NJSBDC Advisory Board


The State Advisory Board has twelve members consisting of the Dean of Rutgers Business School, the host for the state program, the Assistant District Director of SBA, and several members from the private sector, spanning different industries, including: technology and technical services, international business and consulting, the non-profit sector advocating business opportunities, organizational management and human resources, accounting and finance, commercial construction projects, and insurance planning.

The State Director (President & CEO) and the Associate State Director (Executive V.P. & COO) co-direct and manage the affairs of the Board.

In their capacity as NJSBDC Advisory Board members, they meet throughout the year to help advance the mission of the NJSBDC by providing advice and counsel concerning different issues and matters that can affect the resources and climate that small businesses need to prosper. They are called upon to help advocate for the network, channel strategic contacts to NJSBDC executive management when appropriate for specific situations, and provide feedback and input on network performance, marketing and promotional strategies, and other relevant issues that can advance the cause, mission, and vision of the organization.



Advisory Board Members


Chip Hallock, President & CEO
Newark Regional Business Partnership

Chip Hallock is president and CEO of the Newark Regional Business Partnership (NRBP), a business organization dedicated to providing its members with connections, information and advocacy that will enhance their opportunities, and strengthen and revitalize the business infrastructure of Newark and the surrounding region. Mr. Hallock was hired as NRBP’s CEO in January 2000 after 13 years at the Commerce and Industry Association of NJ including seven years as its president.

A graduate of Moravian College, Mr. Hallock previously worked in public education and as executive director of a free market educational organization, the Foundation for Free Enterprise. He is a past president of the New Jersey Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and serves on the boards of Meadowlink Commuter Services, Newark Police Foundation, Foundation for Free Enterprise, University Heights Science Park, Greater Newark Business Development Consortium and Nation’s Port, and the advisory board of the Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies at Rutgers University.


Brenda B. Hopper, CEO – State Director
America’s Small Business Development Centers – New Jersey

Brenda B. Hopper is the Chief Executive Officer and State Director of America’s Small Business Development Centers – New Jersey (NJSBDC) network.  The NJSBDC network is part of a national partnership between the state and federal governments, the private sector, and colleges and universities.  The NJSBDC network, headquartered at Rutgers Business School, consists of twelve (12) full service Regional Centers and more than twenty affiliate and satellite offices across the state. The program also consists of specialty programs including E-Business, International Trade, Procurement, Sustainability and Technology Commercialization. The network specializes in business and strategic planning, management and growth strategy, marketing, and loan packaging.

Ms. Hopper has held several positions in small business, housing and economic development, including Senior Vice President of the Philadelphia Economic Development Corporation, Director of Small Business and Retail Assistance in Jersey City and the owner of two small businesses.

Ms. Hopper received her master’s degree in finance and marketing from Rutgers Business School with an undergraduate major in economics and business from the Rutgers College of Arts and Sciences.

Her professional and community activities have included Board Member, Bright Mind’s Institute for Autism, Chair, Association of Small Business Development Center’s Minority Outreach Task Force, Member, National Association of Female Executives, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners. Board Chair, Crest Community Development Corporation.   She formerly served as Community Advisory Board Member of The Ron Thomas Small Business Forum and various local banks.  She also formerly served as a trustee of the Hoboken Waterfront Development Corporation, International Minority Business Corporation and on the Editorial Board of the Small Business Forum. Ms. Hopper is a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, an International Honor Society in Economics and was recognized in the National Register’s Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals.  The NJSBDC received the U.S. SBA’s Regional Minority Small Business Advocate of the Year award and the Unsung Hero’s Award from Winston – Salem State University.

Ms. Hopper has appeared as a small business expert and guest lecturer on numerous television and radio programs, and has presented at local and international small business conferences.


Dr. Sayed Ibrahim
Health & Beauty USA, Inc.


Lei Lei, Dean
Rutgers Business School, Rutgers University

Professor Lei Lei received her Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) with a minor in Computer Sciences.  She has served as the dissertation advisor for Ph.D. students, co-guest editor for Annals of Operations Research, associate editor of IIE Transactions, and Naval Research Logistics. She was a member of the review board of Journal of Supply Chain Management and the review panel of National Science Foundation. Her research expertise includes supply chain network design and optimization, operations planning, scheduling, and process recovery after disruptions, demand-supply planning, and resource allocation optimization.

