Whether launching a new business or tackling issues in an existing one, our team of volunteer certified mentors will provide you with expert guidance through our free one-on-one mentoring program, workshops, Q&A sessions and Business Owners Councils.

Learn more about our trained, certified mentors and subject matter experts below.  Several mentors also offer their services online, through SCORE's national online mentoring program.

Vladimir "Vic" Berniklau

Vic retired as a Senior Executive from the US Dept. of Energy after managing several organizational units in the local DOE office (MIS, Contracts, Facilities Planning and Budgets) as well as initiated offices of Strategic Planning and Technology Transfer.  With his wife and son, he started two tech-based businesses achieving a level of $2M in annual revenue and 30 employees before turning the businesses over to his son who continues their growth.  For the last 10 years, Vic has been a Certified Mentor with SCORE. He has a BS in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA.  He also taught at UNM at the graduate level. Vic's LinkedIn page is here.

Patrick Blackwell

Decades of experience running businesses in the US & Mexico.  All phases of running a business, program management, finance, supply chain, operations, etc.

Frances Boggess

Frances started a wide range of businesses/non-profits including a real estate company, residential summer camp, higher education association with over 80,000 members, and several consulting companies in sales training, team building, human behavior profiles, challenge/ropes courses, and higher education lobbying.  Other experience includes employment with Z-CoiL Footwear, Albuquerque Academy, and Sacramento Entrepreneurship Academy. Her expertise is in boots-on-the-ground, grassroots marketing, community organizing and fundraising, and employee and client recruitment.  She has been involved for over 25 years with family businesses including international product manufacturing, e-commerce, national distribution and franchising, and private stock offerings.  Frances can help small businesses, non-profits, home-based businesses, and small corporations with start-up strategy and improved business performance.  Her specific expertise is in strategic planning, marketing, public relations, and employee development. In addition, she has experience in international product manufacturing and marketing, online sales, and national franchising.  Frances' LinkedIn page is here.

Ruth Bouldes

Ruth is a former automotive executive with domestic and international experience in sales, marketing, public relations, management, strategic planning, customer satisfaction initiatives and process improvement.  She is currently assisting local non-profits in the areas of process improvement, strategic planning and development of internal policies and procedures.  Ruth's LinkedIn page is here.

Sheryl Brown

Sheryl has worked with a variety of businesses in the areas of growth strategies, entity selection, accounting and tax planning.  She has a MBA and is also a Certified Public Accountant in the state of New Mexico. With over 15 years private consulting and several years working in the private sector the industries she is most familiar with are:  Independent Film Making, Retail, Real Estate (both real estate development/construction and rental real estate).  She has also held several accounting positions including Assistant Controller with an international civil engineering firm.  She has also owned a retail store and manages several rental properties (including residential and commercial).  Her interests also include film making and she has produced several short films, a PSA and two feature films.  Sheryl's LinkedIn page is here.

Jim Byrd

Jim's finance career started in 1986 working for companies such as: Barclay's American Financial, Citi, Complete Financial, Bank of America, Community Bank.  He is now Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.  Jim has also served as Vice President and Commercial Lender with Community Bank.  Areas of expertise include Business Finance & Accounting, Business Strategy & Planning, Nonprofit.  Jim's LinkedIn page is here.

Ed Cook

Ed recently sold his large commercial services company, having grown it from $2 to $8 million in annual revenue with over 400 employees. This included the development of a nonprofit childcare center to serve the workforce.  Today, the center works with nearly 90 children and their families. His expertise is in areas of business strategy and planning, small business operations, leadership, business development, sales and marketing, staffing, and employee relations. Industry experience includes B2B services, service support and development, healthcare support services, and nonprofits. He also has a passion for integrating faith into the business and workplace. As a business owner, Ed learned firsthand the importance of working "on the business, not in the business."  His LinkedIn page is here.

Joe Cotruzzola

Joe is the founder (1973) of The Mangement Institute/NM, including 30 years as Chair/Facilitator for peer groups of CEOs/owners, committed to developing their executive skills and business growth.  Before that, he spent fifteen years in project management in aerospace engineering and land development.  He holds an engineering degree. Joe's LinkedIn page is here.

JoHanna Cox

JoHanna has served as an attorney for over 13 years in New Mexico state and federal courts. Her legal practice evolution has allowed her to develop her skills in business development, strategic planning, litigation, and loss management. Her practice areas have included product liability, real estate, white collar, financial development, cyber and business liability matters.  In addition to her legal practice, JoHanna serves as COO for SmartSpider Pros. Inc. and serves on the different boards of directors in the crypto currency and medical marijuana industries. JoHanna's LinkedIn page is here. 

