By Eric Gneckow, Jeff Quackenbush and Dan Verel, Business Journal Staff Reporters
Facility Manager, Sonoma Wine Co., 9119 Graton Rd., Graton; 707-829-6100; www.sonomawineco.com
Residence: Santa Rosa
Professional background: 28 years in the wine industry
Education: High school, Santa Rosa Junior College, two years of welding and electrical classes, refrigeration service training school and management seminars.
Staff size: 13 employees
Describe the facilities you oversee: Sonoma Wine Co. is a contract service provider in the wine industry, processing from grape to bottle. We have barrel and bulk wine storage.
Sonoma Wine Co. has two crush facilities, one in the Santa Rosa area and the other in American Canyon. Our bottling facilities are in Graton and American Canyon. Bulk wine storage is in Cloverdale. And our finished casegoods warehouse is in Santa Rosa.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am a local boy, born and raised in Healdsburg. I have lived in Sonoma County, except for the three years I was in the Navy, stationed in San Diego.
What do you see as the role of the facilities managers within your organizaton?: As facilities manager, my primary responsibility is to assure that all facilities are ready for each day’s operation. I also handle capital expansion projects and equipment upgrades from planning to completion, tracking all costs and timelines.
What is the achievement you are most proud of?: I am most proud of an achievement accomplished by the entire facility and the hard work from all our employees. In 2003, Sonoma Wine Co. produced more than 1.2 million cases of wine with 4.20 gallons of process wastewater per case. In 2011, the company produced more than 2.8 million cases with 1.82 gallons of process wastewater per case. That’s a huge reduction.
A lot of work went into accomplishing this: new equipment, upgrading the facility, water-conservation programs, SOPs (standard operating procedures) on tank and barrel cleaning. This is a credit to all of our employees and the goal of Sonoma Wine Co.’s becoming a green sustainable business. At the same time, we reduced our kilowatt-hours per case by 81 percent and reduced our therms usage by 269 percent.
What is your biggest challenge today?: Organizing and scheduling the maintenance needs of Sonoma Wine Co.’s five facilities and setting priorities according to safety issues and production and processing schedules.
What the next major project either under way or on the horizon?: I am just finishing a wine tank modification project at our Olivet Road crush facility, converting eight 10,000-gallon storage tanks into fermentation tanks. We are also remodeling all the employee break rooms at our Graton facility this year.
What product or service would help or is helping you do your job more effectively?: We use several outside service providers. When we can’t fix or repair the facility support equipment such as HVAC, air-compressors or boilers, we call in the our outside service provider to handle the repair.
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: Over the next five years, I see trying to meet rising business demands while figuring out ways to reduce energy cost, increase productivity and continue to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Jim DeBonis, chief executive officer of Ascentia Wine Estates. I worked with Jim at Simi Winery when I was a maintenance mechanic and he was the cellar master.
Current reading: Plant Engineering, Wine Industry Insight, Processing Magazine.
Most want to meet: I don’t know. I did meet former British Prime Minister Tony Blair when he was at our Graton facility for the Dedication of our Cogenra solar electricity-thermal array in 2010.
Stress relievers: I push my maintenance staff pretty hard on projects and maintenance demands. Once each quarter, I have a departmental barbecue. This is my way of showing my appreciation for doing a good job and getting it done.
Favorite hobbies: I like golfing and fishing whenever I can.
Words that best describe you: I am a fairly easy-going person. I don’t get too excited when things go wrong.
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