Our Counselors

North Country Small Business Development Staff

Angela Smith

Regional Director

Angela is a small business owner and Certified Business Advisor with the NYS SBDC. Working with seasoned entrepreneurs and bright-eyed startups is a dream job. Her mission is to fight tenaciously to help her clients reach their goals and have an absolute blast on a daily basis while doing it. 

As a business owner, Angela developed a real-life understanding of the challenges facing entrepreneurs and this enables her to relate to their unique position. Her hands on approach to teaching and “just-do-it” methodology offers common-sense advice to business owners based on solid business experience and real-life experience.

Angela has assisted hundreds of entrepreneurs with business plan preparation, market research, financial analysis, funding and other aspects of starting and operating a small business. Angela lives with her husband Todd in beautiful Keene Valley.


Mark Dame

Certified Business Advisor

Mark grew up surrounded by small business in a family with five brothers and parents who were self-employed.  His first business was operating a small concession stand handed down from his older brothers when he was eleven years old at a seasonal Adirondack motel his parents owned. He learned and was mentored by his parent’s example of hard work and with his older brother’s assistance and support.  

Ever since his graduation from SUNY Plattsburgh years ago, he has been a self-employed small business owner. In his career he has owned and operated several businesses including fast service restaurants, retail establishments, a home improvement construction company, currency exchange service and recreational vehicle dealerships.  Some of them prospered and some of them didn’t.

One of Mark’s favorite quotes is from Thomas Edison, “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.  Two years ago, after he sold his last business he was not quite ready for retirement and was fortunate enough to join the SBDC team as an advisor where he could use his lifelong hands on experience to assist budding entrepreneurs.  “There is much satisfaction in being a little part of someone’s success”.

Anthony Searing

Certified Business Advisor

Tony is a small business owner and recently joined the North Country SBDC as a Business Advisor. He enjoys assisting people to reach their goals in both work and life.

Tony grew up in the Detroit, Mi. metro area.  He is a Vietnam Era Navy veteran of 6 years.  Using the GI Bill he graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.  He has worked for several major Corporations as an engineer and into the General Manager Responsibilities.  Tony has worked in Michigan, California, and locally in Plattsburgh.  During this period he has also owned his own small companies.  “My success in the business community has come from the many managers and employees who coached me!”

Tony lives with his wife Margaret and has two wonderful grown sons.  He is and has been an active member of the community serving on many community boards, in his church community, Rotary International, and Handicap International - US. He also is an active Ironman and Whiteface Mountain Volunteer Ski Patroller.


Shelly L. Manicini-Esposito

Administrative Assitant

Shelly joined the North Country SBDC on January 9, 2017.  Born in Utica, NY, spending the majority of her childhood in Plattsburgh, NY, on Cumberland Head where she was raised. Shelly loves the North Country for many reasons and although having traveled as a young adult, she decided early on to proudly make the North Country her lifelong home. 

With an Associates of Science in Business Administration, from Clinton Community College and a 30 year work history, both within the private and public sectors. For many years, she’s worked as a Server for local restaurants, which is how she began to acquire her many years of customer service experience. Furtheron working both as a Front-Line Customer Service Expeditor at Empire BCBS and a Benefits Utilization Coordinator/Frame Stylist at Empire Vision Center. Shelly’s work then shifted towards working with the State of NY, within both the NYS Dept. of Corrections & Community Supervision at Clinton Correctional Facility and the NYS Office of Children & Family Services at the Adirondack Residential Center.

Shelly has always felt strongly that, "You must be excited to do what you do, no matter what it is you do". No matter what one chooses to do for a living, you absolutely need to feel appreciated and respected at some level, for your efforts. Life is way too short to continue exposing yourself to an environment that lacks luster, gratification or that puts you in a position where you are treated less than what you’re worth.


North Country gets $61.4 million for projects

The North Country Regional Economic Development Council was awarded $61.4 million Thursday afternoon in the sixth round of state funding disbursement....

Grants available for Upper Hudson Recreation Hub

Up to $750,000 in grants will be available to municipalities, nonprofits and local businesses located near Boreas Tract

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The North Country Small Business Development Center is funded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the US Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.