Office of Business Opportunity
OBO Advisory Board
Listed below in alphabetical order. Read brief biographies below the photo gallery.
Lana Kay Coble
Roniel Bencosme (Community Director, WeWork)
Mr. Bencosme is the Community Director for WeWork - Houston, a global network of workspaces where companies and people grow together. Although its services is aimed specifically at small and medium-sized businesses, WeWork provides spaces for entrepreneurs setting up their first businesses to multinational conglomerates with thousands of employees. Mr. Bencosme’s career and experience includes that of Community Manager, Studio Manager, and health care related positions.
Alan Bergeron (Food Service - Bergeron Management Services)
Mr. Bergeron, CEO of Bergeron Management Service that is certified with the City, specializes in business support and administration, property and project management, strategic planning, Human Resource consulting, and multi-site operations management. Additionally, with over 19 years of successful entrepreneurial experience, Mr. Bergeron also owns and operates two Shipley donuts and three Denny's Classic Diners.
Lana Kay Coble (Construction/ Trade Association - Tellepsen/Women Contractors Association)
Ms. Coble holds over 31 years of professional experience that ranges in the areas of Construction Management, Architecture, Education, and Design. Ms. Coble also is an advocate for community programs, women's development in the construction industry and, mentorship of her staff and students.
Samuel Eaton (Construction - President and CEO of THR Enterprises, Inc.)
Mr. Eaton holds over 17 years of successful entrepreneurial experience in stakeholder relations, construction management, program management, and project management. Mr. Eaton also specializes in corporate operation for clients in both the public and private sectors. THR Enterprises is also certified with the City.
Ramesh Gunda (Engineering - Gunda Corp.)
Mr. Gunda, President and CEO of City certified Gunda Corp., holds over 25 years of experience in planning, designing & implementing infrastructure and mobility projects. Under Mr. Gunda's leadership, Gunda Corp has received numerous awards including HBJ Houston Fast 100, METRO Best Small Business, and Zweig White Best Firms to Work.
Brandi Harleaux (Chief Operations Officer, South Post Oak Recycling Center)
Ms. Harleaux is a Sr. Executive and business owner successor who runs a metal recycling business. Her career experience includes being a strategic leader and consultative Talent Management and Organizational Development executive within highly matrixed and complex Fortune 500 companies. Ms. Harleaux currently serves as the Chief Operations Officer for South Post Oak Recycling Center, a 24 year old scrap metal recycling center specializing in buy and selling non-ferrous and ferrous metals.
Laura Jaramillo (Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo & Company)
Ms. Laura Jaramillo, Sr. Vice President, is the Southwest Regional Community Relations Manager in Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations for Wells Fargo Bank. Ms. Jaramillo is responsible for supporting the economic development, housing, workforce development, and small business needs of low-to moderate-income communities by connecting them with the right products and services. She manages a team of community relations consultants across Texas, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and New Mexico.
Alicia Jimerson (Underground Utilities - Jimerson Underground)
Ms. Jimerson, President of Jimerson Underground Inc, holds over 26 years of successful entrepreneurial experience in underground utility construction, specializing in the installation of water, sanitary, storm sewer. Currently Jimerson Underground is working with METRO on the North Line, a 5.28-mile light rail extension running from UH Downtown Station on the Red Line to Northline Commons. Jimerson Underground clients include NASA, the Texas Medical Center, and many City of Houston projects.
Carol MacNeil (Business Development Manager, Genesis Cabling Solutions, LLC)
Ms. MacNeil has almost thirty years of experience in business development and management. She currently provides business development and administrative functions for a minority-owned company, Genesis Cabling Solutions, LLC, a firm specializing in Low Voltage Structured Cabling. Ms. MacNeil also has a strong background in networking and administrative oversight.
Jorge Mancilla (Principal, Gutier Roofing & Sheet Metal)
Mr. Mancilla, Principal of Gutier Roofing and Sheet Metal, co-manages all operations, financials, and strategy responsibilities for the company and its employees. Mr. Mancilla is the former Executive Vice-President of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce where he also served in various other positions from 2008-2013. He is a graduate of Leadership Houston, Class XXIX and served as a part of the Core Leadership Committee for creating Kellogg’s first ever Hispanic Employee Resource Group.
Marlon Mitchell (Small Business Loans - Houston Business Development Inc.)
Mr. Mitchell is the President and CEO of Houston Business Development, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit agency engaged in revitalizing neighborhoods and stimulating economic growth throughout the city of Houston. Mr. Mitchell holds over 26 years of professional experience in the commercial lending, community development, financing, and economic development. Mr. Mitchell is actively involved with several community and economic development organizations assuring that minorities have a fair chance at business financing.
Christy Moore (Insurance - SureTec Insurance Company)
Ms. Moore is a Vice President and Senior Contract Underwriter for SureTec Insurance Company, a top 20 surety bond company headquartered in Houston, TX. She began her surety career in 1988 as an underwriting assistant and moved into contract surety underwriting after graduating from the University of Houston in 1991. Her surety experience is thorough and diverse, including marketing and underwriting both specialty and standard small- to mid-size construction firms. She has her Insurance Institute of America's Associate in Fidelity and Surety Bonding designation, served as President of the Surety Association of Houston in 2001, and is presently on the Education Committee for the Independent Insurance Agents of Houston.
Maria Rios (Waste disposal - Nation Waste)
Ms. Rios, CEO of Nation Waste, Inc., has 14 years of successful entrepreneurial experience in the waste disposal industry. Ms. Rios is the first Hispanic woman owned waste removal company in the United States. Maria has built Nation Waste, Inc. into a successful waste removal and recycling company with a focus on how to serve others in the community and recently became certified with the City.
Jennifer Thai (Founder, Awesome Bites Company)
Ms. Thai is the founder of Awesome Bites Co., a company born to make allergy friendly, health conscious baked goods by reinventing treats that are made with high quality ingredients without preservatives, chemicals and artificial ingredients. In 2016, Ms. Thai won 1st Place in the LiftOff Houston Business Plan Competition for the Service Category.
Nicole West (Project /Construction Management - WestCo Ventures, LLC)
Ms. West managed success on both the corporate ladder and entrepreneurship tracks for several years before taking the full leap in 2002 to invest her time solely in NCA Investigations, Inc. NCA was West's first full-time business endeavor with multiple clients, certifications and financial success. Over the past 14 years, she has created and invested in several business ventures. In addition to her running and operating NCA Investigations, Inc., she and her husband also own Westco Ventures, LLC, a construction management firm. Both firms are certified with the City of Houston.