Discover why these 105 North Bay companies are Best Places to Work in 2023

Greetings to all, and a warm welcome to our annual special segment dedicated to recognizing this year's recipients of the prestigious North Bay Business Journal's Best Places to Work awards. It is with great pleasure that I direct your attention to the companies singled out for these accolades. Their distinction stems primarily from the viewpoints of their employees and the exceptional workplace culture they foster.

Lorez Bailey, North Bay Business Journal publisher
Lorez Bailey, publisher

The North Bay Business Journal's ability to celebrate these remarkable achievers is made possible through the unwavering support of our local business community. We reaffirm our commitment to serving businesses across the core counties we reach through both print and online platforms, namely Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Sonoma, and Solano.

Our dedication to providing pertinent business news encompassing regional trends, events, and influential personalities remains resolute. Our team of reporters and event coordinators is dedicated to keeping you well-informed, connected, and jubilant in your successes. This brings us to the heart of this special edition.

Our esteemed company awardees emerged following an exhaustive process that involved analyzing over 7,600 employee surveys. The journey commenced in March, and from those efforts, we identified 105 distinguished winners. The selection process was predicated on the results of the employee surveys, their active participation, insightful comments, and comprehensive employer submissions.

This extensive process unfolds over several months, spanning from March until August, culminating in this grand presentation and an in-person awards gala on Sept. 13 at the Graton Resort and Casino. This marks the 18th installment of the Best Places to Work program. In the inaugural year, 24 exceptional entities were recognized. Contrastingly, this year's iteration boasts a roster of 105 honorees. This remarkable growth is a testament to the outstanding employees, commendable workplace practices, nurturing culture, as well as adept management and ownership.

As you delve into each company's profile, you'll observe that employee feedback remains anonymous. The significance of these candid appraisals is invaluable. Organizations can glean insights into their strengths, pinpoint areas for enhancement, and assess their readiness for the future workforce.

Anticipation is high as we look forward to convening at our forthcoming Best Places to Work celebration on Sept. 13, generously sponsored by Exchange Bank and BBSI. This occasion presents a splendid opportunity to honor the business community, renew connections, and extend well-deserved congratulations to the winners.

―Lorez Bailey, North Bay Business Journal publisher

Profiles of this year’s Best Places to Work

By Gary Quackenbush, for North Bay Business Journal

2023 winners

  1. Abbey, Weitzenberg, Warren & Emery
  2. Adobe Associates Inc.
  3. All Weather Architectural Aluminum
  4. Anova Education and Behavior Consultation, Inc.
  5. Arrow Benefits Group
  6. Becoming Independent
  7. Beyers Costin Simon PC
  8. BKF Engineers
  9. Boisset Collection
  10. BPM LLP
  11. Carlile•Macy
  12. Central Valley
  13. Charles Schwab Corporation
  14. Child Parent Institute
  15. Chop’s Teen Club
  16. Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley
  17. Committee On The Shelterless (COTS)
  18. Community First Credit Union
  19. Community Support Network
  20. Corcoran Icon Properties
  21. Cornerstone Properties
  22. Dal Poggetto & Company LLP
  23. DesCor Builders
  24. DH Wine Compliance
  25. Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty
  26. Dillwood Burkel & Millar, LLP
  27. Distinguished Vineyards
  28. Don Sebastiani & Sons
  29. Earthtone Construction Inc.
  30. Eleven Engineering, Inc.
  31. Encore Events Rentals
  32. Exchange Bank
  33. Fairweather & Associates, Inc.
  34. Food for Thought
  35. Friedemann Goldberg Wargo Hess LLP
  36. GC Micro Corporation
  37. General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems
  38. George Petersen Insurance Agency
  39. Ghilotti Bros. Inc.
  40. Ghirardo CPA
  41. Goodwill Redwood Empire
  42. Gusmer Enterprises, Inc.
  43. Harv 81 USA, Inc.
  44. Healdsburg Lumber Company
  45. Hennessy Advisors, Inc.
  46. Hilton Garden Inn — Sonoma County Airport
  47. Hogan Land Services
  48. IDEX Health & Science, LLC
  49. Intervine Inc.
  50. InterWest Insurance Services, LLC
  51. Jackson Family Wines
  52. Joanna’s Nannies
  53. Kiosk
  54. KLH Consulting, Inc.
  55. Linkenheimer LLP
  56. Marin Humane
  57. M.A. Silva USA
  58. Meritage Medical Network
  59. Mike’s Bikes (Headlands Ventures LLC)
  60. MKM & Associates Structural Engineering
  61. Moss Adams LLP
  62. Mr. Rooter of Sonoma County
  63. North Marin Community Services
  64. Northern Pacific Power Systems
  65. Nova Group, Inc.
  66. Oliver’s Market
  67. Parkpoint Health Club
  68. Peju Winery
  69. Perry, Johnson, Anderson, Miller & Moskowitz LLP
  70. Peterson Mechanical, Inc.
  71. Pisenti & Brinker LLP
  72. Poppy Bank
  73. PsychStrategies, Inc.
  74. Redwood Credit Union
  75. Redwood Empire Schools Insurance Group (RESIG)
  76. Scott Laboratories
  77. Scott Technology Group
  78. Sequoia Senior Solutions
  79. Simply Solar
  80. Siyan Clinical Corporation
  81. Smith Dollar PC
  82. Soiland Co., Inc.
  83. Sonoma Clean Power Authority
  84. Sonoma County Family YMCA Camps
  85. Sonoma Jet Center
  86. Sonoma Land Trust
  87. Sonoma Technology, Inc.
  88. Spaulding McCullough & Tansil LLP
  89. Star Staffing
  90. St. Francis Winery and Vineyards
  91. Summit State Bank
  92. Summit Technology Group
  93. Summit Engineering, Inc.
  94. TLC Child and Family Services
  95. TLCD Architecture
  96. Traditional Medicinals
  97. Vital Energy Solutions
  98. Vivalon
  99. W. Bradley Electric
  100. Wealthspire Advisors
  101. West Coast Fire & Water
  102. Willow Creek Wealth Management, Inc.
  103. WRA, Inc.
  104. WX Brands
  105. YWCA Sonoma County

Abbey, Weitzenberg, Warren & Emery


Company profile: With a legacy spanning more than a century, this full-service Santa Rosa law firm practices personal injury, business and corporate law with the combined expertise of its 31 attorneys and staff members. It also handles finance, real estate, insurance, and employment litigation as well as medical malpractice, elder abuse, wrongful death, civil rights and estate and trusts. Its attorneys have also worked on cases involving construction defects and Kincade wildfire claims.

What the managing shareholder says: “We work hard, provide great service to our clients and have fun doing it,” said Brendan Kunkle, Esq., managing shareholder. “We are more than workmates; we are friends who genuinely care for each other. We believe that goes a long way in creating and maintaining a great firm.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Attorneys and exempt employees enjoy a health club membership benefit. The firm offers a flexible benefits plan with basic medical, dental, vision packages, long-term disability and life insurance coverage, and a 401(k) plan. Believing that social interaction fosters camaraderie, there are semimonthly companywide lunches, holiday, going away or retirement parties, birthday, and anniversary celebrations. Managers believe that spirit of friendship and community is why employees enjoy their work and their surroundings. Most employees stay on average for ten-and-a-half years, and the firm is known for its culture of respect toward employees, colleagues, and clients. Shareholders and staff have volunteered to serve more than 17 nonprofits — including clubs, foundations and community boards, local fairs, children, and family organizations — as well as participating with the Marin and Sonoma County Bar Associations.

What employees say: “Everyone is respected and works together. I love the team aspect of our company. Working closely in small teams helps us stay on task and organized.” [back to the winner list]

Adobe Associates Inc.


Company profile: Adobe Associates is a civil and wastewater engineering and land surveying firm based in Santa Rosa with residential and commercial industry expertise. The company handles land planning and permit processing. With more than 40 years of business expertise behind it, the company is known for its ability to guide projects through the regulatory process.

What the COO says: “We work vigorously to create a culture where everyone in the organization feels valued and can take ownership of their work to achieve desired results for the project, the company and each individual,” said Aaron Smith, president, COO and principal land surveyor. “Everyone knows great results require employee engagement, collaboration, feedback, and dedication from all involved. We do this while maintaining our commitment as a family-first company that cares deeply about our staff, their families, and our community.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Beyond basic benefits, Adobe offers holiday pay, dependent care contributions, education reimbursement, professional license exam reimbursement, employee referral bonuses, communication device and wellness reimbursements, dependent scholarships, and quarterly profit-sharing bonuses. Adobe actively provides ongoing training and promotional opportunities as positions open. Employees are given ongoing informal feedback on performance and formal annual performance reviews. Smith believes it is an essential pilar of respect to give an honest assessment of each person’s performance, strengths, and areas of improvement. Adobe supports the Elizabeth Morgan Brown Foundation, Rebuilding Together Santa Rosa, United Way, the American Cancer Society, Hospice of Petaluma and Santa Rosa, Peanuts on Parade, The Santa Rosa Chamber, Cardinal Newman High School, the Active 20/30 Club and the North Bay Chapters of CLSA and ACEA.

What employees say: “Adobe has a great family atmosphere and a willingness to let employees be responsible for achieving the key results of the firm. Everyone does what they say they are going to do. We hold each other accountable.” [back to the winner list]

All Weather Architectural Aluminum


Company profile: Vacaville-based All Weather Architectural Aluminum has hand crafted custom windows and doors for over 54 years using artisan workmanship produced by 135 employees (46% minorities and women). The family-owned company goes back three generations to 1969.

What the president says: Co-owner, project manager Sarah Harper said her company is growing rapidly and “We want to ensure that our employees can grow with us. Our workspace is safe and inclusive, with emphasis on cross-training and development so we can promote from within when possible. Everyone working here develops strong working relationships,” she said.

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: “Our amazing employee team,” Harper said. “Resoundingly as employees describe why they stay here, it’s our family-oriented culture where everyone respects, trusts and enjoys working with each other.” She said the company uses lean techniques — like Kaizens — to improve processes and provides bonus opportunities to employees at all levels for helping achieve outstanding results. All Weather pauses once per quarter to review how the entire team is doing at LOOP meetings (Linking Our Outstanding People). Everyone wears themed All Weather shirts … the company makes a lot of them to celebrate even small victories. Through the company’s All Weather CARES Committee, the firm sponsors one or more charity event each quarter, such as End 68 Hours of Hunger (providing take home meals for school kids and their families to eat over weekends); annual food drives, Toys for Tots drives, Spring Clean Up (collecting clothing/blankets for Opportunity House), and the Vitalant Mobile Blood Drive.

What employees say: “The culture, company goals and opportunities make All Weather great, along with owner and leadership team involvement. They provide all the tools and support we need to be successful.” [back to the winner list]

Anova Education and Behavior Consultation, Inc.


Company profile: As its mission statement says, Anova’s goal is to provide innovative educational and behavioral services to children with autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities and other neurodevelopmental impairments. Anova is a family-oriented nonprofit organization providing its services in school, community and home environments, enabling individuals to function more independently, engage in meaningful relationships with others, and lead an improved quality of life.

“Our 139 employees — 79 in the North Bay — achieve this through individual instruction at special education schools tailored to meet each student’s unique needs. This may involve specialized teaching strategies, adaptive technology, and modified curriculum,” said CEO and Founder Andrew Bailey.

He said special education schools provide support services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy and counseling to help students overcome challenges and succeed academically, socially and emotionally.

What the CEO says: “We value and honor our employees’ contribution through rewards and recognition programs, performance evaluations and opportunities for professional growth and development,” said Bailey. “Jobs are posted internally, and when we identify the need for an open position or role, we announce it in the company and conduct interviews based on a rubic (evaluation) system.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Baily said Anova promotes work-life balance by offering flex work arrangements, generous time off and other benefits that support employee well-being. Other family-friendly policies include parental leave, child care assistance, and elder care support. Anova employees also participate in the Human Race and Autism Night at Giants Stadium.

What employees say: “People here are innovative, dedicated and have overcome tremendous hardships, such as having the school burn down and back up and running in three weeks.” [back to the winner list]

Arrow Benefits Group


Company profile: Established in 1986, Arrow Benefits Group provides expert advice, customized programs, and personalized HR solutions to businesses. Arrow is the North Bay affiliate of TRUE Network of Advisors — one of the largest benefits and consulting brokerage networks in the U.S. The company has 23 of its 42 employees at its headquarters in Petaluma.

What the director of client services says: “Arrow is in the business of helping employers manage employee experiences,” said Stuart Wallace, director of client services. “Culture has a direct effect on an organization’s success, so we focus on enhancing our culture by building a top-notch team that supports each other, at work and on a personal level when needed.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Besides basic benefits, FSA and HSA options, Arrow employees are offered 20 hours of PTO a year to perform community service. The company matches employee donations to nonprofit organizations and encourages group participation with philanthropic organizations and at community events. Arrow has an open PTO policy where employees take the time they need to balance work-life demands. The culture is defined by its commitment to fostering a positive and inclusive environment where team members can thrive. Arrow prioritizes flexible working arrangements with its work-from-anywhere philosophy. Arrow’s Culture Committee organizes annual gatherings, virtual parties for the holidays, and casual coffee chats to strengthen team relationships.

What employees say: “The great thing about Arrow Benefits is that management is honest about the areas that need improvement and open to new ways of evolving. This company is constantly striving to do better.” [back to the winner list]

Becoming Independent


Company profile: Becoming Independent (BI) is a nonprofit community benefit corporation helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities live meaningful and productive lives by employing three strategies: education, employment and supported living.

What the CEO says: “BI is proud to be a leading innovator in the field of human services,” said CEO Luana Vaetoe. “The talent, creativity and dedication of our staff has allowed BI to set a standard of quality and service expectations for people with disabilities in California and beyond.” “We seek employee feedback year-round to improve processes and to ensure that we are operating at our full potential. BI would not be able to provide the caliber of services we do today if not for the commitment, consistency, and perspectives of our direct support professionals — our greatest assets.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Most of the 151 employees spend a portion of the workday taking clients into the community to participate in paid employment, education, volunteer or service opportunities, and to engage in recreational activities. Women and minorities comprise 80% of upper management and the staff participate in recognition events, a holiday party, direct support professional recognition week and a health fair. Any worker in good standing is eligible to apply for other open positions after six months employment. Staff benefits include tuition, mileage and cellphone reimbursement, referral bonuses, a professional training program and access to an off-site fitness center in addition to medical, dental, vision and life/supplemental insurance, 403B retirement with employer match, FSA, PTO and paid holidays.

What employees say: “We're all on the same playing field and encouraged to try new ideas and share our knowledge with each other to make our clients days richer and their involvement better.” [back to the winner list]

Beyers Costin Simon PC


Company profile: Beyers Costin Simon is a real estate and business-focused law firm with a track record of delivering expert counsel to clients since 1981. Employees, whose average tenure is 16 years, have performed pro bono work by representing hundreds of wildfire victims. They also donate to numerous organizations and people in need.

What the president and owner say: “We take pride in our firm and our 15 employees,” said President and Owner Peter Simon. “Managers strive to provide an engaging and fulfilling workplace. Our office is more than just a place to work, everyone looks forward to coming in each day. By working collaboratively and efficiently, we provide our clients with excellent legal services. We hope and believe our employees go home feeling good about where they work.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: A culture of mutual respect. Everyone’s opinion — from the clerk to the managing shareholder — is listened to and taken seriously. Staff members share laughter every day, even during the challenges of recent years. Employees get involved in the community by supporting Rohnert Park Cal Ripken Baseball, the Sonoma County Bar Association, SCBA Law Week, and as a Historical Railroad Square Association Summer Music Stroll and sponsor Healing Grace Foundation’s Champs Boxing Clinic. “We eat a lot around our office. Most celebrations revolve around food, such as our weeklong celebration of employees, a visit to the Sonoma County Fair, our end-of-summer BLT lunch and, of course, the holiday season that has us fighting to keep the pounds off,” Simon said. “We have a company cafeteria, provide free food for staff and have an employee vegetable garden.”

What employees say: “I know my employer wants me to do my best and supports me in achieving that goal — not only at work but in my personal life.” [back to the winner list]

BKF Engineers


Company profile: BKF Engineers mission is to continue the commitment established by its founders in 1915 to deliver inspired infrastructure to clients. The company has 43 employees in Northern California.

What the CEO says: “Year after year BKF is recognized by employees as one of the North Bay’s Best Places to Work,” said CEO Greg Hurd. “This reflects our commitment to prioritize the voice and needs of our employees. We strive to create a sustainable future that exceeds employee expectations.”

He said Team BKF is fueled by collaborative efforts and dedication to providing the highest quality professional services.

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: BKF recruits and develops top talent, provides formal training, uses the SPARK mentoring program and the in-house BKF Academy development program. It offers 40 hours of paid development per employee per year plus educational assistance, access to professional and social organizations and subsidization, and vacation upon completing professional licensing exams.

To support wellness, BKF offers memberships to GingerAp (mental health care), TenSpot (an employee-to-employee engagement tool), as well as fitness reimbursement, an employee assistance program and flex schedules. Perks include discounts on Farm Fresh to You, a stocked kitchen, access to the corporate Tahoe condo, BKF sponsored sports, and regular social events. The company offers paid leave — including sick, vacation, bereavement, jury duty, and natural disaster leave — along with paid holidays and a flexible holiday policy so employees have time off they need.

BKF has a 401(k) match program, along with profit-sharing, annual corporate bonuses, flexible and dependent care spending accounts, AFLAC, SoFi Student Loan Reduction, life and long-term disability insurance, commuter benefits — and 100% paid health coverage.

What employees say: “Collaborating with intelligent, motivated, and considerate people to produce excellent products and provide exceptional service to our clients makes BKF great. The company feels like home.” [back to the winner list]

Boisset Collection


Company Profile: Boisset is a family-owned collection of 28 historic and prestigious wineries located in the French Rhone, Russian River and Napa Valleys on two continents. These wineries are bound together by a common cause: producing authentic, terroir-driven wines in harmony with their historic Franco-American roots, along with their future, the land and people essential to their existence.

What the CEO says: “We built a culture of dreams where the audacity to pursue our dreams translates to all 395 employees empowered to pursue initiatives enhancing organizational growth and their personal development. Company values include passion for history, sustainability, community, and conviviality,” said CEO Lisa Heisinger.

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Heisinger said Boisset wine serves to unite people across cultures, communities, and oceans. This employee-driven culture has created programs that enhance diversity and inclusion in the wine world, empower leaders from traditionally underrepresented communities, creates thriving renewable efforts and inspires community action and engagement.

Sponsored events include an annual employee appreciation celebration and a company picnic.

Boisset supports the Open Hearts Foundation, United Sommeliers Foundation, the Collective Napa Valley Barrel Auction, National Flag Responders Fund, The Salvation Army of Napa Valley, Aldea Child and Family Services, Wine Unity, the Association of African American Vintners, and Napa Thrives.

Perks include wellness activity allowances, a referral program, grocery discounts and lunches, tasting room jewelry, a commuter subsidy, eight hours of volunteer PTO, job swaps, free events and discounts, Life Mart coupons, English classes, education grants, remote/hybrid work, and a Boisset Bucks recognition plan.

What employees say: “Jean-Charles Boisset makes himself available to everyone in the company, listens to ideas and promotes a positive work environment no matter what position you are in.” [back to the winner list]



Company Profile: BPM is a global accounting and advisory firm with 1,215 employees — 93 in the North Bay — specializing in corporate and international taxation, audit, IT and risk assurance and cash flow management, along with financial reporting, forensic accounting, transaction advisory, and retirement plan consulting services.

What the regional manager says: “We are on a mission to help people be successful in work and life Because People Matter,” said Michelle Muth Ausburn, CPA, regional manager in charge. “No matter how big we grow, people will always be at the heart of who we are. We empower our teams and provide support to help them accomplish personal and professional goals. Being our best means acting with integrity, collaborating as one team, being resourceful and proactive in the ways we work and deliver client services.” She said BPM is constantly seeking new ways to create a flexible workplace where colleagues can find the right rhythm between work and life. “We are proud to have a diverse workforce and believe that our differences make us stronger. We are committed to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone feels like they belong.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Emphasis on diversity includes participation at firm-wide gatherings, such as the annual All Hands meeting. BPM also has several Colleague Resource Groups: Black Colleague CRG, LBGTQIA+CRG, Women’s Initiative Now, Hispanic and Latinx CRG, Parents and Caregivers CRG, Interfaith CRG and Disabilities CRG. The firm hosts events and webinars dedicated to wellness and mental health. BPM encourages mobility from within after a year at a current assignment and posts all internal roles on its career site. The firm’s value-driven culture also fosters women’s leadership, social responsibility, giving back and community engagement.

