Press Release

Meet New Advisor Ben Slade!

Getting to Know Benjamin Slade
The Santa Cruz Small Business Development Center is pleased to announce that Human Resources expert Benjamin (Ben) Slade has joined its topnotch team of professional advisors. Ben is currently an HR director for a local business in Watsonville, and will be taking on new HR clients alongside longtime advisor Joy Hallof. Ben is a leader in his field with more than a decade of HR experience and a deep commitment to supporting small businesses, the lifeblood of the community.

After talking with SBDC advisor David Mancera, Ben decided to use his business acumen to assist the small business community while maintaining his full-time job. He began his Santa Cruz SBDC advising in June and has already worked with a number of businesses, including a restaurant, fitness center, car detailing business, florist and acupuncturist.

Advice on Compliance Issues
“California is one of the most difficult states to do business in because it has a lot more compliance laws. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed just keeping up and checking the boxes, let alone running your business,” said Ben.

Ben is an ideal consultant to address those complex compliance issues including, but not limited to: potential lawsuits, taxes, wage and hour compliance, independent contractors and COVID.

Commitment to Small Business
“Small business is what makes the community unique. It’s one of the foundational pieces,” said Ben. “I live a block away from a mom-and-pop coffee shop. I would rather support them as a small business than go to Starbucks. That money at the mom-and-pop shop goes back to the local community and supports employees living here.”

After recently completing his MBA at the University of Illinois, Ben was ready to provide support to the business community and also expand his range of HR experience. “I saw an opportunity to do more and everything happened to align perfectly,” said Ben.

Originally from Wisconsin, Ben has spent a decade in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, starting with his assignment to the Defense Language Institute where he studied to become an Arabic linguist for the Army. When he’s not at work, Ben is deeply invested in family life with his toddler, Christopher, and his wife Traci, a Watsonville native. They are proud to be part of the rich fabric of the Santa Cruz community.

“My goal with every company is to always leave it in better condition than when I started,” said Ben. “Achieving success means that I have great people with me. It’s a team effort.”

With his upcoming September class for the SBDC, Ben strives to “bring simple solutions to complex problems.” He will present “How to Determine Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees,” which will provide insights and the framework on how to determine their Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) status.
Register today for “How to Determine Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Employees,”
September 21, 6:00 PM — 7:30 PM