SBA News and Updates from the San Diego District Office

San Diego District Office

u s small business administration

SBA's Bryan O'Byrne Visits San Diego

Photo: Bryan O'Byrne Roundtable at the Southwestern College Center for Business Advancement

SBA's Chief of International Affairs and Trade Policy for the Office of International Trade Bryan O’Byrne led a roundtable at the Southwestern College San Diego and Imperial Valley SBDC Network office, within the Center for Business Advancement. Approximately 15 stakeholders participated in the roundtable, including representatives from the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and North County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, small business owners, SBA resource partner organizations, and local representatives from other federal agencies. Mr. O'Byrne started the event by  highlighting the conclusion and publication of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which includes a new chapter dedicated to small and medium-size enterprises. He then conducted a Q&A session on a wide range of trade policy and tariff topics.

During his time in San Diego, Mr. O’Byrne also participated in a roundtable presentation and tour with the staff of the Port of San Diego, which in addition to traditional “blue economy” (cargo and container shipping) services, highlighted several  new blue economy small business incubator projects concerning: aquaculture, marine bio-technology, cleantech, and renewable energy. In addition to responding to questions regarding the USMCA, Mr. O’Byrne noted future opportunities for small businesses, including those involved in the blue economy, to participate in the U.S.-UK Trade and Investment Working Group roundtables of the U.S.-UK Small and Medium Enterprise Dialogue, which are held both in the United States and United Kingdom. (Ref: ).

In addition, Mr. O'Byrne met with Biocom President & CEO Joseph Panetta to discuss ways for Biocom members to provide input for future international trade agreements and trade policy negotiations. Biocom is a leading Life Science Association of California.

USMCA Fact Sheet

Learn more about SBA's Office of International Trade at: or contact us through our International Trade Inquiry Point at: +1 (855)722-4877 and

Event Highlights

San Diego Defense Supply Chain &
Business Resource Fair

Photo: Lead BOS, Carlos Liu and BOS, Merica Le working SBA’s booth during networking session.

On February 1, 2019, SBA San Diego's Lead Business Opportunities Specialist Carlos Liu and BOS Merica Le participated in the San Diego Defense Supply Chain & Business Resource Fair event coordinated by the San Diego PTAC. The event was put on for small businesses to help discover procurement opportunities to diversify their business, tap into resources to help make their business more competitive, and become more resilient in the area of cybersecurity.

Government Contracting Certifications for
Small Businesses Workshop

Photo: John Engstrom, BOS SDDO speaks to small business owners about federal contracting certifications.

On February 5th, SBA San Diego's John Engstrom gave a two-hour presentation to 19 small business owners at the San Diego PTAC entitled “Government Contracting Certifications for Small Businesses”.  The purpose of the presentation was to provide information to small business owners to determine whether or not government contracting would be right for them and does the government buy what they have to offer. John shared information about four federal government assistance/certification programs and how to apply. John’s presentation was followed by a presentation on California State Certifications by Brett Housholder of PTAC. Afterwards, John and Lead BOS Carlos Liu, entertained questions that were not asked during the presentation.

Entrepreneurial Panel at Camp Pendleton
Business Transitioning Seminar

Photo: Lars Herman, Christian Lopez, Joe Bulger and John Engstrom  

On February 13th, John Engstrom (on right,) Marine Corps veteran and BOS for the San Diego District Office moderated the Entrepreneurial Panel at a Camp Pendleton Business Transitioning Seminar. Seventy-eight transitioning military personnel participated in this free four-day course. Panelists (shown above Left to right) included SDVOSBs and 8(a) program participants Lars Herman, Navy veteran and president of Herman Construction Group, Inc. and Christian Lopez, Marine Corps veteran and president of ACC3 International, Inc., as well as, Joe Bulger, Navy veteran and president of Boarhog, LLC, an SDVOSB and HUBZone program participant. All three panelists shared their passion for owning their own business; the successes they have enjoyed; and the challenges that they have overcome in federal government contracting.