What employees say: Several employees expressed that “BPM provides programs to support worker health and work/life balance. Communication is open and management frequently checks in on the well-being of staff.” [back to the winner list]



Company profile: Carlile•Macy is a multidisciplinary design and development firm specializing in civil engineering, urban planning, land surveying, landscape architecture and wildfire rebuilding since 1996. It has been a Sonoma County Green Business since 2010.

What the president says: “Caring is the foundation upon which we built a respectful, collaborative workspace for our 18 fantastically talented people,” said President Mark Hale. “Together we strive to create an environment where talents can be realized and improved. Their success is our success.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Employees have 100% employer paid health plans and a dental program as well as 100% company paid vision and life insurance, a 401(k) plan, an employee assistance program and travel insurance. Carlile•Macy promotes from within and has an employee referral program. Other benefits and perks include an employee lunchroom, employer provided snacks, beverages, and a daily newspaper. There is a back deck for breaks and BBQ events. Work stops early one Thursday a month so everyone can socialize with beer, pizza and snacks. On the last Thursday of the month the day starts with an All Staff meeting complete with pastries and a gift card raffle. There are monthly lunches with games and prizes. Employees participate in the Human Race, Relay for Life, support Secret Santa, and Redwood Empire Food Bank drives. They also serve on the City of Santa Rosa Design Review Board, SCTA’s Citizens Advisory Committee, Sonoma County Agricultural and the Open Space District Advisory Committee.

What employees say: “The people are great, the work ethic is strong and benefits are good. We have two kitties living under the deck — Hobbes and Tux — Carlile•Macy mascots we love and care for.” [back to the winner list]

Central Valley


Company profile: Family-owned Central Valley Builders Supply has provided materials for production and custom builders, remodelers, contractors, vineyard mangers and landscapers since 1955.

The company has eight locations — 5 in Northern California including Healdsburg, Napa, St. Helena, American Canyon and Woodland. With 38 acres of inventory, a 55-truck fleet with piggyback forklifts and delivery teams making 6,500 outbound truck deliveries per year, Central Valley supplies builders and growers statewide.

What the CEO says: “We believe great companies are made with great employees,” said President and CEO Stephen Patterson. “The company’s foundation is built on values such as empathy, how actions connect to everyone, and standards informing employees about what it takes to be successful.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Central Valley offers fixed schedules and flexibility, pays competitively, and provides benefit options coupled with planned engagement activities and managed recognition programs for all 220 employees — 140 in the North Bay. Minorities or women comprise 35% of upper management.

Basic benefits include a choice of health plans, high/low dental plans (high plan offers implants and orthodontics). Basic life insurance and AD & are free. Vision insurance is available along with supplemental coverage for additional life insurance, long-term disability, and other extended insurance plans. Mental health coaching is available, along with a free Employee Assistance Program, gym subsidies, smoking cessation incentives, tuition assistance, employee referral bonuses, commuter benefits and a company matching 401(k). Career development is provided along with a yearly engagement survey. Employees can also participate in annual/quarterly meetings, holiday parties, and monthly fun events with sponsored food and special ice cream, nachos, and chocolate days.

What employees say: “Open doors on all levels allows for transparency and understanding. Growth and development are part of the culture. We feel like we are valued.” [back to the winner list]

Charles Schwab Corporation


Company profile: Charles Schwab provides a full range of brokerage, banking and financial advisory services — including investments, wealth management and retirement planning — through its operating subsidiaries and its broker-dealer subsidiary, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. The firm has 36,000 employees around the globe and has been in business for half a century.

What the vice president says: “Schwab employees are free to be their authentic and full selves without compromise — and we are stronger for it,” said Joe Williams, vice president and assistant branch manager in Santa Rosa which, together with other offices in Corte Madera and Napa, collectively have 40 North Bay employees. “Employee’s unique strengths deepen the value we can create for each other and our clients. We encourage employees to invest in themselves and engage in long-term professional development.” Williams said Schwab is dedicated to building and maintaining a dynamic organization and culture that values and reflects the individual strengths of every employee.

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The company believes diversity benefits everyone, and through diversity employees gain a wider range of perspectives and experiences, which enables financial consultants to see through client’s eyes. Thirty percent of Schwab’s team members belong to Employee Resource Groups that provide leadership and connections to the firm’s diverse employee base.

The Schwab Financial Consultant Academy’s18-24-month developmental program prepares individuals for a career as Financial Consultants through coaching and firsthand experience in the securities industry.

The company reimburses expenses for approved business-related education and training and provides informal mentoring so people can receive on-the-job instruction and support. The firm invests in communities through philanthropy and service, such as volunteer month, where 6,000 employees helped 130 nonprofits nationwide this year.

What employees say: “We care for each other, and Schwab encourages us to go the extra mile for clients with an attitude of "how can we get this done.” [back to the winner list]

Child Parent Institute


Company profile: CPI is a parent education and children's mental health agency serving families throughout Sonoma County since 1978. It offers a continuum of care that includes child therapy, family resource assistance, parent education, facilitated supervised visitation, along with therapeutic and recreational creative arts. It also operates the New Directions nonpublic school providing adolescent special education and mental health services as part of a mission to end child abuse and strengthen the health of children, parents, and families.

What the director says: “CPI strives to be a workplace that offers flexibility so our 68 employees can put their own family needs first,” said Executive Director Robin Bowen. “Internal promotion is strong at CPI, over 80% of program managers started as line staff members and were later promoted into leadership roles.”

She said CPI gives clear and frequent feedback and promotes the need for self-care. The health and wellness of staff and their families is a top priority, with transparency and adaptability as guiding principles in all decision making. Staff can participate in strategic planning and are given frequent opportunities to provide feedback to leadership.

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Some 100% of CPI’s upper management are minorities or women, and 45% of staff are Spanish/English bilingual. One of every five employees has been with CPI for 10+ years. Sponsored events include the Annual “Blue Ribbon” all staff development workshop, speaker series, quarterly and Connect/Participate/Innovate gatherings, as well as quarterly catered lunches and a New Year’s kickoff staff lunch. Supervisors are urged to support staff efforts to gain experience and advance within the organization.

What employees say: “Working here is inclusive and safe. The firm is understanding of people's struggles and never judges those that walk through the door seeking help.” [back to the winner list]

Chop’s Teen Club


Company profile: Chop’s Teen Club in Santa Rosa is a modern, 21,000 square foot facility open to all Sonoma County 7th through 12th grade students after school and on weekends. Chops has a staff of 15 full and part-timers.

What the executive director says: “Our mission is to create a safe, fun, creative and productive place for teens to connect, engage and discover their potential, while developing skills to help them succeed,” said Executive Director Melissa Stewart. She said Chop’s fosters an inclusive, welcoming environment for everyone entering its doors. Patient and knowledgeable mentors work across departments, and with other organizations, to create innovative and meaningful opportunities for Sonoma County youth.

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Chop’s offers flexible hours allowing staff to have a healthy work/life balance and support commitments to their families and education, since several are college students. Personal and professional successes are celebrated. Staff often share how good they feel about making a positive difference for teens and are encouraged to become involved in the community and “to think big.” There are several teen-led groups, including a Member Council, where they collect and deliver feedback on what they like to see and focus on at the club. A special Youth Convening event brings together several youth service agencies to collaborate, network, share resources and provide support. Through the “Teens Helping Kids” program youth are encouraged to give back to their community by shopping for bags of school supplies, clothing, and other essentials for 50 local youth in need before school starts in the fall.

What employees say: Several said, “Staff opinions, values, wants and needs are highly prioritized and navigated on a personal level. We’re glad to work in fantastic space!” [back to the winner list]

Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley


Company profile: Locally owned and operated in Napa since 1994, Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley continues the culture of honesty, integrity and service originally expressed by Colbert Coldwell and Arthur Banker in 1913 — visionaries that expressed these values when forming the real estate partnership that still bears their names.

What the general manager says: “Our brokerage is more than a place to work. With offices in Napa, St. Helena and Sonoma, our company’s 130 licensed professionals and 36 support staff members are a cohesive team that consistently puts client interests first,” said General Manager Logan Songer. “Sellers and buyers served by us include many repeat clients, members of their families and the friends they refer.” He said agents and staff enjoy introducing newcomers to local cities and towns and sharing the unique aspects of Napa and Sonoma lifestyles.

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The average tenure of associates and staff is 10 years, and the company believes in promoting from within. “Coldwell Banker is family oriented and a place where our team works hard while having lots of fun. Events include a Tahoe trip, holiday party, family bocce event, bowling night, Giants games, a Variety Show, Casino Night, Game Night, a golf tournament, and occasional social gatherings on zoom. Everyone enjoys spending time together, supporting each other, sharing our successes, and solving problems.” Songer said. The company is involved in the community by co-hosting the Napa Valley Community Housing Golf Tournament, volunteering at a food bank, and participating in annual paper, shoe and toy drives.

What employees say: “We all strive to deliver great customer service, with a knowledge of the industry and community involvement. We love who we are, and who we represent. That's greatness!” [back to the winner list]

Committee On The Shelterless (COTS)


Company profile: The Petaluma nonprofit is located at the Mary Isaak Center, home to an 80-bed dorm-style shelter for those 18 and above. A separate Kids First Family Shelter offers case management and supportive services on site. COTS also runs two permanent supportive housing programs available to the chronically homeless and for those who are “super-utilizers” of the emergency care system. Its Integrity Housing program has multi-bedroom units throughout Sonoma County available for lease significantly lower than market rates. The agency also provides Rapid Rehousing assistance for individuals and families experiencing homelessness who need short-to-medium term financial assistance (including moving costs, security deposit, graduated rental support and utility assistance) to obtain and maintain permanent housing.

What the CEO says: “COTS assists those experiencing homelessness in finding and keeping housing, increasing self-sufficiency, and improving well-being, while envisioning a community where everyone has a place to call home,” said CEO Chris Cabral. “We are 54 individuals honored to serve our community who look forward to continuing our history of excellence, innovation, and compassion for those we serve.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Minorities or women comprise 100% of COTS upper management. Employees receive 100% employer paid Kaiser medical coverage, paid premiums for a vision plan and a $5,000 dental plan — along with 100 hours of wellness leave annually, 11 paid holidays, flex and hybrid work schedules, three weeks paid vacation and access to retirement options. There are cellphone and internet stipends, Flexible Spending Account and EAP mental health services, life insurance and quarterly events such as cornhole tournaments, bowling, an annual parade, and company picnics plus tickets to a COTS fundraiser.

What employees say: “The atmosphere is very welcoming. COTS has a positive workplace culture. They invest in employee training as well as health care and wellness. We all feel supported and appreciate the flexibility.” [back to the winner list]

Community First Credit Union


Company profile: With 11 branches and 166 employees, nonprofit Community First Credit Union based in Santa Rosa has been providing banking and financial services since 1959 in Lake, Mendocino, Marin, Napa and Sonoma Counties.

What the CEO says: “CFCU is a unique organization that values its employees. We understand that they spend most of their time at work, so we strive to make it enjoyable and fun,” said CEO Scott Johnson.

He said every Friday after 4 p.m. is Wine Friday when small tastings of local wines are available at the corporate office to end the workweek.

There is an annual fall Discovery Day so co-workers can get to know each other better. There is also a yearly staff appreciation party, a formal event that includes spouses. Each month Mission Moments are held to award employees who go above and beyond for a customer, co-worker or the community. Halloween costume and ugly sweater contests are popular, and CFCU has a web-based recognition system where employees give electronic “coins” to their peers to show appreciation or to just say “good job.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Benefits include basic medical, dental, vision and life insurance, FSA and EAP, with additional perks ranging from semiannual bonuses, $50 a month toward a gym reimbursement, tuition reimbursements and employee loan discounts. “It is a culture of caring, where staff members feel a genuine sense of care from the upper management team that strives to make employees feel appreciated and consistently works on new ways to show staff they care,” said Johnson.

What employees say: “Our slogan is ‘We Are Here for Good’ and that is clearly evident in our community involvement, products and exceptional member service. It is a friendly and familial work environment where management cares.” [back to the winner list]

Community Support Network


Company profile: CSN has provided community, dignity, and hope to homeless adults and transition age youth with behavioral health and other challenges for more than 50 years. It provides board and care, along with social rehab programs. The nonprofit has nine supportive living homes in neighborhoods throughout Sonoma County offering short and long-term housing for 200 individuals a year.

Programs include recovery from trauma and addiction, as well as essential living and coping skills.

What the executive director says: “Community connection is at the heart of everything we do,” said Executive Director Tom Bieri. “What makes CSN great is staff commitment to helping residents reach their potential. CSN creates a rewarding environment for our 49 employees by channeling a shared passion for helping others, which is reflected in staff retention. Some have worked with us for over 20 years. The team spirit expressed in everything we do is extraordinary as we all strive to make a meaningful difference in the world.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Paid time off is earned beginning at the first day of employment, there are nine paid annual holidays, seven hours of paid monthly training, (including motivational interviewing) and a variety of available work shifts in CSN’s 24-hour program facilities. The benefits package includes medical, vision and dental coverage, life insurance, and a retirement plan.

Employees are encouraged to speak up and provide input for decision making in an environment that’s been described as collaborative and nurturing.

What employees say: “We help people where there is a need. I love that! We all put our hearts into doing all we can. We provide client-centered care and never have to tell someone ‘I can’t help you with that’.” [back to the winner list]

Corcoran Icon Properties


Company profile: Corcoran Icon Properties is a 100% locally owned and managed real estate brokerage in Northern California comprised of eight real estate firms that came together in 2022 to form a partnership focused on clients for luxury homes and estates, investment properties, vacation getaways and first-time homebuyers. The company has 24 offices in 10 counties and130 sales associates in the North Bay serving clients throughout the Bay Area, Silicon Valley, East Bay, Wine Country, Sierra Foothills and Humboldt County.

What the regional vice president says: “We are a people-first company. Partners come from a range of backgrounds, but all have incredible histories of industry success,” said Betsy Serafini, regional VP and partner, North Bay/North Coast California. “Our collective experience and expertise allow us to consider many perspectives. Having a shared vision and high regard for one another enables us to make decisions we can all stand behind. Ensuring that we make the best choices to continue to build and grow our welcoming, engaging, and empowering environment at the heart of everything we do.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The company’s values are based on community engagement and “giving back” including volunteering in local schools, sports, and faith-based activities. Recent nonprofit recipients have included the LIME Foundation, Chop’s Teen Club, MENTIS, Positive Images, Sebastopol Area Senior Center, Rotary Santa Rosa and Jameson Humane. Napa and Sonoma teams regularly hold free Shred-a-Thon events to the Giro of Wine Country Bike Event benefiting the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa, and being a Diamond Sponsor for the Napa Porchfest, supporting Napa County Landmarks.

What employees say: “The agents I work with are extremely collaborative and do not hesitate to share their experiences in the industry. We are all interested in seeing our fellow team members succeed.” [back to the winner list]

Cornerstone Properties


Company profile: Cornerstone Properties is a commercial property owner and developer with real estate investments in several North Bay properties. The company cares for its clients by providing matched administrative and facilities-based service, including customizing terms and space for each tenant’s needs.

What the principal says: “Our collaborative environment and strong Cornerstone team make for a great company,” said Principal Alon Adani. “People make things happen, and employees here do just that. They are dedicated to the work we do, and the inclusive culture they create. When companies implement employee wants and needs in the workplace, it creates a productive work environment and a space where the team wants to be.”

He said Cornerstone’s 15 employees are given elevated job responsibilities and development opportunities based on their individual work. Titles are not the marker for success, and bonuses and raises are not assigned to promotion levels, but are performance based.

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The Cornerstone culture is comfortable, with a sense of belonging. Every employee has a voice in company matters with opportunities to make opinions and ideas heard. Innovative ideas and new ways of approaching challenges are respected and encouraged. Employees can take time off during normal work hours to volunteer for organizations they are passionate about. There is a Christmas family event, outings to different Sonoma County sites and arts classes for staff, etc. Beyond basic benefits, there is a 401(k) match, PTO, access to HSA and FSA, plus a child care stipend, gym membership stipends, weekly employee lunches, hybrid work schedules and a dog-friendly workplace.

What employees say: “Cornerstone allows me to have a flexible work schedule an imperative for working moms. The owner is receptive to feedback and listens to my ideas. I’m encouraged to try them out, without fear of failure.” [back to the winner list]

Dal Poggetto & Company LLP


Company profile: Dal Poggetto & Company LLP is a Santa Rosa CPA firm specializing in accounting, tax and consulting services for privately held businesses. Its services include audits, reviews, compilations of financial statements, income tax planning and preparations, accounting system development as well as business consulting and performing audits of employee benefit plans and 401ks.

What the managing partner says: “We are deeply committed to providing the best training, technical resources and work environment to our 18 team members to support their professional growth and development,” said Managing Partner Jon Dal Poggetto. “We built our reputation by taking a genuine interest in our clients and their business challenges, striving to understand their needs and objectives, and delivering best in class services.” He added, “Employees enjoy working in a healthy environment with a culture based on open communication where initiative, teamwork and innovation are rewarded.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The firm provides competitive salaries, bonuses, health/dental insurance, PTO, a 401(k) plan with employer matching contributions, and life insurance. Other benefits include educational assistance, company sponsored activities, company-provided food and beverages, an ergonomic environment and flexible work schedules. The company has 32-hour work weeks in summer and winter along with remote work options and family leave policies. Community involvement includes offering Sonoma State University scholarships, volunteering at the Redwood Empire Food Bank, support for the Salvation Army and Wine Country Animal Lovers, along with providing pro bono professional services to community-based nonprofits. Staff and management participate in the Human Race and employees are encouraged to serve as board members, volunteers and in advisory capacities for civic, charitable, and cultural organizations.

What employees say: “Our friendly staff works well together. We all strive to deliver impeccable work, which makes it easy for me to work hard and care about what I do on a daily basis.” [back to the winner list]

DesCor Builders


Company profile: DesCor is one of the largest general building contractors in Northern California. It has completed over 1,200 projects during its 18 years in business.

What the CEO says: “Our mission is to empower people and create a meaningful impact on those we serve,” said Tyler Ganyo, president and CEO. “This starts with attracting and retaining the right people. We see it as a priority to create a world class work environment, benefits, and championing the careers of our employees. We believe that if we do the right things and take care of our people, the business will thrive.” He said this starts with every co-worker living DesCor’s core values, while maintaining a family-centric atmosphere and creating career paths for employees. Regular training and workshops are provided along with a mentorship program, with manager check-ins and reviews. “We are relationship builders. To project positive relationships with our customers, we must first take care of internal customers — our North Bay employees and their families.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: DesCor’s culture includes maintaining an environment of open communication and enthusiasm that is fun and where people know management truly cares about them. Company sponsored events include 6-to-10 DesCor Date Nights a year, Christmas parties, summer family picnics, paintball, fishing trips, milestone anniversary celebrations, bonuses, tuition reimbursements, 401(k) and 529 college saving plan matches, flexible work hours, and charity events generating full company involvement. The biggest nonprofit event is the annual Octoberfest supporting Stanford Sierra Youth and families, which places foster kids into permanent family homes through adoption, mentoring and coaching.

What employees say: “Relationships are the number one priority at all levels of the company. DesCor puts a lot of effort toward creating great relationship with our families as well as clients and communities.” [back to the winner list]

DH Wine Compliance


Company profile: DHWC is a full-service wine industry compliance firm specializing in licensing, reporting and consulting services, including licensing required by the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control and the U.S. Treasury Department alcohol and tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

What the president says: “While our workspace has shifted, our customer service always remains our priority. Our team of 31 employees is what got us where we are today,” said Drea Helfer, president and compliance consultant. ”DHWC continues to pivot to accommodate staff working remotely as we continually evolve to create a forward-thinking work environment.” She said team building and connecting ensure that all staff are aware of clients’ needs. “Our team brings 110% every day, and it is my duty to give them back 300%. We also recognize that people have lives outside of the workplace and we encourage everyone to unplug and enjoy their lives. We also love to promote from within. Nothing is better than watching a team member grow, learn and achieve a new role with us,” Helfer added.

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The culture is defined as family supportive, lighthearted, and fun, where employees enjoy spending time together participating in potlucks, games at the office and community events. Staff members believe in helping neighbors, volunteering, and giving back by donating to local sports teams and schools, the Windsor Charlie Brown Christmas tree Grove, and making holidays happen for seven needy families.

In 2016 DHWC launched what would later become the Sonoma County Backpack Project, a program that gives backpacks to teachers with students who come from underprivileged areas.

