Quick Take:

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) offers a variety of services to include HR advising. Their HR Advisor, Benjamin Slade, has worked in Human Resources for over 9 years and recently joined the SBDC team as an advisor. SBDC services also hosts training specialized for small businesses on a variety of topics to get you started on the right foot. To learn more about the Santa Cruz SBDC and its services, visit our site at https://www.santacruzsbdc.org. 

The Santa Cruz Small Business Development Center is pleased to announce that Human Resources expert Benjamin (Ben) Slade has joined its top-notch team of professional advisors. Currently the Human Resources Director at a local business in Watsonville, Ben replaces long time advisor Joy Halfoff, who is retiring and relocating. Ben is a leader in his field with more than a decade of HR experience and a deep commitment to supporting small businesses, the lifeblood of the community.

After talking with SBDC advisor David Mancera, Ben decided to use his business acumen to assist the small business community while maintaining his full-time job. He began his Santa Cruz SBDC advising in June and has already worked with a number of businesses, including a restaurant, fitness center, car detailing business, florist, and acupuncturist.

The Challenge of Compliance Issues

“California is one of the most difficult states to do business in because it has a lot more compliance laws. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed just keeping up and checking the boxes, let alone running your business,” said Ben.

Those compliance issues include, but are not limited to: potential lawsuits, taxes, wage and hour compliance, independent contractors, retirement plan/CalSaver, and Covid vaccines.

Commitment to Small Businesses in Santa Cruz County

Small business is what makes the community unique. It’s one of the foundational pieces. — Ben Slade

“I live a block away from a mom-and-pop coffee shop. I would rather support them as a small business than go to Starbucks. That money at the mom-and-pop shop goes back to the local community and supports employees living here. It’s what makes us unique and develops our character.”

Getting to know Ben

After recently completing his MBA at the University of Illinois, Ben was ready to offer support to the business community and also expand his range of HR experience. “I saw an opportunity to do more and everything happened to align perfectly,” said Ben.

Originally from Wisconsin, Ben has spent a decade in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, starting with his assignment to the Defense Language Institute where he studied to become an Arabic linguist. When he’s not at work, Ben is deeply invested in family life with his toddler, Christopher, and his wife Traci, a Watsonville native who works at UC Santa Cruz. They are proud to be part of the rich fabric of the Santa Cruz community and Ben’s pleased he can give back by supporting local small businesses.

“My goal with every company is to always leave it in better condition than when I started,” said Ben. “Achieving success means that I have great people with me. It’s a team effort. Together, we find the solution.”

Jessica M. Pasko has been writing professionally for almost two decades.She cut her teeth in journalism as a reporter for the Associated Press in her native Albany, NY, where she covered everything from...