Florida Small Business Development Center at FIU

Our Consulting Team

Luis Batista

Luis Batista

Luis Batista is a Florida SBDC at FIU consultant with more than 25 years procurement experience in both the public and private sectors. He assists small and medium-size companies interested in pursuing federal, state and local-government contracting and subcontracting opportunities.
Expertise: Government Contracting & Procurement
Languages: English & Spanish
Before joining SBDC, he was procurement director for a multinational food manufacturer, importer and distributor, and founder and president of LMT Corporation, a supply chain management and consulting firm serving the international market. He has a bachelor of business administration from American University and holds a lifetime certified purchasing manager certification from the Institute of Supply Management.
Shelly Bernal

Shelly Bernal

Shelly Bernal is a Florida SBDC at FIU consultant who understands the ways of both big business and small business. As an international business development manager for two Fortune 500 companies,
Expertise: International Business Development & Trade
Languages:
English & Spanish
she advised U.S. food manufacturers on international market expansion and international logistics. She also launched and operated her own small business in South Florida. Shelly earned a bachelor's in marketing from the University of North Texas and an MBA from the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración in Caracas.
Frederic Bonneau

Frederic Bonneau

Frederic Bonneau, MBA, is an experienced online marketing expert with specialization in website development, social-media optimization and mobile marketing.
Expertise: Online Marketing, Social Media, Web Development
Languages:
English, French & Spanish
Knowledgeable in all aspects of marketing and management, he is highly experienced in establishing branding and identity for consumer goods and services. Frederic formerly was president and CEO of a Euro-American consulting company assisting in technical assistance projects worldwide in both developing and transitional economies. Frederic studied in Switzerland and obtained a Bachelor in Economics from Valcreuse International Institute in Lausanne, and a Masters of Business Administration from Glion Institute in Montreux.
Jacqueline Bueno Sousa

Jacqueline Bueno Sousa

Jacqueline Bueno Sousa is Regional Director of Florida SBDC at FIU. Before joining FIU, Jackie was a director with an international business-intelligence and strategic- advisory firm, advising multinational companies with business intelligence needs related to new market entries, regulatory issues and competitive analysis.
Expertise: Strategic Planning
Languages: English & Spanish
Previously, Jackie was a reporter with the Wall Street Journal, an executive editor with American Lawyer Media, and editor of The Miami Herald's Business Monday magazine. She also launched and operated a regional media company. Jackie earned an MPA, with high honors, at FIU and a bachelors in journalism, with honors, from the University of Florida. She is CIP-I certified as a Strategic & Competitive Intelligence Professional.
Roberto Castellón

Roberto Castellón

Roberto Castellón, MBA, is a certified SBDC consultant experienced in the areas of finance and growth acceleration. He assists qualified small and medium-size enterprises in developing growth strategies, including strategic-plan development and accessing capital.
Expertise: Finance, Access to Capital & Business Operations
Languages: English & Spanish
He prepares financial health assessments for established companies -- a financial management tool for improving cash flow and preparing companies to seek financing. In addition, Roberto is experienced in working with pre-venture and start-up businesses. Formerly a business banking officer at Wachovia, Mercantil Commercebank and Citibank, Roberto also has owned and operated several businesses.
Kiomara Hidalgo

Kiomara Hidalgo

Kiomara Hidalgo has more than 20 years of experience in global human resources, strategic planning, talent development and change management at Fortune 500 companies, including the technology, healthcare, education and retail sectors.
Expertise: Global Talent Management, Human Resources
Languages: English & Spanish
She is highly experienced in the personnel components of organizational development, mergers and acquisitions, training and development, state, federal and international regulations, mobility management and more. Kiomara received her Bachelors and Master degrees in the Science of Human Resource Management from Florida International University. She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).
Nile Kirec

Nile Kirec

Nile Kirec is a marketing communications and public relations professional with almost three decades of agency, client and consultancy experience.
Expertise: Marketing, branding and communications
Languages: English, Turkish and French, with knowledge of Spanish
Over the span of her career, she has co-founded and co-managed two successful public relations agencies and has consulted international companies in a broad range of industries, including automotive, consumer products, travel and hospitality, high tech, telecommunications, building materials, non-profit, aerospace and defense. Experienced in a broad range of disciplines, she excels in strategy development, marketing-communications planning, brand-image communication and positioning, and crisis management.
Alfredo Lacayo

Alfredo Lacayo Evertsz

Alfredo Lacayo Evertsz is a Florida SBDC at FIU business consultant who provides financial assistance to entrepreneurs and small-business owners.
Expertise: Financial management, cash flow, bookkeeping advisory
Languages: English & Spanish
He is the founder of Qbit Solutions, the developer of an innovative quantum-based financial training methodology that has been used to teach finance and accounting to more than 700 business owners and professionals in Latin America and the United States. A former investment banker and general manager in the securities industry, Alfredo previously was a certified broker for international stock exchange markets. He has a bachelor's in business administration and finance from the University of Florida.
Alina Matas

