Meet Our Advising Team

UTSA SBDC Advisors (Alpha Listing)

Lorna Adams Advisor

Lorna Adams | Business Development Specialist

Expertise:
- Sales
- Marketing
- Management
- Financial Projections
- Business Planning
- Small business startups and expansion
- CARES Act Funding and Forgiveness

Lorna joined the UTSA SBDC team in 2020.

Lorna’s lifelong passion for personal and professional empowerment evolved into building multiple publishing businesses focusing on college, career, life readiness, and now advising new and existing entrepreneurs on ways to build and sustain their own business success.

She is a Trinity University alumnus and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing..

Lorna is an avid adventurer, having traveled throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and Thailand. She enjoys hiking, cooking with friends, and family history storytelling. She especially enjoys forming small group cultural adventures with family and friends to Europe and beyond.

Crystal Darby | Senior Business Advisor

Expertise:
- Marketing
- Business Plans including Lean Canvas
- Financial Projections
- Proposal Writing
- Customer Service
- Communication Skills
- Certified Technology Commercialization Advisor

Before joining the SBDC in 2011, Crystal owned a communications consulting business for 12 years. Prior to that, she worked in the nonprofit sector writing grants, creating newsletters and other publications, and coordinating volunteers. She also worked in government providing services to employers who hire people with disabilities. Crystal holds an MPA from the University of New Orleans and a BS in Communication from the University of Texas at Austin.

Crystal serves on the boards of NOWCastSA, The San Antonio Heron, Southside First, and the Bexar County Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (SMWBE) Program Advisory Committee. She primarily works out of the UTSA downtown campus, but also spends time at Geekdom, at 110 E. Houston, and Southside First, 2130 SW Military.

Isa Fernandez Advisor

Isa Fernández | Business Advisor

Expertise:
- Minority/Women Business Enterprise (MWBE)
- Disabled Individual Business Enterprises (DIBE)
- Proposal Writing
- Marketing
- Business Cooperatives
- Senior & Assisted living centers

Isa joined the UTSA Small Business Development Center (SBDC) team in February 2020, bringing over six years’ experience working with and for the small business community locally and nationally. Isa’s work has been recognized by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4a) with the 2012 Innovation Award for her work in program development; the Small Business Administration (SBA) District Women Small Business Champion of the Year (2016) award and most recently, the UTSA SBDC 2021 Innovation Award.

Holding a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a master’s degree in Public Administration from UTSA, Isa is honored to return to her alma mater to work directly with and for the small business community.

Isa is a published writer, photographer, and social justice advocate.

Lisha Garcia

Lisha Garcia | Senior Business Advisor

Expertise:
- Fundable Business Plans
- Financial Projections
- Business Startups and Expansions
- Franchising (FranFit Liaison)
- Marketing and Sales
- Government Contracting
- Strategic Growth Plans and Execution Strategies
- Spanish Speaking and Training

Lisha has been serving small businesses as an SBDC advisor for over ten years. She was previously with the Arizona SBDC Network as the Diversity and Women’s Business Coordinator. She was with the Austin SBDC for 3 years before transferring in May of 2016 to the UTSA SBDC. Lisha has extensive experience growing small businesses. Lisha holds a BA from the University of Arizona, MFA from Vermont College and MIM from the Thunderbird School. She is a Certified Global Business Professional in good standing. Lisha was awarded the San Antonio 2017 Advisor of the Year.

Lisha is a widely published poet and has recently completed her second book. She is a Certified Life Coach and a member of the International Coach Federation.

Lisha primarily works out of the San Antonio office, but travels to Medina, Frio, Wilson and Atascosa counties to assist clients.

Amir Lang Advisor

Amir Lang | Business Advisor

Expertise:
- Business Plans
- Agricultural/Food Products
- Fashion and Apparel
- CARES Act Funding and Forgiveness

Amir has been consulting for small businesses for 5 years and helping start-ups to launch and grow into mid-sized companies. He previously worked in Peace Corps, in a small village in Senegal, where he worked primarily with agricultural and farming businesses and wrote/managed grants to fund their business development projects. He also has expertise in fashion and apparel brands and bringing these collections to launch.

