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Sal Mira

Sal is a graduate of Long Island University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Management. His career began in the field of program management with companies specializing in the design and manufacture of military systems for the defense community.

He transitioned into aircraft manufacturing when Fairchild Industries acquired the assets of Swearingen Aviation Corporation in San Antonio, Texas. There his responsibilities involved the sale of aircraft to airlines in the newly formed commuter industry and to distributors located worldwide. He later joined Gates Learjet Corporation as Executive Vice President responsible for aircraft manufacturing in Tucson and Wichita. He also led a joint venture to produce a new aircraft with a European aerospace company.

Sal then returned to the defense business and was appointed Group President of Aerospace and Defense for Trans Technology Corporation, a public corporation located in Sherman Oaks, California.  In addition to managing 5 separate operating divisions he acquired new companies and incorporated them into his group. When invited to become an equity partner in KDI Precision Products he became that company's President and CEO. There he led an initiative to double its size and once done sold the company to one of its leading competitors.

Soon thereafter Sal learned of an acquisition opportunity when Crane Co., a multi-billion dollar public corporation, decided that its defense operations in Conroe, Texas, were no longer a strategic fit. After several months of negotiations and due-diligence, he developed a business plan centered on diversification of the company's core competency to new markets here and abroad.  NEWCO was formed in December 1999 as a closed corporation, under the name Unidynamics, Inc. Since then, implementation of that model, a solid management team, and an improved infrastructure achieved a trend of substantial sales increase during which Sal served as Chairman, President and CEO. In August 2005 Sal voted majority ownership to sell Unidynamics to a private equity group. He remained as CEO until his departure in January 2006.  In January 2007, after a brief period of retirement, Sal was invited to join the Lone Star College System SBDC as its Director.  Since that time, an impressive staff of experienced consultants have joined the SBDC staff who have collectively made significant gains in most areas of stakeholder priorities.

Sal and his wife Carol make their home in The Woodlands, TX. They have two children - a son who graduated from SMU and Tulane Law, and a daughter who graduated from Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles.  Sal can be reached at sal.mira@lonestar.edu

Don Ball
Senior Consultant

Don brings with him over 20 years of experience in marketing and project/process management.  He has owned and operated 2 small businesses as well as worked for several larger firms as both a Marketing Director and General Manager on both a domestic and international basis.  Don is a resourceful, dynamic professional with a broad range of experience in small to mid-sized business environments. He brings a focus on sound research and emphasizes the importance of each business owner, regardless of the size of the business, surrounding themselves with resources and advisors to increase their chances for success. That's the role the SBDC plays in helping entrepreneurs. His clients have ranged from day care facilities to restaurants and veterinary clinics. He has a bachelors degree from the University of Houston and has taught classes for the UH SBDC on business plan development and business fundamentals.  

Don helps start-ups and existing businesses in the North Harris and Greenspoint Center areas and can be reached at don.ball@lonestar.edu

Karen Sharp
Senior Consultant

Karen came to the SBDC after owning her own small business for 11 years. With an MBA in Marketing from the University of Houston, a bachelor's degree from Miami University of Ohio in Systems Analysis, and a broad background in corporate America, she launched her marketing, print, and promotions business in 1997. Prior to owning her business, Karen spent many years in information technology. She was a systems analyst and project manager at major oil companies, after which she sold software for 3 software firms, one of which was a successful start up. Karen also teaches Salesmanship, Supervision, and Problem Solving and Decision Making at our LSC-CyFair campus. Karen can be reached at karen.sharp@lonestar.edu

Steve Hamilton
Senior Consultant

Steve comes to the SBDC with a wealth of financial, franchise and information technology experience.  He has over 14 years experience in the financial services industry with 12 of those running his own financial services business while also being the co-owner of an information technology franchise.  As a financial advisor he consulted and advised small businesses on all aspects of financial planning, investing and the economy.  Prior to that, he worked as a senior information technology project manager for various institutions.  He has taught small business finance classes at Tomball College and conducted many financial seminars.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and earned his Chartered Financial Consultant designation from the American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Steve can be reached at steve.hamilton@lonestar.edu

Jan Koenig
Senior Consultant

Jan has 30+ years of experience in finance, education, and entrepreneurship. He received his bachelor of industrial engineering degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his master’s  degree in business administration from Harvard University. Jan moved to Houston in 1978 after receiving his MBA. From 2003 to 2011, Jan owned and operated a multi-location franchise business operation, during which time he successfully developed two new territories and acquired two other existing operations. Prior to becoming a business owner, Jan held senior management positions with Nations Bank (now Bank of America) and with Compass Bank (now BBVA Compass).  Jan also has taught courses in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management as adjunct faculty at Houston Community College.  Jan can be reached at jan.koenig@lonestar.edu

Judy Granata
Senior Coordinator

Judy comes to us from LSC-Montgomery where she spent six years with the Vice President of Administrative Services working in a variety of areas including budget, business office, facilities, library and finance/reporting.  Before working at LSC-Montgomery, Judy worked at the LSC System Office as the coordinator for the distance learning department.  Her past experience in administrative positions and familiarity with the LSC software will allow her to effectively coordinate and administer the functions of the LSC-SBDC.

Judy earned her Associate of Science Degree from LSC-Tomball and her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Houston Downtown.  Judy may be reached at Judith.a.granata@lonestar.edu.