Discover why these 114 SF North Bay companies are Best Places to Work in 2020

First and foremost, our thoughts and hopes are with our friends and communities that have been directly impacted by this vicious virus. You will never be forgotten.

So, why Best Places to Work in this year of a pandemic? Why push forward with nominations and employee surveys earlier this year just when we were being shut down and the shelter in place dragged on and on? Why? Because we felt it was our duty as a news organization to continue for the 15th year to recognize outstanding organizations and support their commitment to their greatest asset — their employees.

Indeed, it is times like these — times even more challenging than wildfires or economic recession — that companies step up their game to support their employees. They should be rewarded for what they do.

It is clear many organizations agreed with us with a record 114 recipients of the award this year, including nine first-time winners and seven special 15-time recipients who have been part of this competition since the beginning in 2006.

Nearly 6,700 employee surveys were completed. That was below the record in 2019 but remarkable considering the communication challenges of remote work combined with severe economic headwinds.

One measure of how engaged employees were in this year’s satisfaction survey: the average score rose from 4.39 out of 5 to 4.50.

Several companies reported 100% employee survey participation, an indicator that they saw Best Places to Work as a mechanism to engage employees and build morale during an incredibly challenging time.

What these facts about the 2020 Best Places to Work indicate to us — and it was obvious from the many hundreds of employee-written comments — is that these 114 organizations were standing with their employees as the pandemic stressed every aspect — indeed, the very fiber — of their business.

It has been a long road to the selection of our 15th annual Best Places to Work recipients.

The nominations process opened early last spring, followed by a mandatory anonymous survey period in early summer of employees, and the final selections in July and August.

Those selections by the editorial staff of the Journal were based on the employee survey results and participation, comments and an employer application. The journey culminates in an awards event on Sept. 23.

The Best Places to Work was started in 2006, there were 24 winners. The vision was to recognize exceptional employers and highlight the best workplace practices. It has been quite a ride since then, with the number of winners doubling, then doubling again.

The year’s recipients represent a record of nearly 19,800 employees from a broad range of industries and employers both large and small.

Over these 15 years, we have learned that the award is important. But the award itself is only a part of the Best Places to Work.

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

On behalf of our co-hosts, Nelson, Exchange Bank and Kaiser Permanente, as well as our underwriter, Trope Group, congratulations to our winners.

—Brad Bollinger, North Bay Business Journal publisher

2020 winners

  1. Adobe Associates Inc.
  2. All Weather Architectural Aluminum
  3. Amy’s Kitchen
  4. Anova Center For Education
  5. Arrow Benefits Group
  6. AUL Corporation
  7. Bank of Marin
  8. Becoming Independent
  9. Beyers Costin Simon
  10. BKF Engineers
  11. Blentech Corporation
  12. BPM LLP
  13. Burnham Benefits Insurance Services
  14. Canine Companions for Independence
  15. Carlile Macy
  16. The Center for Social & Environmental Stewardship
  17. Central Valley (Builders Supply)
  18. Centric General Contractors
  19. Child Parent Institute
  20. Clif Family Winery & Farm
  21. Coast Landscape Management
  22. Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley
  23. Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County
  24. Community Matters
  25. Community Support Network
  26. Cork Supply USA Inc.
  27. Cornerstone Properties
  28. Costeaux French Bakery
  29. Dal Poggetto & Company LLP
  30. DH Wine Compliance
  31. Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty
  32. Don Sebastiani & Sons
  33. Earthtone Construction Inc.
  34. Eckhoff & Company
  35. Eleven Engineering Inc.
  36. The Engine Is Red
  37. EO Products
  38. Exchange Bank
  39. The Family Coppola
  40. Friedemann Goldberg Wargo Hess LLP
  41. GC Micro
  42. The Galley
  43. General Dynamics Ordnance & Tactical Systems
  44. George Petersen Insurance Agency
  45. Ghilotti Bros. Inc.
  46. Ghirardo CPA
  47. Goodwill Redwood Empire
  48. Healdsburg Lumber Company
  49. Hennessy Advisors Inc.
  50. Henry’s Original
  51. The Hess Collection Winery
  52. Hilton Garden Inn–Sonoma County Airport
  53. Hogan Land Services Inc.
  54. Intelisys, a Scan Source Company
  55. Interwest Insurance Services LLC
  56. Jackson Family Wines
  57. Joanna’s Nannies
  58. Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center
  59. Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center
  60. Keegan & Coppin Company Inc.
  61. Keysight Technologies
  62. Kiosk
  63. KLH Consulting Inc.
  64. La Tortilla Factory
  65. Ledson Winery & Vineyards
  66. Linkenheimer LLP CPAs & Advisors
  67. M.A. Silva USA
  68. Mengali Accountancy
  69. Meritage Medical Network
  70. Mike’s Bikes
  71. MKM & Associates Structural Engineering
  72. Moore Home Services
  73. Moss Adams LLP
  74. Mr. Rooter of Sonoma County
  75. North Coast Title Company
  76. Nova Group Inc.
  77. O’Brien Watters & Davis LLP
  78. Oliver’s Market
  79. Parkpoint Health Clubs
  80. Peju Province Winery
  81. Pepperwood Foundation
  82. Petaluma Health Center
  83. Pisenti & Brinker LLP
  84. Poppy Bank
  85. Private Ocean Wealth Management
  86. Psychstrategies Inc.
  87. Quattrocchi Kwok Architects
  88. Redwood Credit Union
  89. RESIG (Redwood Empire Schools Insurance Group)
  90. Russian River Brewing Company
  91. Schurter Inc.
  92. Sequoia Senior Solutions
  93. Smith Dollar PC
  94. Social Advocates For Youth
  95. Soiland Company Inc.
  96. Sonoma Clean Power
  97. Sonoma County Family YMCA
  98. Sonoma Jet Center
  99. Sonoma Technology Inc.
  100. Spaulding Mccullough & Tansil LLP
  101. St. Francis Winery & Vineyards
  102. Star Staffing
  103. Summit Engineering Inc.
  104. Summit State Bank
  105. Sutter Instruments
  106. Terra Firma Global Partners
  107. TIV Branding
  108. TLCD Architecture
  109. Traditional Medicinals
  110. W. Bradley Electric Inc.
  111. Whistlestop (Vivalon)
  112. Woodruff-Sawyer & Co.
  113. WRA Inc.
  114. YWCA Sonoma County

Profiles of this year’s Best Places to Work

By Gary Quackenbush, for The North Bay Business Journal



Adobe Associate’s 43 employees enjoy a fun, upbeat professional office atmosphere with a focus on personal accountability.

The workplace at the civil engineering, land surveying, wastewater and land planning company also promotes professional growth with respect for each individual in keeping with a healthy work-life balance.

“We have created a culture of overcoming distractions to achieve what matters most to our clients, our team and our organization as a whole,” says David Brown, president and CEO. “Everyone here feels part of something bigger than themselves and each person has a say in how we can best meet our client’s needs.”

Employees say it is not uncommon to get a good laugh or two in during the workday or at company gatherings — which are optional — yet well attended. Company-sponsored activities include bowling nights, sporting events and an open house, along with summer outings, Friday morning breakfasts, and birthday and Christmas parties.

Staff members are proud of their firm noted for being a positive, high-energy and friendly place to work where coworkers support each other in handling the workload.

Adobe Associates has made it a priority to assist victims of the wildfires in getting back on their feet. All departments have contributed to the many fire rebuild projects, a process that is still ongoing, with many fire victims still striving to return to normalcy. (back to the list of winners)



This third-generation, family-owned enterprise, founded in 1969, provides specialized products in the commercial and high-end residential aluminum and door market on the West Coast. It is Vacaville-based and has 110 employees.

“We have a great culture that offers mutual support, promotes trust, rewards employees’ efforts, and ensures that employees know their work is meaningful,” according to President Bertram DiMauro. “We don’t just manufacture windows; we enhance how people experience the world around them.

Professional growth is a priority and we ask employees what they are interested in doing and how they want to see their career unfold.

Working with people who are supportive and understanding fosters personal connections and professional growth that lasts a lifetime.”

Quarterly Linking Our Outstanding People (LOOP) meetings are held where company news is exchanged and updated, and held, where employees are recognized.

The company’s CARES Committee sponsors one community charity event quarterly such as a canned food drive for food banks, End 68 Hours of Hunger, back-to-school backpack drives, and collects Coats for Battered Women.

“All Weather offers a safe, friendly, inclusive atmosphere where employees can grow with us, live by our values of Empowerment, Respect, Integrity, Accountability, Customer Service and Excellence in everything we do,” said owners Anna Kirchner, Sarah Harper, Seamus Porter and Thomas Porter.

Many employees have been able to work from home, factory roles have been adjusted to allow for six feet between employees, and one employee cleans all day, focusing on high-touch areas like door handles and light switches,” a staff member observed. (back to the list of winners)



As an organic food pioneer since 1988, Amy’s specializes in preparing non- GMO gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian foods. The company’s 931 employees (46% minorities and women) work in an environment committed to employee health, safety and wellbeing.

“We take great pride in belonging to a family- owned, purpose and value-drive company where employees are considered to be our number one asset and their engagement and commitment to the business is critical for its success,” said President Xavier Unkovic.

Amy’s Family Health Center is next to the company plant in Santa Rosa and also offers telehealth, health coaching to all employees and partners through local agencies providing health improvement classes. Employees can participate in a comprehensive medical program with incentives to have the deductible fully paid by the company.

To support local communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Amy’s donated nearly 400,000 meals to local food banks, as well as 40,000 masks and over 500 face shields to local health care workers.

All employees are temperature screened via thermal imaging before entering the building. Everyone is required to wear a face mask and safety goggles at all times, in addition to PPE (ear plugs, hair nets, smocks, gloves, etc.).

Changes in food production prioritize products that allow for more space between employees. Deep cleans are made of all spaces and high-touch areas. Packages are sent home to families containing masks and hand sanitizer. Amy’s also complies with Good Manufacturing Practices including frequent hand washing and good sanitation practices.

“Amy’s provided laptops and IT helped us get set up at home. Those over 65 or with compromised health risk, have been asked to stay while still receiving 100% of their wages,” several workers mentioned. “We’re proud to work for Amy’s.” (back to the list of winners)

How the winners were selected

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

In all, 114 winners emerged from the North Bay. More than 6,600 employee surveys were submitted. Nominations for Best Places to Work were sought starting in March.

Anyone within a company could nominate their business by completing a simple form.

A minimum of 10 employees was required.

Nominated companies were then contacted by the Business Journal and invited to submit a company profile and to ask employees to complete an online survey.

The survey was setup though Survey Monkey, a widely used online polling service.

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

After an analysis of the employee application and online responses, the winners were notified on Aug. 12. Those winners will be honored at a Sept. 23 virtual reception.



With a mission to change the lives of students with autism and Asperger’s syndrome and other developmental challenges since 2000, Anova’s 130 employees, educators and clinicians work with students from early childhood through high school and on to the completion of a transition program at age 22. Minorities and women represent 64% of upper management.

“We help create happy childhoods for children and families who desperately need help with adapting to a life with autism,” said CEO and Founder Andrew Bailey. “There is no mission more important than changing the trajectory of a child’s life from depression and anxiety to success and wellbeing. It all starts in school with world-class teachers and therapists in the field of autism education.

Anova’s expertise and undying love and devotion to our children leads to lasting neurological change and an amazing community of neurodiverse young citizens.”

Beyond basic benefits, employees receive generous time off and vacation time, conference, travel and advancement opportunities and flex schedules. Teacher and therapist internships and bonuses are also offered to aspiring clinicians, the company states.

Staff members have an end-of-the-school year barbecue and participate in several parades and holiday celebrations, including the Human Race, Rose Parade, Apple Blossom Parade, and the SF Giants Autism Awareness Night.

Everyone calls themselves Anovians.

One employee noted: “We adapted to challenges with flexibility and resilience.

It’s amazing to work for an organization that keeps a focus on what our mission is despite incredible setbacks, such as losing most of our school in the 2017 fire, power outages and closures, and now COVID-19 and the need for distance learning.” (back to the list of winners)



Beginning in 2006, Arrow focuses on expert advice, customized programs and personalized HR solutions.

The company is accommodating of its 35 employees’ special circumstances, and staff members are recognized and appreciated for their contributions.

“Our CEO and Managing Principal Joe Genovese’s first day with the company was just after the stay-in-place order was issued.

While not being able to meet everyone in person, he has kept us all connected as we work remotely and implemented a weekly Virtual Happy Hour,” an employee stated.

“The company has made all possible accommodations to keep employees working from home comfortably as long as necessary.”

Today Arrow, a family-oriented company, offers volunteer time-off opportunities for employees who do community service.

There is a 501(c)3 gift-matching program and a number of nonprofits are supported, including the Big Brothers Big Sisters Gala and Bowling for Kid’s Sake, United Cerebral Palsy’s September drive, and Mentor Me Bocce Ball fundraisers.

The Arrow Employee Outreach Committee seeks opportunities for staff to get involved.

Each company principal sits on the board of one or more nonprofit. The Arrow Wellness Initiative offers free CPR and first-aid training to its business clients across the North Bay. Arrow continues to pay for half of each Automated External Defibrillator (AED) purchased by area businesses.

Arrow supports efforts to make the workplace a safe place to speak up, by offering staff members and clients access to information on its website, fostering greater diversity, inclusion and equity on the job.

“We are working from home with Zoom meetings and Zoom baby showers, but I still miss everyone,” one staff member said. (back to the list of winners)



An automotive finance and insurance provider, AUL continues to support its 107 employees (96 in the North Bay) with a benefits package and fringes while also giving $550,000 to local charities since 2012.

The AUL Charity Committee, staffed by nonmanagement employees, has worked with community organizations like Napa’s Hands Across the Valley, Share the Care Napa Valley and other nonprofit organizations serving older isolated, ill and frail adults and helping to feed the hungry.

“It has always been our belief that if you take care of and empower employees, they will drive your success through dedication, hard work and pride of ownership,” said Jimmy Atkinson, CEO/president. “By virtue of our amazing growth and our employees’ enthusiasm for their work and fellow employees, we are working steadily toward that goal. We would like to thank our tremendous family of employees for making AUL the best it can be.”

Beyond basic benefits, the package contains gym memberships, bereavement leave, eight paid annual holidays plus a paid volunteer day — along with educational assistance up to $8,000 per year. The cohesive culture is reinforced through team-building activities and parties. Most current management team members were promoted from within, and all of AUL’s Team Leaders (supervisors) came up through the ranks.

“AUL accomplished a massive feat in a short amount of time by going 100% remote.

We had been working on a disaster recovery plan for years, but within a few short weeks after the pandemic hit, everyone was working from home and keeping things running,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)

Employee survey

Employees in the 2020 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 — Strongly 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 in the office.

• My immediate coworkers consistently go the extra mile to achieve great results.

• I experience a sense of “family” or “team” with my coworkers.



“Our commitment to relationship banking in the communities where we live and work is the foundation that has allowed us to support and serve our customers through both good and challenging times since we opened our doors 30 years ago,” said Russell A. Colombo, president and CEO. “We have worked together to meet significant challenges in recent years, and we can do it again now. This is what makes Bank of Marin great.”

Through the pandemic, BOM has remained open as an essential business to help local businesses and nonprofits navigate through the COVID-19 crisis.

This publicly owned bank with 270 employees is known as a place that is also dedicated to supporting its employees with a range of benefits and fringes such as EAP, voluntary life insurance, educational reimbursement, wealth management services, free checking accounts, a health club discount, pet insurance, Continuing Professional Education and AED certification as well as wellness programs.

In 2019, the bank supported more than 350 local nonprofits and volunteered with over 7,000 hours for charitable organizations in the North Bay. BOM gives each employee 16 hours per year to volunteer with 501(c)3 groups. Last year, 93% of BOM employees and directors donated to 77 deserving charities — and the bank matched their contributions with another $20,000 “The bank’s response to COVID-19 has been amazing! The company was proactive and quick to act, following the lead of our ‘pandemic officer’ who was guided by science.

We quickly adapted to department health protocols for social distancing and working from home, including rapidly embracing the technology needed to support it,” a staff member said. “Changes include enhanced cleaning, reduced/modified hours, managing traffic patterns, limiting visits between locations and cutting business travel.” (back to the list of winners)



BI was established over half a century ago to support people with disabilities to becoming more engaged and independent members of the community.

“During these unprecedented times, Becoming Independent’s 200 employees have demonstrated their ability to being open, flexible and committed to continuing to provide services to our participants,” said CEO Luana Vaetoe. “The collective abilities of our staff to adapt to the needs of the people we serve, as well as our community, is remarkable.

I’m grateful to be part of an organization inhabited by trailblazers!” Any employee in good standing is eligible to apply for other open positions after six months of employment. During normal times, there is an annual recognition event for employees and an employee holiday party along with a Direct Support Professional recognition week.

Employees spend a portion of every workday taking groups served out in the community to participate in paid employment, volunteer and service opportunities or recreational activities.

BI’s fundraising enterprises include walkin/ drop-off secured document shredding by appointment. BI operated concession services aboard the entire SMART fleet from 2017 to 2020 and at the BI Buzz Cafe at Kaiser Permanente’s Mercury Way Medical Offices. Event rental space is also available to individuals, businesses and nonprofit groups.

“BI has been INCREDIBLE during the SIP initiative,” according to an employee. “My position has continued to be paid full time while working from home and I am grateful for that. Key services have remained intact, including Independent Living Supports and Supported Employment. We pivoted from an on-site day program to online supports that have helped hundreds of people stay connected, continue their education and break the isolation.” (back to the list of winners)



“These last few months have been very difficult for the entire country. We are doing our best to keep our employees busy and fully employed,” according to Michael Garcia, managing partner of Beyers Costin Simon.

“While our staff is working remotely, we have been able to care for their needs and those of our clients.”

The firm’s culture has been built on the desire to cultivate a workplace where — in less stressful times — employees want to come every day.

“We not only challenge our employees to be their best at their jobs, but we also offer them a range of fun and relaxing activities throughout the year, including a series of daily events during Employee Appreciation Week. These activities, coupled with a relaxed work environment, have united employees into a cohesive work team and a great work family,” Garcia added.

There is a culture of respect where everyone’s opinions, from the file clerk to the managing shareholder, are listened to and taken seriously. It is an environment where employees say every day brings a good amount of laughter and comradery among team members who go home feeling good about where they work.

“Our firm dealt with the challenging business environment in an amazing way, and there were no employee layoffs. Owners slashed their compensation to protect other employees. One partner gave an employee furniture to help his family settle into a new apartment when the company that was bringing them household items shut down for COVID,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



Since 1915 BKF Engineers has provided civil engineering, land surveying and land planning services to communities throughout the state.

The company has 15 offices in California and more than 128 employees, including 43 in Santa Rosa.

“I am inspired by the dedicated, creative and collaborative environment at BKF,” said Greg Hurd, president and CEO. “We have people with unique skills, personalities and experience to make positive impacts not only at a project level, but in the communities where we work.”

Fringe benefits include health care and day care FSAs, commuter benefits, and tuition reimbursement. BKF also reimburses for state registration exams along with gym membership reimbursement. Other company perks include a company condo in Tahoe, an annual ski trip, weekly fruit and bagel deliveries and free snacks at each office.

The company sponsors sports teams, an annual picnic, a holiday party and annual luncheon. A number of community nonprofits and clubs are actively supported.

“Our IT department got everyone up and running at home in a matter of days following SIP orders. We have extremely flexible arrangements in place. The company truly cares about how people feel coming to work and considers everyone’s individual concerns and needs,” a staff member explained. “We have all earned doctoral degrees in the field of video conferencing.” (back to the list of winners)



A family-owned manufacturer of food processing systems headquartered in Santa Rosa since 1986, Blentech designs, builds and services an expanding line of cooking, mixing, marinating, vacuum cooling equipment and other advanced technology solutions for the food service industry.

