Alaska Small Business Development Center

Operations Staff

The Alaska SBDC Operations Office supports all regional centers, business advisors, directors, and clients across the state. The Operations Office oversees the management of Alaska SBDC marketing and communications, client onboarding, support and relationships, events and workshops, and data and reporting.

Jon Bittner

Executive Director | message

As Executive Director of the Alaska SBDC, Jon Bittner oversees seven regional centers to ensure that the Alaska SBDC provides accessible, high-quality business assistance services to individuals and existing businesses. In his role, he provides program management, advocacy, and fundraising in addition to serving as the Lead Investigator for the various grant programs that are run through Alaska SBDC. He formerly served as vice president of Anchorage Economic Development Center (AEDC). Jon also served as the Deputy Commissioner for the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.

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.

Kendra Conroy

Operations Manager | message

With 17-years of Alaska SBDC experience under her belt, Kendra Conroy is an integral leader of the Alaska SBDC team. As the Operations Manager, she oversees the day-to-day functions of the Executive Office, serves as the HR liaison, and maintains Alaska SBDC policies and procedures. Kendra also manages the Alaska SBDC’s vast client database and ensures proper and timely reporting of all Alaska SBDC metrics.

Katie Ashbaugh

BuyAlaska Program Manager | message

Katie Ashbaugh is the BuyAlaska Program Manager and is thrilled to be finding ways to promote Alaska’s small businesses and to encourage shopping local first. With a background in the natural sciences and sustainable forest management, she took her passion for sustainability into the field of business and has an MBA in Sustainable Systems.

Katie has a breadth of experience working in small business management from tourism to e-commerce and understands the needs and hurdles that small businesses face daily. Katie has always felt a sense of entrepreneurship and is currently undertaking her small business venture. Outside of the office, Katie is an avid swimmer, skier, and lover of the outdoors.

Sarah Walker

Training Program Manager | message

Sarah Walker

Sarah Walker joined the Alaska SBDC team in October of 2021 as the Training Program Manager. She oversees the development of statewide training courses to support the mission of supporting small businesses in Alaska. Sarah arrived in Alaska in 2013 as a military spouse, and has put down her permanent roots in this great state. Raised in an entrepreneur household, Sarah is no stranger to the small business community. Now a UAA alumni in Business Management, Sarah strives to help Alaskans reach their dreams of entrepreneurship.

Frances Wesley

Client Coordinator | message

Frances Wesley, a long-time Alaskan has over 30 years of administrative experience including Operations Analyst, IT Project Management, and Human Resources. She takes pride in being an effective team worker, customer service, and helping to ensure projects are completed. She has done various volunteer work at many nonprofit organizations in Anchorage and is currently an officer on the board of a nonprofit organization that is helping to serve the community housing needs.

Frances received her Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis on Human Resources Organizational Development from Alaska Pacific University.