Dan Sizer

How do your colleagues describe you?

They describe me as a…”creative problem solver” “ambitious, relentless, and positive” “master of time management” “idea-focused and design oriented” “full of empathy” and my favorite: “dance party initiator”

Why do you do what you do?

Of the quotes above, ironically the one that provides the deepest insight into my motivations is “dance party initiator.” So much of my life is predicated on the idea that life is worth having fun with, and why not fill it with positive, empathetic interactions. Both in business and in life, I strive to see people wholly and create mutually beneficial relationships through creative means.

Bio:

Dan keeps coming back to his roots in Baker County. After receiving his BA and honors from Lewis & Clark College, multiple years abroad, and exploring careers ranging from the USFS, to culinary and hospitality work, to teaching, to design and multi-media, Dan returned to Baker City in 2016 to start Go Wild, an upscale backpacking tour company.

Go Wild, entering its fifth year in 2021, has achieved success through Dan’s aptitude for out-of-the-box marketing, attention to detail, and creative partnerships. Though unique in some ways, Dan’s work and success in Eastern Oregon tourism is widely applicable as he has overcome many of the same hurdles facing other businesses trying to open doors in this less-than-robust economic zone. Dan cares deeply about equity and quality of life in his small Eastern Oregon community and believes that entrepreneurship is one of the best ways to address these things. His work has led him to involvement in other for-profit ventures, non-profits, and contract government work.

Richard L. Monacelli

How do your colleagues describe you?

“They would say I’m professional, process oriented to objectives and opinionated.”

Why do you do what you do?

I have been teaching since I was a teen. I love the education process and seeing the lightbulb of understanding turn on.

Bio:

Richard has two BA degrees and an MBA from Western Washington University. As a certified SBDC Adviser he has experience with the SBA and the banking community, business planning, Native American relations and community and economic development. Richard started the Walla Walla Area SBDC and was Center Director from 1993 to 2010. He served 1,450 businesses and had clients that were SBA Small Business of the Year recipients four times. He continues to operate an MBA business with his wife and teach the Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP). He has been working with the SBDC since 1984.

Jana Simpson

How do your colleagues describe you?

“Jana is a fun person; her energy is contagious! She thinks outside the box, and any project she takes on will get one hundred percent of her attention.”

Why do you do what you do?

I believe small businesses form the heart of any community. I find it very rewarding to help with the startup, expansion or improvement of any part of a business’ “three-legged stool” of product, marketing, or finances. Helping to create thriving small businesses is one of the best ways I can serve and support my local community.

Bio:

There is no doubt about it, starting or expanding a business can be a daunting task. An owner/operator of two successful Baker County businesses since 2003, Jana knows firsthand how important it is to have all the pieces in place. Her past experience in retail, operations training, budget development, and finance will be a tremendous asset to you in moving your business forward.

Jana’s personable nature will put you at ease as she helps you navigate the many unique challenges small business owners face. She enjoys finding outside-the-box solutions. Her experience working in a variety of settings makes her well positioned to help you with any of your business needs.

Cindee Henderson

How do your colleagues describe you?

“Not your average grandma, I love helping people, adventuring in the great outdoors and a good challenge.”

Why do you do what you do?

I love people and I always want to help them achieve their business goals, whatever they may be. It’s so much fun to watch people gain confidence and to grow. It’s like reading the next chapter in a book and seeing what’s next.

Bio:

Cindee worked for 25 years as a comptroller in the automotive industry before starting her own business in 2014, which she currently owns and operates. Her experiences include marketing, accounting, creating systems as well as various leadership roles. Previous to the automotive industry she worked in the accounting and worker’s comp premium audit field. Her exposure to various businesses through her work history gives her a variety of resources to help fellow business owners. Cindee has experience as a new start-up business as well as from the planning stages to implementation and growth phases of business.

Cindee attended college at Blue Mountain Community College and Easter Oregon University with an emphasis in business. She also has numerous fitness certifications that pertain to her current business model.

Eric DeLary

How do your colleagues describe you?

Eric is personable, outgoing and always optimistic! He consistently offers a high level of creativity and ingenuity. It’s been a pleasure to work with Eric on different projects and initiatives.

Why do you do what you do?

I have been blessed with having gained experience and insight working for some iconic brands early in my career. This lead to me launching a brand management agency where I worked with entrepreneurs, small businesses, professional athletes, artists and emerging brands to develop business growth objectives, brand positioning, operational plans and marketing strategies. I’m extremely passionate about small businesses and the role they play in driving our economy and communities.

Bio:

Since his paper route and lawn mowing business at the age of 12, Eric has always loved the idea of being a business owner. After graduating the Community College of Vermont with an Associate of Arts Degree, he went on to pursue a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Vermont and took a position with a small but growing brand at the time, Burton Snowboards. Over the next 2 decades Eric would get to work with other brands and businesses of all sizes and gain insight into a variety of industries while running his own Brand Management and Event Marketing agency. For the last 8 years Eric has worked with small businesses across the country while living here in the Pacific Northwest.

Lori Schaafsma

How do your colleagues describe you?

“Lori is a team player that will find a fun way to navigate the path to success! She pays attention to detail and searches for cost effective business solutions.”

Why do you do what you do?

Small businesses are the superheroes of our communities! They come to the rescue to fill a need and provide services at many levels, while creating jobs that build our local economies. I am part of an awesome team of guides that helps small business super heroes build and maintain the foundation of their path to success!

Bio:

We all have certain fears associated with owning and operating a business. Having focus and understanding your business finances are critical. Lori helps her clients navigate the process of creating a business plan, with emphasis on maintaining the focus of why you started the business in the first place. She helps business owners “own” their financials by showing them a clear and easy understanding of the various numbers that reflect the pulse of their business.

Having a background in retail sales, banking operations training and development, and family farming and ranching, Lori has the experience, skills and ability to find solutions for your business needs. If she doesn’t know the answer, she will find it!

Jeff Nelson

How do your colleagues describe you?

Nothing happens in the business community without Jeff knowing about it. He is the guy to go to when you have an idea for a new business or need help with your existing business.

Why do you do what you do?

Being a former small business owner, I know the importance of entrepreneurs in our community. Having a successful small businesses is the foundation for the community to grow and prosper. It brings family wage jobs and is a great example of the (grow from within theory) of economic development.

Bio:

Jeff owned a local retail clothing store in Baker City for 18 years. Having lived in the area since 1989, he’s able to refer his clients to various contacts. Jeff holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Lewis Clark State College and an Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration from Idaho State University.

He advises clients on startups, business planning, expansion, finance, social media and networking.

Kristy Athens

How do your colleagues describe you?

“I am compassionate but thorough—if you want to achieve something, I won’t take “no” for an answer! We’ll break your goal down into achievable steps.”

Why do you do what you do?

“Wallowa County is a very special place that requires people to be flexible and creative in order to find success. I love helping others formulate a plan to make a life here.”

Kristy supports her local economy with a business called Genuine Wallowa County. She has an M.S. in Food Systems and Society from Marylhurst University and is the author of Get Your Pitchfork On: The Real Dirt on Country Living. Her areas of expertise include start-ups, public relations and marketing, women- and minority-owned businesses, and alternative financing.