Whether launching a new business or tackling issues in an existing one, SCORE Albuquerque's team of volunteer mentors will provide you with expert advice and guidance through our free one-on-one mentoring program, workshops and Business Owners Councils.

You're not retired, but you'd like to share your business expertise to make a difference in our small business community.

Or maybe you've retired (congrats!) but want to keep your skills honed.  

Either way, our team of experienced owners, corporate executives and managers are trained mentors who help clients gain clarity to take the next step.

  • Karen Simpson became a mentor after selling a business she owned for 27 years. 

  • Stephanie Skaggs was in your shoes and is really glad she took a look at SCORE Albuquerque.

  • Kent Paul loves being able to give back as a volunteer, and to help business owners become successful.  

Learn more about each of our mentors 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. 

Sheryl Brown

Sheryl is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of New Mexico and president of Taking Care of Business, LLC.  She has extensive business consulting experience and also assists her clients with tax planning and preparation services. She holds a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of New Mexico (received a Certificate of Merit from the Small Business Institute) and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Arizona.

Jim Byrd

Joe Cotruzzola

Jos 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.

Bob Council

Bob currently specializes as online mentor for SCORE.  Request an online mentoring session with him here.

John Fleming

After starting in industrial engineering and management consulting, John spent 40 years in a variety of small businesses, the last thirty as co-owner and CFO of a particleboard and wood products manufacturing company. He holds Engineering and MBA degrees.

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.

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 Work.

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.

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.

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.

Walter Paul

In 12 years 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 has spent nine years as co-owner of a small manufacturing business.

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.

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.

Karen Simpson

Karen has been a Professor of Accounting and Finance -- and a small business owner (restaurant) -- for the past 26 years.  She is also a small business consultant for accounting and QuickBooks through the Small Business Development Center, and a Retail Learning and Development Specialist for FirstNational 1870.

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.