Welcome to your Southwest Idaho Small Business Development Center

Serving: Adams, Valley, Washington, Boise, Payette, Gem, Canyon, Ada, Elmore, and Owyhee Counties

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2360 West University Drive, Suite 2132
Boise, ID 83706

(208) 426-3875

Impacting Southwest Idaho with our no-cost consulting & affordable training

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Meet the Staff

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Marie Baker

Regional Director

(208) 426-3838

Marie joined the SBDC in March of 2019 and is passionate about entrepreneurs and their journey. Marie’s skill set is the ability to work collaboratively and assist clients with achieving their goals.

Marie received her BS in Business from Fresno State and Master’s Degree in Organizational Development from University of San Francisco. Marie spent five years in banking before starting her own business.

Combining her education and experience, Marie went on to consult,
coach, and educate small businesses in the Central Valley of California before moving to Idaho.

In her spare time, you will find her hiking, volunteering on a local Rotary project, visiting family, or enjoying the great outdoors with her husband and dog.

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Debbie Winkler

Senior Business Consultant

Debbie joined the Idaho SBDC in February 2008. Her prior work experience includes the role of Business Improvement Consultant with Boise Business Consulting, a family owned business. Prior to working in the family business, Debbie was Senior Vice President and Manager of National Consumer Training and Associate Development for Bank of America.

In addition, Debbie was Vice President and Manager of Business Banking for First Republic Bank, and Vice President and Portfolio Manager, Commercial Banking Group, for First Republic Bank (a predecessor of Bank of America). Debbie is a graduate of the University of Texas, Austin, with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance.

Kim Sherman-Labrum

Kim Sherman-Labrum

Business Consultant

(208) 426-3875

Kim started with the Idaho SBDC in 1998 as the regional administrative assistant as she pursued her degree. After several years, she took over the training program and turned it from an under-performing, deficit program to an award winning program with a surplus budget.

In 2012, she became a business consultant specializing in online marketing, social media, graphic/web design. Over the years, she has designed curriculum and taught classes on a variety of business and technology topics. She planned and executed a rural outreach program that caught the eye of Google and was featured in a video for their Get Your Business Online program.

She holds a B.A. in Graphic Design from Boise State University as well as a Credential of Readiness Harvard Business School CORe. She was recently named a High Impact Partner for the Grow with Google program.

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Marissa Goff

Building Manager

As the “Building Queen” of the Nampa Business Accelerator, Marissa wears many hats while keeping the 38,000 square foot facility standing. She helps our acceleration clients get moved in, she addresses all facility issues and requests and keeps the phones and networks running like clockwork.

She handles everything from keys to leaks in the roof.

Before joining the SBDC, she worked at Hewlett Packard testing (or breaking) printers for quality assurance. At home she is a full-time dance, soccer, and basketball mom who loves to spend time with her family.

Ruth Schwartz

Ruth Schwartz

Business Consultant

Ruth Schwartz joined the Idaho SBDC in March of 2020, She has been a life-long entrepreneur and business owner. She spent 25 years in the music industry: radio, publishing, producing, retail.

Most notably, Ruth started, built and sold a $10 million, wholesale, music, distribution company. She has owned and operated a leadership training and coaching company, a debt collection company and an Amazon store.

Ruth is a Professionally Certified Business Leadership Coach (PCC) through the International Coaching Federation and is the author of the book, The Key to the Golden Handcuffs: Stop Being a Slave to Your Business. She is certified in over four assessment sciences and the creator of the Fail Proof Hiring Program. She is a Distinguished Toastmaster and a member of the National Speakers’ Association.

Hailing from the Sierra Foothills in Northern California, Ruth taught at the Sierra Commons Business Incubator and became a consultant with the California SBDC before her move to Idaho in 2017.

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Shaunda Gates

Business Operations Manager

Shaunda is a small business enthusiast, and recent Boise State graduate with a degree in business administration. Bringing experience working for both large and small businesses, as well as within the State of Idaho and the US military. She is an energetic and enthusiastic individual constantly seeking new challenges.

Lee Velten

Lee Velten

PTAC Business Consultant

(208) 562-3746

Lee Velten joined the Idaho SBDC in August, 2015 as the PTAC Business Consultant. He is responsible for providing assistance to Idaho-based businesses in their efforts to find, win and successfully perform on federal, state, local government and large industry contracts.

Prior to joining the SBDC, Velten worked 5 years in the PTAC program at the Idaho Department of Commerce. Prior to his joining the Idaho PTAC, Lee managed restaurants in the Boise area and worked as a food officer with the Ada County Sheriff’s Office. Lee retired from the US Army in 1993 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel after serving 23 years on active duty in a myriad of assignments.

Lee holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Dayton and is a graduate of the US Army Command & General Staff College.

Lee and his wife Mechel have four adult children and three grandchildren and have been residents of Boise since his retirement from the military.


Lori Farris

PTAC Business Consultant

(208) 599-7776

Lori Farris comes to PTAC with over 15 years of procurement experience in both the private industry and the University setting. She served early in her career as a purchasing agent for a reverse osmosis water filter manufacturer and as a buyer at Northern Arizona University. She earned her CPM certification in 2000. Her most recently held position was that of Assistant Director of Purchasing Operations for Boise State University.

Lori has extensive experience in writing, issuing, analyzing and awarding informal bids, ITBs and RFPs. While fulfilling the Assistant Director role at BSU, she worked closely with the Office of Sponsored Programs to bring the University into compliance with federal regulations (Uniform Guidance) which govern the procurement requirements of federal funds awarded to the University. She was also responsible for the implementation and oversight of the Diversity Business Program.

Lori has lived in Idaho for 23 years and enjoys many of the outdoor activities that our great state of Idaho has to offer. She is excited to now be working on the vendor side to assist Idaho businesses in their success with participation in state, local and federal contracts.

Our Host Universities & Affiliates
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