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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.Bank of MarinFive-time winner

NOVATO -- Bank of Marin continues to maintain its strong leadership position among the top four largest banks in the North Bay.

"We're implementing a new retail officers training program and increasing our efforts to enhance career development and internal promotions for our people," said President and CEO Russell A. Colombo.

"As part of this company-wide effort, we are stepping up our collective efforts to delivery legendary service to each other and our customers."

With 245 employees and 13 locations, the bank is the eighth-largest public company in the region and the number one community bank in Marin County.

"We have a great reputation. Employees are proud to say they work for Bank of Marin and customers are proud to say they bank with us. The personal attention the company provides to both employees and customers makes this bank a great place to work," an employee said.

Employees are encouraged to volunteer for community service and collectively have donated over 7,000 hours. The bank contributes 1 percent of pre-tax profits per year, which is distributed among 250 local non-profits.

"We have a great work environment. Our tradition of integrity and respect in the community makes doing our jobs easy and rewarding," an employee added.Cagwin & DorwardFirst-time winner

NOVATO -- "You have never met nicer, more sincere group of people who genuinely love to serve than you will find here at Cagwin & Dorward," said President, CEO and CFO Dennis Dougherty. "We have employees that really care about the planet, and each other, and I couldn't be happier than being among them."

The landscaping company continues to invest in employee education and recently introduced customer relations and time management training.

"Building and maintaining beautiful landscapes with a concern for the our environment is what we are all about. People who work here truly embrace the culture of C&D. We are customer centric and care for the environment," an employee said.

A Winter Savings Program was created, where employees specify an amount from each check with a percentage contributed by C&D, with monies paid out at Thanksgiving. This program was instituted to help employees, who work less in winter months due to rain to save money.

 "We have great teams of talented people. I am very satisfied working here and have been with Cagwin & Dorward for 29 years," a long-time employee said.Collotype LabelsFirst-time winner

NAPA -- At Collotype, the camaraderie among employees and management is second to none, said President David Buse.

"We have a relatively flat organizational structure where every employee -- regardless of job title -- is encouraged and challenged day one on the job to share ideas and participate in improving our business."

The firm's formula for success in down times is to focus on continuous improvement efforts to drive waste out of its processes, along with emphasis on skill-based development for our associates giving them opportunities to advance.

"As our company continues to grow, we have not lost our commitment to our values. I still feel the passion for the industry and respect all the strides the company has taken to insure we are the world's best premium wine and spirits label solutions provider," an associate said.

Collotype has a company-wide social club that organizes picnics, safety barbecues, record month BBQs and a Christmas event.

"Not a day goes by without a customer commenting on how impressed they are with our 'can-do' attitude and tireless efforts to deliver the best solutions for them," another associate said.Embassy Suites HotelThree-time winner

[caption id="attachment_41036" align="alignleft" width="270" caption="Working the kitchen at Embassy Suites Hotel, which achieved the highest employee survey score in the 101-250 category."][/caption]

SAN RAFAEL -- At Embassy Suites, team members help one another. They do this by assisting in another department, covering a shift for someone, or by jumping in to catch someone up, according to one employee.

"Our team members make this company a great place to work," said Pat Sorber, general manager. "They are the backbone of our hotel. Each one works hard to consistently provide the level of service and hospitality our customers expect and deserve. We work together to make a difference as a family and a team."

 Several recognition programs and awards are in place, including departmental incentives, Team Member of the Month, Manager of the Quarter, and Spirit of Embassy nominations and awards.

"I was given an opportunity to take on additional responsibilities based on my prior performance and appreciate being recognized and rewarded for my efforts," a team member said.

Morale is reinforced with sponsored breakfasts, lunches, walk-around breaks, a summer picnic, breakfast with Santa, a holiday party, ice cream socials and team-oriented games throughout the year.

