Colorado SBDC Team
Joey Jenkins oversees the operational management, strategic direction, and financial planning of the Colorado Small Business Development Center Network, a $3.5 million federal- and state-funded program with 15 full-time Centers across the State of Colorado.
Throughout his tenure and with the help of Jenkins’ guidance and support, the Colorado SBDC Network has successfully implemented new small business support initiatives and programs including Connect 2 Dot (a partnership with CDOT designed to assist small companies in navigating construction bids and contracts), SBDC ADVANCED (economic gardening initiative targeting second stage, growth companies), Small Manufacturer’s AdvantEdge (specialized consulting and training for Colorado’s small manufacturing companies), and SBDC TechSource (targeted assistance for Colorado’s technology and innovation-driven companies including access to capital and technology transfer).
When not spending time with all of the amazing individuals that make up the Colorado SBDC Network, Joey also enjoys planning mountaineering adventures, bike-packing expeditions, and re-building 19th century homes.
Alex Markovich started with the Colorado SBDC in the fall of 2010. As the deputy director of finance for the SBDC Network, he is the lead fiscal and grant/cooperative agreement monitor with primary responsibility to ensure budget control and grant, contract and program compliance. In this role, Markovich works closely with the state director in planning, organizing, implementing, managing and evaluating SBDC activities throughout the network. He also manages the proposal and grant development, writing and preparation processes.
Before joining the SBDC, Markovich worked in public and private accounting for three years. He worked as an associate with KPMG in Denver, a payroll/HR coordinator for Aramark in Denali, and an internal auditor for Vail Resorts in Keystone.
Markovich attended Pennsylvania State University, Smeal College of Business where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in accounting with a minor in international business. He also holds a master’s degree in international trade, finance and development with a concentration in economic development from the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
Wendy Wojcik started with the Colorado SBDC in the Spring of 2016. Her role includes managing marketing, PR and communications for the SBDC centers throughout Colorado as well as the management of all major special events. She helps coordinate the center programming which includes metric trending, scorecards, impact surveys, annual reporting and evaluations and is the main contact for the Client Management System for all SBDC Centers state-wide. In her role, Wendy manages the LEADING EDGE program, SBDC’s business planning course for entrepreneurs.
Prior to joining the SBDC, Wendy worked with Jacobs Engineering in their Contracts Management Group.
Wendy graduated from Canisius College in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in international business and international relations.
John Kovacs was appointed by Governor Hickenlooper to the SBDC Advisory Board in 2016 and joined the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) in 2017 as Business Navigator for Colorado. John assists entrepreneurs looking to start a business in Colorado and enjoys advising and guiding them through the process of new business set up.
John also served on the MyBiz Colorado launch team and supports MyBiz on an ongoing basis. Prior to joining OEDIT, John spent 20 years as a corporate Human Resources Manager for major Fortune 50 firms. In his most recent role, John spent 8 years as Regional HR Manager for Sears Roebuck and led a team of three who were responsible for 69 units in 16 states across 5 time zones and supported a P&L of $114 million. John’s team had the lowest turnover rate and highest associate engagement score in the nation and he traveled approximately 50,000 miles a year throughout the West.
John holds a Master of Labor and Industrial Relations (MLIR) from Michigan State University and the highest-level HR certifications one may obtain- the Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR) from HRCI and the Senior Certified Professional (SCP) from SHRM. John earned his B.A. in Political Science from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and interned in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C. as well as for President Reagan’s Commerce Secretary-Malcolm Baldrige Jr. John lives with his family in the Evergreen area and is proud to claim Zebulon Pike as a family ancestor. John lost both of his parents at a young age and inherited their WWII convictions of hard work, earning, saving and investing for America’s future.
Sharon King has been with the Boulder SBDC for more than eight years. Before joining the SBDC, King focused on the conversion and rebranding of the independent Boulder Outlook Hotel, in which she is an investor. Her first business was a vintage clothing store – right out of college. In the 30 years between, she has been an entrepreneur, marketing executive and consultant for small (and larger) businesses in many industries, including hospitality, professional services, banking, consumer products, retail and manufacturing.
King holds an MBA from Cornell University.
Aikta Marcoulier joined the SBDC team as the director of the Pikes Peak center in May 2012. Prior to the SBDC, she was the director of partnership marketing with the Professional Bull Riders (PBR). In that role, Marcoulier managed a team which provided all aspects of sponsorship and account management.
Marcoulier first began her work within the Colorado Springs community with the Native American Sports Council, a community-based organization of the United State Olympics Committee, where she received the experience of acquiring grants and local support to meet broader goals of the organization.
Aikta is involved in the El Pomar Emerging Leaders Program. She is an active board member of Women on the Move, Pikes Peak Workforce Development Board, Pikes Peak Community College Business Advisory Board, BBB Colorado Institute for Social Impact, and BRCA Girl. She serves on numerous committees for the Colorado Springs Business Journal (Fastest Growing Business, Women of Influence, Southeast Business Plan Competition) and is a mentor for Leadership Pikes Peak. Aikta serves on the Technology and Funding Committees for the Colorado SBDC Network.
Past memberships include board membership to the Southern Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Women to Women Mentoring and the Executive Leadership Committee for the Leukemia Lymphoma Man/Women of the Year Gala.
