109 stories of Best Places to Work in the North Bay in 2019

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Best Places to Work in the North Bay for 2019

BY THE NUMBERS

See how employees scored each company and how many workers are there.

WINNERS

Listed alphabetically with links to their profiles.

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

.

Several thousand North Bay employees told us which companies ranked highest in their eyes for workplace culture and other key aspects of the organization.

"Like last year, with unemployment thankfully at lows, a chronic mismatch between the skills employers demand and those available in the workforce and a very challenging environment for recruitment and retention, there has never been a more important time to be one of the Best Places to Work in the North Bay," said Business Journal Publisher Brad Bollinger.

Companies selected as Best Places to Work in the North Bay were analyzed by the editorial staff of the North Bay Business Journal on the based of 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, 109 winners emerged from the North Bay. More than 8,000 employee surveys were submitted.
Nominations for Best Places to Work were sought starting in March. Anyone within a company can nominate their business by completing a simple form. A minimum of 15 employees was required. Nominated companies were then contacted by the Business Journal and invited to submit a company application 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 announced on Aug. 15. Those winners will be honored at a Sept. 26 reception.

The following are profiles of companies that scored high enough to qualify for the list. The organizations are listed alphabetically.

ADOBE ASSOCIATES INC.

SEVEN TIME WINNER

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.

AMY’S KITCHEN

THREE TIME WINNER

In business since 1987 in Sonoma County, this family- owned, multicultural company continues to fulfill its purpose of making it easy and enjoyable for everyone to eat well by preparing gluten free, vegan and vegetarian dishes with non-GMO ingredients.

Best Places to Work in the North Bay for 2019

BY THE NUMBERS

See how employees scored each company and how many workers are there.

WINNERS

Listed alphabetically with links to their profiles.

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

.

“At Amy’s we consider our employees to be our number one asset and their engagement and passion for the business is critical to its success,” says President Xavier Unkovic.

Employee health is a priority. Amy’s Family Health Center in Santa Rosa provides primary care to employees and their dependents and also offers Telehealth, Health Coaching and health improvement classes to all participants and partners.

Employees say “Every person at Amy’s is warm, kind and dependable. It’s a caring, collaborative and giving company.”

Amy’s award-winning Leadership Academy giving employees an opportunity to strengthen their skills and advance in their careers. Over $90,000 in scholarships are awarded annually for college-bound children of Amy’s employees. Mothers are allowed to bring their infants to work, bridging the bonding period, and there is a dog-friendly office policy.

Social gatherings include an annual Employee Appreciation Day with gifts for each worker, as well as a kids’ carnival, Santa at a holiday feast, as well as raffles and prizes.

There are Safety and Earth Day celebrations, First Friday breakfasts and Swedish-style FIKA coffee breaks in which teams come together to enjoy snacks, recharge and connect.

Says one employee responding to a Best Places to Work survey, “I loved the products before coming to work here, and love that I am part of making them now.”

ARROW BENEFITS GROUP

FIVE TIME WINNER

Petaluma-based Arrow Benefits Group manages company benefit plans. “Arrow is a team of great people doing great work,” says Managing Partner Stephen McNeil. “Over the last five years they have continued to elevate the agency, innovating with fresh ideas and delivering positive outcomes for clients. Our team’s values and company growth are reflected in our commitments to the communities we serve.

It is a privilege to be on this journey with this group of people.”

Employees taking part in the Best Places to Work survey say that while Arrow is growing in size, it still has a family vibe.

“Our whole team gets along and communicates openly. We are all happy when co-workers do well.”

The company offers volunteer time off opportunities, 501(c)3 gift matching, and employee participation at the Big Brothers Big Sisters Gala, and “Steptember” for United Cerebral Palsy. An employee outreach committee seeks involvement opportunities for the staff, and each company principal sits on the board of one or more nonprofit.

Arrow continues its commitment to provide $100,000 over a period of time for its clients to purchase Automatic External Defibrillators to pay for half of each AED bought.

