Meet the Team

Meet our counselors, experts, and members of the Operations team. We love what we do for the small business world, and who we do it with. Click one of the pictures below to learn more about our team members.

Timm Johnson Headshot
Aung Shepelev Headshot
Cely Arugeta Headshot
Elis Devil Headshot
Bernard Ferret Headshot
Mark Julian Headshot
Terry Saeger Headshot
Demetrios Sapounas Headshot
George Siragusa Headshot
Subodh Nayar Headshot
Hussain Shah Headshot
Stephen Abernathy Headshot
Aadith Charugundla Headshot
Sara Linus Headshot
Sindhu Mathew Headshot
Sindhu Viju Headshot

Leadership

Timm Johnson Headshot

Timm Johnson

Director

Timm Johnson is the Director of the Mason Small Business Development Center and provides business counseling and mentoring for Virginia entrepreneurs and small business owners. Since 2009, Timm has counseled over 1200 clients providing advice on launching, financing, marketing, and selling their business.

Timm is a practiced entrepreneur with over thirty years of finance and operations experience for technology and services growth companies in the commercial and government sectors.

Timm is a founding director of Mason Venture Mentors, a provider of business advisory services to start-up technology companies. Through Venture Mentors, he has provided leadership roles in several companies including Nexus Technology Services LLC, Visionary Consulting Partners, LLC, and Next Breath a division of the Aptar Group, Inc.

Aung Shepelev Headshot

Aung Shepelev

Assistant Director

Aung is the Assistant Director of the Mason Small Business Development Center in the Mason Enterprise Center at George Mason University. She manages the daily operations and administrative aspects of the center, including budgeting, project management, human resources, and procurement. Her favorite part of this role is to work with her wonderful colleagues to support and assist local small businesses. She holds an MBA from George Mason University’s School of Management as well as a degree in Industrial Engineering from Thammasat University in Thailand. While in Thailand, Aung worked in project management role in the manufacturing industry for companies such as Toyota Motor Thailand Co., Ltd.

Business Counselors

Cely Arugeta Headshot

Cely Argueta

Senior Business Counselor

Cely Argueta is a Small Business Bilingual Consultant and has training experience with local small and minority businesses regarding local procurement and state contracting opportunities.

She assisted hundreds of small businesses to support their vision and growth strategies through consulting and training provide in collaboration with regional Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Centers and non- profit and business serving organizations.

Cely has trained hundreds of minority contractors in various small business topics such as: Minority Government Certifications (CBE, MBE, Va SWaM, WOSB, and local/county certifications), Proposal and Bid Preparation, Business Plan Development, Construction Licenses and Permits, and How to Start A Business (DC, MD, VA) among others.

Ms. Argueta works with minority suppliers to get ready for contracts and assists in navigating the pre-qualification process for public and commercial sectors and make them more competitive for contract opportunities.

Elis Devil Headshot

Elis Devlin

Senior Business Counselor

Elis Devlin has 15+ years of marketing and communications experience working for both large and small companies in banking, industry, retail, telecommunications and consulting.

She is multilingual (English, Spanish, Portuguese) and multicultural with extensive experience working with clients throughout Latin America and most recently in the United States.

Experienced planner and manager, Elis has been supporting business owners and product managers with their business plan to achieve their goals, managing branding and communications projects, promotions and events, merchandising and direct marketing programs, and social media platforms; providing guidance to create a cross-platform content strategy and management, digital presence and especially social media.

Working at SBDC, Devlin has the challenge to promote multicultural integration providing business coaching sessions in English and Spanish, also she is inspired to use her ability to connect people and help them to prosper together.

Bernard Ferret Headshot

Bernard Ferret

Senior Business Counselor

Bernard Ferret is a Senior Business Advisor at the Mason SBDC (hosted by GMU’s Mason Enterprise Center in Fairfax City). Since 2012, he has advised hundreds of clients and led many workshops.

Bernard is a retired software engineer and serial entrepreneur with over 35 years of experience in the Telecommunications and Internet industries. He developed extensive executive management skills working with his own startups and large IT companies. His accomplishments include selling large software projects, raising venture capital, and closing a successful acquisition.

Bernard’s areas of expertise include marketing strategy, financial management, corporate organization (for-profit and non-profit), and venture capital. He holds an MS in Physics from the University of Provence, France, and an MBA from the College of William & Mary School of Business, Williamsburg, Virginia.

