Small Business Today is proud to introduce our readers to our highly experienced advisory board. We are fortunate to have the continued service of such a respected group of individuals who are dedicated to the small business community at all levels.


The informative articles, business profiles, daily tips and related information published in Small Business Today Magazine would not be possible without the participation of our advisory board. Below you will see that Small Business Today Magazine has collected a diverse group of advisors with varied talents and backgrounds. We extend our highest gratitude to our team who continues to add value to your business through their support of Small Business Today Magazine.


Steve Levine Steve Levine, Executive Publisher of Small Business Today Magazine.Steve Levine has more than 30 years experience in publishing, advertising and advertising sales. He founded the Metro Houston Apartment Guide, The Jacksonville Communities Guide and Perfect Wedding Guides. Steve was also directly responsible for the meteoric growth of publications such as Real Estate Executive and Homes & Land Magazine.
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John Cruise John Cruise, President of Small Business Today Magazine.John Cruise began his professional career in mortgage banking. He has worked for companies such as Bank United, GE Capital, Bank of America and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. His primary experience is in residential and commercial finance, secondary markets, portfolio management, sales force management and sales training.
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Richard Huebner Richard Huebner, President of the Houston Minority Supplier Development Council.Richard Huebner has been with the Houston Minority Supplier Development Council (HMSDC) for more than 26 years. The HMSDC is one of 37 affiliates of the National Minority Supplier Development Council.
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Kathie Edwards Kathie Edwards, second generation Owner and CEO of Westpark Communications, established in 1968. Westpark Communications is a 24/7 Customer Service Call Center. Westpark provides outsourcing services in inbound and outbound call handling, as an overflow partner or as a full turn-key customer service department. Westpark services individual entrepreneurs up to Fortune 500 more»
Aaron Young Aaron Young, Chief Executive Officer of Laughlin Associates, Inc.Aaron Young has 30 years experience in starting and running multi-million dollar corporations like Laughlin Associates, Inc.
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Mike Muhney Mike Muhney, CEO and Founder of VIPorbit.Mike Muhney is internationally known for being the Co-founder and co-creator of the ACT! software that originally created the entire Contact Management industry globally. Over its 24 year life ACT! software has logged more than 10,000,000 users globally and was the catalyst that started multi-billion dollar CRM industry.
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Rita Santamaria Rita Santamaria is the owner of Champions School of Real Estate having opened the school in 1983.Rita has campuses in Texas with schools in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and On-line Campus. Champions School of Real Estate delivers statewide classes in real estate, loan, appraisal, inspection and many National Designation more»
Jeffery Jones Jeffery Jones, President of Advanced Business Brokers, Inc.As head of Advanced Business Brokers Inc., Jeff Jones and his staff have been involved in the sale of more than 1,000 small and mid-sized businesses.
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Debra Bann Debra Bann, President of Digi Marketing International, Inc.Debra Bann has more than 20 years experience as a successful entrepreneur who understands the benefits and the necessity of developing your small business to be able to compete in a global platform.
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Doug Winnie Doug Winnie, Certified Executive & Business Coach with ActionCOACH
Doug Winnie embarked on his first entrepreneurial endeavor at the age of 14 and has never looked back. Doug has had the rare privilege of working in a diverse range of businesses from automotive to technology, food service to real estate – and with an equally diverse range of executives!
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Julie Marie Irvin, President and Founder of Keystone Resources Julie Irvin is an accomplished consultant and presenter specializing in design strategy and proposal management. She is president and founder of Keystone Resources, an award winning marketing and communications agency based in Houston, more»
Leonard Faucher Leonard Faucher, Chief Executive Officer of Franchise Innovators InternationalLeonard Faucher started OfficeLand, an office products store in Newton, Massachusetts. Leonard franchised OfficeLand and grew the franchise operation to a chain of 23 stores that were located in all six New England states. Leonard sold the OfficeLand franchise to Staples, the office products superstore in 1992.
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Maya Durnovo, Ed.D Dean of Workforce & Economic Development for Houston Community College & Executive Director of The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses InitiativeMaya Durnovo is the Dean of Workforce Development for Houston Community College. In this position Maya provides leadership to 10 instructional workforce programs, liasions with local business and industry including managing the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative.
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April Day, Director for the WBEA Houston Galveston Women’s Business Center (HGWBC). Ms. Day oversees a federally supported U. S. Small Business Administration and Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance multiyear grant of approximately 1.1 million serving small business owners and entrepreneurs.
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Cyndi Barnett, CEO of GPS Wealth Management.
Cyndi is a Certified Financial Planner™, Certified Tax Specialist™, and holds Series 7, 66, insurance, & real estate broker licenses in Texas. She graduated magna cum laude with a BBA in Finance and is a graduate of the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of more»
Allen Shapiro Allen Shapiro, Retired Vice president of Stage Stores, Inc.Allen Shapiro possesses more than 40 years of executive business experience and has held positions in merchandising such as Vice President, Merchandising Manager and Buyer. After retiring from his position with Stage Stores, Inc. Allen has been a long time advocate of small business ownership and small business development. Allen has been a devoted volunteer with SCORE for the past 12 years.
