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John Arensmeyer

Small business Profile

Tax credits help Nevada business man keep healthcare for employees

Ron Nelsen

Ron Nelsen
Pioneer Overhead Door
Las Vegas, NV

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Leadership Team

John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO

John Arensmeyer

John Arensmeyer has used his long experience as a business owner to build Small Business Majority into a nationally recognized small business organization and the leading advocate for critical public policy issues facing America’s entrepreneurs—particularly healthcare, clean energy, access to capital, immigration, financial reform and numerous workforce issues. The organization is focused on ensuring small businesses’ success as a critical component of our economy.

John was the founder and CEO of ACI Interactive, an award-winning international e-commerce company. Information Week named ACI's signature product one of the nation's top 100 e-business innovations, and the company was cited by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the top 100 fastest growing private companies in the Bay Area. Earlier, John was the chief operating officer of a pioneering multimedia business and an attorney in New York.

John is a frequent speaker on small business policy issues and a regular guest on TV and radio, including MSNBC's Your Business, PBS NewsHour, Fox News, Bloomberg TV, NPR's Marketplace, MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews and the CBS Evening News. In 2009 he served on a panel at the White House summit on healthcare reform. He testifies regularly before congressional committees, and has briefed White House officials and congressional leadership on small business policy issues. He serves on the Association for Enterprise Opportunity's Economic Impact Council and Micro Capital Task Force. He recently led a study group at Harvard's Kennedy School of Politics and serves on the board for the Insure the Uninsured Project.


Terry Gardiner, Vice President, Policy & Strategy

Terry Gardiner

Terry Gardiner directs Small Business Majority's policy development from our Seattle office. He also works on long-term strategic planning, where he brings to bear his decades of business ownership and job creation experience. He is particularly focused on policies that will ensure the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act, including the establishment of the 50 state small business healthcare exchanges. He also plays a key role in policies that promote a vibrant clean energy economy, access to capital and small business economic development.

Originally a commercial fisherman, Terry founded and spent 22 years as the CEO of Silver Lining Seafoods, later NorQuest Seafoods. He grew the company to over $100 million in sales, with 1,000 employees and markets in 22 countries. After the sale of NorQuest in 2004, he turned to public policy work, focusing on healthcare reform.

Terry is a former Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives, in which he served for 10 years and authored a host of successful groundbreaking legislation. He is a member of the National Co-Op Advisory Board and has testified at congressional committee hearings.


Erin Musgrave, Communications Director

Erin Musgrave

Erin Musgrave directs Small Business Majority's internal and external communications functions. She is responsible for brand management and oversees the organization’s media strategy, public relations efforts, online presence, legislative testimony and educational and marketing collateral. An award-winning journalist, her experience in the newspaper industry spans both editorial and advertising. She worked as a reporter, editor and advertising executive for a newspaper group in California before launching a weekly newspaper and serving as publisher and editor-in-chief. She then transitioned into public relations, where she managed marketing and communications for a small business while providing PR and marketing support to other small businesses on a consulting basis.


David Chase, California Director / Healthcare Policy Director

David Chase

David Chase directs Small Business Majority's California operations from our Sacramento office, focusing on relationships with small business organizations and owners across the state and working closely with legislators and other policymakers. He serves on the California healthcare exchange’s Small Business Health Options Program Advisory Group and directs Small Business Majority's national healthcare policy work. Previously, he served for more than four years in the office of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, where he built coalitions with business and other stakeholder groups to advance the governor's agenda. David was part of the team responsible for building the coalition behind Governor Schwarzenegger's 2007 comprehensive healthcare reform proposal.


Conan Knoll, Director, Development and Research

Conan Knoll

Conan Knoll directs Small Business Majority’s institutional development efforts, including grant writing and grants/prospects management. He also directs the organization’s opinion research. Previously, he was a news editor and reporter at several California Central Coast newspapers. In his 12 years as a journalist, Conan covered city, county and state governments, coordinated news coverage and oversaw a staff of award-winning reporters. He has won awards for investigative reporting, breaking news coverage and editorial writing, and has led newsrooms that won awards for general excellence in journalism.


