Colorado SBDC Team
Meet the members of the statewide Colorado SBDC team, located at the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
In the past 15 years, Sharon King and Boulder SBDC have worked with over 7,000 entrepreneurs from startups through 2nd stage companies, from “Main Street” retailers through highly scalable manufacturing and advanced industry science & technology ventures. In 2018, Boulder SBDC was named the nation’s best SBDC by U.S. Small Business Administration — the Center of Excellence and Innovation. Sharon leads the Colorado SBDC TechSource: Commercialization Program statewide, as well as the Tech Venture Accelerators (TVX). In 2018 and 2019, Sharon partnered with NASA to produce their national SBIR event (Innovation & Opportunity Conference) in Colorado. Sharon has been an entrepreneur, marketing executive and consultant for small (and larger) businesses in a wide range of industries. She holds an MBA from Cornell University, certification in Technology Commercialization from University of Houston and is nationally-certified by the Edward Lowe Foundation and Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurship.
Marcia McGilley has jump started over 1,000 companies and reads approximately 100 business plans per year. She has owned six companies and her experience lies in business launching, strategic and business planning, marketing, cleantech and advanced presentation skills. McGilley is a founding member of the Rocky Mountain Region of the Cleantech Open (CTO) business competition, where she served as regional and national workshop chair. Under McGilley’s leadership, the Aurora-South Metro SBDC was named the 2012 U.S. Small Business Administration – Region VIII – “SBDC Center of the Year for Excellence and Innovation.” McGilley was also the 2013 State Star Award winner.
Jason C. Medina
Jason is a 4th Generation San Luis Valley native. He grew up in a small business himself, a family-owned grocery store in San Luis, the oldest town in Colorado. After graduating from Centennial High School in San Luis, he attended Adams State University, where he received a B.A. in Psychology. Jason has a diverse background and work experience, including seven years in public education, six years in local government, and over 10 years in public housing. He is also a budding entrepreneur himself and owns a small business in San Luis. Jason is passionate about seeing current small businesses flourish in the Valley, and providing opportunities for new start-ups. “My goal is to promote economic development in our communities while maintaining their cultural identities.”
As a second-generation Coloradoan, I’m proud to have the opportunity to serve small business in the great state in which I love. Having ran my own consultancy practice for over a decade prior to joining the SBDC, I’ve formed a strong appreciation for the independence and self-empowerment which comes from being a business owner and pursuing one’s own version of their American Dream. As the Director of the Grand Junction SBDC, I am able to give back to the community and help others on their entrepreneurial journey. I can’t think of any other mission I would rather serve.
I bring to my role specific domain expertise in agriculture, energy, life science, food security, industrial production, and cleantech, resulting from having worked with 400+ small-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to access capital, create product-market fit, and develop strategies for growth and scale. Through my private sector practice, I had the good fortune of living and working abroad for close to 12 years in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe.
In my personal life, I enjoy all the things one would expect of a ‘kid from Colorado’. From the snow-covered Rockies to the wind kissed grasslands of the Eastern Plains; from the deep shadows of the Black Canyon to the sunrise mosaics of the National Monument, some come to Colorado to see her beauty, whereas, for those of us who are truly lucky, we get to call this home.
Hope Hartman has a diverse background that includes software, startups, technology transfer and commercialization, education and non-profits. She has held roles in executive leadership,
business development, training and client success. Most recently she served as a coach for a
learning community of entrepreneurs to scale their startups through Ingomu, a Colorado based
Hope started her first company when she was 18 and experienced her first acquisition in 2016
to a Japanese venture capital firm. Currently she is a business owner and non-profit founder.
Although Hope has worn many hats over the years, she enjoys advising and coaching
entrepreneurs to reach their optimal level of performance and inspire them to gain skills and
knowledge to scale and sustain their business and succeed in life.
Mary Shepherd joined the Southwest Colorado SBDC as the office manager in December 2014. Prior to that, she was the campus visit coordinator in the office of admission at Fort Lewis College.
Shepherd has lived in Southwest Colorado for over 20 years, working in many industries from hospitality to public relations to education. She understands the challenges of small business ownership, having owed a small business in Durango with her husband, and wishes she had known then about the services that the SBDC provides.