What employees say: “Our team of highly motivated professionals share respect, care, and love for each other. We have an amazing wealth of knowledge that we share collectively. Our individuality and personalities are also highly appreciated.” [back to the winner list]

Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty


Company profile: Nestled in the wine regions of Napa and Sonoma Counties, DP & represents clients in California, the U.S. and abroad in wine law and the wine industry. The firm has been business for almost 60 years and the average employee tenure is eight years.

What the comanaging partner says: “As a firm with 45 attorneys and staff, we consistently strive to provide a balanced work environment that embraces employee talents and provides a place for personal and professional growth — one that gives employees satisfying work, big firm opportunities and real-world experience as well as having a direct impact in a community we all enjoy and support,” said David Butler, comanaging partner.

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Employees volunteer for nonprofit boards and at Legal Aid and for other charities. In addition to health and wellness benefits, employee perks include a company match for employee charitable contributions, educational assistance, paid maternity, and parental leave along with a casual dress code and pet insurance. There is a company cafeteria, complimentary snacks and beverages, wine tastings, company summer and holiday parties, cooking classes, happy hours and birthday, anniversary, and retirement events. There are annual partner reviews of staff and associates for raises and promotions.

What employees say: “The work we do, the teamwork and contribution among employees is great. The company and the partners are all very supportive and understanding and they create a good atmosphere for professional growth.” [back to the winner list]

Dillwood Burkel & Millar, LLP


Company profile: DBM is a CPA firm providing accounting, tax, financial reporting, valuation and business advisory services to a range of industries throughout the U.S. since 2000.

What the partner says: “We were founded on the belief in unified teamwork that works seamlessly,” said Partner David Dillwood. “It brings us joy when our 24 members support each other’s personal and career growth and are always ready to help. All staff members are treated equally. We have an open-door policy where interns should feel welcome to drop in at an owner’s office and ask questions.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: New hires are trained to eventually become company owners.

DBM’s culture encourages learning, collaboration, and excellent client service. The firm invests in professional continuing education and state-of-the-art technology. Community involvement includes volunteer days at Redwood Empire Food Bank, adopting two families at Christmas through the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sonoma and Marin, and participating in the Human Race. Many serve on boards or volunteer for nonprofit Valley of the Moon Children’s Home Foundation, the Community Foundation of Sonoma County, with Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs, the North Bay Center for Wellbeing, River to Coast, the Promise Center and the Active 20/30 Club. There are summer BBQs, holiday and after-tax parties. Free lunches are provided during tax season. Heritage celebrations include Chinese New Year, Octoberfest, English Christmas, and Day of the Dead. Wine and cheese happy hours occur twice a month, cookie decorating and egg hunt at Easter, a cornhole tournament and scavenger hunts in Spring.

What employees say: “The company and the partners are all very supportive, understanding and create a good atmosphere for professional growth. The work we do and the teamwork and contribution among employees makes DBM great.” [back to the winner list]

Distinguished Vineyards


Company profile: Distinguished Vineyards has been a producer of fine wines since 2008. It has 78 employees.

What the president says: “Employees create and engage through their work with a shared pride, passion and commitment to shared excellence,” said president Steve Myers. “In our workplace we celebrate values and behaviors as much as the resulting achievements and high performance our teams deliver.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Employees actively participate and support initiatives that make a lasting impact in their communities and a positive difference in the lives of others. Company-sponsored support is given to Steps for Change, which supports No Kid Hungry, along with contributions to Share Our Strength and its quest to end childhood hunger in America. Through these efforts Distinguished Vineyards has raised enough money over eight years to provide 350,000 meals, as well as teaching families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. Other company partnerships include Women of the Vine & Spirits, MAPP Impact and Salud Our Health. It donated $600,000 to the James Beard Foundation to support restaurant recovery, equality in the kitchen, food sustainability and student culinary scholarships.

What employees say: “A commitment to doing the right thing for the long term, high integrity and attention to producing best in class products and services define the culture. Positive leadership styles abound. People are very kind across the organization creating a welcoming, friendly and professional environment.” [back to the winner list]

Don Sebastiani & Sons


Company profile: Don Sebastiani & Sons in Napa is a family-owned company established in 2001, although its wine-producing traditions go back to 1904. It has an expanded portfolio that includes ready-to-drink cocktails.

What the president says: “Family is at the core of who we are and what we do,” said President Donny Sebastiani Jr. “We take that seriously and embrace challenges as families do. Everyone works together to find solutions. Our 49 employees are empowered to take initiative, voice their ideas, make the right decisions and contribute to a shared vision of success. We ask them: ‘What would you do if this was your own family winery?”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Half of upper management are minorities and women. Don & Sons believes in promoting from within whenever possible and a culture of collaboration, inclusiveness and diversity. The company donates wine to support nonprofit events, holds an annual “giving tree” challenge to purchase gifts for the needy at Christmas, and an annual food drive. To foster teamwork and unity, meetings are held every “Make It Happen Monday” to review recent and future activities, when trivia games are played. Seasonal events include company provided lunches with games and prizes. Employee tastings of new products are held, and birthdays — and new babies — are celebrated along with other life events.

What employees say: “Management allows me to work from home, providing a level of autonomy that only comes from mutual trust. The company takes our lives into account when making decisions.” [back to the winner list]

Earthtone Construction Inc.


Company profile: In business since 1997, Sebastopol-based Earthtone Construction builds homes, wineries, retail, commercial office space and farms.

What the CEO says: “Some companies worry about helping people grow because they fear that they will leave,” said CEO Andy Bannister. “All that matters is that anyone that interacts with Earthtone is better for it. Whether that is one of our 63 employees, a trade partner, client or local nonprofits that we help, or just someone walking down the street. We believe the secret of our success is that we help people build a better future, and enjoy seeing employees further develop their professional portfolio, skills and abilities.”

Earthtone’s culture embodies four values: Being mindful of our actions, invested in people, passion in its craft and sustainable in its vision.

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The company’s goal is to ensure that it is seen as an environment of growth and one that welcomes — and is forgiving — of mistakes. Human errors are lessons learned, and employees are supported through any conflict-resolution situation. Everyone at Earthtone is willing to jump in and help. There is a company-sponsored summer picnic for employees and families where everyone shares their personal life with their professional life while enjoying catered food, beverages, a photo booth and raffle prizes. The end of year party commemorates accomplishments over the past 12 months. Earthtone honors five employees who embody its values and received shout-outs from peers and clients. Winners take home golden hammers engraved with their names and values they embraced all year.

What employees say: “They always ask how you are doing and if there is anything they can do to help. Managers are invested in us and care about our well-being.” [back to the winner list]

Eleven Engineering, Inc.


Company profile: Eleven Engineering is a general engineering construction firm specializing in environmental remediation, demolition and general construction, handling site services from initial cleanup through final restoration. The company is a certified woman-owned business enterprise. The Petaluma business has been in operation since 2015 and has 17 employees. Minorities and women comprise 40% of its staff.

What the vice president has to say: “We continue to make great progress with a whole team approach to our achievements,” Vice President Ryan Harding said. “Demonstrated success is key to everyone ‘buying-in’, but so is sharing openly and honestly when we come up short and need to refocus on the next project. Win or lose … we do it together and look forward to the next challenge.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The culture encourages teams to thoroughly communicate with each other and exceed their own expectations, while relying heavily on each other to complete projects successfully. Eleven also takes pride in its safety record and quality of workmanship, while continuously striving to be self-aware — a trait considered to be the heartbeat of the company. Eleven has worked with Una Vida, a grassroots organization that distributes donations in Petaluma to those building community and inspiring change, as well as partner communities in the Dominican Republic. At Christmas, Eleven matches each employee gift to Una Vida and is also an annual sponsor of the Citizens Against Homicide Golf Tournament at Rooster Run.

What employees say: “Company managers continue to make me feel extremely valued as an employee. I heard and respected. What more could you ask for?” [back to the winner list]

Encore Events Rentals


Company profile: Encore events is an events rental company that handles weddings, barbecues, corporate parties, winery events, and more. It has showrooms and warehouses in Windsor and Petaluma, and design studio in St. Helena. The company serves Sonoma, Napa and Marin Counties and the Bay Area.

What the president says: “Our amazing 145 employees set our company apart,” said President Bridget Doherty. “We love what we do, who we do it with and who we do it for. We are a collaborative, cohesive team that maintains a family-like environment.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: There are company/department bowling nights and monthly employee appreciation lunches. Encore emphasizes professional and personal growth. Advancement is based on high performance, workplace conduct, motivation, attitude, skill set development and experience.

Beyond basic health insurance benefits, employees have a Flex Spending Account ($500) for medical expenses, a wellness benefit ($200) to offset gym membership expense, fitness classes, park and museum passes and admissions. A KidsFIRST $250 allowance (per employee’s child under 18 per year) is offered for school fundraisers, sports programs, band and club costs. A citizenship scholarship reimburses expenses up to $800, and voluntary discounted pet insurance is also available.

Pat Doherty Scholarships reimburse employees for higher education tuition and book costs up to $2,500/semester, $5,000 per year. After two years employment, Encore Family Scholarships for employees’ college-bound children provide up to $5,000 annually ($2,500/semester), not to exceed $20,000 in total. Encore also donates funds or sponsors 19 nonprofits.

What employees say: “Onboarding at Encore is well done. “You are given the tools you need to be successful. Suggestions are welcome, morale is high, and appreciation is shown through monthly employee events and gift card drawings when goals are reached. It’s fun to work here.” [back to the winner list]

Exchange Bank


Company profile: Exchange Bank is a community bank offering personal and business banking services — including mortgages, home loans, lines of credit and SBA loans.

What the CEO says: “Our responsibility and commitment to our customers and communities is what drives us at Exchange Bank,” said President and CEO Troy Sanderson. “We have a 133-year legacy of service and giving back to communities demonstrated by our 387 employees every day. It comes down to caring deeply about the success of our customers, team members and the communities where we live and work.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The culture is built on respect, integrity, collaboration, and providing outstanding service, values that form lasting connections with team members, customers and nonprofits served. Employees gave 3,875 hours of personal volunteer time to participate in the Human Race and other bank-sponsored fundraisers and charities last year. The bank also donated $798,000 to 280 local nonprofits. In addition, 50.44% of the bank’s cash dividends go toward the Doyle Trust which funds scholarships at Santa Rosa Junior College. Since 1948, over $100 million has been provided to 140,000 students. Sixty employees serve on boards or in community leadership roles.

To help employees manage living costs, the bank’s lowest pay rate for noncommissioned employees is $20.40/hour, 32% higher than California’s minimum wage. Bilingual Spanish-speaking employees earn an additional 10% serving as translators. Discretionary bonuses are given year-round for those not on incentive plans, and year-end variable cash gifts are given to all employees. There is a summer family picnic, a December holiday breakfast with gifts, prizes and awards, and periodic employee appreciation events.

What employees say: “It is a positive environment. I feel like my work is personally rewarding in both the financial sense and in terms of feeling fulfilled and having a purpose.” [back to the winner list]

Fairweather & Associates, Inc.


Company profile: Fairweather homebuilders has served Sonoma County since 1989.

What the CEO says: “Our company is committed to being a leader in the premium home space. What drives us is constant innovation and always asking ourselves ‘how can we do this better,’” said CEO and Owner Simon Fairweather. “We engage our 63 employees at all levels and positions in our quest for maximum safety, the highest quality standards and greater efficiencies.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The company provides tuition assistance, ergonomic workspaces, sabbatical leaves and quarterly Golden Hammer achievement awards with a $500 bonuses for employees with outstanding consistent performance who exceed expectations and support Fairweather’s goals and values. The culture is collaborative, kind and empathetic where genuine friendships are formed. It is a place where everyone is comfortable expressing themselves. Benefits include organized carpools, cellphone stipends, mileage reimbursement, auto allowance, company swag, and professional development opportunities for employees to learn, grow, and advance supported by in-house mentoring and career coaching.

There is an established promotion policy so employees understand the criteria and how to work toward eligibility. A summer internship program is offered to high school and college students in departments ranging from design, field, project management, wood working and metal shop.

Company-sponsored events include seasonal parties, hosting local artist’s works in Fairweather’s main office open to the public, and holiday food drives for Redwood Empire Food Bank, along with sponsoring the company’s summer coed softball team — the “Fairweather Fans” — with two employee coaches and 20 players.

What employees say: “Fairweather foster a friendly, cooperative environment. I’m appreciated for my contributions, and encouraged to take care of myself, including taking a day off occasionally to rest and recharge.” [back to the winner list]

Food for Thought


Company profile: Located in Forestville, Food for Thought is a nonprofit organization dedicated to meeting the nutritional needs of people living with serious medical conditions in Sonoma County. Its mission is to foster health and healing with food, compassion and love for those who are ill, homebound, isolated or lack transportation. Free weekly groceries are delivered by volunteers, including fresh produce, dietary supplements, frozen meals and other “goodies.” Nutritional counseling and an organic garden project are also available.

What the director says: “We prioritize the dignity of our clients and treat them with the respect they deserve,” said Executive Director Ron Karp. “We have provided individualized services since our inception in 1988, when we were serving individuals with HIV/AIDS who were otherwise stigmatized in the community, and those with COVID-19, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: It is a culture of teamwork and collaboration. The organization fosters a welcoming and inclusive environment where employees are encouraged to work together, support one another, and communicate in an open and transparent style. Compassion and empathy are core values, along with an emphasis on learning and growth, promoting a health work/life balance, community engagement and volunteerism, Food for Thought pays competitive wages and full-time staff receive agency-paid medical, dental, vision, chiropractic and life insurance. FFT contributes 5% of each employee’s earnings in a 403b program, along with EAP and FSA. Employees receive 13 paid holidays, 10-2 vacation days, 12 sick days and two volunteer days a year. Activities throughout the year include fundraisers, monthly yoga classes, Sonoma County Pride Parades, Our Long Table and Dining Out for Life events.

What employees say: “FFT is a caring environment and a fantastic place to work. I look forward to coming in every day and contributing to helping others in need.” [back to the winner list]

Friedemann Goldberg Wargo Hess LLP


Company profile: Friedemann Goldberg Wargo Hess LLP was founded in 1999 by a group of attorneys who sought to combine the high-quality legal services of a larger firm with the attention to detail and responsiveness of a smaller boutique firm. In the years since, FGWH has become one of the premier law firms in the North Bay. The legal team has extensive experience in cases involving real estate, intellectual property, entertainment law, tax law, creditor’s rights, insurance and fraud matters, business & banking and commercial litigation — plus two certified specialists in estate planning, trust administration and probate litigation.

What the managing partner says: “Moving to a new office can be stressful and difficult. Our team of 18 employees successfully navigated our first office move in 23 years with a seamless transition,” according to Managing Partner Ronald Wargo. “This spirit of teamwork extends to everyone and everything we do — whether fully remote, part time or in the office. Dedication to each other and our clients reverberates throughout the community — we look forward to working together each day.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The cohesive culture is based on shared objectives, mutual support and cooperation. Employees spend an average of 10 to 15 years with the firm, with women and minorities representing 50% of upper management. The firm hosts two events for employees and their families during the summer and winter holidays. Employees also gather once a month for get-togethers including food, beverages, music, BBQs, pizza parties, bowling and laser tag. Attorneys have served as mediators and small claims court judges and represented clients in pro bono cases. Staff volunteer at the food bank, at schools, coach youth sports, mentor law students and offer financial support for community music and arts programs.

What employees say: “We have a collaborative environment where everyone is willing to talk through issues, help each other, and offer constructive feedback despite a very busy business atmosphere.” [back to the winner list]

GC Micro Corporation


Company profile: With 34 employees and access to over $2 billion in inventory, GC Micro is procurement firm that Fortune 500 companies and government entities turn to for computer hardware, software, custom configuration, and integration services. The 100% women-owned company was founded in 1986 and has many top-tier authorized dealer partnerships and a comprehensive list of suppliers and manufacturers. The award-winning team has an average employee tenure of 10 to 25 years.

What the CEO says: “At our core, what makes us truly great is our exceptional team with an unwavering commitment to excellence,” said President and CEO Belinda Guadarrama. “We prioritize innovation, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible and constantly striving for improvement. Our talented professionals, with diverse skills and backgrounds, drive our success.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: It is a culture of continuous learning and career progression in a supportive, collaborative and inspiring environment fostering creativity and growth. Customers are deeply valued with the understanding that their satisfaction is GC Micro’s true measure of success.

Benefits include 100% company paid medical/dental benefits, 401(k) with company contribution, PTO, bonuses, career development, training, an on-site exercise facility, company lunches and trips, a stocked kitchen, daily snacks and breakfast, and an annual award dinner. GC Micro contributes to the St. Vincent Church, Petaluma Peace Officers Association, Western Regional Minority Supplier Development Council, Boys and Girls Club, St. Vincent de Paul High School Scholarship Fund, Salvation Army, Canine Companions, Luther Burbank Memorial Center, Western Regional Charitable Association, Sonoma County Wildlife and the AMDOCS Film Festival.

What employees say: “I have control over how I do my job and feel empowered to help customers in the way that best suits their interests. The staff is friendly, and we all get along great!” [back to the winner list]

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems


Company profile: General Dynamic’s is a publicly held Fortune 100 developer, manufacturer and integrator of electromechanical servo-control actuation (flight guidance) systems for the U.S. armed forces and the missile-defense industry. Founded locally in 1999, General Dynamics has 111 employees in the North Bay.

What the general manager says: “Our dedicated team of top-performing engineers, manufacturing and support professionals are the best of the best,” said Anthony Flores, director and general manager. “We strive to provide a safe and rewarding work environment for all. Everyone takes great pride in helping co-workers. Interdependence and servant leadership are the keys to our success as we directly support the ongoing defense of our nation and allies.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The company embraces a culture of diversity, transparency, collaboration, innovation, agility, creativity, and personal growth with a strong sense of patriotism.

Promotions are from within and 13% of staff received promotions in 2023 — 72% of managers started as individual contributors. Engineers tutor students at local schools and support “robotics squad” competitions in global challenges. Company events include an annual formal party, “Tough Mudder” obstacle and endurance challenges to foster teamwork and stamina, sponsoring a wine country 100-mile bike ride, hosting catered special occasion lunches, holiday celebrations, and employees give back through a giving tree. Staff get every other Friday and all of Christmas week off, and have a total of 11 holidays. There are hybrid/remote work options, incentive bonuses, educational assistance, subsidized gym memberships, and access to well-being apps.

What employees say: Employees say co-workers are encouraging. “Those who work here are wonderful. The work we do can be challenging, but the team is hugely supportive and collaborative. We have managers who are accommodating to our personal and professional needs and wants.” [back to the winner list]

George Petersen Insurance Agency


Company profile: George Petersen Insurance has a range of plans for business, personal and family coverage through its network of 10 offices throughout Northern California. Services include comprehensive risk management, loss control insurance and workers’ compensation and property casualty claims administration, along with HR compliance and employer benefits services.

What the COO says: “While we recognize that clients are essential for stability and growth, behind each loyal client are extraordinary long-term employees,” said Chief Operating Officer Bob Daer. “We believe our 235 employees, 136 in the North Bay, make our company great. We created a workplace that respects and values people from diverse backgrounds and enables all employees to do their best work.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Benefits include employer paid medical, dental, basic life and long-term care and annual profit-sharing with the ability to purchase medical/dental coverage for dependents and vision coverage. Both FSA and Dependent Day Care are offered along with Aflac. The agency has a 401(k) program and offers employee education to plan for retirement. George Petersen Insurance pays all licensing costs, continuing education and pre-licensing classes. The average tenure of employees is 17 years, and the agency believes in promoting from within. Fringe benefits include COSTCO memberships and a yearly commission refund benefit for employees who have their personal insurance policies with the company. There is a strong community commitment through volunteerism and donations for nonprofits through the agency’s Community Outreach Committee, including: Redwood Empire Food Bank, Challenger Little League, Human Race, Salvation Army, United Way, YWCA, Toys for Tots, Council on Aging, Social Advocates for Youth, Children’s Village and the Memorial Hospital Foundation.

What employees say: “Those I work with inspire me to work harder. We have personable leadership that is always ready to listen and help with any problems — and are fast to give praise for a job well done.” [back to the winner list]

Ghilotti Bros. Inc.


Company profile: As a family-owned general engineering contractor for 109 years with headquarters in San Rafael, Ghilotti Bros. is one of the largest construction companies in Northern California for commercial, residential and public works projects — from preliminary sitework to construction planning and completion.

Examples include the San Francisco Chase Center, Highway 101 widening and flood control, the Petaluma River Bridge, Healdsburg Mill District, lane reconfiguration on the Golden Gate Bridge for the movable barrier, the Sir Francis Drake Boulevard corridor rehabilitation, and the Kaiser Los Gamos parking structure.

