Michigan SBDC names new executive director

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
Professor Keith Brophy

GVL/Kevin Sielaff Professor Keith Brophy

Alyssa Rettelle

Keith Brophy, a local business leader and entrepreneur, has been named state executive director of the Michigan Small Business Development Center (MI-SBDC). However, Brophy is not new to the center; he has served on the advisory board for many years and launched his first business, Sagestone Consulting, with assistance from the SBDC.

In this position, Brophy will provide leadership to the statewide MI-SBDC network, which consists of 11 different regions that span the entire state. Each office consists of over 100 team members and their mission is to work with high potential small businesses to help them succeed and to have a high impact on Michigan’s economy.

“Grand Valley’s SBDC center is located in the Seidman College of Business, and it’s unique and very significant for two reasons,” Brophy said. “Grand Valley hosts the state headquarters that provides leadership across all networks and, additionally, Grand Valley hosts the West Michigan region. The businesses of West Michigan intersect directly with the SBDC and Grand Valley.”

Brophy’s first day on the job was Friday, March 13 – although he’s already being kept busy.

“I came in and spoke with team members,” he said. ” On Saturday, I was in Washington, D.C. and had meetings all the way into Monday and Tuesday. Those meetings were with other SBDC directors from other states across the nation and sharing practices, and then also meeting with elected officials with our Michigan senators and representatives to provide the economic impact statements of the MI-SBDC.”

Though his days will vary, the constant of his job will be supporting successful businesses and small businesses, both in Michigan and the statewide economy.

“The typical day could involve meeting with other SBDC team members and small businesses and it could definitely involve working with other elements of Grand Valley, like outreach centers or with students,” Brophy said. “There’s a number of students that work as part of the marketing and research element of the SBDC.”

Despite being busy and having a hectic schedule, Brophy is excited for this opportunity.

“This is one of the top organizations in the nation,” he said. “The prior director built a tremendous organization, and I’m very excited about its role within the Seidman College of Business and the impact the organization has not only on the state, but on the whole West Michigan community.

“I’m looking forward to increasing the partnership in some innovating ways and to driving things, like job creation, forward. I’m looking forward to extending the strong performance and teams and partnerships, and to extend our reach working with high potential small businesses, startups and established businesses looking to grow.”

Carol Lopucki served as the state executive director of the Michigan Small Business Development Center for 14 years before she retired in December. She called it a tremendous experience and an honor.

“I had the opportunity in this position to help thousands of businesses launch and grow annually through our business savvy consultants located across the state’s 83 counties,” Lopucki said. “I’m very honored to have been a piece of the puzzle in the turnaround of the Michigan economy by assisting our state’s entrepreneurs in their building strategy, developing their management systems and accessing their needed capital. I laud Grand Valley and the Seidman College of Business for its hiring of Keith Brophy, a talented entrepreneur himself, who has the leadership skills to take the SBDC organization forward.”