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David Holt David Holt, President of Consumer Energy AllianceDavid Holt is the President of the Consumer Energy Alliance, which was formed to support the thoughtful utilization of all domestic energy resources. The organization works to improve domestic energy security and reduce consumer energy prices all the while seeking to improve consumer understanding of national energy security, including the necessity of reducing reliance on imported oil and natural gas, maintaining reasonable energy prices for consumers, and continuing diversification of American energy resources.
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Craig Klein Craig Klein, CEO and Founder of SalesNexus.comCraig Klein is an experienced sales person and spent 10 years selling multi-million dollar, multi-year contracts to energy companies such as ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and Chevron. The long, complex selling environment within these energy behemoths gave Craig a keen sense of the risk of misallocated sales time which led to him develop lead acquisition and selling systems for major financial firms like Wachovia and Countrywide.
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H Quincy Long H. Quincy Long, CEO of Quest IRA, Inc.Quincy Long is CEO of Quest IRA, Inc., which is a self-directed third party administrator with offices in Houston and Dallas, Texas. Quincy has been a licensed Texas attorney since 1991 who specializes in real estate, and is also a fee attorney for American Title Company. He has sat on the board of directors of the Realty Investment Club of Houston (RICH), the second largest real estate club in the country. Quincy received his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 1990 from the University of Houston. He received his Master of Laws, also from the University of Houston, 1997. Quincy also holds the title of CISP (Certified IRA Service Professional).
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R.D Yoder R.D. Yoder, Founder Houston Networking News & Houston Business ExecutivesR.D. Yoder is one of the founders of Houston Networking News. R.D.’s passion for serving the business community has enabled HNN to become one of the premier business development organizations in Houston. HNN was founded in 2003 to provide business professionals a collective source for all business networking activities in the Greater Houston area. Under R.D.’s leadership HNN has served and assisted thousands of local Houston businesses in increasing their marketing reach.
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Neil Polansky Neil Polansky, Manager of the City of Houston ONE STOP BUSINESS CENTERNeil Polansky is a graduate of the University of Florida with a Masters Degree in Urban and Regional Planning and a BA in Political Science. Neil has worked in various capacities with the Houston Planning and Development and Housing Departments as well as the Mayor’s Office.
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Jack Warkenthein Jack is the CEO and founder of NextStep Solutions (NSS), sales specialists headquartered in Houston, TX. NextStep Solutions,, is known, worldwide, for increasing client sales, through a customerized approach to strategy, training, coaching, and consulting services. NextStep Solutions—founded in 1995—inspires sales greatness, focusing on building relationships and enhancing communications skills, delivering quantifiable results. read more»
Pam Terry Pam Terry is a Speaker Coach & Trainer and Chief Operating Officer for Powerful Women International.Pam has almost 30 years of sales and marketing experience in the technology industry and in marketing for accounting firms. Her expertise includes Public Relations and she is a natural born editor and writer. Pam had the honor of being the President and Executive Director on staff for the Galleria Chamber of Commerce in more»
Steven Kay Steven Kay is a media consultant, and a talk show host and producer, whose recent projects include “Life Business and Money”, “Small Business Today”, “Retirement Wealth Talk Radio”, and “Everything Talk Radio Network”.read more»
Bertrand McHenry spent 22 years developing his skills in outside sales. Starting out in the cell phone business, then to Pitney Bowes, Dictaphone Division, and finally in Medical Diagnostic Equipment Sales. He founded 4 successful companies from a Sports Medical Clinic to the only Insurance Company in the world created solely for more»
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Steve brings to Small Business Today Magazine a network of business contacts and a level of product excellence not matched by many other publications. Steve has been featured in “Who’s Who in Sales & Marketing” and “Who’s Who” in Professional Speaking”.Steve’s business expertise in providing cost efficient results and a reputation for excellence to every publication and project that he is involved with will be visible in every issue of Small Business Today Magazine.
Mr. Cruise started Orion Mortgage (OMC) in 1998 and by January 2000 OMC was the largest mortgage brokerage office in the State of Texas according to the TSLD (Texas Savings & Loan Department) now named the SML (Texas Dept of Savings & Mortgage Lending). As OMC’s President Mr. Cruise built a sales team that numbered more than 130 loan officers. Mr. Cruise was also an adjunct professor at Houston Community College (HCC) in the real estate department where he developed the syllabus and class format that was used by all HCC professors to educate all mortgage finance students that attended HCC.In 2002 John Cruise became the president of Northwest Lending (NWL) where he expanded its sales force from 8 sales people to more than 140 in less than one year. After increasing NWL’s closed loan volume to more than $100 million per year, NWL had become one of the ten largest brokerages in the State of Texas. In 2005 Mr. Cruise sold his interest in NWL to pursue other interests. Since 2002 John Cruise has been consulting sales driven organizations on how to grow their businesses exponentially using little capital. Mr. Cruise has used his passion for teaching and mentoring entrepreneurs to develop a business publication named Small Business Today Magazine ( Mr Cruise is currently the President of Small Business Today Magazine and the host of a business radio talk show called “Small Business Today” with Cruise & Hughes which airs everyday Monday through Friday at 5:00 p.m. CST on internet radio.

