UHV Small Business Development Center staff is five for five

Eileen Bonner   Stephen Kilgore   Lisa Barr   Joe Humphreys   Patty Briones

The University of Houston-Victoria Small Business Development Center recently set a record for this part of the state when five employees achieved different levels of certification at the same time.

“This team has distinguished itself by carrying the torch as a model for not only surviving, but thriving,” said Mary Peters, associate director of operations for the South-West Texas Border SBDC Network based in San Antonio. “They have some very talented and extremely dedicated staff.”

UHV SBDC employees were recognized for the certifications at the regional SBDC quarterly directors’ meeting in July. Each level of Certified Business Advisors certification, ranging from Level I to Level IV, requires an increasing amount of professional development and proven client impact, UHV SBDC Director Joe Harper said. The following are the certifications achieved by the staff:

  • Eileen Bonner– Certified Business Advisor, Level I
  • Stephen Kilgore – Certified Business Advisor, Level II
  • Lisa Barr – Certified Business Advisor, Level III
  • Joe Humphreys – Certified Business Advisor, Level IV
  • Patty Briones – Certified Administrative Professional

The Certified Administrative Professional designation received by Briones has one level, and those who obtain it must go through recertification every two years.

“These certifications provide further skills and knowledge that the SBDC staff needs to better deliver counseling to the small businesses in the 11 counties we serve,” Harper said.

Joe Harper

Harper came to the UHV SBDC in March of 2008 and made it a priority to not only help new businesses get started, but also assist existing businesses grow. But this goal required the staff to go through more professional development.

“Each certification level typically takes about a year to complete, and the staff is completing each level in about six months so that they can help small business owners succeed more quickly,” Harper said. “I’m very proud of them.”

The UHV SBDC provides quality, comprehensive assistance to small business through one-on-one free or low-cost counseling and training that focuses on management, marketing and finance. For more information, contact the office at or 361-575-8944.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Paula Cobler