He’s been a familiar face in the business community. He’s helped many local businesses open their doors for the first time. He’s also helped them figure out innovative ways to improve their businesses. And, at the end of April, Vince Fandel, Director of the Small Business Development Center, will be retiring from his position.

Fandel started with Region 10 and the Small Business Development Center in 2010. Hailing from the financial world, he often jokes about being a “recovering banker”.

One of Fandel’s earliest accomplishments involved opening a satellite site of the SBDC office in Montrose. The program was originally housed in Gunnison, making it difficult for businesses in the more western counties of the region—like Delta and Montrose—to participate. “The distance was too much for most business folks in those areas,” comments Fandel.

With the support from the state SBDC office, Region 10 acquired satellite status recognition, and was able to expand services to Delta and Montrose Counties. In 2015, the office eventually expanded into serving San Miguel and Ouray Counties.

In addition to expanding access to resources, Fandel was responsible for the efficient financial oversight of the Business Loan Fund, a lending mechanism designed to benefit businesses owners in economically-challenged communities. The BLF is predominately bolstered by state and federal grants, but also partners with local financial institutions to provide “gap financing”.

Before Fandel’s tenure, the BLF doled out a maximum of six loans in a year. It’s currently doing four times the volume now. Fandel also played role in diversifying types of lending, including the creation of the Small Changes Loan as a microlending option.

“I think that Region 10—as a whole all divisions—is on the cusp of being an integral piece in the economic impacts being created in the communities.” ~Vince Fandel

Fandel worked tirelessly to develop a business-centric curriculum to expand the knowledge base of local entrepreneurs and business owners. He dedicated a significant amount of energy recruiting knowledgeable class facilitators, soliciting financial contributions, coordinating locations, and promoting the classes.

Playing the role of “matchmaker” was also in Fandel’s wheelhouse. He developed a strong network of experienced business professionals to provide consultative services to fledging businesses in need of advice and support. Service recipients have access to up to 10 free hours of business consulting through this SBDC program.

All in all, Fandel is leaving his post in a better position than how he inherited it. “The loan volume is exceedingly higher, the availability of counselors for business is higher, and the access to educational programs are much more available,” he reflects.

Though much progress has been achieved and economic hardships for local communities have been slowly improving, Fandel still believes the future looks like bright for Region 10. “I think that Region 10—as a whole all divisions—is on the cusp of being an integral piece in the economic impacts being created in the communities.”

With his position soon to be vacant, Region 10 is seeking applicants to build off Fandel’s accomplishments, and continue to develop and support the local small business communities in the six-county region of Delta, Montrose, Gunnison, Ouray, Hinsdale, and San Miguel Counties. The new director will need to build upon the existing partnerships with local municipal governments (City of Montrose, Town of Telluride, etc.), economic development organizations (MEDC, DCED, etc.), community partners (Montrose DDA, The Hive, Proximity Space, etc.), and financial institutions.

Those interested in applying for the position can view a more detailed job description on the Region 10 website (www.region10.net). Applicants must submit a resume and cover letter to admin@region10.net.