Shepherd received her Bachelor’s Degree in Government from Cornell University. She enjoys traveling, camping, and all the great outdoor recreation opportunities that life in Colorado provides.
I’m very involved in the community and sit on the board of directors for the Boy Scouts of America and I’m the chair of the marketing committee. Over the years I have helped my community develop and grow and I’m looking forward to continuing on this path through my new role as the Director of the East Colorado SBDC & UNC BizHub.
I graduated in 2010 from the Monfort College of Business at the University of Northern Colorado with a degree in Business Marketing and a minor in Spanish. During my education, I participated in a study abroad program at the Universidad de Guadalajara and studied Marketing and Spanish. I am bilingual and provide consulting in Spanish and English. I joined the East Colorado SBDC in 2010 as a Marketing Specialist and Business Consultant, responsible for promotions and communication of the Center as well as guiding local companies through start-up and growth phases. Starting in 2012 I was promoted to the Associate Director of the East Colorado SBDC.
I grew up in rural Colorado in the home of an entrepreneur and have always had a passion for small business. In January of 2017, I was promoted to the Director for the East Colorado SBDC and UNC BizHub, becoming the first millennial as a director for Colorado SBDC. I am excited about having the opportunity to move up in the organization and helping small businesses grow in Colorado.
I connect with the people that live and thrive in this region and want to continue to help in developing the local economy. I have been with the organization for seven years and have contributed to building the center. With about 600 clients during my career as a certified small business consultant and over 3200 hours consulting with small businesses, I have developed great relationships and successful businesses with the East Colorado area. I was the chair of the marketing committee for the Colorado SBDC which branded the network as a whole and I have played an active role in the technology committee for the upcoming new T designation. I am now the chair of the fundraising committee for the Colorado SBDC network and look forward to what the future will bring.
From ballet to BMW and the Olympics to opera, Nancy has a deep understanding of luxury and lifestyle products as well as for-profit and nonprofit businesses. As a corporate “intra”prenuer, marketing strategist, and brand manager, she has created trends and introduced new products into the global market with great success. She is a strategy powerhouse and certified spreadsheet geek. She holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. In 2008, Nancy turned her attention to helping small businesses work smarter, not harder. She has advised hundreds of businesses—large and small—on how to substantially increase their bottom line. She also holds an ICF certification in executive coaching.
Areas of expertise include luxury/lifestyle products, marketing strategy, brand management, and consumer behavior.
Her clients include BMW, Jaguar, Volvo, the Olympics, American Express, Benetton, Sprint, Santa Fe Opera, the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Silicon Valley Ballet, Nambe, Chaco, Shadescapes Americas, and American Express’ National Arts Marketing Project, as well as numerous startups and small businesses across the nation.
Mickie began her career in promotional and entertainment marketing in the for profit industry, and for almost two decades helped organizations and businesses share their talents and products through large scale events and concept building on both coasts and in Colorado. In the early 2000’s, she turned her focus to the relationship building experience of the nonprofit world helping populations struggling in economic disparity or entangled in the criminal justice system to realize their career aspirations and move forward through workforce development. She has developed workforce programming throughout the Denver Metro area, Northern Colorado and the rural communities of NE Colorado. In addition, she presents at national and state conferences sharing her experiences and encouraging professional development that breaks through glass ceilings and incorporates creativity in all business pursuits. She now resides in La Junta, Colorado and is the Regional Director for SE Colorado SBDC.
“My passion for helping communities led me to create and develop systems/programs that encourage skill and opportunity building for professionals. I specialize in workforce development and problem solving for business professionals focused on moving ahead in their lives and realize their dreams.” Mickie Lewis
As the saying goes in ski towns, a move to the mountains for one winter quickly turned into a search for year-round employment. Following training as a journalist in Iowa, Erin applied her networking and interviewing skills to a human resources career as a recruiter and business partner with Vail Resorts, Vail Health, White Lodging and Cordillera Metro District. In addition to general human resources background, her professional experiences include organizational development, leadership coaching and leading/developing communications, marketing and recruitment campaigns. She has first-hand experience with the challenges facing employers and small businesses in mountain communities.
