About Us

  • The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) established the Small Business Transportation Resource Centers (SBTRCs) through a network of grantees across the country. The SBTRCs work closely with the transportation contracting community and other technical assistance providers to serve small disadvantaged transportation businesses.
  • The California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce is a grantee of the U.S. Department of Transportation and hosts the Southwest Small Business Transportation Resource Center (SBTRC). The Southwest SBTRC serves the states of Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada.
  • The CalAsian Chamber’s mission is to grow and empower small business concerns throughout the region through Access, Education, and Opportunity. Through its programs and services, it provides local businesses with the resources and tools necessary for success and connects them to opportunities to grow their business.

Meet Our Team

Our team is committed to providing disadvantaged small businesses with the information and guidance necessary to build a solid foundation for their business.

Corporate  photos captured at Downtown Sacramento , Sacramento by Samantha May Photography

Karen Nelson

Director, SBTRC Southwest Region
Nelson is the Director of the Small Business Transportation Resource Center (SBTRC) Southwest Region. Her role includes overseeing the strategic direction and management of activities to ensure the effective implementation of the SBTRC program. She has also served as the CalAsian Chamber’s Supplier Diversity Director, where she oversees all supplier diversity efforts on behalf of the chamber. Prior to this role, she served as chief impact officer at the American Leadership Forum – Mountain Valley Chapter headquartered in Sacramento, CA. She was responsible for the strategic design, implementation, and management of the organization. Nelson has over 15 years of experience engaging with small businesses, corporations, and nonprofit organizations within the greater Sacramento region. From 2017 to 2019, Nelson served as assistant deputy director at the State of California’s Department of Consumer Affairs, an appointee under Governor Brown’s administration, where she served as the Department’s liaison for 37 boards and bureaus. She was director of youth and community engagement at PRO Youth and Families in 2014, where she led the organization’s youth and community programs. Nelson held several positions at the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce from 2005 to 2011, including director of events, director of events and sponsorship and director of events, sponsorship and foundation. She earned her masters degree in Business Administration at Drexel University, and bachelors degree in Communications and Psychology at the University of California, Davis. She has had a long career in the greater Sacramento region and is passionate about performing work that impacts the broader community.

Elizabeth Merced

Project Manager, SBTRC Southwest Region
Elizabeth Merced is the Project Manager for the Small Business Transportation Resource Center (SBTRC) Southwest Region, where she supports the development and expansion of SBTRC program offerings. In her current role, Elizabeth engages with disadvantaged business enterprises and minority business enterprises to increase their participation in public procurement opportunities. Elizabeth leverages her skills in problem solving, communication, and office administration to coordinate, organize and execute the delivery of technical assistance services and resources to the disadvantaged business community. She has a passion for empowering small and minority businesses, values collaboration, inclusion, innovation, and brings diverse perspectives and experiences to the team. Prior to this role, Elizabeth served as the Program Manager of the Small Business Utilization Center (SBUC) at the California and Sacramento Asian Pacific Chambers of Commerce, supporting the development and expansion of the Chamber’s supplier diversity program and initiatives. Elizabeth also assisted with the Chamber's Minority Business Assistance Recovery Kickstart (MBARK) program which focuses on critical small business owner needs: business planning; financial infrastructure and planning; marketing and digital presence; and communications. She was also responsible for leading the in-depth intake process for the Diversity Procure platform, working with the technology development team to maximize its use, and providing one-on-one consulting to determine the company’s needs and solutions related to supplier diversity. She is currently enrolled at the University of Arizona to expand her skills in Project Management.

Employment Opportunities

Below is a list of our current job opportunities. Please reach out to the position’s contact for more information.