The Santa Cruz SBDC is staffed with experienced leaders who assist SBDC clients grow and develop their businesses.
Brandon has over twelve years of progressive responsibility in economic and workforce development. This includes six years of management experience with an M.B.A and three years working and studying overseas. Having a track record of exceeding goals while scaling operations in new markets and programs, he is passionate about combining high-quality technical assistance, access to capital, and partnerships for small business ecosystem building.
In 2006, inspired by Muhammad Yunus’ Nobel Peace Prize for his work in microfinance, Brandon started his career to build dignity and create jobs through access to capital for underserved entrepreneurs at CDC Small Business Finance. After receiving his MBA, Brandon joined the Peace Corps in Guatemala. He assisted the small business development efforts in ecotourism, focusing on providing an alternative income to subsistence farming. After returning to the States, Brandon supported entrepreneurs at higher levels. As the Director of Microlending at Valley Economic Development Center, he grew the portfolio to top 5 in the US and testified to the US Congress on the State of Microlending. Afterward, Brandon raised and managed an investment fund for microlenders across the US. In 2016, he responded to a passion to intersect community building and entrepreneurship and relocated to Palo Alto to create coworking spaces for the underserved workforce. He is thrilled to be a part of the incredible legacy of the Santa Cruz SBDC and the impact it has on the small business community.
Brandon enjoys reading non-fiction, epics, practicing jiu-jitsu, and bike touring.
Mary is a marketing professional with expertise in social media strategy, web development, analytics, and communications. She began her career in Silicon Valley advising technology startups, and now enjoys helping small Santa Cruz County businesses and nonprofits plan and implement effective social media campaigns.
Mary is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley. She loves living in Santa Cruz with her family and is an avid SCUBA diver and traveler.
Danny Braga is a retired SBA banker who has spent the past eight years with the Santa Cruz SBDC advising and assisting clients in their pursuit of capital. He is a member of the Norcal SBDC Million Dollar Club. In addition to his 38 year banking career, he has also taught college accounting courses part-time for 20 years. For eleven years, Danny was co-owner of a small local business that provided retail sales and service. He holds a BA degree in Accounting from San Jose State University.
Tom Bruce has been serving the hospitality industry in various capacities, such as, consultant, teacher and chef for over 35 years. An instructor for American River College, Mr. Bruce has taught classes such as Applied Foodservice Sanitation, Purchasing, Basic Cost Control, Advanced Cost Control, Marketing and Legal Aspects. He is certified by the National Restaurant Association, California Restaurant Association and is an accredited vocational instructor through UCLA.
Mr. Bruce offers monthly seminars including a SERVSAFE Certification Program. His Tactics & Strategies for Success Program offers seminars covering such topics as purchasing, marketing, human resources, administrative, financial and legal aspects as well as more specific issues such as red meat & seafood analysis and knife handling skills.
Douglas has senior level experience and expertise in facilities development, purchasing, operations and contract administration in both the public and private sector. He has been the President and is currently the Youth Chair for the Rotary Club of Capitola/Aptos. He is a member of the California Association of Business Officials. His work with the Santa Cruz SBDC consists of assisting small businesses with business planning, financial projections, lease negotiations, facilities planning, and operations management. At Cabrillo College, Doug managed $150 million in state and locally-funded bond construction projects; managed purchasing, contracts, risk management, warehousing, duplications, and mail distribution and also managed business services as Interim Director for 14 months.
Doug obtained a BS MS in Industrial Management with Honors from Purdue University-Krannert School of Management
Joy joined the ranks of the "consultant" world after thirty years of experience in the Human Resource field in companies such as ITT, Raytheon, Gillette, Oral-B Laboratories, Quintron Systems, Remedy, Pacific IBM EFCU and William Wilson & Assoc. While with a division of Gillette, Joy gained international human resource experience, with responsibility for operations in 28 different countries.
Her training "passion" facilitated her being involved in two delegations that provided training/management information in Russia, the Czech Republic, Poland, and a management seminar in Romania. Generalist knowledge of Human Resources led her to be the first Chairperson for EDD’s Employer Advisory Group and the Chair of the first ever California Employer Advisory Group statewide conference. She helped found a real estate oriented HR group called REELE in the San Francisco area to facilitate HR professionals serving the Real Estate Industry.
Joy holds a B.A. degree from Chapman College and completed the Masters study in Human Resources/Organizational Development at the University of San Francisco.
Larry Hebert started his business career over 40 years ago. During that time, his professional experience has included both entrepreneurial and corporate ventures. Larry is a principal at Hebert & Associates, a management consulting firm specializing in finance, raising start-up capital, financial analysis and CEO coaching. Larry consults with clients on financial forecasting and analysis, operations and business management practices, strategy development and tactical implementation.
