The recipients of the Business Journal’s eighth annual Forty Under 40, selected from more than 180 nominations representing more than 130 individuals, were chosen on the basis of their leadership in companies and organizations as well as their participation within the community across the North Bay.
“This eighth class of recipients again demonstrates the depth and breadth of young talent in the North Bay,” said Business Journal Publisher Brad Bollinger. Including this group, more than 300 young professionals have been honored over the course of the awards.
“We had a exceptional outpouring of qualified nominees this year, thus the decision to select 53 recipients,” Mr. Bollinger said. “They represent the ongoing and accelerating generational shift in the workplace as young professionals move into positions of greater responsibility.”
“Finally,” Mr. Bollinger said, the Business Journal would like to thank the individuals and especially company leaders who took the time to submit these nominations. It’s your support that makes the process and awards so special. Thank you,” Mr. Bollinger said.
The Business Journal took nominations for the 2014 competition in January and February. In addition the information in the nomination, we asked all nominees to answer a series of questions about themselves. The recipients were selected by the Journal editorial staff.
Winners of 2014 awards will be honored at a gala reception on April 30, 4–6:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek in Santa Rosa. Tickets are available for $65 per person or $675 for a table of 10. For information, call or 707-521-5264.
—The Business Journal
(Listed alphabetically by last name.)
Dan Ancheta, 29
Vice President/Market Manager, Bank of Marin, Petaluma
Being responsible for relationship management and consulting with existing Bank of Marin clients to ensure their needs are met, Dan Ancheta also prospects for new business and serves as a coach and mentor for branch managers at three locations.
“I’m a tireless community leader, relationship builder and someone who represents the bank in the Petaluma community through volunteer efforts, and by taking an active role in what happens here,” he said.
Community/nonprofit activities: He is a member of the Rotary Club of Petaluma, president of the Petaluma Sunrise Foundation, second vice president of the Petaluma area Chamber of Commerce (where he chairs the Economic Development Committee) and founder of the Sonoma County Backroad Challenge, a cycling and fundraising event.
His most admired mentor is Cliff Nannini, training coordinator with the Petaluma Police Department, who provides priceless input and challenges him to think in different ways.
Greatest Professional Achievement: He was selected to serve on Bank of Marin’s Strategy Planning and Execution Team.
Single most important recent event in his professional career: Being recognized as the 2013 Top Performing Market Manager.
Last vacation: “Backpacking in the Sierras with my lovely fiancé.”
Nicole Bacigalupi & Katey Bacigalupi, 30
Wine relations and tasting room marketing, Bacigalupi Vineyards and Winery and John Taylor Wines, Healdsburg
Twin sisters Nicole and Katey Bacigalupi oversee day-to-day winery and vineyard operations and share a keen sense of self-awareness and motivation.
They do everything from greeting tasting room guests to wine club fulfillment activities, such as shipping, and accounting, and also work with wineries who purchase fruit from their vineyard.
Katey’s most admired businessperson: Virgina Willcock, winemaker for Vasse Felix in Margaret River, recently named Australian Winemaker of the Year. Nicole admires her grandmother, who was among the first women pharmacists and one of the smartest women she ever met.
Greatest professional accomplishment: “When customers say they love our wines, our mission and appreciate our dedication to the land and farming.”
Steps the company is taking to sustain the organization: “We strive to keep supply and demand in check by never overestimating sales, and by continuing to ensure our company is financially healthy.
Next professional goal: They want to obtain Certified Wine Educator Certificates and start their own wine education company.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: Katey dreamed of being a professional horseback rider and trainer. Nicole wanted to become a pediatrician, or a specialist working with children.
Elizabeth Barron, 26
Senior Tax Associate, Burr Pilger Mayer, Santa Rosa
Having a personal commitment to giving, Elizabeth Barron is passionate about making a contribution to her profession, her family and the community.
“One thing I love most about BPM is the strong women leaders in my group, who have encouraged me to balance family life and community involvement with my career.”
Single most important recent event in your professional life: Chairing Professional Development Day for the Santa Rosa Young Professionals Network (YPN) and “the opportunity to lead a team to a huge success!”
Other community/nonprofit activities: She is a Member of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce Advocacy Council; serves a weekly reading volunteer at the Kid Street Learning Center, as a mentor with the SSU School of Business and Economics Career Center mentor program; and is a volunteer and committee member for Girls Day/Boys Night for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County, in addition to being the chair-elect for YPN.
Next professional goal: Getting her Masters in Taxation degree – “While patiently waiting for SSU to start a program so I won’t have to commute to Golden Gate University.”
Greatest professional accomplishment: Passing the CPA exam.
Favorite books: Homer’s The Odyssey, and Freakonomics.
Brian Breen, 37
Principal/Owner, Jacobson & Breen Wealth Management, LLC, Petaluma
Exemplifying the spirit of a Top Forty under 40 professional, Brian Breen has built a successful Independent Wealth Management business and, in return, wants to give back to the community that gave him this opportunity.
He serves in a variety of leadership positions with 10 Petaluma nonprofit organizations.
Greatest professional challenge: Trying to juggle the responsibilities of being both a wealth manager as well as a business owner. “We continue to focus on our mission of providing a refreshing alternative to the financial advising experience.”
Best advice received: When self-employed, your clients are now your bosses.
Greatest professional accomplishment: Being honored for Petaluma’s Peoples Choice Award as the Best Financial Planner for the last two consecutive years.
Education: He earned a BS degree in Business Management from Sonoma State University and is a Certified Financial Planner through the CFP Board of Standards.
Single most important recent event: “We transitioned our business to a fee-only investment advisory firm registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
First job: Office help at an accounting firm when I was 16.
Mentor/admired businessperson: Tom Brandal of V. Dolan Trucking.
Favorite book: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.
Sean Carroll, 36
Marketing and Communications Manager, Sonoma County Winegrowers, Santa Rosa
With responsibility for managing collective marketing activities for 1,800 Sonoma County winegrowers, Sean Carroll handles community and media relations, advertising, social/digital media, the grower AVA grant program, market and industry research along with support for the “We Are Sonoma County” branding campaign.
Greatest professional accomplishment: Managing a successful campaign for a new Sonoma County winery that received more than 75 stories in newspapers and travel magazines.
Best advice received: For any major decision, don’t act hastily. It’s better to sleep on it and see if what you decide still makes sense in the morning with a clear head and a fresh cup of coffee!
Next professional goal: To get a cover story in a major business magazine profiling savvy Sonoma County winegrowers and how the next generation is leading family vineyard businesses.
Hobbies: “We have an 18-month old boy that consumes most of our time, but I am a huge New York Yankees fan and also spend time in our garden and helping in our family’s 20-acre apple orchard.”
Favorite after-work drink: In winter it’s Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir. During spring and summer it’s a Rosé or Sauvignon Blanc.
Anthony Comfort, 28
Director of PMO Central, Métier, Ltd., Healdsburg
Since becoming the director of Métier’s Project Management Office, Anthony Comfort had been tasked with developing, building, and growing the world’s first cloud consultancy offering one-of-a-kind office oversight functions, including business process reengineering, project management training, technical support and software implementation at a Software-As-A- Service price point.
