Introducing the Salt Lake Region SBDC Covid-19 BRAT

by | Aug 17, 2020 | Business Recovery, Corona Virus, Covid-19, Jim Herrin, SBDC

If you are a small business owner, chances are you’ve had a very difficult struggle for the past five months due to the COVID-19 crisis. Our Salt Lake SBDC business advisors and support personnel have worked very hard to get important information to businesses in a timely manner, assist with understanding and preparing for the various loans and grants, and assist many business owners one-on-one with various needs during this pandemic.
Like all of you, we hope the worst is over and recovery will be swift. To this end, the SBDC received additional resources from the federal CARES Act Program to assist businesses in our region who have been negatively affected by this crisis. To help accomplish this we have created the COVID-19 Business Recovery Assistance Team or BRAT for short. The BRAT consists of three highly experienced and expert business professionals whose sole assignment is to work with Salt Lake and Summit Counties’ small businesses that have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The BRAT substantially increases the Salt Lake SBDC’s capacity to help our small business community and will focus on three of the most critical needs at this time - operations, finance, and marketing. What’s nice about our BRAT and the rest of the Salt Lake SBDC is that we have all had, and some still have their own businesses. Therefore, we understand firsthand the responsibilities and challenges of business owners.
Let me introduce you to our BRAT (Business Recovery Assistance Team):

Emily Ashby - Marketing Assistance. We’ve been able to experience the talent and expertise of Emily first hand as the instructor for several of our social media marketing workshops. Emily has over 15 years of marketing experience that includes social media, public relations, and college instruction. She has owned two businesses, one in which she developed, patented and sold her own product, and another in which she has helped over 200 business leaders to develop strategic and marketing plans in the private, nonprofit and public sectors. Beyond digital marketing, Emily has expertise in sales, branding, web writing, ad copywriting, networking, market research, presentation skills, photography, and graphic design. Emily received a bachelor’s degree from BYU and a master’s degree from Westminster College.

Jim Broussard - Operations Assistance. Jim has graciously agreed to come out of retirement because of his enjoyment in helping small business and desire to impart his extensive knowledge to help our businesses. Jim was born and raised in Louisiana, served in the U.S. Air Force, graduated from UCLA with a business degree, and received his master’s degree from the University of Texas. Jim has had numerous business roles, from VP and Corporate Controller of a 3000-employee company to assisting a number of Fortune 500 companies with their talent management. His career expands across several industries, including manufacturing, communications, wholesale distribution, and human capital consulting. He also owned two small businesses, one of which he profitably sold. Prior to his retirement in 2015, Jim enjoyed five years as a small business advisor at an SBDC in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kris Heslop - Finance Assistance. Kris Heslop thrives on the challenges and rewards of business. He initially selected banking where he worked with over 400 companies per year and quickly proved a natural with the financial side of business, uncovering ways to secure growth funding for clients that other lenders declined, plus working in international trade finance. Kris’s roles included managing and leading teams responsible for over $80 million in investment assets, as a Finance Director for a multi-national software company and for an elite Silicon Valley construction firm. Kris has been involved with the SBDC in California and Utah off and on since 2009 where he helped many companies get through the Great Recession. Since 2015 he has served as a Business Advisor with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business National Program at Babson College, provided CFO-related services to numerous businesses and assisted U.S. companies raise funds and connect to global markets. Kris has a business degree from Western Governors University, is a Certified Global Business Professional and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

Here’s a brief overview of the rest of our SBDC Team:


Christine Rice, Administrative Assistant. I’ve listed Christine first because she has been most critical to our success (and she has tenure – about 10 years). With a bachelor’s degree in business, she understands the needs of our clients. With her years of administrative experience, she can anticipate the needs of our advisors, and with her attention to detail, she has created an atmosphere of stability within the office. She is one of the key reasons we have been able to achieve what we have and provide to excellent service we do.

Jim Herrin, Director. Jim joined the SBDC in 2012 as the Assistant State Director after spending 17 years in the biomedical industry starting and running small businesses, where he was founder, CFO and VP of several companies, and 7 years with the State of Utah as an international trade specialist. One company was sold to a British pharmaceutical company. Jim has an MBA from the University of Utah and is a Certified Global Business Professional.

Bryce Hansen, Associate Director and Tech Commercialization Advisor. Bryce has also been with the SBDC since 2012. With two master’s degrees, an MA in accounting and an MBA in technology commercialization, he brings a high level of expertise to our operations. Bryce leads the office’s efforts in organizing events and workshops, including four years of our highly successful Crowdfunding Summit. In 2018, he also successfully crowdfunded his own product, the Ergo Spout®.

Peter Callister, Senior Business Advisor. Peter has spent his career working with early stage startups. He has worked in economic development, seed-stage investment, product development, sales and marketing, and overall business strategy. Besides serving as previous general manager of Salt Lake Angels and Park City Angels and being founder of several companies, Peter is also the current Chief Operating Officer of VentureCapital.Org and serves on the board of two early stage startups.

Matthias Miller, Senior Business Advisor. Matthias joined the SBDC in June of 2014 with a long history of creating and running small businesses and training small business owners. After college, where he studied business and international relations, Matthias spent 10 years in South America training business owners and teaching at a University. Upon returning to Utah, he founded a couple of companies, including a non-profit to help social enterprises and non-profits create greater impact and social good.

Richard Brown, JD, PhD, Director, Veterans Business Resource Center. Rick came to Utah in 2019 from Kentucky where he taught in the MBA & doctoral programs and served as Executive Director of the Veterans Services Office at Bellarmine University. Rick is an Air Force veteran, served in the Secret Service and spent his business career in New York City, Washington D.C. and Sao Paulo, Brazil. With a master’s degree, a JD and a Ph.D., his knowledge and experience are an incredible asset to our veteran-owned businesses.

To schedule a meeting with one of our COVID-19 BRAT members or any of our excellent business advisors, please contact Christine Rice at or 801-957-5441.

The Salt Lake SBDC, within The Mill at SLCC, is part of the Utah Small Business Development Center Network (Utah SBDC). It is the largest and most accessible statewide source of assistance for small businesses in every stage of development. With 14 locations across Utah, the Utah SBDC is staffed by more than 30 team members. The Utah SBDC Network is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the US Small Business Administration. It also receives funding from the State of Utah and the colleges and universities that host the centers throughout Utah.

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Business RecoveryIntroducing the Salt Lake Region SBDC Covid-19 BRAT