Alaska Small Business Development Center

Expert Advisors

Alaska SBDC Business Advisors are experts in a wide variety of fields and industries. All of our business advisors have experience as business owners and several hold advanced degrees in relevant areas of study.

Anchorage Center

Carlos Machuca

Anchorage Center Director

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Carlos Machuca

Carlos has 28 plus years of experience as a business developer/owner in a variety of industries including industrial and security printing, manufacturing, ERP software consulting, OSHA compliance training, and financial instruments consulting. For over 12 years, he has worked internationally in countries such as Argentina, Chile, Honduras, Mexico, and France.

Carlos has been responsible for developing several successful business divisions for small and mid-size companies in a variety of industries. He has a passion for helping small businesses grow by searching and exploiting hidden competitive advantages.

Carlos holds a Bachelor of Business Administration – Finance and a Master of Business Administration with an emphasis on entrepreneurship from the University of Alaska Anchorage. He is bilingual in Spanish and the current president of the Anchorage Midtown Rotary Club.

Dan Golden

Anchorage Business Advisor

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Dan Golden earned a full-ride football scholarship to attend North Carolina State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Parks and Recreational Administration. After graduation, Dan was commissioned in the US Air Force and served four years as a financial officer and squadron commander.

After his military service, Dan joined a leading Anchorage real estate company for seven years as an independent agent, focusing on commercial transactions, subdivisions, and staff management.
Later, Dan became a private consultant, providing problem-solving and project management services in real estate, broadcasting, natural resources, government, court systems, and a variety of other industries throughout Alaska.

Along the way, Dan earned an MBA from Alaska Pacific University.

Dan’s lifelong learning includes a private pilot’s license, realtor designations, forest service project successes, environmental protection documentation, and public participation training. All his professional efforts have been directed toward helping his clients be successful. Dan looks forward to assisting the SBDC clients with business plans, marketing, financial projections, cash flow management, expansion, and exit strategies.

 

Angie Gerken

Anchorage Business Advisor

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Angie Gerken, Alaska SBDC Business Advisor in Anchorage

Angie is passionate about leveraging her 30 years of business expertise to guide entrepreneurs through the complexities of starting and growing their businesses. She understands firsthand the challenges and opportunities entrepreneurs face after being a business owner for 17 years in Anchorage.

Known for her strategic mindset, customer-centric approach, and comprehensive knowledge of human resource management, she has also applied business solutions using cloud and app technology. As a lifelong learner and advocate of professional development, Angie actively pursues new knowledge and skills to stay ahead in the ever-evolving business landscape.

Beyond her professional achievements, Angie is deeply connected to Alaska. Having grown up on the north shore of Lake Iliamna, working in her family’s sport-fishing fly-out lodge and eventually managing it for several years, she has an intimate understanding of the unique business landscape in the state. Angie is a graduate of George Mason University, with additional studies at Yale University and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

When she’s not assisting entrepreneurs in furthering their business goals, Angie indulges her passions for travel, amateur bird watching, and writing. She also cherishes spending quality time with her long-term partner on his saltwater boat, fishing the beautiful waters of Homer and Seward.

Mike Daniels

Anchorage Business Advisor

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Combining a passion for theater with a keen entrepreneurial spirit, Mike thrives at the intersection of creativity and business. While honing his craft at the University of Alaska Anchorage in Theatre, he has seamlessly translated his artistic skills into the realm of entrepreneurship.

Notably, Mike contributed to the startup teams for Red Robin on Dimond and Kincaid’s in Redondo Beach, showcasing his ability to blend artistic vision with strategic business acumen. He has further demonstrated his entrepreneurial flair by founding and successfully managing ventures such as the Three Barons Renaissance Fair, the Carpe Trapezius massage business, and Arctic Crown Canvas, an interactive paint-it-yourself art studio.

With a unique blend of artistic creativity and business savvy, Mike continues to forge new connections and leave an indelible mark on both the artistic and business landscapes.

