Meet Our Team
Forest “Skip” Carpenter
Forest “Skip” Carpenter, a business consultant, offers excellent consultation on cash flow management, financial projections & plans, SBA loans and business start-ups. He is certified as an Economic Development Finance Professional and Housing Development Finance Professional, and has served on the Board of Directors for both the Minnesota Business Finance Corporation and Greater Minnesota Housing Fund. Skip also worked as a planning and development consultant before coming to the Northwest Small Business Development Center. Over the years, he has assisted individuals in planning, business development activities, and grant writing. Skip has a degree from University of Arizona.
Grant Oppegaard, a business consultant, offers start-up assistance, financial analysis, strategic management and employee relations for clients. He also has a passion for turning around stressed businesses. He received his MPA from University of New Hampshire and has over 35 years experience in retail, direct marketing, and manufacturing companies. For 10 years, he was CEO of Genmar Holdings and took their stock value from $2 per share to $13.29 per share. Grant enjoys working with people and is a master at dealing with growth, adversity, and change.
Kayla is currently a senior at Bemidji State University and is studying Business Administration with emphases in Management and Finance with a minor in Management Information Systems. She is currently the Vice President of the Bemidji State University Business Club and was the Chief Marketing Officer the previous year. In her free time, Kayla enjoys spending time with her family and being outdoors.
Mackenzie is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration from Bemidji State University, where she is a member of the NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey team. She graduated summa cum lade from Bemidji State with a BS in Business Administration emphasizing in Finance, a minor in Sport Management, and a Specialist Certificate in Coaching. In her spare time Mackenzie enjoys being active, coaching youth hockey, and spending time with family and friends.
Dana Schnortz, a business consultant, specializes in business plan development for the Northwest Small Business Development Center. He received his MBA from the University of Phoenix and since 2009 has advised and mentored students in the Small Business Administration Program at Oak Hills Christian College. Classes facilitated include Intro to Business, Personal Finance, Marketing, and Business Law and Ethics. Outside of work, Dana volunteers for Bemidji’s Evangelical Covenant Church and Servants of Shelter.
Deb McGregor received her undergraduate degree from Concordia College with a B.A. in Organizational Communications and French. Her Master’s degree is from North Dakota State University with a M.A. in Speech Communications and an emphasis in Organizational Culture and Structure. Her thesis project was on life coaching. Deb is also a Certified Professional Co-active Coach (CPCC) through the Coaches Training Institute. She is a member of the Minnesota Coaches Association and International Coach Federation (ICF) where she holds the ACC Credential. Deb has many years of experience working in the areas of marketing and development with several non-profit organizations as well as for-profit entities, especially entrepreneurs.
Deb’s personal mission is to assist individuals in the development of their fullest potential through innovative training, consulting and coaching. She values trust, integrity, faith, nature, loyalty and relationships. Her passion for every project in which she is involved is inspiring and motivating. Deb leads by example and sets high standards for herself and others.
When you work with Deb, expect to come away refreshed, energized, motivated and committed to making yourself, your community and the world even better than they are now.
Gavin Herrera, a business consultant, offers start-up assistance, business plan development, and financial analysis for the Northwest Small Business Development Center. He graduated from Bemidji State University with an emphasis in business management. In addition to the SBDC he started an equipment lease finance company with his father in 2008. He has his expertise in Alternative Financing and Non-Bank Finance which he works nationwide providing. Doing business with small business all the way up to Fortune 1000 corporations he understands the ways to access capital in alternative forms. He also sits on an economic development advisory board for the HUBZone Contractors National Council in VA. In Gavin’s spare time he enjoys anything outdoors including hunting, archery, fishing, golfing and bird dog training with his yellow lab, Tuska Lou.