Forty North Bay professionals younger than 40
Jennifer Alesio, 31
Senior Trial Associate, Brayton Purcell, LLP, Novato
“Multi-tasking” is just one way to describe Jennifer Alesio as she works with Brayton Purcell’s clients to get the best results, while also handling pre-trial court appearances and managing the firm’s Los Angeles office.
Greatest professional accomplishment: “I was lead counsel on the Whalen v. John Crane, Inc. case where the jury returned a $70 million verdict in favor of our clients. During the six-week trial I missed dinner and putting my then nine-month old son to bed only once - the night before closing arguments.”
Best advice received: “A partner in a San Francisco law firm told me when I was six-months pregnant, ‘Take as much time as is legally and financially possible for maternity leave. You don’t matter as much to the people you work for as you do to your child.’”
Mentor/admired businesspersons: “Essentially everything I’ve learned about trial practice I learned from Gil Purcell and James Nevin.”
What you wanted to be when you grew up: Not a lawyer.
Hobbies: Stand-up paddle boarding, skiing, eating and chasing my toddler.
Louis Bardis, 38
President, FJM Capital, Inc., San Rafael
With the spirit of a young, self-made entrepreneur, Louis Bardis has reached and exceeded his business, financial and family goals many years ahead of his peers.
Greatest professional accomplishment: Originating $140 million in new loans in 2014 while creating and implementing the operations processes allowing his mortgage business to grow.
Best advice received: Focus on one thing you like to do and do it better than anyone.
Steps taken to sustain the organization and morale: “Since the labor market is stronger, we are hiring inexperienced staff with accounting backgrounds. We give these individuals new mortgage operations skills and pay higher salaries once they are trained.”
Community and nonprofit activities: “I owned and operated a transitional living home for young men needing help in overcoming drugs, alcohol or addictions. I also donate to the Boys and Girls Club and St. Jude’s Hospital and have coached baseball and flag football.”
Favorite book: Think and Grow Rich.
Favorite after-work drink: Pelligrino.
Hobbies: Going to movies, Bikram Yoga, traveling and spending time with his wife and three kids.
Prema Behan, 39
Chief operating officer, Three Sticks, Head High, LUTUM & Classic Wines, Sonoma
Making the leap from Bill Price’s executive assistant to COO of his Classic Wines portfolio, was Prema Behan’s greatest professional accomplishment.
She exemplifies the spirit of being a top 40 Under 40 professional by being fueled by passion, intelligence, loyalty and a desire to achieve collective goals.
Her greatest professional challenge: Committing to the SSU EMBA program in April 2012 during a year when the company was launching three new brands. She completed the course with honors.
Best advice received: 1) Be impeccable with your word; 2) Don’t take anything personally; 3) Don’t make assumptions, and 4) Always do your best - by Don Miguel Ruiz.
Single most important event: Officially opening the Adobe in Sonoma and overseeing the restoration process and re-imaging the incredible Vallejo-Castenada Adobe circa 1842 into its present protected state.
What you wanted to be when you grew up: A doctor. “I went to UCSD as pre-med - and then I met organic chemistry!”
Last vacation: “In January I went to Isla Mujeres with my best girlfriends from high school to celebrate the year that we all turn 40.”
Tom Billeter, 31
Principal Engineer, Atterbury & Associates, Healdsburg
Keeping a variety of managerial balls in the air for several residential, commercial, and wine-industry projects - while also supervising staff and conducting marketing and business development functions - is what drives Tom Billeter.
His greatest professional challenge was being offered the opportunity to purchase equity with Atterbury and Associates and become a business owner.
Best advice received: Always be pursuing BHAGs - Big Hairy Audacious Goals - and never stop meeting new people.
His next professional goal: To open an additional office in Mendocino or Marin Counties to further the firm’s geographical reach.
Mentor/admired businesspersons: “My two supervisors over the years, Tom Atterbury and Michael Hicks. I also appreciate my stepfather, Ray Delagnes, for guiding me toward business professionalism at a young age.”
Community/nonprofit activities: “I volunteer as general manager and assistant coach of the SRJC ice hockey team I founded in 2002, and I am involved with the Rotary Club’s youth services.”