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Discover why these 99 North Bay companies are Best Places to Work in 2021

Welcome to the presentation of our annual special section honoring this year’s winners of the North Bay Business Journal’s Best Places to Work awards. Not only welcome, but ‘Hello.’ I am Lorez Bailey and earlier this month, I became the publisher of the Journal.

Though new to this position, I am hardly new to this area and I suspect I know some of you in the North Bay business community already.

From 2016 until just recently, I was executive director of Chop’s Teen Club in Santa Rosa, where we worked to help teens reach their full potential by building relationships and connections to their community. My career path also includes working in the nonprofit sector, workforce development and media in the North Bay.

My past work directly relates to the new work I have taken on at the Journal because it continues to be all about building relationships. The Journal is the premier business-to-business website and publication in the North Bay. In addition to reporting the latest regional business news, we honor our relationships with readers, advertisers and businesses in the counties we serve every day.

For each of you, there’s no doubt that this has been one challenging year. Disruptions from the COVID-19 virus that emerged in 2020 continue to challenge us today. Our businesses were changed, along with the lives of our customers and employees.

This is why it’s been especially important this year to recognize those 99 companies that rose to the occasion and, by the judgment of their workforce, are truly the “Best Places to Work.” Supporting your workers this year proved more critical than ever. Whether it was keeping essential workers protected and safe in the office, or working closely with remote staff, business leaders went the extra mile for their entire teams. That is commendable.

That makes it even more heartening to see that more than 7,650 employee surveys were completed for this year’s program.

The average score on the survey of workers was 4.48 out of 5. Several of the companies had 100% employee survey participation, and others were very close to that figure.

We began the process to prepare the 16th annual Best Places to Work honors early last spring, followed by a mandatory anonymous survey period in early summer of employees, followed by the final selections in July and August.

Those selections by the Journal’s editorial staff were based on the employee survey results and participation, comments and employer applications.

And in a milestone event this year of COVID-19, our honorees were recognized at a live event on Sept. 15 at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rosa.

Longtime Journal readers will know that we started selecting the best places to work in 2006.

That first year, we had 24 winners. It was our vision then, and remains today, that we needed to recognize exceptional employees and highlight exceptional workplace practices. Since we began, the number of businesses we have been able to recognize this way has doubled, then doubled again.

While it has been great to get the response we have gotten for the Best Places to Work awards, we’ve always felt the award is only part of the impact of the effort.

The larger, longer-term value is the anonymous feedback of employees. Used expertly, this feedback can tell an organization whether it is doing well and where it might improve. And the designation continues to be an invaluable tool for employee attraction and retention.

So while I look forward to continuing my relationship with those of you I know, and look forward to meeting new people, we are happy to present this year’s winners of the North Bay Business Journal’s Best Places to Work on behalf of our co-host, Exchange Bank, and our underwriters, Kaiser Permanente and the Trope Group. And to the winners, we say, “Congratulations!”

—Lorez Bailey, North Bay Business Journal publisher

Profiles of this year’s Best Places to Work

By Gary Quackenbush, for The North Bay Business Journal

2021 winners

  1. Abbey, Weitzenberg, Warren and Emery
  2. Adobe Associates
  3. Akili Interactive
  4. All Weather Architectural Aluminum
  5. Allen Group
  6. Anova Education
  7. Arrow Benefits Group
  8. AUL Corporation
  9. Becoming Independent
  10. Best Collateral
  11. Beyers Costin Simon
  12. BPM
  13. Bridges Restoration (dba West Coast Fire and Water)
  14. Carlile Macy
  15. Central Valley
  16. Centric General Contractors
  17. Child Parent Institute
  18. Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley
  19. Community First Credit Union
  20. Community Support Network
  21. Corcoran Global Living
  22. Cork Supply USA
  23. Cornerstone
  24. Dal Poggetto & Company
  25. DH Wine Compliance
  26. Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty
  27. Dillwood Burkel & Millar
  28. Don Sebastiani & Sons
  29. Earthtone Construction
  30. Eckhoff and Company CPAs and Advisors
  31. Eleven Engineering
  32. Exchange Bank
  33. Friedemann Goldberg Wargo Hess
  34. GC Micro Corporation
  35. George Petersen Insurance Agency
  36. Ghilotti Bros.
  37. Ghirardo CPA
  38. Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire
  39. Healdsburg Lumber Company
  40. Hennessy Advisors
  41. Henry’s Original
  42. Hilton Garden Inn – Sonoma County Airport
  43. Idex Health & Science
  44. Intelisys, A Scansource Company
  45. Intervine
  46. Interwest Insurance Services
  47. Jackson Family Wines
  48. Keysight Technologies
  49. Kiosk
  50. KLH Consulting
  51. Ledson Winery & Vineyards
  52. Legal Aid of Sonoma County
  53. M.A. Silva Corks USA
  54. Marin Humane
  55. Mengali Accountancy
  56. Meritage Medical Network
  57. Mike’s Bikes
  58. MKM & Associates Structural Engineers
  59. Napa Valley Fumé
  60. North Coast Title Company
  61. North Marin Community Services
  62. Nova Group
  63. O’Brien Watters & Davis
  64. Parkpoint Health Clubs
  65. Peju Winery
  66. Peterson Mechanical
  67. Pisenti & Brinker
  68. Poppy Bank
  69. Private Ocean Wealth Management
  70. Psychstrategies
  71. Quattrocchi Kwok Architects
  72. Redwood Credit Union
  73. Russian River Brewing Company
  74. Schurter
  75. Scott Laboratories
  76. Sequoia Senior Solutions
  77. Siyan Clinical
  78. Smith Dollar
  79. Sonoma Clean Power
  80. Sonoma Technology
  81. Spaulding Mccullough & Tansil
  82. St. Francis Winery & Vineyards
  83. Star Staffing
  84. Summit Engineering
  85. Summit State Bank
  86. Summit Technology Group
  87. Sutter Instrument
  88. The Beale Group
  89. The Bundschu Company
  90. The Scott Technology Group
  91. TLCD Architecture
  92. Traditional Medicinals
  93. Tricorbraun Winepak
  94. W. Bradley Electric
  95. Willow Creek Wealth Management
  96. Woodruff Sawyer
  97. WRA
  98. WX Brands
  99. YWCA Sonoma County

ABBEY, WEITZENBERG, WARREN AND EMERY

TWO-TIME WINNER

As one of Northern California’s premier full-service law firms for almost a century, Abbey, Weitzenberg, Warren and Emery provides its clients with general civil representation in all courts for a wide range of real estate and business transactions.

The Santa Rosa-based firm’s multi-disciplinary approach includes banking, corporate and real estate, employment, construction, personal injury/wrongful death, and medical in successfully serving their clients in malpractice cases, as well as product liability and class action law. Staff specialists handle litigation in connection with estate and trust, insurance, corporate finance, elder abuse as well as Kincade wildfire, civil rights litigation and vehicle collision claims.

Managing Shareholder Brendan Kunkle says, “We strongly value our commitment to our 29 employees and our community.

We have all had a difficult year working remotely and maintaining connection.

I think we have done well by continuing to keep all employees working and taking great care of our clients. We all look forward to getting back to normal.”

Some 16% of upper management are women or minorities. The culture is one of hard work and fun. There are frequent lunches, team celebrations and holiday parties.

Employees in the survey said, “There is a sense of family and a tremendous collegial spirit at the office. What makes Abbey Law a Best Place to Work is great people, their passion for justice along with the respect and support given to all.”

Several charities and organizations for youth are supported. Attorneys have participate in the boards of organizations such as Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB), Sonoma Land Trust, Boys and Girls Club and United Way.

ADOBE ASSOCIATES

NINE-TIME WINNER

Adobe Associates in Santa Rosa is a North Bay civil engineering, land planning, wastewater design and stormwater management firm with a 40-year history.

“We created a culture that overcomes distractions to achieve what matters most to our clients, our teams and our organization,” said David Brown, principal, and CEO. “We all feel a part of something bigger than ourselves, and everyone has a say in how we can best meet the needs of our clients.”

The tenure of Adobe’s 39 employees averages 9 years, and women and minorities comprise 20% of upper management. Salaries range from $42,000 to $119,000 per year. There is a basic benefits package and other fringes along with an ongoing training program. Job openings are posted internally, and promotions are based on experience and annual performance reviews.

While company events have been on hold due to COVID-19, in the past they have included Friday breakfasts, birthday celebrations, bowling parties, baseball games picnics, trips to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, KOA camping, beach outings, an open house and a formal holiday dinner.

Adobe supports the Elizabeth Morgan Brown Foundation, Rebuilding Together Santa Rosa, United Way, the American Cancer Society, Peanuts on Parade, the Santa Rosa Chamber, Cardinal Newman High School, Active 20/30 Club and the North Bay Chapters of CLSA and ACEC.

“The environment is friendly and flexible… There is always room for upward mobility if you put the time in… The company went to great lengths to have people work from home where possible… Adobe kept everyone employed in the pandemic… Everyone here is invested in the company’s success,” employees stated.

AKILI INTERACTIVE

FIRST-TIME WINNER

Akili Interactive in Larkspur is bringing together world-class neuroscience combined with the latest visual entertainment technology to challenge the status quo of medicine by creating a new class of personalized digital therapeutics for people living with cognitive impairment.

This solution is delivered through participation in captivating and immersive interactive video games using adaptive algorithms designed to directly generate physiological changes in the brain to improve attention function.

“On top of getting to work on the world’s first digital therapeutic video game (EndeavorRx®) — that is FDA cleared and now being prescribed to adolescent ADHD patients — Akili also strives to give employees a true work/life balance,” said Matt Omernick, chief creative officer.

The company offers stock options, a flexible work environment, along with fun and engaging company events. Akili has 29 employees in Larkspur and 44 in Boston.

Women or minorities comprise 55% of upper management.

Akili has 4 employee-driven committees that deal with a host of needs, including Engage (internal events), Thrive (employee wellness), Connect (volunteerism), and Inclusion (diversity).

Akili did a lot of pivoting during the work-from-home period while keeping its culture strong and growing by hosting fun virtual events, sending out surprise swag in the form of stimulating items like custom puzzles.

Employees say: “Akili has attracted smart, capable rock stars from different industries, treated them well and empowered them to work and solve big problems together with opportunities to contribute and be recognized…Great innovative culture and levity, patient-focused and driven by the impact we are making on our patients while genuinely enjoying working together.”

ALL WEATHER ARCHITECTURAL ALUMINUM

TWO-TIME WINNER

All Weather has five decades of experience in hand-crafting custom aluminum and glass windows and doors.

“We have a strong culture that offers mutual support, promotes trust, rewards employees’ efforts and ensures that employees know their work is meaningful,” according to Bertram DiMauro, president of this Vacaville-based company with 120 employees.

“We make professional growth a priority and ask employees what they are interested in doing and how they would like to see their careers unfold. We believe that working with people who are supportive and understanding fosters personal connections that last a lifetime. We invest in our employees and reward those who perform well. Salaries range from $35,000 to $150,000 annually.

All Weather commits a portion of its profits to philanthropy. The CARES Committee sponsors a quarterly community charity event, such as a canned food drive for a local food bank, at the Boys and Girls Club, with Coats for Battered Women, End 68-hours of Hunger, Rise Against Hunger and a backpack drive for students returning to school.

Quarterly Linking Our Outstanding People (LOOP) meetings are held to recognize the employee of the month and year.

Lunch is provided, games are played and company news is shared.

Employees’ survey statements include: “It’s a family-owned, high-performance culture where employees care for each other and where management is respectful and knows your name…We’re always moving forward with products, people development and the times…Everyone is a team player knowing it takes all of us to get the job done.”

ALLEN GROUP

FIRST-TIME WINNER

Allen Group LLP is a client advisory services firm offering CFO, accounting and bookkeeping services to the wine and construction industries. Established in 2009, this Santa Rosa firm has 24 employees with half of the management positions held by women or minorities.

Tim Allen, the company’s founder and managing partner, has 30+ years of finance experience. “The accounting industry typically requires long hours and overtime. We provide a true lifestyle balance with work schedules of 32-40 hours per week — never more — and have successfully kept this schedule for 12 years while meeting or exceeding our clients’ expectations.”

Salaries range from $56,000 to $193,000 a year.

He believes it’s important for employees to feel valued, supported and empowered.

Allen Group provides a friendly and social atmosphere that promotes a challenging learning and collaborative environment.

Employees can set their own flexible work schedules, work part time or partially from home. The firm provides PTO, performance and referral bonuses and merit increases. Fringe benefits include free deli lunches and coffee, cell phones, a home internet stipend and membership to a business training platform for continuing education.

There have been weekly happy hours and wine tastings and an annual party as well as bowling nights. The firm is planning new activities after the pandemic.

Employees’ survey statements include: “The work is fast-paced and challenging with awesome coworkers… Management shows they care about employees in their actions, not just words… There is strong cohesion, and we all want to serve our clients well...We enjoy a strong reputation in the industry for quality work…It is a relaxed and professional environment.”

ANOVA EDUCATION

TWO-TIME WINNER

Nonprofit Anova is located within the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts.

Anova’s ACE schools are the only specialized program in Northern California designed to serve K-12 students with high functioning autism by teaching essential life social and behavioral skills for independence, and instilling the confidence required for success.

ACE stands for the Accelerated Christian Education school curriculum, structured around the literal interpretation of the Bible, while teaching academic subjects.

This curriculum is used in over 6,000 schools in 145 countries. Anova serves almost 400 students daily on two campuses and provides services to 500 other families in Northern California.

“Anova was founded on the belief that all children deserve the opportunity to learn and will succeed when provided with the proper learning environment. Being part of the Anova team is more than a career, it’s giving back to the community and working with a sense of purpose,” said Andrew Bailey, CEO and founder. “Anova has served over 5,000 families to date.”

This tight-knit family of nearly 110 teachers, behavior analysts, therapists and support personnel in Santa Rosa works with children with learning disabilities and develops customized educational plans for each student.”

Bailey says the staff uses advanced techniques and pioneering methods in a holistic approach that integrates diagnostic and therapy services into academic instruction.

Employees’ survey statements include, “The company cares about its employee’s health and wellbeing…The compassion employees have for students and helping to make a positive difference in their lives makes Anova great…There is comradery, and a warm atmosphere…The people I work with are amazing.”

ARROW BENEFITS GROUP

SEVEN-TIME WINNER

Since 1986 Arrow has managed the complexities of benefits with expert advice, customized programs and personalized HR solutions. The company is part of the TRUE Network of independent employee benefit firms nationwide serving as strategic partners to share best practices in consulting, operations, sales, leadership and agency management.

“Our goal is to truly serve our clients. We find that happy, engaged customers make for a happy engaged staff,” said Joe Genovese, CEO and managing principal. “We focus on creating an empowered company culture. We have grown exponentially over the years, and acquiring new talent enhances our ability to serve our clients, team and build on our strength to deepen our commitment to our North Bay communities.”

When Covid-19 hit, Arrow immediately set up systems to address the needs of its 35 employees and clients by establishing a variety of communications models, such as telecommuting and video conferencing, offering new educational videos, establishing dedicated text channels and email, all specifically designed to keep everyone informed.

The company offers 20 hours per year paid time off for employees to perform community service, matches staff donations for nonprofits, and enables group participation in community events and involvement in philanthropic efforts.

There is an annual review process for all employees with mentoring as a key factor in their success. Average employee tenure is 12 years.

Employees’ survey statements include: “The availability of training, flexible remote working arrangements and teamwork are what make Arrow great… Everyone has a positive attitude…I feel welcome and supported…We work together to achieve a collective mission and have the tools to accomplish this.”

AUL CORPORATION

EIGHT-TIME WINNER

AUL Corp. began in the used car service contract industry, including finance and insurance (F&I) and Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP) with the introduction of the “Any Year, Any Mileage” vehicle service contract in 1990.

AUL expanded its brand identity and industry presence with its “One Partner. A Total Solution” slogan and quality client service resulting in the firm administering 2.5 million service contracts and paying claims totaling $900 million over the next 31 years.

“At AUL, we have long held that our people will always be our most valuable asset. As such, we strive to treat employees as respected members of the AUL family,” said Jimmy Atkinson, CEO and president.

“By empowering and supporting our 96 North Bay team members in Napa, they deliver the same care and passion through our agents, dealers and customers — creating a superior customer experience that is difficult to match. To be honored by them during a year when everyone has had to transition to a work from home environment is a wonderful validation of our efforts.”

Employee benefits include gym membership, bereavement leave, eight paid holidays, and a paid volunteer day. The basic package includes a PTO program, major medical coverage for employees and their dependents with small employee contributions and an HRA account.

Almost all current management and team leaders were promoted internally.

Salaries range from $33,280 to $300,000 annually.

Employees say AUL is a Best Place to Work due to: “Team spirit, fairness, great leadership, a supportive environment with continuous knowledge transfer as well as open and honest communication.”

BECOMING INDEPENDENT

TWELVE-TIME WINNER

Becoming Independent (BI) is a social impact nonprofit organization established 54 years ago in Santa Rosa to support those with developmental disabilities in becoming more engaged so they can live meaningful and productive lives.

“Since our founding, BI has been defined by resiliency, innovation and an abiding ability to adapt, especially due to challenges faced during the pandemic,” said CEO Luana Vaetoe.

“To discover a treasure trove of creative adaptations that meet challenges effectively, you need look no further than adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families and allies.”

The culture is outward focused fostering inclusivity and dignified opportunities for all people. BI offers those served the chance to elevate their abilities, live independently, participate in the community and enjoy social relationships.

The 150-employee workforce is diverse with many women, minorities and individuals from varying backgrounds — 83% of senior management personnel are minorities or women.

Employee benefits include a comprehensive medical, dental and vision package with several insurance options, 403b retirement with company match, as well as EAP and PTO with 10 paid holidays.

Job openings are posted internally first with consideration given to current staff members. Fringes include tuition, cell phone and gym reimbursements, referral bonuses and an on-site fitness center.

Employees’ survey statements include: “BI is always thinking of creative ways to improve services, training and personal development…Through the pandemic, BI went above and beyond to support staff and clients ensuring we could stay connected while socially distant…Ideas and input from employees are valued and encouraged…We have a committed and talented leadership team and an energetic staff.”