“This managed services offering is totally unique to Métier. There was no template, previous business model or guidebook.”
Greatest professional accomplishment: “I helped lead a large business transformation program for Sears Holdings Corporation – involving the restructuring of policies and processes for 32 different business units. For this achievement, our team received a Distinguished Project Award from the Project Management Institute.
Best Advice: “Win, don’t lose” — in any given business situation, and know what winning or losing really means.
Most admired businesspersons: Yvonne Chouinard of Patagonia, and Elon Musk of PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla.
First Job: “I was in D.C. dating someone I met while we both attended college. I searched for an internship and responded to a Métier job ad. Nine years later my college crush and I may have parted ways, but my relationship with Métier is still going strong.”
Samantha Cooprider, 36
CEO/Culture Change Partner, Learning as Leadership, San Rafael
Focusing on the sustainability and growth of Learning as Leadership’s methodology – while fostering a learning environment and continuing to strengthen her team — Samantha Cooprider is responsible for P&L, business strategy and a host of other day-to-day management functions.
“With a commitment to learning and collaboration, I strive to empower leadership in everyone by envisioning their innate potential and activating their skills and talents.”
Greatest professional accomplishment: “This year I was honored to be the first non-family member asked to lead this organization in its 30-year history.”
Greatest professional challenge: “While transitioning into the CEO role, I am leading a team through an internal cultural change while growing business profitability and reach.”
Best advice received: From my mentors and organizational development Ph.D. consultants Keith Ray and Joan Goppelt, “The best way to lead change is to be a disrupter of unhealthy patterns. Large systemic change happens one experiment at a time and can’t be controlled or predicted.”
Last vacation: “My husband and dear friend went with me to Haiti to celebrate the holidays with our soon-to-be-adopted daughter, Olivia, while also taking over 300 pounds of donations to various orphanages in this island nation.
Stuart J. Crandall, 33
Senior Financial Advisor, Moss Adams Wealth Advisors, LLC, Santa Rosa
As a leading member of the firm’s portfolio management team, Stuart Crandall is responsible for the growth of Moss Adams’ wealth management services in the greater Bay Area.
“Our team handles the investment research, due diligence, manager selection and asset allocation decisions made on behalf of our clients.”
Greatest professional accomplishment:
“Seeing people reach their goals and do great things with their money is the ultimate accomplishment. They make an incredible difference in so many lives by giving back to their communities.”
Greatest professional challenge: The greatest challenges often accompany periods of market stress. Many investors instinctively make the wrong decisions at exactly the wrong time. We understand these behavioral biases and prevent our clients from making poor investment decisions.
Best advice received: Life’s too short. Always pursue your passions, both professionally and personally.
Next professional goal: To help Moss Adams Wealth Advisors grow from $1.6 billion to $3 billion in assets under management over the next five years.
Favorite movie: It’s a Wonderful Life.
Hobbies: “Spending time with my wife, Kate, and our children Will and Lucy. I also love to golf, read and go to the movies – if we can find a babysitter!”
Andre Crisp, 33
President and CEO, Luna Vineyards, Inc., Napa
With a philosophy of life that says a person should be more than just focused and dedicated, Andre Crisp believes in balancing love of people, hard work, and not always being popular in order to win.
Greatest professional accomplishment: “In the face of uncertainty in the industry, we took an 18-year-old firm that was failing in a down economy and turned it around by questioning the systems and norms of the industry-wide supply chain. We refused to settle for systems and standards put in place in the 1980s. Today Luna Vineyards is considered to be a leader in its space.”
Greatest professional challenge: People and employees — love them, support them and lead them to the goal without using words.
The single most important event in your professional life: Closing funding deals. “Silicon Valley Bank underwrote Luna, enabling our firm to grow exponentially.”
Most admired businessperson: Mike Moone, CEO of Stouffers Food Company and CEO of Nestle.
Next professional goal: “Taking my company from 75,000 cases in 2014 to 115,000 cases in 2015.”
Favorite after-work drink: A crisp chardonnay.
Favorite book: I Dare to Call Him Father.
Cat Cvengros, 32
Director of Development, Social Advocates for Youth, Santa Rosa
Connecting people to issues they care deeply about, in a way that produces a strong return on investment in the community, is what motivates Cat Cvengros.
“I saw an issue in homelessness in our county and have committed myself to finding solutions. I am a go-getter with a can-do attitude, who believes in pulling our community together.”
Greatest professional accomplishment: She’s proud to work with an incredible team to make the Dream Center a reality. “As a former runaway and homeless youth myself, I can show our young people how they can make a new path for themselves.”
Best advice received: From her high school history teacher, Bill Hartley: Dedicate some of your life to others. Your dedication will not be a sacrifice. It will be an exhilarating experience because it is an intense effort applied toward a meaningful goal.
Greatest personal challenge: Knowing when to stop. With such a need in our community, its hard to know when to call it a day, go home, recharge and realizing that downtime is important, too.
Favorite book: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: Financially stable.
Katie Davis, 30
Government Relations Manager, Pacific Gas and Electric, Santa Rosa
In addition to being PG&E’s government relations manager covering Marin, Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake and Humboldt Counties, Katie Davis is the company’s liaison with charitable nonprofits and organizations that serve in an emergency capacity.
She is also a member of the PG&E’s core team for its Emergency Management Advancement Program initiative, and is chair of the Local Government Relations Emergency Preparedness committee.
Greatest personal accomplishment: Changing the way PG&E looks at emergency power restoration to a community based approach, as well as creating a formal communications plan to ensure that the company provides communities with accurate and timely information after emergency events.
Community/nonprofit activities: She currently serves on Petaluma’s Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and was past president – one of the youngest to ever hold this position. She also serves on the Sonoma County Alliance’s Political Action Committee and volunteers in her community.
Most admired businessperson: PG&E’s EVP of electric operations, Geisha Williams.
Best advice received. “Growing up, my parents told me to stay true to myself. I feel proud to have become successful while still staying true to my values.”
Matt Delaney, 33
Partner, JDH Wealth Management, Santa Rosa
As a partner with JDH, Matt Delaney serves as the firm’s chief compliance officer working with clients to help them ensure that they wont outlive their money.
“I advise them to ignore the noise from Wall Street and focus on what they can control – like saving, spending and risk. I also oversee the 401(k) side of our business helping small to medium sized employers build a robust retirement plans for their employees.”
Greatest professional accomplishment: Being able to reach out to the Spanish-speaking community and help them navigate a clear path to retirement.
Greatest professional challenge: How to reach the masses, since there are so many people out there making poor investment decisions.
Community and nonprofit activities: He is the incoming president of the Santa Rosa West Rotary Club, Board President of Live Oak Preschool, Board Vice President of the Fountaingrove Golf and Country Club, basketball coach at Sonoma County Country Day School and head coach for the Windsor Baseball Little League.
Best advice received: Be willing to take responsibility for your own actions.
Next professional goal: To grow the business from $140 million to $250 million in five years.
First job: Mowing the Windsor Golf Course at age 16.
Jon Diamond, 34
Owner, Moore Heating & Air Conditioning, Windsor
Being an entrepreneur and owner means that Jon Diamond also serves as marketing and sales arm of the business.
