Small Business Development Center

Erica Chase-Gregory, Director

Erica Chase-Gregory joined the Farmingdale SBDC in 2011. Erica owned and operated her own consulting business prior to joining the Small Business Development Center. Her previous experience working with Federal, State and Local government agencies has become a valuable asset to her clients who wish to pursue government contracts. She specializes in assisting clients with the federal, state and/or local certification processes. Mrs. Chase-Gregory was appointed the Regional Director of Farmingdale SBDC in 2015. During her time with the SBDC the center has assisted over 9700 small businesses, helping them access $215 million dollars to start or to expand their businesses.

Erica conducts business workshops for various community organizations as well as being involved with many long island business networking groups. Under her leadership the Farmingdale Center has won numerous awards for excellence and the center is a top performing center in NY State.

Lauren I. Linakis, Assistant Director

Lauren joined the Farmingdale SBDC in 2019. Before arriving at the SBDC, Lauren was the Associate Director of the LaGuardia Community College Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), where she helped small businesses understand government contracting and how to market their goods and services to the government. In recognition of her expertise in government procurement assistance, Lauren earned her Certified Procurement Professional Certificate from the Association of Procurement Technical Assistance Centers in 2016. Lauren has a history of working with small businesses on many levels and environments.

While she worked in the Office of the President at the American University in Cairo, Lauren dedicated her time to working with Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Women. The program was designed to provide female entrepreneurs in Egypt with best practices to develop their businesses. In addition, while she worked for Tony Blair at the Office of the Quartet Representative in Jerusalem, Lauren helped small businesses in the city find partnerships and funding.

Lauren holds her Bachelor's degree in political science from Barnard College and her Master's in economic development from Columbia University.

David Chiaro, Certified Business Advisor, Veteran Business Advisor

David joined the Farmingdale SBDC in 2014. His 27+ years working in the public and military sector make him a unique link to the military community as the Veteran Business Advisor.

His military career started in the Army as enlisted and ended with his Honorable Discharge retirement from the Navy at the rank of Commander, USNR (05), Veteran OEF/OIF/OND. His prior experience(s) with assorted military disciplines and certifications as an Intelligence Offer (MOS/NOBC: 35L, 35M, 163X, 9617) make him exceptionally qualified to assist many Veterans located in Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

David holds a Bachelor's degree in Business and Criminology from St Johns University as well as other degrees and certifications from the US Military as a NYS and Federal Instructor.

Troy A. Diaz, Business Advisor

Troy joined the Farmingdale SBDC in 2019 and brings more than 14 years of experience as a commercial banker within the Long Island market. He has worked with clients from various industries in the expansion and growth of their businesses, assisting with cash management strategies as well as securing funding for working capital, equipment and real estate needs.

Troy's background brings an added benefit to SBDC clients who are seeking to understand what banks look for and how to best navigate the process of securing financing.

Troy has a Bachelor's in communications from NYIT. Prior to working in the banking sector he spent several years in public relations and served as director of PR for a local non-profit agency.

Stacé Hansen, Certified Bilingual Business Advisor

Stacé Hansen has been a member of the Long Island Business community for 20 years and is a co-founder of Copenhagen Bakery in Northport.  Copenhagen Bakery is a tremendous success that grew from a tiny "mom & pop" to a "name brand" operation with devoted customers ranging from the original local patrons to corporate clientele throughout the greater metro area.

Ms. Hansen has an extensive knowledge of customer relations, management, operations, and growing a small business.  She brings her enthusiasm for business and bi-lingual skills to the SBDC team, helping to broaden connections between our business development services and the local Hispanic community.

In addition, with a Bachelor's degree in Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology, Ms. Hansen has a trained, esthetic eye that is especially effective with product development and marketing.

Pierre Lespinasse, Certified Business Advisor 

Pierre has over 25 years of business experience in Management Accounting and Financial Reporting at global banking institutions, including JP Morgan Chase and Credit Suisse.  His responsibilities and expertise have ranged from financial forecasting to cost analysis and internal transfer pricing. 

Joining the NYS SBDC at Farmingdale State College after several years of association with the SBDC at Stony Brook University is a fitting extension of his long-held interest in community based economic development through education and entrepreneurship. 

Mr. Lespinasse holds a BS in Management from Adelphi University and an MBA from Long Island University.

Joseph Barbuto, Business Advisor

Joe Barbuto joined the Farmingdale SBDC in 2022.   Joe was a small business owner for 17 years.  His award winning technology company specialized in implementing speech recognition software and training for the medical and legal vertical markets nationally through a strong e-commerce presence.  His success in this area led him to develop and manage a medical transcription company, which provided him insight into off-shoring and the medical transcription industry from a global perspective.  Simultaneously, he owned and managed a brick and mortar retail computer repair store and website design company.  For the past five years he has worked as a licensed New York State commercial real estate agent.

As an adjunct college professor, Joe enjoyed teaching various business classes which included; Operations Management, Marketing, Principles of Business, Public Relations, Ethics, Management of Information Systems, eCommerce and Small Business Management.  

Joe holds a Master's Degree (MBA) degree in Business Administration from the New York Institute of Technology, a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the State University of New York Empire State College (SUNY) and an Associate of Science degree in Business Management and Economics.  He also holds New York State Life and Health, and Property and Casualty insurance licenses and a New York State real estate license. 

Joe’s years of owning and operating his own companies as well as his experience in teaching business courses makes Joe a great addition to the SBDC’s team.       

Admin Staff

  • Maria Darrow
  • Margaret Finn
  • Sarah M. Shilstone

Small Business Development Center

Small Business Development Center
Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm


Erica Chase
Director of SBDC

Last Modified 5/6/22