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(Editor's note: The companies with the three highest employee survey scores in their size category were invited to submit company photos to accompany their profiles.)

Winners are listed alphabetically in their size category.Circle BankFive-time winner

NOVATO -- Providing a supportive work environment where employees can make a difference and serve their community are essential ingredients of job satisfaction at Circle Bank.

"It all stems from the concept that we are neighbors and local business people working with our community," said Kim Kaselionis, president and CEO. "It is a growing, challenging and exciting place to work."

Study after study shows that people enjoy their jobs more and do their jobs better when they feel what they do has an impact.

"Ours is a young culture that appreciates out-of-the-box ideas for process improvement and business development. In our industry that is very hard to find. We truly feel like we are part of a team and that our ideas are valuable," an employee said.

Circle Bank has created a dynamic environment that includes staff community event days, a volunteer program along with picnics, holiday parties and a staff retreat.

It also invites local charities, such as Homeward Bound, to share its space and serve cookies in its branches.

"All of us share the vision of being an valuable asset to our communities, our customers, and our bank," another staff member said.Coast Landscape ManagementThree-time winner

NAPA -- The ability to focus on providing the highest level of service with common sense standards has enabled Coast Landscape Management to thrive.

"This is a testimony to the ability of management to adapt to the new business climate. We are a family and work as a team with a can-do attitude, but still hold each other accountable for our success as a group," an employee said.

CEO Kelly Solomon says: "We have an amazingly generous and caring staff that works hard everyday. They are committed to excellence. We have a good safety record with no accidents, which is a tribute to our staff. Everyone has a critical part to play. Our team is strong and has high mutual respect."

The firm is increasing its sales force to sustain its revenue stream while also stepping up customer service efforts to retain existing business.

The staff enjoys a congenial relationship with management. "Our managers put their heads together and made the best decisions during tough times and, thankfully, we have a shared vision for a better future," an employee said.Costeaux French Bakery, Inc.First-time winner

HEALDSBURG -- At Costeaux French Bakery, employees are stakeholders and a vital part of the business.

"The true key to our Costeaux success is thinking of the business as a family," said general manager William K. Seppi. "Each person is vital to the whole and their duties and suggestions matter. We celebrate each one as though he or she is our own son or daughter."

"Will is a kind, caring, proactive, person who empowers his employees to do whatever it takes to make the customer happy, as well as ensure that all customers have a pleasurable experience. He knows all employees by name, as well as information about their kids, and acknowledges everyone pleasantly," an employee said.

The 88-year-old company continues to make improvements to its facilities and product line. During the peak of the economic crisis, Mr. Seppi orchestrated a massive remodel of the Costeaux retail store to rave reviews, and jobs increased three-fold.

More space led to more products, volume material purchases and greater margins -- and greater customer satisfaction.

"What I like is that our managers fully explain what you need to do, train you and don't rush you to get it done, since they trust it will get done correctly. I feel really happy to work here," another staff member said.Filtration GroupFour-time winner

SANTA ROSA -- By concentrating its efforts on quality control to maintain customer demand, Filtration Group was able to weather the economic storm.

"We take great pride in running the business in an ethical and caring manner," said Alison Huber, Santa Rosa plant manager for the maker of filtration devices.

"Happy and successful team members form a solid business foundation from which we all can build, prosper and give back to our families, friends and community."

Employees say managers always go the extra mile to accommodate their needs. "Ours is a fast paced business, so the days go by quickly. The workweek is four days, giving us a three-day weekend. I don't mind having to come in sometimes on Fridays to take care of customers."

Employee recognition has high priority. The company offers ESL classes in the workplace along with cross-training opportunities allowing it to maintain a 40-hour workweek for its employees during slow times.

"We meet regularly to discuss options on how to improve productivity and the quality of our products and services. What makes our company great is unity and support, enabling us to reach our full potential," an employee said.First Community BankSix-time winner

SANTA ROSA -- "Our company is extremely entrepreneurial and very focused on quality of life concerns," said President and CEO Kathy Pinkard.

"We highly encourage and promote excellence at all levels within the organization. We center our attention on community, employee health and satisfaction at work -- and having a good time. Clients and employees rave about the friendliness of our bank."

"We spend so a lot of time together, probably more than I see my family -- I hate to admit. I feel that I have a strong bond with many of my co-workers," one employee observed.

Some 28 percent of employees serve with one or more local community agency, and over 50 percent volunteer at non-profit groups. Upper management is comprised of 77 percent minorities and women.

"The company is sensitive to our lives in every way. We have had many milestones and heartaches and have stuck together to form one of the best places to work. We enjoy contributing to the bank's future," an employee said.George Petersen Insurance AgencyThree-time winner

SANTA ROSA -- Those looking for a fair, relaxed, flexible and trusting work environment, and one in which managers let people do their jobs without a lot of oversight, would feel right at home at the George Petersen Insurance Agency.

