Rhode Island Small Business
Development Center
Staff Biographies

Ed HuttenhowerRISBDC Staff Photos 12/16/16

State Director

“It is extremely gratifying to see our clients’ passion for their businesses, and watch successful small business client grow their businesses and succeed over time.”

Ed started working with Small Business Development Centers many years ago after getting his MBA. He enjoyed using what he learned in his program to help small business owners start and grow their ventures. He loves getting to see his clients’ passion in action and watch their business success. Ed also appreciates the opportunity to work on a team of people, at the RISBDC, who are all dedicated to the success of the small business community. Prior to his work in Rhode Island, Ed worked for Small Business Development Centers in Maine, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

Married with two grown children, Ed spends his free time reading, hiking, traveling, and geocaching. His undergraduate major was in history, and he listens to almost any type of music. Notably, Ed has the distinction of having traveled, with his wife, to all seven continents!

Ed has a Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) certification through NASBITE, and has taught a variety of classes on marketing, small business management/entrepreneurship, and international business. As the State Director, he works across all of Rhode Island.



Diane Fournaris

Assistant State Director 

RISBDC Staff Photos 12/16/16

“I immediately loved the variety of working with the RISBDC – every client has a different story, different ideas, different concerns.”

As an owner of a successful public relations firm in Waltham, Diane became a big fan of small business development centers as a client of the MA SBDC. After selling the business and moving to RI, she joined the RISBDC in 2000 as a program manager and business counselor. Since coming on board, she appreciates that no two days are the same, and tells new staff they’ll never be bored. Diane enjoys the opportunity to learn about so many industries, products, and services. After transitioning through Operations Director and Acting State Director, Diane now focuses on the administrative side of the organization and particularly enjoys working with the great staff and resource partners.

Diane and her husband are big fans of their alma maters (Syracuse University and Providence College, respectively), and spend lots of time at PC basketball and hockey games. She is a Master Gardener, and has been known to shed tears over the deer and other critters who eat her work. Diane also enjoys crafts, decorating, beach combing, and reading in her spare time.

Diane has a strong background and personal experience in public relations and marketing, as well as other practical elements of owning a small business. She works out of the lead center at URI but has organization-wide responsibilities in all areas of the state.



Josh Daly

Director, Southern Region

RISBDC Staff Photos 12/16/16

“It’s gratifying to give my best to help a small business owner start or grow a business, to realize their dreams and passions.” 

Josh Daly loves his job. He feels fortunate to help clients turn their dreams and passions into legitimate businesses, and to bring about a stronger RI economy through the process. Josh previously worked with the SBDC in New Orleans.

Originally from Rhode Island, Josh spent his college years and young professional life in New Orleans, San Francisco, and Ottawa, Ontario. He moved back a few years ago and loves calling the Ocean State home again. Outside of work, he spends time with friends and family, enjoying good food and drink, making music, hiking and exploring the outdoors, reading, and being active in his church.

Josh has a deep background in preparing loan packages, business plans, and financial models/projections; business strategy; and lean startup. He has a strong interest in social enterprise and shared entrepreneurship/employee ownership. He serves clients in southern Rhode Island.



Dennis McCarthy 

Director, Northern RegionRISBDC Staff Photos 12/16/16

“What I like the best about my job is the community building and economic development work that I do with public and private sector partners.” 

At the RISBDC, Dennis appreciates helping local communities leverage their assets to establish a climate for business development. He enjoys working with clients to expand their business, create jobs, and secure capital investment.

A native Rhode Islander with a passion for the shore, Dennis is a four-season hiker and recently completed all 48 4,000-foot peaks in New Hampshire. He lives in Providence with his skis while his family can be found throughout the East Coast.

Dennis is the International Trade Specialist at the RISBDC, with a background in energy conservation and renewable energy. He serves clients in northern Rhode Island.



Manuel J. Batlle 

Director, Providence Region

“I’m passionate about business, and startups.”RISBDC Staff Photos 12/16/16

Manuel has always been interested in the many aspects of running a business, and the unique challenges of startups. Before coming to the RISBDC, he gained extensive C-Level experience with both Fortune 500 companies and startups. Manuel is well-versed in food manufacturing and the wine and spirits industry. He also has deep international trade experience.

Manuel is bilingual in English and Spanish, and works with small businesses throughout the state. He is also an International Trade Specialist and Certified Global Business Professional.

Me apasionan los negocios y en especial los nuevos negocios

Desde su graduación de la Universidad, Manuel ha estado interesado en los diferentes aspectos de la administración de un negocio, especialmente en los desafíos que se presentan para empezar un nuevo negocio.  A través de su carrera en el mundo de los negocios, Manuel ha acumulado experiencia a nivel ejecutivo, con compañías multinacionales, así como con nuevas o incipientes negocios. Él tiene experiencia en la industria de bebidas alcohólicas, así como en la producción de alimentos. También tiene una vasta experiencia en exportación e importación.

Manuel es bilingüe, español e inglés, y está disponible para asesorar negocios en todo el estado de Rhode Island. Manuel, tambien esta especializado en Comercio Internacional y tiene el titulo de “Certified Gobal Business Professional” (CGP).



Amit Basnet

Director, Central Region RISBDC Staff Photos 12/16/16

“I worked with startups during my MBA, and was drawn into the nuances, challenges, and economic development potential of the entrepreneurial world.”

A seasoned business development professional, Amit has years of experience in entrepreneurship, innovation, new venture planning & support, economic development, business planning and financial analysis. He has a deep passion to help entrepreneurs and emerging companies navigate the nuances of building, sustaining, and scaling up a business enterprise. During his tenure as managing a technology incubator at UMASS Dartmouth, he helped more than half a dozen startups “graduate” and transition into robust job creators.

Amit is a New England Patriots fanatic. In his spare time, he loves to travel and explore new places.

He is fluent in English, Nepali, and Hindi. He serves small business clients in Central Rhode Island.



Susan Snyder

Lead Office Administrator RISBDC Staff Photos 12/16/16

“I love being at the workshops and hearing people be part of the brainstorming process around small business ideas.”

As the lead office administrator, Susan provides support to the entire team, managing details that make the office run smoothly. She has been a URI employee for 10 years in many departments but finds her work with the RISBDC to be the most inspiring.

Susan lives in Sterling, CT. Outside of work, she loves flower gardening and visiting her two grown children in Maine and Rhode Island.

She is based in the Kingston office, but works with all RISBDC locations throughout the state.


To schedule a no-cost appointment with the RISBDC
please call (401) 874-7232 or email: ssnyder@uri.edu

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