What the CEO says: “Our employees are very determined and motivated by success to accomplish their daily tasks as individuals and as a team,” said President and CEO Michael Ghilotti. “They are given many opportunities to improve their skills through training and career advancement, and are encouraged to do so. We strive to ensure that employees have a good work/life balance. We sponsor events to get our employees together outside of work to just have fun.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Everyone is passionate about making a difference in the community by participating in local events and fundraisers such as Giving Marin, Touch-a-Truck, College of Marin, Marin Catholic High School and volunteering at the Redwood Empire Food Bank. The culture is described as family oriented with high core values and a philosophy of “Earning respect by doing a job well, treating employees with courtesy and respect, and doing good work in the community where you live.”

What employees say: A team member said, “This is my extended family. We all work together to get results, but personal time is valued and encouraged for work-life balance.” [back to the winner list]

Ghirardo CPA


Company profile: Ghirardo CPA is a tax, accounting and business services firm serving individuals and businesses in Marin, Sonoma and Napa Counties for 33 years. It has 38 finance and accounting employees with degrees and credentials ranging from auditing, business consulting, and real estate, to bookkeeping and wealth planning.

What the managing shareholder says: “Teamwork is at the core of Ghirardo CPA’s success,” said Managing Shareholder Breta Hoversten. “Our cohesive team of skilled professionals combine their expertise, diverse backgrounds and specialized skill sets to provide comprehensive solutions for our clients.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The company has a reputation for establishing long term client relationships nurtured by a caring attitude, technical competence, and commitment to service. These attributes also lead to an average employee tenure of 12 years with the firm. Fifty percent of upper management are minorities or women. Perks include lunch and dinner provided during the tax season plus an end-of-tax-season party, sponsored events, in-house games and interactive off-site activities, the use of a company-owned condo in Tahoe, an on-site gym, basketball and volleyball courts and 49er tickets.

Job openings are posted internally with promotions based on annual reviews and thorough management input and evaluations. Community involvement includes donations to women in need during each of the holidays through the Pregnancy Resource Center. Support is also given to youth sports teams and all three Rotary Clubs in Novato. The culture is described as friendly, challenging, motivating, engaging, nurturing, collaborative, autonomous and flexible, enabling employees to innovate and be empowered.

What employees say: “It is a very caring environment, with excellent teamwork and strong leadership. I am trusted to get my work done and have the power to decide how best to do that, while focusing on excellence and client service,” a co-worker said. [back to the winner list]

Goodwill Redwood Empire


Company profile: Goodwill Redwood Empire’s mission is changing lives and strengthening communities through the dignity and the power of work.

What the CEO says: “Like many businesses, Goodwill understands that people in the organization, and those being served, are what makes it all work,” said President and CEO Brandy Evans. “We recognize and appreciate how fortunate we are to have a chance to interact with so many generous donors, gracious customers and the many clients, volunteers and team members that make what Goodwill does part of the community.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: In addition to standard benefits, the company provides resources for personal and professional development. Those in management stay on average eight years. Nonmanagement personnel have higher turnover since they are trained, receive work readiness skills and experience in order to obtain competitive, integrated employment. The culture is inclusive, welcoming and friendly, evidenced by Goodwill’s logo — a smiling “G.” The nonprofit’s mission is delivered by offering a hand-up, not a handout, that begins on Day One whether the person is an employee, client, volunteer a donor or customer. Goodwill helps the planet by diverting approximately nine million pounds of goods from landfills each year. “Our leaders work together continually to find new solutions to emerging challenges to better deliver community services,” Evans said.

What employees say: “I love my job and the people I work with. Our managers want us to succeed. We all help each other, and the community. That’s what Goodwill is all about.” [back to the winner list]

Gusmer Enterprises, Inc.


Company profile: Founded in 1918 to support the brewing industry, Gusmer Enterprises manufactures and sells products geared toward the winemaking, brewing, edible oil and pharmaceuticals markets. The company’ North Bay office in Napa is home to the firm’s analytical services group. This is one of seven locations across the U.S. including the Gusmer Sonoma Store in Windsor, and a West Coast manufacturing center in Fresno.

What the director of product development says: “The best part about working at Gusmer is that it continues to be privately held and actively managed by the Gusmer family,” said Ivonne Dresser, director of technical product support and development fermentation. “People come first at Gusmer, including leadership and its 491 employees nationwide (16 in Napa), who live by the firm’s 12 cultural attributes: Diversity, integrity, respect, safety, accountability, quality, commitment, communication, creativity, collaboration, celebration and growth. Each month one of these attributes is discussed at a companywide meeting.” She said Gusmer invests in its employees’ future through the company’s career and development program.

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Employees advance through career progression planning and expanding job responsibilities with open and new positions posted internally.

“Nothing is more important than the safety and overall well-being of our employees, where successes are celebrated together delivered through experience and innovation. The president delivers weekly video messages to share updates, and corporate officers are accessible to all employees wishing to share ideas, concerns, strengths and weaknesses. Gusmer encourages employees to grow and develop their careers so they can feel accomplished and satisfied with their roles,” Dresser said.

What employees say: “We always go the extra mile to make sure customers are happy. Honesty and integrity are not just talked about but backed up with action. This is a firm that lives and celebrates core values.” [back to the winner list]

Harv 81 USA, Inc.


Company profile: Harv 81 USA, with headquarters in Solano County, has processing, finishing and sales operations around the globe in Australia, South Africa, France, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Italy and China. The company makes cork stoppers and wine closures for wine bottles.

What the CEO says: “Employees of Harv 81 USA (doing business as Tonnellerie Ô and Cork Supply USA), make our company great. It would not exist without the dedication and passion of our team,” said CEO Peter Hladun. “We all share the same beliefs and values. Our goal is to make a difference daily and celebrate our wins together. We work as one team, with one dream.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Harv 81 Group North America supports employee growth and advancement by providing a career path that includes communicating step progression for employees successfully completing required external or internal training. A Committed to Culture Committee of 10-15 employees from different departments across the organization is chaired by Executive Sponsor Dinah Palaima. It organizes company events including employee lunches, games, branding events, and community outreach for Adopt A Street Benicia, Humane for Humanity and Toys for Tots. There are donation drives for food banks, backpack and school supplies, warm coats, toiletries and fire victim relief. There are company sponsored picnics, team building events, and new hire happy hour toasts. Giving back involves participating in the Relay for Life and volunteering for Coastal/Creek Cleanups and Habitat for Humanity. Management takes pride in upholding and advocating for a positive workplace where employees are heard, acknowledged, and feel like they are with family.

What employees say: “Our company founder hosts a quarterly meeting to let everyone know how the firm is doing, and personally thanks us all for the great job we do,” an employee observed. “Great internal communication.” [back to the winner list]

Healdsburg Lumber Company


Company profile: Healdsburg Lumber Company has served the Healdsburg and Sonoma County communities for more than 148 years.

What the president says: “We are first and foremost a family company that includes our amazing 100 employees,” said Ziedrich Gaylor, third-generation president. “I see the value of investing in employees because the result is a dedicated and tight-knit team that goes out of their way to help and support each other and our customers. We trust and encourage them to take ownership and leadership roles.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Many employees have been with HLC 10 years — several over 20. They know each other well and work together effectively. HLC always solicits applications for open positions from employees before posting jobs and offers ongoing staff training. The company hosts summer picnics, a holiday party and frequently surprises staff with pizza, taco truck visits, treats from Amy’s Wicked Slush and fun adventures, such as playing the Prune Packers game. There are ticket raffles, breakroom snacks, and birthday celebrations.

HLC participates in the Healdsburg FFA Twilight Parade and has a birdhouse painting booth at Windsor’s Summer Nights on the Green. To help make the community stronger, the company contributes to local sports teams, schools and helps the needy through nonprofits such as the Healdsburg Food Pantry.

The culture is professional, yet relaxed. Management is accessible and approachable. “Any time of day

“you can hear laughter and friendly banter being exchanged by employees and customers,” said Gaylor.

What employees say: “Our company has reinvested in a new, state-of-the-art lumber yard and expanded store, evidence of HLCs emphasis on business as well as personal growth — it is a great work environment.” [back to the winner list]

Hennessy Advisors, Inc.


Company profile: Hennessy Advisors, Inc. is a publicly traded investment manager with $3.2 billion in assets under management that oversees, services, and markets the family of Hennessy Funds. Funds include exchange-traded funds (ETFs), traditional equity, specialty category, and sector funds, as well as more conservative multi-asset products.

What the president says: “CEO Neil Hennessy and I are proud to lead an incredible group of professionals,” said President Teresa Nilsen. “We maintain a healthy, collaborative, and balanced work environment dedicated to the learning and growth of our 13 employees. We support them with competitive cash and stock equity compensation, flexible work schedules and support for employee-directed charitable contributions through company time and funds, as well as a 401(k) investment plan with company contribution, health benefits and PTO.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Employees remain with Hennessy, on average, over 12 years. The company is planning its next annual Okizu Shindig in October, representing the 8th year of company support for the Okizu Preservation Fund to ensure the future of Camp Okizu, a free summer camp for children with cancer and their families. The company contributes to hundreds of nonprofits, including schools, youth sports and other organizations in Sonoma and Marin Counties. Each fall Hennessy hosts an all-staff event to bring remote employees to the Novato home office plus an annual holiday party, along with hiking trips, spa trips, wreath making, baby and wedding showers, wine tastings, golf outings and sporting events.

What employees say: “Hennessy is great place for collaboration and integration. The company encourages us to participate in philanthropic or community events and there is a ‘family first’ feeling every day.” [back to the winner list]

Hilton Garden Inn — Sonoma County Airport


Company profile: Surrounded by vineyards, towering evergreen trees, water fountains and walking paths around two lakes near the Sonoma County Airport, the Hilton Garden Inn has 90 guest rooms.

What the general manager says: “Our customer service philosophy includes having exceptional properties like Hilton Garden Inn located in great locations coupled with outstanding customer service from 40 caring and committed employees to ensure the maximum comfort and convenience to our traveling guests or for business meetings,” said Andrea Griffin, general manager.

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Employees receive comprehensive health and insurance benefits with 401(k) retirement, ROTH or traditional options and employer match contributions, plus PTO, paid holidays and sick leave. Team members are eligible for hotel and restaurant discounts that include friends and family, and comp meeting space. Staff members are honored through the “employee of the month” program, birthday celebrations with bonuses, and at other recognition events.

Community involvement includes the hotel’s recycled soap project with Clean the World Foundation, and linen and terry towel donations to nonprofits. There are Toys for Tots drives, and donations of guest rooms to schools, veterans, hospitals and local businesses. Employees are empowered to bring suggestions and ideas to the table and opportunities to implement new procedures. It is a workplace where everyone has each other’s backs, welcomes diversity and different points of view where performance is drive by positive encouragement and unity.

What employees say: “From our general manager to housekeepers and dish washers, we all march to the same drum beat and are recognized for the hard work we do. The level of support for one another, and the communication between all departments is outstanding.” [back to the winner list]

Hogan Land Services


Company profile: Hogan Land Services is a civil and structural engineering firm providing project planning, land surveying, permit assistance, violation resolution and septic design services in Northern California. Its offices are located in Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and Livermore.

What the CEO says: “Every year I cite our people as the source of our greatness, and it is as true now as ever,” according to CEO Michael Hogan. “As we venture into a new era of technology and societal evolution, we continue to count on our 38 teammates to teach us, guide us and carry us forward into the changing future. Our purpose is to help turn our client’s plans and dreams into tangible reality.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The work culture appreciates and celebrates differences, and managers believe a diverse workforce, with multiple generations working together, benefits employees, customers and the business. Employees manage their own projects, can work in the field and the office to gain experience, and are supported by on-the-job training and mentoring programs fostering career growth and licensure. The company pays 100% for employee medical/dental coverage, with paid vacation and sick time, a 401(k) matching program, educational reimbursements and 10 paid holidays. There is profit-sharing, housing assistance, travel opportunities and company vehicles for eligible employees. There are also client appreciation BBQs, team building activities, a softball team, holiday parties and career fairs. Community involvement includes support for Santa Rosa East/West Rotary, Tomorrows Leaders Today, Nation’s Finest, and CPAC (supporting private sector job creation).

What employees say: “Employees are trusted to be self-motivated. The management style is very laid-back. A bell is rung every time we assist a client in getting a permit, giving us all a sense of satisfaction,” an employee stated. “It is a healthy, positive atmosphere that boosts creativity.” [back to the winner list]

IDEX Health & Science, LLC


Company profile: IDEX engineers and manufactures optofluidic components and assemblies used in analytical equipment for the biotechnology and life sciences markets. Applications include displays, biosensors, lab-on-chip devices, lenses, and molecular imaging tools.

What the director of operations says: “What makes IDEX great is our purpose, people, products and place,” said Jon Wambold, director of operations and site leader in Rohnert Park. “With a mission to provide ‘Trusted Solutions, Improving Lives,’ and in some cases, saving lives. We are proud to have a site in Sonoma County where our 220 employees embody the culture, diversity and acceptance we desire to have as a business.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The work culture reflects values of trust, team and excellence that employees strive to meet, along with high social responsibility standards. Career ladders are in place for most jobs. Managers conduct one-on-one “stay interviews,” or career development conversations, with staff asking employees what engages them at work, what skills they want to develop and what makes them stay with the company. Employees are paid for quarterly, half-workday volunteer cleanup and maintenance efforts at a beach, park, community garden, animal shelter or Boys and Girls Club, plus 8-hours of PTO to volunteer anywhere they like. At year end, IDEX conducts a food drive and has a Secret Santa Giving Tree for those in need. Events include a summer picnic BBQ, fall Halloween lunch with costumes, Thanksgiving lunch and a year-end party with games, and a raffle, and IDEX-branded gifts. Breakfasts are provided for town halls and celebrations held to honor Asian American Pacific Islander and Hispanic heritage months, and PRIDE.

What employees say: “IDEX celebrates all races, cultures and lifestyles along with individual and team successes. The company values workers’ contributions in making products that save lives and advance medical science,” an employee said. [back to the winner list]

Intervine Inc.


Company profile: Intervine is an importer, wholesaler, distributor as well as a food & beverage management company based in Napa. It provides the global travel industry with adult beverages, zero-alcoholic beverages, waters and canned drinks, coffee, teas, snacks and precooked proteins & meals.

What the vice president says: “Intervine is truly great because we prioritize people,” Corporate Vice President Amy Jullien expressed. “Our 25 employee-owners are the foundation upon which our success is built.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The company offers employees equity after 1,000 hours in a plan year with a five-year vesting schedule, plus 100% employer-paid health insurance for Kaiser HMO Gold 30, and $50,000 employer-paid life insurance. PTO ramps from 16 working days under four years of service, to 21 days from 4-9 years, and 26 days after 10 years, in addition to office closure Christmas to New Year's. Eight hours of volunteer time/year is granted. Employees have flex work schedules with half-day Fridays and hybrid hours. Hiring is done from within whenever possible. Intervine has a positive, inclusive, supportive and engaging culture with all staff meetings twice a week to keep everyone informed. Employees are empowered to take ownership of their careers through professional development and can voluntarily join committees for projects and initiatives. Monthly office events celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, and the company holds happy hours, plus family picnics and a year-end party. Gift boxes are sent to remote employees unable to attend in person. Intervine is exploring ways expand virtual team-building efforts to ensure remote employees stay connected and engaged.

What employees say: “The atmosphere is great, and people are very approachable. Everyone is equal and has a voice. You can rely on everyone in the company, knowing that you’re never alone if you need help.” [back to the winner list]

InterWest Insurance Services, LLC


Company profile: The insurance and brokerage firm was launched in 1992 as a result of a merger of three companies. It has 363 employees all told, 19 of those are in the North Bay. The company specializes in property and casualty, workers’ compensation, employee benefits and personal insurance coverage.

What the practice leader says: “The North Bay InterWest teams are like an extension of my family. Every team member is a dedicated, hardworking professional who does everything possible to provide the best service and resources to our clients,” said North Bay Practice Leader Mike Ryan. “Most of us have worked together for years and are friends. The Petaluma and Santa Rosa teams at InterWest Insurance are among some of the finest and most knowledgeable insurance professionals around.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: InterWest offers a welcoming, collaborative, team-based environment with strong and consistent employment opportunities within the company. There is an annual holiday party, annual sales meeting in Lake Tahoe and employees are given technical training and leadership development opportunities to promote and develop professional growth. In addition to the basic benefits package, employees have a shorter work week of 37.5 hours and a workday of 7.5 hours.

InterWest encourage promotion from within and provides opportunities for participation in philanthropy through the employee driven InterWest Gives Back program where four organizations per office are selected each year. Those organizations have included Redwood Empire Food Bank, Lily's Legacy Dog Sanctuary, Social Advocates for Youth, Sonoma County Human Race, Council on Aging, Food for Thought, Marin Humane, Boys & Girls club of Sonoma-Marin, St. Helena Little League.

What employees say: “As team members, we are given the latitude to treat our individual jobs as if they are our own individual business, with obvious corporate parameters. We are empowered to do what it takes to provide service to our clients.” [back to the winner list]

Jackson Family Wines


Company profile: Since 1982, Jackson Family Wines has established wine portfolios with 40 wineries producing unique wines rooted in world-class estate vineyards. The company has more than 1,650 employees, with 1,110 in the North Bay. The company believes its continued success will be based on adopting forward-looking land management techniques supporting the goal of being climate positive by 2030. This includes smart water management, regressive farming practices and championing social responsibility, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

What the CEO says: “The company is anchored by long-standing values with great talent at all levels, and with a strong family culture led by Barbara Banke and three generations of the Jackson family,” according to CEO Rick Tigner. “JFW is a people-first business inspiring employees to do their best each day as we help to build a culture where everyone belongs.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Core values include leading with integrity, fostering passion for all things, quality without compromise, honoring JFW’s entrepreneurial spirit, family culture drives our success, and taking responsibility to cultivate a better future. Care for employees is seen in JFW’s Modern Health platform, a mental health resource, along with the JFW Cares Fund that assists employees with financial hardships (natural disaster, family emergencies, bridging short-term financial gaps), scholarships and basic benefits. JFW provides financial or in-kind contributions to over 200 community organizations.

The Rooted for Good program gives employees two days a year to volunteer with organizations cleaning up the Russian River, addressing food insecurity and supporting Habitat for Humanity.

Internal employees attend annual Town Halls, family picnics, and holiday parties.

What employees say: “JFW asks employees for feedback and takes it seriously when implementing programs and policies to address their needs and concerns. They make sure we all are taken care of.” [back to the winner list]

Joanna’s Nannies


Company profile: Joanna’s Nannies provides on-call, vacation and event child care.

What the COO says: “Joanna’s Nannies is more than just a staffing agency, we are a community and a family working together to provide quality service to our clients,” said COO Victoria Lofton. “Our 35 nannies are truly loved and taken care of daily. They are eligible for several bonus tiers in addition to hourly wages. Our nannies provide excellent service, and our admin team has created a welcoming and supportive culture that resolves around trust, respect and reliability.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Each nanny’s schedule is entirely up to the employee, they can take off whenever they need to, and it is automatically approved. Career ladder perks are based on hours worked (at $20 to $25 dollars per hour) with bonuses at eight benchmark hour levels offering higher bonuses, in addition to gifts and paid vacation days. For example, at 150 hours worked, a nanny also receives a $150 bonus plus JN branded merchandise. The career ladder goes up to 10,000 hours worked with four paid vacation days a year, a $750 vacation bonus and celebration dinner for the nanny and four guests.

Nannies are given raises every six months to grow within their careers. They also have opportunities to attend career growth conferences, and obtain additional certification provided through the agency.

Co-workers come together periodically at company meet-and-greet events to get to know one another, talk about common interests and feel more like team members.

What employees say: “The team understands and cares for me. Having a flexible work schedule allows me to work as much as I want and have balance and priority in my personal life.” [back to the winner list]



Company profile: Kiosk is a digital marketing agency using media planning, innovative technology solutions, stunning creative applications, and deep dives into strategic data analytics to provide clients with expertise to grow business, optimize spending and deliver attributable results.

What the COO says: “Kiosk employees — called ‘Kioskers’-- make our company great. Our mission is to do amazing, life-changing things for staff, our clients and our community,” said Founder and COO Claire Garvie. “Our people are invested in client’s success and have autonomy to make amazing projects. As a certified California Green Business, we are committed stewards of a broader environment as well as a fun, friendly and creative internal environment.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The company allows staff to work remotely, while periodically polling them about how they are doing, and their preference for continuing to work from home or returning to the office on a hybrid basis. The culture is described as having a talented, smart crew bursting with creativity, enthusiasm, passion and a strong sense of community. Kiosk provides funding, advertising or pro bono market support to many local vendors, including co-sponsoring Novato’s Rock the Block Street party, community care work, environmental and conservation projects, volunteering for school, hospital, youth or senior charity fundraising, and serving on nonprofit boards.

