Meet Our Team Of Experts

meet with melissa

Melissa Duff Brown Director of Joseph Center Business Development and the Illinois SBDC-ITC-PTAC at The Joseph Center®

Melissa Duff Brown is the Director of Joseph Center® Business Development and the Illinois SBDC-ITC and PTAC, and Dean of the Small Business Program at the Joseph Business School. She is the current President of the Illinois Entrepreneurship and Small Business Growth Association, a member of America’s SBDC Professional Development Committee that is responsible for the annual training conferences for the over 1,000 Small Business Development Centers across the country.

Melissa also holds a degree in Digital Media Production, is a Six Sigma Green Belt, an Adobe Certified Education Trainer, and a Certified Business Development Advisor. She is GrowthWheel Elite User. She is in the top 40 of over 2,000 advisors in 29 countries certified to use GrowthWheel, a tool to help small and medium businesses focus and take action to grow their businesses, and she is a graduate of the Living Word School of Ministry.

Melissa began her career in accounting as a small business accountant in a CPA firm and held positions in the banking, construction, and electronics industries. Melissa also served in the public sector in local government as a legislative aide and chief of staff. She is an award-winning Director of Sales & Marketing with over twenty years in the hospitality industry with a proven ability to manage multi-functional teams and multi-million dollar budgets.

In 2017, Melissa was named to the State of Illinois 18-member Project Reimagine Committee as Chair of the Minority Business Development Sub-Committee. As a result of that project, Melissa now chairs the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network’s Assistance for Minorities and Underserved Communities Strategic Planning Group. Additionally, in 2018, Melissa was honored at America’s SBDC national convention as the 2018 Illinois SBDC State Star because of her outstanding leadership, guidance, engagement, and support provided within the Illinois SBDC Network.

meet with chris

Chris Hollingsworth Director, Illinois PTAC at The Joseph Center®

Chris Hollingsworth is the Director of the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at the Joseph Center®. Chris joined the team with over six year’s experience as a PTAC Director. Previously he was responsible for overseeing NORBIC’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center. NORBIC was a regional economic development organization that promoted job growth through professional and technical services to small businesses with a particular focus on manufacturing. The organization worked to revitalize Northeast Illinois’ manufacturing base and retain and create new jobs through a partnership with the Alliance for Industry and Manufacturing.

In this role, Chris assisted Northern Illinois companies with improving their current government procurement initiatives; including, solicitation/RFP analysis, proposal creation assistance, market research, contract administration assistance, and customized computerized bid matching service. He has an extensive background in sales and marketing in the consumer product goods and foodservice equipment sectors of business, where he initiated his government sales experience and was vital to incremental revenue growth for those organizations.

He gained knowledge of developing and implementing government marketing strategies within these market segments through initiating and negotiating General Service Administration (GSA) contracts and pricing with a variety of government agencies. Additionally, Chris served as a Medical Corpsman in the US Navy and holds a BS in Business Administration from Indiana University-Bloomington.

meet with brian

Brian Butler Director, Illinois ITC at The Joseph Center®

Brian is a global business development professional fluent in Spanish and Portuguese who has bridged the gap between US manufacturers and the international market by establishing and developing overseas distribution networks via dealers, distributors, sales/service agents, and joint venture partners. He has specialized in the Latin American and Caribbean markets having done business in 20 countries throughout this region. This has included extensive travel as well as local assignments while living in Colombia, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Haiti. However, he has also done business with Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia.

He established the Latin American department for the Chamberlain Group (garage door openers, gate operators, and access controls), managed the Latin American sales for Fluid Management (IDEX) which manufacturers paint mixers and paint dispensers for retailers and OEM’s, and managed the Latin American business for the Braun Corporation (BraunAbility) which is the leading manufacturer of wheel chair lifts for vans and buses as well as of wheel chair accessible minivans and SUV’s. In addition, Brian was an Illinois International Trade Center Director at the Illinois SBDC (Small Business Development Center) at NORBIC/AIM assisting small and medium sized businesses in developing their export plans via market research, company visits, export presentations, and connecting them with state, federal, and private resources and programs in order to execute their international business plans.

Brian has undergraduate degrees in International Business and Spanish from Benedictine University (Lisle, IL) and an international MBA from the ASU Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona.

meet with andy

Andy Pham
Business Advisor, Illinois SBDC at The Joseph Center®

Andy Pham is a business advisor for the Illinois Small Business Development Center at the Joseph Center®. With nearly ten years of leadership experience, he regularly conducts business and entrepreneurship workshops such as Start Your Business in Illinois, Developing Your Brand Using Digital Fabrication, and Hiring Your First Employee.

Mr. Pham specializes in advising both emerging and established entrepreneurs in all areas of business, from marketing and financials to the protection of intellectual property. Simultaneously, he is a volunteer advisor and evaluator at JBS. Previously, he served as the Medical Educational Program Coordinator before becoming an academic advisor at the University of Illinois, College of Medicine. Andy Pham holds a bachelor’s of science in biology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a 2014 graduate of the JBS nine-month entrepreneurial program. He is also a GrowthWheel Certified Advisor.

Brittney Manning Program Coordinator, Illinois SBDC-PTAC-ITC at The Joseph Center®