The Contra Costa SBDC is staffed with experienced leaders who assist SBDC clients grow and develop their businesses.
In addition to regional operations and programming oversight, Ann Johnson-Stromberg stands in as Interim Center Director for Norcal SBDC locations in transition. Ann also oversees California SBDC Summer Internship Program which has placed more than 120 Humboldt State University students in Small Business Development Centers since 2009. Ann has a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism from Humboldt State University with an emphasis in News-Editorial.
In between two different stints as a daily news reporter and editor, Ann owned a retail scrapbook business in Eureka, California. She has also owned and operated her own Public Relations consulting business and worked in a variety of capacities in economic development, most notably with the Norcal SBDC Regional Network. For the Norcal SBDC Ann is responsible for training all new SBDC advisors and directors for the 36-county Northern California territory.
Ann has served as a member of America’s SBDC Conference Committee from 2014-2019 and is a past member of America’s SBDC marketing committee where she assisted in the roll-out of the national branding efforts.
Blair Abee is president of the Strategy Development Group, a private consulting firm that specializes in 1 and 3 year action planning, marketing strategy, and financial management. Prior to moving to California two years ago, Blair was the Greensboro Regional Center Director for the Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) in North Carolina.
In his 19 year career at the North Carolina SBTDC, Blair worked with a broad range of clients from early stage and startup companies to existing firms that were trying to survive and had potential to grow. His areas of expertise include start-up support, strategy development, marketing, financial management, and leadership development. He also has experience working with small- to medium-sized manufacturers to help them develop their management capacity for growth.
In addition to his private consulting practice, Blair works with both the Solano and Contra Costa SBDCs as a business advisor. Prior to his private consulting and his work with the SBDC, Blair owned several successful construction-related businesses in the Berkeley area. He is also a budding author, with two books ready for publication and three in the works.
Blair’s education includes a Bachelor of Arts (BA) from Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina, and a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Golden Gate University in San Francisco, California.
David Bokash has more than 25 years management consulting, E-Commerce, Supply Chain Management (SCM), marketing, business strategy, Information Technology (IT), engineering and project/product management experience. Recently, he has advised startups and established companies on internet commerce, website development/optimization, business strategy, product marketing, IT project management and SCM.
David has been an SBDC Business Advisor for more than ten years and has helped his clients achieve $8.6 Million Economic Impact and create 117 New Jobs. He has been doing SBDC business technology seminars and webinars since 2011, and received an Outstanding Trainer award from California Resources & Training.
Mr. Bokash worked as a product manager at SAP Labs where he helped incorporate electronic commerce and SCM functionality into their applications. Prior to SAP, David held positions at Federal Express in field (operations) engineering and third-party logistics. As an IT project manager for FedEx Logistics and Electronic Commerce, he supervised several client implementations in both North America and Europe and as a field engineer for FedEx ground operations, he led several initiatives to improve productivity and service. After business school, he was a consultant in the Strategic Consulting Group of Price Waterhouse, working with clients on strategic uses of IT and SCM. Prior to business school, he spent four years as a systems engineer, working on several commercial and government spacecraft programs.
Mr. Bokash holds a BS and MS in Engineering from Purdue University, and he received an MBA from Harvard. David finished his Engineering MS as a Hughes Graduate Fellow, and he was selected by the Indiana Governor to serve on Purdue's Board of Trustees.
Paul Bozzo has more than 25 years of professional experience working with start-ups on debt and equity funding, business planning, financial analysis and start-up strategy. He's knowledgeable across all business models and industries with a particular expertise in technology ventures.
As an SBDC advisor, Paul’s specialty is working with entrepreneurial ventures to refine their business model, create an investment-driven business plan, develop credible financial projections and prepare an effective investor pitch. He also advises founding teams on common start-up issues such as legal entity selection, intellectual property, financial accounting and go-to-market strategy.
Paul has a Bachelors of Science in Information Systems and MBA with a concentration in Finance.
A private consultant, a business owner and an investor for nearly 25 years, Tom calls himself a Financial Strategist, one who integrates Business Strategy with Financial Management. In private practice, Tom's early focus was on the Pharmaceutical and Biotech industries and their growth strategies through acquisition, licensing and partnering, in recent years clients have covered a range of industries, and sizes and include business expansions (both organic and through acquisitions), start-ups and turnarounds. Tom’s work history includes more than 10 years commercializing biological technologies in the very early years of the Biotechnology Industry and his educational background includes Master’s Degrees in both Biochemistry and Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon University.
Michelle Chenault is a Business Advisor and Management Consultant who has helped entrepreneurs and owner-operators start, scale, and grow their business.
Before joining the Small Business Development Center, Michelle spent over 12 years working for small businesses, non-profits and entrepreneurs across the San Francisco Bay Area. She most recently served as the Business Operations Manager for a commercial real estate firm where she played a major role in the merger of two offices, managed the roll out of new technology, and business plan strategy and implementation.
