Our team of on-call consultants and facilitators are dedicated to serving the needs of our region’s entrepreneurs and small businesses. And as part of the extended Colorado Small Business Development Center Network, we also have access to hundreds of additional experts across the state. To meet with a consultant, please register for consulting and a member of our team will help connect you to the consultant best suited to your current business needs. 

Executive Team


Erin McCuskey

As the saying goes in ski towns, a move to the mountains for one winter became a year-round home. Following training as a journalist in Iowa, Erin applied her networking and interviewing skills to a human resources career as a recruiter and business partner with Vail Resorts, Vail Health, White Lodging and Cordillera Metro District. In addition to general human resources background, her professional experiences include organizational development, leadership coaching and leading/developing communications, marketing and recruitment campaigns. She has first-hand experience with the challenges facing employers and small businesses in mountain communities.

Eagle County has been home for over a decade, with a few years away to live and work on a ranch near Saratoga, Wyoming. The experience cemented an appreciation for rural mountain living and the hard-working, help-your-neighbor values that are found throughout Northwest Colorado.

The opportunity to engage, learn from and support entrepreneurs and community-minded partners drew Erin to the Small Business Development Center in June 2019. She has a genuine interest in understanding what makes each community of Northwest Colorado unique while capitalizing on those that they share in common to promote a successful regional SBDC.

Program Coordinator

Lauren Ciarallo

Lauren is a Colorado native, born and raised on the Front Range. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing and an emphasis in Tourism Management. During her time at CU Boulder she also pursued courses focused on Spanish Translation and studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain.

She began her career at the Vail Valley Chamber & Tourism Bureau learning about destination marketing, tourism, sales and customer service. Her professional experience includes corporate and social event planning, hospitality, marketing campaigns and special event production. After gaining extensive knowledge and experience in the event planning industry and becoming a Certified Special Events Professional (CSEP) she started her own event services business, Pine Productions. Pine Productions provides planning and staffing support for events including the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, Beaver Creek’s Winter Culinary Weekend and the Western Energy & Water Forum.

Lauren is excited to join the Northwest Colorado Small Business Development Center and help small businesses access the resources they need in order to grow and thrive.

Business Consultants & Trainers

Consultant & Special Projects

Erinn Hoban

After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, Erinn settled in the Vail Valley 15 years ago. Shortly after moving to Eagle County, Erinn helped to establish and run the Vail Mountaineer daily newspaper. As publisher, Erinn became forever ingrained in the community and fell in love with the people who make the mountains of Colorado such an amazing place.

Always up for a challenge. Erinn has experience in small business startups, organizing employees and procedures for success in small and large business settings, financial controls, contract review, marketing and media experience as well as event planning and sponsorship coordination. Erinn has the ability to adapt to new ideas and an excitement for building and implementing projects.

An entrepreneur at heart, Erinn started her first business at 19 years old with help from her family. After successes and failures, lessons learned and invaluable experiences, Erinn hopes to collaborate with leaders in our community who have stepped up to create new opportunities.

Business Consultant

Chris Karol

Chris Karol brings a wide range of skills and experience to the team. With a background in intellectual property, manufacturing, planning, budgeting, organizational charting and supply-chain management, Karol is also an early pioneer of snowboarding with decades of expertise producing events, schools, teams, camps, seminars and videos. As a successful inventor with eight licensed patents, Karol maintains a practical understanding of intellectual property and excels at helping clients focus resources, identify opportunities and use proven methods to bring their ideas to life. An innovator, inventor, small business owner and entrepreneur, Karol maintains a keen eye for emerging opportunities with authentic vision that puts entrepreneurs on the path to bringing their ideas to market.

Business Consultant

Don Rowe

Don graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering and earned an MBA. He has 40 years of experience with a number of high tech companies in the area of instrumentation, computers, lasers and satellite communications. He has been involved with most aspects of the business, especially sales, marketing and general management, as well as considerable experience in international business.

Don enjoys working with startups and early stage companies in any business area and with companies looking to expand and/or move into new opportunities. He likes helping clients to develop business plans and strategies, financial models and to focus their activities and resources. Due to his overseas assignments in the past, Don speaks some Spanish and German.

Business Consultant

Jim Olp

Jim Olp has a depth of experience derived not just from his many years working with SBDCs, but also from his ownership of more than a dozen small businesses. He has taught virtually every aspect of small business management and operations at the college level for more than three decades. Jim has exceptional expertise in business financing options and can assist clients in structuring their business plans and pro forma projections toward the goal of securing financing. He can also assist with questions related to the various taxes and accounting problems.


I-70 corridor from Denver to Rifle and related counties, including Summit, Grand, Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin

Business Consultant

Tom Erhart

Tom has over 30 years of upper level business management experience with an emphasis on operations, sales, marketing, human resources, organizational efficiency, community relations, project management and entrepreneurial leadership. He also has extensive experience in manufacturing, retail, building materials, hospitality and service industries.

Tom has a Masters in Business Management, started and owned several small businesses, and most recently operates as a business counselor and coach for entrepreneurs from start-up through growth stages.

Business Consultant

Jill Lau

Jill Lau is the founder of JRL Digital Media. From web design and redesign, SEO content marketing, social media management, brand strategy, email campaigns and offline marketing initiatives, Jill builds a comprehensive and targeted marketing strategy in order to help businesses increase lead generation online.