One survey respondent says, “My direct manager has an open-door policy, takes action on items when I have concerns, and listens to ideas on how to improve a process.”

AUL CORPORATION

SIX TIME WINNER

Headquartered in Napa, AUL founded the national used car service contract industry in 1990 providing extended warranty coverage.

AUL’s philosophy of caring for its customers also applies to its 124 North Bay employees.

“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,” offered Jimmy Atkinson, CEO and president.

“By virtue of our amazing growth, combined with enthusiasm for work and their fellow employees, we are working steadily toward that goal. I want to thank our tremendous employee family for making AUL the best it can be — and the Best Place to Work.”

AUL’s benefits package for full-time employees and their dependents includes medical coverage (employees pay 5%-10% of the cost based on earnings); vision care at no cost (if a medical plan is chosen), dental care at no cost, life and long-term disability at no cost, an HRA account, FSA for medical or dependent care, a corporate gym membership, Fidelity 401K plan, employee education assistance up to $8,000/year; and employee advances (loans).

“Management is approachable, open-minded and takes care of us, from benefits to planning for the future to ensuring we are successful in the industry.

Interactions and idea sharing are encouraged,” one employee states in the Best Places to Work survey. “You can succeed if you want to take advantage of opportunities presented. The taco truck is fun, too!”

BANK OF MARIN

THIRTEEN TIME WINNER

As a full-service community business bank, Bank of Marin has been an integral part of the North Bay’s philanthropic landscape for more than 30 years.

Led by President and CEO Russell A.

Colombo, this financial institution invests in hundreds of nonprofit organizations with monetary contributions and employee volunteerism.

“I love this bank. From senior management on down, people take pride in their work and it shows. Our managers go out of their way to show appreciation. I feel like I can be open with members of our executive team,” a Best Places to Work survey taker states.

BOM employees are involved in over 60 nonprofit boards in the Bay Area.

Since 2010, more than $4 million has been donated and employees have contributed over 75,000 volunteer hours to local philanthropic and charitable organizations.

The culture has been built on fostering trust and building relationships at work and during company-wide parties and picnics. Employee longevity averages over seven years.

BOM offers basic benefits plus voluntary life insurance, an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, educational reimbursement, and free checking accounts for all employees. There is a health club discount program, pet insurance, CPR and AED certification, SMART train shuttle and Rideshare benefits and a variety of health and wellness programs.

BECOMING INDEPENDENT

TEN TIME WINNER

The nonprofit’s 250 employees — with upper management comprised of 80% minorities and women — is a group of many teams that make up one cohesive community.

BI is dedicated to helping people that may not be capable of helping themselves and offers one of the few autism programs available in the country.

“Becoming Independent prides itself on being a leading innovator in the field of human services for with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” says CEO Luana Vaetoe.

“The talent, creativity, compassion and dedication our staff possess have allowed us to set the standard of quality and service expectation for those we serve in California.”

Employees are acknowledged at an annual recognition event, at holiday parties and during Direct Support Professional recognition week.

Most of BI’s employees spend a portion of each workday taking groups into the community to participate in paid employment, volunteer and service opportunities and recreational activities.

“You feel a sense of family and unity the moment you walk through the doors every morning while being welcomed with a smile,” one employee states. “At the end of the day, when leaving for home with a full heart, you just want to do it all over the again tomorrow.”

BEST COLLATERAL INC.

FIVE TIME WINNER

With twelve pawn shops in Northern California, Best Collateral provides customers with short term cash loans to make ends meet in times of need.

“Best Collateral is unlike so many other businesses,” says President Robert Verhoeff. “We are diverse in what we do — combining banking, jewelry and retail.

Our people are diverse, and we are diverse in our business model and philosophy. That makes us more valuable to our customers.

All of this taken together is what makes our company great.”

Best Collateral’s fun side is experienced during the annual family fun night at an Oakland A’s game. The company organizes, sponsors and pays for tickets and gift “swag” for employees and their spouses, significant others and children. There is a 3-4 day industry convention in Las Vegas and similar events throughout the year.