“Challenging times are the true test of a team. As the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, our team exemplified our company’s purpose in action by moving mountains to keep food companies around the world stay in operation and keep store shelves stocked,” said CEO Daniel Volt. “We also saw genuine compassion and support within our team to keep our company healthy and operational.”

Blentech products are sold in 34 countries on six continents producing 12.8 billion pounds of cooked products and saving 1.28 million hours of time annually compared to traditional industry processes.

To better service its customers during the current crisis, Blentech established hotlines for immediate and urgent services, staffed by employees around the country 24-hours a day, seven days a week, to provide parts and services and sales assistance. There are weekly virtual lunches where remote teams can connect.

Employees are encouraged to work on projects that showcase their strengths. The CEO in 2020 issued the company’s Vivid Vision stating the company’s purpose and how each person has a unique opportunity to be part of the journey.

“We have all stepped up and accepted the current challenge by being more driven and focused toward achieving company goals and objectives. Remote work communications, technologies and procedures were already in place before the stay-at-home order, and team collaboration and productivity have remained strong,” a worker acknowledged. (back to the list of winners)



As one of the largest California-based accounting and consulting firms with multiple offices across the Bay Area, BPM is also ranked in the top 50 U.S. firms for services including tax, auditing and consulting.

“BPM is entrepreneurial. This is appealing to those who want to have a direct impact on the growth of the firm,” said Carol O’Hara, partner in charge, North Bay.

“We are a fast-growing CPA firm with many opportunities. BPM is committed to work-life balance, attraction and retention of a diverse, inclusive workforce — and one fostering women’s leadership and social responsibilities — such as contributing to humanitarian causes — as well as our own values of transparency, integrity and honesty.”

The economic and physical disruption caused by COVID-19 has changed many business landscapes. BPM is offering a free online Resource Center to help clients and friends of the firm navigate the crisis and build an action plan to survive and thrive in the future.

This website offers ways firms can support employees, and lists a series of webinars addressing a number of COVID-19 issues, such as managing financial anxiety, tax, remote work, risk mitigation and related topics, plus links to CDC, WHO, DOL, IRS and state tax resources.

In less hectic times, there is a firm-wide shutdown so employees can volunteer at community events such as at the Redwood Empire Food Bank, Canine Companions for Independence and at a Ceres Community Project. Staff members enjoy Safari West tours, afternoons at Epicenter for games, food and drinks, and waffle days for employees.

“BPM is taking every possible precaution.

Since we already had the capability to work from home, I made the transition easily. We definitely have more Zoom calls with our project teams,” according to a staff member. (back to the list of winners)



Burnham is a benefits consultancy with 18 employees in Larkspur (93 in eight California cities and Phoenix, Arizona). This woman-owned business has over 550 clients, and $1.8 billion in premiums under management, with a client retention rate of 94%.

Women and minorities represent 60% of upper management.

“Burnham strives to provide a healthy workplace where people arrive each day (physically or remotely) feeling appreciated and safe, while also offering valuable employee benefits services for our clients,” said Michael Michalski, regional president. “With evolving investments in technology and critical resources, employees are supported and experience increased productivity.”

The company is a certified B Corporation, in which Burnham integrates its business success with both community and environmental engagement.

Employees are placed in roles depending on their strengths and enthusiasm, the company states.

Burnham also has a COVID-19 Response Center providing current information that impacts businesses, employers and employees. Everyone is kept up to date at monthly company-wide staff meetings where lunch is provided to foster interpersonal relationships. There are also monthly and holiday cultural and life-event celebrations sponsored by the firm, along with weekly carrier sponsored activities.

Employees are encouraged to get involved in their communities. Flexible work schedules and the ability to work remotely allow employees to be at home with their families.

The culture is described as engaged, supportive, transparent and collaborative.

“All employees were included in the work-at-home decision process and consulted to help fashion our returning to work protocol.

“We are given what we need, including ergonomically correct chairs,” a staffer said in a quip. (back to the list of winners)



Forty-five years ago, Canine Companions for Independence was founded in a home office and garage. Since then, the concept of providing assistance dogs for people with physical disabilities has grown to include six training centers across the U.S., with a total of 6,533 graduate teams placed, and 1,275 puppies currently being raised with the help of 4,700 volunteers. Clients receive these exceptional dogs free of charge.

“Canine Companions is unique because it combines hard skills of research, data, training, organization and planning with very special talents of those with compassion, service, understanding and teamwork,” said CEO Paige Mazzoni. “Through our commitment to professionalism and quality, we provide true assistance to people with disabilities — and see the impact of that support almost immediately.”

She said it is very inspiring to go to work when someone mentions how you have given them independence and made their life better.

In Santa Rosa, the staff includes 118 employees, 75% of whom are minorities and women in upper management. Benefits also include employee discounts and voluntary pet insurance. There is a bring your dog to work day, a casual dress code, an attractive campus with a walking exercise loop, and a play yard for pet dogs. Employees participate in a holiday toy drive, staff trips to Redwood Empire Food Bank, and monthly Miracle Makers and fundraising competitions for the organization.

“During the pandemic, everyone has kept their jobs and pay, and strict safety and cleanliness protocols were introduced. Essential staff go back to the campus while office staff work at home, with weekly virtual meetings and monthly town halls to keep everyone informed.

”It is a ‘pawsitively’ awesome place!” an employee said in jest. (back to the list of winners)



Carlile Macy, established in 1996, is a multidisciplinary design firm employing a team of 20 civil engineers, urban planners, land surveyors, landscape architects and administrative staff members to meet the entire spectrum of engineering and land planning needs.

“We are fortunate to have great people who enjoy working together to create quality projects and provide excellent client service.

In a service business like ours, it’s all about the people and we are fortunate to have the best,” said company President Curt Nichols.

During the COVID-19 quarantine, the company has worked hard to ensure that all of its team members remained fully employed and compensated. Work-from-home arrangements were available immediately, and there is flexibility for employees who are balancing working from home with having children out of school or in need of child care.

Professional licensure and society dues are paid by the company. Ongoing professional development is also available, along with company cars and cell phones provided for some management positions. There is a vacation and sick leave policy, company-provided snacks and beverages, barbecues and pizza days, and company-paid-employee parking.

Staff members can participate in holiday events (a tree-trimming party, holiday dinner and a white elephant gift exchange) along with an annual family picnic, camping trip and potlucks throughout the year.

“As an essential service, we have started to return to the office two days a week with extra workspace separation and will adjust this schedule based on COVID-19 updates.

Company principals held a brainstorming session at the beginning and reach out to everyone for our thoughts and feelings regularly.

Thanks for being flexible,” a team member said. (back to the list of winners)



Central Valley’s eight locations and 90 North Bay employees offer site of materials, tools and expertise for custom builders, contractors, growers and vineyard managers, landscapers and homeowners.

“We excels because of our 65-year commitment to excel,” said Stephen Patterson, president and CEO. “We built our reputation on a foundation of delivering a great customer experience, doing what we say we will do, and believing in our employees — some of whom have been with us over 30 years. Together we have built a company that values its people, its customers and the community.”

Some 50% of its stores are run by women, and 50% of the women who run these stores are minorities. Central Valley’s third- generation ownership provides a strong business focus. The owner knows most employees by their first names, writes service anniversary cards, and leads facility meetings on a regular basis.

Employees receive a paid eight-hour volunteer day. The company has a giving pledge and donates 25% of profits to help build strong families and affordable housing through Habitat for Humanity, and St. Helena Hospital, among others.

Through Central Valley’s annual talent review process, management provides individualized development and promotional opportunities as positions are available. Several yearly events bring everyone together: An employee One Team Meeting, staff and customer barbecues, family Christmas parties, and Employee of the Quarter (and Year) recognitions based on company values: Growth, Ownership, Teamwork and Empathy.

“We’re an essential business and communication is constant and timely during these troubling times. Management is in tune with employee needs and concerns. We’ve adapted well to SIP and have been helping more people doing projects at home. Management was quick on its feet to make required safety changes,” a worker said. (back to the list of winners)



Centric General Contractors has built a portfolio of completed single and multifamily homes and estates, luxury resorts and hotels, as well as wineries and restaurants, historic community buildings, offices and warehouses, since 2005.

“As a Napa Valley native, it is important for me to have an understanding of local politics and integrate our business into the local community,” said owner Tim McDonald.

“Now more than ever, it is a priority to provide local support and remain involved in the community because it is a key part of our foundation and roots. We treat our employees as part of a big family while aiming to make everyone part of our culture. Constantly learning and evolving to remain as knowledgeable as possible is what we stand for.”

Basic health insurance benefits are offered along with a 401(k) match program, PTO, a bonus structure and vehicle, if applicable.

Cell phones, a computer and a maternity/paternity leave plan with match are also available. A coffee and snack bar is provided as well as seasonal clothing.

In 2020 the team is taking a culinary class at the CIA. There are trips to baseball games, a Napa Wine Train Tour, a summer pool party and annual holiday event including hotel accommodations, jobsite barbecues, employee birthday luncheons and a weekly employee lunch on Thursdays.

Centric supports local high school events and nonprofit art programs for Nimbus Arts and other community fundraisers.

“Throughout the health crisis, ample precautions have been taken and we have been kept informed of any changes. It’s always been an environment where the company looks out for each person,” a worker noted. (back to the list of winners)



Child Parent Institute (CPI) has been offering programs focusing on the well-being of families and children through the development of healthy and nurturing parenting since 1978. Its mission is to end child abuse and strengthen the health of children, parents and families.

Last year CPI helped 7,734 children and families, provided 3,594 counseling hours and helped 1,011 families benefit from creative arts programs. CPI has 92 employees with 100% of upper management staffed by minorities and women.

CPI’s New Directions School, for students in grades 5th to 12th who have social and emotional issues due to trauma, offers intensive counseling support to help them return to the mainstream as soon as possible — avoiding the need for hospitalization, residential placement or incarceration.

“For over 42 years we have been working with families with past trauma histories, struggles with mental health issues, substance abuse, homelessness, recovery from catastrophic firestorms, and now the huge upheaval among families due to the shutting of child care facilities along with businesses and the concurrent loss of income,” said Robin Bowen, executive director.

“With the COVID-19 outbreak, the work of CPI is needed now more than ever. I’m so proud of our staff as they have worked hard to expand our capacity to support more families during shelter-in-place orders.”

Programs include parent education and support services, children and parent mental health services, including perinatal support, supervised visitation, creative arts programs, parent mentoring and resource assistance, such as referral, basic needs and the first Sonoma County Diaper Bank.

“During the pandemic, leadership has been transparent, understanding and knowledgeable providing regular updates and check-ins.

I’m amazed at how quickly we were able to pivot and adjust the way we continue to serve the community,” an employee commented. (back to the list of winners)



Kit Crawford and Gary Erickson of Clif Family Winery, also co-owners of Clif Bar, are known for celebrating wine, crafting artisan small-batch foods for lunch at their Bruschetteria Food Truck and organizing cycling adventures at their St. Helena Tasting Room.

“Our mission is to run a different kind of company, a place we’d want to work that makes the kind of food and wine we’d like to enjoy that strives for a healthier, more sustainable world we’d like to pass to our children,” said Crawford. “Our company IS our people.”

She said success is based on five aspirational bottom lines: ”Sustaining our business, our brands, taking care of our 42 people, our community and the planet, while working to reduce our ecological footprint in everything we do.”

There is an employee wine club, fresh produce from the organic farm, athletic competition reimbursement, state/national parks fee reimbursements, 50% off in the tasting room and food truck, free electric car charging and free use of commuter bikes. Employees receive 16 PTO hours for community service and enjoy telecommuting, a pet friendly and casual work environment and invitations to company events.

“Management regularly asks employees if everything is OK and no one feels uncertain about whether they will have a job or health care. They continually look after our wellbeing, workload and mental health during this stressful time,” said a winery worker. (back to the list of winners)



Napa-based Coast Landscape Management has 132 employees. Beginning with a single truck and two employees, over the years this company’s teams have won more than 200 awards for landscape excellence.

“I’m grateful to be part of an incredible, unique and diverse team of devoted individuals who keep our business running smoothly,” said CEO Kelly Solomon. “With different strengths, the ‘brain trust’ at Coast makes for an environment rich with ideas and innovations.

We have a work environment where everyone truly supports each other and our clients. The best people come from within. We work really hard, but like to have fun, too.”

She likes to say, “Coast grows people, not plants,” with an emphasis on growth and training.

Having fun includes potluck lunches, crew barbecues, summer picnics for families at the zoo or Six Flags, and Christmas parties with a salsa contest and skits. To enhance team cohesion, there are quarterly company meetings at gardens or nature preserves and annual customer-service training retreats with all management and administrative staff.

Community-service projects are in keeping with Coast’s expertise. The firm installs landscaping for nonprofits and families in need, playgrounds at day care centers and after-school program sites, sports fields and garden boxes for schools, as well as cleanups and free work in conservancy areas.

“Management is always trying to help employees. With the pandemic, hours for the crews were adjusted to keep us working while we had to adapt to our clients’ needs and the company’s desire to reduce overhead,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley (CBBOV) has a track record of closing over 1,000 real estate transactions annually in the Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley and surrounding areas, with a sales volume that exceeds $1 billion. The brokerage has assisted more than 20,000 buyers and sellers since its inception in 1994. CBBOV consistently ranks in the top 1% of Coldwell Banker offices globally and is the No. 1 Coldwell Banker franchise in California.

CBBOV specializes in home and luxury home sales, vineyard properties, second homes and vacation homes.

“We are more than just a place to work,” says Logan Songer, general manager. “With offices in Napa, St. Helena and two locations in Sonoma, our company’s 126 licensed real estate professionals and 36 support staff are a cohesive team that consistently puts clients’ interests first.”

He said everyone works hard to get the results clients expect and then everyone likes to play “hard” at company picnics, bowling, game and casino nights, at holiday parties, during wine and cheese socials — and other sponsored events.

Some 40% of employees have been at the brokerage 10 years or more, and CBBOV is known for promoting from within.

Employees say CBBOV is ahead of the game when it comes to training and offering educational opportunities to its agents.

“Managers are always looking for ways to include everyone, from organizing a golf tournament teaming beginners with intermediate and scratch players, to an all-hands annual variety show celebrating the last meeting of the year.

“During the pandemic, management went 1,100% above and beyond by holding detailed meetings on how to fill out PPP loans and unemployment forms, and kept employees informed about legal and health responsibilities in our jobs to ensure continual safety.” (back to the list of winners)



Since 1972, 4Cs has worked to ensure every Sonoma County child has access to child care and early education through advocacy, direct service and empowerment.

“Through all the disruption, emergencies and changing realities, I am grateful for our staff who always rise to the occasion,” said Executive Director Melanie Dodson. “I’m also inspired by the drive we have to serve our community. Under difficult circumstances we adapt, remain flexible and make things happen for parents and child care providers in Sonoma County. It’s not only or mission, but the way we work together that motivates me after 20 years to lead this organization and its amazing people.”

She said 4Cs 184 staff members support each other with a listening ear, with tips on home schooling, a reminder to be kind to ourselves and to practice self-care.

Fringe benefits include laptops for directors and managers for flexibility when working from home, employee recognition/appreciation events at potlucks, relaxation day, ice cream socials, and an annual employee party. There are free wellness-focused activities such as organized walks, meditation, yoga and a “Week of Wellness.”

A formal promotion process takes place twice a year where managers nominate deserving staff.

Company-sponsored events include staff-development days, department retreats, team building, training seminars and conferences.

“I never felt more grateful for 4Cs than when I didn’t know what was going to happen.

All staff were paid their full wages through May and we have figured out a way to get back into the office safely and are still finding ways to update our practice. Working remotely is a big new step — and very successful,” an employee explained. (back to the list of winners)



Community Matters (CM), founded in 1996, is committed to improving the socialemotional climate in the public school system and surrounding neighborhoods with the nonprofit’s consulting and training.

“We have the unique opportunity to teach people to stand up for each other and speak out when they see mistreatment,” said Erica Vogel, interim CEO. “We help to build a kinder society by connecting people from diverse backgrounds with a unified goal of helping others feel safe, supported and included. I am grateful to work with the amazing CM team that shares our mission and values.”

She said, “The world feels a little upended now, but when I come to work I feel reminded of the good in people.”

CM employees see its culture as one where every person is respected and appreciated for their individual talents and contributions.

Personal connection is encouraged, and management has an open-door policy and accepts feedback and ideas on the direction of the organization. CM’s 11 staff members can take advantage of a remote work option.

Company-sponsored events include regular potlucks, recognition lunches, baseball games, and community event participation (Human Race). Staff are given PTO during the workday to serve as volunteers for the Schools of Hope literacy program at Lincoln Elementary School.

“Everyone is adaptable and cross-trained in multiple departments. With COVID-19 we took a dramatic financial hit since our business model is based on school contracts.

However, we feel united and have moved in-person school training to virtual training,” a staff member said. (back to the list of winners)



Community Support Network provides care for formerly homeless adults and youth and foster, youth and individuals with behavioral and mental health challenges. Residents receive care for recovery from trauma, addiction and homelessness, including supportive housing.

“The staff of CSN is truly inspiring every day. Seeing how our managers lead their teams and come together to assist each other makes CSN great,” said Executive Director Tom Bien. “Our passionate, mission-driven staff of 55 employees leads from their hearts.”

The goal of CSN is to create a healthy and safe society by empowering people at risk to achieve stability and to realize their individual potential. At a time when our community is sheltering in place and having to adjust to the new normal, CSN managers and direct care service providers at nine housing centers show leadership, creativity and compassion for staff attribution and nearly 200 residents annually.

Four types of housing are provided: Permanent supportive housing, social rehabilitation, board and care and a homeless shelter.

CSN management groups are a diverse mixture of white, Hispanic and Black individuals.

The administrative staff and second- level managers are all women, with the exception of the executive director and one program manager.

“CSN has implemented many new policies to ensure the safety of our programs, including taking daily client and staff member temperatures, creating isolation protocols for clients with COVID symptoms, and providing enough PPE and sanitation equipment during the current worldwide pandemic,” a staff member noted. (back to the list of winners)



Founded in 1981 by Jochen Michalski, Cork Supply has expanded operations around the globe in premier wine-growing areas such as Northern California. In addition to natural cork, the company provides top-of-the-bottle products from sparkling wine and champagne closures, to Nomacore wine corks, TALIS Bartops, screw caps, decorative capsules as well as wirehoods and foils.

“Cork Supply is a very dynamic, progressive and growth-oriented company. We empower our experienced and driven team to be creative, innovative and to continuously improve our processes to exceed client’s expectations,” said Michalski, who is president, owner and CEO.

He said the success of any business is powered by its team. As a management team, Cork Supply leads by example and applies the modus operandi of “One Team One Dream.”

The company supports the Solano Napa Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life and through employee donations to school fundraisers, events and raffles. It also participates in a backpack drive for underprivileged children in local schools. Joining with the Solano and Contra Costa Food Bank, it donated enough funds to supply 20,000 meals for those in need during the COVID-19 crisis.

During the pandemic, the company conducts Positive Culture and Pulse Surveys to gauge how staff is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and helps them feel safe and remain healthy. Production employees received a pay incentive for maintaining operations as an essential business.

“We enhanced daily disinfection protocols to keep workspaces as sterile as possible, and all controllable expenses were reviewed to create alternative, cost-reduction models to ensure dollars could be stretched to protect our company and jobs should revenues be affected,” an employee observed. (back to the list of winners)



With a mission to support sustainable activities and to bring more business to the region, Cornerstone Properties has provided locally owned and managed administrative and facilities-based services since 1981 for those looking for leased space.

