Mike O’Connell, a former owner of a small business and executive for a multinational company, has been named director of the Small Business Development Center in Larimer County.
O’Connell was co-owner of Mountain Woods Furniture in Fort Collins, a national designer/manufacturer of rustic hand-crafted furniture, from 2001 until 2011. Mountain Woods products were sold through Cabela’s, national furniture e-tailers, and furniture stores. He was a founding member of the Sustainable Furniture Council.
Before his entry into small business, O’Connell was an executive for Thermadyne Holdings Corporation, a manufacturer of metal cutting and welding equipment. He worked as executive vice president for two business units with more than $80 million in annual sales, executive vice president of Thermadyne’s Canada operation, and vice president of sales and marketing for Thermadyne’s largest business unit.
He is a distinguished graduate of Purdue University with a business degree with a marketing emphasis. He is vice president of NoCoNeT, a volunteer organization that provides support, advice, and networking opportunities to more than 250 midcareer professional job-seekers in northern Colorado.
“We are pleased to have someone with Mike’s broad business knowledge and hands-on experience come on board to support the Larimer County business community,” said Glenn Plagens, senior director of the SBDCs associated with Front Range Community College. “The SBDC supports small businesses across America. Our SBDC centers basically provide a ‘help desk’ for these diverse businesses.”
O’Connell said, “I am pleased to be working closely with FRCC, our regional higher education sponsor. FRCC has very nimbly launched several market-based programs benefitting northern Colorado employers, such as the precision machining program, a smart grid program, IT/health care initiatives, and classes to educate businesses on employee training grants available through the Colorado FIRST program. FRCC has an accurate pulse on northern Colorado business, and I look forward to being a part of that FRCC/SBDC relationship.”
The Larimer County SBDC is located at 125 S. Howes St., Suite 150, Fort Collins. For more information, visit www.LarimerSBDC.org or call (970) 498-9295.
About Front Range Community College
FRCC is a member of the Colorado Community College System, the state’s largest system of higher education. CCCS serves more than 162,000 students annually. The system oversees career and academic programs in the 13 state community colleges and career and technical programs in more than 160 school districts and six other post-secondary institutions.