Angelo State University announced some changes to Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Wednesday.
According to an ASU press release, longtime director David Erickson has retired and effective today, ASU alumna Dezaray Johnson, will fill the position of director.
A 1998 ASU alum, Erickson joined the SBDC staff in 1999 as a senior business development specialist and served in that position until his promotion to director in 2005. As director, he oversaw the SBDC professional staff and student workers, as well as the delivery of business counseling and training for small businesses in the 10-county area around San Angelo. He also taught undergraduate courses in ASU's Norris-Vincent College of Business (NVCOB), which houses the SBDC.
"Dave has been both a steady and impactful leader for the SBDC, including the SBDC's valuable service during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Dr. Andrew Tiger, chair of the NVCOB. "Additionally, under Dave's watch, the SBDC has continually brought in ASU students, usually business majors, as student workers and interns. Spending a year at the SBDC assisting the professional advisors, planning training events and conducting research produces students ready to join the workforce. SBDC-trained students find great jobs all over the U.S."
While directing the SBDC, Erickson has also served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Concho Valley Workforce Development Board and Concho Valley Center for Entrepreneurial Development, and on the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Council.
At a retirement reception earlier this month, Erickson was presented a Certificate of Congressional Recognition by U.S. Congressman August Pfluger and State Resolution No. 162 of the 88th Legislative Session by the Office of State Senator Charles Perry.
The new SBDC director, Dezaray Johnson, earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in communication from ASU. She has served on the SBDC staff since 2013 as training coordinator, and she added the titles and responsibilities of business development specialist in 2017 and program coordinator in 2019.
As training coordinator, she has led the SBDC's 80-plus annual training events for small businesses, as well as communication and marketing efforts. As a business development specialist, she has assisted small business clients in all aspects of startup and development. As program coordinator, she has managed and mentored the ASU students in the Graduate Training Assistantship program.
"It has been a true honor to work with Dave Erickson, and I am humbled to assume the director position at the ASU Small Business Development Center," Johnson said. "I appreciate the investment Dave has made in me and my professional development, which fostered my success within the center. I am excited to build on his legacy!"
In addition to her SBDC duties, Johnson is president-elect of the Texas Business Women of San Angelo, treasurer of the Texas Business Women state board, and a member of the Junior League of San Angelo, Young Professionals of San Angelo and Leadership San Angelo Alumni Association.
"Another example of Dave Erickson's leadership is succession planning," Tiger said. "He gave those interested the opportunity to grow as leaders within the SBDC. As we conducted the search for the new SBDC director, the best candidate by far was Dezaray Johnson. We're very fortunate to have her as our director, and I'm excited to work with her going forward."
Johnson holds the Certified Business Advisor IV and Certified Training Professional credentials. She has been named a Top 40 Under 40 Young Professional by America's SBDC, a San Angelo Top 20 Under 40 Professional by the Chamber of Commerce, and an Outstanding Staff Member by the ASU Norris-Vincent College of Business.