Press release 21-108

Statement by Administrator Guzman Applauding President Biden’s Appointees to Lead SBA Regional Offices

WASHINGTON – U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman issued the following statement today praising President Biden’s appointment of Mike Vlacich as Regional Administrator for the New England region, Allen Thomas as Regional Administrator for the Southeast region, and Elmy Bermejo as Regional Administrator for the Pacific region:

“America’s 32.5 million small businesses and innovative startups deserve experienced champions to make sure we’re delivering first-class customer service and support that makes a real difference. Mike, Allen, and Elmy are talented leaders ready to hit the ground running, leading our dedicated regional teams to deliver the on-the-ground guidance and impactful services that will help our entrepreneurs survive, pivot to new opportunities, grow and thrive as we turn the page on this pandemic. They are joining an impressive lineup of SBA Regional Administrators including Marlene Cintron, John Fleming, and Mike Fong, and I couldn’t be more excited to see this growing leadership team come together to carry out the SBA’s mission and ensure we are leveling the playing field to spark growth and opportunity for all of America’s entrepreneurs.” 

Region I (One) 

As Region I Administrator, Mike Vlacich will oversee SBA programs, offices, and operations in the SBA’s New England region, serving Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.  

Mr. Vlacich is a respected New Hampshire public servant with extensive economic development, policy, and constituent service experience at the nonprofit, state, and federal government levels. He is currently serving as a Senior Advisor to U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and over the years has served in other leadership roles in her U.S. Senate and Governor’s offices.  He previously served as President and CEO of the New Hampshire College and University Council, State Director for U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan, Director of the New Hampshire Division of Economic Development, and Deputy Chief of Staff to New Hampshire Governor John Lynch. Mr. Vlacich is a first-generation American and the first in his family to attend college, graduating from the University of New Hampshire in 1995.  He lives in Concord, NH with his wife and two daughters. 

Region IV (Four) 

As Region IV Administrator, Allen Thomas will oversee SBA programs, offices, and operations in the SBA’s Southeast region, serving Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. 

Mr. Thomas is a former three-term mayor, businessman, entrepreneur, and leader in public and private enterprise. As mayor of Greenville, one of North Carolina's largest cities, Mr. Thomas led the post-recession recovery, rapid expansion, and robust economic growth, better connecting the city and region. He was recognized by the White House during the Obama-Biden Administration for community engagement in law enforcement and public safety. A serial entrepreneur, Mr. Thomas co-founded healthcare technology startup IQMax, which grew to service 160 medical facilities in 36 states, processing 18 million patient records per day. Mr. Thomas was appointed Executive Director of North Carolina Global TransPark by the Governor of North Carolina Roy Cooper, to revitalize the state's global multimodal transportation and logistics hub, spearheading growth in advanced manufacturing jobs, innovation, and investment. 

Region IX (Nine) 

As Region IX Administrator, Elmy Bermejo will oversee SBA programs, offices, and operations in the SBA’s Pacific region, serving Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, and Nevada. 

Ms. Bermejo has a passion for building and strengthening relationships while assisting people and organizations attain their goals. She has been a senior government official with more than 25 years of experience at the executive level and has established a successful record of collaboration with public and private stakeholders on a range of issues including workforce development, disaster relief, and small business. Ms. Bermejo recently served as the Northern California Director for External Affairs for Governor Gavin Newsom; before that, she served as a Senior Adviser and Outreach Director for Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis of California, the first woman ever elected to this position. Ms. Bermejo also served in President Barack Obama’s administration at the U.S. Department of Labor as the Regional Representative to the Secretary and as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. She serves on the San Francisco Commission on the Environment, The Women’s Foundation of CA, and as an Advisory member of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) and the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Public Good. 

The new regional leadership team will oversee offices collectively covering 18 states and the U.S. territory of Guam. The White House previously announced the appointment of Marlene Cintron as Regional Administrator for the Atlantic region, John F. Fleming as Regional Administrator for the Mid-Atlantic region, and Mike Fong as Regional Administrator for the Pacific Northwest. With the newest announcement, the SBA’s regional leadership is now in place to guide offices across 29 states, three U.S. territories, and Washington, D.C. 


About the U.S. Small Business Administration 

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit

Related programs: Agency Management, SBA Operations

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