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Kirk Uhler joined SARTA in October of 2014 as the Chief Executive Officer. Kirk has served as a Supervisor on the Placer County Board of Supervisors for almost 12 years. He is the Managing Member of The Rensa Group, a consulting company that specializes in government relations and strategic business communications and is also the co-founder of Vidgage, a social media platform enabling websites to offer commenting on video content.
Kirk’s prior business experience includes serving as the COO of the Electric & Gas Industries Association, and as a founding employee of two publicly traded companies: CarsDirect.com and Solar Power, Inc.
Kirk has extensive media experience as well. He is a fill-in radio talk show host for the top-rated radio station in Sacramento, and has been a newspaper columnist and a radio news reporter.
A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Kirk has been a Placer County resident since 1970. He is an Eagle Scout from Granite Bay Troop 121. Kirk, his wife and their two children live in Granite Bay, CA.
Director, Programs and Operations
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Laura Good is Program Director for MedStart, SARTA's Membership Director and also responsible for SARTA’s operations management. She serves as a mentor in social media for the VentureStart program. Laura joined SARTA in September of 2008 as the founding program director for MedStart. Prior to joining SARTA, Laura was the Director of Manufacturing for an emerging technology startup in Orlando where her contributions were instrumental in helping the company grow to revenues of $20M annually and achieve a very successful liquidity event. Laura has a BSC in Finance from Santa Clara University. She has executive management experience in a variety of functional areas, including finance, operations, manufacturing, technical sales & channel management, and product management.
In addition to her responsibilities at SARTA, Laura participates in many Sacramento community organizations. She is on the TEDx Sacramento leadership team where she assists with speaker selection. She is the curator of the Sacramento StartupDigest and also a curator for the Startup Genome Project. Laura is past president and a member of the executive team for Social Media Club Sacramento, an all volunteer organization focused on expanding social media literacy and defining best practices. An avid social media enthusiast, Laura is better known in the Sacramento region by her Twitter handle, @goodlaura. She is also a volunteer member of the United Way California Capital Region’s marketing committee. Laura is a California native and grew up in the Redwood forests of Santa Cruz County. She's a dog lover which means she drives a Subaru.
Director, AgStart Program
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Jack Coots is the program director for AgStart, SARTA’s ag tech focused program which promotes innovative sustainable agricultural technology and supports companies that are bringing those products to market. Jack’s core background and experience is in business management, focused primarily on agribusiness, including several years of organizing and launching a startup company as well as serving significant roles in leading other startup companies. Jack’s focus has been agri-business and technology that promotes the highly efficient use of natural resources, energy and processes to produce and distribute food.
In addition to his work at SARTA, Jack is also the President of Professional Grower Services, an organization whose mission is to change the way agriculture uses water, energy and nutrients by bringing technology to growers that makes sense for their operations and contributes to the best practice management of resources and to agricultural decisions.
Jack is a graduate of the California Agricultural Leadership Program and the UC Davis Executive Management Program. He lives in Chico with his wife Lorry. In his spare time, Jack enjoys playing music, cycling and racquetball.
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Magdalena Coronel is the Program Manager for AgStart and VentureStart and supports SARTA’s member services. She is responsible for identifying the scope of work for these programs, under the direction of the Program Directors, and for carrying out that work. AgStart promotes innovative sustainable agricultural technology and supports companies that are bringing those products to market. VentureStart provides hands-on, customized guidance to assist tech companies working towards venture capital funding. In addition to these responsibilities, Magdalena supports the Sacramento Angels investment group in managing their monthly selections process.
Prior to joining SARTA, Magdalena worked in the early stage venture capital industry in Latin America and the United States for over seven year. Starting in 2007, she worked as a top analyst for Prosperitas Capital Partners, a financial management company that established venture capital in Uruguay. In this role, she reviewed hundreds of potential investments and was in contact with the largest investment and venture capital firms in Latin America. In 2011, Magdalena was selected as a Partners of Americas’ Business Fellow, a program from the US Department of State, to work in a venture capital firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has a passion for developing innovative and globally high-potential ideas which could transform the world. Magdalena is a partner in an Angel Club in Uruguay.
During her free time, you can find Magdalena hiking and enjoying outdoor activities in the Sierras or catching up with her Spanish-speaking friends on Skype. She’s bilingual so feel free to approach her either in English or in Spanish.
Shahnaz Van Deventer
Director, Business Development
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Shahnaz Van Deventer is Business Development Director at SARTA and responsible for establishing partnerships with Sacramento’s community of technology companies, service providers, and organizations that support SARTA’s mission to accelerate technology ventures throughout the region. Her efforts provide sponsorship recognition at the organizations many events, outreach programs and initiatives.
Prior to joining SARTA, Shahnaz was a consultant for Integrity Global Management, in which she continues to provide sales and marketing consulting services to a wide variety of companies. Previously, Shahnaz founded three companies and worked as Asia Pacific Director of Sales and Marketing for Sabre. She has done business in over 20 countries and has lived in many of the world’s most dynamic metropolitan centers, including New York, Hong Kong and Singapore. Earlier in her career, Shahnaz worked at Cartier in their private sales division, and conducted clinical research at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Shahnaz received her undergraduate degree from Colgate University with a concentration in biology and a MBA in international business from Thunderbird, the American Graduate School of International Management. She is a member of the board of directors of the Powerhouse Science Center. In keeping with her continued interest in medicine, she joins an annual medical mission to the Dominican Republic, and is part of a team that performs much needed surgeries for men, women and children in need. Shahnaz lives in El Dorado Hills where she shares her two favorite passions – cooking and spending time with her family. She enjoys traveling and sailing in exotic locations.
Director, CleanStart Program
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Amber Harris is the director of SARTA's CleanStart program, which empowers the development and success of early stage clean technology companies while building a regional clean tech cluster. Prior to joining SARTA in October of 2014, Amber held various program management positions in the energy efficiency and service industry, including her own consulting business. Amber is also a signed language interpreter at American River College. Originally from Ithaca,New York, Amber attended college in New Mexico where she earned her BBS in Signed Language Interpreting and her MBA in Policy and Planning from The University of New Mexico.
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Alina Lujan is SARTA’s office manager and the staff member with the most seniority—having started in 2006 as the first paid employee of what was then the McClellan Technology Incubator. Alina maintains and oversees the day to day functions of the SARTA office including sponsor and member support, event logistics, invoicing, purchasing and more. She has a hand in every SARTA program and activity. In addition to her work at SARTA she volunteers with the Rancho Cordova Chamber of Commerce helping on committees with event planning.
As a Sacramento native, Alina enjoys taking advantage of the family life the region has to offer. Whether it’s biking along the river path with her toddler in tow, attending a summer concert in the park, or carving Halloween jack-o-lanterns after a visit to a pumpkin patch in Apple Hill, Alina and her family know how to make treasured memories in the Capital City.