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Lead Consultants

Lead Consultant/ Bilingual

Jesse Esparza

As the CEO of Morning Sun Enterprises LLC, Jesse has provided guidance and supported to a variety of individuals, organizations and companies. At the present he is a certified counselor and is a business advisor to the East Colorado, the Boulder and North Metro Small Business Development Centers.

He is also certified as a Health Coverage Guide counselor for small business owners, providing direction and support for their small business healthcare needs.

He has counseled and provided needed services and resources to over 400 new potential and existing entrepreneurs. He is also currently a Board member of the Carbon Valley Chamber in Firestone, Colorado and the President of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Boulder County. He is a member of the Advisory Board for the Boulder County Work Force.

His professional career has included 31 years as an educator 21 of those years as a principal. His leadership skills include helping individual improve their performance, cross cultural education, improving organizations, business development, and tapping potential and appropriate resources. He was the Colorado Small Business Development Center volunteer of the year in 2007 and the Small Business Development Center Counselor of the Year in 2009.

Lead Consultant

John Henry

After 14 years at United Parcel Service covering assignments from delivery driver to division manager, John was recruited by FedEx to join the team that drafted the initial operation plan which served a 25 city network. Over the next 13 years he was responsible for the development of several key managers accountable for budgets in excess of $140 million. As Managing Director of Canada his team was responsible for the simultaneous opening of ground operations and airline interface facilities in nine cities across the country. This coupled with the role he played in the U.S startup, along with similar assignments while at UPS, sharpened and tested his organizational and planning skills. As if that wasn’t enough, he took on the challenge of founder/owner of Transamerican Couriers Ltd., a local courier company engaged in same day and next day services along the Front Range.

For the last 25 years he has been teaching business and management courses, including Small Business Management, at Front Range Community College. During that span he has provided guidance, counseling and experience sharing with many students in their pursuit of careers in the business community.

John’s areas of expertise include:

  • Start Ups
  • Strategic Planning
  • Operations Analysis
  • Leadership Development
  • Cash/Cost Management
  • Industrial Engineering
Lead Consultant

Nancy Barnett

Nancy has 25 years of experience in corporate training, human resources, and vocational business training. Nancy’s passion is helping business owners start or improve their businesses by understanding all the components to build a strong business foundation. She takes great pleasure in helping owners with strategic planning and business plan development. She spent ten years at national Education College in California, as a teacher, Business Department Chairperson and Director of Education, as well as 14 years with AAA Colorado as Director of Corporate Training before joining Suzy to create Apis Business Solutions.

Besides working side-by-side with Suzy to build Apis Business Solutions, she is a trainer and consultant at the SBDC (Small Business Development Center) Metro Denver focusing on small business development as start-ups. She also designs and manages business training delivered through Apis. She and her husband, David have four grown children and eight grandchildren. In her free time, she enjoys genealogy, bead embroidery and collecting antiques.

Nancy’s areas of expertise are:

  • Business Plans
  • Start-up questions-how to file documents to get your business up and running
  • Defining Overall Marketing Strategy
  • Using Quick Books data in your business
Lead Consultant/ Veteran’s Specialist

Ron O’Herron

As a seasoned strategic management-operations business development consultant with more than 30 years of successful corporate management and consulting experience, Ron has extensive knowledge and expertise in both domestic and international business operations. His focus and methodology are structured and directed at helping businesses operations and people, research, plan and implement both short and long-term goals for both personal and business successful growth. He has worked with companies ranging in size from $250 thousand to $500 million in annual revenues.  His industry exposure includes Aerospace, Luxury Boat Manufacturing, Banking, Forensic Structural Engineering, Government Contracting, Metal Fabrication, Oil & Gas, Plastics Manufacturing and Telecommunications.  Ron was honored as the Colorado SBDC Consultant of the Year for 2015.

Ron grew up and graduated from college in Iowa, which he attended on a football scholarship and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business. He later enhanced his education with Management MBA’s in Business Law from Cornell and Strategic Business Development from Michigan. After college he served as a platoon leader in Vietnam with the 1st Armored Cavalry. Prior to going into the consulting arena, he spent 10 years as the president of an International Electronic Capital Equipment Manufacturing company with 15 domestic offices, 1 in Canada and 5 in Europe.  He and his wife, Sheri, are avid outdoor people with four children and eight grandchildren.

Ron’s areas of expertise are:

  • Business Development
  • Manufacturing
  • Strategic Management
  • Operations
  • Veterans
General Business & Strategic Planning

Wayne Anderson

Mr. Anderson is the senior Executive Leadership Coach and Founder of the Leadership Science Institute, LLC. He is a senior executive with equal blend of technical, business, managerial and public sector skills developed during experience with several “Fortune 500″ companies and local municipalities.