“At Cornerstone, every member of our team is treated like family members. We customize work environments, work schedules and tasks to give employees the greatest access to a healthy work-life balance,” said Alon Adani, principal of this Petaluma-based company with 15 employees. “Cornerstone values giving employees freedom to work in ways that make them happy. In turn, they are loyal to the company and the work that we do.”

Cornerstone strives to create an environment that is conducive to all kinds of employees. Women and minorities comprise a third of upper management and the average longevity of employees is eight years.

The company donates commercial space to nonprofits during times of need, along with monetary contributions and similar support for community development projects.

“We have a briefing every day with an ongoing discussion about the evolving situation and how we will adopt changes. We are also re-evaluating our current building conditions and implementing CDC recommendations, and working with clients on a case by case basis for flexible rent schedules,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



As a Healdsburg tradition since 1923, Costeaux French Bakery has supported the community and the North Bay for nearly a century.

“Undeniably, our people make Costeaux great,” said William K. Seppi, CEO and president.

“Daily, our team champions our core values that include family, community, quality and service. The COVID-19 situation has continued to test this commitment, which remains unwavering. Our team has championed these four key elements through uncertain times with compassion and determination. These values guide our daily decisions and are the underpinnings for all that we do.”

From the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Costeaux recognized that there was an increased need to feed the community. Normally, bread is abundant and overloads food banks. However, given today’s environment, this is not the case.

To help, Costeaux created the “Knead Program,” where for every $5 virtual loaf purchased by the public, Costeaux will match it with another. These loaves with be provided to participating organizations including the Redwood Empire Food Bank, Sonoma Family Meal, the Windsor Service Alliance, John Jordan Foundation and others.

Costeaux set a goal of baking 20,000 loaves a bread a month to help organizations working together to provide relief from food insecurity.

With some 60 active employees today, from a high of 115 before temporary layoffs and closures, women and minorities represent 60% of upper management.

“There is open communication as supervisors focus on caring for and considering employees’ needs. Our bread is helping to feed people in the community during this anxious time while continuing to set the highest standards for customer service by example — especially to help staff and customers feel confident that we are going above and beyond for safety,” a worker stated. (back to the list of winners)



Based in Santa Rosa, Dal Poggetto is a full-service CPA firm specializing in accounting, tax and consulting services for privately held businesses and their owners.

“Our partners and staff members take a genuine interest in our clients and their business challenges,” said Managing Partner Jon Dal Poggetto. “We strive to understand their needs and objectives and deliver best-in-class professional services.”

The firm has hired a number of Sonoma State University accounting program graduates over the past 28 years. Dal Poggetto also offers SSU students accounting scholarships enabling them to continue to pursue their studies leading to degrees in the field.

Dal Poggetto also participates in the Human Race, supports Canine Companions for Independence, and provides pro bono professional services to community-based not-for-profit organizations.

The culture is described as one based on having an enjoyable, healthy work environment with open communication that encourages initiative, teamwork and innovation.

Employees have access to educational assistance, enjoy company-sponsored activities and supplied food and beverages, along with an ergonomic work environment, flex-work schedules, remote working opportunities and a generous maternity/family leave policy.

Jobs are posted internally before announcing them to the public. The firm promotes from within before making external hires, and the average tenure of employees is 14 years.

“Our company made sure every employee is able to work remotely, as needed, and moved staff cubicles farther apart to practice social distancing. Ongoing communication is a high priority with frequent emails and phone conversations among staff members and clients. I think the company adapted to the new social and economic status quo swiftly and efficiently,” a staffer said. (back to the list of winners)



Celebrating its 10th anniversary, DH Wine Compliance provides many essential federal and state licensing services for wineries, importers, wholesalers, retailers and tasting rooms supported by its 25 employees.

The company handles out-of-state licensing and renewals as well as operational reporting of wine operations, TTB excise tax returns, winegrower, ABC blender and crush reports. Other teams manage federal label approvals, artwork reviews and submissions.

There are one-time or ongoing compliance consulting services for all of the above categories, employee training and notary public support.

“DH Wine Compliance continually evolves to create a forward-thinking environment,” said President Andrea Helfer-Lagourgue.

“Creating a workplace that appreciates employees is paramount. We have many working moms and give them the flexibility to work and raise a family — the next generation of CEOs, after all.”

The culture is family-supportive, light-hearted and fun. Company officials say it’s a place where everyone enjoys spending time together at potlucks and while playing games. The work is demanding year-round and can get stressful, so the staff lightens things up as often as possible — which might include a little (or more) wine from time to time, the company states.

DH Wine Compliance hosts the Sonoma County Backpack Project for under-privileged youth. Staff is encouraged to volunteer and the firm sponsors youth sports teams, donates to classrooms, bought a washer/dryer and microscopes for Bellevue Elementary, and adopted a family in need through Corazon Healdsburg in lieu of a Christmas party.

“Our firm dealt with the challenging business environment extremely well. We finetuned how to work remotely and successfully.

We are changing, shifting and adjusting as needed and taking into account every workers individual struggles. I’m very thankful to be working at DHWC period, but especially during this epidemic!” a team member said. (back to the list of winners)



Rooted in Napa and Sonoma wine country, Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty is a partnership of 10 principals and 31attorneys and staff members providing full-service legal representation to clients throughout California, the U.S. and abroad.

The firm was founded 56 years ago and today has multiple practice areas that include business and corporate law, land use matters, labor and employment, civil litigation, intellectual property, geographical indications, real property transactions and water law.

“Our firm does all of this while providing our staff great benefits and a balanced work environment,” said DP&F’s three co-managing partners, Jennifer Douglas, Carol Kingery Ritter, S. Scott Gerien and Shari Riggs, chief operating and financial officer.

“We truly value our staff and the incredibly talented group of attorneys we employ. Our environment gives our employees a combination of big-firm opportunities and real-world experience in a community we all enjoy and support in every way.”

Considering the dramatic and unsettling events of 2020, the company states that employees believe it is inspiring to work for a partnership that has put their money where their mouths are. Everyone went remote due to COVID-19, and while the future seemed uncertain, the partners made a commitment to not laying off any attorneys or staff, the company states.

Complimentary snacks and beverages are provided, there is a Bevi machine, wine tastings, regular company parties and happy hours. Sponsored events take place at summer and holiday parties, during cooking classes, birthday celebrations, and employee anniversaries and retirement parties.

“Our culture is open, positive within a close-knit work community where the safety and well-being of employees is a top priority.

We even have social hours via Zoom!” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



Don Sebastiani & Sons in Sonoma, a fourth-generation family-owned business founded in 2001, is among the leading producers of wine, spirits and sparkling water.

“Family is at the core of who we are and what we do. We take that seriously and embrace our challenges as families do. We work together to find solutions, and our employees are empowered to make the right decisions, as they think to themselves, ‘what would I do if this was my own family’s winery?’” said Donny Sebastiani Jr. president and CEO.

COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders have meant that most of the Sonoma staff is working from home, which has been successful thanks to Microsoft Teams, Zoom meetings and conference calls. There are mini-employee online meetings Monday morning so the company’s 40 employees can be kept informed and grounded.

Management and staff celebrate birthdays, new babies and other life and seasonal events.

There are Mexican fiestas, potlucks and barbecues, put together by various employees.

Trivia games are organized by the Boost Employee Engagement (BEE) team. There are also impromptu tastings, including the recent ready-to-drink cocktail, a Flybird Margarita.

Events include a company-provided lunch and dessert and are themed to include games, raffles and prizes.

The company offers Community Challenges and Wellness Challenges directly tied to community involvement, such as the annual Christmas giving tree. There is a yearly food drive (with each employee getting a raffle ticket for items donated).

“We all took COVID SIP procedures very seriously and implemented protocols immediately by wearing masks at all times, frequent hand washing, and limited interaction,” a worker observed. (back to the list of winners)



According to CEO Andy Bannister, “We’ve worked hard to build a company of great people that are committed, passionate, and invested — not only in themselves — but each other. If being at Earthtone can have a positive impact in someone’s life, I feel we have succeeded.”

He said the greatest part of his job is watching people grow and become the best versions of themselves, not only at work, but beyond.

Established in 1997 and with 57 employees today, Earthtone specializes in building structures for the wine industry, agriculture, retail and office applications, as well as multi-family homes.

Providing clients and prospects with information and guidance is a hallmark of the company.

The company’s culture is summed up as “Being mindful of our actions, invested in our people, passion in our craft and sustainable in our vision.”

Before the pandemic, Earthtone had a recurring volunteer time slot at the Redwood Empire Food Bank to volunteer to Bank to pack food as a company. It has participated in a two-day build project Habitat for Humanity in Santa Rosa.

Promotion is from within whenever possible, and Earthtone’s mentoring program helps employees reach career goals.

The company sponsors summer employee barbecues and a holiday party. There are Saturday morning workouts from spring through fall and Friday bike rides during daylight saving period -- which had to be paused temporarily due to COVID–19.

“Earthtone goes above and beyond. We were shut down officially for a month and the company payed every employee 40 hours for four weeks. They also have been very understanding to families allowing employees to stay home to take care of kids” an employee wrote. (back to the list of winners)



Eckhoff and Company, in partnership with Eckhoff Wealth Management, has been offering tax, advisory and financial planning experience since 1955.

“We have a collaborative, supportive and challenging work environment and a team of talented and committed individuals who always strive to be professional, passionate and caring in delivering innovative solutions to our clients,” said CEO Michael Hassid.

Employees at Eckhoff average nine years with the company.

The firm is active in the community by supporting the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce Showcase. Employees have also taken board seats at local institutions, such as Westamerica Bank, and belong to BNI, the Petaluma Chamber, as well as being actively involved as a Sonoma State University Career Fair participant.

Employees have a benefits package that includes health insurance, 401(k)/profit sharing, PTO, paid sick leave and holidays — and have their tax returns completed by the company.

Staff members formed a fun committee to help plan and organize birthday celebrations and other events.

“Eckhoff met the new challenges superbly while providing continuous encouragement, flexibility along with masks and gloves. We stopped all overtime to save money, and 95% of employees are working from home.

We know management cares about us,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



Five-year-old Petaluma-based Eleven Engineering specializes in providing environmental remediation, decommissioning, and demolition and general construction services.

This licensed contractor and certified woman-owned business enterprise (WBE) is led by President Wendy Harding.

She said the past few months have been unexpected and rough. “But we are still here and filled with optimism and promise that better things are coming.”

According to VP Ryan Harding, resilience is what makes our company a best place to work. “Despite wildfires, mandatory power shutdowns, shelter-in-place orders, COVID–19 protocols, layoffs and civil unrest, the resolve and commitment of our people has never wavered. Our team has remained strong, upbeat and positive — simply amazing people.”

The firm’s annual review policy gives employees an opportunity to set and track goals and build a future plan with a career path.

Eleven Engineering’s nonprofit involvement includes sponsorships and donations to local school districts for education programs.

Employee donations to “Secret Santa” projects are matched by the company, and other charitable causes are supported, such as golf tournament fundraisers. Employees and their families enjoy baseball game outings and a holiday party.

“It’s the best company I’ve ever worked for.

Management listens and minimizes stresses associated with our work. After a short layoff, our company took advantage of PPP offered by government and we were all able to get back to work,” a staff member said. (back to the list of winners)



As a maker of body care products with nature’s best ingredients, EO Products is inspired to share its passion for nature’s pure essential oils.

“For nearly a quarter century we have blended our evocative scents with safe, effective plant-based ingredients,” said co-CEOs Susan Griffin Black and Brad Black. “Our goal is to live and work wholeheartedly in a way that honors the well-being of all people and the planet we share.”

When the virus hit, a third of EO’s workforce pivoted to work from home while the company has continued manufacturing operations as an essential business by instituting numerous safe practices and facility enhancements.

EO donates six figures worth of product to local nonprofits. Community partners include Homeward Bound, GLIDE Memorial Church, Lava Mae and Marin Mobile Care and the Sustainable Sports Foundation, Marine Mammal Center, Turning Green, Slide Ranch, and Green Gulch & Tassajara.

As a B Corporation, EO states it puts people and the planet above profits. It encourages employee career growth and promoted 31 employees in 2019.

Employees are honored for birthdays, work anniversary celebrations and at two to threeother selected holiday catered lunches per year. Baby and wedding showers are also recognized, and there is a summer picnic and holiday party.

“EO made the right accommodations for everyone’s safety and wellbeing during the COVID crisis. Now we are only producing hand sanitizers and soap products. There are daily wellness checks and care packages are sent to remote employees,” an employee observed. (back to the list of winners)



Exchange Bank has been making a difference in the North Bay since 1890 by providing stability, longevity, service, and by serving the local community through charitable giving each year.

“Employees are our most important and valuable assets. We have an incredibly dedicated staff and pride ourselves on delivering personalized customer service. I’m proud of our employees who contribute to making this community a great place to live and work,” said President and CEO Gary Hartwick.

During the pandemic, more than 72% of non-branch EB employees work remotely each day, while those in locations temporarily closed, or working reduced hours, continue to receive full pay. Premium pay is being provided to branch employees continuing to serve the public, and employees were paid more than required under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act with no caps on earnings, and with full pay, versus two-thirds pay, when caring for others.

The bank worked to secure PPP loans for local businesses and nonprofits, and donated funds to select nonprofits supporting critical community needs resulting from the pandemic.

To make it easier for non-English speaking customers to do their banking, 71 bilingual employees working in EB branches are assisting Spanish-speaking customers. They earn 10% on top of their regular hourly rate as an incentive.

The bank also provides discretionary bonuses for employees not in an incentive plan, and an annual year-end variable cash gift for all employees. In 2019 every employee with at least three months service was gifted $1,100.

“When COVID hit, we broke long-held beliefs about working from home and have become quick, nimble and open to new ideas going forward. I really appreciate management taking action and being diligent when it comes to our safety,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



As an essential legal services provider focusing on litigation, business law and tax and estate matters, Santa Rosa-based FGWH has been exempted from current shelter-inplace orders. The firm’s offices remain open during regular business hours with limited staff needed to provide these services, while other employees are able to work from home — and most of them are.

“We pride ourselves on providing a healthy workplace for our clients, colleagues and the community, and hope that others will embrace our active, healthy approach to help build stronger communities in these uncertain times,” according to Managing Partner John F. Friedemann.

“Policies to reduce contact and exposure were implemented and we actively monitor the health of every team member. In-person meetings are not conducted in the office.

We watch the rapidly changing situation adapting as needed so attorneys, paralegals and staff can be safe when addressing client needs while minimizing business disruption.”

In less challenging times, company-sponsored events have included family and holiday parties, monthly gatherings, along with special occasions honoring employees receiving co-worker appreciation bonuses.

The firm offers internships to the next generation of legal professionals. Many FGWH attorneys have done pro bono work for land conservation organizations, health charities, education, festivals, for the preservation of personal property matters and even personal injury. They also have volunteered as mediators, small claims judges and have served on judicial committees with several county courts.

“There were no layoffs or reduced shifts to my knowledge. The firm provided extra supplies when needed (e.g., webcams for people without them), and is providing extra reimbursement relief since people are using their own equipment, electricity, etc., for work. We have a great management team,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



GC Micro is an IT hardware, software integration and services company that procures mission-critical components for NASA, government agencies, the military and Boeing, its subcontractors and a long list of major U.S. manufacturers.

“Personal interactions between our staff and our customers makes GC Micro great and a best place to work,” said CEO Belinda Guadarrama, founder of this 100% minority and woman- owned small business.

“Our mission is to further yours. Through our team’s actions, we’ve created a dynamic and creative environment for GC Micro and our customers. For 34 years, our team has consistently exceeded customers’ expectations and has won numerous awards. We offer a team-focused approach resulting in a positive, uplifting work environment.”

She said philanthropy is GC Micro’s strongest investment. It supports Canine Companions for Independence, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Sonoma and Marin Counties, the Sonoma-Marin Fair Petting Zoo, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, the Dog Bowl, Petaluma Police K-9s, the Police Officers’ Association of Petaluma and St. Vincent DePaul.

Company events include an annual company awards dinner and Thanksgiving luncheon, barbecues and monthly birthday celebrations. There are sales incentive dinners and trips, plus an on-site exercise facility.

“During the crisis, everything has been planned out extensively by the owner. Employees feel protected and safe. Work schedules are varied so that some employees work from home one week while the other half is in the office so that social distancing is maintained at all times. Teams are reversed the next week. There has been no loss of staff or pay cuts,” one employee said. (back to the list of winners)



General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems in Healdsburg provides advanced, technology-led defense, aerospace and security solutions that empower the U.S. military and its allies. This Fortune 500 company (NYSE: GD) with 123 employees was founded in 1999.

“Our family of employees is just that — family.

The bond this group shares and their ‘cando attitude’ makes this location a special place to work,” said Matthew Eberhardt, general manager and senior director of operations.

“From the shop floor through the engineering department to top management, the environment is one where the team is committed to accomplishing the work together.”

He said since February the company has encountered and overcome COVID–19, wildfires and even threats of mass protests, enabling the team to continue delivering essential products to its customers.

The culture is professional, but laid back, with a casual dress code and a diverse group of engineers exhibiting a true sense of comradery, company officials said. A work-life balance is promoted, and friendships formed within and extend outside the workplace.

Some 13% of staff was promoted this year, and 63% of managers started as individual contributors.

The benefits package includes a 50% Park Point Health Club gym subsidy and waiver of initiation costs; COSTCO membership fee reimbursement; legal assistance; hospital indemnity/critical illness/accident and pet insurance; identify theft coverage; and education assistance. There are catered lunches, trips to San Francisco Giants games, plus a formal holiday party. Free on-site flu shots, health testing and employee referral bonuses are also offered.

“I’m behind the approach the company has taken during the health crisis — cleaning doorknobs, tables, chairs, face masks and temperature screenings every morning, plus working-at-home flexibility. We’re well organized, staying ahead of the standards and always improving,” a staff member said. (back to the list of winners)



Founded in 1935, George Petersen Insurance Agency offers business and personal insurance, tailored employee benefits programs and risk management services to help clients protect their families, homes, employees and businesses.

“Clients are essential to our company’s stability and growth, and behind each loyal client are our extraordinary long-term employees,” said COO Robb Daer. “We’re dedicated to creating a workplace that respects and values people from diverse backgrounds and enables all employees to do their best work.” The average longevity of employees is 14 years.

He said the agency always has an eye toward developing mutually rewarding employee relationships and offering them every chance to succeed and advance — including investing in educational advancement opportunities to ensure that the agency is providing the highest level of expertise to clients, while giving employees chances to advance their careers.

The agency celebrates good times. “We pride ourselves on having a fun, easy-going atmosphere. Our team is hard working and client focused, with the staff empowered to provide hands-on support when developing and improving systems and processes.”

The agency’s Outreach Committee coordinates choices for cash donations to charities based on employee input, and coordinates work teams for nonprofit involvement with REFB, Challenger Little League, Human Race, Salvation Army, United Way, YWCA, Toys for Tots, Council on Aging, SAY, Children’s Village, and the Memorial Hospital Foundation.

“GP has been very understanding and sensitive to people’s fears, their conflicts with home life and child care during the pandemic, and put procedures in place to make sure we have a healthy work environment as well as resources and equipment when working from home,” a staff member said. (back to the list of winners)



Ghilotti Bros, Inc. (GBI) has a 106-year history of work in in commercial and residential infrastructure and site development projects.