“We are go getters and not afraid to take calculated risks. We love to shoot for the moon because, even if we miss our target, we will still land in the stars.”
He is celebrating his third year as a self-employed businessperson.
His greatest professional challenge: Finding people that have a good balance of heart, character, honor and integrity.
Steps taken to sustain the organization and morale: “We do this by helping our 22 employees set goals, track their progress and by rewarding their successes.”
Best advice received: Life’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. So enjoy everyday otherwise you might end up reaching a goal just to realize that you missed all the fun.
Next professional goal: To reach $5 million in revenue in 2014.
Community/nonprofit activities: As a member of the New Life Christian Fellowship in Petaluma, he supports COTS, Rebuilding Petaluma Together, Habitat for Humanity as well as helping families when they become aware of their needs.
Favorite after-work drink: Kamikaze made with Rain Vodka.
Last vacation: Disneyland with his family.
Melanie Dodson, 39
Executive Director, Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County, Santa Rosa
Building the 4C’s professional reputation in Sonoma County and partnering with businesses that understand the importance of investing in early care and education, are just two things that drive Melanie Dodson as she directs the activities of this $16 million nonprofit.
“It takes all of our 126 employees, their talents, skills, knowledge and commitment to complete our mission. I encourage leadership opportunities throughout the agency and work to build strong teams.”
Greatest personal accomplishment: She partnered with the County of Sonoma to secure funds for a collaborative Cradle to Career and Upstream Investments program, called READY (Road to Early Achievement and Development of Youth).
Single most important events in your professional life: Receiving grants for the READY Program and for an expansion of 4C’s value in the Preschool Scholarship Program.
Greatest professional challenge: “Our staff and teachers in 12 preschools across the county deserve higher wages. My continual challenge is to increase salaries for these incredible people doing important work.”
What you wanted to be when you grew up: “I wanted to have a farm with lots of animals.”
Hobbies: Singing with the Sonoma County Bach Choir and volunteering.
Greg Fontana, 26
CPA, Pisenti & Brinker CPAs and Advisors, Santa Rosa
As an audit and tax supervisor and CPA at P&B, Greg Fontana directs staff accountants and is responsible for submitting completed engagements to managers and partners for review.
“Working in a service industry, I focus on how I can serve clients, the community, coworkers and friends. I always strive to offer value.”
Greatest professional accomplishment:
“Passing the CPA exam the first time in my first year of full-time employment.”
Single most important event in your professional life: “I created the CPA Coach position at work as a centralized resource to assist newer staff members in preparing for the CPA exam. I consider myself to be a dedicate mentor.”
Best advice received: Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. And right is right even if no one else is doing it.
Community/nonprofit activities: “I’m the treasurer for the Community Support Network. CSN provides housing for individuals with mental health challenges.”
What you wanted to be when you grew up: “I wanted to be a high school math teacher, but I couldn’t do calculus. For accounting, all you need to know is how to add, subtract, multiply and divide.”
Juan Gamino, 33
CEO and Owner, Rancho Mendoza Supermercado, Santa Rosa
As owners of two grocery stores on Sebastopol Road and Piner Road, Juan Gamino and his wife Eva, have seen their stores grow to become two of the largest Hispanic markets in Sonoma County. Business is booming while also providing many new jobs with reasonable pay while promoting from within.
“All of the entrepreneurs I know have one thing in common, they are not scared to take risks to follow their dreams.”
Greatest professional accomplishment:
Moving to an area where I did not know anyone to open my stores when the economy was in recession.
Best advice received: Before starting a business, hire a good CPA, a good Lawyer and know a good banker – such as Steve Tagnolli, vice president with Rabobank.
Single most important event in your professional life: Becoming my own landlord by purchasing a shopping center where we started our first store, and learning about real estate investing.
Mentor and admired businesspersons: “David Chavez, owner of Chavez Supermarkets, who taught me everything about the business; Ken Link who is my life coach and mentor who helped me ‘get-er-done,’ and my mom who worked two jobs to raise my brother, sister and me. She never gave up!”
Michael Gossman, 36
Division Manager, Finance & Administration, Sonoma County Water Agency, Santa Rosa
“As a young executive in local government, I’m constantly looking for ways to make government more responsive to its citizenry, less bureaucratic, and more transparent.”
Michael Gossman is responsible for planning, coordinating and managing the administrative, financial and business operations of the water agency.
Greatest professional accomplishment: Earning his MBA in 2010 with a full-time job, two kids, and while buying and remodeling his first home — all at the same time.
Best advise received: There’s no perfect leader. Everyone is flawed, and their strengths are usually the opposite of their weaknesses, from Henry Paulson.
Single most important event in your professional life: “I helped write, introduce and get passed an ordinance prohibiting the harassment of cyclists in unincorporated areas of Sonoma County – the first county in the U.S. to adopt such an ordinance.
Hobbies: Cycling and spending time with my kids.
Mentor/admired businessperson: My late grandfather, Raymond Hamilton, who grew up collecting cans to pay for his next meal and later became a very successful small business owner. My work ethic comes from him.
First job: Installing carpets for my grandpa’s commercial flooring business when I was 10.
Last vacation: A New England cruise with my lovely wife.
Goretti Hamlin, 38
Senior Manager, Human Resources, Amy’s Kitchen, Inc., Santa Rosa
As the person who oversees HR services for 1,600 employees at manufacturing locations in two states, including three in Sonoma County, Goretti Hamlin has a deep commitment to her internal customers at all levels. The whole company employs more than 2,000.
Greatest professional accomplishment: When I began my career at Amy’s, Human Resources consisted of two people. Today there are 16. I am the co-originator of the foundation upon which our department rests today.
Greatest professional challenge: “During my career, the employee population has tripled. This means having to manage in a dynamic way in an ever changing, high touch environment.”
Single most important event in your professional life in the last 12 months: Serving as a key member of pilot group at Amy’s Leadership Academy.
Steps taken to sustain your organization: We focus on direct communication and create venues for employees to express their suggestions, concerns and ideas.
Most admired businessperson: Andy Berliner, co-founder of Amy’s, a brilliant, true entrepreneur who leads the company with his whole heart.
First job: Babysitting at 12 and getting my first paycheck at KFC at 14.
Favorite after-work drink: “With a demanding career, and as the mother of twin two-and-a-half year old toddlers, I would say coffee – really strong coffee (LOL).”
Sara Harper, 33
Tax Senior Manager, Moss Adams LLP, Santa Rosa
Providing income tax compliance and consulting services to clients, mentoring the junior staff, conducting internal training, assisting with scheduling in the tax department as well as being a leader of the Fun Committee and the Wine Industry Group, are all in a days work for Sara Harper.
She also assists with tax and accounting webinars for clients and is actively involved with business development.
Greatest professional accomplishment: Being acknowledged as a mentor to someone. “There’s no greater reward than knowing that others think I can help them navigate this very challenging career and contribute to their success.
Single most important event in your professional life: Completing a significant tax-planning project for a client that resulted in over $2 million in tax savings.
Next professional goal: Finishing a Masters Degree in Taxation.
Community and non-profit activities: I volunteer at my son’s school and deliver public talks on tax topics at SSU, the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, and Chambers of Commerce, as well as produce webinars for Family Winemakers of California.
