Our Consultants

Our team of world class consultants are top experts in their field and passionate about helping entrepreneurs succeed. They assist SBDC clients grow and develop their businesses.

Barry Lieberman

Sales & Marketing

Barry has 36 years’ experience enabling organizations to enter & scale & new markets, become the industry go to brand, and improve sales and customer retention by executing best in class customer care. He has a BS degree in Business/MIS from Cal Poly SLO and an MBA from Chapman University.

Christine Ridout

CFO & QuickBooks

Christine is an accounting and finance professional with 25+ years of industry experience. A native of the Silicon Valley, she began her career in public accounting. She audited a variety of industries and found herself gravitating towards the energetic and innovative culture of start-up companies. Her departure from public accounting launched her into a satisfying career at a number of start-up companies.  This environment provided a breadth of experience including management of all aspects of the accounting cycle, budgeting and financial analysis, deal analysis and modeling, system integrations and implementation, and external compliance including tax related matters and SEC reporting.

Damon Watkins

Director of Finance & Operations

Damon is an experienced Accounting Manager with a 15+ year track record in multiple aspects of financial control, management and policies and procedures. He is a strong operations professional with a Associate’s degree focused in Computer Engineering & Economics from University of Durban.

David Janzen

Software Engineering

David has over 25 years of industry and academic experience leading software teams. He is co-founder of Steadfast Innovation, creators of the Squid handwriting app on Android/Chromebooks, and professor of software engineering at Cal Poly.  He holds a PhD from the University of Kansas.

Doug Klein

Marketing

Doug is a Managing Director at Matchfire, a data-driven social good agency. He studied Aerospace Engineering, Music, English and Teaching. A former Walt Disney Imagineer, he is expert at facilitating scientific and creative breakthroughs for businesses of all sizes.

Enar Tunc

Manufacturing/Supply Chain/Operations

Enar uses supply chain management, strategic planning, project management, quality management and quantitative business analysis.

Germain Michel

Food and Beverage

Born and raised in Rhone Valley, France next to Lyon, the food capital UNESCO of the world. Germain moved to the US when he was 21.  He opened and created five different restaurants/bars between the Bay area (San Francisco, Oakland, Marin County ) and New York City.  He currently has over 70 employees and has been featured in Forbes, Sf Chronicle, Michelin guide (5 bib gourmand awards), and the New York Times for the top 50 places to go in the world.

He is also a wine producer (Domaine du Somail, France 92 points Parker guide & Malbec Mendoza, Argentina)

He is a certified sommelier and has a bachelor’s degree in finance and marketing.  He speaks English and French.

Greg Gibson

Pitch/Start-Up

Greg helps startups start up at the Cal Poly Hatchery and HotHouse accelerators. He is a technologist with experience building companies in the consumer internet, SMB e-commerce, online advertising, B2B exchanges and social media markets.

Guillermo Chavez

Sales & Marketing/Kitchen Incubator

Harpeet Sangha

Food Science

Harpreet is the founder and CEO of Harpreet Sangha & Associates Inc., a boutique Food Science advisory firm focused on creating disruptive food products and providing science-based solutions. She is a Certified Food Scientist, with MS in Food Science and MS in Biotechnology. With 15 years of experience in product development, ingredient innovation, food applications, team management, technical service and sales, she is the right partner to push food and beverage innovation boundaries.

Javier de la Fuente

Packaging and Product Design

Javier is an industrial and graphic designer with more than 20 years of professional experience. He is a specialist in creating innovative and conceptually solid designs in a variety of 2D and 3D formats.

Jeff Wade

Food/Farm/Beverage Business

Jeff works with local start up and early to mid stage businesses, primarily in Food and Beverage industries, and also supports tech, transportation, manufacturing and other market segments. Jeff has held senior management positions in the software industry and became an independent consultant in 2010 to focus on the marketing needs and budgets of small, local businesses. Jeff holds a BSEE from WPI and an MBA from Pepperdine.

Jolie Ditmore

Consulting and Strategy

Jolie is a San Luis Obispo local and a Cal Poly graduate. She has worked in the healthcare industry for 20 years, as a CEO of healthcare organizations and as the owner of a consulting practice.

Judy Mahan

Legal & Finance

Judy is the Director of the Cal Poly SBDC and the Incubator Director for the Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She holds a J.D. from the University of Paris X Law School and an LLM in International Tax Law at Golden Gate University.