Jill has a special interest in personal branding. Your name is your brand. Having consistent brand clarity online is key to validating your business to new customers. As search engines become smarter, local ranking factors like business information and customer reviews are becoming more important in rankings. Actively managing your business online is crucial to ensuring that your business does not become obsolete online. The internet is truly an intricate web, everything is connected, and your website is at the center. All facets of digital marketing are intertwined, and having a robust presence online is key to growing your business.

Business Consultant

Reagan Freed

HR consultant, is an accomplished HR executive with over 20 years of experience developing people strategies that support organizational goals. Her experience ranges across a wide variety of industries and global companies including CH2M HILL, ECC, Comcast Cable, Sitel and ServiceSource. Reagan’s broad knowledge of HR and business disciplines enable her to develop unique people strategies designed to contribute to overall strategy and directly impact bottom line results.

Her areas of focus are HR strategy, employee engagement, compliance/policy development and training, process evaluation and improvement, and refining employment structures to meet the ongoing and evolving needs of the business.

Reagan earned her Bachelor’s in Business Management from the University of Colorado, Denver, and is a certified SHRM-SCP. Reagan also serves as an HR Consultant for the Boulder Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and serves on the Board of Directors for the Colorado State HR Council.

Business Consultant

Lisa Wood

Lisa Wood lives in Winter Park, CO and is a former banker and Chief Financial Officer in the healthcare industry.

She received her MBA from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas and her BBA from University of Houston-Downtown. As a commercial lender for over 20 years, including a stint with Vectra Bank in Denver, Lisa has experience with a wide variety of industries throughout the life cycle of businesses. She has also worked with borrowers to obtain 7A and 504 loans. As a CFO in Houston she applied for SBA disaster loans for her employer when Hurricane Harvey struck the Gulf Coast in 2017.

Business Consultant

Dale Jasinski

Dale Jasinski lives in Fraser, CO and is a former CPA, family businessman, serial entrepreneur, and an associate professor of entrepreneurship at Quinnipiac University where he teaches entrepreneurship and strategy courses. He received his PhD in strategy and entrepreneurship from the University of Colorado and undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Accounting from Northern Arizona University. He is one of only 50 professors worldwide who have received certifications from Stanford University in Lean Launch, Hack for Defense, and Mission Model Canvas methodologies and uses this expertise to help large and small organizations build their innovative capacities and his students consistently make the finals of national and international business plan competitions.

His expertise on entrepreneurship and innovation is enhanced by the fact he has started several successful organizations: (1) Automation Partners (1983-1992), a technology based startup which designed, implemented and supported computer systems for law firms from offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego; (2) Professional Athlete Transition Institute (2001-2010), which provided consulting, education, and training services to current and former professional athletes; (3) Catalyst Media (2012 to 2016) which created and deployed digital media to help companies launch and grow; (4) The Enstitute (2013 to 2017) a nonprofit which provided an apprentice based alternative to college to learn entrepreneurship; and (4) Eggheadprofs (2017 to present) an educational and consulting company.

Business Consultant & Trainer

Allison Olenginski

Allison Olenginski is an attorney and intellectual property strategist. For more than 15 years, she has worked with clients around the world to develop and commercialize products; to develop, manage, and defend intellectual property portfolios in fields such as outdoor gear, medical/surgical devices, materials, diagnostics, therapeutics, computer hardware/software, and IoT; and to navigate issues that arise along the entrepreneurial journey – whatever those issues might be.

Allison holds a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and a J.D. from The University of Maryland School of Law. She is a partner in the law firm of Larson & Anderson, LLC.


Kelly Johnston

Kelly Johnston has experience in both the public accounting and private industry accounting fields. Her background includes a Bachelor in Finance and a Master of Science in Accounting, with experience in the healthcare industry with critical access hospitals and physician offices, audit, and tax preparation. Her education and experience can add value to new start-up organizations, developing businesses, and healthcare entities by creating a strong financial reporting set up and assisting in new financial reports.  Kelly is the President and CEO of JFS Consulting – a financial services firm. She is also a highly requested consultant and trainer for the Grand Junction SBDC and the Region 12 SBDC.

Nonprofit Consultant & Trainer

Robin Thompson

Robin Thompson has over two decades of experience in fundraising as Executive Director and Vice President for Development for several nonprofit organizations.

As a Vail, Colorado based fundraising consultant, trainer and coach, Robin works with large and small nonprofits throughout North America and internationally. She has a unique ability to share knowledge, concepts and best practices in a fun way with outstanding results.

Robin earned a fundraising certificate from Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Her BS degree is from West Virginia University and she has a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. Robin is the author of two books: Putting the Fun in FUNdraising: The Secrets to Raising More Money Faster and Easier as well as Know Stress to No Stress—A Guide to Achieving Life Balance. www.RobinThompson.com

Become a Business Consultant, Trainer or Mentor

At Northwest SBDC we know a lot, but we don’t know everything! We are always seeking qualified business consultants with the experience and knowledge to support our local businesses. We look forward to you bringing your professional expertise forward to create specialized consulting and training programs across our ten counties. If you’re looking for a meaningful way to contribute to the community you live in, SBDC consulting may be for you. To find out more about consulting and our programs, please email info@northwestsbdc.org 


Looking for financial support?
Starting a business?
We're here for you.

Please sign up for our mailing list.