BEST COLLATERAL

SIX-TIME WINNER

Since 1993, Best Collateral has provided confidential, hassle-free pawn loans with no credit check to consumers, providing families with extra cash needed for family emergencies, such as those experienced during COVID-19 business closures, job losses and the economic downturn. The company’s Bay Area locations include four in the North Bay (Santa Rosa, San Rafael, Novato and Vallejo) as well as in San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, and Marysville.

“Our employees take pride in what they do every day,” said President Robert Verhoeff.

“Best Collateral is unlike many other businesses. We are diverse in what we do, (banking, jewelry and retail), diverse in people and diverse in our business philosophy.

This makes what we do fun and our company great.”

The culture is based on values — honesty, respect, dignity and integrity. The goal is to create an environment that is friendly, inclusive, warm, nurturing and exciting.

Promotions are made from within whenever possible. Employee tenure ranges from 5 to 10 years.

Best Collateral has 16 North Bay employees, 41 throughout Northern California.

Company contributions include hosting Chamber of Commerce mixers, donations of cash and merchandise to local schools and nonprofit organizations such as Police Canine Unity and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Employees’ survey statements include: “Sometimes people need a little help and Best Collateral is here…Our service helps customers keep their lights on, cell phones active, groceries in the fridge and gas in their tanks, all without a loss of dignity…The culture top down is like a tight-knit family…Management invests money for training to benefit our future.”

BEYERS COSTIN SIMON

SIX-TIME WINNER

Santa Rosa-based real estate and business law firm Beyers Costin Simon’s motto is “Our Goal is Your Success” when it comes to solving complicated challenges.

With a team of 19 experienced litigators, business lawyers and support personnel, the firm provides legal counsel ahead of today’s changing marketplace based on its employees’ deep expertise, creative thinking and concern for its clients.

“Our firm has long worked to cultivate a workplace where employees want to come every day,” said President James Beyers.

“We not only challenge our employees to do their best at their jobs. We also offer them a range of fun, relaxing activities throughout the year.”

Activities include an afternoon trip to the Sonoma County Fair, lunchtime BBQs, and team-building events.

BSC employees are offered the opportunity to participate in a flexible spending cafeteria benefits plan and supplemental insurance coverage. After six months employment, they can also participate in 401K profit sharing plan with employer contribution. In addition, employees receive 3 weeks of PTO.

The average tenure of employees is 14 years.

Salaries range from $45,000 to $155,000 per year. Employees serve on boards of directors for various community organizations.

The firm supports the Marine Corp League Toy Drive and donates to the Sonoma County Legal Secretary Association Christmas Charity Fund.

Employees’ survey statements include: “Passion and intensity drives the company, it’s a great environment to work in… We have a diverse team and being with my coworkers makes Beyers Costin Simon great.”

BPM

SIXTEEN-TIME WINNER

BPM is one of the largest California-based accounting and consulting firms with multiple offices across the Bay Area. The firm provides comprehensive business counsel for a wide range of accounting, tax and financial matters, and has an international tax practice and a separate SEC practice serving 35 public reporting companies.

BPM’s Santa Rosa office serves emerging and mid-cap businesses as well as high net worth individuals in a broad range of industries.

“Our people-centric focus and dedication to service applies not only to clients and colleagues but to individuals and families who make up the communities where we live and do business.,” said Carol O’Hara, North Bay partner in charge.

“Our brand promise — ‘Because People Matter’ — reflects our culture and commitment as we recognize that our success is directly linked to theirs.”

BPM’s culture is known for its congeniality and support with open communication; emphasis on work-life balance; attracting and retaining a diverse, inclusive workforce; providing opportunities for internal growth, and fostering women’s leadership and social responsibility.

The firm has 713 employees, 61 in the North Bay, with women and minorities comprising 69% of upper management.

BPM fills positions and promotes from within.

BPM’s multicultural employees represent 30+ countries and speak 21 different languages. The firm supports and encourages colleagues of all genders, ethnicities and those who identify as LGBTQIA+ to feel comfortable expressing their authentic self.

Employees’ survey statements include: “BPM cares about us and encourages a sense of pride in everything we do… There is open attention to employees and our wellbeing…There is flexibility and a willingness to hear everyone’s suggestions.”

BRIDGES RESTORATION (dba WEST COAST FIRE AND WATER)

FIRST-TIME WINNER

When storms and wildfires rage, damage must be dealt with quickly. Bridges Restoration LLC, doing business as West Coast Fire and Water, specializes in providing a range of residential and commercial emergency mitigations since 2011 — including working with property owners after the Woolsey and Paradise Camp Fires.

Services provided include handling fire, smoke and water damage, mold remediation, biohazard cleanup, storm damage repairs, board-ups and roof tarping.

“Helping others during these stressful times in their lives, knowing that every employee in the company truly cares about each customer, makes our company great,” said Doug Bridges, founder and CEO of this Kelseyville-based company.

“Each of our 75 employees’ thoughts and opinions matter. Their success is our success.”

Bridges said cross training, and the drive to help those facing disasters whenever employees can, creates cohesion among team members.

The culture places emphasis on maintaining a positive environment along with continuous training and communication to keep employees motivated and engaged.

There are daily and weekly meetings with management to cover concerns or issues.

Classes are offered outside of work to promote field-and-life building skill education and financial responsibility. Salaries range from $31,000 to $150,000 per year.

The company sponsors family events — BBQs with fun, sun and raffle prizes as well as a DJ and photo booth, plus a Christmas party where annual bonuses are distributed featuring a slideshow of candid and silly photos of the team.

Employees’ survey statements include: “Our bosses are always looking out for our best interests…We have flexible schedules and opportunities for personal development …The honesty, integrity and willingness of everyone to help is really appreciated.”

CARLILE MACY

FOURTEEN-TIME WINNER

In 1996 two professional design firms established 50 years earlier merged to form Carlile Macy, a multidisciplinary firm.

Projects includes public street and public utility infrastructure, urban streetscape design, creek restoration and parks.

Private projects include single and multifamily housing, healthcare facilities, sports fields, commercial centers and hospitality venues.

“What makes Carlile Macy a best place to work is simply that we care,” said President Mark Hale. “Caring for our 19 employees, our clients and their goals is the foundation upon which we have built a respectable, collaborative workspace.”

Hale said the people in the office are fantastic.

“We strive to create environment where their talents can be realized and improved, and where no one’s voice goes unheard. We take pride in the ways we enhance the areas where we live.”

The average tenure of employees is 15 years, and salaries range from $54,000 to $140,000 a year.

Carlile Macy hosts family picnics and a camping trip each September along with a holiday party. There are monthly raffles with 2 - $25 gift certificates given away along with pizza parties. During COVID, there were virtual game nights featuring Pictionary, bingo, etc. played over Zoom.

Employees surveyed said: “We share a sense of family with encouragement and praise when deserved and advice offered when needed…The people are great, the workplace is pleasantly unique… The work ethic is strong here, and benefits are good.”

CENTRAL VALLEY

THREE-TIME WINNER

Central Valley is a diversified, top 100 U.S.

building supply company. Family owned and operated since 1955, Central Valley has locations in Napa, St. Helena, Healdsburg and American Canyon.

Foster Lumber Yards, Inc., part of the Central Valley family, has two sites in Vallejo and Fairfield serving Napa and Solano Counties for over a century. Collectively, these locations have 228 employees.

“We believe that if we get our culture right, we can achieve great things,” said Stephen Patterson, president and CEO.

“Central Valley’s foundation upon which we are building centers on the notion of ‘empathy’ — being mindfull of how our actions connect with employees, customers, vendors and our community. All facets of what we do rely on how connected we are with the people we hire, serve and partner with.”

Central Valley donates 2% of profits to help build strong families and affordable housing. Employees receive eight hours of paid volunteer time a year. Charitable gifts have been given to St. Helena Foundation, 4H, the Napa Community Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Our Town St.

Helena, etc.

Cash prizes are award to employee of the month each quarter, and employee of the year, to recognize those who go above and beyond.

Employees surveyed said: “We are always striving to improve and grow…It’s a friendly environment and a fun place to work…I have a great relationship with my manager and co-workers.”

CENTRIC GENERAL CONTRACTORS

FOUR-TIME WINNER

Centric is a construction management and building company with offices in St.

Helena and New Orleans providing specialized construction services.

Services include comprehensive feasibility and pre-construction planning, project management and permit expediting. The company focuses on refining the construction process through transparency, open communication, knowledge sharing and by constantly searching for ways to improve.

“Centric creates a working environment that supports and values employees, resulting in a healthy company culture where everyone feels like they are part of a family” said Dave Riordan, director of operations. “We take pride in all of our projects and are fortunate to have a portfolio of work throughout Sonoma and Napa Counties and in San Francisco.”

Employees appreciate lunches provided at job sites. Afterhours hosted activities include trips to Giant’s games and excursions on the Wine Train, along with a summer pool party, cooking classes, a holiday event, monthly happy hours, birthday lunches and boating on the bay.

Centric supports Jamison Animal Rescue, Nimbus Arts, Youth Rugby Camp, St.

Helena High School and through holiday charity contributions ($50/employee with 4 local charity options).

Employees surveyed said: “Centric has a wonderful people working together to build amazing structures…Management expresses its satisfaction with tangible appreciation…The staff has positive attitudes and is committed to providing the highest quality service.”

CHILD PARENT INSTITUTE

FOUR-TIME WINNER

Child Parent Institute, formerly California Parenting Institute, is a parent education and children’s mental health agency, serving families throughout Sonoma County since 1978.

CPI’s continuum of care includes child therapy, family resource assistance, parent education, facilitated supervised visitation, and therapeutic and recreational creative arts programming. It also operates a non-public school (called New Directions) providing adolescent special education and mental health services.

“Looking back at our 43-year history, I never thought I would have to include a pandemic scenario in our business continuity plan,” said Executive Director Robin Bowen. “Our staff worked exceptionally hard to support families, students and children, while providing basic needs — diapers, rental assistance, distance learning for students, opening access to parenting classes and providing free consultations to hundreds of families through Zoom, and numerous parent/ children online counseling sessions.”

Bowen said, “I am immensely proud and grateful that that I got to work with all of our amazing staff over the past year.” CPI has 88 employees and 100% of upper management is minorities and women.

During the pandemic, CPI worked closely with On The Move to distribute over $3M in emergency financial assistance to Latinx/Indigenous families affected by COVID-19.

CPI’s culture uses a strength-based approach to encourage staff to take on new challenges from a trauma-informed perspective.

Clear and frequent feedback is given while promoting the need for selfcare.

Employees surveyed said: “Helping people in need in a difficult time is one of the best rewarding jobs ever…Everyone is professional, friendly and passionate about work…I feel supported, understood and honestly inspired.”

COLDWELL BANKER BROKERS OF THE VALLEY

TEN-TIME WINNER

The Coldwell Banker brand is the oldest and most established residential real estate franchise system in North America.

Founded by Colbert Coldwell and Benjamin Banker in 1906, today this organization has 3,000 offices in 49 countries and territories, including Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley offices in Napa, St.

Helena and Sonoma.

“Our offices are more than just a place to work. Our company of 130 licensed real estate professionals and 36 support staff are a cohesive team that consistently puts our clients’ interests first,” said Logan Songer, general manager.

“The sellers and buyers we serve include many repeat clients, members of their families and the friends they refer. Our agents and staff are pleased to have many opportunities to introduce newcomers to local cities and towns. They enjoy sharing the unique aspects of Napa and Sonoma lifestyles with those considering a move to the region.”

He said the brokerage hosts weekly business meetings with more than 75 associates on Zoom to promote listings and buyer needs in both the Napa and Sonoma Valleys.

Employees work hard and play hard.

There are trips to Giants games, staff bowling nights, fun company golf tournaments, a holiday party, wine and cheese socials, Tahoe trips and more.

Community involvement includes co-hosting Napa Valley Community Housing Golf Tournaments, working with the food bank, as well as supporting paper, toy and shoe drives.

Employees surveyed said: “I could not do my job if I didn’t have such amazing support behind me…I love the activities our company coordinates that include everyone…Management is always ready to mentor me, answer my questions and provide guidance…We have excellent, ongoing education.”

COMMUNITY FIRST CREDIT UNION

FIRST-TIME WINNER

Community First Credit Union was founded in 1959 by seven teachers. Since then, CFCU has expanded to 60,000 members in Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Lake and Mendocino Counties. Over $3 billion in locally earned dollars have been reinvested locally.

“We put people and community before profits,” said CEO Todd Sheffield. “We return would-be profits to the cooperative in the form of lower loan rates and higher deposit rates, for improved digital banking (“Maggie,” our banking bot & app), for additional ATMs/branches, and to employees and non-profits in communities we serve.”

Since 2019, CFCU made direct contributions of $190,000 to nonprofits including REFB, the Living Room and the Lake Family Resource Center.

CFCU was the first North Bay Community Development Financial Institution to have “contactless” instant-issue debit cards, a 24/7 virtual banker powered by AI, a mobile app for deposits via smartphone, and a Spanish-language website.

In a 2020 survey, 88% of employees rated the culture as highly positive or positive, and 93% said “The work I do is meaningful to me.”

During the pandemic, CFCU gave employees a weekly “mental health” day off, and an additional 10-hours of vacation per month to back-office staff and 16-hours of PTO per month to front-line employees.

This is on top of 3-weeks vacation for new employees. A 4 th week of vacation is added for employees with 5-year tenure — and a 5 th week for those with 10 years.

Employees surveyed said: “They don’t just talk the talk, CFCU really cares about the community and employees….

Great pay, great hours and great people… Everyone is welcoming, warm and eager to help.”

COMMUNITY SUPPORT NETWORK

TWO-TIME WINNER

Each year Community Support Network provides housing for more than 200 homeless individuals with behavioral health challenges in CSN’s Sonoma County homes.

CSN offers permanent supportive housing at Sanctuary House, Stony Point Commons, and Grand Avenue, board and care long-term housing at Brown Street and Hope House and a temporary homeless shelter for men and women at Sanctuary House. Social rehabilitation housing services are offered at CSN’s A Step Up, Bridges and E Street locations.

“Our diverse and exceptionally talented staff collaborates in a productive, organizational culture,” said Tom Bieri, executive director. “Clear, healthy communication is the norm and strongly-held values of compassion and accountability help us successfully run high-quality supportive housing programs. Employees gain meaning in their lives from having purposeful jobs and are encouraged and supported in developing a good work-life balance.”

Comprehensive medical coverage is provided for all full-time employees, including acupuncture and chiropractic).

In addition, a hiring referral reward, bereavement leave, professional development, sick leave, and (due to the pandemic) retention pay, along with life insurance, dental, vision plans, 9 paid holidays and a retirement plan.

Employees surveyed said: “CSN is great because of the strong management team, availability of support, crisis response and mitigation and because of the work we do on a daily basis...I work with authentically passionate people with caring and a sense of pride and meaning in our work…We work as a team and united by the belief that our work is vital.”

CORCORAN GLOBAL LIVING

FIRST-TIME WINNER

Founded on the principle of putting people first, Corcoran Global Living (CGL) serves California and Nevada’s Reno- Tahoe area with more than 1,600 real estate agents and associates collectively producing over $6.4 billion in sales.

“With 140 professionals and 46 strategically located offices in the North Bay, Corcoran Global Living is well positioned to provide exceptional service to its very loyal customer base,” said Betsy Serafini, vice president of sales.

“We have a forward-thinking leadership team with deep roots in real estate and notable private investment banking who handle real estate from luxury homes and income properties to vacation getaways and first-time homes. Our team has the experience, insight and expertise to achieve and surpass clients’ highest expectations.”

The open, collaborative culture is comprised of those with various life experiences and skills that strengthen the environment.

New agents receive the highest level of training, support and “cheerleading” available. This has led to a retention rate averaging from 5 to 10 years. Some 57% of upper management is women or minorities.

CGL takes a hands-on approach to community building through direct involvement.

In total the company has given more than $1 million and thousands of hours of volunteer time and fund- raising support to various local charities.

Employees surveyed said: “There is a bottoms- up approach where everyone has input and is heard…CGL gives me freedom to work how I like to work on my own time and pace…Everyone wants to see each other succeed…People share a spirit of collaboration and noncompetitive teamwork.”

CORK SUPPLY USA

FIVE-TIME WINNER

Cork Supply USA is a global leader in the production of high-quality corks for the wine industry. Beginning in 1981 as a supplier of corks to the U.S. market, it opened a second finishing plant in Australia, followed by a quality control lab, a South Africa plant, sales operations in France, Spain, Argentina and Italy and a finishing plant in China. In 2016 the company began manufacturing technical cork-based closures. The company has 84 North Bay employees.

“Cork Supply is what it is today because of our employees — One Team, One Dream.

It is a family-first organization that puts employees first to foster a culture of passionate people who love what they do and put that passion into the products we produce,” said CEO Peter Hladun. “Our brand promise is to treat our customers and employees with the same level of respect in every way possible.”

A 12-member Committed to Culture team drives and nurtures an intentional culture comprised of the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, attitudes and behaviors shared by employees that become the guide for how everyone works together.

Cork Supply supports the Benicia Adopt a Drain program, backpack drives at an elementary and high school, food donations (in Solano and Contra Costa Counties) and the CA Wildfire Donation Relief Fund (in Sonoma, Napa, Solano, and Santa Cruz Counties).

Employees surveyed touted the firm: “For being able to adapt to change…By focusing on continuous improvement… Going the extra mile to ensure customers and employees are taken care of fairly.”

CORNERSTONE

FOUR-TIME WINNER

Cornerstone is a North Bay locally owned and managed commercial property and developer that takes pride in customizing terms and space to each tenant’s needs to provide the flexibility they need to grow their businesses.

“Cornerstone is not just a place to work,” said Alon Adani, principal. “We value our 15 team members as if they were family and provides them with a wide range of benefits where employees have ultimate flexibility, work/life balance and open communications about what they need to be successful.”

Staff members have flex schedule alternatives, work-from-home opportunities, 401(K) match, gym reimbursement, childcare assistance, growth and coaching course reimbursement and yoga at work.

Basic benefits include medical coverage, dental, vision, FSA childcare plus medical care options and life insurance.