Amanda Davis

Amanda is Owner of Business Solutions by Design, LLC.  She earned an Associates of Arts degree in Visual Communications and a bachelor’s degree of Business Administration in Accounting. Her accounting profession began while working for local CPA firms preparing income taxes where she specialized in small businesses and non-profit organization taxation. She has guided countless small businesses and non-profit organizations towards financial clarity. Amanda's LinkedIn page is here.

Paul Deininger

Paul retired from the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) after completing the transfer and implementation of several LANL material testing technologies to the Y-12 manufacturing plant in Oak Ridge, TN. In his 35-year career, he worked in Olin Corp., Diamond Shamrock Corp., and held management positions in two small startup companies before finishing his career at LANL. He holds 13 patents and has 15 technical publications, and is a consultant on chemical technology. Paul's areas of expertise include product development, engineering, R&D, process scaleup, tech transfer, business planning, strategic planning and project management.  He holds an MS in Chemical Engineering. 

Joe Gallo

Joe's expertise includes extensive experience and success in sales and marketing, with additional experience in strategic planning and basic business accounting.  As a business executive, he has introduced new products, grown market share and improved margins. Much of his career experience is in the truck and trailer industry, managing the sales, marketing, design, and production of component parts for the heavy duty vehicles that seen on the highway. He established distribution in the USA, Mexico, and Europe, and established and managed manufacturing facilities in the USA and China.  

James Giannelli

When Jim graduated with his BS in Civil Engineering from Iowa State University, his life plan was to gain enough experience over the next decade to start his own company, build it and sell it by age 55.  He did exactly that!  At age 35, he and his wife started RMCI, Inc., an Albuquerque-based heavy engineering construction company that performs civil engineering projects. In spite of multiple economic downturns from 1991-2010, they grew the company to 250 employees. Today, RMCI continues to grow and thrive.  Jim has experience in many business disciplines including securing financing, risk management, regulations (local, multi-state, federal), financial statement analysis, employee relations, hiring and firing, contract negotiations.  His mantras are: 1) all decisions must be based on what is best for the company, and 2) the owner(s) must provide direction for the business, decide on the next step, and then work hard to make it happen.  You will survive!  

Robert Grebe

Robert, Principal with Niche Digital Marketing Master, is a skilled social media marketer, digital brand manager and copywriter.  He specializes in digital marketing services for social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, and search engine platforms like Bing and Google.  Advertising Campaigns that include design, artwork, copywriting, video, production, and optimization.  He writes web-site copy and email series.  Robert is an entrepreneur and has founded and run several companies.  Robert's LinkedIn page is here.

DJ Heckes

DJ has been the CEO/Owner of EXHIB-IT!, a GSA Certified, woman-owned small business for 15+ years.  She is an expert in Full BRAIN Marketing and her passion is customer service!  She has set up her business with Systems and Processes for building a high performance team.  She is a published author of Full BRAIN Marketing for the Small Business and The NOISE Behind Business-How to Make Tradeshows WorkDJ's LinkedIn page is here.

Steve Hoberg

Steve's expertise is in developing productivity metrics that will help clients to manage their business, and in financial forecasting. His specialized expertise is in the construction and home improvement businesses.  Early in his career, Steve worked for Georgia Power Company developing financial models and projections, then as a consultant to improve all areas of the company through productivity improvements and cost controls.  After moving to Albuquerque in 1987, he developed Glass Rite into a company with $5M in annual sales and 35 employees -- the largest widow manufacturing company in New Mexico.  He then moved into business development with Kinara Capital in India, sourcing and advising seed stage social entrepreneurs for potential debt and equity investment, and developed debt and equity funding sources, wrote grants and developed general business systems. Today he is the Board Chair for Endorphin Power Company, a non profit that provides transitional housing for people in recovery.  He has an MBA in Finance/Accounting from the University of Arizona.  Steve's LinkedIn page is here.

Dar Johnson

Dar has over 50 years in the aerospace private sector and with the Government, including over 34 years in senior and C-level management positions.  He has been responsible for achieving growth nation-wide, obtaining new customers, cost containment, turning around marginal operations, increased profitability, customer satisfaction, staffing, and policy and procedure development. He also has worked in business development, proposal support, capture manager and proposal manager.  He has owned a successful consulting business.  Dar's LinkedIn profile is here.

Samantha "Sam" Lapin

Samantha owned and operated a small IT professional services company for over 15 years. The IT company provided public and private organizations with design, development, deployment, maintenance and support of large data management systems.  She sold the company to a larger firm where it became the IT business unit for the firm. Over the next 10 years, through both organic growth and acquisitions, Samantha led the IT business unit to grow to over 120 employees in the 300-person firm.  Samantha was hands-on in operations, business development, contracting, acquisition, and financial management. She holds a BS and MS in Nuclear Engineering.  Her expertise is in strategies for buying, selling and growing a small business; tactics for financial management; approaches to business development and marketing; tackling government contracting; and creating a corporate culture.  Sam's LinkedIn page is here.