The company supports Homeward Bound’s solutions to homelessness with fundraising, by redesigning its website, helping in kitchen gardens, weeding the Next Key Center in Novato, and creating an ad campaign for Wagster Treats Dog Snacks. Kiosk hosts employee events including themed dress-up days, such as the Halloween party.

What employees say: “Our executives take time to check in on our teams and see how they can help make us better in a positive way. It’s a consortium of folks who care.” [back to the winner list]

KLH Consulting, Inc.


Company profile: KLH is an IT consulting, managed solutions and cybersecurity agency in Santa Rosa specializing in implementing and supporting Enterprise Resource Planning systems by providing solutions from the office to the cloud — including off-site backups, applications and complete network hosting.

What the CEO says: “Our team, our customers and our service-oriented approach to IT make our company great,” According to CEO Soni Lampert. “We have 56 employees, 40 in the North Bay, addressing current and emerging Information Technology trends ranging from security, IT projects, to full IT management of IT environments. This top-notch team is comprised of engineers, project managers, security specialists and help desk teams to deliver all IT services a business requires.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: KLH offers a variety of training events, including monthly topical training, as well as social events such as trips to Giants games for staff, celebration lunches, holiday parties, summer BBQs, movie nights and bowling competitions. Employees stay on average 10 years or more. The company supports community nonprofit involvement by providing service benefits and donations to its nonprofit customers. KHL encourages employee involvement in Ruritan Clubs, the Sonoma County Alliance, nonprofit board memberships ranging from scouting to mental health services, and volunteering for after-school tutoring. The culture is characterized as team-centric, and one that holds professional expertise, continuous learning and collaboration in high esteem. KLH takes a proactive approach to nurturing talent and innovation while also fostering strong interpersonal relationships.

What employees say: “I’m proud to be part of a team of consultants who are not only technical experts but also understand the business implications of technology. We are all continually learning and adapting to the fast-changing world of IT. Our primary focus is on exceeding our clients’ expectations. Our project success rate and client retention numbers reflect this commitment.” [back to the winner list]

Linkenheimer LLP


Company Profile: With 28 CPAs and advisors, Linkenheimer has been providing financial solutions since 1932.

What the managing partner says: “Our people are the heartbeat of our organization, embodying core values that define who we are as a company,” said John Jones, managing partner. “Their integrity, professionalism and innovative thinking set the foundation for our greatness. Each person brings a unique set of skills and perspectives, fostering a diverse and inclusive environment where ideas flourish and the team thrives.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The firm is known for its culture of continuous learning and empowerment, with ample opportunities for personal and professional development. Linkenheimer empowers its team to reach their full potential and contribute their best. The average employee tenure is 10 years. Employees donate over 900 hours a year to bettering the community. The firm is involved in local nonprofits including Rotary, school foundation boards, volunteering at REFB and the Thanksgiving dinner at the Redwood Gospel Mission. Linkenheimer actively supports free mobile eye care clinics and the construction and staffing of a surgery center in the remote San Juan region of Nicaragua.

It’s not all work. On annual retreats to celebrate successes with family members, trips have been taken to Spain, Croatia, Italy, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Alaska, San Diego, fishing lodges near Redding and Disneyland.

What employees say: “Open and honest feedback is encouraged and there is a development and training plan in place for every employee. It’s a flexible work environment that places high value on employees enjoying and spending time with family and friends.” [back to the winner list]

Marin Humane


Company profile: Helping over 10,000 animals a year, Marin Humane has been bringing animals and humans together for more than 116 years. The organization provides shelter, adoption and care for animals at North Bay locations in Novato and San Anselmo and at the Hopalong office in Oakland — providing a network of loving foster homes.

What the CEO says: “Nonprofit Marin Humane advocates on behalf of animals, promotes the positive aspects of human-animal relationships, and provides a variety of programs and support services to our communities, such as behavior and training resources, mobile adoption units, temporary and permanent homes, pet disaster preparation and News That’s Fit to Fetch,” according to CEO and President Nancy McKenney.

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Leadership provides opportunities for employee engagement, including employee-led committees, benefits, continuing training and recognition. The ACTION Committee helps sustain and cultivate a culture that promotes teamwork, positivity, respect and core values including dedication to animals, a collaborative spirit, courage with compassion, a pursuit of learning and celebrating differences. The committee hosts anniversary events and Way to Go acknowledgments bringing employees together to socialize, celebrate individuals and teams, and strengthen core values. Many employees and volunteers have 20 or 30 years of service.

Marin Humane offers competitive salaries, vacation and sick time, 11 paid holidays, leaves of absence, sabbaticals, aid to education, animal companions in the workplace, hybrid work schedules for some positions and a retirement plan with employer matching. Wellness initiatives include a fitness reimbursement, on-site yoga, and massage sessions. The Community Engagement Department offers Pet Safety Net, Animal Assisted Programs and Youth Programs for the public.

What employees say: “We enjoy an open, collaborative environment where our voices are heard and individuality is encouraged and welcomed,” an employee said. “During the pandemic, we all kept working, never missing a beat, while continuing to look after animals in our care.” [back to the winner list]

M.A. Silva USA


Company profile: M.A. Silva USA provides natural, micro-agglomerated, technical, sparkling, beer or bar top cork. Since 2001 the company has been a sustainably driven manufacturer of best-in-class cork, glass bottles and packaging solutions.

What the president says: “It has always been my goal to build a company where people enjoy coming to work,” said Neil Foster, president and co-founder. “The remarkable growth we experienced over the past years is a testament to our team’s hard work and dedication to our success.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The average length of time employees stay is nine years. Three current managers were promoted from entry-level positions to become company leaders. M.A. Silva considers employees for promotion if they have the skills, experience and potential. The company is rooted in respect for each person and the environment. Employees hold each other accountable by sharing the same values and goals, while strengthening relationships within a team atmosphere.

Every year M.A. Silva sponsors or donates to Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin, Must! Charities, wildfire victims, local school education or after school programs — and always gives to any employee requested cause. In 2023 the Charity Committee organized a REFB food drive. The Fun Committee organizes holiday celebrations and all events include food, drinks, games and prizes and a note from the President. Other events have featured a 1920s murder mystery party and attendance at a Giants game.

Rarely are the halls and meeting rooms not filled with laughter, according to Foster. On or off-site lunches often result in storytelling. The company believes work can be professional and fun at the same time.

What employees say: “M.A. Silva has a team of caring co-workers and management. We get support when mistakes are made, flexible scheduling and time off for appointments during the day — and great benefits.” [back to the winner list]

Meritage Medical Network


Company profile: Meritage began in 1981 when a group of independent doctors in Marin and Sonoma Counties came together to create an Individual Practice Association. A year later this organization became known as the Meritage Medical Network. Its hospitals include Marin General and Santa Rosa Memorial, and it has more than 15 health plans and five Medicare Advantage plans.

What the CEO says: “At Meritage, our employees are our most valuable assets. We strive for an environment that’s empowering, inclusive and focused on our mission to enable Meritage physicians to provide the highest quality health care to the communities we serve,” said CEO Wojtek Nowak.

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Collectively, this network covers a region with 500,000 residents and includes 30,000 current Meritage patient enrollments in Sonoma, Marin, Napa, Solano, Fresno and Madera Counties. The company provides employees with a comprehensive, affordable benefits package including medical, behavioral health, vision, dental, group and voluntary life, short- and long-term disability insurances, FSA, EAP and a comprehensive wellness program. There is a $2,500/year tuition reimbursement, 401(k) plan with a 5% company match (discretionary) and no vesting schedule. The PTO program increases with years of service ranging from 17 to 27 days, one annual paid float day and one paid wellness day per year, for a total of 29 days off per year. After one year of service, employees are eligible for a $250 vacation stipend when taking off five consecutive vacation days. There are also commuter and gym membership subsidies, employee of the year awards, and a wellness program that includes free walking groups, meditation sessions, Qi Gong, monthly lunch-and-learns and TED Talks.

What employees say: “Supervisors are amazing. We have flexible work schedules. Benefits are wonderful and I love that they promote happiness in our personal and professional lives.” [back to the winner list]

Mike’s Bikes (Headlands Ventures LLC)


Company profile: Mikes Bikes was founded in 1964 as Marin County’s first Schwinn shop. Today the company 14 stores throughout Petaluma, Novato, the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, San Jose and Stanford Research Park.

What the president says: “Our mission is to get more people on bikes,” said President Matt Adams. “We accomplish this through the awareness of our 295 employees (111 in the North Bay). Working at Mikes Bikes isn’t just a job at a bike shop, it’s a career in the bicycle industry. Our fun, competitive culture makes every day interesting.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: When employees purchase a bike, they receive a paid bike bonding day, a free body geometry bike fit and park passes. They earn 10 cents/mile when they commute to work by bike. Staff can borrow a demo bike on the weekends and can bring a dog to work. Employees are reimbursed for cycling races. Sales and ride-to-work contests and other competitions come with rewards including gift cards, lunches and all-expense paid trips to visit Mike’s Bikes shops in other states. There is medical, dental and insurance coverage, 401(k) with company matching, and PTO, FSA, and pet insurance for full time employees. An annual picnic with a BBQ, lawn games and pie-eating contests is also held. The company sponsors local rides and teams, bike rodeos, school events and sponsors 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. Career advancement is possible in sales, tech, and management in local shops to opportunities at headquarters.

What employees say: “Helping diverse groups get access to bicycles is rewarding. The sense of community at Mike’s Bikes is unparalleled. I feel welcome here.” [back to the winner list]

MKM & Associates Structural Engineering


Company profile: Rohnert Park-based MKM has been providing structural engineering services since 1993. Project categories include civic, commercial, brewery, education, health care, historic, hospitality, residential and wineries. The company is licensed in 10 western states, and in Alabama, Florida, Hawaii and Minnesota, with additional work performed in Illinois and North Carolina.

What the owner says: “Our attention to detail and concern for our clients is what makes us great,” said Senior Principal and Owner Eric Kreager. “Our 47-person strong team embodies a relentless commitment to a sustainable design approach as they seamlessly integrate structural design and construction services. MKM is proud to work with local firms and community members to ensure the structural integrity of their projects.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: MKM has a large number of repeat customers, along with numerous project awards and LEED certifications. MKM’s culture is a unique blend of technical thinkers and creative out-of-the-box personalities, including a strong presence of Cal Poly graduates. This diversity creates and admirable work ethic and a strong sense of community. The team communicates effectively and efficiently creating move-forward energy that permeates the firm’s intra-office community. Company-sponsored events include attending the Santa Rosa WinExpo, Sacramento Wine Symposium, the AIA Design Awards Gala, and the Cal Poly ARCE recruitment fair. Community engagement includes cleanups, volunteering, involvement with local engineering and education programs, food drives, Salvation Army Bell Ringing at Christmas, Micah Hugs, support for the Community Builders Group on behalf of the ALKARE Foundation and women’s recovery services.

What employees say: “The work we do is exceptional, and it takes a village to get it done — and we have a great village to work with. The office is comfortable and flexible. Time off is valued and encouraged.” [back to the winner list]

Moss Adams LLP


Company profile: Moss Adams’ services include accounting, consulting and wealth management, providing a solutions-based approach catered to each client’s industry and unique complexities.

What the partner in charge says: “We have an amazing group of people in Santa Rosa dedicated to supporting each other and the clients we serve,” said Michael Ricioli, partner in charge. “This remarkable team has worked together to make our company culture and our business stronger. I am proud to be part of such an outstanding team and look forward to continually innovating to propel our business and the experience of our employees to the next level.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Along with a basic benefits package, Moss Adams provides student loan refinancing assistance, smoking cessation programs, and pet insurance. At the office level, there are traditional wellness programs such as gym membership reimbursement, healthy snacks during the busy season, organized running and walking clubs, and employees are encouraged to complete a health risk assessment questionnaire. All of the firm’s medical plans cover 100% of preventive care, no copays or deductibles. Included are massage therapy, chiropractic care, infertility treatment, sensory integration and neurodevelopment therapy along with acupuncture and naturopathic services. Comprehensive counseling and mental health services are also provided. There is a 401(k) matching plan and profit-sharing.

Beyond office parties and annual holiday celebrations, events include summer BBQs, baseball games, volunteering activities and happy hours. Through the company’s Give Back program, employee donations to the foundation of their choice are matched up to $500 per year. Employees also coordinate and lead community service and volunteer involvement.

What employees say: “It is a trusting, open-door culture so people at all levels can interact freely in a collaborative environment. It’s a company where you can grow and reach your potential.” [back to the winner list]

Mr. Rooter of Sonoma County


Company profile: The 23-year-old company has a team of 30 licensed, bonded and insured plumbing experts. Santa Rosa-based Mr. Rooter offers residential and commercial plumbing services addressing customer repair, drain, maintenance and other issues. Emergencies are dealt with 24/7 without charging overtime for last-minute repairs.

What the owner says: “Hands down, all day, every day, our people make our company great,” said Owner Saunda McDaniel. ‘Our team has a great sense of humor and sincere servant hearts. We have a special culture. We take care of each other first, so taking equally great care of our customers is just second nature.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Employees are issued company vehicles and fuel cards and there are cellphone stipends. Employees can enjoy company-provided breakfasts, coffee, snacks, and candy. Employees also create lists of items they like from COSTCO keeping the refrigerator and food closets full for team lunches and BBQs. There are additional company awards based on contests, including a special event where a family winning a spin gets their own COSTCO shopping trip.

Mr. Rooter has a coed softball team, canoe outings at Burkes, bowling and quarterly game nights, and excursions to Home Shows, parades, mud runs and annual campouts. There are holiday parties, a murder mystery dinner night, career fairs, and quarterly REFB volunteer days. Mr. Rooter has a “One Team, One Dream Give Back, Get Back” program. Employees volunteer for community events and receive PTO for their time, such as trash pickup days at Spring Lake, when making county park trail repairs and when offering pro bono plumbing services for Rebuilding Together Sebastopol.

What employees say: “We have great people working for our community and a company owner who cares.” [back to the winner list]

North Marin Community Services


Company profile: The mission of NMCS for over half a century has been to empower youth, adults and families in a diverse community to achieve well-being, growth and success, by envisioning a strong community with opportunities for all. The nonprofit advocates for more affordable housing and tenant protections, universal child care access, an end to child poverty in California and accelerated voter registration efforts to empower the disenfranchised and benefit underserved communities. NMCS works to establish guaranteed income programs, obtain financial assistance and income tax credits to support economically vulnerable people.

What the CEO says: “NMCS is committed to advancing racial, gender and economic justice. Our team of 323 (68 staff members and 255 volunteers) work together to make our mission a reality,” said CEO Cheryl Paddack. “We are proud that over half of staff members are bilingual, enabling us to serve a culturally and socioeconomically diverse mix of families in a manner that integrates and unifies our community.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The culture is open, equitable and employee driven.

For all staff working 20 hours or more per week, NMCS offers medical, dental and vision insurance, FSA for health and child care, a discount for on-site licensed child care, a retirement account with employer match, employer paid life insurance and a generous PTO plan. Bonuses are given for sign-on, referrals and employment anniversaries. All employees have access to EAP including five free mental health counseling sessions per issue, per year.

What employees say: “Managers lead by example and there is a collaborative approach to everything we do, with a strong focus on equity and work-life balance where everyone works to lift each other up.” [back to the winner list]

Northern Pacific Power Systems


Company profile: Locally owned and operated, Northern Pacific Power Systems has provided energy solutions to the North Bay since 2008. In addition to numerous energy efficient home improvements, the company specializes in the design, installation and maintenance of turnkey, grid-connected, solar and battery systems — with more than 1,500 system installations to date.

What the president says: “As a Santa Rosa-based, employee-owned company, we deeply value our roots and connections with the communities we serve,” according to President James Paterson. “Our unique structure fosters a pronounced sense of unity, accountability and commitment among our 35 employees that translates into exceptional service for our customers.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The firm’s promote-from-within policy ensures a thriving culture of growth and development where talent and dedication are recognized and rewarded. This contributes to its high retention rate and ensures that managers understand the business from the ground up. Northern Pacific Power sponsors annual team building and employee appreciation events such as river rafting, camping, zip lining and more. Benefits include an employee stock ownership plan, remote work options, flexible hours, company vehicle use, professional development programs, performance bonuses, PTO, health insurance and a 401(k) retirement program. Promotion is based on performance, attitude, customer-minded focus and career aspirations. Decisions to promote originate with an employee’s manager with upper management input. Professional growth and development is encouraged through continuous learning opportunities. Transparency and integrity form the bedrock of the business. The culture is focused on inclusivity, innovation and sustainability, where everyone’s contribution is valued, creating an environment of mutual respect and trust where diverse perspectives ignite creativity.

What employees say: “We have a work hard, play hard mentality and have a lot of fun. There are positive attitudes across the board and we don’t get micromanaged. The company is an advocate for well-being.” [back to the winner list]

Nova Group, Inc.


Company profile: Nova Group, Inc., a Quanta Services company, is a general engineering construction company with 57 years of worldwide experience. Nova specializes in hydrant fueling, waterfront, electrical and utility military construction projects for the Department of Defense. The company is headquartered is in Napa with regional offices in Washington, D.C., Japan.

What the president says: “Nova Group offers a unique working environment focusing on employee development, training and advancement,” said President Scott Victor. “We have employees who started their first job here and have been with us through retirement. Our culture of caring for employees and balancing work and life is key to our success. The happiness, health and safety of our 127 employees (73 in the North Bay) is paramount. Everyone is treated with respect.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The Napa office Social Committee organizes events, including Paint Night at the office, a July 4 luncheon, summer social/ BBQ, a Napa Garden project, bowling night with pizza and beer, a family picnic, Halloween lunch (with a costume and decorating competitions), winter pie social, Christmas ugly sweater contest, and a holiday party where new employees are introduced.

The company pays professional membership dues, matches employee donations, offers tuition reimbursement, supports a safety incentive program, hosts years of service awards and Employee of the Year honors and provides a dog-friendly workplace. Nova supports 19 nonprofits through donations and employees volunteering efforts. Employees have a comprehensive benefits package where Nova pays 90% for medical, dental and vision coverage for staff and dependents, and pays 100% for life, AD & and long/short term disability insurance, plus EAP, a 401(k) with Nova matching up to 4.5%, PTO, wellness/safety programs, and an on-site fitness room.

What employees say: “I look forward to going to work and consider my job as my home away from home. It is a diverse and positive environment.” [back to the winner list]

Oliver’s Market


Company profile: Locally owned and operated since 1988, Oliver’s Market Founder Steve Maass opted to sell his company to employees by establishing an Employee Stock Ownership Plan in 2017. Today, 43% of the business is employee owned — which Maass sees as a reward for the nearly 1,000 employees who have worked to build and sustain the business. Oliver’s has four locations in Sonoma County: Cotati, Montecito, Stony Point and Windsor.

What the general manager says: “Our mission is to be the best supermarket in Sonoma County, but as a Social Purpose Corporation, our commitment extends to include our customers, our employee owners, our business partners and the environment,” said General Manager Scott Gross. “Everyone here acts like we own the place — because we do!”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Promoting from within is a pillar of Oliver’s culture. Many executives started in entry level positions. The company supports local businesses and the GoLocal program. Oliver’s donated over $317,000 in 2022 through its Community Card and in-kind cash contributions to hundreds of Sonoma County charities. Oliver’s supports Little League teams in Windsor and Santa Rosa, the Gravenstein Apple Fair, Windsor Summer Nights on the Green, Earth Day, Cotati Kids Day, Sonoma County PRIDE, Social Advocates for Youth, Humane Society, Green Music Center, Ceres, Food For Thought, Windsor Education Foundation, Face to Face and fundraisers for REFB.

Oliver’s sells holiday bells with all money going to REFB with a company match on the first 10,000 bells sold. In 2022, Oliver’s donation total $55,683. It hosts an Employee Appreciation Month in October, dress up days, parties with food trucks and games, a raffle with over $10,000 in prizes, free tickets to sponsored events and employee double discount days.

What employees say: “Our opinions matter. They trust in our ability to take chances and innovate independently, to find different ways to achieve the same goal.” [back to the winner list]

Parkpoint Health Club


Company profile: This year Parkpoint celebrates 40 years in business serving as a resource for innovative fitness, health and well-being of mind, body and spirit at its clubs. There are 190 employees at clubs in Santa Rosa (built in 1983), Sonoma (1989) and Healdsburg (2006).