Cornerstone donates space for local nonprofits and government or community organizations during disaster assistance periods.

The culture is positive and upbeat in this flat and creative organizational structure that adapts to what employees need. Projects are often collaborative and require input from all team members to create the best outcomes. The office is an open work environment where employees interact throughout the day.

Employees surveyed said: “We are free to give feedback or speak out without being out-of-turn…We’re able to create a workspace that works best for us…I feel that our wellness is taken care of … We are given a lot of freedom to develop professionally.”

DAL POGGETTO & COMPANY

FIFTEEN-TIME WINNER

Dal Poggetto & Company, established in 1992, is a CPA firm located in Santa Rosa specializing in accounting, tax and consulting services for privately-held businesses and their owners. Services include audits, reviews and compilations of financial statement, income tax planning and preparation along with business consulting and audits of employee benefits plans (including 401(k) plans).

“Our firm is deeply committed to providing the best training, technical resources and work environment to our 19-member team in order to support their professional growth and development so they can become world-class providers of accounting, tax and consulting services,” said Jon Dal Poggetto, managing partner.

“Our focus on client service, proactive planning and communication ensures that our clients consistently receive our full attention to their professional service needs in a timely and complete manner.

This results in long term relationships that span multiple generations of the families we work with.”

He said the firm’s compensation and benefits programs have been carefully designed to be competitive with those of the largest organizations providing similar professional services.

Salaries start at $67,000 with an “unlimited” top. Average employee tenure is 14 years.

Beyond basic benefits the firm provides educational assistance, company-sponsored events and food and beverages, an ergonomic work environment, flex schedules and remote work options.

Salaries are competitive and there are bonuses, PTO, a Section 125 401(k) plan with employee matching and life insurance.

Employees surveyed said: “I work with friendly, down-to-earth coworkers…Partners welcome any concerns and go the extra mile to make things better in the workplace…High expectations give staff a sense of pride.”

DH WINE COMPLIANCE

EIGHT-TIME WINNER

DH Wine Compliance reports over 85 years of combined experience in all areas of alcohol compliance, including obtaining and maintaining compliance for three-tier and direct-to-consumer shipping. Services include licensing, reporting, COLAs, operational reporting, TTB and ABC licensing along with trade names and related consulting services.

“DH Wine continually evolves to create a forward-thinking environment,” said President Andrea Helfer-Lagourgue. “We have many working moms on our team, and we give them the flexibility to work and raise a family. Our 26 employees are raising the next generation of CEO’s, after all. I started with an idea, and my team is what executes it and got us here today and they deliver 110% every day.”

Creating a workplace that appreciates and values employees over bottom lines is paramount. The culture is family supportive, lighthearted and fun. It is a place where everyone enjoys spending time together for office games, potlucks and holds periodic Zoom parties to increase morale whenever possible.

In lieu of Christmas parties over the past two years, DH Wine adopted a family delivered gifts and had a dinner sent to them. The company also collected or purchased 100 coats for homeless women at The Living Room and donated money to an organization that delivers Thanksgiving dinners to those in need.

Employees surveyed said: “I work with amazing people doing an awesome job — always…Employees are treated with kindness and encouraged to take care of home/life responsibilities enabling us to be more productive when we are working… Our leader understands we are human and that this always comes first… The company strives to make all of our lives better.”

DICKENSON PEATMAN & FOGARTY

FIVE-TIME WINNER

Rooted in the wine regions of Napa and Sonoma, Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty provides legal representation to clients throughout California, the U.S. and abroad, with experience in wine law and the wine industry.

The firm’s major practice areas include alcohol beverage law, business and corporate dealings, land use matters, labor and employment, civil litigation, intellectual property, geographical indications, real property transactions, and water law as well as wine law.

“Founded in 1955, DP&F’s attorneys are routinely recognized in legal rankings and surveys as some of the best in their fields,” said Jennifer Douglas, co-managing partner. “Our 44-member team takes their involvement in the community as seriously as they do the practice of law and continue to serve in leadership roles in numerous social, cultural and political institutions.”

100% of upper management is women or minorities.

DP&F attorneys volunteer to serve on nonprofit boards, legal aid agencies and do pro-bono work. In addition to matching employee charitable contributions, the firm makes monetary contributions to numerous community organizations.

Company-sponsored events include holiday parties, happy hours, cooking classes, birthday celebrations, employment anniversary milestones and retirement parties.

The culture is one that truly values staff the incredibly talented attorneys at the firm.

“When we transitioned to a fully remote workplace due to COVID, the partners committed to no layoffs for any attorneys or staff,” said Carol Kingery Ritter, co-managing partner.

Employees surveyed said: “It is a fun place to work where you are recognized, thanked for their contributions and where you can develop professionally… We do great work for great clients…Management is committed to improving diversity, equity and inclusion.”

DILLWOOD BURKEL & MILLAR

FIRST-TIME WINNER

DBM’s experience spans a broad range of services, from accounting and tax, to valuation and business advising for a spectrum of industries throughout the U.S.

“Our 75 employees are our most valuable assets in providing quality service,” said Partner Christina Holligsworth.

“We make significant staff development investments so they can receive up-todate industry-specific training. Partners promote one-on-one training and professional development and encourage staff members to pass CPA exams and obtain other professional credentials. We make sure team members know they are appreciated and that their individual career growth is also a part of the firm’s growth.”

Above and beyond medical/dental/vision and disability insurance, benefits include PTO and 401K with employer match.

Employees get a bonus for passing CPA exams, paid conditional professional education, license renewal and membership dues; a match to employ donations to local charities, flex schedules to study for CPA exams, free tickets to nonprofit fund raisers and a fully stocked snack bar during tax season.

The culture encourages teamwork, learning, collaboration and excellent service.

DBM team members speak eight languages and come from many ethnic backgrounds, a diversity benefit for the company and the cuisines shared at company potlucks.

Since 2019 DBM has been recognized each year by Accounting Today as one of the 100 best accounting firms to work for in the country.

Employees surveyed said: “Often we are asked for feedback on how the organization can improve… Everyone is quick to help if they have availability… We have a conflict and drama-free team.”

DON SEBASTIANI & SONS

NINE-TIME WINNER

With a legacy spanning a century, including four generations of family leadership, Don Sebastiani & Sons continues its winemaking tradition that began in 1904.

Great grandson Donny assumed the role of running the business in 2009, brother August oversees 3 Badge Beverage and younger sister, Mia, launched Mia’s Kitchen. Today the company is among the nation’s leading producers of award-winning fine wines, hand-crafted spirits and refreshing sparkling water.

“Family is at the core of who we are and what we do,” said Donny Sebastiani, president and CEO. “We work together to find solutions and our 66 employees are empowered to make the right decisions asking themselves ‘what would I do if this was my own family winery.’” Seasonal company events have been on hold in 2020-2021. Normally they encourage employee interaction discussion and a review of company successes and include a company-provided lunch, dessert and are themed to involve games and prizes.

There is a Zoom meeting every Monday morning called “Make It Happen Monday” where a theme trivia is played, organized by the Boost Employee Engagement team, and everyone reviews past and coming week plans. The company also hosts Mexican Fiestas, potlucks and BBQs.

The winery donates wine for virtual events held by nonprofits, and plans to reinstitute its “Giving Tree” for the needy at Christmas and its annual food drive, with a raffle ticket given to each employee for every donated food item. Three cash prizes are in the drawing.

Employees surveyed said: “People here are very friendly and supportive…They allow us to take ownership of our work… My ideas are taken seriously and often implemented.”

EARTHTONE CONSTRUCTION

FOUR-TIME WINNER

Earthtone is a builder of residential, commercial and multi-family construction projects.

“When founding Earthtone in 1997, I purposely set out to surround myself with individuals who love what they did,” said President Andy Bannister. “I also wanted to create a place where passion in craft and mindfulness could shine, and where our customers could have homes and spaces built with intention — and attention.”

To attract these people, he needed to establish an exciting work environment where people could thrive and grow and get compensated fairly while doing it.

As a result, Earthtone became a thriving community of like-minded people invested in each other and the projects they do.

The culture includes core values: Being mindful of our actions, invested in people, passionate in our craft and sustainable in our vision. The Culture Committee promotes this charter and inclusion.

Golden Hammer Awards are given annually to those who support these values and community involvement.

Earthtone employees volunteer at a food bank and make building improvements for nonprofits throughout Sonoma County.

The 2020 theme, “Ripple Effects-Acts of Kindness,” focused on ways to give back. In 2021 it is “Health and Wellness,” making healthy choices and exercise challenges.

Company events include a summer BBQ and holiday party, along with frequent team-building activities, such as Saturday morning workouts and Friday evening bike rides.

Employees surveyed said: “Our company treats everyone equally… We all take pride in our work…It is a culture where we all can achieve great things and where management leads by example.”

ECKHOFF AND COMPANY CPAS AND ADVISORS

FIVE-TIME WINNER

Eckhoff and Company and Eckhoff Wealth Management offers tax, advisory and financial planning experience to clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. The firm reports its licensed, credentialed professionals are committed to a team-based approach that puts client needs front-and-center.

“We appreciate and value our combined expertise and the benefits of collaboration,” said Michele Hassid, CPA, CGMA and managing partner at EAC.

“Our culture is characterized by life-long learning and a firm commitment to lasting relationships. The Eckhoff culture also values and supports teamwork, flexibility and creative problem-solving.

“We make an impact on the community by helping others achieve their personal and financial goals, that — in turn — allows them to make their impact on causes they care about.”

Employees give back by supporting charitable fund raisers, by volunteering and by serving on nonprofit and Chamber of Commerce boards.

Eckhoff sponsors team development workshops, Fun Committee hosted events centered around collaboration and teamwork as well as annual company parties.

Promotion comes mostly from within.

Professionals advance in the firm as they demonstrate technical competence, good judgment, excellent communication skills and demonstrated leadership ability.

Average employee tenure is 10 years.

Employees surveyed said: “Management take time to focus on our achievements and milestones…Everyone is allowed to voice their concerns…They give us strong incentives to refer new employees and clients…We all come together and work as one team.”

ELEVEN ENGINEERING

THREE-TIME WINNER

Eleven Engineering, Inc. is a general engineering construction firm specializing in environmental remediation, demolition, and general construction. EEI provides a comprehensive range of site services from initial cleanup through final restoration. As licensed contractor and certified Woman- owned Business Enterprise (WBE), Eleven Engineering operates from its Northern California headquarters in Petaluma.

“We operate on a foundation of trust. We trust that employees will try their best, represent the company respectfully, and always put in an honest day’s work,” said Ryan Harding, vice president. “Conversely, employees trust company will support them, provide a safe working environment and offer opportunities for growth.

Trust makes our company a best place to work.”

He said this foundation of trust was critical to thriving over the past 14 months as everyone endured the uncertainty of COVID-19 and its widespread impacts.

Employees weathered the storm and continue to work and grow at Eleven Engineering.

Factors considered for promotion include teamwork, attitude, on the job experience, care for others and the company.

EEI mentors, cultivates and trains those eager to learn and advance in a variety of roles with increasing responsibility.

Last December, the company adopted two families in need. Owners Wendy and Ryan Harding spearheaded the event, shopped for gifts and treated all employees to a safe, socially-distant holiday party to wrap presents before personally delivering them. Cash gifts of $1,000 per family were donated by employees.

Employees surveyed said: “The company respects, rewards and acknowledges employees in a positive and consistent manner… We support each other and get the job done…They value my input, allow me a voice and really listen to me.”

EXCHANGE BANK

SIXTEEN-TIME WINNER

Exchange Bank has been a community bank offering personal and business banking services including mortgages, home loans, lines of credit and SBA loans since 1890.

“The pandemic validated what we have known for a long time — our 392 employees remain our greatest asset,” said President and CEO Troy Sanderson. “As designated essential workers, they stood up and stood tall to continue to serve our customers during this difficult time. Our commitment is to our community, as it has been throughout our 131-year history.

Just as we did facing 2020 challenges, we stand strong and ready to continue to serve in 2021.”

The bank has a history of promoting from within. Last year, 48% of openings were filled internally and 66 employees received promotions. The bank’s turnover rate is 16% and average tenure is 9 years. Salaries range from $17.00/hour to $361,175 annually.

Sponsored events include the Founder’s Day Picnic, a holiday breakfast & movie, employee appreciation breakfasts, BBQs, Cinco de Mayo Day and recognition events to honor individual achievements.

Exchange Bank donated $697,000 to over 174 nonprofits and local charities in 2020 and gave each employee a year-end holiday gift of $1,100, along with a 2% profit sharing allocation.

Team members donated 1,022 hours of personal volunteer time to support the Human Race, Relay for Life, Light the Night walks, United Way’s Day of Caring, the Heart Walk and National Rebuilding Day to revitalize housing for low-income homeowners.

Employees surveyed said: “I feel valued, the atmosphere is always positive…I love the way EB treats everyone and gives back to the community… I’m proud to be an EB employee. It’s a solid place to work.”

FRIEDEMANN GOLDBERG WARGO HESS

ELEVEN-TIME WINNER

Founded by attorneys who sought to combine high-quality legal services of large firms with the attention to detail of a smaller firm, over the years Friedemann Goldberg Wargo Hess’ practice areas include real estate law, intellectual property, entertainment law, tax law, creditor’s rights, insurance and fraud matters, as well as business and commercial litigation.

The firm’s attorneys have received over 25 national awards in the field of estate planning and trust administration.

“We’ve spent 22 years evolving and developing into the firm we are today,” said John Friedemann, managing partner.

“We enjoy working together and laughing together. We feel valued by our coworkers and enjoy the company of our colleagues.

The challenges of working hard are met with conviviality and collegiality.”

After hours events are never mandatory, but they are almost never missed. From Staff Appreciation Day luncheons to the catered family summer party and the annual casino night and holiday event, everyone attends and has a “blast”.

Recently, a former employee encouraged a friend to apply for a job. She described FGWH as “a unicorn firm where everyone is really nice and excellent at what they do.”

Each year employees give $50 to each other in a firm-sponsored coworker-to-coworker appreciation bonus program.

The firm donates to several nonprofits, and attorneys and staff are regularly involved in nonprofit activities. Partner Stephanie Hess is currently president of the Sonoma County Bar Association.

Employees surveyed said: “There is a lot of creative, out of box thinking in an environment of learning…Everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.”

GC MICRO CORPORATION

SEVEN-TIME WINNER

With more than three decades of sourcing information technology for some of the nation’s largest Fortune 500 companies and government agencies, GC Micro embodies the essence of American entrepreneurship while remaining a 100% minority-woman owned small business with 32 employees with access to over $2 billion in inventory. Authorized dealer partnerships include HP, Apple, Red Hat, SGI, Cisco, Oracle, IBM and Star Dundee.

“More than 3 decades ago, I dreamed of creating a technology company with a commitment to our customers’ total satisfaction while always striving to exceed their expectations,” said Belinda Guadarrama, president and CEO.

“Today we are successful thanks to our employees who made this a reality.

Our team consists of motivated and self-achieving individuals that propel the enterprise towards constant success.

GC Micro believes in investing time and resources with each person. Through its unique training, each individual is encouraged to set goals for both business growth and personal success.”

She said through unprecedented times, employees outperformed her greatest predictions.

Working from home or part-time in the office, the team remained focused on fulfilling customer needs. “To say I am proud of our team is an understatement.”

The culture is supportive and welcoming where everyone works hard — always with integrity. There is strong emphasis on training combining professional and personal development.

GC Micro supports several nonprofit organizations, scholarship funds and community events.

Employees surveyed said: “A positive and motivating environment is apparent throughout the building…Management is flexible for parents with children…It is a place you enjoy coming to work every day.”

GEORGE PETERSEN INSURANCE AGENCY

THIRTEEN-TIME WINNER

With more than 86 years in business, George Petersen Insurance Agency has offices in 10 Northern California cities.

GP provides service in the areas of business, personal, life, and employee benefit programs.

“We recognize that our clients are essential to our company’ s stability and growth,” said COO Rob Daer.

“Our belief is that behind each loyal client are extraordinary long-term employees — with 15 years average tenure — who make our company great. Our dedication to creating a workplace that respects and values people from diverse backgrounds and enables all 189 employees to do their best work. We develop mutually rewarding relationships with our employees.”

There is a strong commitment to advancing staff careers. The firm invests in providing educational and skill development opportunities to ensure that the highest level of expertise is provided for clients, and always looks within before going outside to fill open positions. Salaries range from $40,000 to $125,000 annually.

The Community Outreach Committee at George Petersen Insurance coordinates cash donations based on employee input.

Employees volunteer time with nonprofits, including REFB, Challenger Little League, Human Race, Salvation Army Bell Ringers, United Way, Toys for Tots, Council on Aging, Social Advocates for Youth, Children’s Village and the Memorial Hospital Foundation.

The culture is known for its fun and easy-going atmosphere.

Employees surveyed said: “My coworkers are a second family… They let us bring our children to work when daycare was closed…GP offers flex schedules allowing us to take care of personal matters.”

GHILOTTI BROS.

TWELVE-TIME WINNER

Ghilotti Bros., Inc. based in San Rafael has a 107-year legacy of family ownership.

The construction company has nearly 300 employees. GBI’s specialties include excavating, grading, underground work, heavy highway projects, demolition, materials recycling as well as commercial and residential construction.

“Our employees are very determined and motivated by success to accomplish their tasks daily, both as individuals and collectively,” said President Mike Ghilotti.

“They are given a variety of opportunities to improve their skills at work through training and on-the-job performance.

Our team members continue to impress clients and the public with their tremendous work ethic, can-do attitude, kind gestures and commitment to service.”

Ghilotti said the company is passionate about making a difference in the community by participating in local events and fundrasiers for schools and organizations as well as being a positive presence in the region.

The culture is based on the philosophy of founder James Ghilotti: “Earn respect by doing a job well, treat employees with courtesy and respect, and do good work for the community in which you live and work.”

The company hosts several company events from BBQs, sports outings, holiday parties and team building activities.

The company supports several nonprofits — Boys and Girls Club events, American Cancer Society, Relay for Life, Hope Uncorked Scholarships, Bay Area Rescue Mission donations, College of Marin, Marin Catholic High School, etc.

