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.

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Danny Braga
Financial Analysis and Loan Advisor

Danny Braga is a retired SBA banker who has spent the past eight years with the Santa Cruz SBDC advising and assisting clients in their pursuit of capital.  He is a member of the Norcal SBDC Million Dollar Club.  In addition to his 38 year banking career, he has also taught college accounting courses part-time for 20 years.  For eleven years, Danny was co-owner of a small local business that provided retail sales and service.  He holds a BA degree in Accounting from San Jose State University.

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Tom Bruce
Restaurant and Food Service Advisor

Tom Bruce has been serving the hospitality industry in various capacities, such as, consultant, teacher and chef for over 35 years.  An instructor for American River College, Mr. Bruce has taught classes such as Applied Foodservice Sanitation, Purchasing, Basic Cost Control, Advanced Cost Control, Marketing and Legal Aspects.  He is certified by the National Restaurant Association, California Restaurant Association and is an accredited vocational instructor through UCLA.

Mr. Bruce offers monthly seminars including a SERVSAFE Certification Program.  His Tactics & Strategies for Success Program offers seminars covering such topics as purchasing, marketing, human resources, administrative, financial and legal aspects as well as more specific issues such as red meat & seafood analysis and knife handling skills.

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Meigan Butler
Intern

Nursing Major at Cabrillo College

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Brian Case
Ecommerce and Website Development

Brian Case has been working in ecommerce for a little under a decade. In that time, he's helped build ecommerce sites for prominent businesses including Hanes, David's Bridal, Advance Auto Parts, Duluth, Vets First Choice, and most recently, Patagonia. He started his career where you are, looking to build a site and hire someone to do it. He's happy to share some of the tips and traps of ecommerce to help you through these challenging times.

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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

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Khushi Desai
Intern

Business Administration and Economics Major at Cabrillo College

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Doug Erickson
Business and Influence

Doug Erickson is the Executive Director of Santa Cruz Works and the founder of the Santa Cruz New Tech MeetUp. He has 30 years of executive level positions in companies such as Live Picture, WebEx, Cisco, SugarCRM, and Nanigans. He is also the co-founder of CruzHacks (HackUCSC) one of the largest hackathons in California. On any day when there is good surf or wind, you can find him surfing or kitesurfing.

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Jennifer Hallett
Administrative Assistant

Experienced Administrative Assistant and Event Coordinator with a demonstrated history of working in hospitality services and small businesses throughout Santa Cruz County. A graduate of Cabrillo College's Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management program. Passionate about providing needed services to our local community, environmental conservation efforts, and offering bilingual services to all that prefer it.

Jennifer enjoys reading classic and contemporary literature, creative writing, and spending time with her family. She plans to stay within the County of Santa Cruz and contribute to a small but might community for the rest of her life.

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Joy Hallof
Human Resources Advisor

Joy joined the ranks of the "consultant" world after thirty years of experience in the Human Resource field in companies such as ITT, Raytheon, Gillette, Oral-B Laboratories, Quintron Systems, Remedy, Pacific IBM EFCU and William Wilson & Assoc.  While with a division of Gillette, Joy gained international human resource experience, with responsibility for operations in 28 different countries.

Her training "passion" facilitated her being involved in two delegations that provided training/management information in Russia, the Czech Republic, Poland, and a management seminar in Romania.  Generalist knowledge of Human Resources led her to be the first Chairperson for EDD’s Employer Advisory Group and the Chair of the first ever California Employer Advisory Group statewide conference.  She helped found a real estate oriented HR group called REELE in the San Francisco area to facilitate HR professionals serving the Real Estate Industry.

Joy holds a B.A. degree from Chapman College and completed the Masters study in Human Resources/Organizational Development at the University of San Francisco.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Brandon Napoli
Director

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.

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COVID-19
As concerns continue about COVID-19, we’re here to help you navigate available resources, answer your business questions and be a trusted partner for your business