What the general manager says: “Parkpoint is unique in that we made it through very challenging times, especially in light of the pandemic and the toll it took on our business and employees.” said General Manager Jennifer Couch. “Our loyal, long-standing staff is what makes Parkpoint Health Clubs outstanding.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Parkpoint hosts fundraising events for local charities such as REFB, the Healdsburg Food Pantry, Sonoma Humane Society, The Living Room, Canine Companions for Independence and the WillMar Family Grief and Healing Center.

The Clubs partner with local youth groups and provide 36 hours of fitness mentoring to Healdsburg High School juniors as part of its academic internship program, along with Youth Connections, The REACH Boys and Girls Clubs program, Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance and the Sonoma Valley High School Basketball Team. Employee contributions are honored at monthly appreciation parties with prizes, awards, food and entertainment. Transcendence Theater is supported with employees getting complimentary tickets to enjoy shows. The Healdsburg staff participates in the FFA parade with a team float and is a sponsor of the Healdsburg Tuesday Night music series in the plaza. The clubs work with schools to provide student internships and field trips for those interested in the health club careers.

What employees say: “Caring managers listen with open hearts and ears. We have a wonderful, safe, clean and fun work environment with a focus on mental and physical well-being.” [back to the winner list]

Peju Winery


Company profile: Peju Winery has six estate vineyards in four different sub-Ava’s of the Napa Valley.

Based in Rutherford, it is known for its large selection of fine wines, its iconic 50-foot tower, lawns, and bounty of seasonal flowers in colorful gardens.

What the CEO says: “Peju creates an environment where everyone is valued, especially our team of 75 employees who strive to take ownership of their own disciplines and, as optimists, can turn unexpected challenges into new opportunities,” according to CEO Ariana Peju. “We encourage our employees to work collaboratively to achieve shared goals because we understand that working as a team, we are better and stronger. We value our employees and treat everyone as part of a family.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Peju values internal growth and loves to promote from within.

Core cultural values include transparency and openness, entrepreneurialism, respect, quality, integrity and a sense of urgency. Peju recognizes those employees that embody these values as well as go beyond their normal role with quarterly employee award. Employees report that they love the sense of community Peju provides as an employer. Company-sponsored events include monthly family meals in the vineyard and a summer solstice dinner, vineyard education opportunities and a holiday party. Peju’s community involvement involves partnering with the Monarch Justice Center and Napa NEWS at holiday time.

Employees receive generous holiday and accrued vacation time, holiday and anniversary wine allotments, birthday flowers, a wellness program, and a promoter program with reimbursement for supporting accounts.

What employees say: “Our managers always try to find ways to bring different departments together to bond. Our location is a plus. We can take walks around the beautiful property and get together with co-workers. It is truly a family atmosphere, and a community Peju has created.” [back to the winner list]

Perry, Johnson, Anderson, Miller & Moskowitz LLP


Company profile: As one of the largest law firms in Sonoma County with 45 attorneys and staff members, Perry, Johnson, Anderson, Miller and Moskowitz has 24 practice areas including expertise in appeals, criminal and family law, estate planning, land use, and real estate.

What the partner in charge says: “There are many intangible reasons why our firm is a great place to work,” said Les Perry, Partner in Charge. “We created a very open environment which is somewhat unusual for a law firm. Everyone feels part of the work we do. Although attorneys have formal offices, most work with their doors open unless with clients.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: There are opportunities for advancement and numerous examples of individuals hired as a receptionist or file clerk who moved up to positions with greater demands. Qualified employees are promoted when there are openings. Half of upper management is women or minorities. The firm has a hybrid work environment with flex schedules. In addition to basic benefits, there are sponsored weekly breakfasts and happy hours, free Giants tickets, a summer picnic and a holiday party.

Employees volunteer as youth athletic coaches, school volunteers, and as nonprofit board members and fundraisers. The firm supports 100 Black Men of Sonoma County, 6th Street Playhouse, Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, Boys and Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin, Ceres Community Project, Chops Teen Club, EAHS, Empire College, Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, Legal Aid of Sonoma County, Listening for a Change, Los Cien, Mark West Little League, REFB, Schools Plus, St. Joseph Health, Transcendence Theatre, West County Community Services and the YMCA.

What employees say: “Support for each other at work or with families is strong, especially when challenges or the need is greatest.” [back to the winner list]

Peterson Mechanical, Inc.


Company profile: Peterson Mechanical has been a Bay Area single-source HVAC, plumbing and refrigeration contractor for more than a century. This Sonoma-based company with 75 service experts handles mechanical engineering projects for a variety of market sectors, including commercial and high rise/low rise residential customers as well as health care, office space, education, municipal, technology, winery and hospitality industry sectors.

What the co-CEO says: “We have a legacy of success dating back to 1915,” said President and co-CEO Zach Brandner, part of 4th generation leadership. “We care about our employees and are generous with perks and benefits. Our employees are dedicated and loyal. Many have spent entire careers with us. The company recognizes the value of good employees and invests in them. Working here is fun, and the work gets done.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Peterson pays market competitive salaries, offers a 401(k) match, profit-sharing, discretionary bonuses, educational assistance, monthly catered lunches and a holiday party. It is also a dog friendly environment. Basic benefits include a choice of three health plans with a subsidy for employee dependents and LTD, as well as voluntary benefits such as term, whole life, cancer, short-term disability and hospitalization coverage. There is an annual Christmas party, a women’s luncheon, golf tournament, summer picnics and along with birthdays and retirement celebrations. The company contributes to community events and nonprofits, such as Toys for Tots, sponsors many youth sports teams along and hosts intern workshops for aspiring students. One employee is an active Boys and Girls Club board member. The culture is described as family oriented. Employees have an average tenure of nine years and are extremely supportive of one another.

What employees say: “Employees are appreciated and supported. Management is quick to share successes and congratulates team members who make it happen.” [back to the winner list]

Pisenti & Brinker LLP


Company profile: Pisenti & Brinker certified public accountants and business advisors work with organizations, business owners and their teams to help them improve efficiencies and maximize profitability. The company provides a range of more than 20 traditional and specialized accounting services, such as assurance services, tax planning and compliance, and business advisory services.

What the managing partner says: “We have always fostered a team environment in our workplace,” said Managing Partner Brett Bradford. Many staff members graduated from Sonoma State University and are proud to live and work in the North Bay. A combination of hard work and a robust mentoring program has made P & a best place to work.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Whether it is day-to-day operations or specific issues related to strategic business plan development, business succession planning, or obtaining financing, the firm is committed to partnering with clients to help them succeed. It supports the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts and sponsors its own a softball team with staff and family members participating. The firm hosts work socials and a family picnic with a BBQ in July — along with after-tax season and year-end luncheons providing opportunities for staff interaction on a personal level. Employees also serve as board members of Social Advocates for Youth, the Sonoma County Economic Development Board and the American Theatre in Santa Rosa, home of the Left Edge Theatre and Young Actors Studio. P & has a friendly, nurturing company culture where every employee feels accepted, valued and a strong sense of belonging.

What employees say: “It is a welcoming environment that helps to creates a healthy work/life balance. Management has an open-door policy. P & takes care of us, values individuals and recognizes what we do to contribute to the company.” [back to the winner list]

Poppy Bank


Company profile: Since opening its first branch in January 2005, Poppy Bank has grown and today has branches across the San Francisco Bay Area, the Roseville-Sacramento Area and Southern California.

The bank received a five-star rated by Bauer Financial in March 2023, the nation’s leading independent bank and credit union rating firm.

What the CEO says: “Great people make our company great,” said President and CEO Khalid Acheckzai. “Poppy Bank is one of the best performing banks in the nation with nearly $6 billion in assets and with 10 new branches opening in 2023. We attribute our success to our positive culture and 197 hard working employees. We care about our people.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Poppy Bank provides employees with monthly catered lunches along with team building, appreciation events, and covers the cost of career development, advanced education, and comprehensive training. There are white elephant gifts, costume contests, gift card awards and sports tickets for families to enjoy baseball, basketball and football games, Easter Bunny visits and birthday celebrations. Community involvement involves supporting over 60 nonprofits by sponsoring golf tournaments, luncheons, festivals and food drives for the American Heart Association, YWCA, and others, plus a donation of $100,000 toward construction of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin’s new Roseland facility at low fixed-rate interest terms with a pledge to donate two-thirds of the interest earned over five years ($1 million) back to the club. Poppy Bank also provided an $18 million loan to save the Epicenter from closing and partnered with Burbank Housing to provide affordable housing for 53 families in Healdsburg. Executives and officers serve on nonprofit board for Habitat for Humanity, Sonoma County Humane Society, YMCA, Legal Aid of Sonoma County, REFB and more.

What employees say: “The culture is wonderful, where voices are heard and respected. Employees have access to all levels of management.” [back to the winner list]

PsychStrategies, Inc.


Company profile: PsychStrategies offers therapy services to individuals, couples, families, and children. Services include anxiety and depression counseling, panic/PTSD, couples therapy, child and adolescent therapy as well as support for those coping with addiction, bipolar and ADHD. Founded in 1993, PSI has 43 staff members — including 34 licensed therapists — with offices in Santa Rosa and Petaluma.

PSI’s mission is to be the leading workplace in support of mental health professionals in Sonoma County by providing excellence in mental health care for the community.

What the general manager says: “What makes PSI great is the culture we have created,” said General Manager Sara Mitchell. As a group of professionals, we have a very collaborative, supportive, and inclusive work environment. Employee are valued for their uniqueness and the specialties they bring to their work as employees, co-workers, and therapists. In 2024 we will celebrate our 30th anniversary.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The environment is very flexible with an emphasis on work/life balance. PsychStrategies’ administrative staff serves as the volunteer committee for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of Darkness Walk held at Sonoma State University each September. PSI has been an official sponsor of the walk since 2017. PSI promotes from within and supports career growth for clinicians and staff. Sara Mitchell started in 2014 as an administrative assistant and worked her way up to general manager.

Staff members enjoy summer and year-end holiday parties, as well as monthly birthday celebrations and potlucks during Mardi-Gras, Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day.

What employees say: “The camaraderie among co-workers and management is excellent. Our efforts and contributions are appreciated and rewarded,” a staff member noted. [back to the winner list]

Redwood Credit Union


Company profile: Redwood Credit Union was founded in 1950. It is a member-owned financial cooperative serving 415,000 members in eight North Bay counties and San Francisco. RCU has 826 employees at 19 locations, $7.6 billion in assets, and donated $3.7 million to nonprofits last year — with employees contributing 3,288 volunteer hours to charities. These activities, along with community grant making, touched more than 296,000 lives in areas served.

What the CEO says: “Great organizations don’t just happen, they are created by the people within,” said President and CEO Brett Martinez. “Our team members care about helping people build a solid foundation and having a positive impact. Who we hire is one of the most important decisions we make. We ensure that team members share our values, purpose and passion for doing the right thing — all while having fun. I appreciate all our amazing people and the huge role they play in our success.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Beyond basic benefits, employees have a wellness program, twice-yearly potential for merit-based raises and bonuses; discounts on home, auto, RV/boat loans, along with longevity leave, educational reimbursement, and 0% loans for backup generators, home gym/office and work attire. Sponsored events include five-year anniversary celebrations, President’s Circle awards, Team Members of the Month and Appreciation Day, Day of Impact/Inspiration, holiday parties and Random Acts of Kindness recognition. There are potlucks, departmental team building events, and RCU’s “Great Green Guac-Off,” and St. Patrick’s Day flowers for all. Community involvement encompasses REFB volunteer days, Shred-a-thons, Team Member Giving Campaign ($130,000 donated), participation in The Human Race, Releaf, Conservation Corp of North Bay, Earth Days, Bike for Buckelew, Waves and Whales, and Bite of Reality student finance classes.

What employees say: “It is a great environment with good pay, people and managers that care about us.” [back to the winner list]

Redwood Empire Schools Insurance Group (RESIG)


Company profile: RESIG has been a risk management Joint Powers Authority for Self-Insurance of Workers’ Compensation Coverage for Sonoma County public school districts since 1979. This Windsor-based agency evolved to provide self-funded programs for Workers’ Compensation, Property, Liability and Dental benefits, and the group purchase of both HMO and Indemnity Health Benefit Programs.

RESIG provides internal claims management of its Workers’ Compensation and Property and Liability programs and provides loss control services to all 47 public school districts and several charter schools.

What the executive director says: “Since coming to RESIG, I’ve been impressed with the professionalism and energy of our 25 employees as they respond to requests and assist member schools in navigating the complex education world,” said Executive Director Cindy Wilkerson. “Many employees have 15-plus years tenure, having started at lower-level support positions and working their way up to lead department teams.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Promoting from within is a matter of pride with RESIG, as well as giving staff a chance to improve their skills and advance their careers. RESIG provides tuition reimbursement as well as a comprehensive benefits package to ensure resources are available for financial and physical health and well-being of employees and their families. Benefits include medical/dental/vision coverage, cafeteria plan/FSA, HSA, PERS (Public Employees Retirement System) plus retirement savings plans; life, critical illness and cancer insurance; paid sick leave, 14 paid holidays, long/short term disability insurance, and paid vacation. RESIG supports nonprofit Community Matters, providing peer-to-peer support and intervention in schools around the world by training students to support each other and the school environment. RESIG staff are also Disaster Services Workers ready to assist when catastrophic events occur.

What employees say: “RESIG is a wonderful place where individuals cooperate to provide the best service for our schools. I'm personally valued, compensated and insured well through our robust benefits package.” [back to the winner list]

Scott Laboratories


Company profile: Scott Laboratories is a source for tin and natural cork closures, packaging, filtration and fermentation solutions, cultured yeast, parts/services and equipment. The company formed the Quality Cork Council to set standards for the cork industry and recently introduced a unique horizontal grape press. The company has a team of 78 people in Petaluma.

What the general manager says: “Our mission is to advance the long-term success of the specialty beverage community by providing best-in-class products and services,” said General Manager Cara Babcock. “We believe in education, honesty and doing the right thing for our employees, customers, community and our industry.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Scott Labs values, invites, supports and celebrates differences, believing that the measure of its success includes its impact on both people and the planet. The company offers extensive training and professional development opportunities for its staff, along with competitive compensation, paid vacation, HRA/FSA health plans, a wellness program, flexible/hybrid schedules and a student loan savings plan. The benefits package includes medical, dental and vision coverage and there is a 401(k) plan with company match. Employees give back to the community through a volunteer time off program. The company hires from the communities where it operates whenever possible. Notice of openings are posted internally before announced to the public. Qualification is the final and most important factor.

What employees say: “We offer great value to the winemaking community that forms our customer base. When something goes wrong, or we fail to meet a customer's expectations, I can always count on upper management to do the right thing to make the customer happy and to do so without finger pointing or passing blame internally. Instead, we look to such things as opportunities to learn and improve.” [back to the winner list]

Scott Technology Group


Company profile: Independently owned since 1995, Scott Technology Group offers a range of office equipment solutions including copiers, cloud-based electronic document management systems and service plans with the goal of matching technology to the print volume, paper sizes and finishing options customer projects demand.

What the CEO say: “The STG team is what makes this place special,” according to David Scott, founder, President and CEO. “Every person in our organization cares about supporting each other and takes personal responsibility for customers’ success. This kind of environment creates space for creativity and growth. As our focus is increasingly expanding to include Digital Transformation Strategies, we’re excited about adding experts who can help our clients automate, transform and succeed by leveraging digital technology.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The culture is centered on deploying technology to streamline and simplify business processes, giving clients a greater potential for success in the belief that strong businesses will create more jobs and a stronger economy — allowing everyone to flourish.

Employees have a “client first, service first” mentality. Having a team of fast, knowledgeable, well trained service techs is the reason clients stay with STG for the long term. Being independent means that STG‘s customers have freedom to seek out “best of breed” technology and access to the right tools that meet their needs. STG has a remote/hybrid work environment, with a relatively autonomous team expected to take responsibility for their results with minimal supervision. Staff development is enhanced through career education opportunities and tuition assistance. Employee success is honored with recognition awards and half-day off certificates. STG offers staff paid charity volunteer time off to support community nonprofits, and paid memberships for charity groups.

What employees say: “It is easy to build a foundation to grow here. Each person is listened to and can affect change.” [back to the winner list]

Sequoia Senior Solutions


Company profile: Sequoia Senior Solutions’ offers in-home care and peace of mind to families in the North Bay. Headquartered in Petaluma, Sequoia has offices in Santa Rosa and Lakeport and serves six North Bay counties from Lake and Mendocino to Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Solano.

What the CEO says: “Compassion and empathy are at the very heart of our culture. Our employees’ dedication and passion for the services they provide makes Sequoia great,” according to CEO Gabriella Ambrosi. “Our 98 caregivers are advocates for elderly clients they serve. In addition to day-to-day duties, our staff is always attentive to senior’s safety and well-being, both physically and emotionally, and regularly report to their supervisors any situation that requires extra attention. Our managers and office staff are hardworking professionals who always go the extra mile.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Company sponsored activities include gatherings and events that build employee engagement with leadership and each other. Regular meetings also provide opportunities for staff to offer feedback and suggestions. The company believes that excellence in in-home care starts with caring deeply for employees and investing in their professional development through training, seminars and by providing tools they need to foster rewarding experiences. Promotions are based on meeting and promoting company values, great performance reviews, management recognition, the ability to help others and go above and beyond, as well as having a good heart and ambition for the elderly. Caregiver tenure is from one to 15 years. The culture is warm, fun and professional in the belief that a happy caregiver makes a happy client.

What employees say: “Sequoia provides a welcoming and supportive work environment along with a great training program enabling caregivers to become certified in different areas of caregiving,” an employee said. [back to the winner list]

Simply Solar


Company profile: Simply Solar is a Petaluma-based solar and battery storage construction company providing certified, tailored installation and support to residential and business customers throughout Northern California since 2014. With 110 in-house certified technician/installers, the company offers 24/7 online solar monitoring.

What the COO says: “Simple Solar genuinely cares about its people, its customers and the environment. Our work culture sets us apart” said COO Jake Hassid. “We’ve fostered a tight-knit, collaborative community filled with passionate individuals that support each other. We believe in continuous learning and development, encouraging employees to broaden their horizons within the industry. The service-oriented nature of our work attracts kindhearted and thoughtful individuals, leading to a warm and inviting work environment.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Promotions are based on company values: thoughtfulness, empathy and drive, an employee’s skill set and current available growth opportunities. Bonuses are available for salespersons and installers, free beverages and snacks are available. There is an on-site gym in Petaluma, hybrid/remote work options and a pet friendly workplace.

Sponsored events include organized team service outings, such as support for One Tree Planted to support efforts to reforest California, the Santa Rosa Earth Day festival, and days at REFB. Simple Solar provides funds for Petaluma Education Foundation scholarships awarded to students who submit essays on what solar energy means to them. The company hosts potlucks, BBQs, and athletic tournaments. The executive team loves to cook and there is rarely if ever an event that doesn’t have a home-cooked meal.

What employees say: “Simply Solar is dedicated to employees. They develop growth paths for those interested in advancing their careers in the solar industry. It’s great atmosphere and a team that cares.” [back to the winner list]

Siyan Clinical Corporation


Company profile: As one of the largest private psychiatric practices in Northern California, Siyan has a staff of 40 licensed clinician/counselors and a support staff providing care for people with mental disorders and their families through tailored treatment, professional education and quality clinical care. Services include medication management psychotherapy and psychological testing, transcranial magnetic stimulation (for depression), consultation and second opinion, mental health services for first responders, firefighters and front-line professionals, and Project Hope — medication-assisted treatment for opioid dependence.

What the health services administrator says: “We believe employees are the most valuable part of business operations. Our beliefs are guided by three principles: teamwork and accountability, empathy, and respect,” said Amanda Anello, health services administrator and chief community relations officer. “Quality and teamwork go hand in hand, and we hold ourselves and each other to a higher standard where actions reflect our values and goals.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Siyan shows its gratitude to employees through incentives and individual growth opportunities. The company invites all employees, including contract employees, to an annual company party and are given a new jacket with their name on it. It’s a chance for staff to celebrate their successes and be acknowledged by the CEO in his annual reflection statement. Raffle prizes include soundbars, ear pods and gift baskets. The company supports the Santa Rosa Marathon and the Out of Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk. There are company parties and birthday celebrations with gift cards and potlucks. Professional development includes education allowances, ongoing continuing education and continuing medical education for staff and community clinicians. Siyan’s fringe benefits include monthly bonuses, profit-sharing, 401(k) with employer match, PTO, floating holidays and remote work possibilities.

What employees say: “This is as close to a family work environment as you could ever have. We are all onboard, united and working as one team.” [back to the winner list]

Smith Dollar PC


Company profile: Smith Dollar is a woman-owned, business-oriented real estate and financial services law firm in Santa Rosa. Its attorneys have experience with complex, multi-jurisdictional litigation and management with cost-effective and aggressive representation and consultation. Established in 2005 with 15 employees, several have been with the firm 18 years. It has offices in California, Florida and Texas.

