Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network
Northeast Regional Office

Staff Directory



The MSBDC Network's Western Regional Office is staffed by professionals with extensive business experience and excellent educational backgrounds. Click on a link below to go to a staff member's biography.

Laurel Costello  |  Awilda Irizarry  |  Walter Manninen



Laurel Costello, Administrative Coordinator

Laurel joined the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center’s Northeast Regional Office in November 2006.
Previously, Laurel worked for Delta Air Lines, Inc. at Logan International Airport for 30 years. She worked all aspects of the Airport Customer Services Department including training supervisor, customer services supervisor and customer services representative. In addition to her strong customer service background, Laurel brings a wealth of experience in supervisory and management skills to the MSBDC.  
Laurel holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Salem State University.



Awilda Irizarry, Senior Business Advisor

Awilda has over seven years of experience in banking. Her areas of expertise include all phases of small business operations, including business planning, financing, and market research. Awilda is fluent in both English and Spanish, and is familiar with the Hispanic market from soup to nuts. As a business advisor, Awilda helps business owners build sales and marketing operations.   

With her unique combination of skills in strategic planning, marketing, sales, financing, business development and performance management, she has helped business owners launching successful businesses. 

Awilda holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Salem State University in geography and a Master’s degree from Lesley College in international relations.

La señora Irizarry tiene sobre siete años de experiencia en la banca. Sus áreas de conocimiento incluye todas las fases de operaciones de empresas incluyendo planeación, financiamiento, y análisis del mercado. Awilda domina la lengua inglesa y española y esta muy familiarizada con el mercado hispano de la a la z. Como consejera de negocios, Awilda ayuda a los empresarios a incrementar operaciones de ventas y mercadeo.   

Con su única combinación de destrezas en planeamiento estratégico, mercadeo, ventas, finanzas, desarrollo de negocios y gestión del rendimiento corporativo, ella ha ayudado a dueños de negocios arrancar negocios exitosos. 

Awilda es licenciada en Geografía por la Universidad de Salem y cuenta con un Máster de Relaciones Internacionales por la Universidad de Lesley.  



Walter Manninen, Senior Business Advisor and Financial Specialist

Walter Manninen joined the staff of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center's Northeast Regional Office in November 2005. 

A former entrepreneur, Walter served as president and chief executive officer of CXO Media Inc. which published Chief Information Officer, Chief Security Officer and Chief Marketing Officer magazines for senior managers bridging technology and businesses along with associated professional conferences. 

Walter also brings to the MSBDC ten years of experience in banking as a treasurer, controller, vice president and loan officer. His outstanding performance was noted in 2004, when he was nominated for an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and was later given the IDG Chairman’s Award for Entrepreneurial Leadership. 

In 2005, Walter partnered with the director of the Secret Service and the director of CERT Coordination Center to conduct a comprehensive research study on cyber security.

Walter holds a BS from Salem State College and an MBA from Suffolk University. His interest in art, demonstrated through his philanthropy, has resulted in an endowed chair and a building named in his honor at Endicott College, the Walter J. Manninen Center for the Arts. Walter’s art collection has been highlighted in several feature articles both in U.S. News and World Report and CFO Magazine.