Contra Costa SBDCPleasant Hill, CA

Our Team

The Contra Costa SBDC is staffed with experienced leaders who assist SBDC clients grow and develop their businesses.

Oscar Dominguez

Contra Costa SBDC Director

Oscar Dominguez, proud son of former small business owners, is originally from El Paso, Texas.  He relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area to attend Stanford, where he earned a BA in Political Science.  After working in various customer service, operations and sales positions, he enrolled in the Masters in Business Administration program at San Francisco State University, earning an entrepreneurship degree with a focus on marketing and management.

Oscar applied his newfound knowledge and long-time passion for economic and
social justice first as a bilingual business advisor for the Mission Economic Development Agency, then as a manager of business training/technical assistance and financial literacy/coaching programs for Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center.  As the director of the Contra Costa SBDC since May of 2012, Oscar oversees a results-driven Center, collaborating with public, private and nonprofit partners to deliver impactful small business training, support and resources to the East Bay region. 

Under his leadership, the Center significantly strengthened its operating budget and increased the number of clients served, launching a manufacturing- focused initiative and a Spanish-language programs.  He is the board president of CAMEO (California Association for Micro-enterprise Opportunity), serves on the board of Travis Credit Union and on the Economic Development Task Force of the East Bay Leadership Council, the Economic Development Directors Council of East Bay EDA, the Contra Costa Leadership Council for Red Cross and the Independent Watchdog Committee for the Alameda County Transportation Commission.

Blair Abee

Business Advisor

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.

Darlene Rios Drapkin

Business Advisor

Darlene Rios Drapkin owns and operates Urban Transformation, a consulting firm that works with local governments and community based organizations to develop and implement economic revitalization strategies for neighborhood commercial districts. As a commercial revitalization and management consultant, she has Independently, and as a Program Officer for Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national non-profit, provided assistance to implement comprehensive revitalization programs in neighborhoods around the country. 

Darlene is passionate about “placemaking”  and loves  working with start ups to find their perfect storefront, assisting them with their business plans, negotiating leases, marketing, and getting loans.

Darlene’s professional background includes international sales and marketing experience in high tech and hospitality. She’s worked with such companies as Compaq Computers, British Airways, and Marriott Hotels.

Darlene has an MBA from the American Graduate School of International Management. She is a native Spanish speaker and has conducted business in French and Portuguese. Her cross-cultural experience helps her meet the unique needs of multi-cultural communities.

Robert Lane

Business Advisor

Robert Lane was the Assistant Director of the Small Business Program with the Department of Defense, where he helped the agency achieve its subcontracting goals with small, woman and minority owned businesses.  As an SBDC Advisor, Robert assisted an Oakland firm close $25 million in government contracts.

Robert has significant experience in the area of government contracting and is an expert in the certification process. He is able to assist with Requests for Proposal (RFP) reviews, General Services Administration (GSA) Schedules and myriad certifications including disadvantaged business or 8(a), Women Owned Small Business and HUBZone.

Robert is currently working with several SBDC's including San Francisco, Contra Costa, Alameda, and Silicon Valley. In addition to advising, Robert conducts workshops such as “Government Contracting 101”, “Responding to Solicitations”, “Getting on the GSA Schedule” and “Certification Made Simple”.

After leaving the DOD, Robert held a Procurement Specialist position with the Economic Development Commission for the State of Nevada. He then accepted a position as Assistant Director for a Procurement Technical Assistance Program (PTAC). He later transferred to The Federal Technology Center in Sacramento where he continued assisting small firms with government contracting.

Robert holds an AA from College of San Mateo and a BA from San Francisco State University.

Sandra Markus

Business Advisor

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.

Cindy Turner

Marketing and Business Plans

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.

Blair Abee

Darlene Rios Drapkin

Robert Lane

Sandra Markus

Cindy Turner

Apply Now

It all starts here. Review our client process, complete the application and submit your request. A member of the SBDC will follow up with you and help you achieve your small business goals -- at no cost to you.
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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.