Hobbies: Anything I can do with my two children – including running.
Best advice received: One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.
Wayne Ingraham, 33
Principal, LINK Creative, Inc., Santa Rosa
Starting a business with nothing — and without borrowing a dime – in an entirely new industry, while working two jobs, was Wayne Ingraham’s greatest professional accomplishment.
He built a successful creative web design firm that develops static brochure sites, e-commerce sites, web applications and mobile optimization tools.
“I continue to educate myself on what’s new in our industry so our team can better serve our customers and give them options so they can make better decisions. I also help educate students so they can be prepared for the workforce.”
Greatest professional challenge: Growing talent and increasing awareness of what is available to business owners in Sonoma County via the web.
Best advice received: “My old boss, Mark Anderson, would often say to me that, at the end of the day, you are only as good as your word.”
Community/nonprofit activities: “I’m on a board or committee of nine community organizations, and through LINK we give time, money and resources to help local and non-local charities.
Favorite book: The E-Myth Revisited – Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What Should be Done About it.
Noah Jacobson, 37
Partner, CFPA Jacobson & Breen Wealth Strategies, Petaluma
Skilled at asking the right questions to assist clients in articulating their unique financial aspirations, as well as being an expert in maximizing Social Security benefits, Noah Jacobson also teaches community education classes at SRJC, serves as a mentor and is active with some 14 community nonprofit organizations.
As a certified financial planner, he develops 40l(k) and retirement strategies for physicians, dentists, mid-size business owners and high net worth families.
How do you exemplify a top Forty Under 40 professional? By being an active and engaged member of my community.
Steps taken to sustain your organization and morale: “We continue to invest in technology and people that enables us to be on the cutting edge in our industry. We also ensure that our team understands our mission and values to best serve our clients.”
Greatest professional accomplishment:
I was involved with transforming the business to become an RIA (Registered Investment Advisor).
Best advice received: Put yourself in a position to offer unbiased, independent and objective advice to your clients.
Hobbies: If it’s outdoors and an adventure – I’m interested!
Favorite movies: The Shawshank Redemption, Star Wars’ original trilogy, and Caddyshack – depending on my mood.
Priscilla Quintanilla-Jaworski, 32
Marketing and Campaign Specialist, Redwood Credit Union, Santa Rosa
With a “make-it-happen” and forward-thinking spirit, Priscilla Quintanilla-Jaworski brings growth and results to multi-channel projects she handles as a RCU marketing specialist.
Greatest professional accomplishment:
In 2007, along with other professionals, she revitalized the Emerging Arts Leaders Network of Los Angeles, an important network for young professionals, and also designed a mentorship program, called Arts Professionals Advisor Link, or APAL.
Community and nonprofit activities: Today she holds leadership positions with the Santa Rosa Chamber’s Young Professionals Network and the Hispanic Chamber’s YPN.
In addition, she has donated over 100 hours to nonprofits such as the Human Race, Cinco de Mayo and the Rose Parade as well as for RCU’s annual Shred-a-thon.
Best advice received: “My mom always said, take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way and see it as a gift.”
Next professional goal: To pursue an MBA and prepare herself for a management role at RCU.
Hobbies: “My #1 priority is being a wife and mother and giving my toddler undivided attention when I’m home. But I also enjoy karaoke and playing games.”
Favorite book: The Immigrants by Howard Fast.
Favorite after-hours drink: “A good pinot noir always makes my day!”
Forrest Jinks, 36
Founding Partner, Altus Equity Group, LP, Santa Rosa
At Altus Equity Group, the buck stops with Forrest Jinks, the sole managing partner.
“My value-add is investment identification and strategy, along with investor outreach, execution and growth strategies. I also serve as the lead investor for all types of real estate transactions.”
Greatest professional accomplishment: Staying solvent through the real estate crash of 2007/2008 and, more importantly, still having strong relationships with lenders and investors I had before the recession.
Greatest professional challenge: Dealing with lenders, investors and government agencies during the downturn.
Steps taken to sustain your organization and morale: “Our company is growing and thriving in the current economy. We try to work hard while always remembering that there are more important things in life that should be given priority.”
Single most important event in your professional life: Closing our Altus Multi-Tenant Income Fund by March 21.
First job: I grew up on a farm where I worked from the time I could walk. My first no-farm job was umpiring Little League Baseball at 13.
Favorite books: Fiction – The Walking Drum by Louis L’Amour. Non-fiction – As a Man Thinketh by James Allen.
Tristan Kouk, 27
Area Director of Operations, St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare and Annadel Medical Group, Santa Rosa
Having the opportunity to take on new and exciting challenges has been a tremendous learning experience for Tristan Kouk.
“I love what I do. I’m responsible for day-to-day operations at over 20 specialty sites within the St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare and Annadel Medical Group practices in Sonoma County.”
Single most important event in your professional life: Being promoted to Area Director of Operations.
Next professional goal: “To assume greater responsibility within St. Joe’s, where I could influence and drive positive change for the community.”
Greatest professional challenge: “I’ve struggled with delegating, and I’m working on it. I’ve always been one to roll up my sleeves and do what I had to do to get the job done. But I know it’s not feasible to dig into the details at each location – and we’ll have around 30 sites by summer. Fortunately, I have an amazing team.”
Best advice received: You’ll never be able to do everything asked of you, although you’ll certainly try. It’s the little things that people remember.
Most admired mentor: Todd Salnas, president of St. Joseph Health. “He has been my biggest mentor since I started working here.”
Favorite book: Oh, the Places You’ll Go.
Marc Levine, 39
Assemblymember, California State Legislature, San Rafael
As a legislator, Marc Levine’s job includes authoring and voting on bills and overseeing the implementation of legislation as he represents the people of the North Bay.
“It’s the can-do attitude that exemplifies the spirit of being a top Forty under 40 professional and why the North Bay is a real engine of innovation.”
Greatest professional accomplishment: Winning my race for the State Assembly despite being outspent 5 to 1.
Greatest professional challenge: Changing the culture of the State Capital to think long term and see the big picture when planning for sustainable budgets, education and job creation with plans tied to local communities.
Best advice received: A college professor implored me to “do what I love.”
Most important events in my professional life: Governor Brown signed six of my bills into law last year. I helped negotiate an agreement with wildlife advocates and Caltrans that averted a threat to completing the Petaluma River Bridge and saved cliff swallows during their migration.
Hobbies: I pick up Legos or a ball and play with my son, 7, and my daughter, 5. My wife and I like to binge watch TV shows on demand when we can stay up late.
Jasper Lewis-Gehring, 34
Principal – Civil Division Engineering, Summit Engineering, Inc., Santa Rosa
Managing the Civil Engineering Division and supervising a team of 10 professionals, while ensuring a high level of quality client service and directing innovation as a member of the ownership team, is what drives Jasper Lewis-Ghering.
“As a leader, my greatest satisfaction comes from contributing to the success of others and helping a team accomplish more than each person could alone.”
Greatest professional accomplishment: Assembling and developing a team of highly skilled engineering professionals dedicated to their profession and the success of our clients.
