Alameda County SBDCOakland, CA

Our Team

The Alameda County SBDC is staffed with experienced leaders who assist SBDC clients grow and develop their businesses.

Ron Barrett

Loan Specialist

Ron is a native East Bay resident with more than 40 years of entrepreneurial and financial services experience.

Most recently, Barrett served as Manager of Government Guaranteed Loans for Bank of Alameda. Previously, he was a business development officer at Wachovia Small Business Capital and earlier served as a broker and financial advisor for Merrill Lynch. He also has had his own international marketing and sales counseling practice including assignments for the likes of the CEO of Kinko's Graphics and ACT Teleconferencing.

In addition to his experience in the banking and brokerage industries, Barrett was recognized numerous times for his leadership as founder and CEO of Pride Electronics in San Diego, California, a company with 150 employees who sold its manufactured products in over 26 countries. Pride was named by the President of the United States as "Employer of the Year."

Ron has been affiliated with the Alameda County SBDC as a generalist business counselor for over five years.

David Bokash

Business Tech

David Bokash has more than 20 years management consulting, marketing, business strategy, Supply Chain Management (SCM), Information Technology (IT), engineering and project/product management experience. Over the past few years he has served as a consultant advising startups and established companies on product marketing, internet commerce, website development, business strategy, IT project management and SCM.

In 2001, Mr. Bokash came to the bay area to work as a product manager at SAP Labs where he helped incorporate electronic commerce and SCM functionality into their applications. Prior to SAP, David held positions at Federal Express in field (operations) engineering and third-party logistics. As an IT project manager for Fed Ex Logistics and Electronic Commerce, he supervised several client implementations in both North America and Europe. As a field engineer for Fed Ex ground operations, he led several initiatives improving productivity and service, and advised station management on operations strategy and tactics.

After business school, he was a consultant in the Strategic Consulting Group of Price Waterhouse, working with clients on strategic uses of IT and SCM. Prior to business school, he spent four years as a systems engineer, working on several commercial and government spacecraft programs.

Mr. Bokash holds a BS and MS in Engineering from Purdue University, and he received an MBA from Harvard University's Graduate School of Business Administration. David finished his Engineering Masters Degree as a Hughes Graduate Fellow. And before beginning his graduate studies at Purdue, he was selected by the governor of Indiana to serve a two-year term on Purdue University's Board of Trustees.

Paul Bozzo

Business Advisor

Paul Bozzo is a scalable entrepreneurial and technology ventures expert in the San Francisco Bay Area. Paul’s background blends over 25 years of professional experience in start-up strategy, angel and venture capital financing, strategic planning and SBA lending. His specialty is working with entrepreneurial ventures to refine their business model, create an investment-driven business plan and prepare an effective funding presentation. He also advises CEOs and founding teams on these common start-up issues: legal entity selection, equity financing structures, financial forecasting and exit strategies. Paul is an adjunct faculty member in both Sonoma State's Executive MBA program and Dominican University's Green MBA program.

Lisa Cain

Business Advisor

Lisa is a marketing lecturer and small business consultant. Lisa Cain’s company is MarketingU and her tagline is "Learn it. Do it. Profit!" She has both a PhD in marketing from the Wharton School of Business and over 15 years of experience running her own business. She has learned both the academic underpinning of effective marketing and, as a small business owner herself, a wide range of guerilla marketing techniques. From the full gamut of digital and content marketing, to face-to-face efforts like referral marketing & networking, she believes that all of these techniques are more effective if you have a strategy in mind instead of trying out the flavor of the month.

Lisa has been passionate about marketing since she started taking MBA level marketing classes in the early 90s. She has consulted with small business owners for nearly 20 years and specializes in marketing strategy, digital marketing and pricing techniques. Lisa is committed to teaching her small business clients the same useful information that she taught at both the undergraduate and MBA level at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, The Wharton School, and Mills College. 