"Our company culture revolves around being gracious -- engaging and caring -- to make a difference in the lives of our team members and guests," another team member said.Goodwill Industries of the Redwood EmpireThree-time winner

SANTA ROSA -- Employees come to work each day at Goodwill Industries striving to create opportunities for people in the community who are struggling.

"The work we do and the opportunities we create for skill building, employment, life skills and recovery, is great," said president Mark Ihde.

"Our people are exceptional and it is among them that the process of changing lives and strengthening communities begins. We are a unique blend of social work and retail business that works."

Despite the times, the company worked to secure raises for employees earning $9/hour or less. It developed a first annual awards banquet with staff input to honor employees at all levels.

"All employees are held in high esteem, are treated fairly and take pride in our work. Each does what he or she can to support their community and programs designed to help people get back on their feet," said an employee.

 Leadership participates in staff meetings at all locations on a quarterly basis to inform employees, field questions and create a better line of communication -- while also taking the pulse of the company and giving people an opportunity to air concerns.Idex Health & ScienceFive-time winner

ROHNERT PARK -- The ability to keep the level of communication high, while focusing on targeted results and continuing fun events, is all part of the balancing act at IHS, a company dedicated to producing high quality liquid subassemblies and precision components through innovative design and lean manufacturing techniques.

"Idex Health & Science is a great place to work because our employees are passionate about what they do, open to change, and proud to be part of a winning team," said general manager Greg Orr.

"Much of our culture is driven by a willingness to challenge the status quo respectfully. It also involves transparency in revealing our plans and results, and knowing how to enjoy the journey along the way."

Today the business is growing and the company has been able to bring in new employees despite the economy.

 "My co-workers are very enjoyable to work with. We all drive for results, adhere to strong ethics and get together at frequent employee gatherings," an employee said.

 The company sponsors a series of events including summer BBQs, Scandia Family Fun Nights, a Halloween Haunted Lunch Room, an annual soup, salad and chili cook-off, holiday and lunch days.La Tortilla FactoryFive-time winner

SANTA ROSA -- This family business is committed to satisfying customers' needs through the production of innovative, and great tasting, tortilla products that contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

"Our firm was founded by an immigrant family that created a successful company through hard work and perseverance -- and one that respects the community from which it came and the people who work for them," in the words of one employee.

"We are dedicated to improving the lives of our employees through on-site ESL and literacy classes, financial education classes and leadership development courses," said CEO Stan Mead.

"We also donate extensively to community organizations and sponsor monthly parties, a summer picnic, a health and wellness fair and a Christmas party to reinforce our cohesiveness and family values."

Throughout the economic slowdown La Tortilla Factory continued to contribute to its employee benefits program at the same level and maintained its partnership with SRJC to improve its ongoing employee education and training initiatives.

"The Tamayo family continues to make quality product that improve customer's lives, while providing a growing number of jobs and contributing to the well being of the community," an employee said.Nova Group, Inc.Three-time winner

NAPA -- For employees of the Nova Group, a heavy engineering and construction company, the firm is more like an extended family than a workplace, even though its operations are worldwide.

"Our people maintain close relationships, despite the distances between them, by using tele- and video conferencing, newsletter as well as face to face interaction," said Ronald M. Fedrick, CEO and board chair.

"Our family-oriented environment includes a 0.75 mile fitness/nature trail, a dog-friendly office, lots of BBQs, charitable fundraisers such as the 1st annual Novathon -- where employees collected donations for 18 charities of their choice and walked, ran or jogged on the nature trail for a week. Nova generously provided a 100 percent match for a total of $28,358. It is a great place to work," an employee said.

There are many other events, such as July hot dogs, and voluntary bag lunch and speaker days where employees learn about investing, healthy living and balancing life's activities.

