About Your WWU SBDC Team
We are an eclectic mix of current and former entrepreneurs who share the same passion for business as our clients. Along the way we also just happened to have earned advanced degrees in business or management and have developed extensive practical experience that helps both emerging and growing businesses design strategies to make better business decisions.
We start by taking the time to get to know you and your business and your vision for success. We will also seek to understand the unique challenges or opportunities that your business is facing.
This approach is part of our long-term relationship with your business that is designed to help insure you have the knowledge, tools and processes you need to take your business wherever you want it to go.
CJ Seitz - Director, Certified Business Advisor, MBA
CJ’s experience includes nearly 20 years of executive planning, administration, financial strategy and marketing in both the non-profit and private sectors. She served in leadership positions withseveral of Bellingham’s nonprofit and governmental organizations. She has also held a senior level position with a successful rapidly growing commercial construction firm.
CJ first brought her passion and business management skills, to the Small Business Development Center, or SBDC, in Bellingham as a Certified Business Advisor in 2005. CJ’s strong financial analysis and marketing skills assisted SBDC clients by counseling over 300 businesses, generating over $10,000,000 in new investments and saving or creating over 300 jobs in Whatcom County.
One of the key positions CJ held prior to rejoining the SBDC team as the Interim Director, was serving as the Northwest Area Director for the Employment Security Department, or ESD, for Whatcom, Skagit, Island and San Juan Counties. Serving for over 3 during the great recession, CJ was responsible for ESD’s service delivery in Bellingham, Mt. Vernon and Oak Harbor centers, serving the four county area’s job seekers and employers through the WorkSource system.
CJ has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in business administration from Western Washington University.
Asche Rider - Associate Director, Certified Business Advisor, MBA
Asche’s business education started in her family’s nursery and floral shop. Over the past 15 years, Asche has primarily worked in high growth businesses including restaurants, wealth management, and in value added agriculture as the general manager of a cooperative. Each industry was a hands-on, extensive education in the mechanics and challenges of day to day business management.
In her career, Asche has had the opportunity to work on strategy, operations, financial analysis, sales, marketing, food safety, and brand development while holding various leadership roles. She is HACCP certified, and was a key team member in bringing a mobile butcher unit under USDA inspection. Asche has particularly strong analytical skills, and is adept at honing in on root causes in complex situations. Asche joined the SBDC in 2018.
Asche has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Simpson College and a master’s degree in business administration from Western Washington University. She likes limes, getting lost in the woods, and being led from adventure to adventure by her Recreational Activities Director (RAD) mini-poodle mix.
Eric Grimstead - Senior Certified Business Advisor
Eric has been working for the SBDC since 2008 and enjoys helping clients solve complex business problems. During his time with the SBDC, Eric has ounseled hundreds of clients throughout Whatcom County and helped clients with over $12 million dollars of capital formation.
Prior to joining the SBDC, Eric's work experience included:
Manufacturing - where he helped launch a new boat company and grew sales from $0 to $4 million
Marketing - where he worked on direct mail campaigns for clients like the Washington Nationals (Major League Baseball) and Jafra Cosmetics
Web Development - running his own successful marketing consulting and internet development company.
Eric enjoys working with clients to increase business profitability, wealth and success by uncovering hidden assets, overlooked opportunities and undervalued possibilities. He is a recognized business growth strategist and direct response marketing expert. He has presented a number of training programs on how to leverage social media and digital marketing to grow sales and increase brand awareness.
Eric is dedicated to growing businesses and advancing personal achievement. He believes strongly in ethical business practices. Eric welcomes meeting with any entrepreneur who wants to grow their business, increase their personal wealth and add to their personal growth.
Sherri Daymon - Certified Business Advisor, MBA
After a ten year hiatus working in budgetary development and control, management reporting, and financial and operational data analysis, Sherri Daymon returned to the SBDC as a Certified Business Advisor in 2017. In addition to assisting business owners one-on-one, Sherri is the Bellingham SBDC’s key liaison for WWU faculty sponsored student projects and provides administrative support on strategic initiatives or projects. In addition to her Master’s Degree in Business Administration and Washington SBDC Advisor Certification, Sherri is a Certified GrowthWheel Advisor, who has a specialized interest in working with business owners serious about making decisions and taking action to grow their company. Sherri has a passion for planning, thinking through “what-if” scenarios, bridging strategic alliances, and developing the strengths in others. She also believes that creating a dynamic and fun working environment contributes to successful and sustainable businesses!
Kathy Bastow - Business Advisor, MA
Kathy’s small business experience started in her early 20’s when she became co-owner of local bicycle sales and service store. Later she worked in a large corporation as mid-level manager supporting an award-winning software technical support department. For the past several years she has been the owner of a service firm providing accounting, financial analysis and QuickBooks consulting and training services to small businesses. She has worked with a range of eclectic entrepreneurs and their staff to streamline accounting processes for efficiency and assist them with developing accurate financial data for better decision making. Her special interest is in providing owners with the financial understanding they will need to proactively manage and sustainably grow their business. For over 8 years, Kathy taught QB's classes and a variety of small business courses for the Adult Education program at Whatcom Community College.
Kathy has bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Small Business Management from Western Washington University and a Masters in Applied Behavioral Science, with a focus on organizational systems from City University. Kathy has a strong passion and avocation for all things art or craft and has been a a lifelong “maker” and currently is an avid abstract painter. She enjoys bringing her structured left brain skills and creative right brain skills to all engagements.
Heather Theny - Program Specialist
Heather has an extensive international background and is completely bilingual (English/French). Originally from Oregon, she recently moved back to the United States after living in France for over 25 years where she spent the majority of her undergraduate studies before completing her Bachelor’s degree in French at Boise State University.
Heather then went on to work in France in fields as varied as microelectronics and education. She held the position of program administrator for three international MBA programs where she worked with students from Russia, Iran and Moldova. She spent the next ten years in the role of program coordinator for a master-level entrepreneurship program. There she acquired a passion for helping students and businesses succeed in their entrepreneurial endeavors. She brings her enthusiasm for small business development and her passion for serving others to our development center.