Ginny Grabowski

Anchorage Business Advisor

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Ginny has been navigating the waters of entrepreneurship and small-business ownership for over 20 years. She is committed to empowering others and is excited to be working to further the SBDC’s mission to help small businesses grow throughout Alaska.

Ginny’s background is in the health and wellness sector. With a Master’s degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion she has expertise in creating and scaling businesses that promote health and wellness. Her strengths are strategic partnership management, client engagement and creating community through workshops, training, and the development of health programs.

Ginny’s ventures have emphasized the importance of a user-centric approach, leveraging technology through website development, social media marketing, and app development to enhance customer experience and engagement.

Ginny arrived in Alaska in 2002 and lost her heart to Alaska while working in the tourist industry in and around Denali National Park. In her downtime you’ll find her running, cycling, skiing, or dancing to live music with her husband all over Southcentral Alaska.

Fairbanks Center

Jade Greene, MBA, PHR, SHRM-CP

Fairbanks Center Director

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Jade Greene is an accomplished professional with over thirty years’ experience offering entrepreneurs assistance and counseling in best business practices with creating or expanding their small businesses. She draws upon her expertise as a Consultant listening to the needs of clients to offer realistic and sustainable solutions for their business questions and/ or concerns. Her areas of expertise also include HR Management and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. She is also in the process of completing Lean Six Sigma certification.

Jade graduated from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature with a minor in Psychology. Her education continued, focusing on Global Management, with a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Jade is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Capella University (specializing in Entrepreneurship and Leadership) which will be completed by the end of 2024.

Jade spends as much time as possible communing with nature by exploring the parks and wild areas that make Alaska such a unique place to live and work (she highly recommends the Sea Life Center in Seward). She also has an active interest in arts and crafts especially the beadwork of Alaska Natives.

Juneau Center

Sandy Hussain

Juneau Center Director

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Sandy Hussain has over a decade of experience as an entrepreneur in the retail and technology sectors. As the founder and CEO of Fashion Digital, she led a premier thought leadership conference series in New York, Los Angeles, and LA.

Sandy thrives on helping businesses grow and scale, specializing in digital marketing, e-commerce, startups, business development, fundraising, and entrepreneurship. She holds a Master’s in Urban Planning from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics with a minor in International Politics from Bryn Mawr College.

A passionate lifelong traveler and explorer, Sandy has lived in dynamic cities like New York, London, Boston, Philadelphia, San Diego, and Los Angeles before making her home in Juneau, Alaska.

Kenai Peninsula Center

Cliff Cochran, MBA

Kenai Peninsula Center Director

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Cliff Cochran has been involved with small business leadership in the Central Kenai Peninsula for over ten years. He started with Soldotna Aircraft Repair and later managed the warehouse department for Custom Seafood Processors. He also served as an officer in the Air Force, before returning home to Alaska in 2015. He specializes in financial analysis, feasibility studies, and business planning.

Cliff has a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management from the University of Alaska Anchorage, a Master of Business Administration from Sonoma State University, and a Master of Public Administration from Golden Gate University.

Robert Green

Homer Business Advisor

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Robert Scott Green is a successful business owner, Registered Investment Advisor, and Tax Preparer serving clients in Alaska and Texas.

Prior to joining the Alaska Small Business Development Center team, he worked as a Financial Advisor at Smith Barney in Anchorage, at Alaska Communications Systems as a Business Account Manager, and, at the time, was the only securities licensed personal banker on the Kenai Peninsula with Wells Fargo.

Currently and throughout his career, Robert personally assists many small businesses and individuals in their business and personal endeavors as an investment fiduciary, tax preparer, and advocate for their interests through advisory and personal relationships.

Robert came to Alaska in 1998 and his first work was as manager of, then, state-owned Chena Hot Springs Pool and Recreation where he instituted many processes that reduced losses to the state at that time in addition to creating safety measures to protect patrons while soaking their weary bones.

Kelly Ann Cavaretta

Seward Business Advisor

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Kelly Ann Cavaretta lives and breathes small business. Her past 7 years have been predominantly defined in marine tourism – managing a push-the-limits seasonal small business explosion that Seward summers know best. An entrepreneur herself, Kelly Ann comes from a footing of shared experiences as SBDC’s newest Seward Business Advisor.

