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The North Bay Business Journal is looking for news of promotions, new hires and awards for possible publication in the People section. Email your press releases to people@busjrnl.com.

Matt Parish has assumed winemaking duties at Lula Cellars in Philo, taking over from founding winemaker Jeff Hansen.

A New Zealand native, Parish was most recently chief winemaker for NakedWines.com, where he still continues to sell his Matt Parish brand.

Previously, he was vice president and chief winemaker for the Americas at Treasury Wine Estates, a portfolio that includes Beringer Vineyards in St. Helena, Stags’ Leap Winery in Yountville, Chateau St. Jean Winery in Kenwood and Etude Wines in Napa. Before that, he held winemaking roles at Constellation Brands and various companies in France, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

Lula Cellars is located in the coastal area of Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley and is noted for its limited-production wines.

Santa Rosa-based accounting and advisory firm Pisenti & Brinker, LLP, hired John Meislahn as director of business development, also overseeing marketing.

He most recently was sales and business development manager for Exchange Bank, where he has worked for 20 years.

Novato-based Marin Biologic Laboratories, Inc., hired Kevin Wilhelmsen, Ph.D., as a senior scientist.

Wilhelmsen was previously an assistant adjunct professor in the department of Anesthesia at University of California, San Francisco. His research at UCSF focused on elucidating inflammatory pathways activated in leukocytes and endothelial cells.

Prior to UCSF, he was a scientist at a small startup biotechnology company. There he was in charge of developing monoclonal antibodies to the EGF receptor. He completed his postdoctoral work at the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam.

Nick Stuart, SE, has been promoted to project manager at Santa Rosa structural engineering firm MKM & Associates.

Since joining MKM in 2013, Stuart has been working with developers, architects and general contractors. He received his Bachelor of Science in architectural engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Bank of Marin hired Christopher Stafford as a senior trust officer in the wealth management and trust group. Stafford will administer various types of trusts and manage relationships with beneficiaries and other clients as they relate to trust, tax, investment management and fiduciary accounting.

A practicing attorney in California since 2009, Stafford completed his undergraduate work at Sonoma State University then earned J.D. and LL.M. degrees in taxation from Golden Gate University.

Stafford is a former board member and long-time volunteer at the Holy Family Day Home in San Francisco

Zachary Taylor, CFP, joined The Zimmerman Group at Morgan Stanley. The financial advisory team is led by John Zimmerman, CFP, senior vice president and wealth adviser in Morgan Stanley’s Global Wealth Management Group office in Napa.

With 10 years of experience in financial services, Taylor has been with Morgan Stanley for one year and is a native of Berkeley. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Pacific Union College in Napa County.

Teresa Barboza affiliated with the Berkshire Hathaway Home Services/Drysdale Properties Napa office as a broker associate.

Barboza has more than 17 years of real estate and mortgage-lending experience.

Petaluma-based Star Staffing hired Dario Aguilar as social media recruiter and Alisha Rodrigues as staffing specialist.

Aguilar worked previously as a work-based learning coordinator at Social Advocates for Youth in Santa Rosa.

Rodrigues previously worked in customer service at Medtronic.

The North Bay Business Journal is looking for news of promotions, new hires and awards for possible publication in the People section. Email your press releases to people@busjrnl.com.

Michelle Covington has been hired by Sonoma County Family YMCA as chief advancement officer.

To meet the growing demand for preschool and healthy lifestyle programs for their diverse community of families, individuals and an aging population, the Sonoma County Family YMCA is exploring expansion plans for outreach and mentoring programs, group exercise and swim facilities, according to the announcement.

Covington was formerly director of development at Sonoma State University, where she raised more than $13 million in support for academics, enrichment programs and student scholarships, the announcement said.

She is also a Girl Scouts troop leader, a ASA softball coach, treasurer for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Wine Country Chapter and a member of the Redwood Empire Estate Planning Council.

Leslie Acoca, M.A., MFT, is now director of development and operations at San Rafael’s Daraja Education Fund.

Acoca founded and was president of the National Girls Health & Justice Institute, for which she created the Girls Health Screen, the only scientifically valid health and trauma screen for 400,000 incarcerated girls nationwide, the announcement stated. For her work, Acoca was awarded the Stoneleigh Fellowship Award and the Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award from the Dalai Lama.

Acoca’s past positions include co-founder of Commonweal; founder and director of Threshold for Change Inc., a treatment continuum for dually-diagnosed youth; director of the Women and Girls Institute at NCCD; and director of the National Girls Health Screen Project.

She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University and a dual master’s degree in counseling and psychology from the University of San Francisco. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist in California.

Jerry Oken has been elected chairman of Marin Community Clinic’s board of directors.

Oken, 77, joined the board eight years ago after serving on its finance committee and served as its chair from 2010 through 2013. He and his wife, Becky, have been donors to the organization for over 20 years.

Oken succeeds John Boland, D.D.S., and will serve a two-year term, which began this month.

Leslie Severe, a Napa County District Attorney’s Office investigator, has been named Investigator of the Year by the 1,600-member California District Attorney Investigators’ Association. The award will be presented at the association’s annual training conference in September 2017.

She served as a chief petty officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, followed by service as a deputy sheriff in Contra Costa County, where she worked in custody, patrol, street-apprehension team, SWAT and vice assignments.


Correction: The name of Lula Cellars was misspelled.