"We have great employees, most of whom have been with us for many, many years," said Robb Daer, one of six owner-partners in the firm.

"We have been fortunate to be able to grow our business in recent years, but we could not have done it without such a great bunch of people."

An employee said: "We have a very low turnover rate. All of us get along and work well together. We all know what needs to happen to meet our goals and everyone steps up to achieve them. Our management team is progressive and young. It doesn't feel like a big corporation."

The firm has managed its expenses carefully and has brought in new sales talent to help it grow into the future.

"Our company has done a good job investing in infrastructure. We are well positioned to not only weather the storm, but to thrive," another employee said.Golden Living CenterTwo-time winner

[caption id="attachment_41028" align="alignleft" width="198" caption="Golden Living Center Best Places to Work celebratory flyer. It achieved the highest employee survey score for all companies."][/caption]

PETALUMA -- With 90 of 100 employees at the Golden Living Center are minorities and women, and the firm obtained the highest employee survey rating for all companies -- a near-perfect 4.98.

"We focus on providing appropriate care for patients while striving to be the healthcare facility of choice in the community," said an employee.

"Customer satisfaction results are up 11 percent over last year and we received the American Healthcare Association's Bronze Award for our commitment to quality," said Connie Smith, senior executive director. "Our managers welcome a free exchange of ideas and embrace reinvention from within as part of a multi-cultural environment."

The company pays for ongoing staff license renewals and offers a full suite of benefits including a modern break room, employee of the month parking, weekly staff bingo games, monthly events and an off-site Christmas party.

Staff members enjoy playing softball and BBQs and giving back to the community by volunteering for blood pressure clinics, at senior centers, food drives, and by supporting the American Heart Association, the Alzheimer's Walk, a hospital foundation and other causes.

"Everyone likes working here. Each month our president sends me an email so I know what's going on -- and get to provide feedback," another employee noted.Infineon RacewayFour-time winner

SONOMA -- A feeling of inclusion goes a long way to keep the staff engaged, challenged and enthusiastic at Infineon Raceway.

"We request input from all of our employees on how to keep customers excited about coming to our raceway events," said Steve Page, president and general manager. "This input has made us more creative in giving customers a variety of price points and new options."

"We can disagree, confront and resolve issues with little or no residual effect because staff opinions are welcome and respected," he added.

"Steve Page's attitude is contagious. His personality and energy permeate the organization. We have a positive working atmosphere for individuals to take control of their work," an employee said.

Employees say their organization does a wonderful job in maintaining solid lines of communication on all fronts.

 "This makes employees feel empowered and responsible for the raceway as a whole and our standing in the community. It also helps to foster a sense of purpose and motivates our team to be the best we can be," an employee said.Moss Adams, LLPFour-time winner

SANTA ROSA -- Emphasis on employees at Moss Adams is as strong and dedicated as the excellent service provided to clients.

According to one employee, everyone is given a "voice" to speak out on what's important to them, and management takes all input into account when making decisions.

Employees at this 98-year-old firm enjoy flexible work schedules, telecommuting, paid parental leave, adoption assistance, backup child and elder care, plus an Employee Assistance Program for spouses and domestic partners that includes legal consultation, financial counseling, care referrals and professional parenting advice.

The firm has a structured training program and ongoing mentoring, as well as a diversity program and a forum to help accelerate women's careers.

"The company offers the flexibility to have a career that fits me as an individual. I am able to be a mom and have a career at the same time," an employee said.

"We have been voted one of the 10 best accounting firms for women by the American Women's Society of Certified Public Accountants," said Ty Pforsich, Santa Rosa managing partner. "Our core values are summed up in the acronym PILLER, that stands for Passion, Integrity, Llifetime Learning, Leading by example, Excellence and Respect."Petaluma People Services CenterFour-time winner

PETALUMA -- Serving others in the community who are struggling, and helping to improve their social and economic health, dignity and self-sufficiency, is the mission of the Petaluma People Services Center.

"I am so proud to be associated with such a great group of compassionate community care givers," said executive director Elece Hempel. "Every person who works or volunteers here gives 100 percent of themselves to make sure someone else's life is better."

According to an employee, "Every staff member is dedicated, loving and caring. We are all about helping people."

Maintaining high employee morale is vital. "We participate in I-Walk Sonoma County and organize a soup day where everyone brings an ingredient we throw into a pot to have lunch together. We also have a special dog, named Stella, for our youth therapy sessions who also visits each staff office for a treat and a pat," Ms. Hempel said.

Employees also enjoy a Spring Fling and a staff retreat with team-building games, a state-of-the-agency address, swimming and lots of good food.Sequoia Senior SolutionsFour-time winner

PETALUMA -- By fostering a level of professionalism unmatched in the home-care industry, Sequoia Senior Solutions is raising the bar on standards of care.

"We were able to get through the worst of the economic slump by restructuring and streamlining our administrative processes," said Stan Lawson, CEO.