“The company wants everyone to succeed and offers advanced training for those that want to take the next step, “states an employee.

There are monthly training sessions for managers and supervisors at the company’s dedicated center in Novato. Employees participate in Chamber of Commerce mixers, donate cash and merchandise to local schools, the police canine unit, the Wounded Warriors Project, at military appreciation events and at school fashion shows, fundraisers and dance recitals.

BEYERS COSTIN SIMON

FOUR TIME WINNER

Focusing on real estate and business law, Beyers Costin Simon has been serving the North Bay for 45 years while creating a positive, encouraging and healthy environment for its 22 employees.

“Our firm has cultivated a workplace where employees want to come every day,” says Managing Shareholder Michael Garcia. “We challenge our employees to be their best and offer them a range of fun activities each year.”

Activities include a trip to the Sonoma County Fair, lunchtime BBQs, parties and team-building events, and an employee recognition week with daily gifts, breakfasts, lunches and treats. On BLT Day, BCS provides sandwich ingredients and invites staff and other building tenants to enjoy them.

“Fun events, and a relaxed work environment unite BCS employees as a work team and a great work family,” Garcia added.

An employee states, “The attorneys and support staff are amazing to work with and incredibly accommodating. I feel happy and excited coming to work each day and am lucky to be part of this team.”

Full-time employees start with more than three weeks paid time off and are enrolled in the firm’s 401K plan that includes a BCS percentage. The firm offers health insurance, contributes to HSA accounts for covered employees, and purchases long-term disability and life insurance for every worker.

BCS supports the Justin Cahill special prom for 300 special needs students, the Marine Corps toy drive, and contributes to the Sonoma County Legal Secretary Association Christmas charity fund.

The average employee has been with the firm 15 years. An employee states,” We know each other’s strengths and work as a well-tuned machine. We like each other and laugh a lot, too.”

BKF ENGINEERS

NINE TIME WINNER

In 1915 BFK’s founders set out to create a firm where innovative ideas were encouraged and welcomed, where the values of hard-working professionals were appreciated, and where taking pride in your work from start to finish was commonplace.

After 104 years in business, this spirit is still alive today.

“I truly appreciate the dedicated, creative and collaborative environment at BFK,” says Greg Hurd, principal and executive vice president. “We have people with those unique skills, personalities and experience needed to help make positive impacts and deliver inspired infrastructure to our clients, earning their trust and winning repeat business. Our people not only do this at the project level, but in the communities where we work.”

Examples of community involvement include supporting Homes for Sonoma, Rebuilding Together, the Active 20-30 Club, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and Leap Sandcastles, etc.

Employees say BFK staff members continue to strive for excellence, while not taking themselves too seriously.

“Our sports teams, company events, picnics and parties — plus volunteer work — offer opportunities for us to connect as people away from the office — and have fun with one another while doing it.”

At BKF, employee surveys show, everyone is free to contribute, and innovation is rewarded. “There is strong emphasis on taking good care of our clients so that they are treated fairly and know we are advocating for them. We get to work on high profile projects that benefit our communities. It’s a gift to be able to say that we’ve been an integral part of local history.”

BLENTECH CORPORATION

TWO TIME WINNER

Blentech has been a family-owned manufacturer of food processing systems for 33 years.

“We all hope to find purpose in our lives and work,” says CEO Daniel Voit. “At Blentech, we achieve this daily. Our equipment makes food products that feed millions. We make food safer and nutritious food more economical. Each day brings an opportunity to make a real difference in Sonoma County and the world.”

The workplace highlights a collaborative culture modeled where employees are encouraged to work on projects that showcase their strengths.

“We work cohesively in a get-it-done, close-proximity culture on the front lines of innovation,” an employee states. “There is flexibility in work style and movement within the company. We have a chance to grow and bring new ideas to the table that are always welcome. The company is getting larger, but still maintains an entrepreneurial atmosphere.”

