Regional SBA director advocates for business

Daniel Nordberg
Daniel Nordberg

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Dan Nordberg has observed over the course of his career the relationships among businesses and government agencies on local, state and national levels.

Nordberg said he’s come to several conclusions. Government doesn’t always know best, and excessive regulations can unduly burden businesses. At the same
time, though, government can play an important role as an advocate for businesses.

Nordberg expects to continue building relationships and advocate for businesses in his latest role as regional administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administrator.

It’s especially important the federal agency assure small businesses in rural areas enjoy the same access to resources as businesses in large cities to help bridge gaps in economic success, Nordberg said. “I truly believe we can be a force for good.”

Nordberg is among six political appointees selected to administer regional operations for the SBA. Nordberg oversees Region VIII, which includes Colorado as well as North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. Spread out over 580,000 square miles, the Region VIII is one of the largest of the 10 SBA regions. Nordberg works out of the regional offices in Denver.

Nordberg succeeds Betsy Markey, an appointee under the Barack Obama administration.

“I am very pleased that we now have six new regional administrators in place that can help support me and the president in serving as a voice and go-to resources for our nation’s 30 million small businesses,” said SBA Administrator Linda McMahon. “I will rely on them heavily as we move forward in 2018 and beyond and look forward to working closely with each one of them.”

Nordberg brings to the position experience as a state legislator, a district director for a Colorado congressman and legislative aide in Washington, D.C. He also worked in the private sector as a business development specialist with a resort hotel in Colorado Springs, where he implemented sales and marketing initiatives.

Prior to his appointment as SBA Region VIII administrator, Nordberg served as the Republican state representative from House District 14 in Colorado Springs. He was elected in 2012 and subsequently re-elected in 2014 and 2016.

Nordberg served as ranking member of the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee as well as chairman of the Legislative Audit Committee, which reviews state agency financial records.

Prior to his election to the Colorado Legislature, Nordberg worked as district director for U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican representing Colorado’s Fifth District. Nordberg served as a liaison between businesses and state and federal agencies. Before that, Nordberg worked as a legislative aid in Washington, D.C., focusing on issues related to small businesses, financial services and homeland security.

Nordberg grew up in Colorado and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Colorado State University.

Nordberg said his various roles over the years have included advocacy for small businesses, so he was eager to take that role to a new level as regional SBA administrator. He said there’s an opportunity under President Donald Trump and SBA Administrator Linda McMahon to improve the small business environment.  “It really was a no-brainer.”

Nordberg said he’s learned over the years government doesn’t always know what’s best. Regulations, he said, must be fair and strike a balance between ensuring public safety, but not imposing an undue burden on businesses.

Moreover, government — and especially the SBA — can help businesses, he said.

The agency conducts loan guarantee programs that enable lenders to extend financing to businesses that might not qualify under conventional terms. A total of nearly $14 million worth of loans were issued in Mesa County during the 2017 fiscal year under two SBA programs.

The SBA also offers small businesses assistance in bidding for government contracts and exporting products and services in addition to offering counseling and training on a variety of  issues.

Nordberg said urban areas of Colorado and other states in Region VIII have recovered from the Great Recession. But rural areas, including parts of Western Colorado, continue to struggle.

Consequently, Nordberg said he expects to focus on rural areas to make sure small businesses enjoy the same access to SBA programs and resources. “My goal is going to be to bridge that gap.”

Nordberg said he also plans what he described as a “listening tour” to meet with small business owners and managers across the region to discuss  the challenges they face and how the SBA can help to address those challenges. “It takes people talking, but it also takes listening.”