Pamela Patterson became the CEO of West Company in July of 2004 at a time when the organization was in need of restructuring. Since taking the lead as West Company's CEO, Pamela has successfully secured over a million dollars in grants from diverse funding sources, and has been instrumental in growing and expanding West Company Services to include hosting the Small Business Development Center and in securing funds from the City of Fort Bragg and County of Mendocino through the Community Development Block Grant Program.
Pamela has been assisting businesses in Mendocino County for over 10 years. Prior to becoming the CEO of West Company Pamela held positions of the Director of the Women's Business Center, Office Manager, and Business Consultant with West Company. Pamela has a vast knowledge of business and economic development in Mendocino County which has helped many local businesses start and grow.
Heather Gurewitz first began working with entrepreneurs as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras. Having joined the Peace Corps because of a desire to support community development, Heather quickly came to the realization that strong local businesses are essential for any community to grow and strengthen. Drawing on knowledge gained working in her father's business and her experiences as an employee and freelancer, Heather began assisting community members to start microenterprises. She continued working with rural entrepreneurs during her AmeriCorps Service as part of the "Connecting Oregon for Rural Entrepreneurship" project with the Northeast Oregon Economic Development District and as a graduate student at the University of Oregon. Heather began working with West Company in the summer of 2009 after receiving her Master of Community and Regional Planning degree. Six months later, she became the Director of the Women's Business Center. Heather provides training and consulting to start-up and existing businesses on the Mendocino Coast with an emphasis on business feasibility, business planning, incorporating technology, marketing, and financial management. She is West Company's primary Spanish speaking counselor, and she is also a certified Profit Mastery facilitator. As well as being the Director of the WBC program, she is unofficially known as West Company's "Digital Diva."
A native northern Californian, Melissa Anderson's business experience comes not only from her time working with her husband as owners of a bakery in France, but also as a freelance writer/editor. Melissa holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Chicago and an MA from the University of Colorado. After living in France for several years, she and her family moved back to the US, settling in Fort Bragg shortly thereafter. Melissa joined the West Company team in the summer of 2011. In addition to her work coordinating our coast programs and serving as West Company’s proofreader extraordinaire, she provides invaluable support to clients in developing their stories and marketing. She also teaches "Marketing You" and "Venture Forward." In her spare time, she also creates and sells natural stone and gem jewelry through her business, Historia Naturalis, and volunteers in local schools.
In addition to our staff, West Company contracts with local and regional professionals to provide business advising to our clients:
Nancy Banker, Wreckless Enterprises
Nancy Banker, owner of Wreckless Enterprises, joined West Company as a contract consultant in 2009. Since that time she has advised more than 100 West Company clients. Nancy has over 20 years experience in multiple markets including small rural business development and operations, financial software, healthcare, and education. She currently devotes her time to mentoring and assisting rural small businesses to thrive, overcome financial obstacles, and succeed in a difficult economic area and climate. She has helped small businesses with turnarounds, buying and selling a business, securing financing, operations, strategic partnership development and management, recruiting and HR, and contract negotiations. As Nancy says, “There is no satisfaction as great as being able to help a business owner achieve his or her dream! Except perhaps going on a trek in Peru.”
Donna Montag, Certified Management Accountant
Donna Montag joined West Company as a contract consultant in 2012 and specializes in management accounting. Donna has over 20 years of experience doing senior accounting work and is a certified management accountant with both broad and deep experiences in the analysis of financial statements and in computer systems. Donna can assist business owners in evaluating bookkeeping systems and bookkeepers, and in determining what individuals can and cannot do for themselves. She has experience as a “fixer” who can go into a complicated situation, clean up a mess, and get the business back on track. She is also skilled at helping business owners streamline and improve the efficiency of financial systems. Donna is known for always looking at financial management and with a positive, non-judgmental attitude and a sense of humor. As a 40-year resident of the Mendocino Coast, she says she really enjoys “helping local businesses improve their business models and experience greater financial success through a better understanding of their numbers.”
Steve O'Mara, Omara Consulting
Stephen “SteveO” O’Mara is the owner of O’Mara & Company Consulting which provides development and training resources for individuals, agencies, organizations, and entities seeking feasibility research, planning, training, and support for business and work-readiness interests and activities. He has been working with West Company microenterprise clients in inland Mendocino County since 2002. He began professionally in Microenterprise in 1995 in Sacramento. SteveO has assisted clients in a myriad of business sectors including retail, wholesale, light manufacturing, service, and community service. SteveO is also one of the trainers for West Company’s Inland workshops such as the Building a Better Business series. SteveO also teaches Business courses at Mendocino Community College and provides training and curriculum for job seekers at MPIC, Inc., one of West Company’s economic development partners in Mendocino County. SteveO also has a background in theatrical production and was the founder and producing director of Stagewright Presentations, a live theater company in Sacramento County.
Ruth Dobberpuhl, Bookkeeper
Ruth Dobberpuhl has been working as West Company’s bookkeeper for almost six years, and she uses her experience of almost 30 years of bookkeeping to help some of West Company’s clients understand the ins and outs of accounting, charts of accounts, POS systems, Quickbooks software, budgeting, office organization, and other essential business issues. She is a certified Quickbooks ProAdvisor, and is known for her meticulous reconciliations that are always accurate to the penny. In addition to extensive bookkeeping experience, Ruth is also a certified water treatment operator and chemist and has worked for the US Geological Survey, as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia, and as a substitute teacher. Ruth is an avid cycler, music lover, gardener, and storyteller, and if you ask nicely she may tell you about one of her first jobs: working as a carhop at an A&W restaurant in Wisconsin.
Steve Lamb, Consultant
Steve Lamb is the Owner and Director of Client Services for Interview Team and started working with West Company clients in the Ukiah area in 2012. Steve brings over 20 years experience in management and operations in the telecommunications industry. Steve’s particular areas of expertise include strategic and tactical planning, budgeting and financial analysis, project development and management, and creating and maintaining positive relationships with governmental and regulatory agencies. Steve also excels in a number of human resources areas including maximizing employee productivity and maintaining high employee morale, managing high risk employees, and developing supervisors and managers. Steve says that one of his favorite things about working with West Company clients is “suggesting the client look at a particular issue from a perspective which is different from any they have previously considered. Suddenly I can see from their body language and facial expressions they now understand the point I’m trying to make and the impact it can have on their business venture. This is the advantage of the clarity and non-emotional analysis of being on the outside looking in.”
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