Employees surveyed said: “ We’re always looking for ways to innovate and improve…Employees care about each other…This is my most favorite place to work — I have no intention of leaving.”

GHIRARDO CPA

SIXTEEN-TIME WINNER

Ghirardo CPA is a tax, accounting and business services firm serving individuals, partnerships, estates, trusts and corporations in Marin, Sonoma and Napa Counties and throughout the Bay Area from its main office in Novato. Founded in 1990, services also include auditing, real estate, bookkeeping and wealth planning specialties.

“At Ghirardo CPA, we work hard to earn and keep your trust, so you can make important financial decisions with confidence,” said Greta Hoversten, managing principal. “We’ll provide the personal attention and excellent service you deserve.

Everything we do as a firm — from the everyday to the extraordinary — begins and ends with our 30 employees.”

The culture is described as friendly, challenging, motivating, engaging and nurturing along with collaborative, flexibile and autonomous, with employees entrusted to have ownership over their work. Promotions are a product of annual reviews, self-evaluation along with thorough management input and evaluation.

Average employee tenure is from 8 to 10 years.

Nonprofit involvement takes many forms.

Donations are made to women in need through the Pregnancy Resource Center.

Ghirardo supports all three Rotary Clubs in Novato and their events and fundraisers for local charities. Sponsorships also go to youth sports teams, local schools, and North Marin Community services to help families during the COVID pandemic.

The firm also provides pro bono or discounted fees for professional services.

Employees have end of season tax parties, a holiday dinner, interactive offsite activities and in-house games.

Employees surveyed said: “I feel trusted and can trust those around me…Everyone is kind and on the same page…Workloads are shared to not overwhelm one person…We look out for each other.”

GOODWILL INDUSTRIES OF THE REDWOOD EMPIRE

NINE-TIME WINNER

More than a thrift store or a place to donate gently used items, Goodwill of the Redwood Empire works to change lives and strengthen communities through dignity and the power of work.

“Everyone knows Goodwill for our stores, but the real magic is the story within the stores, through the delivery of our mission — it’s all about people,” said Brandy Evans, president and CEO. “All 190 Goodwill employees in 2021 stand out as exceptional for their compassion, resilience and drive to be and help others be successful in the face of adversity.”

She said when everything shut down during the shelter in place order of 2020, team members rallied and learned how to transform in-person classroom curriculum to virtual learning opportunities and found ways to maintain systems and meet compliance requirements for staff while keeping them safe and healthy.

The culture is defined by “We Are One.”

Goodwill is heavily invested in each employee’s growth and development, their unique career goals, and by working together in a highly collaborative and inclusive environment where all suggestions are welcome. They depend on each other for constant encouragement, constructive feedback and brainstorming ideas.

Goodwill partners with The Employment Group and Petaluma Peoples Services, Circuit Rider and West County Community Services, and ArtStart. It teams with the Sonoma County Workforce Investment Board in developing and championing ways to strengthen the workforce through education, employment and industry support. The Goodwill Clothes Closet accepts appropriate attire for referrals of SonomaWORKS.

Employees surveyed said: “It’s a wonderful place to experience contact with all types of people…Everyone works toward a common goal to empower people in the community…Goodwill puts employees first.”

HEALDSBURG LUMBER COMPANY

SIX-TIME WINNER

Established in 1875, Healdsburg Lumber and Hardware and its Hudson Street Design & Gualala Building Supply divisions are premium material suppliers for both professionals and homeowners in the North Bay and on the Mendocino Coast.

“HLC is first and foremost a family company that includes our amazing 92 employees,” said Eric Zeidrich. “As the third-generation president, I can see the value in investing in our employees because the result is a tight-knit team. Staff members go out of their way to help and support each other and our customers before being asked. We encourage them to take leadership roles because we trust them.”

More than 26% of employees have been with HLC for 10 years or more, some from 20 to 43 years. Salaries range from minimum wage up to $250,000.

Prior to the pandemic, company events included an annual retreat, summer employee appreciation BBQ, holiday/new year party, monthly breakfasts where vendors come to speak and the HLC softball team.

The company supports a variety of local organizations from youth sports teams, to the Healdsburg FFA and the Healdsburg High School internship program. During the fires, HLC contributed to feeding firefighters and donated supplies to evacuation centers.

Employees surveyed said: “My coworkers are always willing to step up and help … Everyone is nice and easy to get along with…Teamwork between departments is awesome…Great health programs for employees.”

HENNESSY ADVISORS

EIGHT-TIME WINNER

With $4.1 billion in current assets under management, and 24.12% 5-year dividend growth, Hennessy Advisors is a publicly traded investment manager founded in 1989 that oversees, services and markets a family of 16 Hennessy funds. The firm also offers a broad range of mutual funds, including traditional equity, specialty category and sector funds as well as more conservative multi-asset products with strategies that can play a role in nearly every investor’s portfolio.

“Our company is based on the guiding principles of hard work, integrity and doing what is best for our shareholders,” said CEO Neil Hennessy.

“We also believe in treating our 21 employees with respect and ensuring that they have access to the best benefits possible.

We take great pride in our significant employee tenure of nearly 12 years on average, which reflects the way they are treated.”

He said Hennessy is committed to providing superior service to shareholders and employing a consistent and disciplined approach to investing based on a buyand- hold philosophy that rejects the idea of market timing.

Benefits include a 401k plan with a company contribution, restricted stock units, health insurance, paid holidays, floater days, vacation leave and sick leave. There are company-provided lunches and company- sponsored charitable funds along with logo merchandise.

Hennessy sponsors an annual event to benefit Okizu, a camp for children with cancer, and provides employees with charitable funds each year to donate as they wish. The company sponsors many local events, festivals, sports teams, schools, etc.

Employees surveyed said: “My coworkers make Hennessy great…I get wonderful support from supervisors…We have good products, people and a sense of community… Our team is the best.”

HENRY’S ORIGINAL

TWO-TIME WINNER

Henry’s produces Clean Green Certified, cannabis flower and pre-roll products cultivated on seven proprietary farms in Mendocino County.

Henry’s holds 13 state licenses including nursery, cultivation, processing, distribution and retail dispensary licenses. The company has over 100,000 square feet of cultivation in California.

“The core of what makes Henry’s great is the authenticity of our company,” said CEO Molly Morales. “We are a humble, passionate and caring company that treats our 69 employees with the same sense of humor and loyalty we share with our customers.”

She said as a legal cannabis enterprise, Henry’s represents the “tip of the spear” in an emerging industry for how companies should care for people. Everyone should have the opportunity to develop new skills and advance through cross-job training, experience and industry education.

“We embody unity as a high principle and pull together when someone needs help at work or home. We provide safe and steady jobs for those who otherwise would not have employment and support them as they pursue a better life for themselves and their families.”

Henry’s rewards employee referrals with a bonus and provides free logo wear twice a year, as well as bonuses for certain positions where employees can double their base pay rate. Successes are celebrated at post-harvest company events, casual lunches and extended paid breaks. Morning bagels and homemade cookies are also provided.

Employees surveyed said: “A sense of camaraderie among employees makes it a pleasure to work here…We have a unified mission since we are employee-owners… The strong commitment to helping people and making superior consumer products makes this a best place to work.”

HILTON GARDEN INN — SONOMA COUNTY AIRPORT

THREE-TIME WINNER

Hilton Garden Inn is located just off Highway 101 less than a mile from the Sonoma County Airport and a SMART passenger rail depot. With 90 guest rooms with digital keys, two meeting rooms and 1,272 square feet of total event space, the inn is an ideal venue for business and leisure travelers, as well as company and organizational meetings in wine country. A free airport shuttle is available for guests. Other amenities include free parking and WiFi, an indoor pool, on-site restaurant, fitness center, room service, a business center, and non-smoking rooms.

“Our customer service philosophy includes exceptional hotel properties in great locations coupled with outstanding customer service from caring employees who ensure that maximum comfort and convenience is provided for our traveling guests,” said General Manager Andrea Griffin.

The hotel’s 35 employees receive team member hotel and restaurant discounts for themselves, friends and family along with special anniversary bonuses. Other fringes include employee of the month recognition and bonuses, birthday celebrations, and an annual holiday bowling party. There is a yearly manager’s retreat, performance and life event acknowledgment programs during the year.

The staff sponsors community projects, from the Recycled Soap Project with the Clean the World Foundation, Toys for Tots, guestroom donations to local schools, veterans, hospitals and businesses as well as sponsoring Sonoma County Tourism and members of the local Chambers of Commerce along with linen and terry donations to local nonprofits.

An employee said: “The rewarding feeling I get anytime I am able to help anyone definitely motivates me to keep providing help for future guests and during everyday life in general.”

IDEX HEALTH & SCIENCE

EIGHT-TIME WINNER

As a part of the life science and biotechnology industry, IDEX provides customers with analytical and diagnostic instruments.

The company is playing a critical role in the fight against COVID-19 by working with global diagnostic, sequencing and biotech companies creating new assays and instrument platforms to combat the pandemic.

“Our Rohnert Park operations produce trusted solutions that improve the lives through the manufacture of mission-critical products for our customers,” said Kurt Pickle, site leader and director of operations. “Our 240 employees live IDEX values of trust, team and excellence as we deliver the highest quality products on time.”

The company hosts quarterly employee events, BBQs, Halloween and holiday parties and picnics. IDEX also hosts lunch for the entire company or brings in snacks for town halls and meetings.

In the community, IDEX has partnered with local Boys and Girls Clubs for over 10 years. Employees serve a half day volunteering for beach cleanup, park/trail maintenance, Rohnert Park Animal Shelter work, and at the Bayer Garden during quarterly community service events.

Employees also actively participate in the Human Race, a Giving Tree and holiday food drives.

Employees surveyed said: “We have amazing benefits, good pay and teamwork with transparency throughout each department… We put in our 110% best…We come together from diverse backgrounds to create great products that make a difference.”

INTELISYS, A SCANSOURCE COMPANY

FIVE-TIME WINNER

Intelisys is a techn o l o g y services distributor of telecommunications network and cloud services in the channel. It was founded in 1994.

“Intelisys exists to enable the growth and success of our sales partners,” said President Mark Morgan. “We work together every day to provide exceptional support.

Intelisys colleagues are hardworking, dedicated, creative and passionate, and we love to reward and recognize them for their excellence.”

Intelisys promotes from within whenever possible based on a yearly review that allows for goal-setting and career-pathing.

The company has 20 employees. Many have been with the firm 10 years, and 2 for 20 years.

In 2017, Intelisys lead efforts for a relief fund to help those in the community affected by California wildfires. The company participates in donation drives for COTS, The Children’s Village, Petaluma Animal Shelter, REFB, the St. Johns Program and Toys for Tots.

Intelisys is a part of nonprofit Telecom for Change that has raised over $800,000 for grassroots charities across the U.S.

The internal “FISH Crew” organizes team building, social and employee appreciation events such as quarterly/annual Colleague Peer Recognition. There are hosted lunches, baking competitions, international food day, popcorn Wednesdays, BBQ Fridays, painting events, movie nights, happy hours, bowling, trivia, Halloween , etc.

Employees surveyed said: “We have a very healthy work culture …We are well taken care of, informed and feel supported.”

INTERVINE

FOUR-TIME WINNER

Intervine is an international wine management company serving the travel industry for 30 years with dedicated sales teams in Napa and Miami. Intervine manages the wine programs of several major airlines. The company is a fully licensed importer and distributor, specializing in the unique requirements of airlines and cruise lines across the globe.

Services include wine sourcing; planning, forecasting, logistics and distribution; inventory management; marketing/ PR, menu copy and promotional support and innovative in-flight/on board training.

“Our 20 employees have a collaborative team spirit that is ingrained in Intervine’s DNA and evident in every touchpoint of our business,” said CEO Ed Matovcik. “Senior employees are quick to help and mentor new hires. If one person is overloaded, two colleagues jump in to lighten the load without being asked.

They do this because if one person fails, we all fail. Likewise, if someone succeeds, we all celebrate.”

With 95% of Intervine’s team members vaccinated, a company/family picnic is scheduled in September and a holiday party in December. Complimentary surplus wine is given to employees throughout the year. The firm closes between Christmas and New Year’s Day. This time off is in addition to accrued PTO.

The company posts job openings and considers internal candidates before going outside. Average employee tenure is 7+ years. Salaries range for $40,000 to $400,000 annually. An employee stock ownership program is allocated after 1,000 hours in a plan year, with a 5-year vesting schedule.

Employees surveyed said: “Each member is eager to go the extra mile…I love that ESOP and our efforts will reward us in retirement… Weathering the COVID storm brought us closer together.”

INTERWEST INSURANCE SERVICES

NINE-TIME WINNER

InterWest was founded in 1992 with the merger of three insurance brokerage firms located in Northern California.

Today the company has 14 locations. The firm’s commitment to reinvesting in its 382 employees (20 in the North Bay), diversified products and services and innovative technology places it among the top performing insurance and consulting brokerages in the country.

Staff expertise includes all lines of property and casualty, workers’ compensation, employee benefits, commercial and personal insurance coverages, and a full range of surety products. Interwest is licensed to write business in all 50 states.

“Our Petaluma and Santa Rosa teams are extensions of my family,” said Mike Ryan, North Bay practice leader. “Each of our dedicated, hardworking employees does what it takes to provide the best possible service and be responsive to clients.

Team members are close to one another.

Many have worked together 10 years or more.”

Beyond basic benefits, fringes include annual distinguished employee awards, gym reimbursement, flex work schedules, a 37.5-hour workweek and 7.5-hour workday. Salaries range from $55,000 to $225,000 annually.

Employees take part in an annual employee appreciation event, holiday celebrations, Go Red Day for heart health, retirement parties and the yearly distinguished employee event.

The Interwest Gives Back program selects nonprofits to support annually. In 2021 the list includes REFB, Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods, Dogwood Animal Rescue Project, Food for Thought, Whiskers Tails and Ferals, Becoming Independent, Petaluma Interfaith Food Pantry and Lily’s Legacy Senior Dog Sanctuary.

Employees surveyed said: “Management is accessible, upfront and puts employees first…We are treated equally, valued and respected…Interwest cares about us as individuals and the community.”

JACKSON FAMILY WINES

SEVEN-TIME WINNER

Santa Rosa-based Jackson Family Wines is a global family-owned company that produces and markets wine through it’s various wineries in California, France, Chile, Italy and Australia.

“Throughout the past year of challenge and tremendous change, our 1,600 employees have worked hard to adapt and innovate,” said CEO Rick Tigner. “Thanks to their efforts, our ability to shift sales strategies and consumer trust in our signature wineries like Kendall-Jackson, Murphy-Goode and La Crema, our off-premise retail business has remained strong.

“We redirected our smaller-production and high-end wineries such as Stonestreet, La Jota and Brewer-Clifton to online retail sales. We successfully expanded direct-to-consumer and online retail channels while continuing to engage with our consumers through curated virtual experiences.”

JFW tapped into the company’s entrepreneurial spirit by launching YourWine- Store.com, an online wine retail space showcasing the breadth of the company’s portfolio and a new and successful revenue channel that has also saved jobs.

Kendall-Jackson recently launched the Grocery Worker’s Relief Fund offering emergency support, and pledged an initial $200,000 to aid workers who have supported KJ for 40 years, with a commitment to $2 million total by 2030. JFW has provided in-kind or financial support to 250+ community organizations in regions where it does business.

Through JFW Cares EAP, funded by employee gifts and JFW support, short-term assistance is offered to employees experiencing financial hardships caused by natural disasters, family emergencies or unexpected events.

Employees surveyed said: “JFW has a friendly, welcoming culture with a lot of opportunities…We have the ability to innovate, be creative and explore options… The company is by far the most employee focused with diversity and inclusion as important tenants.”

KEYSIGHT TECHNOLOGIES

TWELVE-TIME WINNER

Established in 1939, testing equipment technology company Keysight became a public company (KEYS-NYSE) in 2014.

It has 1,500 employees in the North Bay with minorities representing 32% and women 18% of the total.

“Reflecting on 2020, the level of business and global disruption doesn’t compare to anything I’ve witnessed in my 38+ year career,” said Ron Nersesian, chairman, president and CEO.

“At Keysight, we navigated the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires, power shutoffs and political unrest. I’m incredibly proud of how Keysight’s team responded last year, remained resilient and customer focused.

Our employees are the best in the industry and bring together their speed, courage and integrity to make it all happen.”

A portfolio of programs, amenities and services make Keysight a fun, dynamic environment. There are discounts, employee clubs & networks, charitable gift matching, grant sponsorships, and recreation leagues offering time to play, exercise or relax. The list includes fitness rooms, outdoor sports facilities, on-site massage and yoga classes, and free rides to/from SMART stations. Keysight employee volunteerism (four paid hours/ month) and community partnerships (STEM) also contribute to the quality of life in the North Bay.

The nimble, collaborative culture values all ideas, especially bold ones that accelerate innovation.

Through the Keysight Giving Program employee dollars are matched up to $20,000 per employee. In 2020, $800,000 was distributed to nonprofits — $1 million when combined with other company sponsored events.

Employees surveyed said: “You are appreciated for your efforts…There is a long history of concern for employee wellbeing… A lot of motivated people working together to achieve greatness.”

KIOSK

NINE-TIME WINNER

Founded in 2004 with offices in Novato, Los Angeles and Liverpool (UK), Kiosk provides clients with the expertise needed to grow business, optimize spending and deliver attributable results.

Kiosk’s team of 35 professionals unify marketing activities across organizations to build efficient, cohesive campaigns that are greater than the sum of their parts.

“Employees make Kiosk great. We work to unlock human potential by doing amazing things for our staff, clients and the community,” said Munir Haddad, founder and CEO. “This support culture was highlighted when moving to a 100% virtual working environment for the pandemic.

The trust built up among Kioskers allowed us to seamlessly maintain operations and support each other and those we serve throughout the uncertainty.”

Employees loved work-from-home Fridays long before COVID made it a daily requirement. The company holds online team get togethers including dress up days for charity, digital trivia, bingo, scavenger hunts, contests a secret Santa gift exchange, plus a holiday happy hour and raffle with prior shipments of “supplies” (a party box with a drink, snack, hat, glasses and game accessories).