Tom Camerato


A private consultant, a business owner and an investor for nearly 20 years, Tom calls himself a Financial Strategist, one who integrates Business Strategy with Financial Management. In private practice, Tom's early focus was on the Pharmaceutical and Biotech industries and their growth strategies through acquisition, licensing and partnering, in recent years clients have covered a range of industries, and sizes and include business expansions (both organic and through acquisitions), start-ups and turnarounds. Tom’s work history includes more than 10 years commercializing biological technologies in the very early years of the Biotechnology Industry and his educational background includes Master’s Degrees in both Biochemistry and Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon University. 

Ed Duarte


Ed Duarte is CEO of Aztec Consultants, a San Ramon, California-based professional construction management company and general contracting firm. Founded in 1986, Aztec has specialized in public works, commercial, and institutional construction projects for the last 23 years.

Under his leadership, the company has provided construction management services on over $245 million of public works contracts; and built over $110 million as the General Contractor of Record.

Mr. Duarte has also served as a mentor to many minority-owned construction contractors throughout Northern California. He has done this under interim contracts with Caltrans, the City of Oakland, and the Small Business Administration.

Mr. Duarte is the co-founder and Assistant Program Director for the CSU-East Bay Construction Management Certificate Program, where he has taught Construction Estimating & Project Management for the last 22 years.

Mr. Duarte has B.S. Civil Engineering from California State University in Fresno and a Graduate Degree from the Management Development for Entrepreneurs (MDE) Program, The Anderson School of Management at UCLA.

Mr. Duarte is licensed as a General Engineering & Building Contractor in the states of California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Nevada and is a 23-year member of the Rotary Club of San Ramon, California.

Bob Komoto


Bob Komoto has worked with diverse types and sizes of businesses in technical, retail, and agricultural industries to help them successfully envision, create, nurture and grow their businesses. Bob has held positions in engineering, project management, business development and consulting.
Bob has started and grown businesses, launched new products, and qualified as a CertifiedNEI/SBDC Export and Trade Counselor and as a Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP).  He has hands-on experience in launching products and services in the telecommunications, computer manufacturing, software, hardware, retail, agricultural and green/clean tech industries.
Today, as President of American Products International and as an entrepreneur, Bob consults for companies in the areas of global business development, product development and positioning, and go-to-market strategies.  Clients include companies offering products and services domestically and globally.
Previously, Bob has taught chemistry and business in English and Spanish; and been a project manager, consultant and engineer launching new processes, products and businesses.
Bob earned a B.S. from Harvey Mudd College, an MS from Santa Clara University and is ABD for a DMat University of Phoenix.

Mari Lovalvo

Human Resources

Mari LoValvo is an SBDC Business Advisor/ Trainer with over 15 years of experience in small business management, sole proprietors, home-based and women-owned businesses.  She works actively with clients to develop effective business plans, guiding them from the pre-start stage to the execution of an Action Plan that leads to achieving profitability in the expansion phase of their businesses.  She works diligently to understand clients’ needs including cultural values as they apply to business concepts in immigrant populations. She is people-focused, intuitive and results oriented.  As a certified Financial Coach she also helps small business owners with financial challenges by helping them transform their financial difficulties into financial well-being and peace of mind.   

As the Regional Team Manager, she was responsible for launching the SBA funded, Women’s Business Center in Concord and is a seasoned bilingual business trainer.   Topic areas taught included Business Law, Small Business Management, Business Communications, Salesmanship, Marketing and Branding. 

Mari’s educational background includes a Bachelor Degree from the University of Washington and a Master of Administration with an emphasis is Business and Human Resources Management from the University of California, Riverside.  She is a certified Nx Level and Green Business trainer.  

She is also a graduate of Leadership Concord Program and recipient of the 2014 Regional SBDC Program Top Contributor.

Cynthia Mackey

Social Media

Cynthia is a private consultant and the principal of Winning Strategies LLC, a digital marketing agency that creates online campaigns and tools to grow our customers Internet sales and services.  Cynthia’s 20+ years’ experience span the entire supply chain lifecycle: from manufacturing, product and technology management, and enterprise sales, to customer support, call center and customer training. This experience gives her hands on know how to assist small businesses in tactics to effectively market using social media, the web and mobile apps.  As a small business owner, she realizes the need for flexible solutions to meet the various growth levels and changes small and medium businesses face. Winning Strategies has worked with local and state governments, entrepreneurs, non-profits, advertising and interactive agencies, & Fortune 500 corporations.