Meet the Buyers Event

Photo: John Engstrom BOS San Diego District Office with Shiva Moradfar

On February 14th, the North San Diego Small Business Development Center conducted a Meet the Buyers event at the City of Escondido Council Chambers. SBA San Diego staff members presented at this event. Lead Economic Development Specialist Mike Sovacool presented  on SBA resources and loans, and BOS John Engstrom spoke about federal government certifications. In addition, Lead BOS Carlos Liu and BOS John Engstrom worked an exhibit table and spoke with individual small business owners about 8(a), HUBZone, SDVOSB and WOSB certifications. Several small business owners, showed interest in pursuing various SBA contracting assistance/certification programs.  

Photo above: SBA San Diego's Business Opportunities Specialist John Engstrom  provides information about the 8(a) and WOSB programs to Shiva Moradfar, Owner of Alite JSAC, Inc., a cleaning company.

SBA San Diego Welcomes Ken Luis

Photo: Ken Luis

Ken Luis, Lender Relations Specialist
SBA San Diego District Office

Ken Luis joined SBA nine years ago. He, most recently, worked four years as a lender relations specialist for the SBA’s Los Angeles District Office.  Previously, he started as a contractor, for two years, at SBA’s National Guaranty Purchase Center in Herndon, VA. Impressed with his skills, NGPC management then hired him as an SBA employee. He worked at NGPC, as a loan specialist for nearly five years.

Prior to joining the SBA, Ken worked in the public sector as a commercial business service specialist for Newtek Small Business Financing, and as a residential and commercial loan processor/underwriter for Olympia West Mortgage Group, LLC.

Ken’s experience is complimented by his education at NOVA Community College, Brigham Young University-Hawaii and the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

A native of the big island of Hawaii, Ken is used to warm weather and welcomed the return to the warm climate of Southern California. His move to San Diego lets him leave the LA traffic behind as well.

We are excited to have Ken as the newest addition to our team.

IRS: Tax Reform Provisions that Affect Businesses

Small Business Training Calendar Links

The SBA and its resource partner organizations offer many workshops and training events, for entrepreneurs and small business owners, on an on-going basis. Please take a moment to review our upcoming events now, and bookmark the sites listed below for future reference. We look forward to seeing you at one or more of our future events.

SBA Calendar

SCORE San Diego

SBDC San Diego and Imperial Valley Network

San Diego & Imperial Women's Business Center

SOCAL Veterans Business Outreach Center

Procurement Technical Assistance Center

SBA Blogs

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SBA National News

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Articles, photos, events, and linked information included in this newsletter are for informational purposes only and do not indicate an endorsement by SBA of the views, opinions, products or services of any person or entity. SBA is not responsible for and does not endorse information posted on or linked from third party websites. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis.

San Diego District Office Directory

Ruben Garcia, District Director
Phone: 619-727-4880 email:
Mike Sovacool, Lead Economic Development Specialist/Veteran's Outreach
Phone: 619-727-4881 email:
Cynthia Harris, Economic Development Specialist/Public Information Officer/International Trade Officer/WBC District Office Technical  Representative
Phone: 619-727-4884 email:
Jamye Pritchett Solorzano, Economic Development Specialist/Administrative Officer
Phone: 619-727-4878 email: 
Ken Luis, Lender Relations Specialist
Phone: 619-727-4871 email:
Carlos Liu, Lead Business Opportunities Specialist for 8(a)/HUBZone Programs
Phone: 619-727-4879 email:
Merica Le, Business Opportunities Specialist for 8(a)/HUBZone Programs
Phone: 619-727-4870 email:
John Engstrom, Business Opportunities Specialist for 8(a)/HUBZone Program
Phone: 619-727-4872 email:
Lucy Leu, Procurement Center Representative for the Office of Government Contracting
Phone: 619-727-4882 email:

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