Employees were provided with sit/stand desks, chairs, laptop risers and other equipment to make them comfortable at home.

Kiosk annually selects a charity to support as a company, such as Homeward Bound of Marin. Employees surveyed said: “It’s a collaborative, inclusive place to work…Trust in employees allows us to be self-motivated…A lot of really wonderful people doing their best to help each other and clients.”

KLH CONSULTING

TWO-TIME WINNER

KLH specializes in implementing and supporting Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems by providing mission- critical solutions. The company ensures that client IT needs are met with a team of technicians committed to knowing the latest technology trends and how to efficiently apply them, enabling clients to work more productively.

“The knowledge, dedication and resilience of our team is a cornerstone of our company,” said CEO Soni Lampert. “We are always striving to help customers improve their businesses, assure security of their data and continuity of business operations when fires, floods and power outages occur.”

She said this meant pivoting from business to remote work and hybrid environments for our customers. KLH teams made IT work in gyms set up for COVID services, in homes surrounded by Redwoods with internet service challenges, on smart devices of all kinds, in offices operating with skeleton crews and in buildings running on generator power.

KLH employees live in a team-oriented and collaborative culture of continuous improvement and one that values continuing education and training to meet challenges in the fast-paced IT world.

While many social activities have been put on hold, employees have had team gatherings online seen cookies mysteriously arrive on doorsteps, and KLH’s very own Elf Stocking deliveries.

KLH can’t wait to get back to hosting parties, office lunches, picnics, bowling, movie nights and trips to see the Giants.

Giving back has involved equipment donations, reduced fees, volunteering and monetary gifts.

Employees say: “We all work together to achieve the best results for clients…The CEO is always available with an open door…KLH is family owned and has a strong support system.”

LEDSON WINERY & VINEYARDS

THREE-TIME WINNER

Family-owned Ledson Winery and Vineyards considers employees to be a primary asset and their engagement and passion for the company is very critical to the success of the winery.

“With a philosophy that true quality begins in the vineyard and ends with a satisfied customer, our employees are excellent individuals who share the enthusiasm for exclusive wines, and a passion for exceptional, personalized service,” said Steve Ledson, owner and winemaker of the Sonoma County winery.

Ledson offers a competitive benefit package including health, dental and vision insurance.

The company holds a number of sponsored events, rewards employees for hard work and their accomplishments, a fosters a positive, fun and fulfilling work environment.

Ledson also promotes a healthy culture, a family-like environment and considers employees to be part of its extended family.

Employees view themselves as being part of a team where everyone contributes to create extraordinary wines for customers in an exquisite atmosphere with impeccable hospitality.

Steve Ledson established the Harmony Foundation for Children in 2002, a nonprofit that enhances philanthropy and strengthens a sense of community by providing help to underprivileged children.

To date, this foundation has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to deserving individuals and organizations.

The company also makes charitable donations, hosts events for the community and creates fundraising opportunities for local nonprofits.

Employees in the survey said, “We work in an inclusive, family-like work environment where employees feel accepted, valued and have a sense of belonging… Individuals treat each other with respect and kindness…Feelings are valued and acknowledged through open communication.”

“No one is micromanaged.”

LEGAL AID OF SONOMA COUNTY

FIRST-TIME WINNER

With a mission to promote social justice and advance basic human rights for vulnerable people in the community, Legal Aid of Sonoma County, founded in 1958, provides crisis legal services to low-income families, children, elders, immigrants and other vulnerable residents. Services include handling domestic violence, child and elder abuse, low-income housing issues, disaster recovery and overcoming legal obstacles to health and employment.

According to Executive Director Ronit Rubinoff, “It is inspiring for me to work here. What makes Legal Aid a great place to work is our staff. We have a diverse group of 35 caring and heartfelt professionals who are fervent in their desire for justice and serving people. Our staff genuinely cares about one another and support each other’s successes. We have the privilege of making a huge impact on our community and people’s lives.”

She said everyone is unified by a shared value of creating a just and equitable community. “We enjoy each other, and all of this makes it fun and rewarding to come to work.”

There are monthly staff parties, movie outings, potlucks, and annual summer and winter staff/family gatherings.

Health, dental and vision insurance is paid by the company for employees only.

There are generous leave packages and a 401(k) plan after one year of service. Average tenure is five years, with salaries ranging from $40,000 to $120,000.

The culture is collaborative, friendly, caring, value driven and respectful.

Employees in the survey said, “We make a difference in the lives of people who truly need assistance…Fair pay, great benefits and opportunities to expand into other law area…Everyone is like-minded and goes beyond what is expected.”

M.A. SILVA CORKS USA

ELEVEN-TIME WINNER

As a manufacturer of premium corks, glass and packaging for North American markets, M.A. Silva also consults with its clients on ways to improve the quality of their packaging.

“I was truly inspired this last year by how well our dedicated team of 35 employees came together and managed so well during such a difficult time,” observed President Neil Foster.

“They have always been a devoted and purposeful team, but over the past 12 months they have really showed it. Our business success — without doubt — is due to the everyday commitment each employee delivers. Many are managing far more than their usual duties.”

Foster said a lot of this is due to supply- chain challenges, disruptions and difficulties brought by the pandemic.

“I am proud of each team member for the support they gave, not just to each other, but to our business as well. Without their hard work and dedication, there is no telling where we would be right now.”

The culture is collaborative and inclusive as individuals come together as a cohesive unit.

The Fun Committee receives a budget each year and decides what events to promote, from a holiday party and BBQ cookoffs, to Cinco de Mayo lunches, baseball games, and bowling — including the 4 th of July BBQ and manager dunk tank.

Employees in the survey said: “There are lots of opportunities to learn new tasks and hone a wider range of skills… Everyone is willing to go the extra mile...

The commitment to teamwork, reliability and excellence makes this a best place to work…We care about each other’s success and that of the company as a whole.”

MARIN HUMANE

FIRST-TIME WINNER

For more than 114 years Marin Humane has been bringing animals and humans together, forging a bond that impacts not just homes, but makes neighborhoods happier and healthier. It does this through pet adoption, fostering, advocacy as well as other services and by helping over 10,000 animals a year at its 3 locations in the county.

“Marin Humane deeply values its 110 employees,” said CEO/President Nancy McKenney. “We consistently provide guidance and staff support, value their feedback and offer a variety of benefits to all. Employees average nine years of service and many of our volunteers have been with us 20 to 30 years.”

Salaries range from $29,897 to $197,862 per year. Promotions are based on job performance, internal/external customer service, work engagement, if a person seeks solutions to areas of opportunity and striving to embody and emulate core values daily.

Marine Humane hosts two main special events, Woofstock (currently on hold) and a Gala that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for the pets and people in the community. Special organization-sponsored events and workshops include cat and dog behavior and enrichment, coexisting with wildlife, etc.

Mobile free clinics are also held for pets of guardians in to boarding pets of those escaping domestic violence, to sponsoring opportunities for youth.

The culture of compassion encourages open and honest communication where employees are heard and feel a sense of belonging.

Employees in the survey said: “Happy people, friendly and inclusive, well organized, with a great mission…It’s a welcoming and loving organization with wonderful devoted coworkers… I work with people who care about animals as much as I do.”

MENGALI ACCOUNTANCY

SEVEN-TIME WINNER

With clients coast to coast, Mengali Accountancy is a boutique Healdsburg CPA firm specializing in back-office accounting, bookkeeping, and tax preparation services primarily for the real estate industry that includes developers, syndicators, private equity funds, real estate investment trusts and high net worth individuals.

“Mengali is a completely paperless cutting edge accounting firm that is a leader in its industry, and functions at the highest level of efficiency possible,” said Renee Mengali, COO. “Our team of 34 dedicated individuals strive for excellence with a commitment to ourselves, our clients and community.”

The firm offers a full benefits package, education assistance, team lunch-andlearns, annual retreats, team building events, special day recognitions and more.

The office environment is enhanced with aesthetically inviting colors, comfortable chairs, dual monitors, large windows and high-tech equipment.

During shelter in place, all employees had what they needed to work from home.

There were no pay cuts and Mengali still held its annual retreat via Zoom.

CPAs receive a $1,000 per year spending allowance for CPE, dues, etc. There ae referral bonuses and data usage reimbursements in addition to health, dental and gym plans along with a 4% 401k match, two weeks PTO for first two years then 3 weeks thereafter plus eight paid holidays.

Mengali promotes from within. One staff member started in a clerical position and is now a senior accountant. The company offers competitive salaries from $60,000 to $200,000/year.

Employees in the survey said: “An attitude of excellence and cooperation carries through to the core…Everyone here works with full support, mutual respect and has a genuine caring nature…We’re all here to help one another.”

MERITAGE MEDICAL NETWORK

FIVE-TIME WINNER

The Meritage Medical Network is an independent practice association of 700 board certified physicians established in 1981 providing care for patients in Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Solano Counties. This network includes 9+ hospitals, 9 HMO plans and 3 Medicare Advantage plans along with urgent care centers, laboratories, skilled nursing facilities and other ancillary providers.

“At Meritage, we owe our company’s success to our 104 employees, said CEO Wojtek Nowak.

They are our greatest asset because of their ongoing commitment, dedication and compassion for the work we do that continues to flourish and grow. We do this together.”

Meritage hires or promotes the best qualified people for each job opening. When all factors are equal, transfer and promotional preference is given to internal candidates.

Sponsored events were cancelled this year due to COVID, but Meritage usually has an annual company picnic every summer with raffle prizes and bingo.

Other events include weekly staff huddles, check-in calls and quarterly all-staff meetings with breakfast, and an end of year holiday celebration.

Last December each employee received a holiday box that everyone opening at the same time and then played Zoom bingo.

Each year two charities are selected for company donations including an employee match, typically organizations promoting access to healthcare. Employees volunteered to staff vaccination events at drive-throughs and clinic sites.

The culture can be described as adaptive, focused on quality service and maintaining an inclusive and family-like atmosphere.

Employees in the survey said: “Management promotes the safety, health and wellbeing of employees by providing activities during work hours through our wellness program…Coworkers are always looking to lift each other up.”

MIKE’S BIKES

SIX-TIME WINNER

With 12 stores in Northern California, Mike’s Bikes sells an average of 25,000 bikes per year since the company was founded in 1964. Mike’s Bikes staff includes 250 cycling enthusiasts offering advice about bike brands, accessories, components, apparel and Wheelsmith Service for home, office and anywhere repair and maintenance.

“At Mike’s Bikes, our mission is to get more people on bikes,” said CEO Ken Martin. “We accomplish that through the awesomeness of our people. Working at Mike’s Bikes isn’t just a job at a bike shop, it is a career in the bicycle industry. Our fun and competitive culture makes every day interesting. Our passion for providing a great experience for riders is what grew Mike’s Bikes to be the largest local bike shop in America.”

The company offers health and dental plans, 401k with employee match, comprehensive EAP, flex spending accounts, a generous employee purchase program, employee ride pay ($.10/mile for riding your bike), reimbursement for cycling races and use of company vehicles, plus use of the demo bike fleet, free body geometry bike fit, passes, etc.

There is an annual picnic with a BBQ, lawn games and pie-eating contests, and Mike’s Bikes organizes the San Rafael Criterium Race drawing 500 athletes and 10,000 spectators.

The company sponsors local rides and teams, bike rodeos and school events and is a major sponsor of the Norcal High School Mountain Bike League with a $10,000 contribution. Mike’s Bikes Africa Drive Program has provided 35,000 refurbished bikes to African communities since 2008.

Employees in the survey said: “Priority is always given to family needs… We all ride bikes together…It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle.”

MKM & ASSOCIATES STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS

THREE-TIME WINNER

In 1983, MKM’s three founding principals created a structural engineering company dedicated to service. With work encompassing structural designs, civic, commercial, educational, healthcare, historic, hospitality, residential, and winery/ brewery markets, MKM tackles every project as if it was the client.

“We have 18 outstanding employees dedicated to providing well-executed construction documents, support, and designing attractive, durable, code-compliant structures,” said Senior Principal John Cook. “We make every attempt to provide designs that are constructable and cost-effective. We enjoy the work we do and the challenging nature of structural design, particularly when circumstances require extra effort to meet deadlines.”

He said due to repetitive wildfires, MKM established quick techniques for evaluating fire-damaged structures and works with architects and other professionals to produce quality remediation construction documents.

Fringes include bonuses, flex schedules, and paid membership fees for industry- related organizations. Average employee tenure is 10 years. Salaries range from $45,000 to $120,000. MKM’s culture is a mixture of professional and social interaction experiences.

Employees participate in the annual MKM client appreciation open house, monthly staff meetings with lunch provided, Lunch & Learn sessions with industry guest speakers, inhouse and offsite training programs and a summer outing (picnic, trip to a Giant’s Baseball game), and a company holiday dinner.

Community involvement includes engineering design for Habitat for Humanity, support for REFB, volunteering as Salvation Army Bell Ringers, sponsoring/ coaching Santa Rosa Little League, participation in industry soccer and golf leagues and sponsoring employees in charity golf tournaments.

Employees in the survey said: “It’s a great team environment, direct access to principals, friendly and efficient staff…A flexible and positive supportive atmosphere… We all pull together in stressful times.”

NAPA VALLEY FUMÉ

FIRST-TIME WINNER

Napa Valley Fume has been farming sungrown cannabis and building a family of cannabis brands, products, and experiences since 2018.

CEO and Co-Founder Eric Sklar said, “Our 31 hard-working, dedicated and diverse human beings at Napa Valley Fume make our company great. Goals are clearly defined. Our team understands their priorities and has the skills and determination to achieve them. We listen to and look out for each other and pitch in and help so the team meets its goals, so we keep moving forward.”

Seeing the wildfire devastation in forests across California, the company dedicated itself to giving back by planting trees for future generations. NVF partnered with One Tree Planted. So far 6,000 trees have been planted to date, one for every product sold.

NVF also supports the Last Prisoner Project with donations and sponsoring those freed, part of a campaign to ensure every cannabis prisoner is released, welcomed home and supported.

The culture is described as inclusive, honest and actively engaged.

Employees’ birthdays are celebrated monthly with a gift card and treats, and at service anniversaries with company gear at 90-days (T-shirt, hoodie or hat), fleece jacket at 1-year, backpack at 2-years, jacket at 3-years and a Yeti cooler at 4-years, etc. When COVID restrictions permit, NVF will relaunch quarterly events, such as: taking over a local bar for drinks, one mic night, hosted restaurant dinners, Garden Party just before harvest (with branded swag giveaways) and company all-star recognition.

Employees in the survey said: “We’re focused on excellence…We take pride in sustainability and forward-thinking cultivation practices…It’s exciting to work for a ground-breaking cannabis company.”

NORTH COAST TITLE COMPANY

THREE-TIME WINNER

North Coast Title Company combines the flexibility of a local business with the strength of the country’s top -rated underwriters.

Its goal is to create long-lasting relationships and to become a trusted resource within the community as it works to perfect and correct the title for properties in Sonoma County to preserve the chain of title. Services include residential resale support, refinance, commercial, high liability, subdivision, and REO title support.

“What makes us great is that we are the only woman-owned independent title and escrow company in the region,” said Catherine Cramer, president and CEO.

“While many companies outsource their title production to other parts of California, the U.S. and the world, we have the title team under our roof that handles title for all properties in Sonoma County.

Our 15 associates are our number 1 customer and their welfare is our number 1 priority. Our team creates happy customers who come back to us for their title and escrow needs.”

Associates are supported through training, flexibility to meet family needs and special office events. There is weekly coffee, companywide lunches and BBQs, a stocked kitchen, theme events, fun contests, and paid parking.

North Coast strives to promote and recruit from within. Average tenure is nine years.

The culture is built on a foundation of taking care of each other and customers by delivering the best service experience possible.

Community support has been given to the Boys and Girls Club of Sonoma Marin.

Employees in the survey said: “Management cares about us as individuals and believes in our potential…Everyone is patient, helpful and very considerate…We all feel welcomed and supported.”

NORTH MARIN COMMUNITY SERVICES

FIRST-TIME WINNER

With a goal to empower people and immigrants of all ages and from a diverse community achieve wellbeing, growth and success, NMCS provides trauma informed, integrated and culturally appropriate services annually to 11,000 people in need. This nonprofit organization addresses health disparities while helping to correct extreme income, racial and educational inequalities to ensure opportunities for all.

“We are so proud of our 291 people (61 staff and 230 volunteers) committed to our mission of helping vulnerable people access services, find stability, self-sufficiency and succeed, especially evident in the past year as we met increased demand for services during the pandemic,” said CEO Cheryl Paddack. “As we enter our 49 th year of service to North Marin, our values drive our daily work. We have low staff turnover and strong successes in attracting bilingual, bicultural staff. We are committed to advocating for policies and services that benefit underserved communities and promote racial justice.”

The culture is open, equitable, employee- driven and compassionate.

Company activities pivoted during COVID-19 to holding virtual monthly town halls with special topic speakers, an all-staff Zoom holiday celebration with bingo, ugly sweater competitions, and smaller team-based virtual hangouts.

NMCS offers a professional growth path for employees and advertises job internally while strongly encouraging qualified employees to apply. Last year, nine employees were promoted and 4 were management positions. Average tenure is 73 months. Salaries range from $35,000 to $180,000/year.

Employees in the survey said: “I’m proud of the work we do…Differences are respected and valued…We walk the talk by putting community needs at the center of services we provide…Everyone here is mission-driven filling gaps in the safety net.”

NOVA GROUP

THIRTEEN-TIME WINNER

Nova Group has been building an operation design to offer truly turnkey service for hydrant fueling, waterfront and utility/ electrical military construction for the Department of Defense and Federal Government markets since 1976 with a home office and fabrication facility based in Napa, as well as regional offices in DC and Japan. The company has a portfolio of projects in 29 states and in 7 countries worldwide.

“Nova Group is an industry-leading general engineering construction company with 45 years of domestic and international experience,” said Scott Victor, president and COO.

