Board Conference Room

Staff and Board

AEDC Board


Mandy Marquez, President

Ms. Marquez has been serving on the AEDC board since 2012. Ms. Marquez is the Senior Commercial Lending Officer at Coast Central Credit Union. She currently serves as President for the Humboldt County Fair Association, is a Trustee for the Hydesville Elementary School Board, and she is a member of Soroptomist International of Eureka. At AEDC, Ms. Marquez serves on the loan committee, where she has served since 2005.  .


Janet DePace, Vice-President

Ms. DePace has been serving on the AEDC board since 2000, where she has served as President and Vice President.  For a short time, she served as interim executive director of AEDC.  She also served on the former Foodworks Management Committee.   She currently serves on the Finance, Loan and Program Committees. Ms. DePace was co-founder of two local manufacturing companies, Yakima and Fire & Light Originals, and is the lead business advisor for the North Coast Small Business Development Center.


Larry Oetker, Secretary

Larry Oetker is the Executive Director at the Harbor District, Larry has worked with AEDC for over a decade—mostly through his former role as Community Development Director for the City of Arcata. 

Michael Proulx, Treasurer

Michael Proulx, a lecturer and academic advisor at Humboldt State University, has served in various capacities at AEDC since 1983. He has served on the Board of Directors from 1983-98 and 2000 - present; on the Loan Committee from 1983 - 2003; on the Finance Committee from 2004- present. He is currently the treasurer at AEDC, serves on the executive committee and is the chair of the finance committee. Michael sits on the board
of directors for Making Headway and Humboldt Trails Council.  He is an active volunteer with American Field Service (AFS) since 1995, hosting exchange students in his home and as an outdoor activity volunteer.

Walt Geist

Mr. Geist was elected to the board in 2014. He is the Vice President of American AgCredit. Having been involved in all levels of banking for over 18 years, Mr. Geist has experience in SBA start up and small businesses as well as standard commercial lending and large scale capital market transactions. 



Peter Jermyn 

Mr. Jermyn was elected to the AEDC board for the 2017 year after serving on the Loan Committee since 2011 and previously serving on the Program Committee for three years from 2008-2009. He has been involved in small business in this region for over four decades and has watched lots of great ideas come to fruition.  He believes in the strength of our local economy and understand some of the requirements for it to continue to grow. One of the fundamentals of prosperity is the access to capital.  AEDC has provided our local economy with that capital. Another foundation of economic progress is a well informed market place for both producers and consumers. Again AEDC has been providing guidance in that endeavor for a long time.  He hopes to use the knowledge I've gained from my business experiences to help AEDC sustain its missions.  It has a professional staff and a well developed leadership team, which I will support as member of the Board of Directors.

Kathy Montagne

Ms. Montagne has served on the board at AEDC since 2004. She is the Executive Director of the Northcoast Children’s Services. She also serves on the Eureka Housing Advisory Board, the Local Childcare Planning Council, and the Children’s Oral Health Steering Committee. She also serves on the executive and audit committees, and has previously served on the program committee.



Fawn Scheer

Ms. Scheer begain her board term in 2018 after serving on the Program Committee for four years. Ms. Scheer was also a member of the City of Arcata's Economic Development Committee from 2012-2017 and she was actively involved in the efforts to develop an arts district in the Creamery District in Arcata, which she believes is an interesting model for grassroots economic development. Sheer grew up in Northern Arizona and "bounced around a bit" before moving to Humboldt over ten years ago.She is currently the Operations and Project Manager at Greenway Partners in Arcata. 

Tina Susmilich

Ms. Susmilch has served on the Board since 2003. She has spent a majority of those years as the chair of the loan committee.  Ms. Susmilch is a vice president commercial loan underwriter for Redwood Capital Bank in Eureka.




AEDC Staff

Ross Welch

Executive Director, since May 2008

Mr. Welch joined AEDC after thirty years of lending experience in Humboldt, Del Norte and Mendocino Counties.  Since starting at AEDC, Mr. Welch has seen the increase of AEDC’s net assets from just under $270,000 to over $2.1 million. He remains committed to local small businesses, but has also focused on working with local investors to impact economic development through community facilities projects. He is a founding member of the California Finance Consortium, a collaboration of EDCs reaching 21 rural Northern California communities to expand capital access for businesses and non-profit organizations. Besides lending experience, Ross serves on various community organizations including the Yurok Economic Development Corporation Board, the Redwood Parks Conservancy Board and the Arcata Rotary Club.

Kelli Sterling

Loan Manager, since September 1999

Ms. Sterling is responsible for the review of all AEDC loan requests, and the management of the AEDC loan team. She manages revolving loan funds that include SBA Microloans, USDA IRPs and three local revolving loan funds. Kelli has over 20 years of commercial banking experience.

Jayne Lovig

Associate Loan Officer, since January 2008

Ms. Lovig has over twenty years experience in lending and auditing for banks, lenders and mortgage insurance companies. At AEDC, Jayne works with loan clients from starting the paperwork through funding. Her position allows more loans to be processed in a shorter time -- a real benefit for entrepreneurs seeking funding for their business.


Susan Seaman

Program Director, since March 2007

Ms. Seaman has over twenty years of community outreach experience in Humboldt County.  As the program director for AEDC, Ms. Seaman is responsible for building AEDC’s reputation as a community leader through promotional efforts and special programs, like Lemonade Day and the Prosperity IDA program. She is active in Humboldt County’s Prosperity Network. She is a member of the California Stewardship Network Leadership Program, and has previously served on the City of Eureka's Economic Development Commission and as an ambassador for the California Association of Local Economic Development. She has two college aged children, and is a Big Sister through Big Brother Big Sisters of the North Coast. Ms. Seaman is currently the Mayor of Eureka. 


Deborah Downs 

Controller, since October 2019

Ms Downs returned to AEDC after serving 12 years, ending her term as CFO at the Humboldt Area Foundation. After arriving in Humboldt in 1988, Ms. Downs worked for Aalfs & Evans, the Carrington Company and she served as the Controller at AEDC from 2006 to 2008. During her time at HAF, she worked with AEDC and HAF on their first investment partnership with Open Door, which provided a new trajectory for community investment for both entities. 

Tony Rodrigues

Loan Servicing, since June 2004

Mr. Rodrigues is responsible for AEDC's loan servicing, collections and annual site visits. Prior to working at AEDC, Mr. Rodrigues worked for Humboldt Bank (now Umpqua Bank)in the Collections Department, the Records Management Department, and as their Construction Disbursement Specialist.



Brandi Easter

We are excited to welcome Brandi Easter to AEDC as our new Office Manager! Brandi is a local commercial advertising photographer and has been our go-to photographer for AEDC and Lemonade Day over the past 10 years. She has photographed for clients since 1989, shooting for websites, product packaging, point of purchase, postcard mailers, billboards and more. While she’ll continue doing her photography business, we’re glad she’s here to help keep our office running smoothly.

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