From working as an environmental consultant in San Diego, to managing 60 seasonal employees and a seasonal boat tour company in Seward, to starting her own small yoga studio and own nightly rental business, Salted Roots Cabins, to buying an existing downtown restaurant and long-term rental business, Thorns, Kelly Ann hopes to bring real time experience to her community clients.

To say Seward is her home is an understatement – She’s a proud resident of Seward, a community volunteer and board member, an avid recreationist in these coastal mountains, and a new mom.

Kelly Ann has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies and Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University.

Mat-Su Center

Misty O’Connor

Matanuska-Susitna Center Director

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Misty has over 20 years entrepreneurial experience as the founder of two successful businesses. As the owner of Point Click Learn, an educational technology company that sold proprietary software to schools and provided professional development to educators in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York for 15 years, Misty gained valuable insights into sales, marketing & advertising, professional development, grant writing, creating financial projections, and establishing distribution channels.

Misty’s second business was a family-owned special events venue located on her rural property. Misty, her father, and her two children ran the venue business hosting weddings, family reunions, graduation parties, bridal and baby showers, and garden club tours of the grounds. As outdoor and private venues for weddings and special events have become very popular, she looks forward to sharing her 15 years experience with the SBDC clients.

Misty has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from the University of Evansville, and a Master’s of Arts degree in English from the University of Central Florida.

Throughout her career and partnering with the SBDC at Gannon University in Pennyslvania, Misty used her knowledge and experience to assist other small business owners start their own businesses. Misty’s passion is working with people to see their entrepreneurial dreams become a reality and she’s now excited to assist in building and strengthening of Alaska’s small businesses.

Rural Center

Ian Grant

Rural Program Director

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Ian Grant has experience as a small business owner in the restaurant industry. He specializes in assisting his clients with their business plans, financial projections, and cash-flow management. During Ian’s tenure at AK SBDC, he has assisted clients in a wide range of services including buying and selling a business, management, and strategic planning.

Ian holds a Bachelor of Arts in Art from the University of Alaska – Southeast.

Ruth Wolfe

Rural Business Advisor

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Ruth is an Alaska Native Yup’ik with strong family connections to Nightmute and Perryville. As an enrolled member of Umkumiut Tribal Village and a shareholder in both Bristol Bay Native Corporation and Calista Native Corporation, she is deeply rooted in her heritage and has a passion for Indigenous advocacy, working to enhance the community, and cultivate sustainable growth for the next generation. She is a board member for the Alaska Native Professional Association and an active volunteer in her community.

Previously, Ruth worked in Commercial Real Estate helping small businesses and corporations buy, sell, or lease real estate in Alaska. Now, as a Rural Business Advisor, she provides valuable assistance to small businesses, offering financial analysis, marketing strategies, research support, and more.

Ruth’s upbringing in Seward, combined with her deep appreciation for her Alaska Native heritage, has shaped her outlook on life. She and her high school sweetheart now reside in the Mat-Su region, where they are fortunate to have breathtaking mountains as their backyard. Ruth holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences with a concentration in Psychology from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

When she’s not helping businesses grow, she’s enjoying physical fitness, expressing her creativity through art, skiing down slopes, or indulging in the power of a great book.

 

Kristine McRae

Rural Business Advisor

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Kristine McRae Rural Business Advisor

Born and raised in Fairbanks, Kristine grew up in her family’s backpacking and ski shop, where she developed an appreciation for entrepreneurship and the unique challenges and rewards it brings.

Throughout her career, she has empowered individuals through adult education and youth employment initiatives. Kristine enjoys helping people realize their potential through vocational pursuits and professional growth.  She and her family have lived in Nome since 2000, and in 2016 she opened Bering Tea & Coffee. Owning and operating a busy coffee shop reinforced her belief in the transformative power of small businesses and their ability to strengthen local communities.

She is eager to bring her experience and enterprising spirit to assist small business owners in rural Alaska establish and expand their own ventures.