"Our payroll and accounting systems were brought in-house achieving better response and control. We also formed a Quality Assurance Team with an outstanding staff who coach, develop and mentor other caregivers."

The company also takes pride in its extensive caregiver selection process that matches their skills to compliment clients, increasing staff satisfaction.

"The company is very supportive and looks for people with big hearts who love helping others. I'm proud to be associated with such a wonderful organization and a great group of people," an employee said.Sonoma Technology, Inc.Five-time winner

[caption id="attachment_41029" align="alignleft" width="350" caption="The weather room at Sonoma Technology."][/caption]

PETALUMA -- One of STI's key objectives is to improve and increase communication at every level, while also keeping an eye on the bottom line, ensuring quality and broadening the business base.

"STI is a great place to work because our president, Lyle Chinkin and all of our managers truly care about us," an employee said.

"The firm is run in an open and ethical manner where all 68 employees have an opportunity to work on projects that really make a difference in the lives of our clients and the public."

The company instituted a tuition reimbursement program and recognizes employees for jobs well done. Anniversary awards are given along with recruitment referral bonuses when staff members bring in new hires.

"This is the healthiest company I have ever worked for in my long career. It also walks its talk, always following through on its dedication to integrity and quality," another employee said.

STI-sponsored events include a summer picnic, holiday party, volleyball games, a BBQ and trivia contests.St. Francis Winery & VineyardsFirst-time winner

SANTA ROSA -- Concern for employee health is just one of the reasons why the St. Francis Winery is a best place to work.

"We recognize and appreciate the value and unique contributions of every member of our team," said President and CEO Christopher W. Silva. "When people are recognized, they are happier and more productive."

"This includes motivational events and our pioneering Workforce Wellness health screening and educational seminars conducted in English and Spanish.

According to an employee, "The Wellness Program has been a great resource. It allows me to check my own health and I really felt the company cares about my well being as a person. This program is extended to all employees, including temporaries."

The company hosted a pasta feed for its customer service staff and conducts safety meetings that are both fun and informative. The annual holiday party honors years of service and includes Santa with presents for every child, a tradition that goes back 30 years.Summit State BankTwo-time winner

SANTA ROSA -- "What makes our bank stand out is the quality of our staff that continues to attract quality customers," said president Tom Duryea. "This results in Summit State Bank continuing to be recognized as a top performing community bank serving Sonoma County."

An employee said: "We make every effort to extend credit to small businesses in the communities we serve. We are members of the Go Local program and try to purchase from and refer to other businesses in the community. Furthermore, we support non-profits, not only with funds, but with our volunteer time."

Recognition events and awards help to instill a spirit of service. "By appreciating our employees, they pay this respect forward to our customers and our community."

Company-wide emails are sent to celebrate Summit and individual successes. The bank has a generous educational reimbursement program and encourages community service through its Summit Day of Service.

Employees often go above and beyond. "I saw an employee who stayed late and arrived early the following morning to execute a wire transfer for a customer that had his wallet stolen while vacationing overseas," an employee said.Umpqua BankTwo-time winner

NORTH BAY -- The heart of customer service radiates throughout Umpqua Bank.

"I know my customers will be taken care of whether they are in a store, calling the contact center or working with a business partner," said Kellie England, SVP and regional manager. "Not many companies have that type of service culture."

Umpqua Bank created the World's Greatest Bank University (WGBU) that provides ongoing education through in-class instruction, live and recorded webinars, and e-learning including over 3,000 courses and certificate programs within SkillSoft. With this program, associates can select from over 3,000 courses and certificate programs through e-learning to develop skills and venture into new areas.

Community involvement is also actively encouraged. Full-time associates can volunteer up to 40 paid hours annually, and part time employees can volunteer up to 20 hours. In 2010, 1,729 Umpqua associates volunteered a total of 36,024 hours.

"Our managers understand that a 'thank you' or a 'you did a great job' goes a long way in making an employee feel good about doing his or her job," an associate said.

The bank sponsors many events, from golf tournaments and the Relay for Life to tax clinics, a Kids Spree, holiday gift drives and CalSERVES Read-a-Thon each year.Wells Fargo Insurance ServicesThree-time winner

PETALUMA -- Team members at Wells Fargo Insurance Services are encouraged to use resources available to them to enhance career paths, including job descriptions, salary range data, in addition to team member training and other development tools.

They also have access to support services useful in their personal lives through an Employee Assistance Counseling program. This program offers discounts on a variety of financial, legal, educational, commuter assistance services -- including adoption and Weight Watcher reimbursements -- plus community service time off for volunteer activities.

"I'm lucky to have a group of dedicated and hardworking team members who provide excellent service to our clients on a daily basis," said regional managing director Mark Stokes.

Employees realize that Wells Fargo Insurance is a positive environment where they can grow.

"As big as we are, there is still a small office feel, coupled with a strong sense of stability, that tells us we can make it through good times and bad. The resources available to us are incredible and far above those found at comparable companies," one employee said.