Cynthia is also a sought after trainer and learning strategist. Her experience includes; Adjunct Professor at Golden Gate University where she taught Telecommunications Fundamentals, Ecommerce Fundamentals, Ecommerce Systems and Technologies and Global Ecommerce.  She has also served as the VP of Internet Services at a consumer software company and acting VP for ecommerce startups.  Prior to starting Winning Strategies, Cynthia was engagement manager at a national interactive agency, USWeb/CKS, and prior to that, Technology Manager at Pacific Bell/Pacific Bell Internet Services (now ATT).

Cynthia has taught courses for organizations such as the San Francisco SBA, Alameda and Contra Costa Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), California Resource and Training (CARAT) and numerous non-profit, church and municipal events throughout Oakland. She has also served as a marketing advisor at an entrepreneur boot camp in Greece, and as a learning strategist either teaching or constructing employee training programs for global companies. She currently serves on the Board of Advisors for Oakland Technology Exchange West, and the Board of Expert Advisors for California Emerging Technology Fund. She has formerly served on the boards of The Stride Center and San Francisco Friends of the Children. 

Cynthia has a BS in Industrial and Systems Engineering from USC, an MS in Telecommunications Management from Golden Gate University and an Executive Education certificate from Duke University, Fuqua School of Business.  

Paula Mattisonsierra


Paula Mattisonsierra is the Marketing Director of Power Marketing Consulting, working closely with business owners to develop and manage long-term, tactical marketing plans for both service and product based businesses. Working with Hal Riney & Partner, Paula managed an $85 million budget as well as assisted in the development of national media buying plans for the agency's largest clients, including Saturn GM, Subway Sandwich, and John Deere. Paula has also worked as a Corporate Event Planner for Mattison Inc., New York and The California Bankers Association.

Paula has successfully launched four businesses. In 2000, Paula founded Maximum Mama Maternity, an international wholesaler of maternity clothing with collections in over 85 retail establishments. As Lead Designer, Paula researched, developed and manufactured the apparel product lines as well as managed day-to-day operations and created the sales and marketing strategies.

Paula was a lecturer and faculty member specializing in Design/Merchandising with a marketing concentration at the Art Institute of San Francisco, California from 2004 to 2009. Paula has a BBA in International Marketing from City University of New York, Bernard Barucha. In addition she holds the Product Development Certificate, 1999 from Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, San Francisco.

David Mitroff

Technology Integration, Restaurant and Retail Marketing, Customer Loyalty Programs, Social Media Marketing, and Business and Partnership Development

David Mitroff, Ph.D. advises clients and conducts workshop on Technology Integration, Restaurant and Retail Marketing, Customer Loyalty Programs, Social Media Marketing, and Business and Partnership Development.

David brings to the SBDC his experiences as the Founder and Chief Consultant of Piedmont Avenue Consulting through which he provides business consulting and marketing services to create brand awareness, strengthen customer loyalty and generate new opportunities. David works with a diversity of clients in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond such as restaurants and retail specialty stores, franchises, professional services firms, start-ups and individual entrepreneurs.

Dr. Mitroff leverages his extensive professional and education background, including a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology to motivate people to create change, while understanding the psychology behind business and marketing decisions. David is an active member, on the executive board, or advisory committees for several organizations. He continually collaborates with several consultant groups, merchant associations, and charities to best serve the community.

David is a sought after speaker on a wide range of topics from Social Media Management to the Psychology of Marketing and through his consulting, lectures, trainings, and keynotes has educated more than 15,000 business owners.

Mary Passarella


Mary Passarella is a CPA (certified public accountant) with over 22 years of experience.  She provides services to both nonprofit and for-profit industries. 