He has extensive experience in helping his clients to start, build and expand their businesses. In addition, he helps them to train and develop their professional staffs. He also has the unique ability to help his clients attract, retain, develop and motivate outstanding management and professional leaders.He has served as a publicly elected official, formerly holding the positions of City Council Member and County Commissioner for the City and County of Broomfield in the State of Colorado.

He is the author of the books, “Unwrapping the CIO: Demystifying the Chief Information Officer Position”, “Powerful People Are Powerful IT Professionals: Your Daily Guide to Becoming a Powerful Information Systems Person”, “I Am Unemployed … Now What Do I Do?: An Organized Approach to Becoming Employed” & “I Am AN Unemployed Christian… Now What Do I Do? An organized approach to becoming an employed Christian”.

His areas of expertise are:

  • Leadership
  • Team-Building
  • Sales
  • Market Research and Demographics for small business
Lead/Manufacturing Consultant

Jon Jaggers

Jon is a seasoned operations consultant, specializing in optimizing organizational capabilities through implementing process systems, application of lean techniques, and developing strategic plans. He has twenty plus years of operational management experience with several Fortune 500 companies. He has been a Lead Consultant for SBDC for the last five years.

Jon utilizes a methodical approach in developing organizational capabilities through strategic planning, tactical initiatives, and operational accountability. He is a certified in lean operational techniques, that when applied drive process excellence while delivering superb customer value. He assists clients in applying metrics to measure and improve key performance indicators.

His focus is on small to medium size company’s strategic and tactical plan development and execution. He has had the opportunity over the last five years to consult with numerous companies that have financially grown and prospered.

Jon has a BA in Business Administration and an MBA in Organizational Leadership from Ashford University. He was awarded State SBDC Consultant of the Year in 2015 for his contribution to his clients for economic development.

Marketing

Marketing

Kendra Fernandez

Kendra Fernandez is the founder and owner of Fernandez Business Development. Ms. Fernandez received her bachelors of science in marketing from the University of Nevada Las Vegas. She furthered her education by attending Regis University, where she received a Master’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in Strategic Management. Ms. Fernandez has held marketing positions for several well-known organizations, including: Costco Wholesale, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Life Care Centers of America, HCR ManorCare, the City of Federal Heights, and a few privately own healthcare facilities in the Denver Metro Area. After completing the MBA program at Regis, Ms. Fernandez wanted to give back to the community by assisting small to medium sizes business with marketing and strategy services in order to accomplish their goals, which led to the founding of Fernandez Business Development. She has demonstrated her ability to formulate and implement marketing strategies, which have resulted in exceeding organizational goals.

Kendra’s areas of expertise include:

  • Marketing including marketing plan formulation and implementation
  • Strategic Management including strategy formulation and implementation
  • Inbound (Online) Marketing: website design and management, social media marketing, email marketing, etc.
Marketing Strategy & Planning

Mike Saunders

Mike Saunders holds an MBA in Marketing and is a Business Strategist and a Marketing Fanatic.

He helps Small Business Owners with his proprietary system called “CA-TA-SA” to make sure that their business growth is maximized by: Reputation, Reach, Resell and Referral. 

What sets him apart from other business advisors is that he combines personalized the academic Strategy with cutting-edge Tactics.

He is the author of Amazon Bestselling book Authority Selling™, contributor to The Huffington Post, Adjunct Marketing Professor at several Universities and member of the Forbes Coaches Council – an invitation-only community for the World’s Most Influential Business and Career Coaches.

As an Authority Marketing Strategist, Mike helps business owners build their Authority and Expertise to enhance their Competitive Advantage by helping them become an Amazon bestselling author without writing a word. The result is a spectacular Authority Positioning Portfolio™ which is the solution for opening more doors to closing more business.

Limited complimentary copies of my 162 pg. book, Authority Selling™ that Tom Hopkins endorsed are available for shipment, and give away. Details at: http://authoritysellingbook.com/

Marketing Consultant

Peter Brissette

Peter has more than fifteen years successful experience in B2B and B2C sales and marketing for small businesses.

Working in such industries as advertising, automotive, catering, financial services, computer hardware and software, senior care, high tech manufacturing, internet marketing, consumer electronics, video security and many more.

Peter can walk a small business through a discovery process to uncover the key factors that will differentiate them from their competition. This differentiation will oil the machine of digital marketing for business growth.

Peter has expertise in the following areas: Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Website Development, Internet Marketing, Video Marketing, Email Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Content Creation, Product Development, Social Media Marketing, etc.

He is an expert at creating digital platforms, systems and tools for small businesses.