He has advised businesses in all areas including writing business plans, conducting financial analysis, assessing, diagnosing and forecasting for better cash management, as well as launching new products and crafting turnaround strategies for troubled companies.
Larry has been a certified loan broker for the Small Business Administration and worked with clients in acquiring funding for their organizations. He has served as the Regional Director, Adjunct Faculty and Senior Class Advisor for the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University. MBA from Pepperdine University and a B.A. from California State University, Sacramento.
Keith Holtaway is an award winning Bay Area business consultant with a 20-year track record of proven successes. He has helped germinate the seeds of his client's ideas and helped transform them into award-winning and successful, local and nationally recognized businesses. Keith works closely with CEOs, senior management, executive directors, project managers, small and large business owners, and start-ups to quickly get their best thinking in writing and begin seeing results. He works with the client and team to develop clear, concise and aligned plans for achieving their quarterly and annual objectives for revenue, profit, cost reduction and other key measurements that are important to the overall success of their organization.
Born in New Jersey, Keith has a BA in History and English, was the Co-Founder of Pizza My Heart, a past Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Downtown Association, Director of the Small Business Development Center at Hartnell College, State Star for the Central California SBDC Region, holder of multiple awards for Excellence in Economic Performance for the Santa Cruz County SBDC, and co-winner for the 2016 Santa Cruz Nexties “Mentor of the Year” award. Keith also hold the rank of Sandan in Shorinji Ryu karate, as a 3rd degree black belt.
Bob Norton retired from his business brokerage 6 years ago after over 150 successful sales transactions and has been actively working to help improve the quality of life for his neighbors and friends in Aptos. He has been involved with the Aptos Chamber Board for 13 years serving on the executive board, board president, and chair of the 4th of July Parade Committee for the past 13 years. Bob has served two terms of 8 years total on the Board of Directors and past Board President of Above the Line dedicated to providing housing, education, placement and other vital services to at-risk children and youth.
Recognizing that 1 in 4 children in Santa Cruz County are food challenged, Bob’s current passion is for Second Harvest where he chairs the Second Harvest’s Board of Trustees, which he joined in 2011. Bob’s 36 years of experience in the grocery industry, including president of a Bay Area distribution company provides a depth of experience and clarity to distribution, logistics, and personnel challenges at Second Harvest.
Patrick Reilly, Esq. is an intellectual property ("IP") consultant with the TECH FUTURES GROUP, the founder of Intellectual Property Society, and a practicing IP attorney. His law practice encompasses patent prosecution, creative rights management, IP issues of start-up formation, trademark prosecution and assertion, copyright protection and assertion, and trade secret policy. Patrick has a special commitment to encourage civic engagement with the evolution of intellectual property law, personal data rights and Internet identity.
He is a graduate of the Defense Language Institute in Russian Language Studies, and has earned a BS in Sociology from the State University of New York, a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Toledo and a JD from Concord Law School. Patrick is a member of the U.S. Patent Bar and the California State Bar.
As a career marketing strategist, Bryce Root has always held many different marketing roles for organizations ranging from non-profits to global ad agencies and large-scale retail destinations attracting shoppers in the tens of millions. Over the last 20 years, Bryce has acquired a highly diverse skill set that he has now packaged to help California’s ever-growing Central Coast business community. As the owner of a regional business marketing consultancy, Bryce provides comprehensive marketing services to new and established businesses across all industries who want to elevate their traffic, sales, and overall brand exposure and it’s this unique experience that he brings to his work with the SBDC.
Bryce graduated with a BA degree from Pacific Lutheran University in Recreation Management and Exercise Science, which he used to open his own professional cycling coaching business upon graduation while four short years later he graduated from the University of San Francisco with a MA degree in Sports Business with a concentration in Sports Marketing.
Cathy Van Loon
Cathy has been an accounting advisor for SBDC since 2014. She has taught a variety of accounting courses at Cabrillo College since 1985 She also maintains a private accounting services business for small businesses and non profit organizations.
Cathy brings to small business owners and managers a comprehensive understanding of elements necessary for presenting accurate and reliable financial reports on which to base intelligent business decisions. She specializes in troubleshooting and correcting accounting software issues.
Currently, Cathy teaches QuickBooks Online at the college level and Basic Recordkeeping through Extension Workshops. Advanced certification as an Intuit QuickBooks Pro Advisor is maintained. She now specializes in all cloud-based, QuickBooks Online versions.
Cathy holds a B.A. in both Environmental Studies and Political Science and an M.A. in Management Studies all from Sonoma State University, California.