Alaska Small Business Development Center

Workshop Presenters

Over its history, the Alaska SBDC has assembled a wide range of talent and experience through its guest speakers and workshop instructors from across the state. On this page you’ll find a current list of Alaskan small business owners whose knowledge and experience contribute to the success of Alaska’s entrepreneurs through the Alaska SBDC Training Program.

John Brislin

John Brislin is SBA’s International Trade & Finance Specialist for Washington State, Alaska and Idaho. He has over 23 years of private-sector international banking and trade finance experience and over 10 years of public-sector export trade finance and risk mitigation experience. John has supported Alaska Exporters for over six years. He looks forward to working with Alaskan Small Businesses so they can turn their export opportunities into actual sales and to achieve the ultimate goal of getting paid—especially on time—for those sales.

Michael Buzinski

Michael Buzinski of Buzzworthy Integrated Marketing is recognized by the American Marketing Association as a visionary marketer for his innovations in digital marketing for small and medium-sized businesses. His strategies and creative aptitude have created award-winning campaigns for more than 300 companies over the last 20 years.

Kirstie Gray

Gray Services, LLC was founded by Kirstie Gray to help fill the gap she observed in various industries. Alaska’s two seasons, winter and construction, leaves some companies unable to keep a year-round workforce. Hence the “gap” where services are needed on a project by project or monthly basis to adhere to each company’s mission. Kirstie prides herself and her staff on providing a service that clients can count on for years to come. Delivering results that help clients better manage their company and allow for continued growth, which will enable your companies to reach full potential. Filling this “gap” allows Kirstie to serve multiple companies, working hand in hand to provide the services each client requires on a regular or as-needed basis, both face to face and remotely.

Peter House

Founder & CEO of Deeptree, Inc., has over 20 years of experience working with technology in environments large and small, urban and rural. He is focused on enabling comprehensive cybersecurity operations through enterprise architecture, strategy, and technical implementation. Acting as a change agent – Peter seeks to help others navigate the sometimes perilous waters of the digital ocean we operate in with confidence. He possesses diverse experience in private and public sector environments with deep knowledge of cybersecurity, risk management, business, and information technology concepts.

Rhonda Johnson

Rhonda Johnson was born and raised in Alaska and can’t imagine a better place on earth to live. She was born in Fairbanks, moved to Homer in the mid 70’s and grew up with her mom, the Magistrate in Homer. She moved to Anchorage to get “lost” in the big city for about a dozen years in the early 80s. That is when she started her Mortgage career in 1983. She had no idea what a Processor Trainee did since the only experience she had “Processing” was working in the fish cannery in Homer. She soon learned that there was a “T” in Mortgage. (Then she learned why – ask her some time!) She eventually grew up – again- and moved back to the Kenai Peninsula with her family to continue her mortgage career in her own back yard. She has since enjoyed nearly 40 years of helping families into homes, partnering up with Realtors to grow their businesses, educating herself to help others and nurtured 7 children into adulthood – well, it’s still a work in progress. She enjoys her 8 grandchildren, fishing on the river, fishing in Cook Inlet, camping, traveling, friends and family and teaching others anything she can to help them reach their goals.

Andrew Mitton

Attorney Andrew Mitton has practiced law in Alaska for over 17 years. He has worked in law firms and as in-house counsel for large corporations. He started Vellum, LLC in 2011 because he believes there is a better way to provide legal services to Alaska’s small businesses. His law firm was designed from the ground up so that small businesses like yours can have a legal department like the big guys.

Kay Patersson

Owner of SBCC (Solutions Business Contracting and Contracting), has over 25 years experience in business including accounting and consulting. SBCC was started in 2008, while finishing a master’s degree that focused on Finance, Organizational Management, and General Business. SBCC fosters a way to help business owners realize their potential for success through finance, consulting and advisory services. Kay is a certified QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor, Freshbooks Certified Accountant, and many more. As a full service company, new offerings are always added such as cryptocurrency. Existing and future clients may reach out via email, social media, phone. With 3 office site locations clients in the Fairbanks area may schedule an on site visit at their place of business. The Anchorage and Seattle satellite offices is a place where clients may find an array of support from document drop off, to web conferencing and training. Tech savvy entrepreneurs in other locations may visit the SBCC website, and Facebook for seasonal specials.

Chris Peloso

Chris Peloso has practiced law in Juneau, Alaska for eleven years. His practice handles a wide variety of matters, including criminal defense as well as environmental, corporate, and tax issues. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Physics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Science in Biochemistry from The Johns-Hopkins University. He received his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University.

Samantha Soffici

Samantha Soffici is a Partnership and Business Development Lead for Thryv. Ever since college, she’s had a passion for helping small businesses by working for nonprofits and companies with a goal to assist SME’s succeed domestically and abroad. Combined with her love for marketing and digital solutions, Samantha aims to assist companies become more effective and efficient in this digital world.