Alina Matas

Alina Matas is a Florida SBDC at FIU consultant who specializes in business research and business-plan development. Previously, Alina led the research department of a major commercial real estate company, where she helped identify pricing and development trends and wrote industry reports.
Expertise: Business Research & Business Plans
Languages: English & Spanish
A former business journalist with The Wall Street Journal and The Miami Herald, she has more than 20 years of experience researching industries and companies. She earned a master's in journalism from the University of Florida, and a bachelors from Wellesley College.
Ricardo Newark

Ricardo Newark

Ricardo Newark is a Florida SBDC at FIU consultant experienced in finance, strategy, international business development and operations. He spent most of his career at Xerox, where his roles included serving as vice president of the Latin Markets, chief financial officer of the International Group and integrated supply chain vice president for the Developing Market Operations.
Expertise: Business Growth & Finance
Languages: : English & Spanish, with knowledge of French, Italian & Portuguese
Ricardo enjoys bringing the "know how" of large enterprises to small and medium-size businesses. He has a Master in Business Administration from Harvard Business School and holds an Industrial Engineering degree from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
George Ray III

George Ray III

George Ray III is a Florida SBDC at FIU consultant who specializes in pre-ventures and launching start-ups and franchises, including food, clothing and professional-services companies. He also develops sustainable growth strategies for existing businesses. He has received national recognition from The White House Fellows Programs and is a graduate of the United States Congressional Black Caucus ("CBC") Leadership Institute.
Expertise: Business Startups & Professional-Services Firms
Languages: English
Additionally, George has served on the Miami Dade Economic Development Trust where he advised the Miami Dade County Commission on economic development policies. He is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Continuing Education, where he earned a professional certification in Franchise Management. George also has an MBA from FIU and Bachelor's degree in public administration from Talladega College.
Tak Takasu

Tak Takasu

Tak Takasu is a globe-trotting competitive research & strategy analyst with an infinite level of curiosity, a passion to connect the dots and a keen sense of multicultural dynamics. She has more than a decade of experience working with companies of all shapes and sizes in three continents.
Expertise: Competitive Research
Languages: English, Spanish & Japanese
She uses a variety of analytical tools and frameworks to help executives and business owners better understand their competitive landscape, identify opportunities and threats, make better informed decisions and build robust strategies. She has worked with businesses in financial services, manufacturing, agribusiness, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, industrial products, media and technology. Tak has an MBA from George Washington University and a Master of International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Brian Van Hook

Brian Van Hook

Brian Van Hook is Associate Director of Florida SBDC at FIU. Prior to joining Florida International University, Brian was policy director of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, where he oversaw research and legislative activities.
Expertise: Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery
Languages: English
Previously, he served as a senate legislative assistant advising on issues related to disaster recovery, economic development, and international trade. A native of Louisiana, Brian has nine years of experience with disaster recovery and business continuity. Brian received his M.S. in International Affairs from Florida State University and his B.A. from Louisiana State University. He is a certified Business Continuity Professional.
Marjorie Weber

Marjorie Weber

Marjorie J. Weber has 50 years of experience as a financial consultant to business owners, entrepreneurs and real estate developers, having assisted major commercial clients seeking investments and access to real estate capital.
Expertise: Finance, Loan Packaging & Access to Capital
Languages: English
She is a former officer of a major New York mortgage banking firm, Sonnenblick Goldman Corp. A Miami-Dade resident for more than 35 years, Marjorie has applied her financial skills and business acumen as a board officer of not-for-profit organizations such as SCORE, The Haitian American Emergency Relief Committee, United Home Care Services, The City of Miami Community Relations Board, and Miami Beach Botanical Gardens.
Ricardo Weisz

Ricardo Weisz

Ricardo Weisz is a Florida SBDC at FIU consultant who is an expert in assisting innovation-driven companies with raising equity capital, financing, marketing, management turnarounds, content and brand development, as well as licensing and marketing of products and services.
Expertise: Technology, Innovation & Equity Capital
Languages: English & Spanish
He has headed various ventures with successful exits. During his tenure with The Walt Disney Company, he launched operations in multiple countries, was a Zone VP and GM, and headed a Latin American unit. He is an early-stage investor and syndicator of projects. He has held a number of board positions, including Ogangi Corp., Consult A Doctor, NIP/The Winner's Circle, Miami Innovation Fund, and New World Angels.



Request to Meet with a Consultant