Mark Julian Headshot

Mark Julian

Senior Business Counselor

Mark Julian is the President of ClearView Consulting & Coaching, LLC, which provides career and business counseling solutions; customized ADHD performance tool-kits, and process-driven coaching to individuals and businesses. He is a best-selling author, entrepreneur, and business owner/operator drawing from decades of first-hand business experience and professional coaching expertise. Mark counsels first-time and veteran business-builders, and specializes in concept-review, marketing/sales and operations processes.

Mason SBDC Terry Saeger Headshot

Terry Saeger

Senior Business Counselor

Terry Saeger is an accomplished CEO with a consistent record of accelerating the P&L performance of companies ranging from hardware and software, to financial services, to advertising and media. He is experienced in all stages of growth including global leaders ($2.6 billion), mid-caps, and start-ups, in public company, private, and private equity ownership structures. Presently, he is spearheading a Business Process Improvement advisory firm, bringing re-engineering and cost reduction expertise to small and mid-cap companies. It’s been said that Terry “creates contagious enthusiasm for a shared vision to accelerate growth.”

Terry is an experienced Independent Director, member of The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), NACD/Carnegie Mellon/Ridge Global Cyber-Risk Oversight Certified, and is available for select Board engagements.

CONSULTANT FOR GROWTH ACCELERATION

• Keen ability to accelerate growth of companies faced with revenue stagnation

• Personal engineering underpinning enables insights to correct broken processes and streamline/ optimize operations, using fact-based decisions

• Repeated client successes with early-stage, emerging and fast growth, and large companies. Adept at IPO’s and Exits. Skillset includes Artificial Intelligence and Big Data

INDEPENDENT DIRECTOR

• MainStreet Bank – Independent Director – 2011 to present

Chair of IT Committee, and Compensation Committees. Member, Audit

Organic growth from $150M to $1.2B in assets, NASDAQ listing, Russell 2000 inclusion.

• National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) – active at National and local Chapter levels

Demetrios Sapounas Headshot

Demetrios Sapounas

Senior Business Counselor

Demetrios is a technology executive with Fortune-50, start-up, multinational leadership experience. He specialises in software product development, from concept to market, leveraging emerging technologies to create competitive advantages that enhance company value, and bridging the gap between technology and business to ensure understanding, further communication, and foster collaboration. Demetrios has been mentoring and advising entrepreneurs for over 10 years and he has been a business coach with the SBDC since 2019.

As a consultant at Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA), Demetrios delivered a change management roadmap, outlining the steps to deliver and support cloud services, and helped the association adopt SAFe Agile for an $1.5B modernisation initiative. At FLIR Systems he drove M&A due diligence and enterprise systems integration, reducing technology footprint by 25% and meetings by 60%. As CTO at DomiDocs, Demetrios took the founder’s vision and delivered a SaaS property records storage and management platform to market. As Chief Strategy Officer at Tascet, he secured a pilot to deploy digital identities at a hospital operating room. As CTO at the Center for International Rehabilitation he delivered a cloud platform detecting PTSD and TBI with 73% accuracy, leveraging emerging technologies. At IBM Demetrios developed a new KYC product reducing the sales cycle by 50% and assisted sales close $3M+ deals. His entrepreneurial endeavours include 3 provisional patent applications for a body area network and cloud platform connecting elderly with caregivers and clinicians, enabling independent senior living, IoT-based predictive maintenance for precision manufacturing, generating interest for $50M investment.

Demetrios has a broad industry experience that includes Healthcare (telemedicine, eHealth, mHealth, data management, analytics), Energy (smart grid, energy management, analytics), Technology (commercial software, custom solutions, SaaS platforms, analytics), Financial Services (enterprise systems, data management, analytics), PropTech (data management, analytics), Government and Defence (distributed systems, data management, analytics).

Demetrios holds a PhD in computer science from Cranfield University, with emphasis in artificial intelligence, machine learning, image processing and pattern matching, and an MBA from Ohio University School of Business, with emphasis in management, strategy, entrepreneurship and innovation. He authored numerous publications and has presented at conferences and symposia.