She has over 50 refereed publications, including from journals such as Management Science, INFORMS Journal on Computing, Interfaces, IIE Transactions, European Journal of Operations Research, Journal of Operational Research Society, and Naval Research Logistics. She was the leading researcher for an industry distribution network design project that led to a potential savings of millions of dollars in 2004. She was a semi-finalist for the 2002 INFORMS Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and Management Science. She was also the Principal Investigator of a major government research grant on pharmaceutical supply chains (2011-2013). She is a recipient of five (5) best teacher awards at Rutgers Business School since 1990, and was listed in Business Week as one of the two Most Popular Business Professors at Rutgers University (BusinessWeek, Oct. 2nd, 2000). She was nominated as the U.S. Professor of the Year (2010).

After serving as the founding chair of Department of Supply Chain Management since 2008, she is now the Dean of Rutgers Business School.


Deidre McCarthy
Advanced Built Structures, Inc., Jersey City, NJ


Brian McDonough
Technical Integration Services – TISDCS Data Center Services


Harry Menta, Public Affairs Specialist
NJ District Office, U.S. Small Business Administration


Deborah Smarth, COO – State Director
America’s Small Business Development Centers – New Jersey

Deborah Smarth is the Chief Operating Officer and Associate State Director of America’s SBDC New Jersey, headquartered at Rutgers Business School (Newark-New Brunswick). In this capacity, she directs strategic planning, government relations, communications, and external partnerships. She oversees the performance of 12 centers statewide, specialty programs and general operations collaborating with the CEO/State Director to advance the network’s mission and overall performance. She advocates for the network at the State Legislature, engaging with the NJ Business Action Center and Governor’s office.  In 2006, she authored a report to the Legislature and Governor entitled “A Strategic Blueprint for Small Business Growth: Strengthening Business Opportunities in New Jersey.

Prior to joining the NJSBDC full-time, Ms. Smarth served as a government affairs consultant, conducting her own businessShe also taught political science courses at a state university and community college. She has worked in the area of public policy/legislative affairs since receiving her graduate degree. She holds a Master’s degree in National Politics and Policy from Columbia University.

Ms. Smarth served as Director of Corporate Affairs at a small solar engineering company in Pennington, NJ and as Legislative Associate at The Motion Picture Association with locations in New York City and Washington, D.C.

As the Director of Policy and Planning, and Senior Policy Advisor, at the New Jersey Legislature for more than a dozen years, she specialized in business and economic development issues, directing special policy task forces composed of private/public sector members. She authored public policy reports on diverse topics, formulating policy initiatives and legislation. She received the Legislative Award of Recognition from the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners for her leadership efforts concerning home business legislation (2000). Prior to the Legislature, Ms. Smarth directed national grassroots legislative advocacy for a non-profit, educational think tank foundation headquartered in Washington, D.C.  As a researcher at Columbia University Graduate School of Business, she authored a paper on municipal services.

She is the author of a book entitled America’s Lost Opportunity: Stolen Victories 2012, concerning the 2012 presidential election, released in August 2013; a second edition released in October 2015 also covers the 2016 presidential race.

She has been interviewed by various news, business publications and cable television concerning public policy issues/small business topics. She has moderated and presented at business events including the annual America’s SBDC national conference. In 2008, she was a recipient of the State Star award from the national Association (America’s SBDC) – for her contributions made to the NJSBDC program – in Chicago, Illinois at its national meeting.


Jerry Silberman, CEO and Founder
Corporate Turnaround, Paramus, NJ

Silberman is a regular contributor on MSNBC’s “Your Business” and has been a featured guest for CNN, Fox, CBS, ABC, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, US News and World Report and Forbes magazine.

He co-authored the “Small Business Survival Book” and has written many technical articles for various publications for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Credit Management. He frequently shares his expertise on many business related radio shows as well.

Mr. Silberman started a nationwide collection agency in 1990 which led to the formation of Corporate Turnaround. He and his company have helped thousands of small businesses renegotiate affordable terms with their creditors for more than 20 years. Under his leadership, the company has successfully negotiated over 35,000 settlements that were irreconcilable prior to their involvement.

Silberman has addressed national and regional conferences of the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC), a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

NJSBDC introduced Corporate Turnaround to the national Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC) headquartered in Burke, VA. and the firm has since made important presentations at three consecutive ASBDC national conferences.

Since then, Silberman and his company team have created an online educational tool box for SBDC statewide counselors as well as management consultants across the national organization. The SBDC online tool box includes educational guides, case studies, a restructuring software tutorial and calculator to help assess a financially stressed company, as well as courses of action including formulating a budget, communicating with creditors, and making offers to resolve their debt.



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