Richard’s proven skills in association management and his passion for economic development are what led him to become the President of the HMSDC. Today Richard leads 136 major corporations and more than 1,000 minority business enterprises in a common mission to increase and expand business opportunities and business growth for minorities.Under Richard’s leadership the HMSDC has been recognized 5 times as the Council of the Year and by the Greater Houston Partnership as Houston’s greatest non-profit organization. Richard Huebner serves on advisory boards of the U.S. Small Business Administration, Port of Houston Authority, Houston Community College, Unity National Bank, ACCION Texas, and the NASA-Johnson Space Center.
She has also managed the Provider Relations functions in strategic recruitment plans of Physician Providers. Implemented informative training orientations and continuous Physician Provider servicing. Initiated and organized the credentialing and re-credentialing of Providers. Managed Provider Relations functions in “in-house” Service Representatives responsible for contractual, billing, payment and Provider guideline issues. Implemented tracking reports to keep all departments abreast of Provider satisfaction. Negotiated and contracted Ancillary and Hospital agreements under per diem and discounted arrangements.

Aaron is a master at business development and has created marketing and sales strategies that have brought exponential growth to his past projects as well as Laughlin Associates, Inc.As CEO, Aaron believes in cutting through the pervasive clutter of complex issues by identifying key business elements and setting focused goals that achieve success.Aaron is well versed in business strategy and has advised literally thousands of entrepreneurs over the course of his career. Aaron is a charismatic speaker and has presented to entrepreneurs all over the United States and in several countries spanning across three continents on the topics of asset protection, business growth strategies and international commerce.