Legal

Intellectual Property Law

Samantha Peaslee

Samantha Peaslee is an international business and intellectual property law attorney for small- to medium-sized businesses and non-profits. Her practice focuses on entity formation, copyright registration and litigation, trademark registration and litigation, business transactions (cross-border and local), international commercial arbitration, and commercial and civil litigation. She also serves as general counsel for small businesses and non-profits.

Samantha has a J.D. from University of Denver Sturm College of Law, an M.A. from Josef Korbel School of International Studies, and a B.A. from Middlebury College. She placed first in the 5th Annual Shanghai International Commercial Arbitration Pre-Moot in 2015 and was a quarterfinalist in the 12th Annual William C. Vis (East) International Commercial Moot, where she also was the fourth best oralist overall. At Sturm College of Law, Samantha was Senior Managing Editor of Denver Journal for International Law and Policy and published her article “Is There a Place For Us?: Protecting Fan Fiction in the United States and Japan” in its Winter 2015 issue. In addition to her work and research in international business and intellectual property, Ms. Peaslee also researched extensively on state, national, and international energy laws with Professor K.K. DuVivier at Sturm College of Law and piracy issues with the Ved Nanda Center for International and Comparative Law.

Originally from Alexandria, LA, Samantha has also lived in Vermont, Maine, North Carolina, France, and South Korea. She speaks fluent French and can read Italian and some Korean. She has taught English as a second language in Paris at Montmartre After-School studies and in Seoul at Chungdahm April (Mapo). She currently furthers her international interests as a member of Denver’s Alliance Francaise, Denver Sister Cities Takayama, World Denver, and Denver World Trade Center’s NextGen Steering Committee. Samantha also continues to coach the University of Denver Vis Moot team.

An avid supporter of the arts, Samantha works with visual and performing artists to protect and promote their works. At Middlebury College, Samantha was a member of the Middlebury College Musical Players. Her capstone with that group was directing a performance of West Side Story in April 2010. Samantha was also involved in dance (notably tap) and choir. Although not actively performing, Samantha now supports the arts through membership in the Colorado Business Committee for the Arts and Colorado Attorneys for the Arts. She is also a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

Samantha is also a member of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce.

Education:

  • University of Denver, Josef Korbel School of International Studies (M.A. in International Studies, 2015)
  • University of Denver, Sturm College of Law (J.D.; Order of St. Ives; International Law Certificate, 2015)
  • Middlebury College (B.A. in International Studies, 2010)

Bar Admissions: Colorado

Financial

Financial Management and Lending

Karen Patel

Karen brings an enormous wealth of economic and business industry experience to her clients. The understanding of day to day business challenges and opportunities serves clients well from 25 years in financial management and commercial lending.  Her integrity in building relationships shines through with her personable and trustworthy demeanor.  Providing a high-touch level of service, Karen focuses on each client’s need for learning, understanding and executing the strategies that are implemented.

With regional, national, and international contacts and economic development experience, Karen is able to provide resources and networks to strengthen her clients’ overall position. With a formal education in accounting and management from St. Norbert College, there is a structure and discipline present to constantly review and track all implemented strategies of her clients’ plans.  She sits on numerous community and non-profit board of directors keeping her in decision-making company with other successful leaders.

As a business owner herself, Karen understands the needs of small businesses and is passionate about helping entrepreneurs lay the foundation of sound financial principles and practices.  Starting at the age of 9, her strong work ethic allowed her to see the value of the dollar.  As a young teen, she confirmed her vision to reap rewards from her disciplined saving.   She saved, spent and paid taxes realizing there must be better ways to manage her small fortune.  Knowing that not everyone has the knowledge, experience or professional contacts to assist them, Karen strives to assist her lifelong clients and those referred to her by satisfied clients.

Karen has a variety of licenses and certifications, including being a certified family business specialist (CFBS), certification in Long-Term Care (CLTC), registrations for her Series 6, 63, 65 and 7, along with her Life and Health license. She is very proactive with current and prospective clients, which she goes about by holding educational events like business owner symposiums, seminars and workshops for business owners and other financially related topics.

Outside of her practice, Karen enjoys hobbies and recreations like cooking and baking, gardening, rooting for her favorite NFL Teams, eclectic arts and crafts, winetasting, golf and traveling internationally. She has been married for over 25 years and has three marvelous children who together keep the family laughing and active.

Financial Resource - CEF

Lewis Hagler

Lewis Hagler is the Director of Lending for Colorado Enterprise Fund’s loan operations. Mr. Hagler joined CEF in 1994. Previously, he was the Director of the SBDC in Boulder. He is an entrepreneur with over 35 years’ experience owning and operating many successful business ventures, with special knowledge of the restaurant and food service industry. He has served as a business consultant and trainer for numerous projects. Mr. Hagler’s financial analysis skills, extensive contacts, and “real-life” entrepreneurial knowledge make him uniquely qualified to manage CEF’s marketing efforts and structure loan requests.