Kathy Berry, Operations Director

Kathy Berry

Kathy Berry directs Small Business Majority’s finance, human resources and administrative operations. She has 30 years of business management experience, including more than 10 years in small entrepreneurial environments, having helped grow three small businesses in the arenas of healthcare, interactive technology and online education. She also has held senior positions with companies and organizations focused on technology, law and housing.

Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Kathy served as a Director at iMind Education Systems and as Director of Operations for ACI Interactive, where she oversaw administration, human resources and accounting. Most recently, she was Human Resources Manager for Freed & Associates, a boutique healthcare consulting firm. She serves as Small Business Majority’s Secretary-Treasurer.


 

Team Members

Aixa Acevedo, New Jersey Outreach Manager

Aixa Acevedo

Aixa Acevedo manages Small Business Majority's outreach efforts in New Jersey. She also manages the organization's Latino outreach throughout the state. She builds and maintains partnerships with small business owners and organizations by educating them about the Affordable Care Act and other key issues impacting the small business community.

Aixa has significant experience in outreach and advocacy in the non-profit sector with a specific focus on the Latino community. Before joining Small Business Majority, she worked as an Outreach Educator for Latino Justice and was a National Urban Fellow, where she worked for the Hispanic Federation. Aixa is fluent in Spanish.


Rhea Aguinaldo, Manager of Entrepreneurship / Northern California Outreach Manager

Rhea Aguinaldo

Rhea Aguinaldo manages Small Business Majority's entrepreneurship work and outreach in Northern California. This work involves developing relationship-building, policy advocacy, and support for microbusiness initiatives. Previously, Rhea served as the Deputy Director for California at the National Asian American Coalition where she led statewide advocacy and managed technical assistance programs for microbusinesses in underserved communities. Rhea's passion for small business development stems from her parents, two entrepreneurial immigrants who started their own healthcare and IT companies when she was young.


Rebekah Chase, Accounting & Contracts Manager

Rebekah Chase

Rebekah Chase is Small Business Majority's Accounting & Contracts Manager. She maintains the organization’s accounting systems, prepares financial reports and assists in budget development. She also works with the Grants department to prepare, review and report on grant contracts.

Rebekah has more than a decade of experience in the non-profit, private and public sectors that includes fiscal planning, auditing and administering employee benefit programs. Before joining Small Business Majority, she was the Director of Accounting for a school district in California where she oversaw budget development, accounts payable/receiveable and other business operations. Rebekah began her career doing bookkeeping and auditing at a small business.


Marcia Dávalos, Southern California Outreach Manager / National Hispanic Outreach Manager

Marcia Davalos

Marcia Dávalos works from our Los Angeles office where she focuses on building relationships with small business owners and organizations across Southern California. She also manages Small Business Majority’s Hispanic small business outreach work. She grew up in her family-owned and operated small business that opened more than 35 years ago as a small mom and pop silver and leather shop in Los Angeles. Today, the family business continues to thrive with the next generation of Dávaloses and has grown into an internationally-recognized manufacturer.

Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Marcia served as Director of Regional Networks for the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, a statewide policy group working to improve the conditions, services and health of Latinos across California. She also has extensive experience as a community organizer and as deputy campaign manager for various campaigns and statewide ballot initiatives. Marcia is fluent in Spanish.


Emily Dewey, Colorado Health Coverage Guide

Emily Dewey

As a Colorado Health Coverage Guide, Emily Dewey works from our Denver office to build relationships with small businesses across Colorado and educate them about the state's health insurance marketplace, Connect For Health Colorado. Before joining Small Business Majority, Emily worked at the Bauman Foundation in Washington, D.C., where she led an initiative to amplify the voice of small business on various policy issues including healthcare and environmental health. She is fluent in Spanish and previously served as a bilingual health educator with an AmeriCorps program in Denver.


Tim Gaudette, Western Outreach Manager

Tim Gaudette

Tim Gaudette works from our Denver office to direct Small Business Majority's outreach and development efforts in Colorado, Nevada and other western states. Tim works to build and maintain relationships with small business owners, organizations and foundations. Before joining Small Business Majority, Tim worked at a small business in Denver and his background includes significant finance and investment-related work in the regulatory, research and sales areas in Denver, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. Tim also serves as chairman for the all-volunteer board of the Denver Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.