Mike understands firsthand the struggle of the small business person and he is quite familiar with the level of skill, execution and contacts that are necessary for a small business to experience explosive growth.As CEO of VIPorbit, Mike has poised his company to become the leader in mobile relationship management. Mike brings to the market place an understanding that all people are merely the sum total of their contacts. Mike is the consummate salesman and he understands that strong cultivated relationships are the fundamental first step in becoming successful as a small business owner.

Rita’s most recent accomplishments are:

  • 2010: Houston Woman Magazine recognized Rita as being in the 50 Most Influential Women in Houston Texas.
  • 2009: recognized Rita Santamaria as being in the 25 Most Nationally Recognized Women in Real Estate
  • 2008 WCR Statewide Business Woman of the Year
  • RealtyU presented Rita and Champions School of Real Estate, the National Pinnacle Award for Best Real Estate School in the Nation 5 times!
  • 2003 – Rita Santamaria was inducted into the National Association of Realtors® REBAC Realtor “Hall of Fame” at the National Convention in San Francisco.
Jeff’s vast experience and his complete understanding of his firm’s multi-discipline appraisal practice which includes the firm’s valuation of businesses, valuation of machinery and equipment and commercial real estate has led to Jeff being called upon as an expert witness in many depositions and courts of law in cases involving business valuation litigation matters.Jeff’s 36 years of experience in business brokering and valuations has propelled Advanced Business Brokers, Inc. to become the most respected business valuation firm in Houston, Texas. Jeff’s clients include closely held companies, publicly held companies, financial institutions and even the IRS depends on Jeff to determine the value of small businesses and its assets.

Debra has ensured that her firm, Digi Marketing International remains a leader in the areas of international marketing and management consulting. Digi Marketing International also assists its customers in the areas of market research, global business strategy with a concentration in entering foreign markets and business to business introductions.Debra has organized events for clients such as the Texas Africa Business Summit, The Texas China Business Summit, the Export Ready Seminar Series and she has coordinated trade missions that developed business opportunities between Canadian and Caribbean companies.

Doug learned early on the recipe for small business success and built an award winning private enterprise that experienced rapid growth and soon grew to over 60 employees with a corporate run-rate of $9 million.Having been the owner or manager of multiple successful companies, Doug decided to use his business skills to assist other small businesses and therefore became the owner of an ActionCOACH franchise. Doug understands the challenges, pressures, and pleasures associated with being a small business owner. As an Executive Coach Doug assist’s entrepreneurs, managers, and corporate executives to consistently obtain the highest results. Doug believes in the philosophy that focus, vision, confidence, and passion, are all key components we work on to help achieve personal and business goals.

Prior to forming Keystone Resources in 2002, she has held positions as the Strategic Marketing and Training Director for EPT Management Company, a Presentation Specialist for Walt Disney World and an Account Executive for Mix 96.5FM. She is an active member in her community, contributing as the former chair of the Houston Apartment AssociationOn-Line Advisory Committee, serving on the American Intercontinental University Advisory Board, Houston Apartment Association Product Service Council and is a voting member of the Texas Apartment Association Technology Task Force, the InfoComm Presentations Council, and servers on the WBEA Board of Directors. Julie’s contributions and efforts have recently rewarded her and her team with many accolades: 2011 WBE Advocate of the Year; Supplier of the Year, under $1 Million by the WBEA in 2010 and 2011. Houston Business Journal listed Keystone Resources as one of HBJ’s 2010 Top 50 Fastest-Growing, Woman-Owned Businesses and 2011 Largest Houston-Area Graphic Design Firms.


Ms. Irvin has a BS and BFA from Sam Houston State University. In 2011, Julie graduated from both the inaugural Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program and TUCK-WBENC Executive Education at Dartmouth.

After successfully starting, operating and selling his franchise business Leonard began Franchise Innovators International which is a one stop shop for the small business owner who is looking to franchise their company. Leonard possesses the business knowledge to assist small business owners in becoming franchisors. He has developed a process that assists his clients in franchising nationally or internationally and accomplishing this goal in the most economical way possible for the small business owner.