What the vice president says: “Everyone at Smith Dollar is valued for their personal contributions to the firm and its clients,” said Vice President and Managing Partner Glenn Smith. “Attorneys could not do their jobs well without the first-class assistance they receive from our brilliant and committed support staff. Likewise, staff could not perform to their fullest without the understanding, support and respect of our attorneys.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Fringe benefits include flex schedules and makeup time, telecommuting, holiday/birthday bonuses, and a training incentive program. The firm offers competitive salaries, PTO, plus one week off between Christmas and New Year's, paid medical, dental and vision insurance, 401(k) plan/profit-sharing, FSA, cafeteria plan, continuing education, with paid holidays, parking, industry conferences and bar dues.

Employees enjoy complimentary food and beverages, service recognition, laptops, smartphones and casual Fridays. The culture places a high premium on mutual respect. Every person’s achievement is a win for all, including obtaining good client outcomes or reaching personal milestones. Smith Dollar supports Legal Aid, The six Group, North Coast Builders Exchange, Disability and Legal Services Center, the Engineering Contractors Association and REFB. The firm hosts an annual holiday party for employees and spouses, an annual summer BBQ and pool party for employees and family, a luncheon honoring Administrative Professionals Day as well as impromptu lunches year around.

What employees say: “Everyone is dedicated to success and achieving company goals.” [back to the winner list]

Soiland Co., Inc.


Company profile: Founded by Mark Soiland more than six decades ago, Soiland Company is a second-generation family business based in Cotati that processes and sells aggregate rock, soil, compost and mulch products from its three locations: Stony Point Rock Quarry, Soils Plus and Grab N’Grow.

What the CEO says: “Established by my dad in 1962, he always believed that a career and a place of work must embody a sense of opportunity and family values,” said President and CEO Mark Soiland. “We do our very best each day to live this tradition by creating a place where our 41 employees feel valued and supported. This helps everyone take pride in their work and deliver remarkable customer service. We treat each employee with respect, dignity and concern for their safety. At the end of the day, each employee is part of our extended family at work.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Soiland offers employees the ability to cross-train at its three sites to gain a broader understanding of the company and what it provides the community while developing deeper connections with the entire employee body. Soiland donates hundreds of square yards of materials to local schools for gardening and sports programs, community gardens and programs like the Ceres Community Project that grows food for the terminally ill. There is an annual holiday party for employees and spouses with raffles of prizes from vacation trips to big screen TVs, as well as at a summer family event where employee anniversary gifts are distributed, including Yeti Coolers and Traeger grills.

Soiland provides educational assistance, referral bonuses and staff discounts on products. Promotions are based on consistency, efficiency and the ability to learn and take on new tasks.

What employees say: “From benefits to small gestures, you always feel taken care of and appreciated.” [back to the winner list]

Sonoma Clean Power Authority


Company profile: Sonoma Clean Power has provided 100% renewable energy since 2014 as a model for community choice programs throughout California. SCP opened its Advanced Energy Center on Fourth Street in Santa Rosa serving as a showroom, classroom and event center dedicated to improving access to all-electric technologies by connecting customers with information, contractors and financing to upgrade water heaters, stoves and HVAC systems.

What the CEO says: “Working directly for customers helps our 49-member team feel connected to the community and that their hard work is making a difference,” said CEO Geof Syphers. “Everyone has the privilege of assisting customers wishing to cut energy rates when we find good prices on wind power and battery storage. Staff also responds to the threat of wildfires with ideas for refitting or rebuilding homes.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: SCP’s culture mirrors its brand: Innovative, practical and inclusive. Employees are informed about any upcoming positions and encouraged to apply.

Community outreach support is given to several food banks, Others Fighting Hunger, and FISH, United Way, Ukiah Valley Christmas Effort, Fiesta de la Independencia, Los Cien, CTE Foundation, Council on Aging, The LIME Foundation, Mendocino Festival of Lights, Snoopy’s Home Ice and 10,000 Degrees.

SCP invests in employee well-being and growth through flex schedules, opportunities to learn and grow, staff-led bike rides and team retreats — making time for staff members to share life stories, understand teammates, refocus goals and better communicate with each other. Company sponsorship of local events includes Petaluma Butter and Egg Days, Willits Frontier Days, Sonoma County Pride, Summer Movies on the Square, Windsor and Cloverdale music nights, Sonoma County Fair, North Coast Wine and Food Festival, Rohnert Park Plaza Party, Cotati Kids Day, Point Arena Independence Day and Sonoma County’s Adopt a Road program.

What employees say: “SCP’s culture is about being better and providing a healthy work environment.” [back to the winner list]

Sonoma County Family YMCA Camps


Company profile: Each summer the Sonoma County Family YMCA provides opportunities for 3,000+ youth to explore and experience new adventures, regardless of their ability to pay, due to community donations. The Y’s mission is to be an inclusive, charitable organization that enriches the community through the areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility — with emphasis on wellness for all ages. Weeklong summer camps are held in Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa and Sonoma. Wellness for all ages includes teaching kids lifesaving skills and providing safe places for them to learn and grow, providing showers for the unhoused, and minimizing isolation for seniors.

What the CEO says: “The Y is about community and the people we serve, which starts with our dynamic staff of 355 individuals,” said CEO Mathew Henry. “We have a welcoming and inclusive workspace providing genuine support and care to every employee. We invest in our staff and their family’s health and well-being and are dedicated to creating a family-friendly work environment.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The Y is committed to helping staff grow both personally and professionally through leadership development, coaching, continuing education and training programs. Full-time staff tenure averages 16 years, and 70% of upper management is women or minorities.

Employee benefits include a staff scholarship program, certification and CEU’s for training, with pay for classes and books, EAP, discounts for park access, travel, retail, restaurants, CPR/First Aid certification training and lifeguard certification. There are discounts for Y programs, free on-site child care, referral bonuses for new hires, flex schedules — plus basic benefit packages for full time and part time staff including Y membership and retirement contributions.

What employees say: “The Y has made employees a top priority, evident in efforts to raise pay rates, offering new benefits and bringing employees into decision making and encouraging innovation.” [back to the winner list]

Sonoma Jet Center


Company profile: Sonoma Jet Center is a commercial general aviation fixed-base operator at the Charles Schulz-Sonoma County Airport providing a variety of aeronautical flight support services for private and charter aircraft, passengers and crew. Services include fueling, maintenance, tie down, parking, aircraft rental, flight instruction and a 55,000 square foot hangar for aircraft storage up to Bombardier Global class. SJC was established in 2005.

What the president says: “Every year we are grateful to our growing 72 employee team for how they have helped us succeed,” said President Josh Hochberg. “Jet Center is a great place to work because we are a team collaborating to achieve a common purpose. We respect individuality, each person’s contributions and hold each other accountable to be the best. We value each team member and know if we are all happy, fulfilled and challenged professionally, our company will continue to do great things.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: SJC lives by values of safety, customer service, teamwork, innovation, sustainability and community every day in an environment where team members find joy and purpose in their work, service to our customers, friends and each other, Hochberg added.

Jet Center supports the Mike Hauser Academy and a growing community of aviation nonprofits in Sonoma County, including Young Eagles and Women in Aviation. It also transports puppies for Canine Companions. It places priority on developing internal talent — including opportunities for staff to pursue pilot’s licenses. In addition to medical, dental and vision insurance, a 401(k) and match is offered, plus FSA and telemedicine to support mental and physical well-being.

What employees say: “I love the work atmosphere. We’re all good friends and do whatever we can to improve ourselves and the work we do.” [back to the winner list]

Sonoma Land Trust


Company profile: The nonprofit Sonoma Land Trust partners with local communities to protect open, natural and working lands and waters of Sonoma County. SLT secures land through purchases and conservation easements for wildlife, recreation and future generations. Since 1976, the trust has protected nearly 58,000 acres of productive and environmentally significant land.

What the executive director says: “People are the heart of every great organization. Their energy and expertise breathes life into the work,” said Eamon O’Byrne, executive director. “For decades, Sonoma Land Trust has been recognized as an exceptional place to work. Our mission-driven focus on environmental conservation and habitat restoration creates a sense of purpose and unites like-minded professionals.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The team is characterized by their tenacity, patience, and innovative spirit with a deep love for the land. SLT salaries are vetted against market trends and adjusted to meet inflation. Benefits include health, dental and disability insurance, parental leave, PTO, 15 paid holidays, child care coverage, and cost of living increases. Employees have access to land preserves, a kitchen and lounge, and a mother’s room for resting and nursing. There is an annual 360-degree review program, and a clear metric for evaluating performance and awarding promotions. Company events include On The Land outings, kids day camps, teen science programs and internships. SLT supports the Los Cien luncheon focused on environmental justice, and partners with La Luz, Friends of the Petaluma River, Santa Rosa Southeast Greenway, Ag+Open Space District, Sonoma Water and regional parks, etc.

It is a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion resulting in a warm, ego-free, collegial and supportive team that welcomes new ideas.

What employees say: “The trust we place in one another, the respect we show for different perspectives, and the support we provide in every challenge are the building blocks of our success.” [back to the winner list]

Sonoma Technology, Inc.


Company profile: Sonoma Technology is a private consulting firm with science and technology-based solutions for its clients’ air quality, meteorological and environmental science needs. It has been in operation for more than 40 years and a Sonoma County Certified Green Business since 2010.

What the president says: “Our cohesive and collaborative team has led projects throughout the U.S. and abroad that address regulatory, policy and scientific objectives,” said President Clinton MacDonald. “Based in Petaluma, this integrated team of 87 technical and support staff members includes scientists, policy and data analysts, instrument technicians and software engineers.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The company allows flexible hours and remote working environments for all. Employees collaborate on assisting designated staff members in representing Sonoma Technology at environmental conferences and on webcasts. STI provides an annual grant that encourages and facilitates staff participation in community causes, such as the firm’s Matching Gifts Program. Employees donate to a community cause and the company matches the donation.

Meetings are held monthly to recognize new hires and to award gifts to employees for anniversaries celebrating each five-year milestone. The staff is given access to year to date financial status reports. STI presents a “You Make A Difference” award to nominated employees who have gone above and beyond in their work. The winner receives a free paid day off and a framed certificate.

What employees say: “Our CEO is fully transparent when it comes to informing us about the status of the company and its earnings. I feel like we are truly making a difference in the world — and we can be fully remote.” [back to the winner list]

Spaulding McCullough & Tansil LLP


Company profile: Spaulding McCullough & Tansil law firm has 39 attorneys and staff in Santa Rosa and Petaluma serving Sonoma County, the Bay Area and beyond. Practice areas include transactional and business services, litigation, labor and employment disputes, trusts and estates, real and intellectual property, technology and alternative dispute resolution with attorneys serving as experienced arbitrators and discovery referees.

What the partner says: “A great place to work arises from a business that values its employees,” said Partner Carmen Sinigiani. “Our workplace allows for individuality while recognizing the interests of the business. Much balance goes into creating a great place to work. We provide an option for employees to work from home a couple of days a week. The firm treats each person with dignity, provides a meaningful benefits package, collegial work environment, interesting work and snacks in the kitchen.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Benefits range from college course reimbursements, CE courses, loans, volunteer and bereavement leave, to paid vacation and sick leave plus multiple health care choices, EAP and emergency travel insurance. SMT’s promotion policy includes having required skills, responsibility, job performance, education and other factors. The culture supports solution-oriented creativity and empowers employees to have a sustainable and successful work-life balance in a fun, warm, welcoming environment. There are retreats for attorneys, staff and an associate mixer. Employees lead Monday morning events. The firm celebrates successes, birthdays, anniversaries, family day, summer picnics, holiday parties and beverages on the balcony. More than 30 nonprofits are supported, including SCBA, Cal Wellbeing Center, Legal Aid, LBC, PASCO, Young Ag Leadership, REFB, Schulz Museum, Petaluma Chamber, Santa Rosa Rotary, Farm Bureau, Leadership Santa Rosa, the Children’s Museum, Listening for Change and the Beer Summit.

What employees say: “The supportive, collaborative work environment is great. I’m proud of SMT’s community reputation.” [back to the winner list]

Star Staffing


Company profile: Star Staffing is a women-powered workforce solutions and staffing company serving Northern California with offices in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Napa, Sacramento, Lodi, Hayward and Modesto. Women and minorities represent 100% of upper management.

Since 1995, the agency has focused on three employment categories: Temporary staffing, temp-to-hire and direct hire recruitment to find appropriate, qualified talent for a variety of positions from executive to accounting and finance personnel, assembly operators and processing workers, hospitality events and wine/food production, to warehousing and distribution staffing needs.

What the president says: “While our locations and services are spread over hundreds of miles, we put great effort into building a rewarding environment for our 39-member team,” said President Nicole Serres. “Working with executives and company leaders intimately involved in our daily operations and culture, we are passionate about creating a best place to work for all employees — those we place and those we hire at Star. We want happy employees who feel supported and engaged on all levels.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Internal vacant positions and future openings are discussed at town hall meetings. Company sponsored events include staff appreciation month, anniversary and birthday celebrations, year-end awards, quarterly and annual top producers’ luncheons, plus company dinners, lunches, competitions, and outings. Basic benefits include three levels of Kaiser medical plans, PTO, paid holidays, birthdays and volunteer time, FSA (for medical/dependent care), and a 401(k) matching program, along with tuition reimbursement and referral bonuses. Through formal programs and training, Star ensures that everyone is deeply engaged and understands business practices, the company’s culture, vision and core values. Monthly meetings are held on the state of the business and outlook for the future. Results and successes are recognized on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

What employees say: “There is genuine concern for employees and decisions are made based on ethics, not just profitability.” [back to the winner list]

St. Francis Winery and Vineyards


Company profile: St. Francis Winery & Vineyards has a 52 year history producing award-winning wines from mountain and valley vineyards throughout the region. The 100% certified sustainable producer hosts events such as a Tina Turner Musical, Blessing of the Animals fundraiser for the Humane Society, and the Art of the Harvest Wine and Food Journey Across Sonoma County.

What the CEO says: “We would not be where we are today without the dedication, work ethic and commitment to excellence of our 125 employees,” said CEO Rick Bonitati. “We value their contributions and are dedicated to providing the training and resources necessary to enable them to achieve the highest level of performance.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The average employee tenure is 12 years. Half of upper management is women or minorities. St. Francis makes every effort to promote internally based on merit and seniority. Employees receive wine discounts and PTO to volunteer in the community for a Day of Service, honoring founder Joe Martin, to donate labor, equipment and goods to aid a nonprofit, school, park or group home. A new project is selected each year to benefit local children, families or the environment. St. Francis supports many nonprofits and schools. Benefits include 10 holidays, 13 to 25 days of PTO, company paid life insurance and AD &, LTD, 401(k), a 529 college savings plan and pet insurance, along with medical, dental and vision coverage. Internal events also include employee appreciation and harvest lunches, and a holiday party. Candid feedback and input from employees is a critical aspect of St. Francis’ culture.

What employees say: “Management doesn’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk when it comes to caring for their people as well as caring for the community.” [back to the winner list]

Summit State Bank


Company profile: Summit is a community bank with $1.1 billion in assets, five branch locations, and 114 employees. In 2006, Summit State Bank became a publicly traded company on Nasdaq recognized by the symbol SSBI.

What the CEO says: “As a community focused bank, we have been instrumental in creating long-term positive changes for individuals and businesses by providing specialized products and creating personalized relationships that help our customers achieve success,” said President and CEO Brian Reed.

“We value and respect our employees while making every effort to create a work environment that favorably impacts the employee experience, which, in turn, creates a strong company culture. Our employees care about each other, a sentiment that transcends to our customers and community.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Summit employees look for opportunities to plan special days, such as sports days and take-your-dog-to-work day. The bank’s Employee Activity Committee plans events including a black-tie gala for employees and large-scale employee appreciation celebrations year around. Summit takes its responsibility to give back to the community seriously. The CEO serves on the boards of Free to Be, Rotary Club of Santa Rosa East/West, and Children and Family Circle. Other team members also serve on local nonprofit boards. Employees participate in the Summit Day of Service and receive a paid workday off to volunteer for the organization of their choice. Summit’s culture of caring is defined by the bank’s Summit Way of Service standards outlining how employees interact with each other, with customers, and the community. Employees receive basic medical/wellness benefits (plus chiropractic and acupuncture insurance), financial product discounts, bonuses, commissions, vacations starting at 3-weeks/year, education benefits, HAS, Life/LTD, AD & and 401(k) with employer match, and paid holidays.

What employees say: “It’s a team environment where my contributions are appreciated. We all work together so the bank can succeed.” [back to the winner list]

Summit Technology Group


Company profile: Founded in 1968, STG is a provider of smart technology, electrical and renewable energy solutions across the North Bay. Having an in-house team of 74 experts — including project managers, programmers, technicians, electricians and engineers — eliminates the search for multiple contractors when building automated dream homes and businesses, or when working with an architect.

Smart automation solutions include solar panels and battery systems, backup generators, EV chargers, home theaters, alarm and security systems with remote controls, motorized shades, outdoor audio and landscape lighting and home theaters — with STG support and maintenance available after completion.

What the vice president says: “Our company’s greatness is undeniably attributed to our exceptional team and remarkable culture,” according to VP and Partner Kenny Cotton. “We uphold a vision statement that resonates with every team member.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The culture fosters an environment where people thrive and talent flourishes, with emphasis placed on attracting and retaining top-notch individuals who not only possess unique skills, but also embody STG’s shared vision and core values. The company cultivates a nurturing. uplifting family atmosphere with mutual support, respect and collaboration. Fun company events include quarterly BBQs, food trucks, white water rafting, team building activities like Tuff Mudder and golf tournaments, along with company training and industry association memberships. Community involvement involves quarterly beach cleanups, Habitat for Humanity projects, packing food at REFB, sponsorship of the Lime and CTE Foundations, NCBE (encouraging youth to enter the trades) and Operation Christmas tree. Beyond basic benefits, other benefits include prepaid legal services, AFLAC, a tool fund for field technicians, tuition reimbursement, company shirts and merchandise and paid company vehicles for certified electricians and technicians.

What employees say: “We have a great crew, challenging work and awesome final projects and a very pleasant place to work where most team members have a big smile on their faces.” [back to the winner list]

Summit Engineering, Inc.


Company profile: Summit Engineering is a multi-discipline engineering firm located in Santa Rosa with divisions focusing on civil, structural, electrical, and water/wastewater engineering and facility planning. The company provides consulting engineering services for winery projects throughout California and has been in business for 45 years. Additional markets addressed include brewery, resort, food and beverage, hospitality, custom residential, commercial and municipality categories.

What the managing principal says: “We strive to create community and culture where all 39 team members have the opportunity to operate at their fullest,” said Managing Principal Yi Yang.

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The culture is casual, yet driven, and very collaborative. Team members create elaborate designs and detailed Excel spreadsheets for each project, but the staff is not afraid of a good happy hour or casual Lego building contest. There is major emphasis on professional development for staff at all levels. Two-way communication is promoted in a welcoming environment where everyone enjoys coming to work each day. Fun Committee events include a summer picnic, and an end-of-year party. There are celebrations for Engineering Week, rock-climbing, Oktoberfest, kayaking, and a hockey game, along with volunteering events at Landpaths and the Neighborhood Garden Initiative.

The company matches employee donations to a cause or organization up to $100. Summit contributes to collegiate programs, such as the Cal Poly Steel Bridge competition and the UC Davis ASCE Club. Summer interns are hosted in each division and given formal classroom instruction. The Mike Hauser Academy is supported providing STEM education for needy students. Summit is also providing a scholarship program alongside 10,000 Degrees for two students over four years at $2,000/student/year.

What employees say: “We strive to balance high quality work and efficiency with social events. There are Monday breakfasts, opportunities for staff to engage in nonprofit initiatives, and participation in strategic planning with openness and input to other’s perspectives.” [back to the winner list]

TLC Child and Family Services


Company profile: TLC is a licensed foster family and adoption agency serving individuals and families wishing to provide loving homes to children from infancy to 21 years of age. The nonprofit operates Journey Academy, a nonpublic high school and short-term residential treatment program that works with teens who are bright and capable but struggle to find their place in the world.

TLC also provides three housing programs that give young people an opportunity to learn critical life skills and receive mobile case management support while living independently.