“Our 298 employees are very determined and motivated by success to accomplish their tasks, both individually and collectively,” said President Mike Ghilotti. “They are given an exponential number of opportunities to improve their skills at work, through training and opportunities for advancement, and are encouraged to do so. We want everyone succeed personally and professionally.”

GBI has a Wellness Committee dedicated to encouraging health habits for its staff by providing healthy snacks and monthly hikes in Marin County. The “Ghilotti University” provides extensive training and mentoring programs.

The company supports local nonprofits such as The Marin Catholic High School, College of Marin, A Bed for Everyone, Giving Marin, American Cancer Society, Relay for Life, Hope Uncorked, as well as the Bay Area Rescue Mission, Club Italia of Marin, and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Employees characterized the culture as “high performing,” yet flexible, when it comes to family and personal needs in keeping with the philosophy: “Earn respect by doing a job well done, treat employees with courtesy and respect, and do good work for the community in which you live and work.”

“This company ROCKS! No company could have done better to keep us employed by finding more work for us during the downturn.

None of our 300 employees were laid off, and most office staffers worked from home during the COVID turmoil,” a worker said. (back to the list of winners)



For three decades Ghirardo CPA’s staff of 30 professionals have provided tax, accounting and business services for individuals and closely held businesses in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties.

“Our team has always been much more than just an organization chart. Caring for each other is foundational to what we do, and the care that we give to our clients is rooted in our commitment to supporting and helping each other at work and in life,” said Greta Hoversten, managing principal. “Everything we do as a firm, from the everyday to the extraordinary, begins and ends with our team.”

She said with the many unexpected curves that 2020 has thrown at the company, the Ghirardo team has shown even greater strength and character, adapting to changes and relying on each other in ways that have actually drawn everyone closer together, even while being physically separated.

Ghirardo’s range of services offered has been expanded to include estate planning, trust administration, business succession, real estate consulting and special “concierge services” such as check-writing, bill-paying and financial oversight.

The culture is described as friendly, helpful and caring, with strong communication among team members and approachable management.

Employee perks include a company condo in Lake Tahoe that employees may reserve, an on-site exercise facility and company sponsored meals during the busy tax season. The promotion policy involves an annual review process that includes self-examination and management input.

When the tax crunch is over, there are endof- season parties and a holiday dinner for all.

“With the health crisis, management made a quick transition to remove workspaces, improve team members remote facilities and resources, created new team/group communications and training to utilize them, sent surprise goodie packages to all team members, and contributed to other community businesses that needed it most,” a team member noted. (back to the list of winners)



In the words of founder Edgar J. Helms in 1902, Goodwill is “an industrial program as well as a social service enterprise.”

In the North Bay, Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire opened its doors 46 years ago and today has some 234 employees — with 100% of upper management positions held by minorities and women.

Goodwill is also a provider of employment, training and rehabilitation opportunities for people of limited employability, and a source of temporary assistance for individuals whose resources have been depleted.

“We focus on developing our team members in ways that extend far beyond job skills,” said Brandy Evans, president and CEO. “We intentionally make time to listen to the needs of our team and support them in gaining life support that allow them to face challenges and excel in their employment.”

Goodwill is much more than a chain of stores selling repurposed clothing, furniture and other items. The Donated Goods Program also funds many other programs, such as recycling efforts, Work Adjustment Training, Situational Assessment Services and the Goodwill Guides Program for independent living.

Employee benefits include, paid sick leave, paid vacation, paid floating holiday leave for its seven-day-a-week team members that have to work holidays (with double pay on holidays), and paid holidays for five-day-a-week team members. Contributions are made for health, dental and eye care. There is an EAP, anniversary and holiday gift cards and paid training time.

Goodwill instituted a special hotline for employees to dial to receive daily updates while sheltering in place. A mass text program for sending companywide alerts was also deployed.

“We did not have a single layoff or furlough during the shelter-in-place mandate. Goodwill had the foresight to set funds aside for the economic turmoil we are facing so full salaries could be paid. I’m proud of how well we all have adopted the highest standards to stay safe,” a worker reported. (back to the list of winners)



In continuous operation for more than 146 years, Healdsburg Lumber Company (HLC) supplies hardware, building products and expertise for Northern California.

This family of companies includes two building material retailers, Healdsburg Lumber Company and Gualala Building Supply; a pre-hung door shop; Healdsburg Door & Sash Company; and Hudson Street Design, and home design showrooms in Healdsburg, San Rafael, and Napa.

“HLC has a professional, yet relaxed Sonoma County atmosphere with a focus on providing the best customer service in the building supplies industry,” said President Jill Gaylor.

“Staff members go out of their way to help and support each other and our customers before being asked. Family comes first and foremost. We pride ourselves on ensuring that employees feel like part of the family and are proud of their workplace. We encourage them to take ownership and leadership roles because we trust them.”

HLC provides everything from medical/ dental health insurance to flex-schedules, while funding continuing education, a 401(k), Roth IRA, FSA medical and dependent care, and vacation and sick PTO. There is an employee referral bonus, profit sharing and tuition reimbursement.

The company has holiday open houses, a casino night and an employee appreciation barbecues. HLC sponsors employee children’s sports teams, Healdsburg FFA purchases, a high school internship program, the North Coast Builders’ Exchange, RECSI, and a company softball team.

“We’ve been open since the pandemic started and sanitize our stores each day.

Management has been awesome putting strict polices in place while maintaining HLC as an essential business. We’re here to help others continuing to engage in building projects and home improvements to keep the economy going,” a worker said. (back to the list of winners)



Hennessy Advisors (HNNA: NASDAQ) is the publicly traded investment manager of the Hennessy Funds, offering domestic equity, sector/specialty and multi-asset products since 1989 for its more than 200,000 shareholders throughout the country.

“The worldwide pandemic has presented unparalleled challenges to every industry, including asset management. At Hennessy Funds, we remain steadfast in our commitment to providing solid mutual fund performance and excellent customer service,” said President/COO Teresa Nilsen. “During this uncertain time, we are even more focused on our business model and on supporting our investors, communities and each other.”

The firm’s 15 employees receive cash bonuses and equity compensation, along with vacation and sick pay in addition to health insurance coverage, 401(k) plan with company contribution, life/AD&D/disability insurance and a company-funded HSA. Gym memberships are sponsored by the company, and employees have the ability to direct funds to a nonprofit of their choosing, and can use flex-time for school or family events. The company also supports a positive and effective work-from-home model.

Hennessy not only supports hundreds of local nonprofits, it strongly encourages (and matches) employee donations in both time and money. The largest recipient of community giving is the Okizu Foundation that operates a summer camp for children affected by cancer, and offers support for their families, all free of charge.

Maintaining the personal touch is a keystone of the business model, the company states. While COVID-19 has affected the company’s assets under management, it has not affected the employee work ethic. Shareowners and other callers are welcomed by a team member, not by voicemail, and the firm has implemented a business continuity plan to continue to provide the best service possible.

“Management has taken great steps to make sure we all keep our jobs,” a staffer said. (back to the list of winners)



Henry’s Original was founded in 2017 to provide farm-direct cannabis products using heritage, organic and sustainable techniques.

“Our 60 regular and 10 seasonal employees are like a Swiss Army knife performing more than what is in their job descriptions,” said Jamie Warm, co-founder and CEO. “Henry’s Original is an employee-owned company where people look out for and fight for each other. They understand that to win, we all must rely on each other. Our new facility in Cotati will bring 50 new jobs to Sonoma County.”

The culture is dynamic and focused. Everyone is appreciated in a workplace where staff push each other to go higher and do better, be resilient and rise above everyday challenges.

Employees share a common need to “hustle.”

The company takes employee morale and feedback seriously and has a suggestion box where answers come back in real time.

Workers can express concerns confidentially to the HR team.

Breakfast treats, lunches and snacks are provided, and management holds lunches with a rotating group of employees to determine the best ways it can support them. The firm also offers employees logo wear, which has become the most sought-after benefit.

There are Friday barbecues and manager dinners, plus harvest and holiday parties with a meal and music where awards are presented for outstanding accomplishments.

“Today’s business environment is both challenging and changing, but our co-workers are still at it wearing masks and taking precautions, not just because we have to, but to keep each other, our families and customers safe,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



Hilton Garden Inn is a 4.4 star-rated hotel that invests in team members by providing multiple training and development opportunities.

“Our 45 caring and committed employees offer exceptional customer service to ensure maximum comfort and convenience to our traveling guests,” said General Manager Andrea Griffin. “We have a family-friendly, diverse, collaborative and unique culture characterized by enthusiasm for what we do and empathy above all else.”

In addition to basic health and insurance benefits, team members receive hotel and restaurant discounts for themselves, friends and family, and special anniversary bonuses.

Recognition programs throughout the year honor the employee of the month, personal performance and birthdays. There is an annual holiday bowling party and occasions celebrating special life events.

The staff shows its community support in many ways. There is a recycled soap project with The Clean the World Foundation; Toys for Tots collection, and guestroom donations to various local schools, veterans’ hospitals and local businesses.

The hotel is a sponsor of Sonoma County Tourism and local chambers of commerce.

Wineries are offered free space to showcase their varietals to guests during weekly tastings, and complimentary “chef bites” are provided from the restaurant to pair with these fine wines.

“We stayed open during the COVID crisis and offered high-risk employees and any others that had fears to take voluntary leaves of absence with the promise of having their jobs back when they are ready to return. I appreciate the new procedures to keep us and our guests safe,” a worker explained. (back to the list of winners)



With offices in Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Livermore and Chico, Hogan Land Services (HLS) provides civil and structural engineering, surveying, planning, permit assistance, violation resolution and septic design services.

“Our 21-member team makes our company a best place to work,” said CEO Michael R.

Hogan. “From management to our survey and engineering technicians, everyone has done a great job during this unprecedented time. In spite of the challenges, everyone has kept their head in the game and kept things going forward for our clients.”

He said the company’s dedicated team of professionals have proven to be incredibly adaptable and resilient in this ever-changing environment. “Whether we are in the office, or working remotely, a vibrant and energetic atmosphere surrounds us. It speaks volumes about who we are as a company. We truly care about each other, our clients and the work we are doing.”

With an understanding of the value of teamwork, HLS has developed a very strong team dynamic where everyone understands the importance of helping clients achieve their land development goals. Management looks for ways to support, challenge and motivate each person to reach their full potential.

There are a variety of team building and social events each year, including client appreciation barbecues, holiday parties and career fairs. HLS provides support for Tomorrows Leaders Today, CPAC, Santa Rosa East Rotary, SAY, Roseland Lion’s Club, YMCA and YWCA.

HLS promotes internally first, with jobs posted internally first, and also hires college graduates.

Beyond basic benefits, profit sharing, educational reimbursements, housing assistance and travel opportunities are available to employees.

“We have shown that working distantly is possible and can lead to success with precautions in place so we can eventually return to the office. Management is readily available if help is ever needed,” according to a staff member. (back to the list of winners)



Intelisys focuses on empowering and educating the independent sales channel by assisting business telecom and cloud technologies.

“We exist to enable the growth and success of our sales partners,” said President Mark Morgan.

“Every day we work together toward our goal of providing exceptional support through our 88-member team of hardworking, dedicated, creative and passionate colleagues — and love to reward and recognize them for their excellence.”

Average tenure at the firm is five years, and 20 employees have been with the firm for 10-plus years — two have reached 20 years. All full-time employees are eligible for quarterly bonuses.

The company has a group called the FISH Crew that organizes and hosts annual team-building, social and employee appreciation events. There are quarterly and annual Colleague Peer Recognition awards with cash prizes, and a spring Colleague Appreciation Week.

Several nonprofits are supported, including COTS, The Children’s Village, Petaluma Animal Shelter, REFB, the St. Johns Program, Toys for Tots, and nonprofit Telecom for Change — that has raised over $800,000 for grassroots charities across the U.S.

There are hosted lunches, baking competitions, International Food Day, Popcorn Wednesdays and summertime Friday barbecues.

In addition, there are movie nights, happy hours, bowling, trivia games, spirited Halloween contests, a walking club and a free coffee bar.

“Our company shifted to working entirely remotely. We all miss seeing each other but have utilized group calls to work together, catch up, and chat to imitate our office relationships.

Ironically, working remotely has brought everyone even closer together,” an employee observed. (back to the list of winners)



As wildfires raged throughout California, InterWest Insurance Services’ emergency claims team was available 24/7 to assist its clients. Established in 1992 with 13 locations in the state and 300-plus employees (21 in Petaluma), InterWest is a full-service insurance brokerage providing commercial and personal insurance, employee benefits, surety as well as claims advocacy, stewardship and risk management tools to help clients protect their assets.

“Our difference is our people,” said CEO Keith Schuler. “InterWest cares by offering a welcoming, collaborative environment with excellent employee benefits and many opportunities for career advancement.”

Employees participate in the Human Race Sonoma, Becoming Independent, Face to Face, Food for Thought, Marin Humane Society, SAY, REFB, Council on Aging, Paws for Purple Hearts and the Wounded Warrior Project.

Staff members are recognized during Employee Appreciation events and take part in an annual company celebration, Go Red Day for Heart Health, and Habitat for Humanity Build Days.

A variety of benefits, bonuses, perks and incentives are offered, starting with a shorter workweek (37.5 hours) and workday (7.5 hours); 11 paid holidays, PTO and makeup time, flex/altered schedules allowing for child care activities; and pre-holiday closings at 3 p.m.

Annual performance bonuses and merit increases are awarded, including monetary bonuses for certain milestone anniversaries.

There are Yearly Distinguished Employee Awards ($500 plus $100 for 2 to 4th quarters of the year). InterWest also puts $1,500 into each employee’s HSA account. There is profit sharing and a 401(k) plan with company match up to 17.5% of each person’s annual contribution.

“Our company was set up for remote operations. If equipment was needed, we were allowed to bring ours from the office home. Thanks to leadership and employee cooperation, it has all worked out very well!” an employee noted. (back to the list of winners)



Since 1986, JFW’s focus and commitment has centered on producing world-class wine with a team of innovators who believe in sustainability.

“As a leading premium and luxury winery, and one of the North Bay’s top employers with 1,153 people, our company makes some of the world’s best wines and strives to be the employer of choice in our region so we can attract and retain world-class talent,” said Larry Smith, SVP of human resources. “Our commitment to employee development and education, family ownership and community support are among the many reasons JFW is a best place to work.”

There is a statewide employee rally every summer along with regional town halls. Wine tastings, monthly wine education seminars and a bi-monthly employee orientation program showcases JFW business units, wineries and vineyards. One fifth of JFW employees receive a promotion annually. It also recognizes employees through individual excellence awards, team awards, service anniversary and peer-to-peer awards.

Employees can obtain leaves of absence, have a deferred compensation plan and an extensive training program that includes management development, personal growth, skills and safety training.

The company is introducing an online training platform to provide education to all employees during the pandemic, no matter where they are working.

Kendall-Jackson just launched the Grocery Worker’s Relief Fund partnering with United Way to provide emergency relief during COVID-19 for the immediate needs of frontline store workers by pledging $200,000 in year one and up to $2 million by 2030.

“JFW has a strong, proactive safety culture.

There is a COVID task force, protocols are outlined for essential and remote workers.

The company has stayed flexible and adaptable and has kept a majority of employee jobs throughout the economic crisis,” a worker said. (back to the list of winners)



Joanna’s Nannies provides on-call, vacation and event child care. The agency also offers wedding and event group child care as well as non-medical doula services including pregnancy, newborn and postpartum emotional and physical support.

“Joanna’s Nannies is a great company because we value ‘nannying’ as a career and provide growth opportunities for them,” said Joanna Briese, owner and founder. “We offer them a source of verifiable income and protection, which has not been the norm in this industry in the past. We care deeply about our nannies. Our agency would not exist without them.”

The agency has a JN Career Ladder that includes opportunities for growth and rewards based on performance and longevity. Paid sick leave is offered along with a hardship fund for those undergoing special circumstances that require a little help. Administrative staff members also receive sick pay and 20 hours of vacation pay a year, along with eligibility for raises every 6 months. Nanny team employees are eligible for raises at the end of every fiscal year.

During the pandemic, everyone contributed to a new organization, called the Nanny Relief Fund that assists nannies by enabling them to continue their lives with less disruption in their income.

The culture can be described as being committed to families by providing respectful communication through an organized stressfree process.

“Company managers go out of their way to acknowledge team member accomplishments and reward us with gift cards and bonuses.

They always ask for our input and feedback before making large policy changes. I love that I am able to create my own schedule and that there are lots of local work opportunities,” one nanny said. (back to the list of winners)



Kaiser Permanente’s North Bay medical centers located in Santa Rosa and San Rafael are staffed by 5,084 employees, making it the largest employer in Sonoma and Marin counties with satellite care facilities in Petaluma, Novato downtown, San Rafael, Santa Rosa Mercury Way and Mill Valley.

“We are committed to innovation and maintaining a workplace where people are engaged, energized and dedicated to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve,” said Tarek Salaway, senior VP and area manager. “The company and its employees embody this commitment by providing high quality and affordable health care.”

During the pandemic, Kaiser is offering members and the public COVID–19 information online. Kaiser’s testing capacity has increased to process 10,000 tests per day.

Kaiser’s Employee Wellness Programs at both locations are free and open to employees.

Services include personal health assessments, health coaching, a walking club, exercise classes and wellness lectures. The Diversity Committee holds monthly meetings, a dynamic lecture series and special events.

Employees participate in Kaiser-sponsored events, such as the SF Half Marathon, SF Pride Parade, Special Olympics, Marin Marathon and Triathlon, the Human Race, etc.

“Kaiser has been on the front-line during shelter in place, allowing employees to telecommute and develop telehealth in cases where the need did not require a presence at the medical center. Kaiser also helps pay for child care and housing expenses (if an employee needs to shelter out of the home for certain reasons) and provides 80 hours of paid sick leave for COVID-19 quarantine.

They provide all of the tools and gear we need to be safe and care for our community, and we are not charging for any out-of-pocket costs related to the testing and treatment of COVID-19,” employees said. (back to the list of winners)



Keegan & Coppin has been providing brokerage services to clients in Marin, Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties since 1976.

“We network and have an essentially flat organizational structure from which many leaders have emerged over the years,” according to President and CEO Al Coppin. “Our people, including 71 staff members and real estate agents, comprise the largest and most experienced company in the North Bay based in Santa Rosa with offices Napa, Petaluma and Larkspur.”

The company serves the industrial, retail occupier and investment markets and has experience in managing and developing business properties, including land sales and build-to-suit transactions, by representing landlords of small buildings to major new development projects and all tenant sizes from start-ups to major corporations.

Company officials describe the culture as collaborative, communicative, open and energetic and one where promotions come from within whenever possible.

Staff members become bell ringers for a day raising funds for the Salvation Army every year in December. Employees say the agency was wearing masks and ordering PPE weeks before SIP.

“When I reflect on my 33-plus years at Keegan & Coppin and why I love working here, I immediately think of Jim Keegan, now retired, and Al Coppin. Their leadership made this company a best place to work. They value us and we have a voice and truly matter to them. We are always growing. The company is purpose driven, supportive, and sensitive to individual needs and continuously strives for greatness, while understanding that humor and fun in the workplace is also important. We have monthly company barbecues, themed lunches and celebrate personal accomplishments, birthdays, etc. You name it, K&C celebrates it!” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



For over four decades, including becoming a public company in 2014, Keysight Technologies (NYSE: KEYS) has been transforming today’s measurement experience through innovations in wireless, modular and software solutions for major 5G customers, electronic and environmental companies.

“Our 1,700 employees create incredible products and solutions that enable breakthroughs making our world more connected and secure,” said Chairman, President and CEO Ron Nersesian. “They are the best in the industry and bring together speed, courage and integrity to make it all happen.”

