Santa Cruz County Small Business Development Center

Our Team

Santa Cruz County's Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a premier hub of experts experienced in mainstreet, techstreet, and agribusiness. Business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs receive in-depth advising and training to obtain capital, launch businesses, grow sales, and create jobs. Experience where businesses start, grow and prosper.

Douglas Deaver
Contracts and Leasing Advisor

Douglas has senior level experience and expertise in facilities development, purchasing, operations and contract administration in both the public and private sector. He has been the President and is currently the Youth Chair for the Rotary Club of Capitola/Aptos. He is a member of the California Association of Business Officials. His work with the Santa Cruz SBDC consists of assisting small businesses with business planning, financial projections, lease negotiations, facilities planning, and operations management. At Cabrillo College, Doug managed $150 million in state and locally-funded bond construction projects; managed purchasing, contracts, risk management, warehousing, duplications, and mail distribution and also managed business services as Interim Director for 14 months.

Doug obtained a BS MS in Industrial Management with Honors from Purdue University-Krannert School of Management

Larry Hebert
Management, Business Operations, Financial, Strategic Development and Retail Advisor

Larry Hebert started his business career over 40 years ago. During that time, his professional experience has included both entrepreneurial and corporate ventures. Larry is a principal at Hebert & Associates, a management consulting firm specializing in finance, raising start-up capital, financial analysis and CEO coaching. Larry consults with clients on financial forecasting and analysis, operations and business management practices, strategy development and tactical implementation.

He has advised businesses in all areas including writing business plans, conducting financial analysis, assessing, diagnosing and forecasting for better cash management, as well as launching new products and crafting turnaround strategies for troubled companies.

Larry has been a certified loan broker for the Small Business Administration and worked with clients in acquiring funding for their organizations. He has served as the Regional Director, Adjunct Faculty and Senior Class Advisor for the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University. MBA from Pepperdine University and a B.A. from California State University, Sacramento.

Keith Holtaway
Business Planning, Management and Financial Advisor

Keith Holtaway is an award winning Bay Area business consultant with a 20-year track record of proven successes. He has helped germinate the seeds of his client's ideas and helped transform them into award-winning and successful, local and nationally recognized businesses. Keith works closely with CEOs, senior management, executive directors, project managers, small and large business owners, and start-ups to quickly get their best thinking in writing and begin seeing results. He works with the client and team to develop clear, concise and aligned plans for achieving their quarterly and annual objectives for revenue, profit, cost reduction and other key measurements that are important to the overall success of their organization.

Born in New Jersey, Keith has a BA in History and English, was the Co-Founder of Pizza My Heart, a past Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Downtown Association, Director of the Small Business Development Center at Hartnell College, State Star for the Central California SBDC Region, holder of multiple awards for Excellence in Economic Performance for the Santa Cruz County SBDC, and co-winner for the 2016 Santa Cruz Nexties "Mentor of the Year" award. Keith also hold the rank of Sandan in Shorinji Ryu karate, as a 3rd degree black belt.

Karen Kefauver
Social Media & Public Relations

Karen Kefauver is a Social Media Marketing Coach who works with small business owners, executives and solopreneurs to boost their business with topnotch social media strategy and hands-on coaching and training. She launched her business nearly a decade ago and established herself as the go-to social media expert in the area, giving presentations for the Apple Store in Los Gatos, Groupon and many regional Chambers of Commerce. Karen's 20 years as a professional journalist, with stories and photos published in the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Santa Cruz Sentinel, give her the tools to write and develop attention-getting content for her clients' social media marketing needs. Her passion is to empower people to use social media with confidence through her one-on-one and group coaching, speaking engagements and content development. Karen is an avid mountain biker, serves on the board of Think Local First and has lived in Santa Cruz since 1993.

Robert Komoto
Social Media and Public Relations

He has extensive experience in international trade and has been certified by NASBITE (National Association of Small Business International Trade Educators) as a Certified Global Business Professional and by the Small Business Development Centers as a Certified Export and Trade Counselor. Export trade is not a panacea for an ailing business, he said, but a solid export plan can open up amazing opportunities. "Ninety-five percent of the world's population live outside the U.S.," he said. Komoto said he enjoys mentoring small business owners and helping them understand new ways of looking at their business. "You're not just selling a widget," he said, so owners need to understand the value add that is unique to their particular enterprise.

David Mancera
Agricultural Busienss

Solid background in organizational analysis, with strong analytical, relationship, partnership management, and customer service skills. Experience in managing a wide array of projects and relationships, including (but not limited to) business partners, vendors, internal and external customers. Skilled in aligning strategy and relationships, mentoring, and coaching, while acting as an essential contributor and strategic partner.

Brandon Napoli
Access to Capital

Brandon has over twelve years of progressive responsibility in economic and workforce development. This includes six years of management experience with an M.B.A and three years working and studying overseas. Having a track record of exceeding goals while scaling operations in new markets and programs, he is passionate about combining high-quality technical assistance, access to capital, and partnerships for small business ecosystem building.

In 2006, inspired by Muhammad Yunus’ Nobel Peace Prize for his work in microfinance, Brandon started his career to build dignity and create jobs through access to capital for underserved entrepreneurs at CDC Small Business Finance. After receiving his MBA, Brandon joined the Peace Corps in Guatemala. He assisted the small business development efforts in ecotourism, focusing on providing an alternative income to subsistence farming. After returning to the States, Brandon supported entrepreneurs at higher levels. As the Director of Microlending at Valley Economic Development Center, he grew the portfolio to top 5 in the US and testified to the US Congress on the State of Microlending. Afterward, Brandon raised and managed an investment fund for microlenders across the US. In 2016, he responded to a passion to intersect community building and entrepreneurship and relocated to Palo Alto to create coworking spaces for the underserved workforce. He is thrilled to be a part of the incredible legacy of the Santa Cruz SBDC and the impact it has on the small business community.

Brandon enjoys reading non-fiction, epics, practicing jiu-jitsu, and bike touring.

Alexander Pedersen
Interim Director

Alexander Pedersen is a dynamic small business advocate with a diverse background in small business development, economic development, and community leadership. With experience as an SBDC advisor, business owner, nonprofit leader, and city council member, Alexander is committed to addressing the diverse needs of small businesses in Santa Cruz County.

As the Director of the Santa Cruz County Small Business Development Center, Alexander is dedicated to empowering small businesses and fostering economic growth in our region. His strategic approach to creating and implementing effective programs will ensure that the SBDC continues to be the premier resource hub for one-on-one advising, access to capital, disaster assistance, and industry-specific support for small businesses in Santa Cruz County.

Outside of his professional life, Alexander is an active volunteer in his community, serving on the board of directors for several nonprofit organizations and is dedicated to promoting community wellness through leadership and economic development. In his free time, Alexander enjoys exploring new technologies, engaging in community activities, travel, and outdoor sports.

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