The Napa Chamber Foundation and Mechanics Bank, with additional support from The Doctors Company, announced the following awards to residents in the Napa Valley: Doris Gentry, community booster of the year; Dr. James Cotter, health care professional of the year; Leila Carmel Norris and Nicholas Glaccio, Napa Valley College students of the year; Sara Brooks, hospitality tourism award of the year; Craig Smith, nonprofit employee of the year; John Robertson, public safety officer of the yearFinance

After working in Silicon Valley for more than 30 years, George Merrick recently opened an IFG franchise with the goal of helping small businesses grow in Sonoma Valley.  Mr. Merrick’s IFG franchise helps companies that have been turned away by banks or loan companies. Whether they’ve been around for 50 years and got hurt by the recession, or are new with only seven months of experience, Merrick and IFG can help. Rather than looking at the past, Merrick notes his clients are focused more on the future. Much of Mr. Merrick's client basein Sonoma Valley are involved with the wine industry, but the IFG franchise deals with some high tech businesses and a lot of manufacturing.


Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company announced that Amy Keyser has been promoted to senior vice president of human resources.  Ms. Keyser is responsible for setting the company's human resources strategy to create a high-performance culture and increase employee engagement. 

Previously, she oversaw employment law, ethics, and corporate investigations for Fireman’s Fund as a vice president in the general counsel's Office.  Prior to joining Fireman’s Fund in 2006, Keyser worked at several premier labor and employment law firms.  She holds a J.D. and bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.