Pete Mikelson

Pete had a 25 year career in international business publishing. His responsibilities at various times included editorial, business forecasting, international business consulting, vendor negotiations and partner sales management. Subsequently, Pete worked in executive search, insurance and currently operates a marketing and web design consultancy.

Hal Morgan

Hal was an engineer at Sandia National Laboratories for 32 years.  He spent the first ten years in engineering research and the last 22 in engineering research management.  He has extensive experience in transferring technologies from Sandia to private industry.  He has worked with very large and very small companies.  Most notably, he led a research collaboration between Sandia and The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company which has now lasted over 25 years and has been described as the model of how tech transfer between the national laboratories and industry should work.  The last three years of his career at Sandia, Hal led Sandia's technology transfer program which included patents, intellectual property licensing, and partnership agreements between Sandia and businesses, both large and small.  Hal's LinkedIn page is here.

Kent Paul

Kent is President/CEO of K & L Risk Consulting, LLC (2012 to present), a boutique risk management consulting company providing services to governmental self-insurance risk pools and captives. Kent's LinkedIn profile is here.

Walter Paul

In 12 years of working for a large multinational manufacturing corporation, Walt's positions included Production Supervisor, Manufacturing Engineer, Process Control Engineer and Program Manager. During this time, he also developed manufacturing-related computer software systems that managed a major semiconductor manufacturing line.  Walt spent nine years as co-owner of a small manufacturing business. Walter's LinkedIn page is here.

Lewis Real

Lew worked as a computer programmer and customer service rep with National Cash Register for six years, Bank of New Mexico in Operations for two years; AirPage (radio common carrier) for 16 years, US West Paging as District Manager for two years, and as owner and operator (with wife) of STARCO ( HVAC/R Wholesaler) for 16 years.  Lew's LinkedIn page is here.

Karen Simpson

Karen has been a Professor of Accounting and Finance -- and a small business owner (restaurant) -- for the past 26 years.  She is a small business consultant for accounting and QuickBooks through the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and a Retail Learning and Development Specialist for FirstNational 1870.  She has worked in commercial lending and treasury management at several large financial institutions, and performed consulting services in the area of QuickBooks and accounting. She's also taught financial seminars for SBDC clients. Karen has a B.S. degree in Finance from DePaul University and an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh. Her LinkedIn page is here.

Stephanie Skaggs

Stephanie has spent nearly 20 years as an entrepreneur, small business owner, financing specialist, business consultant, and health and safety expert. She has started and operated 12 companies either by herself or with partners and is currently the president of Asset Financing Group Inc., which specializes in small business financing and commercial mortgages.  Her LinkedIn page is here.

Thomas A. “Tommy” Thompson

Tommy grew up in Lake Placid, NY. He earned a BA in Economics from Hamilton College and an MBA in professional accounting from Rutgers University. He spent his 35-year business career beginning with an international accounting and consulting firm in New York City, and later in the Albany, NY, area. He moved to New Mexico in 2010 and has been a Certified SCORE mentor since 2011. Tommy is a licensed CPA in New Mexico (now retired) and has been “Accredited in Business Valuation” (ABV) by the American Institute of CPAs. During his career, he has held top management positions including: Director of Corporate Development for a manufacturing firm, CFO of a software start-up, COO of a publicly-traded computer hardware manufacturer, and Managing Director of a boutique investment banking and strategic consulting firm. Tommy specializes in corporate strategic and financial planning, business valuation and organizational management. His consulting and SCORE clients span a broad range of small and medium-sized businesses, including retail, engineering services, manufacturing, tourism, banking, telecommunications, biotechnology, software, agricultural chemicals and professional services.  His LinkedIn page is here.

Warren Wilhelm

Warren is an expert in business strategy, organizational behavior, and employee development.  He has been a university professor, corporate executive and management consultant.  He holds Masters and Doctoral degrees in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.  Warren is an entrepreneur with two corporations, and an interest in helping other entrepreneurs succeed. His LinkedIn page is here.

Ron Wright

Ron has worked in accounting, finance and tax for over 25 years. He has served as the Finance Controller of one of the largest real estate/property management companies in the state, Finance Controller of a $10M+ government contracting organization (started as an 8a with SIBR contacts), CFO/Director of Finance of a $18M hi-tech/manufacturer of specialty goods for the US Government, and worked for over five years as a tax/accounting manager for public accounting firms. Ron was a small business owner for nearly 10 years of an Albuquerque-based accounting business. Today, he is the Tax Manager at Atkinson & Co. Ron has helped dozens of new and existing business owners in a wide variety of industries including service providers, food service, retail, and government contracting. He is looking forward to helping the local small business community as a SCORE certified mentor, and to do his part to help business owners achieve their goals and dreams of owning and running a successful business.  Ron's LinkedIn page is here.