There are quarterly safety lunches with slogan contests and gift card giveaways.

Every Thanksgiving, the owners give a ham, steak or turkey to each employee.

There are family picnics at local venues so employees can bring their kids, along with an annual holiday party offsite. Employee milestones are celebrated with donuts and coffee, and quarterly Town Hall meetings with the CEO keep everyone informed about the state of the business.

“We are changing the way the world prepares and consumes food,” an employee writes. “We’re on the cusp of greatness!”

BOISSET COLLECTION

FOUR TIME WINNER

Boisset is a family-owned collection of 25 historic and prestigious wineries in France, Napa Valley and the Russian River Valley. Also included are three gourmet epicurean boutiques: Atelier Fine Foods and the 140-year-old Oakville Grocery and a Sonoma County location on the Healdsburg Square.

Proprietor Jean-Charles Boisset has also created JCB Spirits, luxury vodkas and gin distilled from Burgundy wine made from pinot noir and chardonnay that includes caviar and truffle infused vodkas; the JCB Passion Collection by Baccarat, a namesake collection of jewelry, perfume and fine glassware, chargers and whiskey sets by Riedel Ossa Nova, and Senses, a fashion and skincare products boutique and medi- spa that debuted in the JCB Village in Yountville.

The Boisset Collection offers employees education reimbursement, recognition committees, a newly-launched specialized mentor program, a Job Swap program, an employee benefits package and a unique winery setting that welcomes employees.

‘My favorite thing about working for Boisset is management. Every link in the chain of command values and supports me.

Each link is an individual I trust, admire and look up to for their ethics, tenure and experience,” one employee survey taker states. “The way I was welcomed to the company set the stage for a strong, productive foundation.”

BPM LLP

FOURTEEN TIME WINNER

“Becoming one of the largest California- based accounting, tax, audit and consulting firms –- ranked in the top 50 in the U.S. — is a major accomplishment,” says Managing Partner Carol O’Hara. “I am so proud to be part of the wonderful Santa Rosa team of 54 North Bay employees.”

The BPM culture, both internally and client-facing, is all about support, development and relationships.

Employees say the company strives for excellence, supports flex schedules, and has a management team that welcomes new ideas and hosts town hall meetings and an annual all-hands session to give everyone updates.

“We have really good benefits, a fair pay rate, early closures on Friday’s during the summer and extra holidays.”

In addition to basic benefits, BMP offers include six weeks of paid parental leave for baby bonding, LUCY in-home parental support, Urban Sitter nanny and sitter services, and a wellness program with financial incentives.

Employees are recognized with “You Earned It” employee engagement awards. Staff can take advantage of the “Joyable” emotional digital health program, travel assistance, and supplemental health insurance plans for critical illness, accident and hospital indemnity.

The firm closes for a day so everyone can volunteer at local nonprofits. Employees serve on several boards, and volunteer for Junior Achievement. Others provide classroom education on basic money management at underserved schools, while also offering financial support to charitable organizations.

When employees were asked what they would like to tell or ask the managing partner, replies included: “Thanks for bringing us to a place of greater strength in the marketplace … keep up the good work, and thanks for committing to women’s equality.”

BURNHAM BENEFITS INSURANCE SERVICES

THREE TIME WINNER

An employee benefits and insurance services company, Burnham recognizes “the importance of a work/life balance for our employees in a fast-paced world,” says Regional President Michael Michalski. ”Our firm offers flexible work schedules allowing employees to work from home which enables our people to devote valuable attention to their work while also having time for family.”

An employee writes, “Our team members are experienced and knowledgeable. Burnham excels at fostering collaboration across offices and teams. It is an inclusive, open, dynamic, fair and social organization where everyone feels they have a voice in the company and opinions are strongly encouraged.”

As a “B Corporation,” the company integrates its business success with both community and environmental engagement.