Keysight offers employee clubs and networks, charitable gift matching, grant opportunities and recreation leagues. Also available are time to play and relax fitness rooms, outdoor sports facilities and on-site massage and yoga classes, as well as an employer- funded Uber rides to and from SMART train stations.

Putting employees first has been in Keysight’s DNA for 80 years. Employees get four paid hours a month to volunteer during the United Way’s Day of Caring, with the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk, the Mike Hauser Academy, Introducing a Girl to Engineering Day, at Keysight’s After School Program, with the REFB, along with participating in quarterly environmental projects at local parks, preserves and open space areas.

“During the COVID crisis, we formed a global task force to make sure everyone could thrive in their work environment, whether at home or on-site. I feel safe here and during SIP, I could not have dreamed of working for a company that would take such care of me and my family. Our CEO cut his salary 100%, senior VPs 50% and managers 10%, but there was no impact on employees’ salaries and no full time, regular employees were let go,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



From customer-facing digital marketing to deep dives into data analytics, Kiosk provides clients with the expertise to grow business, optimize spending and deliver attributable results. The company states it does this with an “awesomely” effective team of 45 experts proficient in unifying marketing activities across organizations to build efficient, cohesive media, marketing and advertising campaigns that increase brand awareness and sales.

“We work to unlock human potential by doing amazing things for our employees, clients and our community,” said Munir Haddad, founder and CEO. “Our corporate, educational and government clients come from all over the world and appreciate the level of skill and talent we provide them to grow their own companies and organizations.”

Kiosk had work-from-home Fridays that became every day when shelter in place came into play. The company held the team together through the uncertainty, retaining staff and ensuring everyone’s health and wellbeing while working effectively from home. Sit/ stand desks were provided, along with chairs, laptop risers and other equipment, such as monitors, and care packages of supplies, the company stated.

Kioskers can choose volunteer opportunities such as Homeward Bound of Marin. In support of diversity, the company states it encourages clients and employees to act in the best interest of all in society, speaking up for disenfranchised groups and supporting Black Lives Matter.

“SIP was done seamlessly, thoughtfully and with input from the entire organization.

Employees were polled to see how they felt about returning to the office. Online transitioning meetings were common. Pivoting at a moment’s notice and evolving are the DNA of the company. We play video binging and still have game days periodically and happy hours allowing us to connect. We are all still working, which is great,” employees said. (back to the list of winners)



Currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, privately held KLH provides enterprise solutions as a Microsoft Dynamics partner, managed IT services under its DataWatch program as well as network solutions and telecom services as an Avaya partner from its headquarters in Santa Rosa with a team of 60 certified network engineers and support personnel.

“We have a knowledgeable and dedicated team,” said CEO Soni Lampert. “Technology moves fast and we value and support our employees with continuing education and training. We also believe great leadership starts early and offer paid internships to employees’ high school and college-aged young people. We take pride in furthering our clients’ missions and goals and gain satisfaction from seeing them thrive.”

Lampert said KLH loves to promote from within and values employee referrals for open positions. She said the average longevity of employees is greater than five years and the company is fortunate to have experienced staff members who have been with KLH for decades.

KLH offers company-sponsored lunches and several events throughout the year, such as Star Wars movie nights and Giant’s baseball games, bowling nights along with swim parties and picnics. With the pandemic, the company is maintaining team spirit through various online events.

“As an IT company, our leaders did not wait to see what other employers were doing when COVID broke out and made the transition to SIP easy for employees and seamless to our customers. We collaborate through Microsoft Team meetings and the company keeps us informed with regular online updates and KLH-supplied IP desk phones. We all have done our best to keep KLH alive and well with everyone chipping in,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



The founding Tomayo family has been bringing new recipes to market since 1977.

“We are a 42-year-old family owned business with core values rooted in the heritage of our founders, Jose and Mary Tomayo,” said CEO Jeff Ahlers. “At the same time, we maintain an innovative, start-up mentality that enables our 282 employees to stay engaged, challenged and excited about the products we create now and in the future.”

In addition to comprehensive health and insurance benefits, 401(k) and match, Flex 125 plan, AFLAC, PTO and holiday pay, employees have access to college scholarship grants, tuition reimbursement, walking breaks and meetings, employee recognition, on-site mini-market and store, organized potlucks, company celebrations, baby showers, weddings and a company cafeteria.

There are quarterly CEO roundtables and town halls, a cross-department culture committee along with training and development across the organization. While on hold this year, staff has enjoyed an annual summer picnic at Six Flags and a Christmas movie outing.

“We took all safety precautions seriously, and the company implemented protocols that kept everyone safe during the pandemic. We are fortunate to have our jobs as essential workers. Management quickly moved everyone possible off-site and updated processes for the production staff’s protection ahead of CDC, county or state requirements. We’ve stayed open and have not lost work,” an employee said. “We’re doing great!” (back to the list of winners)



The Ledson family is known for its winery and vineyards producing over 70 wines annually — the largest wine portfolio of any family-owned winery in the U.S. It is also the name of a gothic 16,000 square foot French-Normandy style castle where the public and wine-club members come to enjoy wine tastings, shop its gourmet marketplace and picnic on the grounds.

“We consider employees to be our primary assets. Their engagement and passion for the company is critical for our success,” said Steve Ledson, owner and winemaker.

“We provide a healthy culture, a family-like environment and consider our employees extended family. They view themselves as part of a team where everyone contributes to create extraordinary wines in an exquisite atmosphere with impeccable hospitality.”

Ledson offers a competitive benefit package, while rewarding its 28 employees for hard work, and their accomplishments, and fostering a positive, fun and fulfilling work environment. There is a holiday party, employee barbecues, and oyster and wine get-togethers at local restaurants.

The company supports the community through hosted events and by providing fundraising opportunities.

“We produce some of the best wine in the world and I get to share the experience of being able to work for Ledson with some amazing staff while having a great time.

When the pandemic hit, we pivoted our focus to pieces of our business that could prosper under today’s circumstances and took the time to improve other pieces for when we return,” an employee observed. (back to the list of winners)



Linkenheimer sees itself as a partner in its clients’ success by utilizing a team approach in developing positive financial solutions to help them grow and make an impact locally and globally.

“Our people, culture and dedication to our community make Linkenheimer a special place,” said Partner Chris Jones. “Our talented staff has always been the key to our success, whether through giving back to the community, acting selflessly at the office and going above and beyond to help clients.”

The company’s culture and staff are foundations of the firm. Linkenheimer puts time and energy into staff development, taking care of their families and promoting community involvement. Before the pandemic, this process involved team building activities like zip lining, kayaking, volunteering at local charities and yearly company vacations, trips to Alaska or an annual retreat to a fly fishing lodge near Redding for staff and families.

Company employees have dedicated over 1,000 hours a year to bettering the community through Rotary memberships, serving on nonprofit boards and performing community service.

The firm actively supports free mobile eye care clinics, and the construction and staffing of a surgery center in the remote San Juan River region of Nicaragua. Client and staff support helps to provide advanced eye diagnostic and surgical capacity in a region where such services do not exist.

Promotions are based on technical experience and improvement, contributions to the company culture and the community as well as on leadership skills and business development, the company states.

“Everyone is valued and appreciated, and managers are very kind and good hearted.

Partners do a stellar job keeping everyone updated on the latest public health rules.

Employees are working from home via VPN.

It’s such an all-around nice group of people, fun, and super smart!” an employee noted. (back to the list of winners)



As a manufacturer of corks, glass and packaging for North American markets, M.A.

Silva is 100% vertically integrated to ensure complete process control and certified quality from the harvest of cork bark in Portugal through the delivery of finished corks to its customers.

“What makes M.A. Silva USA great is the dedication, commitment and positive energy of our 32 employees,” said Owner Neil Foster.

“We are blessed to have so many great people working in our business.”

Employees receive 100% company paid health care, 80% paid dental and vision care and 100% paid life insurance coverage.

The culture is team and family-oriented with a work hard, play hard attitude where everyone is very supportive of each other, the company stated. When gatherings are allowed, M.A. Silva will host holiday parties, barbecues, baseball and soccer games, walk challenges and pizza days, the company stated.

It operates on solar power and is committed to sustainability and eco-friendly operations.

Promotion is from within whenever possible.

Half of upper management positions are held by minorities and women.

M.A. Silva donates to the Sonoma County Vintner’s Association, Redwood Empire Food Bank, Boys and Girls Club and local schools as well as supports charity golf tournaments.

“My co-workers make this the best place to work. During the COVID crisis, we have embraced required differences and believe we still can achieve our mission. This is a learnas- you-go scenario,” an employee said. “We have daily Zoom update meetings that include employee trivia based on information we share about ourselves. M.A. Silva is making our workplace safe for all. Management is very accommodating allowing us to work off site when possible. Keep on doing what you’re doing!” (back to the list of winners)



Healdsburg-based Mengali Accountancy is a CPA firm dedicated to excellence in the workplace.

“Employees created our mission, vision and values statements together as a team and we live by them every day,” said COO Debbie Warren. “We’re dedicated professionals who believe collaboration produces better results as we strive to achieve the highest standards of excellence through our commitment to ourselves, our clients and our community.

Our dependability and caring nature enable us to develop positive client relationships.

You feel cared for here at Mengali.”

Staff benefits include health and dental plans, gym memberships, 401(k) with 4% match, two weeks of PTO for the first two years, then three weeks thereafter, annual retreats, above-market salaries, eight paid holidays and education assistance ($5,250/ year). CPAs also receive a $1,000 spending allowance for CPE, dues, etc., referral bonuses and data usage reimbursements.

Mengali promotes from within and encourages self-development. It stated one staff member started in a clerical position and is now a senior accountant.

The team enjoys getting together at Driven Raceway, Mayacama Days, Russian River Rafting, Giants Games, company/family barbecues and dinners and Safari West Day.

Many employees serve on local boards, including the Healdsburg Forever Grants Committee, Sonoma County YWCA, Rainbow Housing Assistance Corp. and the Boys and Girls Club. Financial support is provided to the Council on Aging, Meals on Wheels, The Healdsburg Foundation of Sonoma County, Humane Society, Becoming Independent, and more.

“Previous fire evacuations gave us a head start for SIP in the pandemic. We already have a paperless system, and the cameras and software we use allows us to stay connected as though we were still all together under one roof. I love working for Mengali Accountancy,” an employee stated. (back to the list of winners)



Meritage is a physician-led network of 700 primary care and specialist medical doctors working together to provide quality care for their patients in Marin, Napa and Sonoma counties.

“Our employees are our most valuable asset,” said CEO Wojtek Nowak. “Our environment is empowering, inclusive and focused on our mission to enable Meritage physicians to provide the highest quality health-care to the communities we serve.”

Meritage has 71 headquarters employees who receive a comprehensive and affordable medical, behavioral health, vision and dental benefits package plus voluntary life and longterm disability insurance, with 17-27 PTO days based on service plus two float days.

Fringe benefits include a commuter subsidy, development/training opportunities, a mentor program, annual merit increase and performance bonuses, plus travel assistance for medical emergencies. There is an Employee of the Year Award, a wellness program with employee-led walking groups, onsite meditation sessions and Qi Gong, monthly Lunch & Learns and chair massages. Discounted memberships to the YMCA and Body Kinetics are available as are free vaccinations during flu season. Legal benefits are offered through Rocket Lawyer where employees receive a 40% discount off attorney billing rates.

The company provides lunch twice a month, holiday parties and a summer picnic along with Meritage swag, an employee cash service award, “December to Remember” celebrations and activities every day with prizes during the month. Due to COVID-19, the company is evaluating other options.

“At Meritage, management listens, is flexible and the environment is conducive to doing your best in a safe, fair and fun workplace. The company is not pressuring 90% of employees working at home to return to the office and will allow remote work indefinitely, which is great for employees with children or who are caregivers,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



Recently named as one of America’s Best Bike Shops by the National Bicycle Dealers Association, Mike’s Bikes has 250 employees, 60 in the North Bay.

“Our mission is simple … to get more people on bikes,” said CEO Ken Martin. “We accomplish this through the awesomeness of our people. Our fun, competitive culture makes every day interesting, and our passion for providing a great riding experience is what grew Mike’s Bikes to be the largest local bike shop in the country.”

Employees have access to a employee bike purchase program. Staff earns Ride Pay at 10 cents/mile for riding their bikes, reimbursement for cycling races and the use of company vehicles. Group rides are organized at lunch or to/from work. Staff can use the demo bike fleet, the free body geometry bike fit, passes, etc.

Internal growth is encouraged with help from a fulltime director of training and development.

Sponsored events have included an annual picnic at Oakland’s Joaquin Park for a day of riding, barbecues, lawn games and pie-eating contests.

Mike’s Bikes organizes and produces the San Rafael Sunset Criterium race that draws 500+ athletes and 10,000 spectators downtown for a unique experience.

The company is also a major sponsor of the Norcal High School Mountain Bike League and contributes over $10,000 annually.

Mike’s Bikes Foundation and its African Drive Program collects used bikes from its 12 stores to repurpose them in African sister stores. Some 20,000 bikes have been distributed since 2008.

“It’s a fun place to work without the heavy top-down corporate feel. We’re taking all health precautions and business is booming.

We’ve been open throughout the pandemic and have successfully avoided any COVID illnesses among employees to date,” a staffer said. (back to the list of winners)



Rohnert Park-based MKM Associates offers structural engineering excellence through a diverse professional staff with extensive and varied education, engineering and construction backgrounds.

“MKM provides quality engineering while reducing construction costs,” said Principal John Cook Sr. “Our 39 employees are highly talented and work as a team to meet or exceed our clients’ expectations.”

Benefits include medical insurance, pretax healthcare plans, PTO, 401(k), ESP and paid holidays.

Dental, vision and supplemental medical insurance are available. Fringes include monetary bonuses, flex-time schedules, and paid membership fees for industry-related organizations.

Promotions are based on merit.

Staff members participate in MKM’s Client Appreciation Open House, monthly staff meetings with lunch provided (where outstanding work is recognized), Lunch & Learns feature industry guest speakers, and in-house and off-site training courses.

In pre-COVID-19 times, there is a summer event (picnic, Giant’s baseball game, Sonoma County Fair Day and an off-site company holiday dinner). The company sponsors lunches celebrating holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day, National Pie Day, Cinco de Mayo and Mardi Gras. The top three ideas placed in the suggestion box win quarterly cash prizes.

The company provides training of junior engineers and interns. New employees are assigned a mentor to review their work and offer guidance.

“It is a great, semi-casual and flexible work environment. MKM is very adaptive.

Employees who need to work from home have been able to do so by checking out equipment.

A code of standard practices was adopted allowing us to work safely in the office,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



Moore Home Services provides duct work, air quality and air scrubber services along with diagnostics, tune-ups and safety inspections from its offices in Santa Rosa and Sacramento.

“There’s a lot of heart and dedication in this company. We see this in how our 98 employees care for each other and our clients,” said COO Frank DiMarco. “All of our services are 100% right…or 100% free.”

“We encourage and lead team members to go above and beyond. We believe one of the greatest things anyone can do is perform a good deed free for another person. Our goal is to make our clients’ day better by creating great partnerships and always giving them more than what they expect every time.”

Moore provides paid training courses to applicants with no industry experience.

The company recently held its annual celebration and recognition event. Prior to COVID-19, Moore was holding monthly team meetings to reinforce unity while sharing breakfasts, honoring employee achievements and providing training.

The company sponsors little leagues, a men’s softball league and supports employees’ children with a dollar amount per child, per year for sports and events.

“We have never been busier and pride ourselves on doing our work right the first time.

Moore has great leaders who honor loyalty and integrity,” a technician said. (back to the list of winners)



Moss Adams provides services beyond tax and accounting, including estate planning and wealth management, assurance and advisory support, and international guidance through its China, India and South American practice groups.

“Community is always top of mind for professionals at Moss Adams,” said Michael Ricioli, North Bay partner-in-charge.

“Communities are more than just locations on a map. They are where we establish our homes, raise our families and make a living.

When it comes to giving back, we are all in. We focus on the community within our firm with a mission to foster an inclusive and diverse culture where everyone feels like they belong.

This optimism, and a one-firm mindset, enables us to create the best authentic advisers who help their clients grow, manage, and protect their prosperity with confidence.”

In less stressful times, the company sponsored a day at Oracle Park, wine tastings, office dinners along with company retreats, bowling events, casino nights and annual holiday parties.

The firm welcomes exploratory conversations about how employees can customize their careers, the company stated. Promotions depend on the ability of employees to meet the firm’s performance expectations and begin to demonstrate performance at the next level.

Moss Adams sponsors an annual day of service called “Helping Hands,” where employees at every NorCal office participate and sign up for a number of volunteering options.

“I’ve worked for other Bay Area firms and Moss Adams is No. 1. We get reimbursements to set up home offices, furloughed employees are back, and compensation levels have been reinstated. It took teamwork, sacrifice and a never-say-die attitude. Our firm rose to the occasion,” an employee stated. (back to the list of winners)



Mr. Rooter is celebrating its 20th year in business in Sonoma County.

“The parent company was originally established in 1970 in Oklahoma City and founded on trust, service, quality work and honest flat-rate, upfront prices,” said Sal Baldenegro, director of operations. “Our plumbers treat client homes with respect and consideration.

Our staff of 31 home service experts listens to our residential and commercial customers, responds quickly to their needs and never adds overtime charges. They treat customers as they would like to be treated.”

Employees are assigned fuel cards and vehicles they drive to and from work and receive stipends for cell phone costs. They receive medical, dental, vision as well as chiropractic and acupuncture benefits along with PTO and sick days, an HSA, disability, accident and life insurance and a retirement plan.

Fringes include weekly breakfasts, coffee and snacks and other food items from COSTCO created from an employee wish list to keep the refrigerator and food closet stocked.

Mr. Rooter’s employees participated in trash pick-up day at Spring Lake, company canoe trips, bowling nights, quarterly game nights and home shows. Other fun events include summer campouts, holiday parties, a murder mystery dinner night, career fairs, and at “One Team One Dream” give back events voted by employees to perform community volunteer activities, this year at the Redwood Gospel Mission kitchen.

“Our company introduced pandemic hazard pay immediately and moved to video weekly meetings while cooking meals for the team and finding other ways to creatively connect. Our owner, Saunda Kitchen, works diligently to ensure that our entire team and families stay safe,” stated one worker. (back to the list of winners)



North Coast Title Company’s website provides links to numerous industry-related companies and associations, information about the various NCTC training classes available, along with a way to easily calculate title and escrow rates for the company’s services.

“We opened our doors in 2009 with the belief that the community benefits from having a local title and escrow company,” said Cathie Cramer, president and CEO. “The strength of the 14 associates on our North Coast Title team and their can-do attitude provide a meaningful experience for our clients.”

The company strives to provide ongoing training in order to promote from within when positions become available. The average longevity of employees is almost a decade.

NCTC supports the Boys and Girls Club of Central Sonoma County along with back to school supply drive and reaches out to sponsor families in need at Christmas.

“Management is thoughtful and creates a fun environment in an industry that can be high pressure. They take care of employees by providing lunches, time off, in addition to flowers and kudos for jobs well done. As the pandemic continues, we are following the rules and everyone is healthy, a top priority for those at the office or working from home as we evolve with changing times and rules. Keep it going and never give up,” an associate said. (back to the list of winners)



NOVA specializes in hydrant fueling, waterfront and pier construction as well as utility and electrical construction projects with an AISC Certified 50,000 square-foot facility to fabricate structural steel for complex buildings and bridges. Established in 1976, NOVA has been awarded over $2 billion in government construction contracts.

“NOVA’s greatest asset is its 160 employees,” said President Scott Victor. “We have been in business 44 successful years, and counting, thanks to our employees — several of whom have been with us 30+ years.”