Financial Resource - TBK Bank

Valerie Escatel

Valerie Escatel is a lender / Branch manager with TBK Bank. Valerie represents the only bank in Brighton that is locally and family owned with a strong belief in community.

Valerie is an individual with high integrity who believes in personalizing her service to offer products meeting the needs of your company. She is a long time Brighton resident with two children.

Valerie has been a banker and servant of the community for 31 years. She was instrumental in the creation and service of the Brighton Small Business Resource Center which evolved into the North Metro Denver SBDC at Brighton and has volunteered as Chair of Brighton Economic Development Corporation Business Resources for the past ten years.

Awards & Recognition:

  • Brighton Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year 2013
  • 2013 Mary Ciancio Memorial Distinguished Service Award
  • Colorado Philanthropy Volunteer of the Year Award – 2014
  • 7 Everyday Hero – 2014

Other Specialists

Human Resources

Courtney Berg

Business humorist Courtney Berg turns typical HR and management issues into fun learning experiences. She draws from her years of human resources and operations management experience to bring boring employment concepts to life. Courtney has built HR departments from the ground up and has experience from front line supervision to vice president in both HR and operations in a variety of industries. Her goal is to bring her knowledge and experience to business owners, making management easier for them.Courtney is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). In December 2008, Courtney was featured in a “How To Conduct Annual Employee Reviews” in Inc. Magazine. Courtney is also a 2009 Denver Business Journal “Outstanding Women In Business” nominee. She received the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce “Chamber Champion” award in 2011. Courtney has a BS in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management from the University of Northern Colorado.

Courtney’s areas of expertise are:

  • HR issues
  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Employee Relations
  • Unemployment claims
  • Background checks
  • Company culture
  • Time management
  • New hire paperwork
Human Resources

Frances J. Adragna-Hayes

Frances J. Adragna-Hayes is a highly accomplished senior executive and consultant with more than 20 years of success within the Human Resources field. Leveraging extensive experience in managing corporate and field groups in multi-site, multi-state environments in small to medium sized companies, Frances understands how to develop human capital, instill strong cultural values, and enhance organizational effectiveness in complex organizations while achieving quantifiable business results.

With a proven record of being a positive, energetic and dynamic leader with 20 year’s progressive leadership experience, Frances consistently provides innovative solutions to improve processes and drive change.

Frances is able to serve as an immediate asset for companies of any size and across any industry. Frances’ proven experience in developing and driving human capital solutions that align with delivering business results by providing overall execution for the operational HR systems, processes and business practices which includes overall guidance on standardized operational procedures, key strategic operational initiatives specifically in the areas of strategic recruiting, employee relations and engagement, employee communications, training, development, performance management and culture champion.

Frances has built a successful career around her ability to assess and anticipate business needs, identify unique alternatives, and develop/implement long-term solutions. Throughout her 20 years of experience, she has proven to be a forward-thinking human resources and diverse operational leader. Her genuine commitment to ongoing HR business partnerships and employee satisfaction has allowed her to develop programs that attract and retain talented peak performers, foster greater teamwork, productivity and competitiveness.

Frances has served on executive leadership teams leading human capital initiatives to ensure alignment with overall business strategy. She has formed partnerships with Operations management to facilitate change management to embrace the company’s corporate values and culture. She is familiar with and has experience in startup, venture back and privately held companies in the IT, Consumer Packaged Goods/Food, and staffing industries.

Frances currently works as a Consultant with HR Solution, LLC providing HR Consulting services to small to medium sized companies in the areas of Human Resources, Recruiting and Training. With HR Solution, she also provides recruiting services to individuals looking to take their next step in their career. At HR Solution, she is able to connect companies with people.
Frances is an active member in her community and has served as a CASA through Adams County as well as serving as an HR Consultant with the Small Business Development Center.

Lead/Manufacturing Consultant

Jon Jaggers

Jon is a seasoned operations consultant, specializing in optimizing organizational capabilities through implementing process systems, application of lean techniques, and developing strategic plans. He has twenty plus years of operational management experience with several Fortune 500 companies. He has been a Lead Consultant for SBDC for the last five years.

Jon utilizes a methodical approach in developing organizational capabilities through strategic planning, tactical initiatives, and operational accountability. He is a certified in lean operational techniques, that when applied drive process excellence while delivering superb customer value. He assists clients in applying metrics to measure and improve key performance indicators.

His focus is on small to medium size company’s strategic and tactical plan development and execution. He has had the opportunity over the last five years to consult with numerous companies that have financially grown and prospered.

Jon has a BA in Business Administration and an MBA in Organizational Leadership from Ashford University. He was awarded State SBDC Consultant of the Year in 2015 for his contribution to his clients for economic development.