The North Bay Business Journal is looking for news of promotions, new hires and awards for possible publication in the People section. Send your press releases to the North Bay Business Journal, Attn: Business Register, 427 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa, CA 95401; fax 707-521-5292; or e-mail people@busjrnl.com.


Pisenti & Brinker LLP recently promoted two staff members to senior associate. Erica Barlas, CPA, is a graduate of University of California, Santa Barbara, and has been with the firm since May 2014. Previously she was employed by a firm in Santa Barbara. She specializes in real estate development taxation. Alyssa Foster, CPA, joined the company in January 2014 after being in the banking industry. She is a graduate of Simpson University in Redding. She works primarily in the firm’s assurance services department.


Long Meadow Ranch, Napa-based producer of grapes, wine, olives, olive oil, grass-fed beef and lamb, fruits, vegetables, and eggs, named Brad Groper vice president of sales, leading the wholesale division. Groper began his career, including three decades of distribution management experience, working for his family’s wholesale business, Branded Liquors. He co-founded Italian goods importer Dufour & Co in 1991, and as managing partner established U.S. distribution channels. After the sale of Dufour in 2004, he joined Domaine Select Wine Estates as vice president of sales and worked there 11 years.


Bank of Marin members of its 2015–2016 Marin County advisory board: Norma Howard, business consultant and bank board director; Diet Stroeh, partner of CSW/Stuber-Stroeh and bank director; Laura Bertolli, Bertolli’s Auto Body; Jeff Brusati, T&B Sports; Ronald Clausen, Clausen Law Group; Jack Diego, Diego Bros, Inc.; Stephen Easley, senior vice president and partner, DTZ; Melissa Prandi, president, Prandi Property Management; Dean Moser, HCA Management; John Williams, Sperry Van Ness/Delta Group Realty; Coy Smith, Novato Chamber of Commerce; Mike Flaherty, Flaherty Partners; David Gilmour, former CEO, Paradise Foods; Andrea Schultz, Greenbrae Management; Richard D. Spotswood, attorney.


Douglas M. Kuznik retired as president of Benicia Plumbing, Inc., after 35 years. Suceeding him is Bill Cawley III, son of founding owners Bill and Leeann Cawley. He began working in the shop during weekends and summer vacations as a young boy. Throughout high school and college, he worked as a laborer, fire sprinkler fitter and plumber’s helper. While at Texas A&M, he worked as an assistant field engineer performing building layout and surveying, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in construction management. After several years in construction, he joined Benicia Plumbing as an estimator and project manager. Later, he was promoted to vice president and mentored by Kuznik. In other news, Heidi A. Benjamin was named vice president, treasurer and secretary. She graduated from Santa Rosa Junior College and Empire College School of Business’ computerized accounting program. In 2003, she earned a B.A. degree in strategic management and leadership from Dominican University. In 2005, she was hired as Benicia Plumbing controller and in 2009 as corporate secretary and board member.


Glassdoor online employment service named Brad Serwin general counsel. He has decades of legal and operational experience at global organizations, including four public companies, and was most recently senior vice president and deputy general counsel at eBay, Inc.

Health Care

Camille Applin-Jones, R.N., joined Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center as the new medical group administrator for The Permanente Medical Group. A nurse with clinical and administrative experience, Applin-Jones was most recently an associate medical group administrator in Kaiser Permanente’s Napa–Solano service area. Her professional experience spans over the last 20 years in various inpatient areas, community health clinics, Kaiser Permanente, and the Army. She is a graduate of the Academy of Health Sciences U.S. Army at Fort Sam Houston, Texas (R.N.), University of Phoenix (B.S.B.M.) and Frederick Taylor University (MBA).

NorthBay Healthcare hired two new directors for cancer and cardiovascular care. Teresa Langley joined NorthBay Cancer Center in Fairfield as oncology service line director, overseeing medical and radiation oncology, breast oncology and support services. She has 20-plus years of experience as a health care administrator, most recently as oncology service line executive and Loyola University Medical Center liaison for Community Healthcare Systems in Valparaiso, Ind. She maintain licenses as a radiographer and radiation therapist. Christie Shackleford is the new director of NorthBay Healthcare’s cardiovascular service line. Her clinical background is nursing, with extensive experience in cardiovascular services, program development, physician practice management, marketing and service line oversight. She was previously executive director of the heart and vascular institute at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

Professional Organizations

Santa Rosa Breakfast Club, a leads, networking and business club, elected officers for the second half of 2015: Ed Berland, president; Steve J. Maderious, vice president; Larry Gilbert, secretary; and Virginia Passarell, treasurer.

Real Estate

Alex Araujo joined The Wiseman Company, a commercial real estate development, management and brokerage firm in Fairfield, as corporate controller where he will be responsible for all financial accounting, reporting, and tax preparation activities for the company and its portfolio of commercial office buildings. He will also manage the treasury, risk management, and human resource functions. He recently relocated from St. Petersburg, Fla., where he is licensed as a CPA and worked for Raymond James & Associates as a manager of accounting and financial reporting.


Bruno H. Schurter, founder of Santa Rosa-based Schurter, Inc., is retiring. Family-owned parent company Schurter Holding AG, was founded in 1933 in Lucerne, Switzerland. The third-generation executive started the Northern California subsidiary during the 1980s boom in Silicon Valley. Diane Cupples, who has been with the company since 1983, was appointed board chair, the first nonfamily member to hold that role, and Leonard Overholser, president and CEO. Overholser, a Sonoma State University graduate, has been with the company for nearly 20 years, heading North American sales and Schurter Holding companies global business development.


Master of Wine Liz Thach was named Sonoma State University’s distinguished professor of wine, part of the board’s resolutions to support the growth of the institute’s academic and research programs. Thach will work collaboratively on ongoing wine research programs; provide thought leadership to the global wine business industry; teach courses, seminars and workshops in wine and wine business; and connect with SSU alumni working in global wine industry businesses. In 2011, she received her master of wine designation from the Institute of Masters of Wine in London. She has published six wine books, over 120 trade and scholarly articles, and eight book chapters throughout her career. Her most recent book is Call of the Vine: Exploring Ten Famous Vineyards of Napa and Sonoma, which won the 2014 Gourmand Award for Best Women in Wine Book in the U.S.

Balletto Vineyards in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley hired two new sales managers: Jon Niemann, for Southern California, has nearly 20 years of wine sales experience, most recently with Balletto’s California distributor, Classic Wines of California. Casey Cole, new national sales manager and previously Santa Rosa Junior College Agriculture and Natural Resources Department chair, will focus on wine buyers at high-end retailers and restaurants.

Hamel Family Wines in Sonoma Valley named Clinton Huntsman executive chef.