Following a successful career in operations and project management, primarily in real estate development, Michelle now advises new and existing business owners in the areas of planning, operations, cost analysis, legal structure, finance and economic development. She assists in business plan writing, creating start-up operations, financial projections and analysis. Michelle has designed and implemented workflow processes, training and compliance programs, and responses to RFP/Qs.
Michelle holds a Bachelors in Political Science from San Francisco State University and a Masters in Business Administration from Mills College Graduate School of Business. She loves to play golf, swim, hike and is WSET Level 2 Certified (Wine & Spirit Education Trust).
Victor Johnson (Vic) is a Professional Civil Engineer who has 45 years of experience in the sales and marketing of professional services. He has specialized in growing small businesses into large businesses. Vic was Senior Vice President (and part owner) of two firms that went public: one went on the NYSE and the other, NASDAQ. He has spent the last 15 years providing engineering, sales, and marketing services to three national environmental engineering firms. Vic has provided those services through his own firm, Engineering Pathways.
Additionally, Vic has written seven books and owns a publishing firm. He also writes for the magazine – Outdoor California. This experience has broadened his sales and marketing experience in relationship to other types of products and services.
See engineeringpathways.com for his detailed educational/professional resume and information on his publishing firm (EP Press).
Sandy was Vice President of Marketing and Sales for corporate divisions, corporate acquisitions, and venture capital funded start-ups and launched her own small business.
Sandy brings a unique understanding and experience in and with start-ups, marketing, and business development as a practitioner in the service, retail, wholesale, software-as-a-service, education, and nonprofit sectors.
Sandy specializes in high-growth start-ups and rapidly expanding small businesses in the areas of strategic planning, marketing, sales, and business development. Sandy serves as a lead advisor and generalist for the Contra Costa SBDC, primarily assessing and assisting small business owners and projects of all kinds, with a focus on new ventures and marketing. She is also an advisor at the Solano SBDC and presents "First Steps to Successful Start-Up's" on a regular basis.
Prior, Sandy was on the founding executive team at Office Club in charge of all marketing and sales including advertising, market research, public relations, in-bound phone sales, and commercial sales. She was instrumental in helping the company grow from concept to 60 stores and $450 million in sales in five years. Sandy was also co-founder and EVP at MarCole Enterprises, the leading provider of gift registry systems and related interactive applications. Earlier at McKesson, Sandy led the acquisition of an office products wholesaler for which she was then responsible for all marketing and business development.
Sandy earned a B.A. in Human Biology, Phi Beta Kappa, from Stanford University and an MBA from Yale University, School of Management.
Jose Puentes is a professional Accountant and Systems Engineer. He has developed his career as Finance Executive ranging from Shared Financial Services, manufacturing and retail distribution functions in global multinational corporations and non-profits organizations. Some of his Technical skills are: Financial Planning and Analysis, Accounting, Product Costing, Business Review and Assessment, Internal Controls, Policies and Procedures, Inventory Control programs, Audits and Taxation and Software Implementations.
He loves mentoring and sharing all his knowledge with passion and encouraging people to live a life of goodness and harmony.
In his free time, he is researcher of Ancient Knowledge, consciousness science and new paradigms.
April is Business Coach and Consultant who assists entrepreneurs with starting and growing small businesses. Her work includes developing business plans, strategizing innovative ways of achieving goals, training and coaching clients on effective leadership and communication skills and how to run a profitable business. She founded her own consulting firm The Eye of Achievement in 2002 and works in a variety of industries in the non-profit and for-profit sector. She has worked with clients from the Department of Rehabilitation in Texas and California since 2010 and finds working with clients of such diverse and special needs a welcomed challenge and extremely rewarding.
April earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management Information Systems from the University of San Francisco and an MBA, with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership, from John F. Kennedy University. April received her coaching credentials from the Coaching by Design Institute in Salinas, California and holds and Online Teaching and Learning Certificate from Cal State University of East Bay.
In 1990, Cindy Turner started her own private consulting practice, Turner & Associates, where she helped her clients increase their sales from 20 to 75 percent. Concurrently, Cindy has worked as an advisor with two Bay Area SBDCs, meeting thousands of clients resulting in hundreds of new business start-ups and hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales.
Knowing the inside-out of business start-ups and business planning, and using her distinct competency in market research techniques, Cindy helps her clients determine the feasibility of their ventures and guides them in the creation of effective marketing and business plans.
Cindy’s small business management instruction includes previous tenures as an adjunct faculty member with U.C. Berkeley and JFK University and as a business trainer for Contra Costa SBDC. Since 1991, Cindy has served a business professor for Berkeley City College.
As a columnist for the Contra Costa Times Family of Newspapers and Costco Connection, Cindy has shared her expertise with thousands of readers over a four-year span. She is also involved in community work and is on the Board of Directors for the Concord Chamber of Commerce, Private Industry Council and Mt. Diablo Region YMCA.
Cindy obtained her B.S. and M.B.A. in New Ventures and Small Business Management with a double option in Marketing as an M.B.A. student. She is also a graduate of the Leadership Concord Program and is a certified NxLevel Training Network.