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

Mike Lightner

Anchorage Center Director | message

Prior to joining the SBDC Team, Mike served in the US Air Force for 30 years and retired as a Chief Master Sergeant. Prior to retirement, Mike served as the Career Field Manager for Aircrew Flight Equipment, where he led a team of over 5,200 people stationed all around the world. During his time in the military, he learned that the simplest solutions are usually the best solutions.

With this simple, yet strategic approach to personal growth and leadership development, Mike’s passion is to develop and equip leaders who, in turn, raise up other leaders. This led to him starting his own leadership development business, Dare2Dream Leadership Development, in 2016. As an author, Leadership Development Trainer, International Speaker, and Coach, Mike helps businesses and the people in them reach their full potential.

Mike holds a Bachelors of Arts in Organizational Management from Ashford University, a Associates in Survival and Rescue Operations from the Community Collage of the Air Force, a Executive Certificate in Leadership & Management from the University of Notre Dame, and is a certified Speaker, Trainer, Coach, and DISC Consultant with the John Maxwell Team.

Allan Carraway

Anchorage Business Advisor | message

Allan Carraway started his first business at 17-years-old and hasn’t looked back since. He has accumulated over 20 years of experience in small business and retail management.

In recent years, Allan has turned his efforts toward helping start-ups and developing techniques to help businesses of any stage gain a leg up on their competition. Allan’s specialties include retail, small-format grocery, networking, marketing, and business valuation.

Allan is a certified Profit Mastery instructor. Profit Mastery is a two-day intensive program that helps small business owners and entrepreneurs develop the skills they need to increase profit and improve cash flow.

Julie Nelson

Anchorage Business Advisor | message

Julie Nelson recently relocated from Bozeman, MT, and has joined the Alaska Small Business Development Center as a new Anchorage Business Advisor. She brings a background of over 15 years of business experience to her new role.

Julie has served as the Vice-President of Business Development for a large printing company where she worked with countless small business clients to assist with their marketing needs. Julie then went on to an Executive Sales role in the franchise industry and is a Certified Franchise Executive.

Julie has owned her own small businesses and has also been a board member and volunteer for environmental stewardship non-profits. When she is not helping small businesses achieve their goals she enjoys everything the outdoors have to offer, including hiking, skiing, and wildlife photography.

Andrew Kerosky, MBA

Anchorage Business Advisor | message

After receiving his Economics undergrad from UAA in 2013, Andrew found a role through the Alaska Permanent Fund as a senior fund analyst at Crestline Investors, a hedge fund in Fort Worth, Texas. From there, he was accepted into the MBA program at the University of Chicago, where he specialized in statistics, business analytics, marketing, and analytic finance. He also worked as a financial consultant and equity analyst at Gofen and Glossberg, an independent Registered Investment Advisor in Chicago.

Andrew has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Fairbanks Center

Russell Talvi

Fairbanks Center Director | message

Russ has 30 plus years of experience as a manager/owner of multiple businesses in Alaska and Hawaii including destination resort, hospitality, food and beverage, and more.

He has personal experience buying and selling businesses and both asset sales and stock sales. Russ loves to help existing small businesses review their current financial performance, discover opportunities, and implement improvements to increase their profitability!

Russell holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology with a Minor in Economics from the University of Alaska – Fairbanks.

Jade Greene, MBA, PHR, SHRM-CP

Fairbanks Business Advisor | message

Jade Greene is an accomplished professional with over twenty 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 2021.

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

Ian Grant

Juneau Center Director | message

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.

Kenai Peninsula Center

Cliff Cochran, MBA

Kenai Peninsula Center Director | message

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 | message

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.

Ketchikan Center

Shelly Hill

Ketchikan Business Advisor | message

In partnership with Sealaska’s Spruce Root program and the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce, Shelly Hill will serve as the new Ketchikan Business Advisor!

Shelly moved to Ketchikan almost three years ago from Nashville, TN, and has worked with many of the small businesses along Ketchikan Creek. She also owns and operates her own small business making herbal teas. She has experience coaching people, utilizing social media, and has a passion for working with individuals and helping them make their dreams a reality.

Mat-Su Center

Julie Nolen

Matanuska-Susitna Center Director and Associate State Director | message

Julie is a life-long Alaska who has been involved in family business her entire life. She joined the team at the Alaska Small Business Development Center in 2009 and has been helping businesses grow and thrive throughout the state of Alaska ever since. Her areas of expertise include QuickBooks, financial projections, loan package development, and business acquisition.

Julie has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from Northern Arizona University and currently lives in Wasilla with her husband and son. In her free time, Julie enjoys quilting, gardening, snow-machining, and spending time at her remote cabin on the Yentna River.

Trisha Sims

Matanuska-Susitna Center Advisor | message

Trisha Sims has joined the Alaska Small Business Development Center as a new Mat-Su Business Advisor. She brings experience as a former non-profit Executive Director of a community and economic development organization in Southeast Alaska. In that role, she worked to improve port infrastructure to support the industries of mining, exporting, and tourism, and was able to grow her expertise in countless other areas. Trisha was also able to secure funding for multiple community projects that benefitted both the public and private sectors. She truly enjoyed her work aiding numerous small businesses start or expand, especially those in the tourism industry. Trisha has a love of helping those around her harness their passions for entrepreneurship and is excited to have this opportunity in the Mat-Su community!

When she is not helping small business owners, she can be found enjoying the beauty of Alaska with her family and friends.

Rural Office

Jennifer Adams, MBA

Rural Center Director | message

Jennifer Adams is a seasoned business professional having served in various executive-level positions such as CEO of a state agency housing/construction agency, director of planning and development for a large Alaska Native social service agency, and executive director of an Alaska Native Elders’ organization. In the past, she worked for The Status Group in Las Vegas, writing business plans for small business clients wishing to pursue bank loans.

Jennifer also has a background in human resources, corporate legal experience, budget development, government contracting, strategic planning, and technical writing. She has owned a consulting business since 2013. Originally from Allakaket and Fairbanks– Jennifer loves serving entrepreneurs in Juneau and rural Alaska.

Jennifer holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with Minors in both Alaska Native Studies and Applied Business, as well as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Alaska – Fairbanks.