He said NOVA offers a unique working environment focusing on employee development, training and advancement. Paid training includes e-learning, in-person onsite and virtual sessions. Benefits include 100% employer paid health/dental insurance including dependent coverage, tuition reimbursement, short/long-term disability insurance, 401(k) with company 4.5% match, paid holidays, PTO and a wellness program with cash incentives.

There are safety incentives, a community and industry donation match (up to $1,500), a Thanksgiving charitable donation and paid volunteer time off to participate with VOICES and other nonprofits, plus the annual NOVATHON (jog-a-thon charity fundraiser).

The Social Committee plans sponsored trips to sporting events, indoor cart racing, white water rafting, snow getaways, city excursions and the annual holiday party.

It is a dog-friendly workplace with catered breakfasts on Wednesdays, a health fair, catered Lunch & Learns, a walking/running trail, 100 Mile Club and free beverages.

“NOVA has done a remarkable job in changing with current health challenges. I feel safe and secure with the policies in place and have not suffered any financial hardship.

I didn’t miss a day of work and was even given a raise!” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



Practice areas for the law firm of O’Brien Watters and Davis include civil litigation to appeals, from family law (divorce and child custody) to estate planning (trusts, wills, probate), and from real estate law to business entities (corporations and partnerships).

“For over 25 years our firm has been rated AV, the highest peer rating of professional excellence by Martindale Hubbell® Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers™, and four of our former partners have become judges on the Sonoma County Superior Court,” according to Managing Partner Michael G.

Watters. “Our firm’s 18 lawyers and legal staff are the best in the area.”

In 2020, the firm also received the Martindale- Hubbell “Client Champion Gold Award” based on the number of positive client reviews in a survey.

Partners and staff members describe the culture as people oriented, family focused with an open-door policy and a concentration on long-term employee retention — with average employee longevity of nine years -- within an office environment where upper management listens.

The firm supports the community by participating in the Human Race and a White Elephant Celebration along with Secret Santa and donations to golf tournament fundraisers.

“Everyone is treated fairly. Management implemented measures to keep us safe. For example, we can work from home and need to come in only to the extent of our comfort level. As staff returns to work, plastic barriers (shower curtain liners) were placed around cubicles and meetings with clients — by appointment only– are held on the back patio to sign documents after surfaces are sanitized. I feel valued and supported,” a staff member said. (back to the list of winners)



Oliver’s Market is known as Sonoma County’s local, independent and employee-owned grocery store with four locations -- Cotati, Montecito, Stony Point and Windsor.

“We offer our 1,040 employees fair wages and the best benefits that we can,” said General Managers Eric Neuse and Scott Gross.

“We provide flexible scheduling to support family and education needs and create many opportunities for employees to grow and gain experience by promoting from within. Many managers joined us at entry level positions.”

Established by Steve Maass in 1988, today Oliver’s is a Social Purpose Corporation with an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).

Wages and salaries range from $15 to $30/ hour (with $2/per hour temporary raise as hazard pay for hourly workers during COVID-19) and from $62,400 to $170,000/year for management.

Through sales of Oliver’s Community Card, over $300,000 was donated to 500+ charities in 2019 determined by customer choice.

The culture is creative and collaborative.

Open communication is encouraged and ideas for improving/streamlining processes are welcome, the company stated.

In a normal year, Oliver’s supports little league teams and school sports programs, the Cotati Music and Accordion Festivals, Gravenstein Apple Fair, Press Democrat Youth Service Awards and Windsor Summer Nights, while hosting volunteer events at the Sonoma Humane Society and the Redwood Empire Food Bank.

“Oliver’s has taken the most efficient, effective actions I have seen during the pandemic — limiting customers in stores, Plexiglas at checkouts, sanitizing carts, staggering workdays, and no layoffs but relocating people to different departments. It’s awesome,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



Parkpoint Health Clubs offer health and wellbeing of mind, body and spirit at three convenient locations in Sonoma County.

“Our loyal, longstanding staff is what makes Parkpoint Health Clubs outstanding,” according to Owner Bill Buchanan. “I’m proud to have several staff members who have worked for the clubs for 20 to 30 years. “We’re still here for our members and have been keeping the club open as much as possible when air quality permits during the early fire season.”

Parkpoint also closed March 16 to July 16 during the pandemic. Previously, all three locations had nearly 240 employees. The company is staffing up again as more classes are scheduled outdoors. Reservations are necessary using the Parkpoint app, by going online or by phone to book swim lanes, family swim time and aqua aerobics, or outdoor group exercise classes and personal training.

In less stressful times, Parkpoint has sponsored local events, races and provided silent auction items to schools and nonprofits such as SAY, Canine Companions for Independence, the Willmar Center, and also contributed to Transcendence Theater or Sixth Street Playhouse. A new Sonoma County Education Foundation partnership will allow employees to promote the benefits of wellness preschool, college and career-ready students.

During the pandemic crisis, Parkpoint hosted employee volunteer days where food donations were collected for the REFB.

Through this drive, $3,968 in cash contributions and some 3,252 pounds of food were donated.

“Bill Buchanan is my hero. He paid all staff their full wages for three months, and medical even when some were temporarily furloughed,” a staff member noted. (back to the list of winners)



Named as the Best Winery in North America by the Discoverer in 2019, Napa Valley’s Peju Winery and vineyard was founded in 1983 by Tony and Herta Peju on a 30-acre property in Rutherford.

Today this is one of five properties owned by the family with a total of 558 acres of estate vineyards organically farmed in Rutherford, Oak Knoll, Carneros, Calistoga and Pope Valley.

Collectively these vineyards are growing 10 varietals and nine clones.

“We value our 72 employees and we’re committed to making the best wines our customers love year after year,” said Co-Owners Ariana and Lisa Peju. ”Our culture is supportive and fun, friendly, open-minded and fair. We often see the word ‘family’ reflected in our bi-annual employee engagement surveys.

This is a testament to our family-owned dynamic, values and how we take care of our employees.”

Beyond health benefits, FSA plans and a 401(k) with an employer match, employees have access to a Bilingual Learning Management System featuring thousands of courses for professional development. The owners provide monthly family meals and gatherings, an annual Halloween Costume Contest, holiday party, anniversary recognition and wine allotment, plus flowers delivered to employee desks on birthdays, employee discounts on wine and merchandise and vineyard experiences (pruning, suckering, etc.).

“We are currently open, including our tasting rooms, and are bringing back those employees who were furloughed. Our e-commerce team has stepped it up and we now have more wine club members than last year. We weathered the COVID crisis very well and found ways to keep co-workers engaged.

Providing everything needed to work from home has been essential,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



As a Bay Area leader in ecosystem-climate research, Pepperwood’s mission is to advance science-based conservation planning and to guide natural resource and land management throughout the North Bay and beyond. Established in 2005, the preserve’s 3,200 acres serve as a refuge for more than 900 species of plants and animals.

“Our talented staff makes Pepperwood great,” said President and CEO Lisa Micheli, Ph.D. “Pepperwood is a small and nimble organization with 17 employees that is making a big impact on Northern California Conservation. As a nonprofit organization, Pepperwood is committed to serving the community through ecological research and environmental education programs for all ages and internships for local college students. There is a definite sense that employees care about the work they are doing, and about one another.”

She said the preserve’s many partners range from the University of California Berkeley to the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District.

Community involvement includes holding appreciation parties for volunteers and donors as well as hosting free hikes for the public. In-kind donations include offering Pepperwood naturalist-led walks for other nonprofits to use in auctions and raffles.

The culture is described as open, where clear and considerate communication is highly valued. Management encourages staff development through training and conference participation, with space made for occasional staff retreats.

“When the pandemic came, management made it a priority to maintain payroll and benefits for all staff. We started by working from home with all public events and activities cancelled. Now field staff is back working outside following safety protocols. We also had to cancel our big annual fundraiser, but board members and donors stepped up to keep us financially healthy,” a staff member observed. (back to the list of winners)



Petaluma Health Center (PHC) is a nonprofit, federally qualified health center offering comprehensive medical, dental, mental health, and specialty health care services for people in communities it serves with offices in 11 locations, including Casa Grande and San Antonio High Schools and Santa Rosa Junior College.

“Since 1994 PHC has been guided by its mission and our dedication to serving our communities,” said CEO Kathie Powell. “Our medical teams provide primary, preventive medical care and supportive health care services for over 45,000 patients in Sonoma and Marin counties, making us one of the largest health care nonprofits in the region.

Our 402 employees are committed to ensuring that all people, including the medically underserved, have access to high-quality, patient centered care.”

Employee benefits include 90% of medical premiums paid by PHC. Co-insurance and co-pays are covered 100% for all in-network and qualifying medical expenses. PTO, 401(k) retirement matching and safe-harbor retirement contribution plans are offered, along with vision, dental life/AD&D, long term disability, voluntary critical incident and accident coverage, gym membership subsidies and EAP. Acupuncture/chiropractic care and wellness programs are also available to staff.

“We’re one of the most innovative and dynamic medical groups in the area in response to COVID. Over a weekend we transformed our care model allowing us to see patients in person or via telehealth. We transitioned to remote work and instituted strict infection control and safety protocols. There were no layoffs. I am proud to be here,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



Pisenti & Brinker certified public accountants and advisers was listed among INSIDE Public Accounting’s top 300 firms in the U.S., based on IPA’s 2019 practice management survey and analysis.

“We are proud of the contribution our professional team provides to the communities we serve. P&B is an active partner with our clients and maintains a high degree of focus on providing a superior level of service and engagement,” said Goretti Hamlin, director of Human Resources. “As an employer, we provide meaningful opportunities and foster a culture of professional learning and development.

We are committed to ensuring that our team is fully utilized and empowered to provide excellent service to our clients.”

With offices in Santa Rosa, Petaluma, Napa and St. Helena, P&B offers 13 key lines of business in the region.

Employees have extensive continuing education opportunities and a comprehensive benefits package. Staff participate in a company-sponsored softball team, family fun days and other celebrations. Staff members serve on nonprofit boards and volunteer and help fund several charitable organizations.

“With the new norm, the firm has been consistent about providing information, checking in with us, asking for feedback, providing flexibility and keeping us in the loop on COVID-19 as circumstances continue to change. They’ve done everything they can to make it a livable situation,” an employee commented. (back to the list of winners)



5-Star Rated by Bauer Financial in March, the nation’s leading independent bank/ credit union rating firm, Poppy Bank was recognized as one of the strongest U.S. financial institutions with superior security and reliability.

“People make our bank a best place to work,” said President and CEO Khalid Acheckzai. “At all levels, starting at the top with the board of directors, we care about our people. That resonates with our 94 employees and drives everyone to work together as a family.”

Merit-based pay adjustments are awarded to recognize superior employee performance.

Open positions are posted to see if there are any interested internal candidates that possess required qualifications.

The culture is friendly and inviting. Each year the bank sponsors an employee party and celebrates employee anniversaries for those with 5, 10, 15 years of service. There are wellness clinics, free flu shots, fitness challenges, barbecues, and baking cook-offs.

During the pandemic, the banks opened the Paycheck Protection Program to the community and also served other bank’s clients who were turned away. It partnered with the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber to make emergency grants available to small businesses with less than 20 employees.

“We received time off every other week during SIP. They paid us for full days, added casual jeans days and bought everyone’s lunch for three months. We have sneeze guards between us and customers, and wear Poppy logo masks/shield swag for protection.

We moved into empty offices to add social distancing, and staff was rotated as branch hours were reduced. Thank you for caring,” said an employee. (back to the list of winners)



Since 2009, Private Ocean focuses on seven areas: Retirement planning; owning a business; estate planning: life changes; philanthropy; funding an education and women; and investing.

“We take great pride in our culture, which is at the heart of everything we do for each other and our clients,” said Greg Friedman, CEO and founder. “We always strive to inspire our team to work collaboratively in an environment that is rewarding, encouraging and fun.”

Private Ocean’s guiding principles are applied to every action it takes. “Everything we do is in service of our clients; our words are our commitments; we pursue excellence in all things; we are intellectually curious, everyone has an important contribution, and life is short, laugh.”

Private Ocean is committed to preserving the planet’s natural resources by partnering with the Marine Mammal Center, the Buck Institute, SR3 (based in Seattle), and the Humane Society. The firm sponsors numerous local and national nonprofits. Team members are active with a variety of local institutions and serve on boards of directors.

Fringes include supplemental insurance, bonus programs, training and education reimbursement, two yearly offsite retreats, transportation and family care access and supplemental commuter costs (with a pivot to remote work costs in Q1 2020), plus supplemental fitness costs and social and team building events.

“Years ago, Private Ocean saw the need to move e-platforms to the cloud. By the time we had to start working from home, the transition was made without skipping a beat. This is the most welcoming and transparent company I’ve ever worked for,” a staff member said. (back to the list of winners)



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

Today this Santa Rosa/Petaluma-based, privately-owned mental health services company has been providing a range of psychotherapy and counseling options to individuals, couples, families, children and adolescents for more than 26 years.

With over 35 contracted and licensed clinicians, this organization is dedicated to finding a caring, experienced therapist that will meet personal and family needs.

Some of the more than 16 areas of specialization provided by therapists includes ways to address and relieve stress, anxiety, depression, panic/PTSD, substance abuse, bipolar and ADHD, and therapy for couples and groups.

“I feel well taken care of in terms of having everything I need to do my job well, including office space and supplies, billing and insurance, intake coordinator, etc. This allows me to focus on the work itself and provide greater client care,” a therapist observed.

Another said, “The level of professionalism, appreciation and respect for one another is what makes PsychStrategies a best place to work. Our supportive staff is wonderful — we have a great deal of fun!” Staff and clinicians gather for summer and holiday parties, staff lunches and potlucks on many holidays throughout the year. They also participated in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness community walk to raise funds for its efforts to save lives as well as those affected by suicide.

“We enjoy the open-door policy of management.

They are very focused on making clinicians’ jobs easier and more fulfilling and express their appreciation to the staff. The company has also gone above and beyond to support us during COVID-19,” a clinician observed. “Our staff was amazing throughout the transition to telehealth. They quickly contacted insurance companies and transmitted the information to us.” (back to the list of winners)



QKA’s expertise encompasses construction administration, Building Information Modeling (BIM), energy and solar solutions, and customized options such as “folia” — a sustainable, high quality and inspiring pre-engineered two-story classroom ideal for K-12 settings built in less time and cost than traditional construction.

“Our 60-member staff is what makes QKA what it is today,” said Mark Quattrocchi, principal and founding partner. “Our collaborative office culture and reputation with clients are due to the remarkable work of our staff -- and we are hiring!” The company offers monthly acknowledgement of milestones and anniversaries, inhouse holiday celebrations, an annual holiday dinner, a summer picnic and excursions for staff and their families throughout the year.

Benefits include medical and dental insurance, paid PTO, an ESOP plan, 8 hours of paid continuous education/year and a free downtown Santa Rosa parking pass.

Other perks include payment of architectural registration exam and study materials, assistance with AIA membership dues along with in-house professional development and lectures, CAD training and lunches — plus a company car for travel.

Community involvement took the form of donated copy paper and other items to rural schools during the pandemic, support for the Yosemite Volunteer Program, REFB “Canstruction” competition and Tomorrow’s Leaders Today. QKA participates in Career Days at local schools, as mentors for the Healdsburg High School Academic Internship Program and as a founding member of Homes for Sonoma. The firm donates $30,000-plus annually to “Donor’s Choose” to fund U.S. educational projects.

“QKA hit the ground running creating a work-at-home environment that is close to being in the office with flexible work hours and fun events via video conferencing,” a staff member said. (back to the list of winners)



RCU is a community-chartered credit union celebrating 70 years in business.

“Our employees are deeply passionate about helping others and making a difference in the lives of our members,” said President and CEO Brett Martinez. “Whether it is helping people save money and make strong financial decisions or volunteering at a company event -- their engagement and excitement is contagious.”

Sponsored events include an annual holiday party, summer Employee Appreciation Day, and a 5-Year Plus reception. There are barbecues, ice cream socials and birthday, work anniversary and promotion celebrations.

A Day of Inspiration is held for all 680 employees to celebrate the credit union difference, and a Day of Impact allows employees to serve their communities by deploying to 15 high schools in four counties to conduct financial wellness training.

In 2019, RCU employees volunteered over 9,947 hours and provided over $3.7 million in support to local nonprofits and community groups.

Employee recognition programs include Community Pulse, Community Heart and Community Champion Awards, plus a quarterly Impact Award for a person/team honored for their accomplishments. An annual President’s Circle of Excellence event honors a combination of various employee award winners.

During the pandemic, branches remained open and fully staffed, and employees were allowed 14 days off if they were showing symptoms of COVID–19. Some 90% of its administrative staff worked from home starting in mid-March with teleconferencing increasing communication frequency.

“It’s been amazing. Management did everything to ensure our success and allow us to continue to help our community, while keeping everyone safe,” several employees said. (back to the list of winners)



RESIG serves public school districts of Sonoma and Marin counties with programs that include property and liability coverage along with health, vision, dental and workers compensation insurance. RESIG also offers professional training programs.

“The most constant and important attribute of RESIG is our cohesive staff. Without them we cannot achieve our goals, which allows us to continue morphing, changing and challenging ourselves,” said Executive Director Rose Burcina. “The ingenuity and innovation that is brought forward by our staff of 23 is incredible.”

She said during the pandemic, her team brought forward concerns and “fix-arounds” that enabled the organization to quickly transition to a shelter-in-place environment while continuing to make sure member districts (and their 13,000 employees and 70,000 students) had the proper resources and guidance through this stressful time.

The culture is a blend of Gen X, millennials and baby boomers working within a teamwork environment with a common goal.

A range of traditional and nontraditional benefits are provided to maintain financial, mental and physical wellness.

Sponsored events include an employee appreciation picnic, wellness events (annual biometric health screenings), step challenges, new-employee lunches, food bank donations, bring-your-dog-to-work day, vegetable gardening, Wii Bowling tournament and a Healthy-Chef Throwdown to encourage team building and healthy lifestyles.

Employees participate in REFB, Toys for Tots and American Heart Association events.

“An ergonomic specialist checks in with everyone to make sure they are correct at home, and we have frequent video safety/ illness prevention meetings concerning office protocols. PPE has been provided and our offices are getting adjustments made to ensure everyone will be safe when we return,” according to an employee. (back to the list of winners)



Russian River Brewing Company was originally founded by Korbel Champagne Cellars in 1997. Korbel decided to get out of the beer business in 2003 transferring rights to the Russian River Brewing Company name and all beer names and recipes to Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo who reopened in 2004 on Fourth Street in Santa Rosa, which still thrives offering small batch brews.

In 2014, the couple decided to build their brewery on 16 acres in Windsor. On Oct. 11, 2018 they opened the doors to an 85,000 square foot brewery, brewpub, restaurant, outdoor beer garden, gift shop and tasting room.

“We love and appreciate each of our 200 employees and treat them like family,” said Natalie, co-owner and president, along with Vinnie, co-owner and brewmaster. “Without them, our company would not be the success it is today.”

The company offers a 50% employee discount on food and merchandise, Brew Bucks (credit at either brewery accrued each pay period), a Christmas party and free beer — in addition to medical, dental, vision and life insurance, pet insurance and 401(k).

In March the company laid off or reduced hours for more than 80% of employees, which the owners say was the most difficult and emotional part of the coronavirus situation.

Although revenues are down, the Cilurzos supplemented employee pay for those who had not received unemployment compensation, and paid 100% of all furloughed and reduced-hours employees’ health care.