Best advice received: Don’t agonize over difficult decisions just because they are hard. Make the best decisions you can based on the information you have and move forward.
Mentor/admired businesspersons: Kevin McDonnell, senior engineer at the Marin Municipal Water District, who taught me thoroughness and quality in engineering design and how to succeed in a bureaucracy and in community outreach through attention to diverse needs.
In addition, Greg Swaffar, president of Summit Engineering, taught me business leadership and effective decision making.
Favorite after-work drink: Bourbon, ginger beer and a splash of bitters.
Hobbies: Basketball, skiing, building, running, travel – and riding my bicycle, rain or shine – six miles each way to work.
Matthew Lilligren, 35
Associate Attorney, Abbey, Weitzenberg, Warren & Emery, Santa Rosa
“I have the good fortune of being able to help individuals fight against large corporations who would take advantage of them,” said Matthew Lilligren.
The single most important event in his professional life: When he obtained a near seven-figure settlement on behalf of his client, a small business owner, against a multi-national corporation.
Greatest personal accomplishment: The day he received a card from a client thanking him for being the first person to ever stick up for her when someone had taken advantage.
Greatest professional challenge: Representing individuals who have lost a loved one due to the wrongful act of another, especially a child. “It can weigh heavily on your emotions.”
Best advice received: Success in this business is not defined by how many hours you spend at your desk, but by what you accomplish while you’re there.
Next professional goal: Becoming a partner at his law firm.
Last vacation: Cabo San Lucas with my beautiful wife, Gena.
Favorite movie: The Usual Suspects.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: A dentist, but it turned out I don’t have steady hands, so I had to become a lawyer.
Emily Linebaugh, 31
Manager/HR Partner, St. Joseph Health, Sonoma County, Santa Rosa
Taking great pride in leading and contributing to excellence, innovation and the mission-centered St. Joseph Health organization is what motivates Emily Linebaugh.
Her duties comprise employee and labor relations at Santa Rosa Memorial and Petaluma Valley hospitals including support for 150 managers and 2,000 front line staff.”
Greatest professional accomplishment:
Obtaining an MBA degree while engaged in a demanding day job and raising two children.
Greatest professional challenge: Taking a leading role in training leaders and establishing processes to support the new National Union of Healthcare Workers contract.
Community and nonprofit activities: Joining the board of the Professional Association of Sonoma County and getting involved at her children’s school, the French American Charter School in Santa Rosa.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: A veterinarian. After Reading James Harriot’s books, I adopted dogs, sheep, birds, turtles, a rabbit and an iguana.
Favorite movie: Anything that makes me laugh, such as Bridesmaid and This is Forty.
Last vacation: Taking our kids Julian, 7, and Vivian, 4, on a long Christmas road trip without telling them where we were going. It was a blast to see them so excited when we got to Disneyland.
Marisa Manna-Ferrell, 30
Owner, Professional Wedding & Event Planner, So Eventful, Healdsburg
With a real thirst for life, a passion for helping others and driven to succeed, Marisa Manna-Ferrell loves her career and the people she gets to work with in the community.
“We help our clients add those special touches that reflect them as individuals and make their special day unforgettable with customized services to fit their needs.”
Greatest professional accomplishment: Starting So Eventful from the ground up.
Greatest professional challenge: Paying tremendous attention to detail. She thrives on high-stress situations, thinks and acts fast on her feet and performs unbelievably well under pressure with dignity and class to keep her clients at ease.
Next professional goal: Publishing a entertainment book with recipes, table décor, themed events, etiquette and much more…
Most admired businessperson: “My dad, Mike Manna. He has a strong work ethic, an outgoing personality and a great sense of humor. He taught me how to live life to the fullest.”
Favorite after-work drink: Ketel One, lightly dirty martini, up with two olives.
Hobbies: I love to cook, play golf and shop. I have an amazing husband and a dynamic duo of dogs that keep us entertained – Fina the boxer, and Lew the puggle.
Ryan McKillop, 30
Manager, Beels Soper LLP, Petaluma
Taking ownership of his profession and career while striving to get better each day, are words that Ryan McKillop lives by, as he supports the two partners at this CPA firm, develops staff members and helps grow the practice.
“Our partners have sustained the organization and morale by leading by example and by walking-the-walk, showing how it’s possible to achieve a high level in their profession and still maintain a balanced life.”
“The relationships I’ve been able to build over my career whether it be colleagues, clients or everyone in between are my greatest professional accomplishments.”
At the same time, understanding the different personality styles of those he works with, and adapting to them to communicate more effective, is his greatest professional challenge.
Taking a role in helping grow the firm is his next professional goal.
Ryan wanted to be a starting quarterback for the 49ers when he grew up, but his first job was working during the summer at Morris Distributing doing everything from organizing pallets to repackaging broken cases.
Hobbies: Traveling, attending sporting events, exercise, golf and watching movies.
Favorite movie: The Departed.
Favorite book: Moneyball by Michael Lewis.
Allison McNeil, 28
Attorney, Anderson, Zeigler, Disharoon, Gallagher and Gray PC, Santa Rosa
Client development, and providing legal services in a practice focused on general civil litigation and business law, is the primary role Allison McNeil plays in addition to being active in the community and demonstrating leadership among peers.
Greatest professional accomplishment:
“Building client relationships and having them return for my counsel.”
Biggest professional challenge: Getting buy-in for my legal advice among those who had been working for 40 yearsm when I was just 25 and fresh out of law school. Clients appreciate authenticity, so I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not. I’m not afraid to say I don’t know the answer, but I’ll check it out for you.”
Single most important event in your professional life: “Having a judge rule in our favor on a case I started in 2008, seeing the pieces fall into place and achieving the client’s goal at trial.”
Next professional goal: Learning the tools and achieving business objectives necessary to make partner.
Community activities: Helping make Sonoma County more attractive to young professionals and helping the county retain them.
Favorite movie: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Best advice received: Never have two client files open on your desk at once.
Amy Miller, 36
CEO/Artistic Director, Transcendence Theatre Company, Sonoma
The greatest professional accomplishment to date for Amy Miller has been bringing the vision of the Transcendence Theatre company to life at Jack London State Park.
“I lead with a clear future vision focused on serving the world. I’m a big dreamer who believes anything is possible. I believe that people who commit to going beyond the usual limits will change the world in extraordinary ways.”
Greatest professional challenge: Building an organization from the ground up with limited staff and resources and making it truly sustainable financially and culturally.
Best advice received: My grandpa said, “One step at a time, but always forward.”
Single most important event in your professional life: Winning the 2013 Broadway World San Francisco Award for Theatre of the Year in our second season.
Community activities: We are a nonprofit organization, and $5 dollars from the sale of each ticket for our Broadway Under the Starts concerts is contributed to Jack London State Park. We’ve raised $72,000 in just two seasons.
Favorite movie: Harold Clurman’s A Life in Theatre.
First job: Assistant dance teacher for a St. Ignatius Dance Class in Cincinnati at $3 an hour – one of the greatest jobs I’ve ever had.
Erik Miller, 37
Owner/Winemaker, Kokomo Winery, Healdsburg
Describing himself as a CEO, CFO, winemaker, gardener and head bottle washer, Erik Miller is also a risk-taker, creative, a leader, forward-thinking, a networker and someone who takes pride in giving back to his community.