Marcoulier received her MBA in global management from the University of Phoenix and undergraduate degrees in both economics and psychology from the University of Iowa. She was awarded the University of Iowa Leadership Award in 2011 and was named one of the Colorado Springs Business Journal’s Rising Stars for 2013 and Women of Influence. Additionally, Aikta earned the Colorado State Star Award in 2013 and lead the Colorado Springs SBDC to earn the UCCS Deans Award, El Paso County Recognition Award, SBA Region VIII Award for Innovation and Excellence and the Pikes Peak Arts Council Arts Advocacy Award.
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.
Tom joined the San Luis Valley SBDC in June of 2018 as its Director after serving as the production manager and an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico. Prior to this Tom was a custom furniture maker, artisan and fabricator with his own company in central Florida that catered to specialty design and fabrication solutions for the interior design and architecture industries. In addition to his work in education and the arts, Tom also has worked as a consultant to universities and economic development organizations in the areas of strategic facilities planning and maker-space & small business incubation.
Tom is excited to join the SBDC and the other San Luis Valley economic and community organizations in assisting small businesses and the communities they serve with the goal of supporting and promoting the wonderful opportunities, talent and unique advantages present here in the San Luis Valley.
Raised by an entrepreneur in Moab, Utah, Julie Morey grew up around family-owned businesses which included skating rinks, sanitation services and telecommunication companies. She has been the director of the Grand Junction SBDC since 1995 and has owned two businesses.
Morey obtained her business degree through Mesa State College’s School of Professional Studies.
Mike O’Connell directs the Larimer County SBDC.
O’Connell earned a business degree with a marketing emphasis from Purdue University, and worked in a variety of executive sales, marketing, and business unit management positions, including eleven years with Thermadyne Holdings, North America’s third largest manufacturer of metal cutting and welding equipment. In 2001, O’Connell purchased Mountain Woods Furniture (MWF), a leading national designer/manufacturer of rustic hand-crafted furniture, and co-owned and operated that business until its’ sale in December 2011. MWF’s products were sold through Cabelas, national furniture e-tailers, furniture stores, and to resorts and lodges desiring a rustic style. He provided over 6,000 paychecks to American manufacturing workers during his ownership of MWF.
“What I love about the Larimer County SBDC is that we have an experienced team of counselors and advisors that can give the small business owner the tools to manage business challenges. We offer a wide range of useful no/low cost training classes, and confidential unbiased counseling services. Our goal is to help maximize the economic potential of small businesses in Larimer county.”
O’Connell is currently a board member with NoCoNet, a volunteer organization which provides support, advice, and networking opportunities to 250+ professional job-seekers in Northern Colorado. He enjoys spending time with his three children, hiking and exercising, playing guitar, and photography.
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.
Abram Sloss is the executive director of the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center (SBDC), a provider of entrepreneurial and business development services that plays a vital role in the metro Denver region. For 30 years, the Denver Metro SBDC has assisted tens of thousands of small businesses and entrepreneurs by providing no-cost professional consultation, comprehensive trainings, and data necessary to make sound business decisions in a constantly changing marketplace.
Abram started his career working in large consultancy firms, including Cerner Corporation and PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he implemented enterprise business solutions within the healthcare and telecommunication industries. He was responsible for project management and client relationships, as well as leading change management efforts for clients engaged in process improvement endeavors.
Prior to joining the SBDC network, he worked for the City and County of Denver focusing on continuous improvement efforts and streamlining service delivery for multiple departments throughout the city. In this role, Abram led significant changes within transportation maintenance programs, low priority crime management, and designed a lean manufacturing process that increased signs and markings capacity of the transportation division within Public Works.
Abram earned both a Master’s of Business Administration and Bachelor’s in Management Information Systems from the University of Iowa. He currently serves on the Board of Directors at Rocky Mountain Performance of Excellence, and is the Co-Chairman of Community College of Denver’s Business and Technology Advisory Board. He also serves on the Advisory Council of Mile High Connects, a non-profit that connects residents to affordable housing, jobs, education, and places that promote activity and health.
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.
Pewitt has served as the organization’s interim director since September 2018. Her previous experience includes serving as executive director of Houston Energy Data Science in Texas and as an account executive with Digital Intelligence Systems. She also has worked as a technical recruiter, community relations coordinator and research consultant. She graduated from Colorado State University-Global Campus in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership.
“I am humbled and excited to be in this position that will allow me to influence economic growth and sustainability in my hometown,” Pewitt said. “With the support of the SBDC Network, Pueblo Community College, community partners and institutions, we will optimize resources and continue developing the network to encourage, educate and support entrepreneurship and the growth of small businesses throughout the region.
“Having been involved recently with Houston’s entrepreneurial, energy and tech communities and witnessing their growth, I am confident that Southern Colorado can achieve similar successes given the foundation that has already been established.”
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.
Len Norten is the Director of the North Metro Denver Small Business Development Center located on the Westminster Campus of Front Range Community College. Len’s passion is helping small businesses thrive and be successful. After a 30 year career in the corporate sector in operational and financial leadership roles with American Airlines, John Deere, Cisco and American Express, he joined Performance Mobility in Colorado where he championed the growth plan increasing the business more than 500% in five years and being named Top Stage II Colorado Company to Watch. After selling the company, Len has been a small business consultant focusing on helping companies grow and improve their performance, along with teaching business courses at Front Range Community College as a part-time Instructor.