Burnham matches employee contributions up to $500 for employee-selected charities, and there are designated personal time off days for charitable work.

Opportunities are created for the Burnham family to come together on a social level.

Benefits include wellness incentives, an EAP program, discounted weight-loss programs, voluntary life insurance, STD, identity theft protection, an employer-sponsored legal plan and employer contributions for employee HSA accounts and commuter benefits.

States an employee, “People serve and improve each other so that everyone is advancing toward his or her highest career potential, which makes it a great place to work.

Clients win big time by getting the very best from people who love what they’re doing.”

CANINE COMPANIONS FOR INDEPENDENCE

FIRST TIME WINNER

“What makes Canine Companions great is our mission to provide expertly- trained assistance dogs to people with disabilities free of charge,” an employee writes. “We regularly see and interact with graduates who have our dogs and get to see the impact we are helping to make for people in our community and beyond.”

With 113 employees, 93% are minorities and women, Canine Companions offers a dog-friendly work environment, professional development opportunities, complimentary coffee and tea on site, and a 12-acre campus complete with walking paths and a dog park.

“We have an exceptional organization because of the people involved and the quality and integrity of our employees,” according to CEO Paige Mazzoni. “From the graduates we serve, to the employees who perform at the highest levels, and volunteers who do so much to make our mission possible, and our generous donors who fund what we do, it’s an incredible group of people that never ceases to amaze me.”

The benefits package includes bereavement time off, as well as time off for the death of a pet, an EAP, employer matched 403(b) retirement plan, holiday and sick time off along and PTO.

Employees also participate in a holiday toy drive, volunteer at the Redwood Empire Food Bank and raise awareness of Canine Companions through presentations and information booths at events and for businesses and organizations.

CARLILE MACY

TWELVE TIME WINNER

Carlile Macy is a team of 21 civil engineers, urban planners, land surveyors and landscape architects.

“We are fortunate to have great people who enjoy working together to create quality projects and provide excellent service to our clients,” says President Curt Nichols. “In a service business like ours, it’s all about the people and we are blessed to have the best.”

On employee surveyed writes, “The team dynamic and camaraderie leads to better designs. I enjoy helping to build the company’s reputation for producing quality work. The people are great, the workplace is pleasantly unique, the work ethic is strong and benefits are good.”

plans and one dental plan, vision and life insurance, long-term disability coverage, EAP, and travel insurance — most of which are employer paid.

Carlile Macy recognizes domestic partners and their dependent children as eligible dependents. The company encourages wellness and fitness for all employees and pays 20% of quarterly membership dues for Cool Fitness & Training.

A 401K plan is also provided. Professional licenses and society dues are company paid, along with professional development and continuing education costs.

Holiday events are celebrated with a family tree trimming party, holiday dinner and white elephant gift exchange. There is an annual family picnic, camping trip and pot lucks throughout the year. Everyone participates in monthly staff meetings.

CENTRAL VALLEY (BUILDERS SUPPLY)

FIRST TIME WINNER

Founded in 1955, Central Valley reports over $100 million in sales, five warehouses, 41 acres of inventory, 55 delivery vehicles, two fully-stocked production yards that sell over 100 million board feet a year, one prefabricated wall facility and an export/ import business.

“We excel as a company because of our 64-year commitment to excellence,” says 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 190 employees — some of whom have been with us over 30 years.”

Fifty percent of CV’s stores are run by women, and 50 percent of the women who manage them are minorities.

“The company has very down-to-earth and friendly people,” writes an employee.

“Management tries to understand your problems on and off the job. They make you feel confident and comfortable, making this a happy and rewarding place to work each day.”

Through CV’s giving pledge, 2% of profits are donated to help build strong, healthy families and affordable housing in the communities it serves through organizations like Habitat for Humanity and St. Helena Hospital. Employees receive eight hours of paid volunteer time to support local nonprofits.

