The five Small Business Development Center advisors below recently completed their certifications, a requirement to ensure the advisors are well-prepared to engage with clients and the local business community. The certification takes six months and includes an assessment of 12 areas of technical skills, along with a variety of soft skills.
Aziz Makhani joined the SBDC with more than 35 years’ experience in various high tech disciplines and companies. Additionally, he has created three successful startups, including creating an educational board game and bringing it to market. His areas of specialization include social media, product development, quality assurance, marketing and more.
As Pullman’s SBDC advisor, Aziz has also been partnering with the Office of Commercialization on a workshop series about the technology transfer and business development process.
CJ Seitz’s experience includes nearly 20 years of executive planning, administration, financial strategy and marketing in both the non-profit and private sectors. Prior to joining the SBDC in 2015, CJ was the Northwest Area Director for the Employment Security Department (ESD) for Whatcom, Skagit, Island and San Juan counties.
Don Yates spent nearly 40 years working in the high-tech industry and has senior level experience in strategic business planning, product line life-cycle management, new product development, marketing, sales, customer support service, operational management and more. His areas of specialization include high-tech, mergers and acquisitions, product development, market expansion and strategic planning.
Debra Lee first joined the SBDC network in 2007, and returned in 2015, bringing with her more than 20 years’ experience in risk and insurance management and sales and marketing management in the Fortune 500, Forbes 100, and small business arenas. She had also held a senior level position in her family real estate development company in Hawaii.
Tony Sala’s broad experience in business includes more than 35 years in the retail and restaurant industries. Tony also has more than 20 years as a business consultant. His areas of specialization include marketing, advertising, branding, sales process design, training systems, organization and retail development.