“The owners offered to help us before and while we were receiving unemployment, and offered food to those who were unable to receive it. They accommodated everyone according to their health concerns and acted quickly to get us back to work,” a worker said. (back to the list of winners)



Schurter is a manufacturer and distributor of electronic products including fuses, plugs, circuit breakers and input systems.

“While 2019 was somewhat of a disappointment for us revenue wise, there were high expectations given that 2018 was the most successful year in our company’s history,” according to CEO Leonard Overholser. “The resilience of our 19 employees and determination by our management team allow us to look at 2020 with confidence.”

The company believes in upskilling and continuous improvement for its workforce.

In response to the latest employee satisfaction survey, Schurter rolled out a (Udemy Online) where employees have access to more than 3,000 self-paced business courses online that can be taken anywhere, anytime while providing all employees with educational tools to learn new skills within their job functions.

The company also collects employee suggestions and feedback to management through its TEAMS online platform.

On-site fringes include weekly fruits from the “Fruit Guy” delivery program, quarterly company paid lunches, free coffee, tea and health club reimbursements. There are sponsored summer events and a year-end party, barbecues, employee recognition lunches and TQC meetings with a monetary payout if certain quality and service goals are achieved. In 2019, Schurter started conducting a Culture Values Workshop to reinforce and promote paths to success.

“When the health crisis broke out, our company met the challenge calmly, cautiously and successfully by implementing seven easy steps. We receive weekly follow-ups and abide by the rules and regulations to ensure a safe working environment,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



The mission of Petaluma-based Sequoia Senior Solutions is to provide in-home care for seniors who are not ready for an institutional setting, but who need help to continue living independently in their homes.

“Our 120 caregivers are the reason for our continued success and reputation for providing Excellence in Home Care as they exemplify their professionalism and compassion on a daily basis,” said President Gabriella Ambrosi.

The company honors work well done at monthly, quarterly and annual recognition awards that include Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Safeway and Amazon gift cards, personalized thank you cards and phone calls from the CEO. The culture celebrates its employees through the provision of healthy snacks and fitness programs to help encourage the staff to live healthier and happy lives.

Sequoia Senior Solutions proudly recognizes internal talent first and foremost.

Some 90% of office staff have been promoted from within.

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

“The company really stepped up during the pandemic. I mentioned how hard it was with a family of 5 and there was a Safeway gift card mailed to me. I had to take a moment after I opened it. We have a Sequoia food bank for employees and families, and supplies are delivered to our clients’ doors. Sequoia sends us weekly emails on different health and safety topics to keep us informed and all training is online. Nice job,” a staff member said. (back to the list of winners)



Smith Dollar is a law firm built for business, contractors and lenders. It is also a woman- owned real estate and financial services firm providing legal services to individuals and companies nationwide.

“Smith Dollar is fortunate to employ 13 attorneys and staff committed to our clients and the firm,” said President Rachel M. Dollar.

“During the SIP public health orders, our operating systems and procedures were transitioned from working in the office to working from home seamlessly. Our employees’ motivation, commitment and flexibility allowed us to continue to serve our clients without disruption.”

When a new member is added, the firm lets him or her know about opportunities for advancement and what education or skills are needed. Many employees who started with Smith Dollar in 2005 are still part of the team.

Communication and teamwork are important elements of the culture in this friendly work environment where staff members have the tools, software and training to get the job done, the company states.

Smith Dollar sponsored events include an annual holiday party and summer barbecue/ pool party for employees and families. A hosted luncheon is provided on Administrative Professionals Day along with various impromptu annual lunches and events.

The firm is involved in the community with Legal Aid, Sonoma County Alliance, Sonoma County Bar Association, American Subcontractors Association, North Coast Builders Exchange, Disability and Legal Services Center and the Engineering Contractors Association. Both Rachel Dollar and Glenn Smith are past presidents of the Sonoma County Bar Association.

The firm offers flex schedules, working at home, make-up time, telecommuting, holiday and birthday bonuses and a training incentive program.

“It’s great working here with all hands pitching in. All things considered, we are persevering and weathering the pandemic storm,” a staff member said. (back to the list of winners)



SAY provides support, opportunities and hope to children, youth and families in a caring community where they can grow, thrive and succeed. Founded in 1970, SAY offers housing to 18 to 24 year olds along with counseling, career readiness, job training, employment along as well as educational support and health and wellness services at its Dream Center.

This nonprofit shelters runaway and homeless youth at its 24/7 Dr. James E. Coffee Teen Shelter. The Work Readiness Program provides paid work experience, environmental education, career exploration and professional development programs for youth preparing for work. Individual and family therapy for Medi-Cal eligible clients is also available to youth ages 5-25 and their families at SAY’s Medi-Cal Clinic.

Youth can find jobs at SAY’s YouthLink Employment Center and Career Hub. There is a Street Outreach Program, and affordable housing is available at Tamayo Village for former foster youth and young adults who may be homeless. Tattoo removal, grief and crisis services are also provided as well as school-based mental health counseling in Healdsburg and Cloverdale.

“SAY has 106 team members who care deeply about its mission and culture,” said Executive Director Anita Maldonado. “We are bold, we love people and we are in this together.”

“Our response to COVID-19 was swift, the communication was clear, and the decisions were effective. Our work involves congregate living scenarios — inevitably high-risk areas during a pandemic. Management has been ahead of the curve in implementing safety practices, and our staff have been superb at applying them and educating our clients.

SAY is currently giving bonuses to staff who remain working on-site. We have a wonderful group of team players,” a staffer said. (back to the list of winners)



Founded in 1962, Soiland Company is a second-generation family business that manufactures and sells soil and aggregate materials for large construction projects in the North Bay. The company operates the Stony Point Rock Quarry in Cotati, Soils Plus loam and custom-blended soils in Sonoma, along with Grab N’ Grow Soil Products in Santa Rosa for quality soil, compost and mulch.

“Our founder Marv Soiland always believed that a person’s place of work should embody a sense of opportunity and family values,” said Mark Soiland, president and CEO. “We do our best to live this tradition by creating a place where our 43 employees feel valued and supported.”

In addition to 100% company paid benefits for regular full-time employees (medical, dental, vision, disability and life insurance), Soiland Company pays 75% of premiums for these benefits for employees’ families. Various leaves of absence are also offered. There is a cash referral program for employees who recruit new hires, work from home options and well-behaved dogs are welcome.

Promotions are based on superior performance and there are 90-day and annual reviews.

This family-oriented culture makes everyone feel like they are part of something bigger, and Soiland Company nurtures that in its employees.

There is an annual holiday party for employees and spouses with raffle prizes that have included tickets to Disneyland, a trip to Cabo for four, Apple products and big screen TVs, along with an annual summer event for families and retirement gifts that include Yeti coolers and Traeger grills.

“We only closed down for a week when the virus started. The business has picked up and thrived. They offered us two weeks of PTO while we readjusted our practices to be able to operate more safely,” a worker said. (back to the list of winners)



Creating local solutions for climate change that work for residents of Sonoma and Mendocino counties -- as well as their wallets and lifestyles -- Sonoma Clean Power (SCP) was formed to provide a choice beyond the for-profit, investor-owned utility and a self-funded, customer-owned public utility providing clean energy from renewable sources, such as geothermal, hydroelectric, wind, solar and biomass.

“SCP’s 26-member team is hungry to experiment and adapt, trying new customer programs all the time,” said CEO Geoff Syphers.

“That energy keeps us connected to whatever is happening — fires, power shutoffs, COVID-19 — and makes sure we are providing real support where it is needed.”

During the COVID pandemic, SCP has focused its community giving on safety-net efforts to support those most vulnerable in our communities through organizations such as the Redwood Empire Food Bank and the Community Foundation of Mendocino County.

Promotions are merit-based and average employee longevity is 5-plus years for the firm, founded in 2013.

Employees receive a wellness benefit ($1,300 toward medical/vision coverage), company paid dental, long-term disability, life insurance and PTO leave. There is an employee match program for a deferred compensation plan, flexible schedules, tuition and textbook reimbursement, volunteer hours for staff each month and team-building volunteer events.

“Great leadership! SCP adapted well during the health crisis. We continued construction on our new Advanced Energy Center and have started demolition activity to prepare for building our new headquarters building.

We hired economists to help with financial models and discussed how to best prepare the company and help customers during the economic turmoil. I’m proud to be a team member,” a staffer said. (back to the list of winners)



The Sonoma County Family YMCA is an inclusive, charitable organization focusing on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The nation’s 2,700 YMCAs are the largest nonprofit community service organization in America, working to meet the health needs of 20.2 million people in 10,000 U.S. communities.

While indoor Y facilities remain closed in Sonoma County during the health order, virtual and outdoor classes are available, and the Cloverdale pool is open.

“The genuine support and care we provide to each of our 332 employees and the commitment we make to helping staff grow, both personally and professionally, makes us a best place to work,” said COO Michelle Head. “The Y has provided boundless opportunities to do meaningful work that matters with diverse groups of people, whether it involves working with youth, families, seniors or supporting a community partner.”

The Y partners with 60-plus nonprofits, schools and health care entities to provide resources, programs and support to those it serves in areas of youth development and healthy living, while also participating in health fairs, job fairs, and other events.

During the COVID pandemic, the Y provided emergency child care services for essential workers, a virtual hub of resources for the community to access including group exercise classes, youth activities, healthy recipes, mental health resources and opened Y shower facilities for its partners working with the homeless community, as well as hosting a drive-up donation station for the food bank.

“Great leadership. They continued to pay all of us for three months while the Y was closed, so we had no layoffs during SIP. We are now offering free online and outdoor classes, and work to provide essential care and summer activities,” an employee said.



Sonoma Jet Center at the Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport offers full services for aircraft including flight support, maintenance and travel services for private and general aviation aircraft handling and jet fueling. It also provides catering, concierge services, flight planning and overnight security for aircraft, and amenities for pilots and travelers.

“We believe our business cannot grow and change without being transparent with our 47-member team by allowing them to have a say in the direction we are headed,” said President Joshua Hockberg. “As we move forward, we work hard not to lose sight of how we can best take care of our employees knowing we could not be successful without them.”

This year the center partnered with Canine Companions for Independence and has recruited a team of pilots to help transport puppies to training facilities throughout the U.S. Typically, dogs would travel on commercial airlines, but in the wake of COVID-19, transportation has been a challenge, so Sonoma Jet Center was happy to step up and support this effort, Hockberg added.

The center also supports the Healthcare Foundation of Northern Sonoma County’s Noche de Amor fundraiser and is a Women in Aviation Corporate Sponsor along with WIA’s Girls in Aviation Day and Young Eagles, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the Mike Hauser Academy, Pacific Coast Air Museum, the Sonoma Country Day School and the Schulz Celebrity Golf Classic.

Company events for employees includes a summer barbecue, holiday party and assorted activities throughout the year.

“The owner is supportive and accommodating.

He said he would do everything possible to keep full time employees full time — and he did. As an essential service, our needs have been met and we have enjoyed constant stability since the health crisis began,” a team member said. (back to the list of winners)



Sonoma Technology is an employee-owned consulting firm based in Petaluma that providing science and technology solutions to meet its clients’ environmental challenges worldwide with emphasis on finding air quality solutions and related projects, such as a burn smoke modeling system, an EPA project to reduce pollution exposure for students, and a fenceline air quality monitoring system for a large oil refinery.

Founded in 1982, this employee-owned company with 56 colleagues has a suite of custom tools and data analysis techniques to interpret results and uses a range of industry- standard and custom modeling simulations to evaluate environmental impacts and software to visualize and publish results.

“STI is a terrific place to work, with a true spirit of collaboration demonstrated throughout the organization,” said President Clinton P. MacDonald. “Our team of interdisciplinary, highly trained technical specialists work on environmentally friendly projects that make a difference in the lives of our clients and the public.”

Promotion is based on performance and experience. Average employee longevity is nine years.

The company’s community involvement includes a matching donation program and annual grant program, as well as the provision of Christmas gift baskets to senior citizens.

Internally, STI employees participate in a company picnic, Christmas party, anniversary lunches, a pingpong tournament, Sports Day, as well as a You Make a Difference Award and Social occasion.

“Leadership puts employee safety first and has been fiscally conservative due to economic uncertainty. IT has been spot-on with making sure we are all updated and able to work remotely. We’ve gone work-fromhome where possible and have allowed for schedules to be quite flexible to deal with life’s new hurdles,” a specialist said. (back to the list of winners)



Offering a full range of transactional and business services, Spaulding McCullough & Tansil (SMT) practice areas include business, litigation, labor and employment, trusts and estates, real property, intellectual property and technology along with alternative dispute resolution.

“For over two decades, SMT has thrived as a firm committed to excellence while taking pride in our success,” said Partner Greg Spaulding.

“We have honored the humanity of the 35 individuals who form our team. With the stark changes created by COVID-19, we are even more focused on SMT people so we can continue to provide great legal services while fostering an environment that is healthy, happy and caring.”

SMT’s culture includes providing great legal representation to clients; having fun at the office and going home to family and friends, the company states. For SMT, it is critical to have an environment where employees feel valued at work and in their personal lives.

The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly.

Communication is open and honest at all levels. The office culture now manifests itself in emails, video meetings and other ways in which employees find themselves connecting during the pandemic.

Most of SMT’s 21 attorneys serve on nonprofit boards of directors, and the firm makes its facilities available for nonprofit gatherings. SMT is a major sponsor of the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, the Charles Schulz Museum and Research Center and the Petaluma Arts Center.

Sponsored events include Beer on the Balcony, client/attorney/staff gatherings; SMT anniversary celebrations, holiday luncheon for employees, team-building events and retreats for employees and an annual summer celebration for employees and families.

“The firm sent us care packages and a monthly stipend for working from home and no one has been let go. I’m grateful for that,” an employee observed. (back to the list of winners)



Established in 1971, St. Francis is a family- owned winery with 380 acres of certified sustainable estate vineyards in the Sonoma Valley and Russian River Valley dedicated to the preservation of Sonoma County’s natural resources.

The winery was built in 1999 and includes a 457-kilowatt solar energy system. St. Francis also has been recognized for its ability to conserve nearby creeks and waterways.

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

The St. Francis culture is one of respect and appreciation for its 85 employees and the land, the company stated.

Full time staff members have two medical plan options plus dental, vision, life, AD&D, FSA and EAP as well as a 401k plan with matching employer contributions. They receive PTO, 11 holidays, an opportunity to attend two free wine and food pairings/year and a discount on St. Francis wines. Tuition reimbursement and a wellness program are also available.

Sponsored events include an employee appreciation luncheon, free Wednesday lunches during harvest, CPR training, and a holiday party. The winery celebrates Joe Martin Day in June in honor of the founder, where in 2019 employees gathered at Pony Express to volunteer. This organization mentors kids and creates life skills and leadership learning opportunities through the use of horses as teachers and healers. The Humane Society is also supported.

“The company has gone beyond generous in keeping employees financially whole throughout this trying time, and by offering online sales, curbside pickup enhanced club sales. I’m honored to be here,” an employee stated. (back to the list of winners)



With seven California locations, including four in the North Bay, Star Staffing matches temporary work or full-time positions to job seeker’s skills, experience and interests.

“Star’s 34 employees are our most valued assets and the foundation of our agency,” said CEO Lisa Lichty. “From our executive team to the receptionist, no job is insignificant.

We encourage, empower and celebrate our employees and their continued growth is a top priority.”

This is a culture where everyone rolls up their sleeves and where management leads by example and does whatever it takes to get the job done safely. Star is strong on recognition, is entrepreneurial and promotes open communication.

The agency looks for employees who are team players, have integrity and are motivated to succeed and not afraid to take the initiative to solve problems and find creative solutions. New hires are asked to state their personal and professional goals, and Star Staffing works with them to achieve them.

There is an annual dinner celebration and kick-off party in January to honor the prior year’s accomplishments. Star holds several Top Producer’s Events and celebrates staff appreciation the entire month of September.

Pizza night and bowling are popular employee activities.

To support the community, employees participate in the Heart Walk, Secret Santa, and receive volunteer time off for nonprofit involvement at charities of their choice.

Fringe benefits include an EAP, recognition for birthdays and work anniversaries, and in-house training and development opportunities, including a stipend for continuing education.

“We’ve been able to adapt to COVID changes, amazing our owners who encourage us to keep going. They provide us with the required tools and training to assure we have everything we need to continue striving for success,” a staffer said. (back to the list of winners)



Summit Engineering focuses on its clients’ visions, offering civil, structural, electrical and water/wastewater engineering services since 1978. Summit’s 33-employees provide a variety of client services including facility planning, due diligence, permitting assistance, design services, construction support and project management.

“Who we are and what we do make Summit a great place to work,” said Yi Yang, managing principal. “Everyone here feels they are part of a cohesive team and count on each other’s support through difficult times. The value of teamwork instilled in the organization is the glue that held everyone together during recent shelter in place months.”

The culture is based on caring for one another, Summit clients and pride in the work performed as a team.

The camaraderie-boosting side of the business includes monthly “Wine Down” gatherings (now virtual events) for all staff.

Quarterly Fun Committee events include bowling, camping, office Olympics, kayaking, barbecues, volleyball, etc. Breakfast is provided the last day of the month. A theme-based catered summer family picnic is followed by an elegant end-of-year party in December.

Through the Summit charitable giving program, the company matches employee contributions to nonprofits of their choice.

The company has volunteered at REFB and participated in Sonoma County’s Bike to Work Day, the Mike Hauser Algebra Academy and El Molino High School’s college and career fair introducing students to STEM fields.

Summit has sponsored university student activities such as Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge competitions and participates in a co-ed softball league called “The Slide Rules.”

“Amazingly, they have kept the wheels turning and the lights on while maintaining a semblance of normalcy in the pandemic.

Perks such as an afternoon off and encouragement to expense home-office-related necessities were very thoughtful,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



When Summit first opened its doors in 1982, its name was Summit Savings and Loan Association and it was chartered as a savings and loan. Today Summit is a commercial bank with $722 million in assets, five branch locations, and more than 90 employees. In 2006, Summit State Bank became a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: SSBI).

“I have been in banking for 35 years and really enjoy working with our team of knowledgeable employees who truly care about the bank, each other, our customers and community. Staff members make it a pleasure to come to work each day,” said Brian Reed, president and CEO.

Summit employees look for opportunities to plan a special sports day, take your dog to work day, etc. An Employee Activity Committee plans all team events.

Through the Summit Day of Service employees receive a paid workday to volunteer for an organization of their choice. Many team members serve on local nonprofit boards. For example, Brian Reed serves on the boards of Free to Be, Santa Rosa East Rotary and Children and Family Circle.

The culture can be described as being a customer-centric organization, a place where employees truly like each other and take care of customers with personalized service — as if they were family. A series of Summit Service Standards, called “The Summit Way,” is the backbone of the bank.

“We have been busier than ever and upper management has done a great job at making sure employees and customers stay safe. A lot of people are working from home and employees who are in the branches still are receiving hazard pay. Those that had daycare issues were also allowed to work from home. Managers have been very caring and supportive,” a team member said. (back to the list of winners)



With a product portfolio that has grown to include amplifiers, microscopes, micromanipulators and imaging products, Sutter Instrument Company of Novato has expanded from a small garage operation in 1977 to a 55,000 square foot manufacturing facility with 65 employees.

“Our staff members make our company the best place to work,” said Dale Flaming, founder and CEO, and Mark Flaming, president.

“All of our products are shipping with normal lead times.”

Many of Sutter Instruments’ employees have backgrounds in neuroscience. They take pride in helping scientists the world over by providing devices they need to do their research using state-of-the-art CNC machining and turning techniques for volume production of precision mechanical components.

The company has a merit-based promotion policy and positions are posted internally before being announced publicly. Some 30% of upper management positions are filled by women and minorities.