CENTRIC GENERAL CONTRACTORS

TWO TIME WINNER

St. Helena-based Centric is a 14-year old family-run business which specializes in building custom homes and resorts, wineries and restaurants along with office buildings, industrial facilities, ports, terminals and civic historical restorations.

The company’s 36 craftspeople and managers apply the firm’s core values that are part of the company’s culture and service offerings — honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability — in everything they do.

“We are a local company that supports global environmental construction practices,” says Owner and Principal Tim McDonald. “Having grown up in Napa Valley, I am proud to employ Northern Californians and hope to keep our family-run business a strong example of wholesomeness, high quality and loyalty.”

Reports an employee, “We are all part of a great group of knowledgeable people with a determination to succeed while having fun.”

Upward mobility comes in stages as employees grow with experience and advance from project administration positions to project management assignments and beyond.

An employee states, “We have lots of company outings and get-togethers and have great benefits” including health/ dental coverage, 401K with match, PTO, a bonus structure and access to the latest technology.”

The Centric team supports local events and community activities such as school fundraisers and art projects, and by donating to nonprofits.

Adds another employee, “The professionals I work with, and the opportunities for self- improvement and growth, are what makes Centric a Best Place to Work.”

CHILD PARENT INSTITUTE

TWO TIME WINNER

CPI is a parent education and children’s mental health agency. The nonprofit’s impact as of August this year has resulted in helping 6,379 children and families by providing 4,883 hours of counseling and mentoring 254 parents.

“The cornerstone of CPI is our commitment to designing services that are community focused, strength-based and culturally sensitive,” according to Executive Director Robin Bowen. “Our objective is to build an atmosphere of support, hope and personal growth. This belief is also fundamental to our workplace culture.

Employees know that we respect them for seeking support or information, knowing this is how change and growth occur. We recognize in ourselves and our clients that parenting is the hardest job we will ever have. The health and wellness of our staff and their families is our top priority.”

CPI offers flexibility in work schedules.

By allowing employees to work the days and hours that fit their personal and family needs, Bowen says CPI reinforces the message that health and well-being are among its core values.

Staff members are encouraged to talk with supervisors about their career paths, and supervisors are encouraged to support staff members’ efforts to gain experience and advance. There is an annual all-staff development workshop and a staff appreciation week.

CHOP’S TEEN CLUB

FIVE TIME WINNER

Chop’s Teen Club offers programs for provides a safe, fun and productive place where Sonoma County teens in 7th to 12th grades.

“We built an amazing team at Chop’s Teen Club focused around mentoring and supporting our youth,” says Executive Director Lorez Bailey. “Our leadership team works daily to support staff mentors who interact with local teens by providing guidance, connection and amazing opportunities.”

An employee comments, “Chop’s is far more than a company. It is a place where there is sanctity and safety. My company is great because there is empathy, passion, and love behind everything we do.”

The Chop’s part-time staff includes young people who are in college working on specific career goals.

Employees participate in a number of nonprofit and city events, such as face painting on St. Patrick’s Day on the square, and as servers at a Rotary Crab Feed, while guiding teens toward community service activities — like the Teens Helping Kids initiative.

“We have a great team that really enjoys a collaborative working atmosphere,” states one employee. “We put our teens first and all decisions are made around what would make this the best place for them and the staff every day.”

COAST LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT

NINE TIME WINNER

“I’ve always seen the value of building an incredible, unique and diverse team of individuals to help run the business,” says Kelly Solomon, CEO of Coast Landscape Management. “I’m fortunate to have surrounded myself with the best employees.

We are lucky to have people who care and are passionate about the green industry and their customers. This results in a company culture that is rich with ideas and aids performance within our teams and with our clients.”

Solomon strongly believes in training and continuing education. “If you grow as a human being and feed your passion for learning, it makes you a better mother or father at home, a better worker and a better contributor to our community.”

She noted that the firm has several managers that started in the field or in entry level positions and worked their way up.

Company-sponsored events include BBQs, picnics at Six Flags, local zoos, etc., river rafting excursions and Christmas parties, along with customer service training and retreats in Reno.