Greatest professional accomplishment: “Going back to my alma mater, Purdue University, to deliver a guest lecture on business entrepreneurship.”
Greatest professional challenge: To continue making world class wines even in difficult vintages.
Single most important event in your professional life: Winning best wine in Sonoma County for our 2012 Grenache Rose at the North Coast Wine Competition.
Steps your company is taking to sustain the organization: Keeping up production to meet national demand.
Next professional goal: To make verjus (the pressed juice of unripened grapes) a widely used culinary product and continue to develop Kokoma Culinary.
Community and nonprofit activities: I volunteer with Project Access and Headstart in my hometown of Kokomo, Indiana, as well as the Sonoma County Food Bank, Bread and Roses, Paws for Love, Friday Night Live and the Petaluma Music Festival.
Favorite after-work drink: Blind Pig IPA.
Best advice received: Be careful of the toes you step on today, because they may be connected to the butt you have to kiss tomorrow!
Curtis Moore, 33
President, Moore Heating and Air Conditioning, Windsor
As president and 50 percent shareholder in the company, Curtis Moore sees his job as creating jobs and building a reputable, successful and sustainable service business unlike any other.
“I’m dedicated to providing quality service and a quality work atmosphere for my 22 employees.”
His greatest professional challenge: “I have an unjustified feeling that I can do most jobs better than anyone else. I’ve been proven wrong many times.”
Best advice received: Never be afraid to take risks. Always look at what you have to gain, not what you have to lose.
Single most important event in your professional life: Letting go and re-assigning responsibilities so I can focus on business development. Once I did this, revenue grew over 110 percent.”
Next professional goal: Starting a plumbing division by acquiring an existing business. “We project a 50 percent revenue increase the first year if we execute the plan correctly.”
Education: I dropped out of high school as a senior, but I’ve taken numerous business classes, sales training and a business development courses based on Dr. Coveys Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Favorite Book: Who Moved My Cheese.
Favorite Movie: Stand By Me.
Xavier Nazario, 30
Director, University of San Francisco, Santa Rosa Campus, Santa Rosa
With responsibilities that include student recruitment, enrollment, and as well as community outreach, Xavier Nazario’s position as director of USF Santa Rosa also includes supervising personnel, the local budget and facilities management.
“I understand the value of education and have a strong desire to help people achieve their educational goals.”
Greatest professional accomplishment: Being promoted to campus director before the age of 30.
Single most important event in your professional life: Completing the Santa Rosa campus’s first renovation in its 18-year history, while launching two new academic programs.
Best advice received: Listen.
Education: A BS in management and a BA in philosophy from Santa Clara University and a Master of Public Administration from USF.
Most admired person: Dr. Lisa Millora, Assistant Provost of Academic Affairs at Santa Clara University.
Next professional goal: Earning my doctoral degree and becoming a more effective community leader.
Favorite book: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.
Last vacation: My wife and I took our daughter Zofia and my parents to Poland to visit my wife’s parents and extended family.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: A pediatrician, or a SWAT Team member.
Tiffany O’Neil, 39
Area Director, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Santa Rosa
When not engaged in strategic planning, development and fund raising efforts in the North Bay, Tiffany O’Neil is also responsible for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Greater Bay Area Chapter’s marketing team.
These duties include oversight of the Chapter-wide Light-The-Night fund-raising campaign consisting of six “walks” throughout the region.
“I lead by example, embrace change and challenge the status quo,” Tiffany said.
Greatest professional accomplishment:
She led the society’s expansion efforts in the North Bay by growing the volunteer base.
Best advice received: If you work hard at achieving your goals, there’s no limit to your success.
Single most important event in your professional life: Graduating from the Leadership Santa Rosa program, Class 29.
Steps the company is taking to sustain the organization and morale: We plan team outings, offer days off, maintain communications with staff and provide professional development opportunities when available, while never under-estimating the power of a simple thank you.
Favorite movie: When Harry Met Sally.
Hobbies: Spending time with family, wine Fridays, gardening, spinning, boxing, hiking and working out.
Favorite after-work drink: A glass of Sonoma County pinot noir.
Sherrie Osborne, 39
Vice President, Human Resources, American Ag Credit, Santa Rosa
Being a top Forty under 40 professional, Sherrie Osborne exemplifies the spirit by continually learning, growing and adapting. “I also take the opportunity to encourage, develop and share my experience with others.”
Greatest professional accomplishment: “This has to be the relationships I developed over the past 12 years and the team I work with. I take pride in working with my team and sharing a few laughs along the way.”
Greatest professional challenge: The changing work environment. We’re trying to keep our small company relationships while streamlining, bringing consistency and moving from a paper-based administrative function to a fully-integrated HR management system.
Best advice received: You can’t always control your circumstances, or a situation, but you can always control your actions, reactions and attitude.
Mentor and admired businesspersons: Early in my career, I had two amazing mentors, Jill Johnson and Beth Sinclair. I look to leaders for guidance that are authentic and act with integrity.
Hobbies: I work full time and have a husband and two daughters, Ashley, 10, and Kaitlyn, 12. If I have extra time, I enjoy nothing more than a long chat with a friend, or a good book.
Favorite movie: Frozen.
Nathan Patrick, 30
Network Architect, Sonic.net, Santa Rosa
As manager of Sonic.net’s network engineering group, inside plant construction and the business support team, Nathan Patrick, is also deeply involved in the firm’s fiber construction efforts.
“I see myself as having a potent blend of talent, drive, effectiveness and youth. I’ve used these qualities to great effect – and the results speak for themselves.”
Greatest professional accomplishment: Sonic sells a product called Fusion, combining phone service and fast uncapped Internet for $40 a month. “I built that product from scratch,” he said.
Most important event in your professional life: “A few days ago we saw the first soup-to-nuts working prototype of a system we’ve worked on for over a year – a huge step forward.”
Next professional goal: “I’m looking for ways to make the Internet faster and more reliable through fiber optic deployment.”
What you wanted to be when you grew up: An inventor. “All I ever wanted to do was build new things.”
Mentor/admired businessperson: Dane Jasper, our CEO. “It is a pleasure to work with him.”
First job: “I started a computer sales and support business, PEM Electronics, at the age of 13.”
Favorite book: The Cuckoo’s Egg by Cliff Stoli.
Daniel Powers, 31
Account Executive/Producer, Don Ramatici Insurance, Inc., Petaluma
Building long-term relationships with clients and giving them the most comprehensive insurance covering different business risks so they can sleep at night, is what Daniel Powers does best.
He describes himself as driven, trustworthy, hard working, giving, competitive, honest and community oriented.
Greatest professional accomplishment: Becoming one of the agency’s leading producers three years running and the top producer for 2013.
Greatest professional challenge: “No matter how hard you try, you won’t always succeed the first time. I thrive on a failed attempt as a motivation and learning experience to better myself and not make the same mistake again.”
Best advice received: A successful man does today what an unsuccessful man puts off till tomorrow.
Next professional goal: Becoming an owner of the company, as a third generation member of my family’s business.