Eagle County has now been home for over a decade, with a few years away to live and work on a ranch near Saratoga, Wyoming. The experience cemented an appreciation for rural mountain living and the hard-working, help-your-neighbor values that are found throughout Northwest Colorado.
The opportunity to engage, learn from and support entrepreneurs and community-minded partners drew Erin to the Small Business Development Center in June 2019. She has a genuine interest in understanding what makes each community of Northwest Colorado unique while capitalizing on those that they share in common to promote a successful regional SBDC.
Jamie Billesbach, has years of experience in brand development, marketing visions/creation, purchasing, graphic design, training programs and special event planning and implementation. Early on Jamie focused her career in the specialty coffee & food industry and later in all areas of specialty brand development, marketing, merchandising and management training. As Vice President of three different corporation’s she worked with up to 600 employees and managed $55 million in annual sales.
For 18 years Jamie ran her own consulting business Creative Concepts of Colorado dba Yara Innovations. Her Colorado Clients included: The Glen Douglas Group (Clif Bar, Annie’s Gourmet and Hershey’s), Earth Apothecary/Vista Acupuncture www.earth-apothecary.com, Brush Creek Metropolitan District, Aquatic Alternatives, AliceWinks, Collegiate Peaks Forum Series, The Reserve at Cottonwood Creek, Coldwell Banker – Bev Coggins Realty, High Country Bank, Krivanek’s Jewelry, Reality Language – LingoLynx and Bongo Billy’s Coffees (early circa). Examples of these works are available upon request.
International Clients included: LavAzza Premium Espresso (a drive-through Cafe concept in the USA) trained with LavAzza in Turin, Italy and then created their 8 segment training curriculum, and operational standards & policies for their USA concept. Jamie worked for Mexican Chiapas Shade Grown Coffee a 25,000 grower cooperative sponsored by the Mexican government. She developed their brand from creating their marketing plan, logo, roast profiles, packaging, promotions, sales collateral, booth and distribution systems (wholesale & retail). Jamie also worked with Clou Du Mont (PR), Growers First (CA), Arnold’s Coffee Cafe (KY), and Cafe Cuisine (WA).
From 2017 to July 2019, Jamie joined her town’s locale Welcome Center & Chamber of Commerce as marketing specialist. During this time, she had the great pleasure to create and organize their 2018 & 2019 Visitor & Relocation Guide.
China Califf comes to the organization with nearly 20 years of experience helping entrepreneurs and small businesses start and grow. In her role at the Denver Metro SBDC, she will oversee a team committed to providing educational programming, one-on-one free consulting, and virtual resources to Colorado entrepreneurs.
Prior to being named director of the Denver Metro SBDC, Califf spent 17 years at Colorado Lending Source, where she led branding and marketing strategies, worked with Colorado’s Congressional Delegation, and oversaw operations for the organization. Colorado Lending Source has been a key partner of the Denver Metro SBDC for the last two decades. Both organizations are committed to fostering a healthy economy by supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs. Ongoing partnerships between the organizations include Trout Tank Pitch Competition, LEADING EDGE, SBDC Day, Ice House Entrepreneur Development Training, and countless educational panels and event collaborations. Califf will continue to foster that partnership in her new role.
Brian Estrada is the Executive Director of the Southern Colorado Small Business Development Center and is a Colorado native who during the course of his lifetime has earned serval college degrees and life experience which allowed him live coast to coast acquiring thirty years of professional experience in Business Management and Administration. Brian also brings to the table thirty years of teaching in Higher Education and Corporate Education both in the public and private sectors.
Before joining the Southern Colorado Small Business center, he was the Business manager and Adjunct faculty for Pueblo Community College where he served on many diverse committees.
Brian inherently understands that the client is the single most valuable asset an organization can have, and is driven by the unrelenting pursuit of customer-driven focus and ideals. He understands how important small businesses are to the Colorado counties he serves, the people they employ, and economies they help power.
He enjoys traveling, camping, and spending time gardening in the beautiful Wet Mountains of Southern Colorado where he and his partner of 36 years live with their two dogs.
Brian lives by the motto, “How can we be a solution?”