The Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center works with current business owners as well as start ups. Our confidential counseling sessions are free with the support of our sponsors.  We offer counseling sessions at numerous, convenient locations throughout the Roanoke Region and New River Valley. 

Meet the Counselors

Bart Smith is the Director of the Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center located at the Roanoke Regional Chamber. He received his B.A. from the University of Tennessee and worked in numerous small business management positions before eventually opening his first The UPS Store franchise on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in 1999. He opened his second location in 2004 and eventually sold his company in 2011.  He consulted for the UPS Stores in North and South Carolina as well as serving as a flight instructor for the Clemson University Flying Club.

Bart moved to the Grandin Village neighborhood in Roanoke, Virginia where he currently resides with his wife Suzanne and their crazy dogs Maggie and Jack.  Prior to joining the Roanoke SBDC as Director, Bart served as the Director of the Region 2000 SBDC in Lynchburg.

He can be contacted at | 540.983.0717 ext. 102

   Tom Tanner , Senior Business COunselor  (540) 983-0717 ext. 103

Tom Tanner, Senior Business COunselor (540) 983-0717 ext. 103

Tom graduated with a degree in Economics and Finance from the Virginia Military Institute in 1978. After a tour of duty in the U.S. Army, he returned to civilian life to work as a branch manager for a large corporation. In 1983, he and a few partners opened a photographic and computer graphics business, Photo USA. There he served as Vice President of Operations for the chain of 25 stores in five states, later buying the Virginia locations.  In 2006, he sold Photo USA after 23 years in the photographic business. Tom currently operates a part-time tax business during tax season. 

Tom has extensive knowledge in running a small business, spanning across several areas including multiple store operation, accounting, finance, small business taxes, marketing, business plan writing, strategic planning, project management and six sigma process improvement. Tom is an IRS Licensed Enrolled Agent (EA), has the PMP designation (Project Manager Professional), the EDFP (Economic Development Finance Professional) and a QuickBooks Pro-Advisor.  Over the last eight years, Tom has worked with more than 1000 people who own, or want to start a small business.

Tom was voted the Virginia SBDC network State Star for 2014, an honor voted on by his peers.

He can be reached at | 540.983.0717 ext. 103  |


Christina Garnett is the Marketing Director of the Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center. She has a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature from Davidson College and has completed the Digital Marketing Specialization offered by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She has 5 years of teaching experience and has acted as a counselor for SCORE Roanoke and ECPI University. She continues to work as a freelance Social Media and Marketing consultant and is HubSpot certified in Inbound Marketing, Email Marketing, Content Marketing, and Growth Driven Design.  She is a Hootsuite Certified Social Marketing Professional, a Twitter Flight School Graduate, and is ReviewTrackers Certified in Customer Experience Management.  In addition, she is a Wix Certified Trainer and Webmaster.  She is responsible for all marketing efforts of the center and has implemented different live segments to highlight B2B and B2C businesses in SW Virginia.  

Christina lives in Salem, VA with her husband Van, her two children, and dog Lupin.  When she is not at work, she can be found rooting for the Virginia Tech Hokies and playing on Twitter.  

She can be reached at | 540.983.0717 ext. 108