Dena Johnson, MBA, SBDC Regional Director | Entrepreneurial Development
Dena Johnson is the Regional Director for the Small Business Development Center at Big Sky Economic Development. She is also the oversight Manager for the Business Expansion and Retention (BEAR) team. She has served as the Acting Executive Director for Big Sky Economic Development, the oversight manager for the Veteran’s Business Outreach Center and is a leader in developing small business in the Region. She is the lead organization strategist for a plan (in partnership with Zoot Enterprises, Rocky Mountain College and Montana State University Billings) to develop expanded entrepreneurship space and programming for innovators to access resources, training, mentorship, capital and their attainable pathway to commercialization.
She holds a Master’s in Business Administration with an emphasis in Leadership, a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, is an accredited small business consultant (AASBC), a certified Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) a certified Business Incubation Manager (BIM) and a certified NxLevel trainer. Some of her accomplishments include: co-author of the TriStart Matrix, recipient of the 2015 40 under 40 award, was named Yellowstone Valley’s Enterprising Woman in April of 2015, was named America's SBDC State Star in 2016 and was featured as one of Yellowstone Valley’s 10 women building up community in Billings in 2017.
She is instrumental in developing entrepreneurs, and existing (for profit) business owners as they plan, expand and thrive. Her customized strategies exceed the needs of companies at all stages.
Lorene Hintz, SBDC Program Manager, Senior Business Advisor
Lorene Hintz is a Business Advisor for the Small Business Development Center at Big Sky Economic Development. She also manages the Business Expansion and Retention (B.E.A.R.) program and the Big Sky Trust Fund Job Creation and Worker Training grant assistance programs to provide capital and workforce training to basic sector businesses.
As an Accredited Business Consultant, Lorene is a passionate advocate and champion for small business owners and entrepreneurs. She provides one-on-one consulting, business technical and marketing assistance, financials analysis, business planning, and facilitates training workshops. She was named America’s SBDC State Star in 2010, is a member of Montana Economic Developers Association (MEDA), Certified Nxlevel Trainer, Profit Mastery Consultant, Accredited Business Planning Advisor, Intuit QuickBooks Trainer, Certified Core Four Trainer, and is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) through the National Development Council.
Lorene strives to recognize needs, promote opportunities, and inspire growth in start-up and existing businesses.
Kevin Scharfe, Rock 31 Program Manager, SBDC Senior Business Advisor
Kevin Scharfe is a product designer and entrepreneur whose innovative camping line was nominated for the global innovation awards in 2014, and featured on the "I Want That!" show, CBS New York, and in the Nikkei Marketing Journal. He also spent 3+ years working as a creative director for a neuroscience based tech startup developing a web and mobile corporate wellness app before coming to Big Sky Economic Development. He now runs an entrepreneurial development center, Rock31 designed to help entrepreneurs transition from concept to commercialization.
Kevin is a proud owner of a U.S. Utility Patent, is a certified Neurozone associate, and licensed as a class 4 (Vocational) educator in the state of Montana.
Kathy Lund, SBDC| Operations Project Support Specialist
Kathy supports the Small Business Development Center, providing clients with customer service, intake requests, scheduling appointments and general startup questions. SHe is the first point of contact for clients and provides full administrative assistance to the Director.
Kathy joined Big Sky Economic Development in 1999. Over the years she has worked with the SBDC program, PTAC, and the Business Expansion and Retention program. She received her certification as a Certified Procurement Professional in February 2015. She now supports PTAC and SBDC programs--what she likes best! Born in Wolf Point, Kathy is a fourth-generation Montanan. She has three children, five grandchildren and two “catkids.” Kathy and her husband Brandon enjoy taking road trips in their spare time. An enthusiastic photographer, Kathy usually totes a camera on any outing.
Austin Trunkle, SBDC | Operations Support Specialist
Austin is an Operations Support Specialist for the Billings SBDC team as well as the Big Sky Economic Development Administration team. Austin joined Big Sky Economic Development as an intern in 2016 and worked his way into a full-time position. Austin is currently finishing his finance degree at Montana State University Billings.
Austin works extensively with the BSED Board of Directors in addition to organizational projects such as grant work, accreditation and re-accreditation, and technical writing.
Trainings Provided at Center:
- Pre-business Workshops
- Custom Trainings in Marketing, Cashflow and Accounting