Heather Fennessey, P.E., is the director of the SBDC and helps businesses save money and avoid fines. Since 2001 she has helped more than 300 small businesses in central Pennsylvania reduce waste, improve compliance, protect their workers, and reduce energy consumption. Additionally, she has helped almost fifty small businesses in central Pennsylvania receive environmental grants and low-interest loans to make cost-saving upgrades. Heather has a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Penn State, a professional engineer license in Pennsylvania in environmental engineering.
Denise Bechdel, CEA, REM, REPA, REP
Denise Bechdel provides environmental consulting assistance to small businesses throughout Pennsylvania offered by the Penn State Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC's) Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP) and Clean Technology Resource Center (CTRC). She performs on-site pollution prevention and energy efficiency assessments and assists with regulatory compliance issues with small businesses. Since she joined the EMAP team in 2002, she has assisted more than 453 small businesses and has performed 195 on-site assessments to improve environmental compliance, reduce energy consumption and associated costs, decrease pollution created and related costs, and improve worker health and safety. Denise holds an associate's degree in environmental technology from the Pennsylvania College of Technology and a bachelor's degree in environmental resource management from Penn State.
Senior Business Consultant
Linda Feltman has worked with the Penn State SBDC as the senior business consultant since April 1999. Prior to joining the SBDC staff, over the course of twenty years, she was involved in several small business start-ups as a principal or owner. She has authored a column for Pennsylvania Magazine since 1992, specializing in bed and breakfasts and profiles of interesting people and places, and is the author of several books related to same. She has been an adjunct faculty member in Penn State's College of Communications since 2005 and teaches COMM 493 Entrepreneurship in the Information Age.
Maria T. Kirby, MBA, joined the SBDC in 2012 and brings economic and business development experience from across a wide variety of industries, including manufactured housing, wood products, manufacturing, energy, banking, retail sales and food service. Maria has coordinated industry consortiums and industrial efficiency improvement initiatives and led companies in workforce development; land, building, and equipment acquisition; product commercialization; and business start-up and expansion. She is a PhD candidate in the Human Resource and Organization Development track of the Workforce Education and Development program at Penn State and is currently pursuing export and trade counseling certification from the federal Small Business Administration.
Theresa is the administrative support assistant for the Penn State SBDC and PennTAP. Theresa joined the SBDC in April 2012. Prior to her employment with the SBDC, she worked for more than 20 years with The Pennsylvania State University’s Academic Outreach/World Campus as an administrative support assistant for the executive director of Academic Outreach and two directors of the World Campus. Theresa will be supporting the new SBDC office in Philipsburg, along with a multitude of other duties. She’ll be the first person to greet clients in the lobby of 200 Innovation Boulevard.
Educational Programming Coordinator
Laurie Linton is the educational programming coordinator at the Penn State SBDC. At the center she is the first point of contact for educational programs and sponsorships. She has been with the center since June of 2008. Prior to joining the SBDC, she was a small-business operator and has more than sixteen years experience in sales and marketing.
Michael Ryan has been a business analyst with the Penn State SBDC since June 2000. He staffs the SBDC's outreach office located at the Penn State Learning Center in Lewistown. In addition to providing free, confidential one-on-one consulting to current or prospective small business owners, he has developed and instructs educational programs and seminars for the SBDC. He is a Penn State graduate, earning a bachelor's degree in accounting. He has been named one of Pennsylvania Business Central's Top 100 People in Business.