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Sonoma State University School of Business and Economics’ Armand Gilinsky Jr., Korbel professor; Sergio Canavati De La Torre, professor of entrepreneurship; and Jeffrey Young, B.A. 2012 and MBA 2016, received the 2017 “Best Case Award” following a double-blind peer review at the Western Casewriters Association annual conference in March.

The study, “Russian River Brewing Company in 2016: Crafting Strategies,” analyzed the brewery’s challenge of meeting fast-growing consumer demand while maintaining a focus on product quality and consistency. The case research examined the owner’s strategic choices in consideration of large-scale growth and its potential impact on customer perceptions, business operations and financial performance.

“According to the data, the smallest and largest breweries nationally, both by number of employees and by assets, are more profitable than their mid-sized counterparts,” Canavati De La Torre said. “There are opportunity costs in scaling a business to meet demand, and challenges to maintaining the quality and consistency that make a product successful in the first place. It’s a complex set of considerations including brand loyalty, financial performance, and technology and human resource infrastructure.”

Brewery co-owner Natalie Cilurzo earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from SSU in 1998.

Creative Sonoma, a division of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board, has announced a pilot grant fund for “popup creativity” projects. The fund, established with the support of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, will allocate up to $5,000 each for between five and eight public projects from across the county that animate the communities and neighborhoods in which they take place.

For details, go to creativesonoma.org/pop-up-grants or contact Kristen Madsen at kristen.madsen@sonoma-county.org.

St. Joseph Health Regional Cancer Care’s Breast Center, led by cancer specialists with St. Joseph Health Medical Group, earned a three-year, full re-accreditation by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers.

The program is administered by the American College of Surgeons. During the survey process, the cancer center voluntarily underwent a thorough evaluation and demonstrated its compliance with standards established by the program for treating women diagnosed with the full spectrum of breast disease. Standards include proficiency in the areas of leadership, clinical management, research, community outreach, professional education, and quality improvement.

The center excelled in all 29 components of care and exceeded every national standard, according to St. Joseph Health. The program surveyor described the center as providing an “excellent level of care” for both malignant and benign breast disease with noteworthy programs, including a “robust” education, prevention and early detection program and active access to clinical trials.

The Olive Press, with stores in Napa and Sonoma, was the only U.S. artisan olive oil producer to take home four gold medals at the New York Olive Oil Competition.

The company said the contest drew more than 900 entries from 27 countries. Entries were placed into 24 categories including organic, non organic, blends and monovarietals, Northern and Southern Hemispheres and by intensity.

On April 27, the winners of the competition — the best olive oils in the world — were unveiled, and The Olive Press received four Gold Medals for their Arbequina, Pcual, Italian Blend and Mission Extra Virgin Olive Oils.

The 2017 James Beard Foundation Award winners were announced on May 1, and the design of Healdsburg’s SingleThread farm, restaurant and inn nabbed one of the coveted awards.

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In the category of 75 seats and under, New York’s AvroKO won an award for their design of the high-end restaurant and inn, which opened late last year.

Corey Lee of Benu in San Francisco won the award for Best Chef in the West. La Taqueria in San Francisco was recognized by the James Beard Foundation as one of America’s Classics.

Redwood Credit Union was named “Best Credit Union” in Marin Independent Journal’s first annual Readers’ Choice Awards celebration held at the newspaper’s headquarters in San Rafael on May 3 and featured in a special 2017 Readers’ Choice Awards issue.

Sebastopol vintner Ron Rubin has made a major contribution to the UC Davis Foundation. The money will go to a special program at the University of California, Davis, library, which will enhance access and public use of the historic wine labels and menus. The amount of the gift was not disclosed.

The funds will establish The Ron Rubin/Maynard Amerine Wine Label and Menu Collection Fund.

Rubin studied under Maynard Amerine, who taught viticulture and enology at UC Davis for nearly 40 years. Amerine collected more than 5,000 wine labels, which date from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s. Those labels were digitized and made available online by the library in 2016.


This year’s Napa Valley College McPherson Distinguished Teaching Award was presented to former Mathematics Department Chairman Randy Villa of Santa Rosa, He reportedly said his passion for teaching math started in Santa Rosa where he lives but blossomed at Napa Valley College where he has worked since 1990.

Over the years, several of the college’s educators became students of his, including fellow math teacher Diane Van Deusen, Dean of Instruction Maria Villagomez, Rob Miller, Christina Rivera, Jeremy Ecklin and Jolie SanClair.

North Coast Resource Partnership awarded its first biennial Jimmy Smith Leadership Award to Rohnert Park Mayor Jake Mackenzie. The award recognizes Mackenzie’s achievements as former chairman of the partnership working to build communication and understanding among the seven counties and 34 Tribal entities of California’s North Coast Region, the group stated.

Sonoma County and the Sonoma County Water Agency helped to develop the partnership. The North Coast Resource Partnership established the Jimmy Smith Leadership Award to recognize individuals that continue the effort begun by Jimmy Smith to build consensus on sometimes difficult regional issues through mutual respect and honest communication.

Ruben Armiñana, Ph.D., past president of Sonoma State University, has been named this year’s recipient of the 2017 Leadership Award, according to St. Joseph Health. Sonu Chandi, downtown Santa Rosa business leader, is this year’s recipient of the inaugural Next Gen Community Impact Award. It is part of the 22nd annual James B. and Billie Keegan Leadership Series.

A luncheon will honor the pair on May 18 from 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m. at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Sonoma Wine Country hotel in Rohnert Park. Organizers said proceeds of this event will benefit Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital’s James B. and Billie Keegan Palliative Care Unit, an inpatient service that provides compassionate and comprehensive care to patients facing advanced stages of illness.

Hanna Boys Center announced that Mary Jo Potter is the 2017 winner of the Hanna Community All-Star Award. The award is given to the individual who most aptly demonstrates selfless commitment and devotion to Hanna’s ideals, mission and goals.

This year’s awardee was named at the 11th annual Evening With the All-Stars gala on April 22 in Sonoma and was presented by former Hanna board Chairman Jack Bertges.

As a consultant and investor, Potter has been actively involved in the health care industry for more than 30 years. Having sold her initial company to McGraw-Hill, she has started and sold a number of subsequent organizations, and has been an active investor in early stage innovators in health care. She has also served on several boards, including CHW/Dignity, CHI, CHRISTUS, Ocular Sciences, the University of California School of Public Health and three other private companies.