North Bay Business Journal says goodbye to longtime ad executive, adds 2 to sales team

North Bay Business Journal has hired two new account executives and announced the departure of its longtime senior account executive.

Paul Pastorino, who in 2002 began his career at another Sonoma Media Investments publication, The Press Democrat, and later transitioned to the Journal (the second of two stints at the publication) in 2010, plans to leave Sept. 30.

“For the past 11 years, I’ve been privileged to be part of the team that helps advance good business in our region and promote awareness of our valued advertisers to our readers. Supporting this conduit that has literally fostered millions of dollars of business transactions in our region has been a dream come true. No need to say goodbye, just ‘I’ll see you around town!’” Pastorino stated.

With retirement, he added he will be “repurposing” his life going forward, working with an environmental nonprofit, with plans to also “act in some local plays, and learn piano and golf.”

Pastorino, a San Francisco native who grew up in San Bruno, came to work in Sonoma County in 1982.

His career also included a stint from 1995 to 2002 as co-publisher and co-founder of The 680 Business Journal, a publication that NBBJ co-founders Ken Clark and Randy Sloan started to cover Contra Costa, Alameda and Solano counties. Three years of that time also included his first stint with the North Bay Business Journal as sales manager.

Pastorino said his return to Sonoma County at The Press Democrat, becoming an ad executive and later manager, took a turn in 2010 when he was asked to sub in “temporarily” on the Journal’s advertising team, filling in for a person on a health leave. That changed when that person decided to retire, he said, and the position became permanent.

At the time, recession recovery became a top priority, and Journal co-founder Clark came out of retirement to help the publication through this period. He asked Pastorino to join him from The Press Democrat. Then-group publisher Bruce Kyse complied, reuniting the team that founded The 680 Business Journal.

Said Brad Bollinger, publisher of NBBJ from 2005 to 2020, ”No one I’ve known worked harder for clients than Paul over the more than a decade I worked with him. At the same time, he was the consummate team player among colleagues, jumping in to do whatever needed doing. Plus, he knew all the great haunts of North Beach and where to get a great Panettone.”

In addition to Pastorino’s retirement, the Journal has added two new account executives.

Robb Stites comes to the business publication after years of experience with nonprofit and Fortune 500 companies, including the American Heart Association, Brøderbund and Lowepro. From 2019 to 2021, Stites was marketing manager for the nonprofit No Bully, dedicated to working with schools and partners to combat bullying.

From 2013 to 2018, Stites was category business manager, marketing and merchandising, for the building supply firm Central Valley, based in Napa.

An adjunct professor at Sonoma State University’s School of Business and Economics from 2005 to 2011, Stites holds an MBA in marketing from SSU and a bachelor’s degree in communications and journalism from Sacramento State University. He is a native of Northern California and lives in Sonoma County.

Also joining the advertising side of the Journal as an account executive is Kevin Connell. He takes the job after working at the Journal’s parent company, Sonoma Media Investments, as an account executive/market consultant, beginning in 2019. He also held positions at Nitro Software, Rodney Strong Vineyards and Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits.

Connell attended Santa Rosa Junior College and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in advertising with a focus in psychology from San Jose State University. He is a North Bay native and has lived in Sonoma County for 20 years.

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