Kristin Mehiel

Marketing

Kristin Mehiel is a sales and marketing expert with 20 years of experience. Most recently, Kristin was an integral member of the executive teams at two national companies. She was the Head of Sales and Market Development with Experts Exchange, leading the B2B sales strategy and corresponding teams; and she was the Director of Market Development with Kibo, formerly Shopatron, a SaaS-based, distributed order management eCommercecompany. Prior to moving to the Central Coast in 2005, Kristin was the founding publisher of DiningOut Orange County, the leading publication for fine dining and specialty restaurants.

Kurt Friedmann

Customer Development & Sales

Kurt has a 20-year background in customer feedback management, training and development, and sales management. He’s worked with startups to established Fortune 500 companies and is the founder of The KJF Group and CEO of WorldMentor.

Lisa Simon

Marketing & Sales

As the driver behind Cal Poly’s new Sales Minor, Lisa acts as a liaison between industry and Orfalea College of Business, coaches competitors in the Orfalea College of Business Sales Competition and National Collegiate Sales Competition, advises the student marketing club (AMA – American Marketing Association), and coordinates Cal Poly’s Marketing Career Conference.

Lisa Sperow

Lisa Sperow is an attorney with over 25 years of experience. She currently is the Executive Director of the Cal Poly Low Income Taxpayer Clinic and a board member of CAP-SLO and the San Luis Obispo Women Lawyers Association.  She has taught courses in legal research and writing, employment law, tax law, business law, ethics and international business law. Prior to joining Cal Poly, she was a trial attorney with the United States Department of Justice, Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch in Washington, D.C.

Lynn Metcalf

Marketing & Research

Lynn is a Hood Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship. She holds a Ph.D., Marketing and International Business from University of South Carolina and a Master in International Management, Thunderbird School of Global Management.

Mark Grondin

Marketing & Sales

Mark develops technology, sales, marketing and go-to-market strategies and execution plans. He has over two decades of experience working in eCommerce, web/mobile technology, application development and SaaS business models. Mark has participated in almost all areas of the business from executive management to strategy, professional services, client management, marketing and sales.

Matt Hutton

Grants

Michele Magee

Marketing/Sales/HR/Scale

Michele is a veteran marketing and general management executive with 30+ years of experience in B2B and B2C Marketing, Sales, and Operations across Broadcast, Mortgage, Solar, Insurance, Retail and Non-Profit industries. She has P&L accountability with a focus on reliable execution of key initiatives. Strong leader with a flair for building high-performance teams. She played critical role in launching and scaling six companies.

Morgen Monie

HR

Morgen Monie is a versatile leader with 10+ years of Human Resource and Leadership experience in technology and sales organizations working for companies such as MINDBODY, Target, and Gap Inc.  She thrives in highly innovative and complex organizations that value an outstanding employee experience.  Morgen is very passionate about diversity and equality in the workplace and has created dozens of programs supporting employees of a minority demographic.  She has also taught courses at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, ranging from Human Resource Management, Staffing and more.

Paula Dempsey

Marketing & Communications

Paula has over 20 years of marketing and PR experience. She has a passion for branding, digital marketing, and social media. Paula holds the ICSC Certified Marketing Director (CMD) designation and has a BS, Communication Arts from Cal Poly, Pomona.

Rolando Locci

Finance & Operations

Rolando is a senior operations, strategy and financial planning consultant, offering a complete suite of CFO services to mid and small-sized companies. Over his 20+ year career, he has advised leaders at multi-billion-dollar corporations such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, 3PAR, Synopsys, Cadence Design Systems and Hitachi Data Systems, as well as small businesses and startup ventures.

Sara LaForest

Leadership/Teams/Partners

Sara has worked nationally as a consultant and coach since 2004 and has broad experience in the private, nonprofit, education, and government sectors. Her companies have specialized in leadership, team alignment, organizational development, and executive and performance coaching. Sara is the owner and principal of LaForest Coaching and Consulting and has served as a mentor and consultant for CIE and SBDC since 2013.

Stacie Jacob

General Business / Marketing

Stacie Jacob, Chief Strategist, Solterra Strategies lives for “aha” moments—the milestones that prove unwavering tenacity and hard work can lead to tangible success. A believer in honesty, creativity, and building strong relationships, Jacob combines real-world knowledge, resolute leadership, and execution needed to transform client dreams into concrete success stories. Jacob works with clients representing a unique sense of place: food, wine, agriculture and tourism to promote their bounty and brilliance.

Susan Steeb

Finance

Susan is a Finance and Business Operations executive with over 25 years of diversified experience in entertainment, technology, mobile gaming and clean tech. She is dedicated to an entrepreneurial spirit driving business values through solid financial management, creative and strategic operations and interpersonal development.

Tom Katona

Product Development

Tom holds 9 patents and has led product development teams at several startups. Tom holds a Ph.D. from U.C. Santa Barbara in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a MBA from the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.