During her 35 year tenure with Houston Community College, Maya has held several key leadership positions and she has provided leadership in career and technical education and administrative services. Maya has personally written and won more than $2 million in grant funding to help underrepresented students; and in 2010 she won the $25 million dollar Goldman Sachs grant to help Houston small business owners grow their business operations.

As part of WBEAs commitment to grow entrepreneurs, the Houston Galveston Women’s Business Center was launched on April 4, 2011. The center serves to help launch strong businesses and assist with sustaining current businesses. In an effort to “level the playing field” for women entrepreneurs, the Houston Galveston Women’s Business Center served over 500 women entrepreneurs in their first year of operation.  


The WBEA Houston Galveston Women’s Business Center represents a national network of nearly 100 educational centers designed to start and grow small businesses.With a dedicated team of business advisors, faculty, and mentors the center provides business training, counseling, and mentoring for entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Houston and Galveston area.  She holds Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and an MBA in Management. Ms. Day is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Leadership from Our Lady of the Lake University.

 In 1985, she launched her real estate career and enjoyed success as a top producing multi-million dollar Realtor®. Then in the late 1990’s, she founded Assistym, Inc., a real estate technology portal and marketing company. Following the tech bubble and 9/11, Cyndi uncovered her true passion as a Financial Planner, Advisor, and “enthusiastic” Financial Educator. GPS Wealth Management has integrated a culture of coaching clients through tough markets and decisions. Financial planning that includes holistic, comprehensive, disciplined strategies to enhance and protect assets for business, individuals, and loved ones. The ultimate reward is seeing clients realize their goals and successes.In 2009 and 2011, Cyndi was named by TEXAS MONTHLY Magazine as one of Houston’s Top Wealth Managers.Cyndi Barnett may be reached at 832-689-5746 or by email

As a volunteer at SCORE Allen has served in the positions of Chairman of the Houston office for a year and before that he held the position of Vice-Chairman. Under his leadership, SCORE’s Houston Office gained national attention. Allen conceived and instituted a new branding campaign for the Chapter.

David is a Professor with Norway’s Nordland University Graduate School of Business, Master of Science in Energy Management Program, in cooperation with the International Institute of Energy Policy & Diplomacy at the MGIMO University in Moscow, Russia.David serves as Co-Chairman of the Greater Houston Partnership’s Energy Collaborative Strategy and Assessment Subcommittee. David is also a member of the Texas Bar Association and the Houston Bar Association.

Relying on his engineering training and his sales management experience Craig built a measurable, consistent sales processes for his clients. As CEO of, Craig works with small startups and Fortune 500’s to create systems that give sales people more time to sell and more leads to sell to while giving management the accountability that is so elusive in sales.

Widely known for his enthusiasm, attention to detail, and knowledge of the Self-Directed retirement industry he is one of the most sought after key note speakers in the nation. Quincy frequently lectures on a wide variety of topics relating to IRAs and real estate, including all aspects of self-directed retirement plans, unrelated business income tax, land trusts, mortgage and tax foreclosures, tax lien loans, real estate options, subject to transactions, title company issues, probate, 1031 exchanges, and continuing education courses for real estate professionals, certified public accountants, and certified financial planners.Quincy is also the author of numerous articles on self-directed IRAs and other real estate related topics, and co-author of the book “Real Estate Investment Using Self-Directed IRAs and Other Retirement Plans” by Dyches Boddiford and George Yeiter, CPA.

R.D. is now heading up Houston Business Executives, which is an executive peer advisory, business development and premier networking organization. R.D. is also the talk radio show host of “The Executive Hour” brought to you by Houston Business Executives, and can be heard on heard on 1070AM KNTH in Houston daily Monday through Friday from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. CST.

