Our Staff | Duquesne University SBDC

Our Staff

The Duquesne University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) business consulting services are provided by our staff of highly qualified consultants.

Meet Our Team

In addition to practical experience in operating small businesses themselves, our staff have many years of combined business experience and hold a variety of advanced business degrees. The SBDC also taps the expertise of industry experts, successful entrepreneurs, and other business professionals to deliver its educational programs.

Donald Lodge - Business Consultant

Don Lodge is a Business Consultant at the Duquesne University Small Business Development Center. He is also a certified business coach who has worked with over 300 small business owners since 2002.  His areas of expertise include profitability improvement, effective sales techniques, and employee relations. 

Don had a long career in human resources management, holding director-level positions at large organizations including Westinghouse, Mercy Hospital, UPMC, and K&L Gates. He also taught graduate-level business courses at Duquesne University, Carnegie Mellon University, and La Roche College for over 30 years.

Douglas Harding - Business Consultant

Douglas Harding brings over 35 years of managing international business development activities for various multinational industrial manufacturing companies, including a new venture within PPG Industries. Having traveled extensively throughout Latin America, Europe, Middle East, and Asia, Douglas has a deep intuitive understanding of business interactions in diverse cultural settings and has been able to bridge the culture gap to lead new business activities in many international industrial markets.

Douglas is a Visiting Instructor in Management at the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg campus and had been an Adjunct Instructor in Business & Management at the College of Business Administration at Pitt's Oakland campus for several years. Douglas has also taught International Business, Strategic Management, and Public Affairs Management at Duquesne University’s A. J. Palumbo School of Business; and International Business courses at Waynesburg University’s Professional MBA program, and a Chatham University.

Originally from Venezuela, Douglas is fluent in Spanish and holds an MBA from Syracuse University and an MA in Economics from Georgia State University.


Denis Olson - Business Consultant

Prior to Denis’s current role as Business Consultant for Duquesne University Small Business Development Center, he served as Senior Partner for The Mikan Group, An Advisory Services Business in the Pittsburgh area. Denis previously worked as COO of COVUE Japan, a business that provided Global Technical Support Services and after Sale Product Support based in Osaka, Japan. He is the former Executive Director of Global Service and Director of Disposable Products Manufacturing and Engineering Manager at Medrad, Inc., a market leader in the medical imaging industry and two-time recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Denis has also held various Management and Engineering positions in varied industries including professional services and heavy manufacturing.

Denis is a disciplined, high performance orientated Senior Executive experienced in varied functional disciplines including Production Operations, Maintenance, Engineering, Quality, Marketing and Service. He has led International organic start-up business projects, identified acquisition targets, worked with Private Equity & Venture Capital partners, performed financial analysis, and led due diligence processes required to support acquisition projects for business growth targets Globally. He is skilled at developing processes and strategies needed for Mission and Vision deployment, long term strategy development, organizational planning requirements, and Quality Management processes required for performance excellence and Best-In-Class performance. He has developed Communication tools and forums across varied disciplines for strategy roll-out, executive updates, employee updates and ongoing annual strategies to communicate Business information as needed to ensure Business plans are met and executed.

Denis has been a featured Speaker at various Field Service Conferences and winner of Field Service Leader of Year Award at a respected Field Service Conference. His Service Team at Medrad Inc., achieved consistent Best-in-Class Customer Satisfaction Ratings World-Wide. Denis graduated with a BS - Industrial Technology, Manufacturing Engineering from the University Wisconsin Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin.

Tyler Benninger is the Video Production Specialist of the Duquesne University Small Business Development Center. In 2020, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Media Production at Slippery Rock University. Owning a part-time media production company since 2017, Tyler has worked with a number of clients helping them conceptualize and execute an idea to promote their business. 
John Higgins - Marketing, Training, & Informatics Manager

John Higgins is the Marketing, Training, and Informatics Manager of the Duquesne University Small Business Development Center. He earned his MBA degree from Duquesne University. John brings over 25 year of experience in the Marketing field covering a number of industries including: manufacturing; information technology; office/home furniture; and advertising.

John designs and manages marketing campaigns for the SBDC. He develops, implements and oversees all training and education programs that are offered by the SBDC to both potential and existing clients. He manages the data metrics in the SBDC client database, and provides consultation services to clients from time to time on an add needed basis when requested to do so by the Director.

Allison Howard brings a background in chemical engineering and a passion for business to her role at the Small Business Development Center. She spent two decades in a range of roles at two large material science companies in the US and Germany and is fluent in German. She started her own business in 2017 after recognizing a gap in the $25 billion bedding industry and sells her products both B2B into the high end hospitality market and direct to consumer. Allison is a proud graduate of Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh, and she is a mom to two teenagers who keep her current on all the latest trends.

Sarah Matta is a business consultant with the Duquesne University Small Business Development Center (SBDC). She earned her MBA from Geneva College and has over a decade of experience in the restaurant industry. Sarah specializes in fast casual, fast food, and QSR restaurant concepts, and has consulted for both franchise and corporate restaurants with a focus on turnaround consulting, operations consulting, and business structuring.

Lisa Walker is the Manager of Business/Client Services & Assistant to the Director at Duquesne University Palumbo-Donahue School of Business - Small Business Development Center (SBDC) where she works with the Center’s Director in the day-to-day administration and operations. Her focus is on client services and financial matters.  

Lisa comes from a background in Customer Service, Retail Management, Accounting, and Real Estate. She currently holds an active license in real estate and is a very successful Realtor.  

Lisa is committed to providing the best customer service possible and helping the center to grow and continue to be successful. 

Rich Longo is the Director of Duquesne University Palumbo-Donahue School of Business - Small Business Development Center (SBDC) where he assists new and existing businesses in the areas of business plan development: financial forecasting/financial statement development: marketing strategy and implementation plans. Rich is also certified in Technology Commercialization.

Previous positions held include Owner/CEO  of RIOL; LLC a boutique consulting firm specializing in Group Medical Practice Management, Pay for Performance, Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’S), and Productivity and Quality Outcomes-based physician-based compensation and Senior Vice President, Network Management for Devon Health Services, Inc. King of Prussia, PA, one of the largest regional PPOs in the Northeast.

Rich has also served as adjunct faculty at Robert Morris University and the University of Pittsburgh. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Nursing (cum laude) from Duquesne University and a Master’s Degree (magna cum laude) from the University of Pittsburgh.

Rich Longo named distinguished alumni in the School of Nursing in 2021.


John McMurtry is a CPA with over 40 years of experience in helping many closely-held, privately owned businesses in navigating the various stages of the business life cycle.  John was a founding member and managing partner of KFMR, a regional accounting and consulting firm.  After merging KFMR with a top 10 national firm, Clifton Larson Allen, LLP (CLA), John assumed the role of Managing Principal of the Pittsburgh office of CLA.

John has an M.S. in Accountancy from Duquesne University where he also was a member of the adjunct faculty and the accounting department advisory board.  He received a B.S.B.A. from Robert Morris College, where he also studied Taxation in the school’s graduate program. He is a member of the American Institute of CPAs, the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs, former president of the Allegheny Tax Society and DFK International/USA. Over the years, John has served on a number of non-profit boards and has spoken to numerous organizations, including the Penn State Annual Tax conference, on various business, accounting and tax topics.