Bank of MarinSIX-TIME WINNERA year of milestones; how the winners were chosen; facts and figures of winners over the yearsBest Places to Work 2012 winner profiles20--50 employees51--100 employees101--250 employees251--500 employees501--1,000 employees1,001-plus employees101--250 employeeslisted alphabeticallyBank of MarinColdwell Banker Brokers of the ValleyCommunity Child Care Council of Sonoma CountyEmbassy Suites Hotel - San RafaelFirst American Home Buyers Protection CorporationIDEX Health & ScienceLa Tortilla FactoryPetaluma Health CenterREACH Air Medical ServicesSequoia Senior SolutionsSonic.netW. Bradley Electric, Inc.

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

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

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

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

"The bank takes a high-road approach by investing in employees, which may cost a little more in the short term, but will bring a much greater benefit in the future -- as well as increased employee satisfaction in the present," an employee said.Coldwell Banker Brokers of the ValleyTWO-TIME WINNER

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

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

Employees said the training and materials are always top quality. "We are at the front end of any changes in the industry before any of our competitors."

Management--employee relations are first rate. "They are fair in their decisions and treat us like partners, not the help. Our managers invite and implement suggestions from agents on a continuous basis. Regardless of the pressure of a situation, the response is calm and thoughtful, and we have a lot of fun too," employees said.Community Child Care Council of Sonoma CountyTWO-TIME WINNER

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

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

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

"We constantly keep our people informed as we wait for information about state budget reductions. Meanwhile, we continue to advocate for our programs with state legislators and try to find free training resources for our staff."

An employee said, "The 4Cs is a wonderful, nonintimidating environment where one can learn and feel free to ask questions. The critical services we provide to the community, and the people who are employed here, make this job very enjoyable."Embassy Suites Hotel -- San RafaelFOUR-TIME WINNER

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

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

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

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

"I can come to work at a job that I enjoy, and in a place that's all about providing good customer service. That's what real hospitality is all about."First American Home Buyers Protection CorporationFIRST-TIME WINNER

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

"First American has a great atmosphere. Everyone smiles and is always ready to come together and help each another when someone is in need," an employee said.

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

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

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

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

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


ROHNERT PARK -- IDEX designs and manufactures fluidic valves used in equipment found in chemistry labs worldwide. Employees feel good about making products that ultimately add to medical breakthroughs and improvements.

"Innovative engineering, strategic thinking and consistent profitability are what make our company great," an employee said.

"We focus on the customer and every team member is involved in measuring and driving continuous performance improvement."

 General Manager Greg Orr said, "Our manufacturing business is growing. With many firms downsizing, we just acquired a Japanese company. We develop products using innovative design and lean manufacturing techniques and add staff as sales grows and as our industry holds steady."

An employee said, "I enjoy my job, the people and products we provide. I've made many lifelong friends. We work hard and play hard."

Some of the events employees enjoy are bowling, Giants baseball, bring your child to work, learn at lunch programs, barbecues, pumpkin carving, ice cream socials and recognition awards. Each employee receives a birthday card signed by management every year.La Tortilla FactorySIX-TIME WINNER

SANTA ROSA -- This family-owned business has treated its employees as a key part of its extended family for 35 years.

"It's an inviting culture making awesome products that give consumers positive choices. TLF is a safe work environment and opens doors for us to continue our education," an employee said.

Sam Tamayo, CEO, said, "We have 230 employees committed to satisfying customers' needs through innovative and great tasting products that contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

"We've maintained the same level of benefits and employee events as we partner with SRJC to improve employee education and training initiatives."

There are on-site ESL and literacy classes as well as financial education and leadership training for management and production workers alike. The Jose and Mary Tamayo Scholarship gives preference to company employees and their children.

"Management freely interacts with us during group meetings," employees said. "Great products, great people, an open and comfortable work environment, plus a sound vision and business strategies add up to a good future."Petaluma Health CenterTHREE-TIME WINNER

PETALUMA -- PHC's 152 employees deliver affordable health care to individuals who may not otherwise have access to high quality care.