Writes an employee, “It is a relaxed place where I can be myself and grow professionally. Our commitment to excellence motivates and challenges me to excel.”

Employees frequently use their skills to build playgrounds and sports fields for local schools. They partner with many nonprofits, such as local conservancy groups to help beautify their property, and participate in food drives, Toys for Tots and other community programs.

COLDWELL BANKER BROKERS OF THE VALLEY

EIGHT TIME WINNER

For 25 years this woman-owned real estate brokerage has been a leader in its industry with 66 percent of upper management comprised of minorities and women.

“Coldwell Banker is more than just a place to work. With offices in Napa, St.

Helena and Sonoma, our company’s 127 licensed real estate professionals and 36 support staff are a cohesive team who consistently put their clients first. We work hard to get results for our clients and then like to play hard,” says General Manager Logan Songer.

“Playing hard” involves fun bocce ball tournaments, golf, bowling and bus trips to Giant’s games, along with casino nights, Taco Tuesdays and more.

An employee states, “This has been the best real estate firm in Napa County and St. Helena for years. I just joined the company last August after having numerous other opportunities, and I know I made the right choice.”

Some 40% of employees have been with the company for more than 10 years.

“I love the atmosphere the company provides for us every day,” writes an employee. “The training available and on-going involvement of all employees makes it hands down the best! Our owners go the extra mile for agents and staff.”

Employees are involved in the community by co-hosting the Napa Valley Community Housing Golf Tournament, volunteering at the food bank, as well as during paper, shoe and toy drives.

COMMUNITY CHILD CARE COUNCIL OF SONOMA COUNTY (4Cs)

SEVEN TIME WINNER

Nonprofit 4Cs and its 185 employees have provided access to child care and early education in Sonoma County since 1972.

“What I continue to be extremely proud of is how — as a company — 4Cs is dedicated to our staff, supporting them in their work/ life balance as well as how the 4Cs staff is committed to our mission and the children and families we serve,” says Executive Director Melanie Dodson.

Six health and wellness benefit plans and two dental plans are available for employees to choose from along with vision, long term disability and EAP.

PTO includes vacation, sick time, holidays and a day off on a birthday or anniversary, FSA and HSA accounts, a 403b retirement plan, life insurance, travel assistance and will preparation assistance.

Staff members can participate in a Relaxation Day with yoga and meditation on site, pot lucks, ice cream socials plus an annual party, wellness walks and a Week of Wellness, and flex schedules.

“We know how important it is to take time to get to know each other, create time for individual wellness and time for fun. I have great respect for all of my colleagues.

It takes all of us to truly make the difference we want to see in our community,” says Dodson.

COMMUNITY MATTERS

TWO TIME WINNER

For two decades Community Matters has worked with schools in 38 states and five other countries.

“We come together to make a significant and positive difference for our young people, our schools and community,” says CEO Diana Curtin. “We are dedicated to putting an end to the crisis of bullying and mistreatment through empowering and equipping young people to safely intervene when they witness harmful behaviors. We are committed to create safe, welcoming and inclusive schools so students and teachers can reach their potential.”

Employees say their mission is to make the world a better place by training youth to stand up and speak up when they see mistreatment.

Community Matter’s five-year plan calls for allocating more resources in Sonoma County schools to make a deeper impact. In the past three years the organization has grown 53%.

The nonprofit’s flagship program trains Safe School Ambassadors not to just notice harmful behaviors, but to do something about it as well as take care of each other and students who need their support, while creating a sense of safety and comfort at school through acts of kindness on a daily basis.

Employees also volunteer for other nonprofits, such as the 4Cs Champion for Children luncheon, the Chop’s Teen Club and take part in Santa Rosa Chamber events.

Writes one employee, “Our culture is one of inclusiveness and acceptance. We honor and welcome the fact that we come from different backgrounds and appreciate the strengths that each person brings to the team.”

CORK SUPPLY USA, INC.