Amir graduated from Baylor University with a degree in International Business and Business French. Outside of work he enjoys watching survivor.

Patrice McElfresh Advisor

Patrice McElfresh | Senior Business Advisor

Expertise:
- Marketing and Promotional Plans
- Financial Projections
- Business Startups and Expansions
- Day Care Centers
- Car Washes

Patrice joined the UTSA Small Business Development Center in 2005. Previous to joining the SBDC, she worked in commercial lending for Bank of America and RBC (Royal Bank of Canada). Patrice holds a BS in Business Administration with concentrations in Marketing and Economics, as well as a Master’s in Public Administration, both from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Patrice is a UTSA Lifetime Alumni Member and a fan of Road Runner football.

At the UTSA SBDC Patrice helps businesses with financial projections, marketing, location determination, human resource information and business planning. She was the top state advisor in 2017 and was recognized in Nashville, Tennessee at the Grand Ole Opry.

She has two teenage sons.

Sam Morgan Business Advisor

Sam Morgan | Senior Business Advisor

Expertise:
- Financial Projections
- Business Plans
- General Business Counseling
- Certified Technology Commercialization Advisor

Sam joined the SBDC in 2016. His background includes service in the U.S. Army, worked for Northrop Grumman as a defense contractor. Sam holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a BS in Business Administration from Franklin University.

Sam’s hobbies include weight lifting, UT Longhorn football, and anything history related. He is an active Franklin University Alumni and University of Phoenix Alumni. He enjoys spending time with his family and pets.

Sam works primarily out of the San Antonio office, but also serves clients at the New Braunfels Satellite Office (SPARK office).

Zeynep Peterson | Business Advisor

Expertise:
- Business Plans for Startups and Expansions
- Financial Projections
- Growth Strategies and Business Verticals
- Marketing and Advertising Strategies
- Leadership Strategies
- Business Contracts and Agreements
- Business Compliance
- Legal Rights and Resources
- CARES Act Funding and Forgiveness
- Certifications: National Society of Success and Leadership; Google Analytics; Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Advanced Training; Legal Reasoning

Zeynep brings a strong legal background and experience to the UTSA SBDC team, having worked many years for law firms, as well as, attending law school for a period of time. She also founded, owned, and managed her own small business. She has experience in a number of areas, such as: financial and managerial accounting, financial statements, equity, cash flow, regression, data analytics, innovation management, social entrepreneurship / non-profit, international business, supply chain management and operations, value chain, product differentiation, cost leadership, vertical integration, competitive advantage, business intelligence, management of information and technology, negotiation and conflict management, risk management, retail management, and compliance.

Zeynep graduated from University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and holds a Master of Business Administration degree from St. Mary’s University.

Hector Ramirez

Hector Ramirez | Business Advisor

Expertise:
- Business Model/Planning
- Access to Capital/Financial Projections
- Bookkeeping
- Productivity Tools (Google for Business)
- Bilingual (Spanish)

Hector joined the UTSA SBDC as a Business Development Specialist in June 2019. He has over nine years’ experience working for various non-profit economic development organizations and state institutions. Throughout his career, Hector has helped start, grow, and sustain small businesses by providing technical assistance, small business micro-lending, and business venture planning to Texas entrepreneurs.

Hector is a UTSA Alumnus and holds a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Management, with a concentration in small business/entrepreneurship.

He enjoys outdoor recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, and camping; is an avid sports fan, enjoys playing basketball, and spending time with family and friends.

Lucinda Vela | Program Manager

Lucinda joined the UTSA SBDC team in 2020 as Program Manager for the New Braunfels Satellite Office. Previously Lucinda worked at the San Antonio Minority Business Development Center. She has owned her own business and assisted many companies with their business development plans, strategic marketing, and tax credits. She enjoys working with new businesses to help them achieve success and contribute to economic development.

Lucinda received her Master and Bachelor Degrees from St. Mary’s University, where she also taught as an Adjunct Professor. She loves hanging out with her daughter and as a vocalist, loves jazz and blues. She also loves when traveling turns into an adventure.