Onondaga Small Business Development Center
ADVISORS & STAFF
Joan Powers is the Director of the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Onondaga Community College. She has been with the SBDC since 1996, first as a Business Advisor, Assistant Director and as Director since 2013.
Joan has extensive experience in accounting related fields. Prior to joining the SBDC, she worked in the private sector for almost 20 years handling the payroll for 5000 employees, plus sales and property taxes for the largest Burger King franchise in the country.
Joan is a Board of Trustee member for the Greater Syracuse Business Development Corporation (GSBDC). She is also a board member of Women TIES (Women Together Inspiring Entrepreneurial Success), a company dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs expand their local, state and regional marketplace in New York State.
She received her B.A. and M.S. degree in Accounting from Syracuse University.
Paul Brooks is an experienced entrepreneur having launched Brooks Communications, a technology oriented marketing communications firm. In addition, he has a wealth of sales, marketing and administrative tenure in both high-tech businesses, and financial service organizations. His special areas of expertise are business development, sales, marketing and administration.
Paul was most recently a Launch NY Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) since March of 2013. He previously had served as Interim Executive Director of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra. His focus in the EIR role was on identifying high potential startup companies and assisting those entrepreneurs to become successful by mentoring and applying direct resources or making connections to required services.
In his previous experience, Paul was Vice President of Entrepreneurship Programs and Executive Director of the Syracuse Tech Garden for almost five years. His focus was on fostering high tech entrepreneurship in the Central New York region through start-up business incubation both resident and virtual. He was instrumental in collaboration with Syracuse University in the establishment of the Syracuse Student Sandbox. The Sandbox is a unique 12 week program at The Tech Garden focused on fostering student entrepreneurship.
Prior to joining the Tech Garden, Brooks was Northeast Regional Business Development Director for Cincom Systems, a worldwide software development and marketing firm headquartered in Cincinnati, OH. His previous associations include management responsibilities at Xerox Corporation, Sykes Datatronics and CIS Corporation where he was Vice President, Communications and Management Services.
Brooks holds a BS degree in Business Administration and an MBA in Marketing Management from Syracuse University’s Whitman School. In addition to his business involvement, he has an active community presence having served as Chairman of the Board of the Greater Cazenovia Area Chamber of Commerce, an elected member of the Board of Trustees and Deputy Mayor of the Village of Cazenovia, a Trustee of Cazenovia Presbyterian Church and a board member of the United Community Chest, Cazenovia Childrens’ House and CazCares.
CERTIFIED BUSINESS ADVISOR
Mike joined the SBDC in October 2015. He provides support to technology and manufacturing firms in the Central New York area through the Advanced Manufacturing in Thermal and Environmental Controls (AM-TEC) Program. In addition, he counsels various types of existing businesses, as well as, start-ups. After spending 35 years in the banking industry, Mike's extensive experience enables him to assist clients with their financing needs.
Currently, Mike serves as a Board Member at Christopher Community, a non-profit that provides affordable housing to seniors and families, and as a Basketball Coach for St. Rose CYO. He also has mentored a student at his Alma Mater, Bishop Grimes High School.
Mike graduated from State University of New York at Oswego with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration.
ADVANCED CERTIFIED BUSINESS ADVISOR
Frank has 20 years working with sustainable systems, non-profit business management, and cooperative business entities. Frank provides business counseling, training, assists businesses with obtaining Green certification for their operations through third-party organizations, and specializes in cooperative business start-up and operations. His main desk is co-located with Cooperative Federal Credit Union on Syracuse's Northside (800 North Salina St, 2nd Floor). He also works out of Syracuse CoWorks at 201 E. Jefferson St on Wednesdays and has on campus office hours at Onondaga Community College on Fridays.
Frank founded the NYS Cooperative Business Summit in 2012, which is evolving into a statewide network for cooperative businesses. Frank's experience with cooperatives is reflected in his daily life as founder of the Bitternut Housing Collective, member and volunteer at the Syracuse Real Food Co-op and the Eat-To-Live food co-op, and as a Board Member of Cooperative Federal Credit Union. Frank is also the Board President of The Alchemical Nursery, a non-profit dedicated to "Regenerative Lifestyles & Landscapes”.
Frank holds an M.S. in Sustainable Systems from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania; an M.F. in Forestry from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry; and a Permaculture Design Certificate from the Hancock Permaculture Center. Frank recently completed his Business Analyst Certification from Expert Rating - An ISO 9001:2008 Company.
Melissa Zomro Davis
ADVANCED CERTIFIED BUSINESS ADVISOR
Melissa has spent some time in the education world, but followed her passion to be a small business owner in the equine industry. In 2006, she became a client of the SBDC to begin the journey of starting her own business. Over the years of being a business owner, she expanded the business from one Brick-and-Mortar to adding a mobile unit that traveled up and down the east coast. During her business years, she continued her education by obtaining her P&C license to sell equine insurance as an extension of her tack shop in CNY. During her time as a small business owner, she has gained a great deal of experience in every aspect of the day-to- day operations, sales and marketing of owning a company.
Melissa operates a satellite office in Cazenovia offering her counseling services for start-up and existing small businesses through a wide range of networks in Western Madison County, as well as, having office hours in Onondaga County at Onondaga Community College.
She is an active member of her community. Melissa's community involvement includes being the Chair of the Board of Cazenovia Community Preschool, a current member of the Chamber of Cazenovia representing the SBDC, completing a term as a member of the Board of the Friends of Lorenzo, and is a former member of the HCBD in Cazenovia, while she was a business owner on Main Street. Recently, Melissa was named the Top 40 Under 40 in CNY.
Melissa earned a B.S. in Social Science from Cazenovia College, as well as, a M.S.T. in Teaching from LeMoyne College with a certification in Special Education.
CERTIFIED BUSINESS ADVISOR
Keyona has over 18 years of experience in supporting small businesses and students in Central New York. She has been a part of admissions and academic environments within higher education administration at Syracuse University and Bryant and Stratton College, assisting students in achieving their goals of furthering their education for entrepreneurial or corporate fields. She was a business consultant with the South Side Innovation Center, an entrepreneurial incubation project of the Syracuse University Whitman School of Management.
Beyond consulting, she worked as the center’s event coordinator, bringing together clients, programs, classes, networking, and other entrepreneurial awareness opportunities. Her main career goal is to work with local businesses, creating an economic impact and sense of achievement for our community, while offering guidance, assistance, and educational opportunities based on her experience, knowledge, and professional network. She primarily works with clients in Onondaga County and is located at 4926 Mulroy Hall, Onondaga Road, just off of OCC Main Campus.
Keyona earned her B.S. in Business Management with a concentration in entrepreneurship from SUNY Empire State College.
ONONDAGA SBDC COORDINATOR
Regina received her B.F.A. from Syracuse University and pursued additional coursework in graphic design and psychology at Onondaga Community College. Regina has a passion for small businesses and has been a freelancer in the fields of illustration and graphic design for many years.
Regina also prides herself on taking up as many interests as possible including (but not limited to) gardening and trying desperately to be a runner.
Onondaga Small Business Development Center. Partnership Program with the SBA, administered by the State University of New York. Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. All SBA funded programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.