Bank of Marin exec Marshall Graves wins North Bay Forty Under 40 award

Marshall Graves

Age: 37

Vice president, senior commercial banking officer, wine industry specialist, Bank of Marin

504 Redwood Blvd., #100, Novato 94947


Read other profiles of this year's winners.

Responsibilities with your company: Assist family-owned wineries in Napa, Sonoma, Monterey, Paso Robles, and Santa Barbara with their financing needs, including accounts receivable financing, vineyard development, winery construction, and real estate acquisitions.

In 25 words or less, how do you exemplify the spirit of being a top Forty under 40 professional?

I am a thought leader who is dedicated to being a linchpin in the wine industry while also continuing to inspire those around me.

Years with company: 3

Length of time in current position: 3 years

Number of companywide employees: 290

Number who report to you: 0

Greatest professional accomplishment: My greatest professional accomplishment to date is managing the expansion of Bank of Marin's wine industry presence to the Central Coast (Monterey, Paso Robles and Santa Barbara).

Historically, the bank has focused on assisting businesses located within the Bay Area, so to successfully build Bank of Marin's brand in a market as far as 350 miles away from our traditional footprint has been extremely fulfilling. The relationships that we have established in a relatively short period of time by simply being a resource to the wine community continues to inspire me.

Greatest professional challenge: My greatest professional challenge is ensuring that winery owners understand that we are not just seeking a transaction. We take pride in engaging in strategic conversations, offering suggestions and making introductions to other industry resources to help wineries and growers accomplish their goals.

Best advice received: If you are doing it for them, you will be fine. If you are doing it for you, they will know it. They will feel it. And they will not appreciate it.

Single most important event in your professional life in the last 12 months: Hiring my newest colleague, Michael Brughelli, to further bolster Bank of Marin's Central Coast wine industry presence. Michael is working at Bank of Marin part-time while also managing his own consulting business.

His expertise lies in winegrowing, winemaking, sales consulting, and vineyard and winery brand valuation. Marrying our distinctly different skill sets will allow us to bring a more dynamic approach to banking the wine industry and become an even greater resource to the wine community. We are extremely excited about having somebody of Michael's caliber onboard.

What steps is your company taking to sustain your organization and morale in the current economy?

From the perspective of assisting the wine industry, we began recognizing headwinds roughly 18 -24 months ago.

At that time we engaged in more granular conversations with clients and prospects about their cased goods and bulk wine inventory levels, rightsizing production and the importance of having a deep understanding of their data going forward.

We suspect that other financial institutions that do not fully understand the nuances of the wine industry will begin to let off the gas. This will provide Bank of Marin with the opportunity to show our clients and prospective clients who we are and what we stand for. History has shown that Bank of Marin understands what it means to be a community partner during challenging economic times.

Next professional goal: My next professional goal is to complete the Executive MBA in Wine Business program at Sonoma State University.

Education: Undergraduate degree - Old Dominion University, major in psychology, minor, sports management. University of California Davis Wine Executive Program

Hometown: Mill Valley

Community/nonprofit activities: Historically, I've been involved with the Boys and Girls Club and Junior Achievement. I was very involved when living in Washington D.C., but my participation has declined since the birth of my son. I look forward to ramping up my involvement again soon.

Mentor/admired businessperson: Muhammad Yunus

What is your most disliked industry buzzword?

Natural Wine. Not because I have an issue with the “natural wine” craze, but because most of the wineries that I speak with produce about as natural a product as possible and have been doing so for years.

It just hasn't been marketed as such. I do believe that many producers would benefit from taking a page out of the “natural wine producers' marketing playbook. Like it or not, their message is resonating with younger consumers.

Typical day at the office: There is no such thing as a typical day, which is great.

The majority of my time is spent speaking with wineries and winegrowers in Napa, Sonoma, Monterey, Paso Robles, and Santa Barbara about the market dynamics in their respective regions and assisting them with their strategic initiatives. When I am not on the road, I am focused on the analytical aspects of being a banker, including reviewing winery financial statements and structuring loans.

Best place to work outside of your office: Anywhere in Mill Valley. I absolutely love where we live.

Hobbies: 1) Being a father 2) Baseball (Go A's!) 3) Tennis 4) Cooking

What you wanted to be when you grew up: Growing up I always wanted to be a major league baseball player. During my childhood I traveled around the United States playing competitive baseball for the Virginia Blasters.

While a number of my teammates actually did make it to the big leagues (Sports Illustrated published an article titled “Virginia Boy Wonders” largely about our team), I followed my secondary dream of becoming a banker (kidding).

In all honesty, I never believed that I would find something that interested me as much as baseball, but I have found that in the wine industry. For this I am extremely grateful.

Marshall Graves

Age: 37

Vice president, senior commercial banking officer, wine industry specialist, Bank of Marin

504 Redwood Blvd., #100, Novato 94947


Read other profiles of this year's winners.

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