Benefits include 100% company paid medical insurance for employees and families. The package also includes dental, STD, LTD, life insurance, AD&D, annual bonuses, a retirement plan, profit sharing and educational opportunities. Additional benefits include buy-up life insurance, HSA, 401(k) contributions, flexible work schedules, vacation time, sick time, and an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) since 2007.

The company has a cafeteria, a suggestion box and enables employees to personally use a company van and truck at no cost. Onsite parking and an in-house gym are also available.

“Paychecks and benefits have been rock steady, thank you. The CEO long ago established a ‘rainy day fund’ to help the company weather troubled times like this. They’ve been flexible in how we work on-site vs. off-site, allowing each of us to find a system that fits our needs. This experience can only help build employee loyalty and motivation,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



Terra Firma Global Partners (TFGB) is a brokerage serving Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties with a team of 61 associates and support staff.

“We celebrated our 10th anniversary in April. Our leadership is what makes TFGB great,” according to Lauren Thompson, branding director. “They not only talk the talk, they walk the walk, and hold true to the company’s vision every day. The result is a real estate firm that truly has the best interests of its clients at its core.”

With the exception of the administrative and support staff, associates are independent contractors who provide their own health and retirement benefits. The brokerage pays workers compensation for everyone.

Flex time and the opportunity to work virtually gives the support staff time for family and personal commitments. Associates bring their kids to the office, which is stocked with toys and art supplies for children. Meeting times are scheduled around drop off and pick up times at schools.

TFBG’s retention rate is between 95-98%.

The brokerage continues to add associates and team members on an “invitation only” basis to ensure that they are a “fit” for the company and its core values.

The team culture is described as collaborative, committed, honest, generous, aspiring, learning and community minded — with an emphasis on quality over quantity.

Company meetings are open to associates and staff to share and collaborate. Holiday events, and a Spring/Summer barbecue or picnic/fiesta bring everyone together, including families and guests.

“In challenging times like this, our leadership really shines. They have ‘boots on the ground’ working right alongside us, engaged and available. We get straightforward communication and guidance so that we can, in turn, guide our clients effectively and safely,” an associate said. (back to the list of winners)



With a mission to support community members to become stewards of their own lives, the lives of others and the environment we share since 1976, The Center for Social & Environmental Stewardship has programs designed to address the interdependent links between the health of individuals, the greater community and the natural environment.

“Our organization is a grass roots, staff led team run by people that care deeply about our community and environment with a goal to improve both through their work,” said CEO Che Casul.

“We are a nonprofit with a primary focus to improve the lives of youth on probation so they do not reoffend, and to give at-risk youth paid vocational training to help put money in their pockets, learn a trade and keep our community safe after fires and flood.”

The Center’s two juvenile probation programs include Vista Academy Program as an alternative to detention, and Aggression Replacement Training, a cognitive-behavioral approach for working with youth.

With a “work hard and be nice to people” culture, this 17-member team has a large and positive impact on the community.

The Center provides youth, families and adults with guidance, mentoring, counseling and community service opportunities designed to develop pro-social and work-ready skills, while achieving their unique human potential.

Programs include land management, invasive plant removal, fire fuels management and ecological landscaping, along with teaching construction-related planning, permitting, remodeling, wildfire home hardening and demolition skills.

“Our model is amazing! We train youth to rebuild their lives and keep our community safe through fire fuel mitigation while learning valuable skills. We also have been trained to convert social work activities to an online format during COVID. What a company!” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



As an advertising agency based in Santa Rosa since 2008, The Engine is Red and its staff of 14 employees are seen as creative explorers, relentlessly pushing themselves and their clients to venture beyond expectations and produce work that inspires.

“We care about our employees as whole people and design our programs as such,” said Owner Christopher Denny. “With clients and Engine combined, great work is built on earned trust that’s strong enough to push beyond the expected and create meaningful, memorable work.”

According to the website, this is a place where employees produce a flurry of good ideas and unearth great ones. This team loves to think and rethink, design and write and develop until they have made something that moves people. It’s a team of people who are dedicated to their craft and amazing clients, who get to do what they love day in and day out.

The culture is desirable, fun, welcoming and intentional, where employees work in a highly collaborative, interactive and sharing environment.

Benefits include medical, dental, vision, life, 401(k) with matching and profit sharing.

Additional benefits include educational opportunities, early release days along with company meals and events, such as The Engine is Red-hosted murder mystery dinner experience for employees.

“Keep on keeping on! The Engine Is Red has been gracious enough to let us take whatever resources we need from the office back home. We’ve also adopted many new tools and software that allowed us to change our workflow to better accommodate for this lifestyle change. We’ve been actively helping small businesses and organizations that were impacted by the economic turmoil too.

Thanks for all you do,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



As a cannabis contract manufacturer with its “wheelhouse” in Santa Rosa, The Galley is focused on high demand areas of production, including edibles, topicals, tinctures, chocolate, hard candies, gummies, pre-rolls, vapes and beverages.

“Our family is extremely tight-knit and dedicated to getting medication to the people and helping our community. I could not ask for a better crew,” said Owner and CEO Annie Holman.

Upper management at The Galley is 100% women and minorities. The salary range is from $37,000 to $60,000 and the average longevity of employees is over two years. It was founded in 2017.

“I have loved working here and felt welcome since day 1,” said an employee. “The sense of family that I have seen since the beginning is amazing, and I always feel heard.

I love ‘working’ here because I don’t feel like I’m waiting for the end of the day. There is always something to do, and always fun to be had while doing it, while making a change doing something I strongly believe in.”

Its 15 employees enjoy company sponsored events such as barbecues and parties. As an essential business, The Galley also supports the community and the environment by producing critically needed products during the COVID-19 lockdown and planning outings to clean local beaches.

“I love the atmosphere and what I do. We all work together to solve issues and make this a well-oiled machine. We transitioned to manufacturing hand sanitizer at the beginning of the pandemic to help locals and area health care providers when there was a shortage -- and still sell it. Thank you for this life-changing opportunity,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



Winemaking has been a Coppola family tradition for several generations — so has making art and providing entertainment, from music and cinema, to dining experiences, and international hideaway adventures. For Francis Ford Coppola, all of these endeavors embody a celebration of life, merely designed with different tools.

“The Family Coppola is a diverse business that inspires and connects all generations through innovative experiences and authentic products,” said CEO Corey Beck. “We represent wine and spirits, restaurants and culinary discovery, resorts and adventurous travel, an award-winning literary magazine, and more, attributed to Francis Ford Coppola’s passions and commitment to quality and creativity.”

Equity, diversity and inclusion are important within this organization that includes 430 employees, with 63% of upper management comprised of women and minorities. All employees are encouraged to apply for internal positions, and current employees should be in good standing and in their positions for six months. Some employees are seasonal and others have been with the company for 10 to 30 years.

The company supports over 12 local organizations and offers a Volunteer Pay Policy allowing all full/part-time employees 16 hours a year of PTO to volunteer in the community.

There are monthly all-employee breakfast meetings, an annual holiday party, harvest celebrations, and adopt-a-highway team building experiences.

“Coppola established a gold standard for crisis management with online training and team collaboration, by assigning hospitality workers sent to other departments, paying hourly employees who could not work remotely, and by working hard to find temporary replacement jobs for the workers who had to be furloughed by COVID,” an employee observed. (back to the list of winners)



Donald Hess established The Hess Collection Winery on the site of one of the region’s oldest wineries. He took the opportunity to marry his two creative passions in life -- wine and art — and established an art gallery within the winery as a means of sharing his private art collection.

“Inspired leadership and a hardworking collaborative team effort by our 151 employees makes the Hess Collection Winery a best place to work,” said CEO John Grant.

Hess acquired his first land on Mount Veeder in Napa County, completed the purchase of 900 acres in 1982 and opened the winery in 1989. Over 600 acres are set aside as undeveloped land to support wildlife corridors, fish friendly farming practices and biodiversity.

The winery established a wine discount program for employee. Free turkeys and wine are available at Thanksgiving and there are holiday and summer get-togethers. Employees receive service and safety awards, PTO, paid holidays along with an annual wellness challenge and allowance.

Several employee drives have been conducted to raise money for natural disaster relief. The company participates in the annual Napa Bowl scholarship event, Toys for Tots drive, and hosts art tours for public school field trips. Donations are also made during local fundraising efforts.

“Management internally encourages virtual happy hours to connect as a team, as well as promoting online tastings and meetings with customers and distributors. We have also been conducting live Facebook Tastings lead by marketing and our winemaking team which have been very well received by the public! Everyone I work with is excited to be a part of the Hess Family and is always encouraging and accepting of others!” employees said. (back to the list of winners)



TIV Branding has offered a better brand and web design experience for businesses looking to elevate their brand image through design, marketing campaigns and website design.

“TIV Branding was founded in 1999 as a blend of two longstanding Sonoma County companies, TIV, Inc., and Zenergy Works,” said Eric Van Cleave, CEO and digital director.

“We are a true work family, with husbands, wives, sisters and daughters on the team. Collectively, we use our branding superpowers to make the lives of our team and clients better. We have a strong shared vision and we’re great at what we do!” The agency’s 14 employees work in a culture that encourages them to do their work how they want and where they want, in a transparent business approach that sees leadership more as coaches than managers.

With a flat organization chart, employees work towards autonomy and mastery. Team members receive pay increases and titles as they progress and expand their skills.

Staff members come together to celebrate birthdays and impromptu gatherings as well as an annual holiday party and summer picnic.

TIV Branding supports community organizations and nonprofits through donated services and reduced rates for a list that includes the Boys and Girls Club of Sonoma County, No More Tears, the Professional Marketing Group, Historic Railroad Square Association, United Way of the Wine Country, WomenServe, Therapeutic Playground, Cricket’s Hope, and the Family Justice Centers of Sonoma and Stanislaus Counties.

“TIV is the best. We are primarily an internet-based company and already had policies for working from home when necessary and adjusted quickly to this new way of working. We focused on making sure our team was taken care of and assisted clients with COVID-19 related messaging, free of charge,” a staffer said. (back to the list of winners)



For over 55 years, TLCD Architecture’s diverse architectural and interior design practice has offered experience with a variety of project types, including office, wine-industry, health care, educational, municipal as well as mixed-use and multifamily housing.

“We are proud of our half-century-plus history in the North Bay, and the opportunity to be involved in a growing number of important public and private projects. That, along with our culture of collaboration and collegiality define us, making our firm a truly rewarding place to work,” said President Don Tomasi.

“Our 32-member team advocates a collaborative, hands-on approach to design and, as a result, each of their projects reflects the values and needs of our individual clients.”

The culture is described as inclusive with a diverse multigenerational and international staff working together in a professional environment with camaraderie and friendships.

The senior staff takes pride in mentoring younger employees.

TLCD is focused on community enrichment, both in the projects it designs as well as through active participation and engagement in the community.

This involvement includes supporting the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County Human Race and Secret Santa programs, Habitat for Humanity, REFB, the manufacturing of face masks donated to the community, the Santa Rosa Creek Cleanup, the Santa Rosa Metro Chambers Mike Hauser Academy and through internships/shadowing of high school and college students.

“TLCD leaders have been true ‘first responders’ for employees. They provided a stipend to aid with increased utility costs by being at home all day. The tech support has been remarkable. Communication has been frequent and consistent,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



Traditional Medicinals (TM) is the leading seller of wellness tea in the U.S. and the pioneer of the wellness tea category in the U.S.

and Canada. As a Certified B Corporation and California Certified Green Business, TM embraces sustainability, ingredient purity, and social and environmental activism.

“Two things make TM great, that all of our 190 employees get to be ourselves at work each day and also because our social business model ensures that we help the planet through organic farming and improving lives with our fair trade premiums for our herb growers around the world,” said CEO Blair Kellison.

TM has an employee food program at work offering fresh, organic local fruits and vegetables, a salad bar in summer and a soup bar in winter in addition to a peanut butter and jelly bar, dairy and nondairy yogurts, and a variety of healthy hot/cold beverages and snacks.

The company rewards employees on every anniversary with cash prizes that increase with seniority. There are engraved tea kettles for those with five years of service, and TM logo backpacks for those with 10-plus years.

Employees’ children get small cash awards for good school grades, and the company celebrates all federal holidays plus Valentine’s Day when staff participate in a day service with community nonprofits such as COTS, Humane Society, The Sebastopol Senior Center, and REFB. Those who carpool or take public transportation to work receive a weekly cash compensation.

“TM worked to ensure the safety of its manufacturing employees and did everything possible for them to relieve stress and difficulty.

Additional days off have been provided, as well as treats from local businesses as extra thank you’s for continuing to work to make our business successful in this trying time,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



Founded in 1977 with six divisions — electrical, telcom, security, audio visual, traffic signal, and IT services — W. Bradley Electric, Inc. (WBE) provides customers with a onesource solution for a variety of specialty contracting services.

“We put employees first during the pandemic.

No one was furloughed or laid off.

We mobilized quickly so office staff could work from home,” said CEO Leslie Murphy.

“While field employees were temporarily impacted, we created a hardship fund and an open line of communications with HR to help with unemployment insurance and mental wellbeing.”

WBE created a COVID-19 video to share with employees before their return. This was later shared with thousands of other individuals to use in setting back-to-work standards.

In less restrictive times, WBE employees enjoy trivia nights, happy hour, an annual family picnic, celebratory “big wins,” birthday luncheons, sports tournaments/teams, and free yoga class passes, along with monthly frozen yogurt catering and pets at work.

There are team building events, retreats, a mentoring program, financial counseling — and a free family vacation with 20 years of service with WBE. The annual poker night is now being held online with cash prizes.

Other sponsored events include North Bay Science Discovery Day, Marin Color 5k, NBLC Algebra Academy support, End Summer Hunger food drive, Earth Day, and Novato’s Rock the Block. There are Giving Committee lunches and volunteer opportunities on company time with COTS and the North Bay Children’s Center. WBE has a Random Acts of Kindness group that surprises the homeless with warm blankets and supplies, brings goodies to senior homes, and randomly pays for people’s meals and gives people gift cards.

“Thank you for your heartfelt leadership,” several employees said. (back to the list of winners)



Formerly known as Whistlestop, Vivalon’s vision remains the same– ensuring that every adult has the opportunity to age with independence, dignity, and grace, by providing services such as specialized transportation, nutrition, social connection, information and assistance delivered through the power of human connection to a diverse population, the nonprofit states.

Beyond serving seniors and individuals with disabilities, services now include other vulnerable populations such as those dealing with chronic illnesses, the homeless, low-income families, those with food insecurities and isolation issues within communities.

“I am proud of our organization, our 170 employees and teams, particularly during the pandemic,” said CEO Joe O’Hehir. “We have seen increased dedication, flexibility and commitment as we strive to meet the needs of more people in our community.”

As demand decreased for paratransit and contract services, drivers are distributing food at the nonprofit’s brown-bag pantries.

Call center reservationists are making outbound calls to isolated seniors instead of booking rides. The programs team is selling take-out meals instead of hosting guests at the Jackson Café. Classes and programs are being offered online and by phone to keep home-bound seniors connected and engaged.

Vivalon’s Expanded Services Fund helped to provide life-saving emergency relief for at-risk groups in Marin County during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Employee benefits have been maintained during the COVID-19 crisis, regardless of hours worked. Those who worked one job, have stepped up to provide other services, allowing managers to provide more paid hours to staff.

Vivalon currently has 25 individuals in leadership roles and 52% of them were promoted internally.

“The organization is doing well and adapting to different ways of doing things. Our team successfully implemented numerous new programs, i.e., Great Plates, MC Grocery Delivery, Check-in Calls, Caring Calls and WhistleShopper,” an employee noted. (back to the list of winners)



As one of the largest insurance brokerage and consulting firms in the U.S., services from Woodruff Sawyer (WS) include management liability, property and casualty, employment benefits, private client and cyber liability.

“Many things make Woodruff Sawyer great. One is the feeling that we’re all in this together, making us stronger and able to accomplish more than if we acted as individuals,” said Kathy Prosser, National Employee Benefits Leader. “I am proud to work for a company that has created an employee community where everyone strives to be our best.”

She said as a 102-year old firm, WS has a deep legacy of caring for its people and clients. The firm clings to its privately held, independently owned structure because it affords the freedom and agility to continue championing for the success of its people and clients.

Promotions occur when employees exhibit strong technical skills, exceed expectations in their current roles and consistently demonstrate characteristics that align with the WS culture.

The culture is based on accountability, agility, flexibility, independence, professionalism, teamwork and trust.

The WS CARE program sponsors events focusing on giving back to the community, such as an annual day of volunteering at a food bank, Operation Gratitude supporting First Responders, a backpack drive aids families, an annual bake sale benefits a chosen nonprofit, providing a Thanksgiving meal for those in need and participating in Cable Car Caroling at senior homes.

“As an ESOP company, everyone takes pride in how we do business. Our leaders are outstanding. We went to a flexible workplace in 2019. HR sends out daily emails with fun information and we have weekly companywide challenges,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



Habitat restoration is only one of the services WRA, Inc.’s team of environmental consultants provides. The company’s scientists have expertise in preparing restoration and mitigation plans for wetland habitats including tidal wetlands, freshwater marshes, vernal pools, and seasonal wetlands as well as upland habitats including oak woodlands and serpentine grasslands and riparian habitats.

The firm assists clients in navigating the permitting process, getting mitigation bank credits to get the job done faster, and creates resilient designs to protect against sea level rise. WRA also helps clients with habitat enhancement techniques, management tools and monitoring methods.

CEO Geoff Smick is an ecologist and regulatory specialist by training.

WRA has been in business since 1981 and today has 70 employees working in a challenging environment with the bars set high among people motivated to do their best.

Beyond health benefits, fringes include paid AAA membership, carpooling, cell phone reimbursement, outdoor store discounts, free car and bike parking, plus company paid professional organization dues and membership, paid license and certificate fees, professional conference and class coverage along with referral and professional achievement bonuses.

“Management has been flexible. We are very fortunate to have the ability to continue to work, to feel connected to my team and co-workers and able to share openly about the challenges and successes. The company’s vision is what makes WRA great and a best place to work. It is awesome to work for a company that advocates sustainability and environmental stewardship,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)



“The YWCA team is unwavering in its commitment to our community’s most vulnerable citizens and has a vision is to ensure everyone is free from violence in Sonoma County,” said CEO Madeleine Keegan O’Connell. “Our mission is to end domestic violence through awareness, education and empowerment.”

The YW has been a leader in domestic violence services since 1975 and supports families affected by providing safe shelter, therapy, advocacy, and ongoing support.

The Safe House provides refuge in a confidential location for victims fleeing domestic violence and dependent children. It was one of the first 15 domestic violence shelters in the country.

The YW’s Special Place Therapeutic Preschool is the only preschool in Sonoma County offering onsite therapy to children ages 3 — 5 years old. The focus is on developing social and emotional skills so preschoolers can become kindergarten-ready learners.

The culture within this organization is inclusive, warm and personal.

YWCA Sonoma County has 35 employees who receive a benefits package that includes double-digit retirement savings matching to its employees, along with full medical benefits for full-time employees (pro-rated for part-time) and the chance to add family members to the plan.

The package includes dental and optical coverage along with life insurance, cell phone stipends, mileage reimbursement and tuition assistance. Professional development dollars are allocated by department annually for continuing education. A calendar of holidays along with vacation and sick leave is also included.

Two employee appreciation events are hosted by the YW each year, a summer retreat and a year-end holiday party.

“YW employees have been quick to adapt to working remotely to maintain consistent services for clients. Management has given lots of support to staff in making the transition.

They continue to promote our personal wellbeing,” an employee said. (back to the list of winners)

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