ONONDAGA SBDC DIRECTOR
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.
NYSBDC Certified Business Advisor
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.
ADVANCED NYSBDC 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 at Onondaga Community College (Room 421A, Mulroy Hall), with weekly Wednesday hours at Syracuse CoWorks (555 South Clinton St, Syracuse). He will also see clients his office on the Northside, Cooperative Federal Credit Union (800 North Salina St), by appointment only.
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 NYSBDC 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.
NYSBDC 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.
NYSBDC Business Advisor
Mark is a results-oriented business executive that provides practical and entrepreneurial experience for those that seek assistance from the SBDC. He most recently served as the Director of Business Development and Operations for Agway Energy Services. In his role, he had overall profit and loss responsibility for the company and led their new business development, marketing, sales, and operational efforts.
His previous experience includes international marketing and program management at the General Electric Company and marketing program management at National Grid.
Mark’s areas of expertise include strategic planning, business plan development, marketing and sales, program management, business analytics, and financial analysis.
In addition to his business experience, Mark is very active in the Central New York community. Mark currently serves on the boards for Catholic Charities of Onondaga County, the Samaritan Center, and Meals on Wheels of Syracuse. Previously, he served as a trustee on the Board of Directors for Christian Brothers Academy and as a board member for the Elmcrest Children’s Center. Mark has also worked for over 20 years as an official for both men’s and women’s basketball in Central New York.
Mark graduated from Clarkson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting with a minor in marketing and sales management. He also holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Le Moyne College.
NYSBDC Certified Business Advisor
Mike has spent most of is career working in the field of economic development. While working on his MBA at Syracuse University, Mike worked as a Senior Economic Development Specialist for the City of Syracuse, NY for six years where he put together financing packages for new and growing City-based businesses.
He has a previous life as an SBDC counselor as well, joining the organization in 2000 and achieving Certified Advisor status. After five years at SBDC, Mike moved on to become the Regional Loan Manager for the Central New York Enterprise Development Corporation, a non-profit public economic development organization.
Mike worked at CNY EDC for fifteen years developing small business loan and grant programs, evaluating business projects, underwriting small business loans and grants for a wide variety of regional enterprises and managing a large and diverse portfolio covering the five-county Central New York region.
Mike comes from a small business family – his parents owned a small but successful wholesale/retail sporting goods operation for most of Mike’s childhood – so he has seen first-hand the challenges and opportunities offered by the entrepreneurial life. Following in his parents’ footsteps, Mike founded, managed and ultimately sold a profitable bicycle sales and service business.
Mike has a BA in Political Science and Spanish Language Studies from Boston College and an MA in International Economics from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
Regina Powell is the social media / website manager, graphic designer, budget organizer, and record keeper for the Onondaga SBDC. She frequently partners with business advisors to help guide Start-Up and Existing Business to their versions of success.
Regina also creates illustrations and works as a freelance graphic designer. She received a B.F.A. from Syracuse University.
Photos courtesy of Ana Gil-Taylor Photography, client of the Onondaga SBDC