North Bay professionals news from Meritage Resort, Lail Vineyards, InterWest, SCORE and more

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The North Bay Business Journal is looking for news of promotions, new hires and awards for possible publication in the People section. Email your press releases to

Rob Austin has been hired as area director of finance to oversee all finance, accounting and purchasing operations across The Meritage Resort and Spa and Vista Collina Resort in the Napa Valley.

Austin brings 30 years of finance operations experience within the hotel/resort industry across various regions of the country. Most recently, Austin served as the director of finance for the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and previously worked with W Hollywood, The Langham Huntington and multiple InterContinental and Hyatt properties.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and accounting from Bryant College in Rhode Island.

Matthew Perry has been appointed national sales manager for Lail Vineyards in the Napa Valley. The company stated that Perry will oversee Lail Vineyards’ national sales and distribution, focusing on Lail’s Blueprint cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc, J. Daniel cuvée and Georgia sauvignon blanc.

In his previous position with Diamond Wine Importers, Perry was the East Coast sales manager where he oversaw and coordinated the distribution network for 10 wineries, a distillery and a brewery.

Perry also worked with Augustan Wine Imports, the fine wine division of Breakthru Beverage Group, in Florida and spent a year in Buenos Aires as Territory Manager for Bodegas Allamand. Perry launched his career in South Florida at Wolfe’s Wine Shoppe, a boutique wine retailer that curates vintages from smaller, family growers.

Chet Laws, a local insurance industry veteran, has joined InterWest Insurance Services as director of business development for the North Bay. InterWest Insurance has local offices in Petaluma and Windsor and provides all-lines of insurance products and services for businesses and individuals.

SCORE, a nonprofit that pairs experienced business people with those seeking business advice, has added two mentors.

Keith Benfield has over 35 years in the telecommunications and information technology industry with experience in sales, marketing, and in executive leadership. For the past 18 years, he has owned an executive recruiting firm, placing high levels directors in corporations worldwide. Benefield was raised in countries all over the world – from Japan to Africa – as his father was in the military.

Ian Jones has 38 years of experience in the International Media industry, the group stated. During his career Jones has specialized in the creative industries, overseeing multiple disciplines including marketing, international sales, TV production and community engagement. Jones has worked in the United Kingdom and U.S. as president of National Geographic TV International, managing director of A&E Television Networks and more recently CEO of UK broadcaster S4C.

Jeffrey Earl Warren has joined the San Francisco Bay Area real estate brokerage of Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty, with approximately 500 agents in 22 offices throughout the San Francisco Bay Area serving the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma and San Francisco.

Warren, who grew up on a ranch just five miles from downtown St. Helena, worked in advertising as a vice president and creative director of New York-based firm J. Walter Thompson. From 1960 to 2014, his family brokerage James Warren & Son, a winery and vineyard real estate firm in the Napa Valley.

Warren, is the grandson of the late California Governor and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren.

The North Bay Business Journal is looking for news of promotions, new hires and awards for possible publication in the People section. Email your press releases to

Carol Nast of Santa Rosa and Rob Chimsky of Kenwood have joined the board of directors for Sonoma-based Transcendence Theatre Company.

Nast is the founder and president of a consulting company that serves the medical industry. The group stated that she and her team have participated in the development and launch of over 100 medical products. She is currently on the board of directors of Enterprise Catalyst Group, Inc (ECG) and was the former oard Chair of the Pacific Art League in Palo Alto. She serves on advisory boards for the Community Data Foundation, UCSF Catalyst Program, and Astia.

Chimsky is an accomplished telecom industry expert having served for over thirty years in senior positions at both operators and consulting including head of technology at Nextel followed by over fifteen years as the Chief Technology Officer at inCode Consulting. He has served on the boards for the Sonoma International Film Festival and The Trey McIntyre Project (a modern ballet company). He is a minority partner at Deerfield Ranch Winery in Sonoma


Bruce Dzieza, founder of Willow Creek Wealth Management, Sebastopol, has been elected to the board of advisers of the Green Music Center, Rohnert Park. Dzieza has served on the Boards of West County Community Services, ToolBox Project, Sebastopol Community Center and other local non profits. With a long history of philanthropic activities, Dzieza has been a businessman in Sonoma County for decades, and founded Willow Creek Wealth Management in 1984.


Brett Martinez, president and CEO of Redwood Credit Union, has received the Anchor Award from the National Credit Union Foundation. He received the award March 11 at the group’s Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

RCU stated the award was based on Martinez’s “exemplary leadership during the 2017 California Wildfires.”

The group added that the Anchor Award is bestowed only periodically to individuals who have lived out the mission of the foundation while providing extraordinary support and advancement of the credit union movement.

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