“While Nova builds large and complex projects that exceed customer expectations, we’re focused on team support and development. Our team leads by example with innovative construction, a safety program and quality to provide outstanding customer service. Nova’s 75 employees take pride in having a strong work ethic, commitment to their integrity and interest in giving back to local communities.“ Employee benefits include health/dental insurance and dependent coverage, life insurance, EAP, short/long-term disability insurance, 401(k) with a 4.5% company match, HSA with employer contribution, paid holidays and PTO. There is a wellness program with cash incentives, reimbursement for tuition and professional membership and associations dues/expenses and a company match for employee nonprofit contributions (Novathon jog-a-thon with a $1,500.00 match for employee solicitation of friends, family, vendor contributions to nonprofits).

Nova Group is dog-friendly and has gym and walking/running trail. The social committee plans Kona Ice Days, sports outings, bowling, Cirque du Soleil, BBQs, a water balloon toss, cornhole tournaments, pie socials, and Halloween/Christmas decoration contests with prizes, and craft nights.

Employees in the survey said: “It’s cohesive family atmosphere… Room to grow… With an open-door policy.”

O’BRIEN WATTERS & DAVIS

THIRTEEN-TIME WINNER

Since 1982, O’Brien Watters & Davis, LLP has been committed to providing superior and effective legal services and high-quality representation for clients throughout California. The firm provides services to the large Sonoma County wine and agricultural community as well as the manufacturing, high tech, services sector and other industries.

Attorneys have expertise in several practice areas, from civil litigation to appeals, family law (divorce, child custody), estate planning (trusts, wills, probate), real estate law and business entities (corporations, partnerships).

“Our firm provides employees with growth opportunities, flexible work schedules and a sense of belonging,” said Partner Michael G. Watters. “Experience counts. We have attorneys with more than 40 years of experience.”

Average tenure is 14 years. For 30+ years the firm has been rated “AV,” the highest rating possible by Martindale Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, the most respected peer rated publication regarding attorneys.

The firm promotes from within with opportunities for advancement. Salaries ranging from $33,500 to $125,000 per year.

Community involvement includes participation in the Human Race and fund-raising campaigns for the American Cancer Society, Sonoma County Legal Aid, The Volunteer Center of Sonoma County, Secret Santa, the United Way and the Salvation Army.

Benefits include health/dental/income disability insurance coverage, a 401(k) plan, vacation time, a personal holiday and sick time.

The culture is described as one with a collegial atmosphere where staff, attorneys and partners work as a collaborative team.

Employees in the survey said: “I love the work I do, enjoy coming to work each day and seeing my colleagues…A caring, supportive environment…A great team with high ethical standards.”

PARKPOINT HEALTH CLUBS

SEVEN-TIME WINNER

Parkpoint’s three health clubs in Santa Rosa, Healdsburg and Sonoma are open to enjoy — indoors, outdoors, at the pools — in person and online.

“Our loyal, dedicated staff is what makes Parkpoint Health Clubs outstanding,” said Jennifer Couch, general manager.

“Our 136 employees are the heart of the club. Members consistently comment on how friendly, caring and positive they are.

It is because of our staff that we have created an inclusive community that focuses on the health and well-being of all.”

She said Parkpoint has a firm commitment to community involvement and give back. While closed three months during the COVID-19 shutdown, Parkpoint opened its online workout options to the public free of charge. It also hosted drive-through food donation stations in its parking lots at all locations.

Parkpoint hosts or participates in community fundraisers, funding sports and theater groups, and finding opportunities for employees to volunteer with local nonprofits.

The culture is all about creating a welcoming, inclusive, appreciative work environment that is team oriented, collaborative, supportive and fun.

Many employees have worked for the clubs from 10 up to 36 years with the average being 5-7 years. Some 90% of upper management are minorities or women.

Promotion is from within whenever possible.

Benefits include club membership from the date of hire and discounted services; IRA retirement program, paid sick leave, and an employee wellness program. Those working 30 hours a week receive medical/ dental/vision coverage, increased sick leave and a generous vacation schedule.

Employees in the survey said: “We were paid when our clubs closed during the pandemic…An extremely positive, flexible work environment…They prioritize staff and member well-being.”

PEJU WINERY

THREE-TIME WINNER

This Napa Valley winery in Rutherford, named the “Best Winery in North America” by the Discoverer blog, features unforgettable tasting experiences, garden and landscaping tours, great views, and award-winning Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

“At Peju, we place our guests at the center of everything we do, whether it is the wines we make or the hospitality we offer,” said President Oren Lewin. “Our team is united in wanting guests to love our wines and have unforgettable, fun experiences when they visit. In recent challenging times, the silver lining is that our 75 employees pulled together and became stronger, going above and beyond on a regular basis to ensure guest and customer needs were met.”

For advancement, the winery looks at employee tenure, qualifications, performance, alignment with company values, and their potential for future roles. Salaries range from $42,000 to $175,000/year.

Company events include monthly family meals, sales celebrations, all hands meetings, weekly huddles, and holiday parties with wine and gifts. Anniversaries and birthdays are honored. There is a gala harvest celebration and annual bonusses.

Ongoing education, training and development is offered, along with tuition reimbursement.

Each year Peju adopts multiple families in need. Gifts are bought and wrapped for each member, or COVID-safe gift cards are donated enabling adopted families to shop for their own children.

Employees in the survey said: “Our strengths and contributions are valued… Everyone has an opportunity to learn and excel…We enjoy what we do… We work together to create amazing guest and customer experiences.”

PETERSON MECHANICAL

FIRST-TIME WINNER

Peterson Mechanical, Inc. serves a variety of market sectors, including education, healthcare, technology, office space, winery and hospitality, and high/low rise residential projects.

“In 1915, Ed Peterson started a plumbing and heating company in Sonoma and it wasn’t long before the company became synonymous with integrity and meticulous craftsmanship,” said Vice President Scott Peterson. “Now, with more than 130 employees, Peterson Mechanical is a leading mechanical contractor serving the greater Bay Area.”

He said when time is of the essence, the Peterson team can drive a quick schedule through the fast track of design, material procurement, creative scheduling and project planning employing the latest CAD, CAM and BIM technologies to help them finish the project faster and reduce the risk of change orders.

Employees enjoy company sponsored summer picnics, once-a-month BBQs in the shop back yard and a Christmas party.

Community involvement includes support for the following organizations in Sonoma: Vintage House, Boys and Girls Club, High School Grad Night, Little League, Lions Club, Jazz Society, FISH, Charter School, Education Foundation, Community Center and the Sebastiani Theater.

Peterson posts jobs internally and promotes from within. Salaries range from $70,000 to $100,000. Average employee tenure is 30 years.

Employees in the survey said: “So many employees have been here for decades… They hire awesome people so we work with the best …I’ve never worked at a company that takes care of me the way PMI does…Anything I need to do my job is provided without question…I’ve been surrounded by great mentors and have amazing opportunities.”

PISENTI & BRINKER

TEN-TIME WINNER

Pisenti & Brinker LLP is one of Sonoma County’s largest independent local certified public accounting firms with over 56 years in business in Northern California.

The company’s goal is to provide the experience and depth of a large firm with the personal service of a small firm.

“Our partners and staff work and live in their respective communities and take pride in helping our clients,” said James Perez, managing partner. “The firm encourages employees to participate in nonprofit boards. Everyone benefits by making these communities better places to live and work.”

Several P&B employees are involved with local nonprofits. The staff participates in the Human Race and has filled board positions with Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis, Community Matters, Social Advocates for Youth, Sonoma Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity and other organizations.

Promotions are based on technical proficiency and demonstrated performance.

Many employees have been promoted to supervisory or managerial levels.

Sponsored activities have included virtual parties, a company softball team, firmwide celebrations and a family fun day, along with a joint effort with REFB for employee volunteers to package food.

The culture and focus of recruiting, development and retention practices is centered around creating diversity, equity and inclusion and establishing work/life balance.

Employees in the survey said: “I am more productive working from home…There is integrity and excellence from the top down … Everyone wants their peers to be successful.”

POPPY BANK

SIXTEEN-TIME WINNER

Founded in 2005, Poppy Bank has received a 5-Star rating by BauerFinancial and is recognized as one of the strongest banks in the country.

“We value every client and our 164 employees,” said Khalid Acheckzai, president and CEO. “We care about our employees.

This resonates with our staff and drives everyone to work together as a family and ultimately translates into the success Poppy Bank has achieved as one of the best performing banks in the nation.”

During the first 75 days of the pandemic, the bank provided daily catered lunches for staff. Full wages were paid to employees whose hours were reduced for safety measures, and a relaxed dress code and flexible work hours were introduced.

Job openings are posted, and merit-based pay adjustments are awarded in recognition of superior performance.

Pre-COVID, Poppy Bank provided wellness clinics with flu shots, fitness challenges, BBQ and cook-offs, and compa ny-sponsored lunches, annual holiday client events clients and a party for employees.

Quarterly events took place with the Santa Rosa Chamber and employee anniversaries were celebrated for those with 5, 10 and 15 years of service.

Executives and officers serve on the boards of nonprofits including Habitat for Humanity, YMCA, Legal Aid of Sonoma County, the Sonoma County Children’s Museum, etc. The bank supports the American Heart Association and the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Rosa and partnered with Epicenter Sports to raise funds for small business impacted by the pandemic.

Employees in the survey said: “Everyone is supportive and positive…This is a very healthy environment to work in…Supervisors really care about my team and keep our culture alive.”

PRIVATE OCEAN WEALTH MANAGEMENT

ELEVEN-TIME WINNER

Private Ocean is a West Coast-based wealth management, financial and retirement planning firm with 43 employees at offices in San Rafael, San Francisco, and Seattle focused on senior executives, business owners and other affluent individuals and families with a minimum of $2 million to invest.

“If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that culture is something that constantly needs to be assessed and nurtured, and then adapted to meet employees needs within that environment,” said CEO Greg Friedmann.

“Private Ocean has always put people first. This was tested when all employees were working remotely, calling for regularly scheduled touch-bases with supervisors and the whole team, and virtual events that acknowledge victories, milestones, special events that normally would be celebrated together. It meant sending masks, touch-less keys and hand sanitizer along with flowers, treats, and keepsakes to staff as reminders that we understood their situation and are in this together. This time made us stronger and helped us raise our level of client service.”

To cope with the transition, Private Ocean hired another HR professional to help navigate the changing benefit needs of employees, including adding mental health resources and financial counseling for its advisors. Stipends covered costs associated with working from home.

Staff workstations were assessed for ergonomic and comfort factors, and more internet support was available if needed.

Average tenure is 11 years. Salaries range from $50,000 to $200,000/year.

Private Ocean is 52% women/minorities and over 64% of leadership is in this demographic.

The culture is defined in one word: Collaboration.

Employees in the survey said: “Everyone counts…I genuinely like all who work here… Management is fair, kind and supportive.”

PSYCHSTRATEGIES

SIX-TIME WINNER

PsychStrategies was created in 1994 by eight therapists who wanted to work together.

Today the practice has grown to include a team of over 35 licensed clinicians in two Sonoma County locations offering services to children, adolescents, adults, seniors, couples, and families. Specialties include short- and long-term therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, Jungian and Gestalt approaches, and family systems approaches. Conditions treated include anxiety, depression, PTSD, substance abuse, bipolar and ADHD.

“Our clinicians are committed to providing the best possible mental healthcare,” said General Manager Sarah Mitchell.

“This involves creating a positive and supportive work environment for our 43 employees. We strive to make sure employees know they are valued, appreciated, respected and listened to.”

Every effort was made during the pandemic to provide employees with the necessary equipment and support to work remotely or safely in the office.

Efforts are made to promote the administrative staff. A former administrative assistant was promoted twice and later became general manager. Average tenure is 10 years. Salaries range from $32,000 to $150,000/year.

In normal times, there are summer and holiday parties, staff lunches and potlucks along with many holiday and birthday celebrations throughout the year.

Every year PsychStrategies sponsors and participates in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Community Walk to raise money to save lives and support those affected by suicide. In 2020 the administrative staff produced the entire virtual Out of the Darkness community event.

Employees in the survey said: “It’s a pleasure to go to work every day…There is positive energy… We all work as a team…A very dedicated staff and clinicians committed to quality care.”

QUATTROCCHI KWOK ARCHITECTS

TWELVE-TIME WINNER

Quat t r o c c h i Kwok Architects provides comprehensive design, master planning, and constr uction administration services for Northern California K-12 and higher education schools, historic renovations and community facilities. With $2+ billion in projects completed since 1986.

“QKA’s people make this company great,” said Mark Quattrocchi, principal and founding partner. “As an employee-owned business, the people who work here are our strength, and the inspiration for our collaborative culture. During our 35-year history, QKA has become bigger than me or any one person.”

He said QKA offers a continuing education program, pays Architectural Registration exam fees, study materials and membership dues, and provides mentoring and professional development.

During SIP, numerous online trainings and webinars were held. QKA also offers Costco memberships, parking passes, flex schedules and paid wellness activities such as yoga, 5k participation and walking clubs.

Employees enjoy holiday dinners, summer family picnics, a Giant’s game, family outings to Angel Island and onsite celebrations to honor successes. Through the firm’s continuing virtual connections, paint nights, Bingo, Family Feud and Name that Tune events have been hosted.

To help with pandemic challenges, hot spots and copy paper was donated to local rural schools. Staff also participates in the Yosemite Volunteer Program, Redwood Empire Food Bank’s “CANstruction” competition, Tomorrow’s Leaders Today, Career Days, and Healdsburg High School’s Academic Internship Mentor Program. QKA is a founding member of Homes for Sonoma and donates to the Annual $30,000+ Donor’s Choose fund for educational programs nationwide.

Employees in the survey said: “QKA’s culture is fun, supportive and productive… Our team is adaptable, flexible and focused.”

REDWOOD CREDIT UNION

SIXTEEN-TIME WINNER

Redwood Credit Union has provided trusted, local financial services for more than seven decades through 18 locations in Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Mendocino, Lake and San Francisco Counties. As California’s 8 th largest credit union, RCU’s 683 employees serve 378,000 members.

“Our people are deeply passionate about helping others and making a difference in the lives of our members and in our communities,” said Brett Martinez, president and CEO. “Whether it’s helping people save money and making strong financial decisions, or volunteering at a community event, their engagement and excitement is contagious — they love what they do.”

In 2020 RCU helped over 2,000 members secure first round PPP loans totaling $123.9 million to help local businesses during the pandemic.

In addition, RCU provided more than $4 million in total giving, including grants and scholarships, to support 100+ community organizations so they could serve those affected by COVID-19.

Last year the RCU (501(c)(3) nonprofit Community Fund collected and distributed over $424,000 to meet immediate needs of people who lost primary residences, or who were financially impacted by evacuations, power outages or wage losses resulting from wildfires.

Employee benefits include medical/ dental/vision, EAP, a wellness program, 401k match, PTO, holiday/bereavement/ jury duty pay, bonuses and pay differentials, and a “Living Wage”. Other perks include educational reimbursement, loan discounts, an Employee 1 st time Home Buyer Program, referral bonuses and flex spending, plus extra PTO every 5 years to reset and recharge.

Average employee longevity is 5+ years.

Salaries start at $40,000 a year.

Employees in the survey said: “We have a strong, consistent mission and community commitment…Everyone goes above and beyond…Great benefits, pay and people… We are cared for and valued.”

RUSSIAN RIVER BREWING COMPANY

THREE-TIME WINNER

Russian River Brewing Company was founded in 1997 and sold by Guerneville’s Korbel Champagne Cellars to its original brewer Vinnie Cilurzo and his wife Natalie in 2003. In 2018, the owners launched a new 85,000-square foot building in Windsor for beer production, administrative offices, a brewpub, outdoor beer garden, gift shop, tasting room/growler fills, and two acres of free parking.

”RRBC is a great place to work because we really care about our employees and each one is an important member of our family,” said President Natalie Cilurzo.

“2020-2021 has been challenging for everyone.

Our RRBC 130-member team stepped up by providing outstanding customer service, delicious food and world-class beer, while following COVID-19 protocols.

Vinnie and I are grateful to have found such kind and caring human beings to join our brewery family.”

Benefits include medical/dental/vision and pet insurance, $10K in free life insurance, and a 401k plan, plus shift beers (50% discount and Brew Bucks credit for beer, food and merchandise).

RRBC has a Safety Committee and is creating a Diversity Committee to have a more equitable workforce by hiring, retaining and promoting women, LGBTQ community members and people of color.

Over the years RRBC has donated $600,000 to breast cancer charities. Support was also given to the Sonoma County Humane Society, Council on Aging, the Charles M.

Schulz Museum and Canine Companions — the Cilurzo family helped raise a puppy, named Pliny, for Canine Companions.

Employees in the survey said: “Amazing kind, empathetic owners…I’m happy coming to work every day…Friendly atmosphere with a service dog onsite…An exceptional employee experience.”

SCHURTER

FOURTEEN-TIME WINNER

SCHURTER, Inc. manufactures and distributes components for circuit protection and electromagnetic-compatible products. The company is an essential business providing components to medical manufacturers building life-saving equipment for those who contracted COVID-19.

“2020 will forever be remembered as our most difficult year, proving how vital our employees are to us,” said CEO Leonard Overholser. “Due to our 17 employees’ commitment, dedication and determination, we were able to keep operations running without interruption. We continued weekly meetings and acted to ensure communications with them was not lost.

Ensuring their safety will always be a top priority for us.”

The company pays 100% of health care premiums for employees and dependents, contributes toward employee HSA accounts and offers vacation, sick, personal and bereavement leaves along with 401k and profit-sharing plans.

There are cash, TQC and anniversary bonuses, SMART and tuition reimbursement, and online education through UDEMY.

Employees have access to more than 3,000 business courses online. Average longevity is 11 years, and salaries range from $45,000 to $200,000. Culture values include Customer Proximity, Commitment, Competence and Respect.

Employees relax during a summer event, at a year-end party, BBQs, quarterly meetings and lunches where rewards are given to staff going above and beyond.

Community support includes an Angel Tree, donations to wildfire organizations and REFB. To reduce environmental impact, solar panels were installed in 2020 saving a total of 529,048,382 pounds of CO 2 emissions equivalent to 3,997 planted trees.

Employees in the survey said: “Everyone is willing to share knowledge to ensure I am successful…They are abundantly patient with new hires…Communication is open from top to bottom…We have awesome benefits and lots of growth opportunities.”