Most admired businessperson: My grandfather, Don Ramatici, for becoming a successful businessman and founding one of the most reputable independent insurance agencies in Northern California.
Favorite book: Never East Alone.
Last vacation: In the Dominican Republic for the International Convention for the Active 20-30 Club.
First job: I was Clo the Cow for Clover Stornetta Farms.
Carol Kingery Ritter, 37
Director, Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty, Napa
In her role as director of the Business and Real Property Practices Group at DP&F, Carol Kingery Ritter prepares and negotiates wine business contracts, including grape purchase agreements, vineyard leases and redevelopment agreements. She also counsels clients through complex vineyard, winery and wine business sales and acquisitions.
“Through the years I have made unconventional career decisions that have allowed me to stay true to my personal goals while standing out among my peers.”
Greatest professional accomplishment: Being voted in as Director at DP&F, while also a mother of two-and-a-half-year-old twins – her most important job.
Best advice received. Don’t take it personally, and no one is indispensable.
Next professional goal: Grow my book of new client business.
Mentor/admired businessperson: I’ve had three great mentors. My dad, as well as Ty Green, at Adamski, Moroski, Madden, Cumberland and Green in San Luis Obispo, and Jim Terry at DP&F.
Steps your company is taking to sustain your organization: Leveraging our tremendous human capital, improving communications, mentoring within and between practice groups and investing in client relationships.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: A vet, private detective, pilot or scuba instructor.
Todd Rubin, 33
Minister of Evolution (Vice President), The Republic of Tea, Novato
Being in charge of sales, marketing, new business development, and new product innovations at The Republic of Tea as Minister of Evolution, Todd Rubin also utilizes his skills as an architect by overseeing the design of the company’s shipping center in Nashville, Illinois, and its headquarters in Novato’s Hamilton Landing.
“Having a big heart and wonderful experiences in my life taught me to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit in others to achieve their dreams and future.”
Greatest professional challenge: Switching careers from architecture to working with, and reporting to, my father, while maintaining a business as well as the family relationship.
Next professional goal: We are in the midst of succession planning at The Republic of Tea, from my father to myself, to take place on March 16, 2016. My goal is to make the firm as successful as my dad did during his 22 years as CEO.
Best advice received: Practice the five P’s — Pre-Planning Prevents Poor Performance.
First job: Doing beverage demos for my father, offering samples of Clearly Canadian to shoppers at local grocery stores.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: President of the United States.
Peter Rumble, 36
Deputy County Administrator – Community and Government Affairs, County of Sonoma, Santa Rosa
“I’m committed to transforming government and making it a force for good,” said Peter Rumble, deputy Sonoma County administrator for community and government affairs.
“I hope to do this by advancing innovative policies, programs and relationships with community partners and individuals.”
He provides leadership and manages existing and emerging strategic initiatives within the county and in partnership with community organizations, while also directing the county’s intergovernmental affairs, legislative advocacy programs and overseeing community and media relations.
Greatest professional accomplishment: I developed a business and financial plan for the County’s Energy Independence Program, while facing regulatory challenges.
Greatest professional challenge: Creating a division of Health Policy in the County’s Health Department. We started with a single position and grew to 40 employees and a $10 million budget secured through grants and sustainable state and federal sources.
Single most important event in your professional life: Helping shape the county’s response and efforts to work with the community following the death of Andy Lopez.
Next professional goal: To become a city manager or county administrator.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: A U.S. Senator.
Favorite book: The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck.
Todd Schapmire, 30
Business Development Director, RE/MAX Full Spectrum, Santa Rosa
In addition to managing employees, Todd Schapmire recruits, coaches, trains, and retains agents; focuses on community involvement and marketing, and helps agents better their lives by being happier and more successful.
“My mission is to help people without expecting anything in return, while having one hell of a time doing it.”
Greatest professional accomplishment:
Being named Business Development Director and basically handed the keys to the company at age 26.
Best advice received: My grandma said, “You can do anything you set your mind to.”
Steps your company has taken to sustain morale: “We implemented a game called Steps to Greatness in which agents get points and prizes for all the little activities that lead to success. The winning office earns a dinner waited on by management. We also do a monthly team lunch and pop-up dinners at the owner’s home.”
Education: He graduated Magna Cum Laude from CSU Long Beach with a degree in accountancy and human resources.
Hobbies: “I grew up playing ice hockey at Snoopy’s Home Ice and wanted to play in the NHL for the Sharks.”
Favorite movie: Right now, Cars 2. “I have a two-and-a-half year old.”
Amy Schaus, 38
Marketing Director, Quattrocchi Kwok Architects, Santa Rosa
The task of maintaining comprehensive business and marketing development programs for QKA is assigned to Amy Schaus, who also develops proposal content, seminar presentations, white papers, advertising placements, PR and marketing collateral and a host of other deliverables.
Her dedication to excellence and long-term commitment to Sonoma County’s prosperity drives her work ethic and loyalty to the community.
Greatest professional accomplishment:
Helping QKA make 2013 a record-breaking revenue year, especially as competition for projects increased in the state construction market.
Best advice received: Be There. Produce Quality. Deliver Results.
Single most important event in your professional life: As co-secretary of the Professional Services Marketing Group, she helped plan and implement the North Bay’s first one-day conference in 2013 offering the region’s business-to-business marketers opportunities for professional development and networking.
Next professional goal: “I just hired my first employee, Heather Mackin, a former Forty-Under-40 recipient, to start building a marketing department.”
Steps your company is taking to sustain the organization: Helping to secure QKA’s position as a regional thought-leader in K-12 architecture, with nationally renowned firms in nearby San Francisco, demands a relentless commitment to client excellence.
Hobbies: Photography and creative writing.
Favorite book: The Awakening by Kate Chopin.
Amanda Scruggs, 26
Owner/Founder, Social Butterfly Effect, Santa Rosa
Using strategic, targeted campaigns, Amanda Scruggs leads a team of talented professionals who support local businesses by guiding them in an era of social media marketing.
“Using old-school marketing tactics and new-school techniques, I’ve translated the language of my millennial generation and adapted it for all generations using social media.”
Greatest professional accomplishment: Starting my first professional business at age 23.
Greatest professional challenge: Overcoming the stereotypes of being a young woman in business for myself.
Best advice received: It’s okay to ask for help.
Single most important event in your professional life: Speaking as a panelist for the Napa Valley Women and Technology Symposium in 2013.
Next professional goal: To open the first Motocross Park in Sonoma County is already in the works.
Hobbies: Motocross, basketball, cycling and volunteering.
Community and nonprofit activities: Serving as a Santa Rosa Chamber Ambassador, as a YPN board member, a volunteer for the Sonoma County Boys & Girls Club, and also for the Santa Rosa and Healdsburg Chapters of the Active 20-30 Club.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: Director of Marketing for a Fortune 500 company.
Sarah Scudder, 30
Chief Growth Officer and Partner, The Sourcing Group, Rohnert Park
Heading a firm that identifies opportunities for businesses to optimize supply systems, enhance inventory management, find logistic solutions, lower inventory costs and improve customer service levels, Sarah Scudder also oversees innovation and change management at the Sourcing Group and leads efforts to infuse youth and entrepreneurship within the print industry.