Employees are also involved in blood drives, Adopt-a-Platoon and Cup of Joe (buying a cup of coffee for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan) and Fat Tuesday Cajun luncheons along with trips to sporting events, group museum visits and other events.Petaluma Health CenterTwo-time winner

 

[caption id="attachment_41040" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="The Petaluma Health Center OBGYN staff."][/caption]

PETALUMA -- With a culture described as "open, sharing, helpful and transparent," in the words of employees, the Petaluma Health Center has a staff completely committed to providing the best quality of care to the whole community.

"Everyone here has a sense of purpose beyond just having a job and a paycheck. We care about helping the community, especially the underserved and disenfranchised, have the best health care possible," an employee said.

"We recognize employees' contributions every chance we get," said CEO Kathie Powell. "We decentralized administration and communicate transparently by sharing everything with our staff. People feel much more comfortable when they are kept informed."

She said physicians and professionals from around the country inquire about working for us because of our holistic and patient-centered, prevention-oriented health home model of care.

"Even though we are a non-profit ourselves, our staff also serves on boards of other local agencies, including the Petaluma Health Care District, Petaluma Valley Hospital, Petaluma Bounty and various school boards," Ms. Powell said.REACH Air Medical ServicesFour-time winner

SANTA ROSA -- In 2011, REACH became the first air medical service to be independently rated and to receive a Diamond Certified designation.

"Our people have a passion for service and a mission that literally involves saving lives -- as well as a visionary founder, Dr. John McDonald, who instilled excellence and skills that are part of everything REACH is and does," said CEO Jim Adams.

"REACH manages to maintain a balance between the driven professionalism needed for the industry and a relaxed welcoming atmosphere that most people want in their workplace," an employee said.

The company's intensive four-week training academy instills the vision to "always do what is right for the patient" in new employees.

REACH conducted a company-wide employee survey and visited each of its 12 sites in California, Oregon and Texas to conduct focus group meetings. The firm has also encouraged employee input and ideas to create improved workflows and contribute to lower costs.

"Management is dedicated and committed to employee wellbeing, safety and success. This, in turn, makes a person want to do the best for the company and themselves, to make REACH an excellent air medical patient care provider," an employee noted.Sonic.net, Inc.First-time winner

SANTA ROSA -- Sonic.net's philosophy is to serve customers well by treating them well -- and that starts with treating staff well. Employees see their environment as a relaxed and flexible work place.

"The company supports staff development and flexible scheduling in many positions," an employee said.

According to CEO Dane Jasper, Sonic.net has launched new products, and is growing its staff and customer base.

"Customers are hungry for more connection bandwidth for Internet and office-to-office services, along with reduced costs. We are a full-service Internet provider dedicated to delivering fast, reliable and inexpensive connectivity while providing award-winning technical support. To be in a position to do this means taking good care of the people who provide our services," Mr. Jasper said.

"Hard work is rewarded, and management keeps everyone informed when workloads may be increased. Appreciation is shown for everyone's extra effort," an employee said. "A majority of us are friends both in and outside of work."

Sonic.net schedules periodic movie nights for employees and leases a theater for major openings. It also sponsors a family summer picnic and a year-end gala.W. Bradley Electric, Inc.Four-time winner

NOVATO -- WBE has made every effort throughout its 35-year history to keep its employees motivated, satisfied and happy with the company and their positions.

"At W. Bradley Electric, retaining customers for the long term is the first priority," said CEO Leslie Murphy. "Our vision of being able to work for clients for years has been very successful -- whether the projects are for big customers or small requests for maintenance and service."

The company was able to maintain a reasonable volume of business to weather the financial storm.

"Our company attracts and retains great people who are driven to succeed and work well together. The perks aren't bad either, even during recession ping-pong tournaments, popcorn everyday, afternoon yogurt socials, birthday lunches, pet day (where awards were given after a parade), continued. And the list goes on and on," an employee said.

WBE recently formed the National Telecommunications Integrators Group, a consortium of nationwide telecom cabling infrastructure companies, to provide the necessary project management labor and materials for national roll outs, new construction, outside plant, network infrastructure and tenant improvement projects.