Her career path began as an internal auditor with Bank of the West where she assisted the bank’s external auditors, Deloitte, with the annual bank financial statement audit.  After obtaining her BS in Business Administration, Accounting Option, she worked for a public accounting firm in San Francisco, CA in their audit and tax departments.  When she received her MS in Taxation, she started her own public accounting practice providing business consulting, tax and financial services. 

She has delivered and facilitated seminars in small business accounting, internal controls, auditing, corporate income tax and individual income taxation.

BS, Business Administration Cal State East Bay  

MS, Taxation, Cal State East Bay

Dorian Webb


Dorian brings expertise in the areas of business and strategic planning, branding, marketing, licensing, manufacturing and supply chain management.

For more than 20 years, Dorian Webb has designed and manufactured semiprecious jewelry and Venetian glass housewares for the luxury market. This award winning designer has created collections for high-end department stores, specialty boutiques and hotels throughout the US, Europe and Asia. Highlights include being featured in numerous media including Elle, The New York Times, People, the Today Show and the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Currently she leverages her design expertise with a licensing agreement with Crystorama Lighting, for whom she designs under her own name. She has lectured on entrepreneurship at New York University, Syracuse University and Clark Atlanta University. She serves on the board of a local nonprofit company and on the advisory boards of several Bay Area companies.

Deagon Williams


Deagon was born in California, but her cultural and culinary training ground was Paris, where she moved as a teenager in order to undergo formal culinary training.  Deagon earned her Grand Diplôme d'Études Culinaires at l'Ecole de Cuisine, La Varenne, and then apprenticed with Michel Comby and La Maison du Chocolat.

As a chef, Deagon ran a 25 person kitchen staff with a daily changing menu as well as created new businesses from scratch. In order to build organizational expertise, Deagon studied systems and organizational theory, earning a BA in Sociology as well as an MBA at Mills College.

Deagon was Client Services Manager at the Center for Culinary Development, where she worked on business development and food innovation marketing for multinational corporations.  She is now the principal of Culinary Business Strategy, a boutique consultancy that offers understanding and bottom line results to the food business sector.

As a SBDC counselor, Deagon enjoys working with clients to create and empower strategic roadmaps to success.  This often includes completing a well-crafted business plan, financial analysis and strategic growth, branded marketing and operational excellence.

Tom Yeh


Tom Yeh was the CEO and Co-Founder of Siteler, Inc., the fastest growing social venture in a $35 Billion dollar industry.  Yeh is a five-time serial entrepreneur and investor and has served in various executive capacities for many early stage companies in both U.S. and Asia. In addition, Yeh was a founding member of an EB-5 Immigration Venture/Private Equity Fund. The fund focuses on socially responsible businesses that also creates jobs. Yeh's previous successful businesses encompasses renewable energy, technology, specialty trading, product development, real estate and investment. In addition to his entrepreneurial path, Yeh also have extensive corporate experience serving as managers and executives at AT&T Customer Care Center, overseeing and staffing more than 650 people operations and at Sony On-Premise, managing two departments. In both cases, Yeh have full P&L responsibility. Yeh attended University of California, Berkeley majoring in Biochemistry. Early in his academic career, Yeh was involved in International Chemistry Olympiad and was also a Howard Hughes Scholar.
In addition to serving on the board of various private companies, he is also on the Board of Trustees at Palo Alto University, serves on the executive committee of the board and is the Chair of the Investment Committee and the Finance Committee. He is a board member of Northern California Service League and Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice and is on the executive committee of the board. Yeh is the current Chairman of International Mensa Investment Club where he seed fund hedge funds and mutual funds. He was also the President of Northern Paradise Chapter of WMA (Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association). He has served as a guest lecturer, speaker at graduate level courses on UC Berkeley Extension and International School of Management. He spent a great deal of his time sharing his experiences with entrepreneurs by giving talks and serving as panelist for organizations like San Jose State University, UC Berkeley, Swissnex and SVASE (Silicon Valley Association of Start-Up Entrepreneurs).

Ron Barrett

David Bokash

Paul Bozzo

Lisa Cain

Tom Camerato

Ed Duarte

Bob Komoto

Mari Lovalvo

Cynthia Mackey

Paula Mattisonsierra

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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 or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.