George Siragusa Headshot

George Siragusa

Senior Business Counselor

George Siragusa is a Senior Business Advisor and Mentor to startups, growth and ventures company CEOs, and their teams where has provided business and tech guidance to over 200 clients at the George Mason’s Enterprise Center’s Small Business Development Center in Fairfax, VA. George offers perspectives and coaching on a broad range of topics including guidance on Lean Start-Up Principles, business strategy, strategic marketing, customer acquisition, sales development, channel management, leadership, team building, financial projections, investor preparations, organizational design, and more. He has been a mentor-coach for three area business future “mega-trend” technology startup accelerators/actuators including Smart City Works(infrastructure), Innova Personalized Health Care (healthcare), and CIT’s Mach37 (cybersecurity). George is a seasoned leader-instructor at the university level for 10 years, having taught at his alma mater, the United States Naval Academy, as well as George Washington University, and Wake Forest University, George taught a business bootcamp course for three semesters at George Mason University’s main Fairfax campus. Currently, he is an Adjunct Professor at George Mason University’s Volgenau School of Engineering, where “Coach S.” as his engineering students call him, leads a required three credit course, ME 352, Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship for Engineers and Scientists. His full profile can be found at https://www.linkedin.com/in/georgesiragusa/

Subodh Nayar Headshot

Subodh Nayar

Senior Business Counselor

Subodh is a senior business counselor specializing in customer-centric selling.

Subodh applied decades of successful consultative sales experience covering business needs analysis; systems integration and product design to help entrepreneurs form, grow, and reimagine their companies’ revenue and cost model. Subodh focuses on needs articulation to benefits quantification through program implementation.

His skills and experiences include key account development; crisp needs articulation; creative prospecting; social selling; program design and delivery; strategic partner relationships; proposals development and delivery; market research; pricing strategy; sales forecasting and strategic account planning.

His professional background has centered on the operations of essential systems like telecommunications, electric networks, water systems, and transit systems. Primarily as a vendor of robust, scalable software, telemetry, and professional services.

Subject Matter Experts

Hussain Shah Headshot

Hussain Shah

Digital Marketing Expert

Hussain Shah is a Business Advisor – Digital Marketing at the Mason SBDC. For the past 17 years, Hussain has been innovating in hyper-competitive markets. During this time, he has been successfully leading marketing departments ranging from startups to global publicly traded companies. His expertise spans strategy to tactical execution of marketing programs for product and service offerings.

He is also the Principal/Founder of MarCom 24/7, a digital marketing consultancy that specializes in digital-first campaigns for enterprise clients.

Hussain specializes in data-driven marketing strategies and campaign executions, with a special focus on demand generation, analytics, social media management, and integrated marketing campaigns.

Coordination Team

Stephen Abernathy Headshot

Stephen Abernathy

Event & Project Coordinator

Stephen Abernathy is the Event & Project Coordinator at Mason SBDC. He is currently studying for a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering at George Mason University with a concentration in robotics. As the Project Coordinator, Stephen works with the coordination team to assist in the management of events and assigned projects in order to deliver valuable results for a seamless transition for our clients and his team.

Aadith Charugundla Headshot

Aadith Charugundla

Technical Project Coordinator

Aadith Charugundla is a Technical Project Coordinator at Mason Small Business Development Center (SBDC). He is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). His job as a Technical Project Coordinator involves managing the technical aspect of the organization including the software, hardware, website, and any additional projects that will support the center’s mission. He also occasionally oversees some of the center’s free webinars as a moderator. After college, he plans on starting his own tech-related small business using the knowledge he has gained from school and his experiences at Mason SBDC.

Sara Linus Headshot

Sara Linus

Client Service Coordinator

Sara Linus is a Client Services Coordinator at Mason Small Business Development Center (SBDC). She brings 10 years of customer service experience to the team and is passionate about customer relationship management.

As a Client Service Coordinator, Sara supports and assists with projects assigned to the operations group and provides timely and valuable information and resources to Mason SBDC’s clients. She is a graduate in English Literature, from Mahatma Gandhi University India and certified travel professional with International Air Transport Association (IATA) certification.

Sindhu Mathew Headshot

Sindhu Mathew

Marketing and Communications Specialist

Sindhu is the Marketing and Communications Specialist at Mason SBDC. She manages the daily marketing and social media outreach efforts with the team. Her previous roles include Deal Management-Contracts (Major IT Corporation), Business Development/Proposal/Contract Support (e-Discovery Firm), Marketing, Project Coordination, and Client Services at GMU’s Mason SBDC and Virginia PTAC respectively. She is passionate about small business, contracting, social and economic empowerment of women, veteran’s affairs, and above all enjoys connecting people. Sindhu holds a Master’s Degree in English Language and Literature from Mahathma Gandhi University.

Sindhu Viju Headshot

Sindhu Viju

Client Service Coordinator

Sindhu Viju is a Program Coordinator at Mason Small Business Development Center (SBDC). She has over 20 years of experience with customer service orientation. Her expertise lies in serving as the first point of contact for clients, representing SBDC and maintaining a high level of visibility, which necessitates an extremely professional, courteous, and respectful communication style with all customers. She also has excellent people skills and loves to communicate with clients, with a patient and courteous nature.