"We are an amazing nonprofit resource for the community, which makes everyone feel good about working here. The staff is friendly and positive and the leadership is fantastic," an employee observed.

CEO Kathryn Powell said, "As demand for our services has risen, our challenge is coping with growth in order to meet those needs. We added 50 employees since last year and have a great mix of visionaries, planners and implementers."

Employees are included in weekly and monthly meetings that describe growth opportunities and gather staff ideas for programs to meet community needs or for ways to improve and deliver services.

"The people I work with have deep concern for our patients and their care," one said. "We enjoy working in a high-performing organization, where we are respected for our skills and can go home every day with a sense of accomplishment. We make everything run well."REACH Air Medical ServicesFIVE-TIME WINNER

SANTA ROSA -- REACH has been able to expand in difficult times through prudent fiscal management and highly strategic regional growth initiatives.

Employees speak enthusiastically of the positive attitude of the people at REACH.

"It is a group of approachable and fabulous people. Our commitment to do what is right for the patient and the level of training and experience of employees is extremely high. The firm also strives to be the best when it comes to pay and benefits," employees said.

"Managers are good people with good values that make every effort to treat employees with care, compassion, respect and consideration."

CEO Jim Adams said, "This year we incorporated 'Just Culture' into our safety and management systems that provides a non-punitive reporting process allowing REACH to learn and continually improve."

The company continues to conduct employee focus groups to address staff survey findings and to encourage their input on how to reduce costs.

Last year REACH became the first air medical services provide to receive the Diamond Certified designation.Sequoia Senior SolutionsFIVE-TIME WINNER

PETALUMA -- Understanding and meeting client needs, while actively listening to what employees and clients have to say, is the hallmark of this provider of affordable home care in Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties.

"The ability to help seniors stay where they feel most comfortable is a rewarding part of my job. I enjoy working with positive people who like what they do. Understanding and thoughtfulness goes into the way we care for clients and how management cares about us."

CEO and President Gabriella Ambrosi said, "We continued to offer training and did not cut salaries during even the worst of times, while sustaining an active employee recognition program."

Another worker said, "Managers stay abreast of industry needs and requirements and help us achieve our goals, contributing to a strong sense of self-worth. They foster a wonderful environment where we are encouraged to give feedback and suggestions."

Sequoia demonstrates the importance of community involvement by staying connected with those who need to know there is always someone who can help.


SANTA ROSA -- This full-service Internet provider is not only dedicated to delivering fast, reliable and inexpensive tech support and connectivity for its customers but also committed to maintaining close-knit relationships with employees as well.

"Sonic.net fosters a sense of community and family. It's an amazing feeling to love the company and to enjoy the work that we do here," an employee said.

Founder and CEO Dane Jasper said, "The continued success of Sonic has created many jobs in Sonoma County for technology and the Internet services field. We are continuing to hire and seek out new candidates on a weekly basis. We couldn't have as fantastic feedback as we do from customers if it wasn't for the care, compassion and work ethic of our 140 employees."

 Another employee said, "My co-workers are great, friendly, very helpful, there is a real each-one-teach-one vibe here, and everybody gets help and is brought up to speed. Every person is helpful, both management and nonmanagement."W. Bradley Electric, Inc.FIVE-TIME WINNER

NOVATO -- WBE always tries to find creative ways to keep the work environment interesting and entertaining. "They really do care about us and our kids," an employee said. "I'm impressed with the kindness with which everything is handled."

Long-term personal relationships have played a key role in the 35-year history of WBE.

 "We've nurtured a very talented group of employees who are experts in their respective fields. This helps us continue to provide a full benefits package, including long-term disability insurance," said CEO Leslie Murphy. "We are in a hiring mode bringing in new employees while maintaining our current staff."

 Employees say WBE people are by far the best. "We have fun every day, from chili cookoffs and catered lunches to having a kitchen stocked with snacks. The company cares about our health. We compete to see who can walk the most.

"We also celebrate when the company does well, from ringing bells and gongs when large projects are booked to having massages on large billing months."