Jarvez Hall, Workforce Initiatives Manager / Northwest Outreach Manager

Jarvez Hall

Jarvez Hall manages Small Business Majority's national workforce initiatives and outreach for the Pacific Northwest from our Portland office. Jarvez develops and maintains strategic partnerships with national organizations working on Opportunity Youth, Men and Boys of Color and other associated initiatives. He also builds and maintains relationships with small business owners, business organizations and advocacy groups in the Pacific Northwest, and provides education on key small business issues affecting small businesses in this area. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Jarvez worked in education and government, including multiple positions with the City of Portland. After obtaining his MBA, Jarvez managed two small businesses in Portland and Corvallis, and continues to be active in the entrepreneurship community. He has also spent the last several years serving on the Board of Directors for Tender Loving Care-Think 'N Try, a Portland-based non-profit that focuses on building students' self-esteem, self-worth, and social and academic skills.


Mark Herbert, Project Manager / Central California Outreach Manager

Mark Herbert

Mark Herbert is Project Manager and Central California Outreach Manager for Small Business Majority. Mark manages Small Business Majority’s statewide project to educate small business owners about Covered California, the state’s new health insurance marketplace. Mark works closely with Covered California and Small Business Majority’s California outreach team to ensure the project is successful. In addition, Mark works directly with business organizations and small business owners, particularly in the Central Valley, to educate them about the Affordable Care Act. Previously, Mark worked for state and federal lawmakers, where he directed business operations and built relationships with small business owners about public policy issues.

Emma Hollister, Network Manager

Emma Hollister

Emma Hollister manages efforts to build Small Business Majority’s network of small business owners and oversees the organization's data management platforms. She manages our national Small Business Council, helps organize and drive attendance to events and webinars, and establishes and fosters direct relationships with small business owners across the nation. Previously, she served as a fellow with Kirsten Gillibrand’s senatorial re-election campaign in New York. She has a background in communications, having worked in the press departments of the U.S. Department of State in Brussels, Belgium and the offices of several members of Congress. Her family runs and owns a small business.


Paula Hughes, Missouri Health Coverage Guide

Paula Hughes

Paula Hughes works from our St. Louis, Mo. office as a Health Coverage Guide. She focuses on strengthening relationships with small business owners and organizations in St. Louis and the surrounding area. She works to educate small business owners about the Affordable Care Act and assist them with Missouri’s health insurance marketplace.

Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Paula worked with the community and stakeholders on transit initiatives, environmental studies and infrastructure projects. Paula has more than 15 years of public engagement and communication experience, and five years of market research and project management experience. Paula’s passion for small business stems from a career working for successful small consulting firms and as the owner of a small mail-order pharmacy sales business. She spent the last several years on the National Black MBA Association-St. Louis Chapter’s executive board, a nonprofit professional organization that focuses on business, students and entrepreneurs.


Grant Lahmann, Outreach Director

Grant Lahmann

As Outreach Director, Grant Lahmann oversees and coordinates Small Business Majority’s outreach and education operations around the country. He is responsible for working with Small Business Majority's business and advocacy partners around the nation to bring the small business voice to outreach efforts across a variety of policy issues. Grant spent time as a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate and has an extensive background in political campaigns, most recently managing or directing several campaigns across the country.


Elliott Long, Policy & Development Associate

Elliott Long

Elliott Long serves as Policy & Development Associate for Small Business Majority, working on a range of policy and legislative issues that affect small business owners including taxes, budget, access to capital, minimum wage and more. He also researches and engages new funding opportunities for the organization. Lastly, he assists Small Business Majority’s CEO and members of the organization’s leadership team with scheduling, administrative and logistical support. Before becoming Policy & Development Associate, Elliott served as Small Business Majority’s Outreach Coordinator. Previously, he was an intern for members of Congress and at the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. He comes from a family of small business owners.


Dustin McManus, Communications Assistant

Dustin McManus

Dustin McManus assists with Small Business Majority's communications efforts, including creating, designing and editing outreach materials, presentations, fact sheets, infographics and more. He manages the company's social media platforms and helps implement digital media strategies. Additionally, he assists the CEO and leadership team members with scheduling and administrative support. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Dustin was a journalist and served as an editorial writer for several magazines in North Carolina, as well as an online columnist. He was also the co-creator, writer and marketing manager for a start-up publication.


