About Us

Rita Haake, Center for Entrepreneurship Manager, Program Manager of PTAC

(630) 942-2616
Email: haaker@cod.edu

Rita Haake

Rita Haake

Though she began her employment with College of DuPage in 1991, Rita began her career with the Illinois Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at College of DuPage in 1997. In 2013 she added to her responsibilities by accepting the Center Manager role. Her focus has been to implement change in the form of a refreshed approach in our look and services. She believes becoming different comes with great challenge, fear and risk but can offer great reward. For over 18 years she has been advising small business in government contracting, certifications, operations and management.  

Marla Sandy, Program Manager of the Small Business Development Center

(630) 942-2771
Email: sandym@cod.edu

Marla Pacheco

Marla Sandy

Marelena Sandy (Marla) began her career in September 2014 as our Client Liaison supporting all programming. This position has a heavy volume of business inquiry and general advising. In 2016 Marla was promoted to the Illinois SBDC Program Specialist and in early 2017 gained the position of the Illinois SBDC Program Manager. Her role is vital in advising small businesses with their business plans, financing options, social media strategies and operational concerns both for new to business and the more established. Recently, Marla obtained her MBA from Concordia University in Chicago, and continues to create new training programs for the small business owners to achieve the knowledge and education they need to continue on a path of success!

Amber Gardner, Procurement Technical Assistance Center Coordinator

(630) 942-2184
Email: gardnera277@cod.edu

Example ImageAmber Gardner

Amber Gardner

Amber began with us as Client Liaison in 2013 and was quickly promoted in August, 2014. She brings to us a diverse and strong small business background with expertise in marketing and communications. In her current role she assists small business in local, state and federal contracting as an area of growth. In a little over six months on the job, she is proving to be a powerhouse advisor in not only government contracting but in certifications for small business. Already she has been awarded the Veteran Verification Counselor status by the US Veteran Administration. This counselor status is awarded after a grueling eight hours of training and passing the Veteran Verification exam. 


Sara Troyer, Program Specialist of the Small Business Development Center

(630) 942-3031
Email: troyers433@cod.edu

Sara Troyer

Sara Troyer

Sara first started at the Center in May of 2017 as the Illinois SBDC Program Specialist. Since starting her first small business at age 14, she has owned three successful companies, served as the Marketing Director for the largest business incubator in the Southwest, as the turnaround consultant and CEO of a Phoenix-area Chamber of Commerce. Her own experiences as a small business owner are vital when working with clients, especially when it comes to advising on branding and sales techniques. Sara holds both Inbound and Contextual Marketing certifications, as well as Google Adwords and Analytics certifications.


Ute Westphal, Program Specialist of the Small Business Development Center

(630) 942-2630
Email: westphalu@cod.edu

Ute Westphal

Ute Westphal

Ute Westphal came on board in May 2017 as the Illinois SBDC Program Specialist. She has been an entrepreneur in two different countries and brings in a solid understanding of today's world of entrepreneurs. In addition, she has been coaching and consulting with small business owners for 4+ years. This position requires a broad knowledge of industries and all aspects of starting and managing a small business. In her role Ute advises business owners in all questions concerning incorporating, business model, financials, marketing and organizational structures. Her responsibilities extended quickly into creating and conducting workshops and developing our services into new geographical areas. Ute has a Master's of Business Administration (MBA) with a focus on training and business development. 


Contact Information

Center for Entrepreneurship
Main Line: (630) 942-2600
2525 Cabot Drive, Suite 201
Lisle, IL, 60532

Rita Haake, Center Manager
Phone: (630) 942-2184
Fax: (630) 942-2606

Regular Hours of Operation
Monday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

College of DuPage

425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn IL, 60137

(630) 942-2800 (Main)

(630) 942-3000 (Student Services)

  2018 College of DuPage