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.


Allan Carraway, Anchorage Center Director

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.


Alex Salov, Anchorage Business Advisor

Alex Salov is one of the most experienced economic development and international trade professionals in Alaska. Prior to joining the Alaska Small Business Development Center team, he worked at World Trade Center Alaska for 15 years.

Throughout his career at the Trade Center, he personally assisted hundreds of companies in their business endeavors and championed their interests through an extensive network of WTCs around the world. Together with his team, Alex conducted hundreds of conferences, industry/market-focused luncheons, and seminars, organized several overseas trade missions, and facilitated visits of many inbound delegations. His international areas of expertise are East Asia and the Arctic.

Alex holds a Master of Science in Global Supply Chain Management from the University of Alaska Anchorage. In addition, he has been teaching Japanese at the University of Alaska Anchorage since 2005. He originally comes from Russia and speaks both English and Japanese with a Russian accent!


Julie Nelson, Anchorage Business Advisor

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


Russell Talvi, Fairbanks Center Director

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, 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.


Alexis Amstutz, Fairbanks Business Advisor

Alexis Amstutz has been an entrepreneur since she was a young girl, and has continued to nurture that entrepreneurial spirit and diversify her industry experiences ever since. She has worked in airport retail management, fashion, biotech, winery marketing, and higher education from coast to coast and even abroad. She successfully owned and operated her pie business, Pulitzer Pies. In addition to advising, Alexis teaches Boots 2 Business to transitioning military service members as well as business courses at the university. She looks forward to providing exceptional support to her clients along their small business journeys.

Alexis has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Massachusetts – Boston.


Jennifer Adams, Director of Rural Program Development

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.


Cliff Cochran, Kenai Peninsula Center Director

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.


Julie Nolen, Matanuska-Susitna Regional Director

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 degree 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.

Julie has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Northern Arizona University.


Ian Grant, Juneau Center Director

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.


Shelly Hill, Ketchikan Business Advisor

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.