Cassie Mills, Communications Associate

Cassie Mills

Cassie Mills is a writer and researcher at Small Business Majority, assisting with the organization’s communications efforts by writing poll reports, web content, media materials, speeches, public policy reports and more. She also works with the small business outreach team to interview small business owners and write case studies, and acts as the organization’s researcher, delving into public policies the organization is working on. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Cassie worked with a consulting firm, providing support to the U.S. Department of Energy on clean energy communications outreach. She also has experience in writing and editing in a variety of sectors, such as state legislature, academia, research and nonprofit.


Mary (Moore) Overbey, Missouri Health Coverage Guide

Mary Moore

As a Missouri Health Coverage Guide, Mary Overbey works from our Springfield, MO office to build relationships with small business owners and business groups across southern Missouri and educate them about the state's health insurance marketplace. Mary and her husband also own MERIC Landscaping LLC, a small business that provides landscaping and lawn services to customers in southwest Missouri. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Mary worked as a substance abuse prevention specialist for a nonprofit.


Xiomara Peña, Southern California Outreach Coordinator

Xiomara Peña

Xiomara Peña works from our Los Angeles office where she focuses on strengthening relationships with small business owners and organizations across Southern California. She is a previous small business owner herself, having established MsExpertTutor Co. in early 2012. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Xiomara served as a Program Coordinator for the non-profit organization El Nido Family Centers. She also has extensive experience as a community organizer and campaign manager for various campaigns. Xiomara is fluent in Spanish.


Erik Rettig, Northeast Outreach Manager

Erik Rettig

As Northeast Outreach Manager, working from our New York office, Erik Rettig builds and maintains strategic partnerships with small business owners and organizations in New York, Connecticut, Maine and throughout the Northeast. He educates small business owners and organizations about the Affordable Care Act, clean energy policies, and other important small business issues. Previously, Erik worked as a small business advocate around the DC metro area. He also worked on political campaigns and as a staffer in the House of Representatives.


Tanya Rey, Grant Writer

Tanya Rey

Tanya Rey writes, reports on and manages grants for Small Business Majority from our Sausalito office. Tanya has worked as a grant writer at One Story and The International Rescue Committee, and as a biographer for an attorney’s office in New York. She has received writing fellowships from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, UCross Foundation and Blue Mountain Center. Tanya is fluent in Spanish.


Stephanie Salazar-Rodriguez, Colorado Health Coverage Guide

Stephanie Salazar-Rodriguez

Stephanie Salazar-Rodriguez builds relationships with small business owners in Colorado and educates them about the Affordable Care Act and Connect for Health Colorado. Previously, Stephanie spent more than 20 years working in the nonprofit sector and served as a bilingual independent consultant for various local, state and national nonprofit agencies. She also trained prospective entrepreneurs on how to start a small business. Stephanie is a member of the Hispanic Advisory Council for the Florence Crittenton Services of Colorado and continues to pursue her passion for reducing healthcare disparities, particularly among communities of color in Colorado. Stephanie is fluent in Spanish.


Diane Sussman, Grant Writer

Diane Sussman

Diane Sussman is responsible for grant writing and reporting, and investigates new funding opportunities for Small Business Majority. Diane recently worked as a grant writer at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and before that spent more than 20 years as a writer and editor working at newspapers and publications as varied as Sunset, NurseWeek, Staffing Industry Report and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. She has won several writing and collaborative general excellence awards for her work.


Eszter Szocska, Digital Communications & IT Manager

Eszter Szocska

Eszter Szocska manages Small Business Majority's websites, online communications, small business database and other IT functions. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, she worked as an executive assistant and website administrator at Green-Wifi, a small business specializing in the development of solar-powered Wi-Fi grid networks for schools in the developing world. Previously, she spent nine years in Tokyo where she cofounded FCC International, a small web services company. Eszter is fluent in Japanese and Hungarian.


Mary Timmel, Midwest Outreach Manager

Mary Timmel

Mary Timmel manages Small Business Majority's outreach in Missouri and other Midwestern states from our St. Louis office. Mary builds relationships with small businesses and organizations through listening tours, webinars and panel discussions centered on the Affordable Care Act and other key small business policy issues. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, she worked with the Alliance for Climate Protection, building support from individuals and businesses for clean energy legislation. She has also spent years as a healthcare advocate.