North Bay Business Journal

Monday, September 24, 2012, 6:28 am

2012 Best Places to Work winner profiles: 101–250 employees


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    Bank of Marin


    Best Places to Work 2012

    A year of milestones; how the winners were chosen; facts and figures of winners over the years
    Best Places to Work 2012 winner profiles
    101–250 employees

    listed alphabetically

    • Bank of Marin
    • Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley
    • Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County
    • Embassy Suites Hotel – San Rafael
    • First American Home Buyers Protection Corporation
    • IDEX Health & Science
    • La Tortilla Factory
    • Petaluma Health Center
    • REACH Air Medical Services
    • Sequoia Senior Solutions
    • Sonic.net
    • W. Bradley Electric, Inc.

    NOVATO — “Our mission is to provide legendary service, both to our customers and each other,” said President and CEO Russell Colombo.

    “We foster a sense of trust and accountability in all of our relationships. During the downturn, some of our customers had more challenges than we had. We worked closely with them, particularly from the loan side, to be flexible and accommodating. Their success is ours.”

    Bank of Marin

    In the words of one employee, “What makes us great is the fact that all offices, branches and employees work in harmony. Managers keep us updated and informed.”

    Bank of Marin partners with hundreds of local nonprofits, schools and civic organizations and proudly reports that its employees volunteer over 8,000 hours a year.

    “The bank takes a high-road approach by investing in employees, which may cost a little more in the short term, but will bring a much greater benefit in the future — as well as increased employee satisfaction in the present,” an employee said.

    Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley


    NAPA — Satisfied employees stay with a company for the long term. More than 55 percent of the Coldwell Banker team has been with the company for more than 10 years — about 63 of the firm’s 130 agents.

    Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley

    “During the recession, broker-owner Carolyn Roberts and I carefully monitored and reduced expenses without cutting support services to our agents,” said General Manager Robin Rose. “At the same time, we enhanced in-service education for sales associates enabling them to continue to be the best in this challenging market.”

    Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley officeEmployees said the training and materials are always top quality. “We are at the front end of any changes in the industry before any of our competitors.”

    Management–employee relations are first rate. “They are fair in their decisions and treat us like partners, not the help. Our managers invite and implement suggestions from agents on a continuous basis. Regardless of the pressure of a situation, the response is calm and thoughtful, and we have a lot of fun too,” employees said.

    Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County


    SANTA ROSA — The nonprofit known as 4Cs, now in its 40th year, has 111 dedicated employees providing accessible and affordable child care at 11 centers and preschool locations in Sonoma County.

    “Managers are very sympathetic to the budget situation and how it affects our jobs. They seek ways to save money so they do not have to cut jobs or hours,” an employee said.

    Melanie Dodson, executive director, said, “As champions for children, parents and the child care provider community, we are passionate about early childhood education.”

    Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County staff“We constantly keep our people informed as we wait for information about state budget reductions. Meanwhile, we continue to advocate for our programs with state legislators and try to find free training resources for our staff.”

    An employee said, “The 4Cs is a wonderful, nonintimidating environment where one can learn and feel free to ask questions. The critical services we provide to the community, and the people who are employed here, make this job very enjoyable.”

    Embassy Suites Hotel — San Rafael


    SAN RAFAEL — “The economy is getting better and 2012 has been much stronger than last year,” said General Manager Pat Sorber. “Everyone is grateful for that. When guests tell me what a great staff I have, I still get goose bumps!”

    Embassy Suites San RafaelDuring slow times, there were not as many hours available to the line-level staff, but some team members opted to take paid time off so others would receive additional time.

    Management has worked hard to uncover business we did not pursue in the past, and existing customers were up-sold whenever possible to build revenues.

    “The benefits are great, but most important is that we are all part of team and everyone welcomes you in. I’m from Europe and I worked for Hilton in Florida and now in California. I’ve always been accepted by co-workers,” an employee said.

    “I can come to work at a job that I enjoy, and in a place that’s all about providing good customer service. That’s what real hospitality is all about.”

    First American Home Buyers Protection Corporation


    SANTA ROSA — This home warranty insurance industry leader, part of the First American Financial Corp. family of companies, has 184 employees in Sonoma County.

    First American Home Buyers Protection Corporation“First American has a great atmosphere. Everyone smiles and is always ready to come together and help each another when someone is in need,” an employee said.

    The company helps employees succeed and achieve their goals by offering incentives, learning opportunities and room for advancement.

    “Throughout the recent difficult economy, we focused on simplifying, centralizing and standardizing our operations,” said Patrick Hogan, senior vice president of sales. “These efforts strengthened our company and provided direct benefits for our employees.”

    This process includes encouraging employees to talk with managers and candidly share their questions and concerns about changes being made, as well as provide input.

    “The leadership is stellar and by example,” one said. “We just moved into a beautiful new and larger building with expanded amenities for all employees.”

    The company recently opened a state-of-the-art 35,800-square-foot call center at 1244 Apollo Way in Northpoint Business Park with ergo-designed chairs, high-tech equipment, more cubicle space and other inviting comfort features and ample parking.

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