Neil has a major impact on the establishment of more than 250,000 Houston area businesses and is considered an expert in multi-jurisdictional business regulatory issues. Neil has inaugurated the successful One Stop/HPL Workshop Series and created the now-famous GETTING STARTED PACKET, for small businesses.Neil has extensive experience in managing the relationships between small business and municipal governments. Prior to coming to Houston to head the One Stop Business Center, Neil was a City Planner in North Carolina.
For the past five years, Jack was a radio personality, hosting a daily, live business talk show, “Where Wall Street Meets Main Street,” heard during morning drive-time, across the State of Texas, on the BizRadio Network—and on the internet around the world.After graduating from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1978, Jack began a decade-long career with IBM. He quickly established a stellar reputation as the best “new account” sales professional in the company, leading the nation in new accounts opened—53 systems in 52 weeks—BEFORE the advent of the PC. The most
amazing part: he did it in his SECOND year on quota. Upon being awarded the highest IBM sales award—The Eagle—his professional speaking career was inadvertently launched, when he traveled across the country, sharing his sales techniques with other IBM professionals.Jack wrote the book on sales. In fact, he’s the author of the best selling book, “Life’s A Sales Call: How To Succeed In The World’s Oldest Profession,” on sale
everywhere and at He now travels the world, speaking before thousands of people, delivering presentations with extremely high content in an entertaining and inspirational fashion, in areas of Sales, Marketing, Service and Leadership.Jack is very involved in the local community. He founded and capitalized The Barnabas Society,, a 501c 3 corporation, that raises and distributes money and resources to people in their greatest times of need, with all the funds donated anonymously.Nicknamed “NIKE” (Just Do It!), he will electrify your group with his high-energy approach to sales—and life. If the best teacher is one whose life is the text, Jack has been there, done that, bought, sold AND designed the T-shirt.
She has worked for large, enterprise companies such as Time Warner, M.D. Anderson Hospital and Deloitte & Touche and for entrepreneurial start-ups and small businesses primarily in the technology industry. Now an entrepreneur, she has been presenting to groups for over 30 years, received Competent Toastmasters status, and has expertly facilitated over one hundred events, made numerous presentations to audiences and is a published co-author. She regularly provides workshops and training on Mastering Public Speaking, networking and other communication skills. An experienced and successful networker and speaker, Pam is committed to connecting people expand their businesses and assisting them in any way that she can. She regularly offers free consultations to people looking for jobs and people who are wanting to improve their communication skills.Her website is She can be reached at 832-276-4153 or email her here. She is on Facebook as Pam Terry and one of her Facebook pages is NOWW News, which stands for Network of What’s Working. Her twitter name is NOWWTV. She dreams of having a humanitarian TV network that focuses on the things that are working in the world.You can also find the website for Powerful Women International at PWI has group pages on Facebook for various cities including Houston.

His company Steven Kay Media LLC is an independent media buying agency and consultation firm that specializes in talk radio advertising and marketing, as well as producing and hosting talk shows. They work with entrepreneurs, service professionals, and small to mid-sized businesses to create affordable and effective campaigns utilizing broadcast media.
His expertise became finding, training, and developing dynamic and record setting sales teams. A number of years ago he was introduced to the concept of “Referral Marketing” as a strategy for growing his business. It worked and he was hooked! Referral Institute is actually the only company teaching Referral Marketing as a strategic system to business owners and entrepreneurs around the world.” These days Bertrand is doing what he loves and what he does best…teach and train! “We take Referral Marketing out of the Soft Arts and into the Hard Sciences. If we structure a referral marketing strategy and follow through week after week and just use the V.C.P relationship model…we can actually predict our income 6, 9, even 12 months out! Referral Marketing if used properly is an Absolute Hard Edged Economic Driver!”He has been published in,,, and… USA Today, this year named him one of “America’s Premier Experts…a Trendsetter in the New Economy!” He recently wrote and released a book with leading sales and motivational guru Brian Tracy, through CelebrityPress. The book titled,“The Only Business Book You’ll Ever Need.” was released in March of this year and instantly achieved Best Seller Status in 3 categories in the first week. Bertrand also has a radio show “Business Builders Radio” on CBS radio, Talk 650 AM . The radio show is dedicated to teaching the concepts of referral marketing and helping as many business owners as possible. Bertrand is fond of saying: “I love to teach business owners to Work Less, Play More, Make More Money, and Create Referrals for Life!”For more information you may reach Bertrand at: / / / or 281-401-9852

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