SCOTT LABORATORIES

FIRST-TIME WINNER

Scott Laboratories has been a leading supplier for the North American wine and specialty beverage industry for 88 years offering more than 500 items to customers, including fermentation and cellar products, filter media, oak alternatives, cork, sparkling wine closures, yeast inhibitor/microbial control agents, brewing products, equipment, service and parts.

“We are a family business that puts our 110 people and customers first, bound by a common vision, mission and care for each other,” said CEO Zachary Scott.

“Scott Labs is building a workplace that values, supports, celebrates and embraces employee differences. Everyone wants to feel valued and have equal and equitable access to make a positive contribution and develop their careers.”

He said challenges and differences are navigated with transparency and clarity by honoring each other’s humanity and perspectives. “Our job is to empower everyone to show up authentically. We act with fairness, trust, safety and respect.”

Employee benefits include competitive salaries, 401k with company match, a health/dental/vision package and more.

Average employee tenure is 10 years.

The Scott family has supported the local wine community for decades by giving to nonprofits and local winemaking programs at the University of California Davis, Cal Poly, etc., to educate the next generation of winemakers and vintners.

Recent efforts include charitable outreach for the Napa Valley Community Foundation, Sonoma County Vintners Foundations and Salud Oregon to support organizations providing wildfire and COVID-19 relief.

The culture is described as collaborative and open, with accuracy, and creativity.

Employees in the survey said: “At Scott Labs there is emphasis on doing the right thing and treating people extremely well…I love my co-workers and my team...

Great leadership and camaraderie.”

SEQUOIA SENIOR SOLUTIONS

THIRTEEN-TIME WINNER

The mission of Sequoia Senior Solutions is to ensure a better quality of life for elderly clients and their families by providing dependable and affordable in-home care allowing thousands of North Bay Seniors to remain independent in their own homes.

Sequoia operates in six North Bay counties by assigning professional caregivers for companionship, ongoing and respite care, transportation, home needs and safety assessments, and care plan development.

“Our 110 caregivers are the reason for our continued success and our reputation for excellence. They demonstrate their professionalism and compassion daily.” said President Gabriella Ambrosi, who with husband, Stanton Lawson, founded Sequoia in 2003.

Employees can receive monthly, quarterly and annual recognition awards, such as Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Safeway and Amazon gift cards, personalized thank you cards and calls from the CEO.

Benefits include paid vacation, sick and bereavement leave, 401K, direct deposit, and medical/dental and optical insurance.

Salaries range from $40,000 to $90,000/ year. Some 90% of office staff was promoted from within. Caregivers participate in holiday parties, and at an annual picnic (with a grand prize of an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii).

Sequoia is involved in the communities it serves, including the Village Network of Petaluma. During COVID-19, Sequoia started a grant program that provides 20 hours of free home care to seniors in need and is working with PEP senior housing to provide continual senior care.

The culture focuses on compassion and empathy through hands-on training and open-door policy with interactive communication via GoToMeetings during the pandemic.

Employees in the survey said: “Everyone is over-the-top nice…My supervisors listen and support me…The pay and people are great.”

SIYAN CLINICAL

FIRST-TIME WINNER

At Siyan Clinical Corporation in Santa Rosa, its mission is to improve care for people with mental disorders and their families through tailored outpatient treatment, professional education, and standard-setting clinical care.

Siyan is affiliated with Project Hope, offering office-based medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence, and Project Lifeline, the Northern California suicide prevention program, and also organized 13 Medication Assisted Treatment community partners into a local Opioid Coalition. The clinic also offers mental health services to first responders, firefighters and front-line health professionals during the COVID pandemic.

SCC utilizes telemedicine to conduct virtual consultations and followup.

“Established in 2012 with over 30 employees, SCC is one of the largest private mental health practices North of San Francisco. We value our staff and offer a welcoming work environment,” said founder, owner and CEO Anish Shah, MD. “Our team delivers individualized and caring services by a team of psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, psychotherapists and medical assistants.”

In addition to competitive salaries, Siyan offers an employer matched 401k program, profit sharing, bonuses, a generous time off policy, health insurance with an employer contribution, vacation benefits with floating holidays, a promotion policy and an allowance for ongoing continuing education (CE) and continuing medical education (CME).

Employees in the survey said: “We all go the extra mile to provide unique, sought-after mental health services…Everyone is willing to step in and help…I truly believe we are changing peoples’ lives.”

SMITH DOLLAR

TWELVE-TIME WINNER

Smith Dollar PC is a certified woman- owned law firm representing clients in the areas of real estate, business, finance, construction, labor and employment, wills, trusts, probate and personal injury. The firm’s clients include individuals and businesses, both large and small, in many diverse industries.

Since its inception in 2005, Smith Dollar is one of the only firms north of San Francisco providing litigation and transactional representation to the mortgage banking and financial services industry.

“We strive to eliminate the traditional hierarchal law firm model and encourage personal and professional development for each employee,” said President Rachel Dollar. “Every person is valued for individual contributions to outstanding client results.”

Benefits include flex scheduling, make-up time, telecommuting, holiday and birthday bonuses and a training incentive program, plus complementary food and beverages, service recognition, laptops, smart phones and casual Fridays. There is an annual holiday party, summer BBQ, a pool party and a hosted luncheon on Administrative Professional’s Day.

Smith Dollar offers competitive salaries, PTO+1 week paid time off between Christmas and New Year, paid medical/ dental insurance, a 401k plan and profit sharing, FSA, a cafeteria plan, direct deposit, continuing education, with paid holidays, parking, bar dues and industry conferences.

The culture puts a premium on mutual respect. Smith Dollar is involved with Legal Aid, the 6 Group, Sonoma County Alliance, North Coast Builders Exchange and the Engineering Contractors Association.

Rachel Dollar and Glenn Smith are past presidents of the Sonoma County Bar Association.

An employee said: “We have a competent staff with quality services offered at competitive rates with an eye toward client satisfaction…It’s a family friendly atmosphere with teamwork.”

SONOMA CLEAN POWER

THREE-TIME WINNER

Sonoma Clean Power serves residents and businesses in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties clean energy from more renewable resources, such as geothermal, wind, and solar. SCP was formed to provide a choice beyond the for-profit, investor-owned utility (PG&E) and a customer- owned public utility. By providing higher percentages of renewable energy that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, SCP customers are helping to solve the climate crisis at the local level.

“It is a pleasure to work alongside SCP’s 32 employees as we come together to fight the climate crisis and rebuild Sonoma and Mendocino Counties,” said CEO Geof Syphers. “We break bread together, love to laugh, innovate ideas internally and provide practical solutions to help customers and communities live a more sustainable lifestyle.”

He said SCP’s staff and management treat each other with respect, prioritize learning new things, pushing boundaries and thinking outside the box. “We grow from past experiences, share our best practices and learn from other organization’s successes.”

SCP encourages everyone to reach higher goals, improve the world, help others in need and bring others along, while celebrating team member differences and cherishing similarities.

SCP’s community giving program focuses on fighting local food insecurity, supporting social justice, local small business COVID-19 relief, and nonprofits benefiting fire victims. Recipients include Redwood Empire and Fort Bragg food banks, North Coast Opportunities, Willits Community Service/food banks, West County Community Services, Petaluma People Services and West County Health Centers.

Employees in the survey said: “Along with customers, we are fighting to save the earth…We focus on improving lives… Management is kind, caring and supportive.”

SONOMA TECHNOLOGY

FIFTEEN-TIME WINNER

Sonoma Technology is an employee- owned environmental consulting firm headquartered in Petaluma with 72 technical and support staff members.

Services include community air and emissions monitoring, understanding how to address climate adaptation and mitigation challenges, fire and fuels, forecasting, health and environmental justice, low-cost sensors, GHG measurements, meteorology, modeling and litigation support.

“STI’s scientists, engineers and administrative professionals enjoy working in our collaborative environment where skills are integrated and individual accomplishments are appreciated,” said President Clinton MacDonald. “Employees who take initiative are recognized with a quarterly ‘You Make a Difference’ award.”

He said STI provides air quality-related consulting services to government and private enterprises around the world.

Today we continue to grow, working on interesting and challenging projects and providing an ever-increasing range of environmental services that meet and exceed client expectations, while having fun along the way.”

Average employee tenure is 10 years. Salaries range from $58,000 to $228,000/year.

STI hosts an annual anniversary lunch, a summer picnic, holiday party with family members, a chili cook-off, and a spring (time-change) breakfast.

STI provides a professional work environment with a true work-life balance.

Cross-training and knowledge sharing are encouraged among co-workers along with seeking coursework and classes to improve and increase skill sets. STI’s annual grant encourages and facilitates staff participation in community causes.

The company also has a matching gifts program.

Employees in the survey said: “I work with smart people… My work is valued… We have engaging projects yielding impactful results…Management is extremely empathetic and flexible…A culture of kindness and respect.”

SPAULDING MCCULLOUGH & TANSIL

FOUR-TIME WINNER

SMT is committed to providing outstanding legal services across a full range of practice areas that include business law, litigation, labor and employment, trusts and estates, real property, intellectual property and technology as well as alternative dispute resolution.

“Our 22 attorneys and staff are supported both personal and professionally and the result is a committed employees who thrive on challenges, and are passionate about our clients,” said Greg Spaulding, founding partner. “We believe our culture attracts great people and great talent. Legal work can be stressful, so it’s a high priority for us to have fun with what we are doing.”

He said SMT has taken care of its employees through thick and thin. “Our workplace is like a family. This became especially evident during the pandemic when we supported our people working remotely.

We truly have a culture of caring.”

SMT has several employees who started with the firm 25 years ago and encourages all employees to pursue career opportunities within the firm.

Attorneys and staff are encouraged to participate in the community. Almost every attorney sits on one or more board of directors for a wide variety of nonprofit organizations, from school boards to nonprofit boards and the Luther Burbank Center’s Board of Directors. SMT also donates to LBC.

Employees in the survey said: “It’s a collaborative environment with transparent leadership…We get together to celebrate successes and are there for each other… They listen to our suggestions…I appreciate being acknowledged for working hard.”

ST. FRANCIS WINERY & VINEYARDS

ELEVEN-TIME WINNER

Celebrating its 50 th anniversary with a winning combination of grapes grown at a 100% certified sustainable winery and vineyards, St. Francis is also helping to preserve Sonoma Valley’s natural resources for future generations by installing a 457-kilowatt solar energy system and conserving nearby waterways.

“We talk a lot about sustainability and how it includes our 98 employees — many with 15+ years of service,” said CEO Rick Bonitati. “Leadership takes this very seriously.

In addition to providing a safe workplace, boots and jackets are provided for outside work, Flu and COVID-19 vaccinations are provided free of charge along with CPR training.

He asked, “What makes St. Francis a best place to work? A lot of the things that make a great wine — start with quality ingredients, treat them well, pay attention to detail and let the components shine.

That’s true whether it’s employees or the grapes.”

Fun outings include employee appreciation and harvest lunches, holiday party with gifts for employees’ children and Joe Martin Day, when the founder is celebrated by donating labor, equipment and supplies at a charity, school, park or group home.

Staff is gifted a Thanksgiving turkey, goodnews is applauded, and positive customer service comments are recognized.

Employees enjoy wine and food pairings for 2 twice a year, and 50% off for St.

Francis wines.

Many nonprofits and schools are supported with donations for their fundraising event. St. Francis holds an annual Blessing of the Animals with proceeds going to the Humane Society.

Employees in the survey said: “People are a pleasure to work with…They created a safe environment for us during a world crisis.”

STAR STAFFING

NINE-TIME WINNER

With eight branches throughout Northern California and a history of connecting 100,000+ job seekers with companies looking for talent since 1998, Star Staffing handles temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hiring needs.

“Star Staffing is heavily invested in creating an environment in which our team has deep satisfaction with their jobs and our company vision and mission” said CEO Lisa Lichty. “Our team is committed to excellence and communicates so effectively that everyone understands how important their role is, and how it ties to team and company goals. We are driven to move forward together, and always take time to cheer each other on and help others succeed.”

She said even in difficult times we remain positive and continue to introduce new ideas and creative ways to get the job done. “We always promote from within and provide ongoing learning to ensue every employee grows and stretches to achieve their highest potential. Our culture of honesty and integrity encourages, empowers and celebrates employees.”

There are anniversary and birthday celebrations, Star of the Month program, staff appreciation months, year-end awards and top producers’ lunches.

Star Staffing participates in the Sacramento More Than Pink Walk, Sonoma County Heart Walk, with the Petaluma Educational Foundation, Westside Litle League, Catwalk for a Cure, Lime Foundation, American Cancer Society, Rohnert Park Cal Pipkin Baseball, local schools (including Cali Calmecac Language Academy, Windsor Christian Academy and St. Vincent de Paul High School).

Employees in the survey said: “We’re all like-minded individuals who hold each other up…I know I can count on my colleagues… This is a place I hope to excel in my career.”

SUMMIT ENGINEERING

FIFTEEN-TIME WINNER

Summit Engineering is an award-winning, multi-discipline design engineering company providing consulting, civil, structural, electrical, planning and water wastewater engineering services since 1978.

“What makes Summit a best place to work is because what we do is a team sport,” said Yi Yang, managing principal. “Our people choose to operate as a real team, love and care about each other, what we do, and the impact we make — this makes our company great.”

Summit offers a benefits program with health coverage, 3 weeks PTO the first year, paid Airport Club enrollment fees plus paying 50% of dues, referral bonus program, flexible start/stop work hours, a professional development program and continuing education through workshops, seminars, classes.

There are monthly “wine down” staff meetings, quarterly Fun Committee events — bowling, camping, office Olympics, kayaking, BBQs — a fully-stocked kitchen, breakfast the last day of the work week and a dependent care assistance plan. The office team, the “Slide Rules”, plays each summer in a Healdsburg baseball league, and there are division challenges.

During the pandemic, Summit provided a $50 monthly stipend for all employees to compensate for phone/internet usage.

The new work policy allows employees one day a week to work from home, or as necessary. Promotions are awarded based on merit.

Community involvement includes volunteering at REFB, beach cleanups, the Boys and Girls Club’s Secret Santa Program, Engineers Without Borders, Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge competitions and the Mike Hauser Algebra Academy.

Employees surveyed said: “Great people, good culture, fun projects and events… Awesome benefits… Relaxed, professional environment… Strong sense of teamwork.”

SUMMIT STATE BANK

TWELVE-TIME WINNER

Since 1982, Summit has become a commercial bank with $866 million in assets and over 100 employees. In 2006 Summit became a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: SSBI). In 2009, the bank launched the Nonprofit Partner Program where local nonprofits earn above market interest rate on their operating account and has paid over $2.4 million to 181 local nonprofits.

“Summit recognizes its workforce is a key competitive advantage. We take pride in fostering a welcoming work environment where differences are accepted and celebrated,” said President and CEO Brian Reed. “We promote inclusion. Employees have a voice and their views and opinions are heard and considered.”

He said in addition to providing a caring, collaborative and inclusive work culture, “We encourage professional growth and development as a means of career satisfaction, retention and engagement. This past year has tested our community and we are proud to say our employees have remained committed to each other, our customers and community.”

Summit processed and funded almost $97 million in Payroll Protection Program SBA loans to over 600 businesses and actively worked with customers on the forgiveness process. It also granted payment deferrals on 26% of its loan portfolio to assist customers with cash flow.

The bank hosts staff dinners to celebrate achievements, and publicly announces awards and recognition. The Employee Activities Committee plans events such as an annual picnic and attendance at sporting events for employees and families.

Summit employees give back by volunteering in the community through the Summit Day of Service.

Employees surveyed said: “Management appreciates employees…3-weeks vacation to start is great…I’ve never worked for a better company.”

SUMMIT TECHNOLOGY GROUP

FIRST-TIME WINNER

Summit Technology Group has created lifestyles for home and work since 1963 by designing, installing and maintaining tailor-made technology and renewable energy systems throughout the North Bay. Solutions include A/V and home theaters, lighting control, motorized shades, security/surveillance systems, voice/ data networks, boardroom systems, climate control, wifi and networking, fire and life safety and other total control and automation systems.

President Larry Dashiell said, “Our team continues to impress me. They are dedicated to our company’s core values (openness, honesty, teamwork and community) and providing amazing service to customers. We are proud of how far our company has come and are humbled and grateful for our team who has gotten us to where we are today.”

STG’s promotion policy is based on experience, tenure, education/training and willingness to do the job. Salaries range from $41,000 to $150,000/year.

The company has a monthly community outreach program that includes employee volunteering, in-kind and financial donations, and nonprofit partnerships.

There are beach cleanups, clothing donations, book drives, toy drives, support for the Coast Guard, Habitat for Humanity, REFB, St. Vincent de Paul’s kitchen and breast cancer awareness.

Over the past year, STG has donated hundreds of hours of volunteer time, over 700 lbs. of food, and helped build houses. To further help local businesses, STG provided all employees with gift cards to local restaurants.

Employees surveyed said: “People love what they do…A supportive family atmosphere… We all strive for greatness.”

SUTTER INSTRUMENT

FIVE-TIME WINNER

Sutter has grown from a small garage operation in 1977 to a 55,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Novato today.

Employing almost 70 staff members, many of whom have backgrounds in neuroscience, Sutter employs micropipette fabrication technology and produces optical products used by scientists the world over to conduct biomedical research and develop emerging analytical techniques.

“With many Sutter employees coming from research backgrounds, it was inevitable that our culture would feel academic,” said President and Founder Mark Flaming. “It is a very casual place to work, and 5 or 6 employees bring dogs to work daily. Employees helped build the company and we feel it is important for everyone to share in our success. Employees now own 30% through an ESOP program.”

He noted that with low turnover employee tenure ranges from an average 14.53 years to 53 years.

During the COVID crisis, employees received full pay as well as medical/dental benefits, etc. with no sick or vacation time used. With the pandemic, company activities have been on hold.

However, donations continue to support Ritter House, Marin Alano Club, the Community institute for Psychotherapy, Novato Human Needs, Whistle Stop and the Marin Food Bank.

Employee benefits also include a buy up on life insurance, HSA, 401k contributions, educational opportunities, vacation/ sick time off a retirement plan and profit sharing.

Employees surveyed said: “Good policies, management and friendly team…Great benefits and job stability…Positive family- oriented culture.”