What the CEO says: “The heart of this work lies in the hands of a team of 90 talented professionals who lead with compassion and dedication to increasing the quality of life for each youth served,” according to CEO Susan Fette, MFT. “The work has never been easy, but it is life changing.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: TLC has a culture of inclusivity, acceptance, diversity, equity, honor, respect and meaningful relationships that contributes to the success of each team member and the youth, families and communities it serves. Community involvement comes from members of Los Cien, Sonoma County Family Finding Collaborative, NASW, Latino Service Providers, Raise A Child, participation in Sonoma County Pride, and collaboration with a continuum of care and other service providers to address youth homelessness. TLC provides nonprofit-sponsored events, workshops and trainings. Examples include Project Flare (undoing LBGTQ+ youth aloneness), a drop-in resource center for Transition Aged Youth (TAY) and furniture drives. There is a TAY peer mentor program, a spring celebration, and workshops on financial literacy, car buying and maintenance, employment support, education, cooking, tenant/rental literacy, parenting and health and wellness.

What employees say: “We have an amazing impact on marginalized youth and families, while creating an extremely safe and welcoming space for team members.” [back to the winner list]

TLCD Architecture


Company profile: TLCD is a Santa Rosa-based architectural and interior design practice with more than 58 years of experience whose projects can be seen throughout Northern California spanning education, health care, housing, hospitality and other industry categories.

What the president says: “We provide a unique physical workplace environment that promotes creativity and fosters collegiality for our 32 employees. We promote a hybrid/remote work policy to allow employees choice in where they work,” said President Jason Brabo. “TLCD is committed to promoting work-life balance and to exploring flexible work practices for team members.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: TLCD is deeply committed to the local community and encourages volunteerism with quarterly opportunities for employees to serve in ways that benefit others. The practice supports REFB, SRJC Foundation, The Human Race, Sonoma County Volunteer Center’s Secret Santa, the Mike Hauser Academy, The Lime Foundation and other nonprofits. Beyond group volunteer opportunities, sponsored events include a summer picnic, holiday party, “Wine Wednesdays” and other staff get-togethers. It is also committed to social responsibility and doing right by its employees and the community. TLCD is in the process of attaining Just Label certification — a voluntary transparency platform to help measure a company’s policies and progress related to maintaining a socially just and equitable organization. Employees have mentors, receive in-house training, company-paid external professional development assistance and financial incentives to pursue their professional exams and become licensed. As employees take on more responsibility, TLCD recognizes achievement by offering higher compensation and promotion. TLCD’s culture is collaborative, creative, supportive, inclusive and rooted in its community.

What employees say: “We are a fun-loving group that welcomes new ideas and ways to improve the firm. Everyone wants to make a difference in the community with our projects and meet our client’s needs.” [back to the winner list]

Traditional Medicinals


Company profile: Traditional Medicinals is a botanical wellness company that distributes more than 60 sustainably grown herbal teas obtained through international grower and collector partnerships. With two Sonoma County locations in Santa Rosa and Sebastopol, and remote staff across the U.S. and Canada, the company’s 227 employees manage, source, process and package teas made available to supermarkets, natural foods stores, pharmacies or via TM’s website. The company has been in business for nearly five decades.

What the CEO says: “We know we would not be where we are today without our skilled, passionate and incredible team,” said CEO Gary Gratton. “We support the people at the heart of our business by prioritizing their health, safety, mental and physically well-being. We take time to listen, observe and reflect on the needs of our team and our community to provide thoughtful support.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Traditional Medicinals builds an inclusive team through internal leadership buy-in, culture change, policy infrastructure and other initiatives needed to support an equitable company workforce. Employees in good standing are considered for promotion, with decisions made by managers in the departments with openings or advancement opportunities. TM works with community partners who care, such as The Botanical Bus, Community Action Partnership and the Ceres Community Project. The company strives to address fundamental issues of food and water security, health care, education, women’s empowerment and advocacy for a social business model where community-led development, equitable trade, and compassionate capitalism benefit every stakeholder.

Employee activities include a summer BBQ with families, a holiday party, monthly celebrations linked to heritage and cultural events, and catered lunches.

What employees say: “TM is the real deal! There is genuine interest in workforce well-being and high standards for quality finished goods.” [back to the winner list]

Vital Energy Solutions


Company profile: Vital Energy is a family-owned solar, battery and generator installer and electrical contractor in Sebastopol serving the community since 1971.

What the CEO says: “We take pride in maintaining a fun, exciting, collaborative, nurturing and motivating environment where employees feel empowered to be their unique, independent and amazing selves, said CEO Jason Jackson. ”Employees are encouraged to explore their passions, professionally and personally, and we urge them to maintain a healthy home, work and life balance.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Vital Energy has 35 technicians and has created a culture of belonging, knowing that a diverse team is a strong team. It invests in its employees and their growth by providing training and tools needed to succeed. Company sponsored events include holiday bowling parties at Epicenter with dinner, games, and raffles; entering an Apple Blossom Parade float, and hosting a Casino Night by bringing in blackjack and roulette dealers with winners receiving raffle tickets. There are team meetings with BBQ, celebrations marking personal and company accomplishments, team building “escape” rooms, Mother’s and Father’s Day events, egg and shamrock hunts at Easter and St. Patrick’s Day, etc. Vital Energy believes in giving back, paying it forward and supporting humanity by partnering with charitable organizations OAEC, Alliance Redwoods, Catholic Charities, CYO Camp, Mt. Gilead Bible Camp, and Ceres Community project. The company has supported Urban Adamah, TLC, The Living Room, Center for Spiritual Living, B’nai Israel Jewish Center, SELF, and Heifer International. The company helped the Boys and Girls Club build the first renewable power microgrid system of its kind in PG&E territory and is assisting Ya-Ka-Ama Indian Education Development by donating $15,000 to make their grid system a reality.

What employees say: “It is the most collaborative, supportive company I have experienced. I feel wanted and appreciated every day.” [back to the winner list]



Company profile: Vivalon helps advance independence, health and quality of life for Marin County’s older adults, vulnerable and disabled residents, connecting them with rides, meals, classes, care, advice and more. Through a comprehensive, integrated program of active aging services and activities, seniors receive specialized transportation, nutrition programs and social connections. Vivalon’s new Healthy Aging Campus combines 66 affordable apartments for low-income seniors with its programs and services.

What the CEO says: “As a nonprofit near our 70th anniversary, we are experiencing an increase in demand for our services for older adults and people living with disabilities,” said CEO Anne Grey. “To meet this need, our entire team of over 154 employees plus another 150 volunteers deliver valuable services. I’m thankful for individuals at all levels who improve the lives of everyone we serve.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The culture is nimble, creative and progressive.

Jobs are first posted internally. To cultivate employee growth, Vivalon offers paid development activities, membership in professional organizations, attendance at seminars, cross-training, job shadowing, professional coaching support and assessment tools. It pays 95% of employee benefit costs for those working 20 hours per week. Other benefits include 17 PTO days, 10 paid holidays, two floating holidays, bereavement time off, EAP, a retirement plan with 3% match, medical/dental/vision/life insurance, funded HRA and elective FSA accounts, and supplemental cancer, accident, and disability insurance.

Company events include a summer picnic with a meal, games, and prizes; volunteer appreciation events; holiday parties (with year-end cash bonuses); new hire lunches; quarterly BBQs with milestone anniversaries honored; a harvest party with pumpkin carving; quarterly “Let’s Chat” information sessions with executives; employees of the month; birthday cards with gift cards, and a yearly survey with weekly drawings for gift cards to encourage participation.

What employees say: “Our caring team and responsible programs we offer help keep older adults healthy, safe and positive.” [back to the winner list]

W. Bradley Electric


Company profile: Bradley Electric is a full-service contractor with 248 employees staffing seven divisions — including electrical, telecom, security, 5G/DAS (a five gigahertz Distributed Antenna System for wireless signals), AV, traffic and IT service teams — setting standards for experience, education, customer service and workmanship for over 46 years.

What the CEO says: “What is most important at WBE is our people. I continue to be amazed at their hard work, resilience, positive mindsets and dedication to the company,” said CEO Todd Baker. “Their compassion and eagerness to help each other when challenges arise have made our WBE team stronger. We are proud to have a diverse and talented group to help us achieve more and more each year.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The average employee tenure is 10 years. Women and minorities comprise a third of upper management.

The company hosts annual formal events, picnics and monthly co-worker tournaments (such as pingpong, horseshoes, shuffleboard, etc.) and yearly team-building activities. Other sponsored events include the Marin Color 5k, food drives to end summer hunger and Novato’s Rock the Block.

Giving back takes many forms. WBE has two employee care groups. The Giving Committee selects worthy charities and programs for donations and Lunch and Learn sessions inviting nonprofits to come in and talk about what they do. The Random Acts of Kindness team randomly selects individuals and organizations and surprises them with unexpected benefits, such as gift cards or donating supplies to a local animal shelter. WBE supports COTS, Boys and Girls Club, SF/Marin Food Bank, REFB, North Bay Childrens’ Center, Beyond Differences, YMCA and NAMI.

In addition to basic benefits and an ESOP plan, WBE offers LTD and life insurance, FSA, paid holidays, PTO, three floating holidays, sick time, 401(k), and medical/dental/vision coverage.

What employees say: “WBE just became an employee-owned business, so everyone is an owner with direct impact on the value of their future.” [back to the winner list]

Wealthspire Advisors


Company profile: Wealthhspire Advisors is a wealth management firm with an independent business model that offers no proprietary products or sales incentives. Based in San Rafael, Wealthspire was founded in 1995 and has more than 300 professionals with $20.38 billion in assets under management.

What the chief strategy officer says: “Our mission is to serve others and make lives better, including the lives of our employees who share a core purpose of taking care of others,” said Greg Friedman, chief strategy officer. “When you work with team members who believe in this mission, you get a culture of empathy, support, kindness, patience and advocacy.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The company believes in having open doors, open communications, and open mindedness about ideas, with shared values of inclusivity and collegiality where everyone has a voice. Wealthspire has a hybrid/remote work culture and invests in programs fostering medical and physical well-being, such as an athletic Endurance Team with access to Gym Pass and Virgin Pulse. Two annual off-site employee retreats are held. One focuses on personal and professional growth. The second is a family weekend with camping, lake activities and team meal planning competitions. Benefits includes STD/LTD, hereditary risk screening, fertility benefits, and cancer diagnosis support, HSA/FSA accounts, along with medical/dental/vision insurance, 401(k) with matching, PTO and paid holidays. Through Friedman’s leadership the firm partnered with the Marine Mammal Center in its mission to rehabilitate injured wildlife, raised $211,000 for the center and helped create a network of organizations to support it, including SR3 in Seattle. Company volunteers participated in a beach cleanup for over half a mile of China Beach.

What employees say: “Leadership is always asking how they can support us and help make our jobs better.” [back to the winner list]

West Coast Fire & Water


Company profile: West Coast Fire & Water offers a variety of 24/7 clean up and restoration services, including storm and water damage repair, mold and mildew remediation, air purification, COVID-19 decontamination service, biohazard cleanup, smoke and fire damage and commercial fire damage services. The company serves the North Bay, San Francisco and Sacramento areas from its Kelseyville headquarters.

What the CEO says: “We have a small company feel even as we grow. All 77 employees are valued, knowing that their success is our success. We do everything we can to support them individually and as teams,” said CEO Doug Bridges. “Each team member contributes to our growth and values. Without them, we would not be the amazing company we are today.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: During company meetings every morning, management shows employees how important they are with kudos and thanks across the board. The company supports employee development through on-the-job training, new technology, and by providing uniforms and protective safety gear. There is a formal career pathway for promotion showing employees how they can grow by following the criteria for each role. West Coast Fire & Water believes in giving back to organizations and nonprofits. It sponsored a jog-a-thon for a local school in Kelseyville and gives to youth programs, churches, and regional and global ministries. In January, the company donated over $67,000 to organizations and individuals. The company offers profit-sharing and year-end bonuses, company cellphones (or reimbursement), and company vehicles for on-the-job or for take home use by job site.

Staff has a choice from among three medical insurance carriers, dental and vision coverage, voluntary benefits from Colonial Life, vacation and PTO, along with 401(k) with match after a year of service.

What employees say: “The work we do helps people get their lives back to the way things were with timely and quality service.” [back to the winner list]

Willow Creek Wealth Management, Inc.


Company profile: Sebastopol-based Willow Creek Wealth is a private wealth management firm providing independent financial and investment guidance for individuals, families and businesses since 1984.

What the CEO says: “One of our core values is ‘Value Our Employees’ and we aim to exhibit that value in a multitude of ways, by offering competitive compensation, excellent benefits, hybrid work schedules, defined growth opportunities and an exceptional team-oriented culture,” said President and CEO Timothy Admire. “We believe if we take exceptional care of our 20 employees, our team will take exceptional care of our clients.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: The Willow Creek culture is described as happy, nurturing, connected and fun where the team feels valued and accepted and a place where everyone works together to achieve success.

There is a clear set of expectations and benchmarks for employees to advance, including increased skill sets, excellent performance reviews, and additional education are some of the considerations. Average employee tenure is 11 years. Women and minorities represent 40% of upper management.

The firm hosts an annual all-employee luncheon, a family and significant other holiday dinner, Giants’ baseball games, Warriors basketball games — and to celebrate “huge” milestones the company sponsors an all-expense paid weekend for employees and significant others at the Tahoe Ritz Carlton Resort.

Willow Creek advisers and team members sit on the boards of several nonprofits and the firm supports the Green Music Center, Santa Rosa Symphony, and the Ceres Community Project. Employees volunteer with several nonprofits including Ceres, Girl Scouts, Sonoma County Search and Rescue, KRCB, The West Marin Fund, and more.

What employees say: “Management doesn’t just talk about having a work-life balance, they back it up by providing great flexibility in schedules when needed and generous PTO balancing the stress of the business with fun outings, surprise rewards and nice incentives. They show appreciation on a consistent basis.” [back to the winner list]

WRA, Inc.


Company profile: WRA is an employee-owned environmental consultancy firm with more than four decades of experience and roots in wetland research. The WRA team’s expertise spans categories including plant, wildlife and wetland ecology, regulatory compliance, cultural resources, mitigation banking, CEQA/NEPA, GIS and landscape architecture.

What the CEO says: “We are a tenacious team of 94 planners, engineers and scientists sharing a common aim to leave the lands we love better than we found them,” said President and CEO Geoff Smick. “Company owners comprise a third of our workforce. This instills a great sense of pride and motivation for staff and results in exceptional work.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: As an employee-owned company there is a transparent career path for junior staff since they know company ownership is a tangible outcome as they develop professionally. WRA’s mission-oriented projects and rich culture contribute to staff desires to focus on the firm’s success and positive outcomes for client projects. WRA uses an internal job leveling framework that outlines the competencies, behaviors, scope of influence, impact and authority along with performance expectations. To be promoted, an employee must be meeting most of the criteria and performing at the next level. The firm hosts biannual company gatherings in summer and at a holiday party for staff and families.

The company invests in programs for staff that prioritize learning and sustainability.

WRA conducts an annual donation drive. Last year the firm raised funds for an environmental justice organization. It also hosts project site visits and participates in local events that make a positive impact on people and communities.

What employees say: “WRA is full of people passionate about their work. The enthusiasm they bring to work permeates the entire company.” [back to the winner list]

WX Brands


Company profile: WX Brands offers a portfolio of wine brands sold both domestically and globally. The company develops exclusive wine brands for retailers around the world. Products are sourced from 14 countries and sold in 20 countries resulting in over four million cases sold worldwide.

What the CEO says: “As WX Brands approaches its 25th anniversary, I’m reflecting on the importance of values anchored on teamwork and strength of character in all we do,” said CEO Oliver Colvin. “It’s our creative and resourceful employees and their shared work pride that has propelled us as a top 13 U.S. wine company and home to internationally recognized wine brands.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: WX Brands prioritizes people first, promotes from within, respects diversity, offers competitive benefits and has a hybrid office schedule. Employees have dual setup workstations to have the same efficient tools when working from home. The company subsidizes Wi-Fi and cellphone costs for the entire team. Lunches are brought in monthly to amplify staff time in the workplace. WX has an industry-leading vacation policy beginning with 19 days and adds two more paid days for employees to volunteer with nonprofits. The company features “WX Brands’ wines of the month” offering two bottles to each employee, and access to various wine clubs at a discount.

Company activities include SF Giants games, a Napa cooperage tour, picnics, holiday parties, virtual wine Wednesdays, Easter egg hunts, movie night, Earth Day clean up in a Marin park, a Lagunitas bottling line tour — and a dunk tank in the parking lot. WX Brands supports Thanksgiving meals for the community, an adopt-a-family Christmas drive at a school with presents under the tree and an interactive Carnival, and supports the Sparkle Foundation and Homeward Bound.

What employees say: “We share a sense of belonging, a common purpose to be the best, while respecting everyone’s differences.” [back to the winner list]

YWCA Sonoma County


Company profile: YWCA of Sonoma County’s mission is to provide quality child care and trauma-informed counseling along with support for families impacted by domestic violence. It operates the only community 24/7 Crisis Hotline for victims of domestic violence in need of emergency shelter, and a warm safe house for those at risk. Advocacy resources are provided, along with therapy support, on-site child care services and help with housing.

What the CEO says: “YWCA’s team of 51 employees is unwavering in their commitment to our community’s most vulnerable citizens,” said CEO Madeleine Keegan O’Connell. “Our vision for every family in Sonoma County to live healthy and be safe in their homes.”

What makes it a “Best Place to Work”: Women and minorities represent 100% of upper management. The culture is focused on community, empowerment, inclusion, integrity and sustainability.

The “Y” also provides free educational resources to keep adolescent youth or preschoolers learning, referral links to help find essential items for families (such as food pantries and school lunch distribution sites), and wellness resources for self-care through exercise, videos and stress management — as well as tips for staying safe at home and assisting others in need.

This nonprofit supports several events: 40-Hours of Domestic Violence Training three times a year, a Bike & Trike Drive, Gather Sonoma Luncheon, the “Y” I-Run/Walk, Safe ‘n’ Warm Coat Drive, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Giving Tuesday, and celebrates Mother’s Day.

Employee benefits include a robust calendar of holidays along with vacation and sick leave, a double-digit retirement savings plan with employer match along with medical benefits for full-time employees (prorated for part time) and an opportunity to add dependents to the plan. There is dental, optical and life insurance coverage, cellphone stipends, mileage reimbursement, tuition assistance and professional development to advance team learning.

What employees say: “Our therapeutic preschool helps children who might have witnessed or experienced domestic violence,” an employee observed. “I love the welcoming feeling here.”

How the winners were selected

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

More than 7,600  employee  surveys were submitted and 105 winners from the North Bay emerged.  Nominations  were solicited beginning in March. Anyone within a company can nominate their business by completing a form.

Nominated companies are then invited to submit a company profile and to ask theiremployees to complete an anonymous online survey.

Employee scores were measured on how favorably they responded to questions in core areas such as personal engagement, communication and resources, teamwork, retention, alignment with goals, trust with co-workers and senior leaders, manager effectiveness, and job satisfaction, to name a few. Winners were selected based on the highest scores in each size category.

Winners will be honored during a late afternoon-early evening reception Sept. 13 at Graton Resort and Casino in Rohnert Park.

Best Places to Work employee survey

Employees in the 2023 Best Places to Work survey were asked the following questions in an anonymous online survey.

Please rate the following statements on a scale of 1-5:

1 = Never — Strongly disagree

2 = Sometimes — Disagree

3 = Regularly — I neither agree nor disagree

4 = Frequently — Agree

5 = Always — Strong agree


· Management always keeps me informed about important issues and changes.

· Actions are taken consistent with the vision and promises of the company.

· Communications are open and accessible and suggestions are taken seriously.


· Management involves people in decisions that affect their jobs or work environment.

· I am offered training and development to further myself professionally.

· Individuals’ differences and personal lives are acknowledged and respected.

· I understand the company’s plans for future success


· There is a fair system for hiring, promotions and assignment of projects.

· Employees are rewarded equally for their work.

· My rate of pay and benefits compensation are fair for my position in my industry.

· A process exists for complaints/suggestions to be addressed without retaliation.


· I take pride in my individual contribution to my company.

· I take pride in the work produced by my team/work group.

· I take pride in my company’s products/services and standing in the community.

· The workplace culture encourages innovation and contribution.

· I would like to be working at this organization one year from today


· I feel I am able to be myself at work.

· There is a socially friendly and welcoming atmosphere at the office

· My immediate co-workers go the extra mile to achieve results.

· I experience a sense of "family" or "team" with my co-workers.


· I feel the company or business offers a good program of help in dealing my emotional well-being.

· The company has a mental health program and they make workers aware of it and encourage them to use it.

· I feel emotionally supported by my Supervisor and/or Company.

· It's clear from all we are told that the company is one in which mental health and well being of workers is valued.


Show Comment