UC Merced SBDCServing Merced and Mariposa Counties
Helping Your Business Start, Grow and Succeed

Our team members are committed to making a difference for small businesses like yours. 

Our expert business advisors are passionate about helping businesses succeed. They bring extensive hands-on business experience to each client situation, ensuring you receive practical “real world” advice that can be applied to daily operations. Business advisors’ expertise covers all key business areas, and they will work closely with you to develop productive solutions.

Our staff will make every effort to assist you. They can answer questions, arrange meetings with consultants, and help with signing up for classes.


Kurt Clark

Executive Director

Rick Leibowitz

Grant Compliance Specialist

Magali Laureano Perez

Administrative Assistant

Jessica Torres

Administrative Assistant

Keota Xiong

Assistant Regional Director


Tom Bruce

Hospitality & Operations Analysis

Gil Cardon

Strategic Planning, Sales & Marketing, and Operations Management

Chris Carroll

Website Development, QuickBooks and General Business

Steve Cassady

General Business and Strategic Planning

Mary Castillo

Credit Counseling, Finance and Business

Sonja Downing

Social Media, Marketing

Tisha Blackwood Freitas

Strategic Planning & Market Research

Robert Garrett

Bookkeeping, Accounting & Business Structure

Rhonda Lowe

General Business & Marketing

Tiffany Phillips

Social Media & Marketing

Toni Pirtle

Social Media, Marketing and Customer Relations

Amy Porter

QuickBooks & Accounting

Pamela Toconis

Human Resources & Organizational Behavior

Octavio Valencia

General Business, IP and Concept Development

Hub Walsh

General Business & Strategic Planning

Susan Walsh

General Business & Strategic Planning
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Funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and a Grant with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact the California SBDC closest to you.