THE BEALE GROUP

FIRST-TIME WINNER

As a management consulting firm, The Beale Group is “leading the way for social and economic equity within the community,” said Gregory Beale, president and CEO. “Our team of 25 employees takes a very collaborative, collective approach helping to build businesses, spaces and the communities that exist within them.

We empower our team to reimagine and align within the values that they hold closely. We lead with a value-based approach, creating a culture to be proud of.

This way of working rings true for all the people we hire and partner with.”

The culture values innovation, entrepreneurship, and the mindful pursuit of community growth.

Company events include holiday parties and summer BBQs. After the several wildfires over the years, The Beale Group held a fundraiser for employees that lost their homes and is looking to start a nonprofit in the future to give back.

Basic benefits include 10 days PTO, 24-hours of sick leave, health insurance (with complete coverage after 5 years), dental insurance and HSAs. Employees have flex work schedules, free use of an EV charging station, wear casual attire, it’s a pet-friendly office, and educational opportunities (i.e. language learning programs, blueprint reading training, etc.).

The firm is in the process of becoming a Co-Op employee-owned company.

Employees surveyed said: “We enjoy a casual, fun and well-structured environment… It’s a pleasure to work with this exciting team where everyone is friendly and willing to help.”

THE BUNDSCHU COMPANY

FIRST-TIME WINNER

The Bundschu Company of Sonoma has a list of properties includes Gundlach Bundschu Winery, Abbot’s Passage Winery & Mercantile, Echo Echo Wine, Towle Wine Company and Huichica Music Festival in Sonoma Valley and beyond. Owned and managed by the Bundschu family for more than a century and a half, the company is known for wines, beautiful settings, dynamic customer experiences, and a spirit of fun and approachability.

“We believe in people above all else and creating a meaningful connection whether they are employees or our customers,” said Jeff Bundschu, president and CEO. “We appreciate that our business wouldn’t be here without the grit, resiliency and dedication of those who came before us 163 years ago.”

Three values shape every decision: Respect, Integrity and Teamwork.

Beyond core benefits, the company offers Accident Advance (for unanticipated medical bills) and Trans Select 10 term life insurance (with spouse and dependent benefits and a terminal illness option), two FSA options and a 401(k) retirement plan with a company match, 15 paid holidays, work anniversary holiday, two paid volunteer holidays, plus group life and AD&D insurance, etc.

There is a 55% employee wine discount and reimbursement for wine purchases at its partner restaurant accounts (up to two bottles/month). All fulltime employees receive 1 case, or 12 bottles of wine/ quarter.

Employees support the Sonoma Mentoring Alliance, volunteer at Pets Lifeline, partner with the Sonoma Valley Education Association, and participate in the Sears Point raceway toy drive, Wounded Warrior and 826 Valencia.

Employees surveyed said: “We have a say in changes, current operations and the future of the business…People are incredible…We truly enjoy each other’s company.”

THE SCOTT TECHNOLOGY GROUP

TEN-TIME WINNER

The Scott Technology Group is one of the largest locally owned and family-operated office equipment dealerships in Northern California providing a complete line of both Savin/Ricoh and Canon multi-function products and a full array of document management solutions for businesses.

“Our focus has always been on taking care of our 16 employees and empowering them to take care of our clients. We believe that when we focus on taking care of others, we’re living up to our highest calling,” said CEO David Scott.

He said when it comes to promotions, “We always look internally first. Due to our size and collaborative environment, we are familiar with every employee and their strengths. When a position comes open our preference will always be to fill it with a promotion. Ideally, new hires are only entry level.”

Minorities/women comprise 50% of upper management. Average tenure is 7.25 years and salaries range from $38,500 to $120,000/year. Basic benefits include medical for employees, 401k matching and PTO that increases over time.

STG is family-oriented and despite pandemic issues and a future that has been tricky to navigate, the company hopes to return to hosting company BBQs, where families are invited to play games and spend the afternoon socializing, building bonds that foster great working relationships.

To help support the community, employees receive 40 hours of paid time off for charity work each year.

Employees surveyed said: “We have an open and honest atmosphere…Treat customers like family… The people here and our vision for innovation and growth make this a best place to work.”

TLCD ARCHITECTURE

FIVE-TIME WINNER

TLCD Architecture is a North Bay architecture and interior design practice with 56 years of experience.

“Our unique workplace environment promotes creativity and fosters friendship and collegiality. It also plays an important role in attracting and retaining employees,” said Founder and Design Principal Don Tomasi, AIA. “Our 32-member staff has been faced with many pandemic-related challenges over almost two years, but has remained connected, collaborative and engaged with our clients. Not only have we retained staff, but we have also been fortunate to hire several new employees to support our robust workload.”

Both as a firm and individuals, TLCD is engaged in the community by supporting REFB, the SRJC Foundation, The Human Race, Habitat for Humanity, Sonoma County Secret Santa, Mike Hauser Academy and other nonprofits. Employees sit on various boards, volunteer their time and are active in professional organizations such as the American Institute of Architects, the National Organization of Minority Architects and Hip Hop Architecture.

Regular gatherings have included weekly Wine Wednesdays (now virtual), a holiday party, summer picnic. TLCD’s professional development program includes formal learning and the ongoing mentoring of junior staff. Financial incentives are available to pursue professional exams and become licensed. The firm provides opportunities to share its projects with others in the office and seek inspiration from them in formal and informal settings.

Employees surveyed said: “We have a great, diverse and talented staff working with great clients…We’re focused on building a stronger community.”

TRADITIONAL MEDICINALS

FOUR-TIME WINNER

Founded in 1974, Traditional Medicinals is the leading seller of wellness tea in the U.S. — and pioneer of the wellness tea category in the U.S. and Canada. As a Certified B corporation and California Certified Green Business, TM embraces sustainability, ingredient purity and supports social change/environmental activism while serving the needs of grower communities in 35 countries on six continents through the TM Foundation.

“Many things make TM great. All 220 of us get to be ourselves at work, and second is our social business model ensuring that each day TM is helping the planet through organic farming and improving lives with fair-trade premiums for herb growers around the world,” said CEO Blair Kellison. “We think of TM as one big family with a common goal — connecting people to the power of plants.”

TM’s employee food program offering fresh, organic, local fruits and vegetables, a salad bar in summer, a soup bar in winter, a P&J bar, dairy/non-dairy yogurts, and a variety of hot/cold beverages.

Employees are rewarded on anniversary dates with cash prizes, a tea kettle (at 5 years), backpacks (for 10 years). Bucks for Grades awards are given to employee’s children earning good marks.

There is a company picnic, a Sales Lunch, public transportation cash compensation, multiple lounge areas, ergonomic high/low desks and options for employees to take additional life, critical illness and accident insurance.

On Volunteer Day, employees help nonprofits COTS, Humane Society, Sebastopol Senior Center, REFB and sponsors the Luna Fest.

Employees surveyed said: “I feel supported and empowered working here…I love our sense of community, acceptance, flexibility and understanding.”

TRICORBRAUN WINEPAK

FIRST-TIME WINNER

With locations in Northern and Southern California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, TricorBraun WinePak is a global packaging leader and North America’s largest packaging distributor of top-quality wine bottles since 1902, with $1 billion in annual sales.

“It’s a best place for the best people. With over 1,100 employees — 74 in the North Bay, they are the heart and soul of the company,” said Nelson Costa, director of operations.

He said TricorBraun’s commitment to its employee’s career development sets it apart by enhancing their potential and providing every opportunity to expand their skills, knowledge and experience through formal education and training programs, leadership development and one-on-one coaching and mentoring from other team members.

There is a holiday party, competitive compensation plans with commissions and bonuses.

The company has a library of Web-based training courses, and instructor-led E-learning events. The High Achievers Club Program is an annual performance- based competition to recognize amazing accomplishments open to all team members. Top performers are rewarded with a trip to a luxury destination.

Emergency funds for employees and family are provided along with team member referral and annual bonuses, gift card programs, tuition reimbursement and wellness programs.

Average tenure is 10-12 years. Salaries range from $28,000 to $150,000. Cultural values include integrity, passion, value- added, and service. Internal promotions are common.

Each year TricorBraun matches 100% of personal donations up to $250. The company has also supported relief efforts for wineries affected by wildfires.

Employees surveyed said: “Everyone is important, and they let us know it all the time…I can reach out to anyone, even higher management, for support when needed.”

W. BRADLEY ELECTRIC

FOURTEEN-TIME WINNER

W. Bradley Electric, Inc. has been setting industry standards for experience, education, customer service, and workmanship since 1977. Today, WBE is still a family enterprise and woman-owned with four bay area locations, 305 employees and an annual sales volume in 2020 of $143 million.

“Throughout the pandemic, WBE was well prepared and has been able to pivot and excel at mitigating risk and protecting our No. 1 asset — our employees,” said CEO Leslie Murphy. “We were successful in deploying dozens of ‘home offices’ for work-from-home employees and fortifying our safety protocols in office environments.”

She said the company continually supported staff with virtual, bi-monthly COVID update calls, online poker tournaments, and implemented weekly workload survey reports, facilitated over 200 vaccine appointments, created an employee emergency resource fund and formed a Dive-In Committee supporting DIVErsity and INclusion.

Now that WBE’s employees are returning to the office, it has a Beer Garden Patio for outside meetings/celebrations, a personal trainer at the in-house gym, weekly luncheons — and started scheduling team building events and monthly yogurt parties.

Company gatherings include happy hour, family picnic, celebrating big project wins, birthday lunches, sports tournaments/ teams, free yoga class passes, clubs/activities, holiday parties/ luncheons, pets at work, team building retreats and mentoring programs.

Employees receive benefits including vacation, floating holidays, 401k matching, tuition reimbursement, sabbaticals, free healthy snacks, vehicle allowances/company vehicles, pickup-drop off at SMART, financial planning, EAP, professional education and a program to help new families get started with $1,000 for new babies.

Employees surveyed said: “I feel at home, safe and heard…Everyone is approachable and friendly…A good team environment, great communication and family atmosphere.”

WILLOW CREEK WEALTH MANAGEMENT

FIRST-TIME WINNER

Willow Creek Wealth Management’s team of wealth advisers provide independent, fee-only wealth management, retirement and financial planning services for individuals, businesses and over 500 families since 1984.

“We value and respect our 18-member team, and stick together when times are tough,” said COO, CFO and Managing Partner Kelly Noonan. “During the pandemic, we immediately transitioned to a work-from-home model with no layouts or pay reductions. We held monthly virtual parties to keep our team connected, including a virtual trip to Paris, and sent wine & cheese to staff with gift cards ahead of time.”

Willow Creek offers a profit-sharing plan contribution, and profit-based bonuses for employees. It gives back to the community by supporting nonprofits with sponsorships and donations, schedules volunteer days doing weeding Humane Society grounds or packing food at REFB.

The culture is happy, nurturing, connected and fun.

Promotion decisions are made by department managers based on increased skill sets, excellent performance reviews, additional education, etc. Average tenure is 11 years. Salaries range from $52,000 to $200,000/year.

Company activities include a holiday luncheon/ family dinner, and trips to Giant’s or Warrior’s games. To celebrate major milestones, an all-expense weekend excursion is planned at the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe.

Advisers sit on boards of several nonprofits.

The firm donated a matching pledge to send young musicians to China through the Santa Rosa Symphony, sponsors the Ceres Community Project, the Green Music Center (and concerts), and contributes to Sonoma County Search and Rescue.

Employees surveyed said: “We’re dedicated to serving clients, putting their interests first…Office atmosphere is professional and enjoyable…Everyone here is someone you can rely on.”

WOODRUFF SAWYER

TWELVE-TIME WINNER

For 103 years, Woodruff Sawyer has been providing services such as D&O, IPO, Cyber, product and cargo liability, and international risk across a variety of sectors like tech, life sciences, construction, real estate development and manufacturing.

“Our team constantly has to rethink and reinvent how we solve problems because the products and technologies many of our clients develop, sell and use are changing the way we live,” said Chairman and CEO Andy Barrengos. “As champions for our client’s success, our staff works hard to identify and diminish business risk through custom solutions, data analysis, expertise and advice.”

The firm has 521 employees, 22 in Novato.

Promotions occur when an employee exhibits strong technical skills, exceeds expectations and consistently demonstrates characteristics that align with the culture.

“Independent and employee-owned, Woodruff and Sawyer’s flat organizational structure further fosters our client-first approach by providing direct access to the most senior brokers and consultants, who are often shareholders and members of our executive staff. Our entire leadership team is composed of top industry experts dedicating to protecting our client’s people and assets,” Barrengos added.

Pre-COVID there were annual summer hosted events, an annual holiday party, sponsored lunches, etc. During COVID, townhall events were held with guest speakers. The company’s community service are supports charitable causes through donations and volunteer activities.

Employees surveyed said: “Amazing leadership… ESOP gives everyone a chance to participate in the success of the company...

Our safety is a priority…We care about our clients, colleagues, communities.”

WRA

ELEVEN-TIME WINNER

WRA creates value for communities by working together to provide environmental solutions. Formed in 1981, WRA has 85 professionals who collectively completed nearly 4,000 projects for public agencies, non-profit and private organizations.

The company provides professional consulting services in plant, wildlife and wetland ecology, regulatory compliance, cultural resources, mitigation banking, CEQA/NEPA, GIS and landscape architecture.

CEO Geoff Smick said, “WRA is a great place to work because our staff is able to select projects they are passionate about. The team works in many sectors, from local infrastructure, residential and commercial developments, to public park planning, habitat restoration design — and recently sea level rise and wildfire mitigation planning.”

Several bonuses are offered including extra pay during the busy field season, and an innovation program that funds staff to develop new tools and techniques, a profit-sharing bonus, employee referral bonus One-third of the staff are owners of the company. There is EAP, AAA Classic roadside assistance, cell phone reimbursement and an internet allowance.

Fringe benefits include flex schedules, remote work options, holiday parties and weekly happy hours.

There is an annual family/friends picnic, a bike to work team challenge, monthly birthday celebrations, and a Get-Out- And-Learn field visit series.

Community involvement involves an annual WRA donation drive that in 2020 raised funds for local food banks, Earth Day trash cleanup, and pro bono services such as bat monitoring with park agency clients and citizen scientists, Peninsula Open Space Trust projects, and post fire work for the CZU fire complex.

Employees surveyed said: “We’re making creative and meaningful environmental contributions to the community and planet… A culture of inclusion and diversity… Transparency from the top down.”

WX BRANDS

FIRST-TIME WINNER

WX brands is a top 14 wine company and home of internationally recognized wine brands in the North Bay for the last 22 years.

“WX Brands is a team of forward-thinking, creative and gritty individuals dedicated to our core values,” said Peter Byck, president and CEO. “Last year we grew our Bread & Butter Wine brand by over 85%, were recognized in the wine industry as a leader in the field, launched an internship program to build talent and create opportunity for growth — without laying off or furloughing a single tasting room employee.”

One core value is doing the right thing.

Employees receive three paid volunteer days/year to devote to causes important to them. WX hosted an adopt-a-family drive to support local elementary school children by raising $20,000 including a generous company match. Cleanup campaigns were held on Earth Day in Marin County Parks and remote neighborhoods.

The company also made a commitment to World Central Kitchen to feed members of the hospitality industry in need through WX Brand’s online shop Revel- Wine.com.

Since March 2020, WX has hosted a weekly video meeting (Wine Wednesdays) with topics from winemaking education and brand training to virtual trivia and scavenger hunts, and a Women’s Equal Pay Day discussion hosted by the WX Diversity & Inclusivity Task Force.

WX extends wine purchase discounts to employees and gives them two free sample bottles/month. Employees are also granted stock options and an opportunity to become company shareowners. They receive 19 PTO days/year in addition to paid holidays.

Employees surveyed said: “It’s a fun, thriving business…I feel valued and recognized as an asset to WX.”

YWCA SONOMA COUNTY

FIVE-TIME WINNER

YWCA of Sonoma County has been a leader in providing domestic violence therapy services, eliminating racism and empowering women since 1975.

“Ours dedicated team of 36 employees (100% women and minorities in upper management) demonstrates their commitment to our local community by adapting to new practices for providing advocacy, refuge, schooling, resources, therapy and ongoing support for families impacted by domestic violence,” said CEO Madeleine O’Connell.

” Imagine when staying home can be as dangerous as the pandemic. Calls to our 24/7 DV Crisis Hotline are on the rise and our confidential safe house remains open.

Our preschool for at-risk children offers small, in-person cohort and distance learning. YWCA’s individual counseling services, including support groups, have transitioned to using video conferencing technology.”

YWCA offers double-digit employee retirement savings matching along with full medical benefits for fulltime employees, prorated for part time. There is dental and optical coverage along with life insurance, cell phone stipends, mileage reimbursement and tuition assistance.

Professional development dollars are allocated by department to advance team learning. A robust calendar of holidays, along with vacations and sick leave, rounds out the benefits package.

Two employee appreciation events are hosted each year, along with a summer retreat and a year-end holiday party.

The YWCA culture is defined by its vision for every family in Sonoma County to be safe in their own homes. The mission is to end domestic violence through awareness, education and empowerment.

Employees surveyed said: “The staff does incredible work…What we do can change a family’s life for the better and makes a huge difference in the future of children involved.”

How the winners were selected

Companies selected as Best Places to Work in the North Bay were analyzed by the editorial staff of the North Bay Business Journal based on several criteria, including the company profile, the survey ratings by employees, the number of responses, size of the company, the breakdown of responses from management and non-management, as well as written comments by employees.

In all, 99 winners emerged from the North Bay. More than 7,600 employee surveys were submitted. Nominations for Best Places to Work were sought starting in March. Anyone within a company could nominate their business by completing a simple form. A minimum of 15 employees was required. Nominated companies were then contacted by the Business Journal and invited to submit a company profile and to ask employees to complete an online anonymous survey.

The survey was setup though Qualtrics, which is used by many national retailers due to the program’s ability to sift through and present the data in a variety of views.

Companies had about six weeks in June and July to complete the profile and survey, for which a minimum number of responses was required, depending on company size.

After an analysis of the company profile and online responses, the winners were notified on Aug. 10. Those winners were honored at a Sept. 15 reception.

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