Our Team

Kristina Kunkel

Program Director

Kristina Kunkel has been working with federal, state, and local grants & contracts at nonprofit organizations since 2010, and joined the Norcal PTAC team in July 2014. She received her BA from Smith College, and is expected to receive her MS from Humboldt State University in 2019. Contact Kristina

Taylor Bowes

Program Administrator, DBE SS Northern Region Program

Taylor Bowes is an experienced program manager with a history of community leadership and engagement. She specializes in strategic planning, systems thinking, team development, public speaking, and communication. Taylor has a BS in Psychology from Portland State University. Contact Taylor

James Forrest Photo

James Forrest

Program Coordinator

James Forrest has been working with non-profit educational institutions since 2012, in roles ranging from Academic Tutor to Executive Administrative Assistant. He holds a BA from UC Santa Cruz and a MA from the University of Copenhagen, both in Philosophy. His love of helping people and problem solving has brought him to his role at Norcal PTAC, where he serves as the main point of contact and administrative coordinator for the program. Contact James

Christina Jones

Sr./Lead Procurement Specialist

Christina Jones is an expert business consultant and facilitator with over 20 years of experience in developing process improvement and training programs to position small businesses for government sales. She specializes in 8(a) certification, contract vehicles to include GSA, and proposal writing. Christina has a proven track record in increasing economic impact through calculated one-on-one counseling of small to medium sized businesses.

She holds a BS in business administration from California State University, Los Angeles and a MBA from Pepperdine University.

Lenny Bean

Procurement Specialist

Lenny Bean is an accomplished business manager with multi-disciplined expertise in both engineering and manufacturing environments. He has held leadership positions in project management, business development, and finance. As a Procurement Specialist, Lenny counsels small businesses to succeed in pursuing contracts with federal, state, and local government agencies.

Lenny has a degree in accounting and an MBA from Suffolk University. He is the Small Business Board Member of the Professional Aerospace Contractors Association, a member of the New Mexico Lions Club, and a member of the Aero Federal Credit Union Board.

Benny Gutierrez

Procurement Specialist

Benny A. Gutierrez is committed to helping small businesses develop and grow in the contracting arena. After several years as a civil servant, Benny separated from the U.S. Small Business Administration where he managed a portfolio as a Business Opportunity Specialist for 14 years. Benny is knowledgeable in every facet of the 8(a) Business Development Program, the Women Owned Small Business Certification, the HUB Zone certification, and other SBA resources. Benny is an expert in SBA 8(a) joint ventures and the All Small Mentor Protégé Program. 

Mary Jo Juarez

Procurement Specialist

Mary Jo Juarez has extensive contracting experience as a former Contracting Officer for the Department of the Navy. In her position as the Deputy for Small Business, Mary Jo discovered her lasting passion of educating and helping small businesses to become successful in obtaining and performing in the government contracting arena. She specializes in working with small businesses to help them understand and work through the maze of regulations and requirements in government contracting. Mary Jo is a "connector "of small businesses, agencies, and prime contractors; helping to establish relationships which benefit all parties. She holds a BA from the Evergreen State College, MBA from City University, and has been working on the Doctorate in Business Education at Argosy University. 

Edward Duarte

Construction/ Public Works Specialist

Edward Duarte is the founder and retired CEO of Aztec Consultants; a San Ramon-based professional construction management company and general contracting firm. Founded in 1986, Aztec specializes in public works, commercial and institutional construction projects. Under his leadership, the company provided construction management services on over $275 million of public works contracts and built over $300 million as the General Contractor of Record, subcontracting with numerous DBEs and other minority-owned businesses. Duarte is also the co-founder, Program Director, and a former principal instructor for the Construction Management Certificate Program at Cal State East Bay.

Liz Brazil

DBE Bid Specialist

Liz has an extensive experience with small and disadvantaged business enterprise programs working for various Bay Area transportation agencies. Her passion is helping businesses be successful and win government contracts. In her position as DBE Bid Specialist, Liz will specialize in working with DBEs to help match their specialty of work and be part of the construction team helping deliver transportation infrastructure projects. She will provide supportive services to help DBEs gain competitive advantage when bidding in government contracts and strategies for success.  She holds a BS in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics from San Francisco State University.

Get free guidance from our specialists

To receive one-on-one counseling, complete our online application and a member of Norcal PTAC will follow-up with you and help you achieve your procurement goals.
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This procurement technical assistance center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency