Florida SBDC at USF adds two business consultants to Manatee, Sarasota counties

Pat Gordon and Linda Benedict to serve local entrepreneurs at no cost

BRADENTON (July 11, 2016) – The Florida SBDC at University of South Florida is expanding its
consulting base in Manatee and Sarasota counties, with the support of CareerSourceSuncoast, with the addition of business consultants Pat Gordon and Linda Benedict.

BF90D1C0-D92E-4DD5-B261-C85E907C495DAs a growth acceleration specialist with the Florida SBDC at USF, Gordon will serve businesses in Sarasota county. She is focused on assisting existing businesses in finding new opportunities, uncover hidden profits and create sustainable growth.

Gordon’s career began in Buffalo, NY, as a buyer and retail manager for Federated Department Stores, Inc. (formerly Associated Dry Goods). She earned her bachelor’s in communications from University of Buffalo and her master’s from Canisius College. After completing her master’s, Pat was Assistant Director of Admissions at Canisius College. Her recruitment responsibilities included international travel throughout Southeast Asia.

Upon relocating to the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area, she was recruited as director of a privately owned IT staffing and consulting company. For more than 20 years, she managed the firm which grew from $750K in annual revenues to over $40 million in yearly sales during her tenure. The company branched out from the Miami area and ultimately earned the status of primary and preferred supplier to multiple Fortune Global 500 companies in the oil and gas industry in Houston and across the border in Canada.

As an entrepreneur, Gordon owns a seasonal fishing lodge near the Adirondack Mountains of NY and has a used car dealership in Florida. She is also an adjunct instructor of microeconomics, macroeconomics, business and operations management. When time permits, she conducts customer service audits for resorts throughout the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico.

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Benedict will serve Manatee county as a business consultant. She has her master’s from Colorado State University and her undergraduate degree in business and writing from Houghton College in Houghton, NY. A New York licensed attorney, she graduated with a certificate in housing and community development law from the State University of New York, School of Law. After graduating, she worked as an attorney in a general law practice in western New York. She taught business and employment law for Houghton College in New York and Trinity College in Florida. She has more than 15 years of business experience, had her own business consulting company, and worked with more than 300 businesses.

For more than seven years, as Director of the Business and Community Development Division of a community action agency (ACCORD Corporation), she administered programs that benefited the business community. Raising community and political support, she created a business development center that served a three-county area in Western New York. As an award winning provider of New York’s Entrepreneurial Assistance Program, her team taught pre-venture and start-up entrepreneurs how to start their businesses and showed small businesses how to return to firm financial footing, successfully grow their bottom line, and market their products and services.

After realizing that small businesses in the service area were not being offered business loans, she successfully created and directed a U.S. Department of Treasury Community Development Financial Institution, ACDSI. She wrote the Governor’s Small Cities grant application that funded its business loan fund and networked with government and the private sector to raise financial support for program services.

Benedict was a founding member of MicroBizNY, New York State’s first statewide association supporting microbusinesses, launched by New York’s Senator Hilary Clinton. She also was a participant in the Senator’s Business Development Roundtable Discussions in New York’s Southern Tier helping small businesses research new markets.

She has been a presenter on the needs of small businesses to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO). She was also a speaker at the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Conference, in Albany, NY.

In addition, she owned a business consulting company. The company specialized in teaching for-profit and not-for-profit businesses how to successfully market their services, find funding, improve customer service, and complete strategic plans.

For more information or to schedule a no-cost business consultation, visit the Florida SBDC at USF website at SBDCTampaBay.com/schedule-consultant. Gordon can be reached directly at pgordon@usf.edu or 941.486.2682, ext. 4121. Benedict can be reached at lbenedict1@usf.edu or 941.714.7449, ext. 2121.

About the FSBDC Network The Florida SBDC at University of South Florida is a member of the Florida SBDC Network, a statewide service network funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. 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.

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