“I consider myself to be a very energetic, unique self-starter who embraces change, motivates my team and develops creative ways to surpass competitors and increase revenue.”
Greatest professional accomplishment: Purchasing my company in May of 2013.
Greatest professional challenge: Innovating in a commodity, price-driven industry with aggressive competition.
Best advice received: Be smart enough to listen and get advice from those who have persisted through the toughest times.
Steps your company is taking to sustain itself: We empower employees to think and be entrepreneurial; conduct company-wide monthly innovation meetings; built a national sales team; invest in technology, and coordinate a young innovators conference for owners and employees in the print industry.
Next professional goal: Develop a market presence and reputation where companies seek out our services, instead of us approaching them.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: A runway model.
First job: Actress.
Courtney Shephard, 32
Administrative Services Manager, Kaiser Permanente, Santa Rosa
Managing Kaiser’s staffing office, and making sure that schedules and positions are filled for each shift, is a full-time job for Courtney Shephard, who also ensuring that payroll services are provided for hospital nursing departments and manages a staff of 10.
She approaches her work by setting and accomplishing each task with drive, innovation and enthusiasm.
Greatest professional accomplishment: Chairing the Young Professionals Network Professional Development Day since its inception in 2011 and coordinating “Big Wig Luncheons” and “Lunch-n-Learns.”
Greatest professional challenge: “Public speaking and presenting in front of a group has always been my fear. In my role as a Performance Improvement Advisor and Project Manager, I’ve been given the chance to overcome shyness and gain confidence.”
Education: She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Human Resources Management from Cal State Chico.
Most admired mentors: “My parents have been very successful in their careers and showed me that having a great work ethic and being a genuine person will get a person far in life.”
Favorite after-work drink: A glass of Zinfandel or a Moscow Mule.
Favorite movie: Bridget Jone’s Diary. “I’ve always gravitated toward romantic comedies.”
Stephanie St. James-Werba, 39
Owner/CEO, Amazing Fairytale Parties, Santa Rosa
You do a little of everything when you own your own business. For Stephanie St. James-Werba, this means overseeing various formats of entertainment, designing costumes and wigs as well as creating special events for the community. It also involves managing the sales, social media and marketing departments, plus hiring and training performer/employees.
She embodies the spirit of a top Forty Under 40 professional with her desire to ignite a spark for even one person to obtain a dream, goal or desire by leading through example.
Greatest professional accomplishment: Performing on stage for Barack Obama, the First Lady and their children as well as Oprah Winfrey.
Best advice received: “When you want something, the universe conspires in helping you achieve it,” from Paulo Coelho.
Single most important event in your professional life: Getting a call from the Make a Wish Foundation to donate our services for a child in need.
Next professional goal: To create children’s storybooks and sing-a-long CD’s with original characters and music to inspire kids to be empowered by accepting one another based on who they are in their hearts and minds.
Hobbies: Spending time with my wonderful husband.
Bryan Taylor, 33
Vice President, Strategic Planning, VinoPRO, Santa Rosa
Serving as VinoPRO’s person in charge of planning the firm’s future goals, Bryan Taylor also strives to keep clients happy, while finding ways for employees to work better together.
“I consult with customers on how to run their wine clubs, maintain and distribute inventory and ways to market their brand more effectively.”
Single most important event in your professional life: Being promoted to VP of Strategic Planning.
Greatest professional challenge: “I helped start VinoPRO from scratch.”
He began his career at the bottom working as a cook at age 15, and went on to help build a multi-million dollar company by the time he was 31.
Greatest professional accomplishment: Changing the business model of VinoPRO. “I wrote the training manual as well as the process and procedure manual.”
Best advice received: Do not ride the highs too high, or the lows too low.
Next professional goal: To start my own company.
Most admired businessperson: Jeff Stevenson, my current CEO.
Steps your company is taking to sustain the organization and morale: “We give bonuses, tiered commissions, hourly pay and – when needed – help any employee financially if they are in trouble.”
Favorite book: Fahrenheit 451.
Daniel Voit, 36
President, Blentech, Santa Rosa
As president of an industry-leading manufacturer of custom processing systems used for food production, pharmaceutical, chemical and biochemical applications, Daniel Voit continually challenges himself and his organization to “be the best we can be.”
Greatest professional accomplishment: “Being part of the team that helped Blentech regain ground after the economic downturn. We now have the highest level of staffing and revenue despite setbacks in 2008-09.”
Greatest professional challenge: Adapting from a technical role to a leadership role, and toward a greater understanding of organizational performance and achievement.
Best advice received: Manage your manager and maintain alignment with company goals to help your manager succeed.
Single most important event in your professional life: Gaining shareholder confidence to obtain funding for a dedicated R&D center for food processing solutions to be built in Sonoma County.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: A food processing professional. My grandfather was a food scientist living in Guatemala. I spent summers with him learning about food production, safety and science.
Most admired mentor: Dr. R. Paul Singh, professor at U.C. Davis. He helped to open doors I didn’t know existed.
Last vacation: Skiing with my twin daughters at Bear Valley.
Jack Weaver, 33
Shareholder, Welty Welty PC, Healdsburg
As an attorney and shareholder at Welty Welty PC, Jack Weaver makes sure clients are always placed first and receive superior legal advice and service.
“I’m dedicated to quality work and always strive for improvement, while being actively engaged in our community and having a strong desire to grow as a professional, and as a firm.”
Greatest professional accomplishment: “Last year I worked with a client involved in a complex real estate contract dispute. Despite challenges, we were able to gain a successful and complete defense verdict as well as justice for our client.”
Next professional goals: “I would like to win all of my cases in the Sonoma and Marin County courts, continue to grow as a litigator and reach new clients.”
Mentor/admired businesspersons: My father, Clint Weaver, and my uncle Bill Carson.
Favorate after-work drink: Lagunitas IPA.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: A jet pilot.
Favorite movie: Top Gun.
Last vacation: In Kauai with my wife, daughter and close family friends.
Best advice received: “Just go talk to her,” from a friend in college referring to the woman who is now my beautiful wife.
Nate Weis, 35
Winemaker, Antica Napa Valley, Napa
Overseeing all winemaking activities from grape to bottle at Antica Napa Valley, Nate Weis is in charge of purchasing materials and packaging, interacting with the viticultural team, and managing facilities maintenance, operational readiness and compliance activities.
“I consider myself to be an ambitious, self-aware leader who intends to make a lasting mark on both my community and profession.”
Greatest professional accomplishment:
Being hired by the Antinori family as Antica Napa Valley’s first winemaker.
Greatest professional challenge: The forces of nature, pests and plant diseases, the current drought and the changing regulatory environment all present new and nebulous challenges.
Education: A BS in Biopsychology from UCSB, an MS in Viticulture and Enology from UC Davis, and an MBA, with distinction in the Wine Business, from the SSU Wine Business Institute.
Single most important event in your professional life: “We just hired a motivated and intelligent enologist, Melissa Apter, to help me with my workload. She came to Antica after working at the Tignanello estate in Tuscany.
Hobbies: “I’m a rugby fan and try to stay fit. I also have triplet 5-year-olds, and another son due in June, so spending time and helping them develop into good people is my number one priority.”
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