degree from Boston College Law School, a masters in international affairs from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.

Board Member, SBDCs

Dr. Becky Takeda-Tinker

Dr. Becky-Takeda-Tinker blends her passion for education with her experience in non-profit governance and over 20 years of business leadership as the president and CEO of Colorado State University-Global Camps. CSU-Global is the nation’s first and only 100% online, independently accredited, state, nonprofit university.

She currently serves on the National Advisory Board of the Office of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), the Governor of Colorado’s Small Business Council, and as a Peer Reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges & Schools. Becky also participates on local and state boards that seek to enhance the quality of lives in the U.S. and abroad.

She holds a Ph.D in organization and management with a specialization in leadership; a Masters of Business Administration in Finance; and a post-graduate certificate in marketing management; and a Bachelor of Arts in economics.

Founder and CEO,, Inc

Kaakpema (KP) Yelpaala

As a Founder and the Chief Executive Officer, KP drives the technology vision, global strategy and operations of, Inc, a Colorado-based business that offers enterprise software for high growth frontier markets. He has several years of experience working with international businesses and nonprofits. KP has start-up experience in national-scale health and agriculture program design, launch and implementation with the William J. Clinton Foundation and international management and strategy consulting experience with Dalberg Global Development Advisors.

Kaakpema served on the Governor of Colorado’s technology policy team during the campaign, as well as the Governor’s IT transition committee. He was also a member of the Advisory Council to the Chief Technology Officer in the State of Colorado, with a focus on mobile technology innovation. He is a member of the 2012 class of Leadership Denver, a flagship community engagement and leadership program of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, and an Adjunct Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economic Development and Global Health from Brown University and an MPH from the Yale School of Public Health. Kaakpema was the recipient of the 2007 Yale University Eric W. Mood New Professionals in Public Health Alumni Award for leadership and innovation in global health.

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