THREE TIME WINNER

Benicia-based Cork Supply, with 82 North Bay employees, is a “dynamic, growth-oriented and progressive company,” in the words of President, CEO and owner Jochen Michalski. “We empower or experienced, passionate and driven team to be creative, innovative and to continuously improve our processes to ultimately exceed our client’s expectations. We pride ourselves in making sure the various products we offer our premium winery and spirit clients is best in class.”

Employees say everyone contributes to make the company successful and thrive.

“Our vision of ‘One Team, One Dream’ is real,” writes on employee. “Managers are not above helping on the floor and don’t just stay behind their desks. They contribute and are willing to assist their team members.”

In addition to a comprehensive medical plan, fringe benefits include flexible work schedules and remote work opportunities, daily complimentary coffee, tea, hot cocoa, weekly fresh fruit baskets, Friday happy hour and monthly company-provided lunches.

Company-sponsored events range from soccer tournaments, Whiffle ball games, a Home Run Derby and major league baseball/ NBA events to BBQ picnics, holiday parties, quarterly team-building offsite events, Bring Your Child to Work Day, Aloha Day and Administrative Professionals Day.

Cork Supply’s culture is summed up in a series of value statements as a way to practice how staff engage, operate and behave: Commitment, passion, care, communication, dependability, execution, knowledge, courage, honesty and selflessness.

The company also conducts a Positive Culture Survey that gauges overall employee satisfaction.

CORNERSTONE PROPERTIES

TWO TIME WINNER

Cornerstone is a locally-owned and managed North Bay commercial property owner and developer in Petaluma.

“Employees are given the power to create the office culture and workforce environment they desire,” observed Principal Alon Adani of this 34-year-old company with 80% of management minorities and women. “What makes our company great is the work that the team does together. It’s a large amount of work accomplished by a small, 12-person team. This is a testament to the impact of our culture.”

Everyone works in an open atmosphere with breakout rooms for calls. They take time on Fridays for yoga together, enjoy team lunches and play in the office with babies and dogs. The schedule is flexible and staff members come and go as needed.

“In addition to working on large real estate projects that have a significant impact on our community — especially in the housing segment — I get to work with intelligent, creative, humorous and forward-thinking individuals of all ages and backgrounds,” writes an employee.

A gym membership stipend is available as well as time off for volunteer work and team activities, along with employer sponsored breakfast and lunches.

“At Cornerstone, the amount of autonomy given to employees is something not seen in the workplace today,” states an employee. “If more firms adopted some of these processes, believe it would lead to increased employee engagement, work satisfaction and retention.”

COSTEAUX FRENCH BAKERY

NINE TIME WINNER

As a Healdsburg tradition since 1923, Costeaux is a full-service bakery “Our 125 people are the cornerstone of our business,” says William Seppi, CEO and president. “We continually strive to create a positive culture staying true to our core values of family, community, quality and service.”

An employee notes, “I’ve been working here for five years. Since my first day, Costeaux managers and staff have been welcoming and are always helping me succeed in my positions. Everyone is very friendly and extremely positive at work creating a great work atmosphere.”

Costeaux provides support for food banks, schools, churches, the Farm Bureau, FFA/4H, and health care. It also supports LBC’s Art of the Dessert and the Healdsburg Jazz Festival as well as Rotary, Kiwanis service clubs and more.

“Management is always open to talk anyone if problems arise and find ways to solve them. They are supper flexible with schedules helping college students’ work while attending school,” an employee writes.

The perks include a medical/dental plan, 401k, birthday cakes for staff, anniversary luncheons and a loaf of fresh bread every day.

DAL POGGETTO & COMPANY LLP

THIRTEEN TIME WINNER

“We take a genuine interest in our clients and their challenges, while striving to understand their needs and objectives so we can deliver outstanding professional services for them”, Managing Partner Jon Dal Poggetto states.

This CPA firm encourages teamwork, initiative and innovative client service.

“Dal Poggetto & Company is a perfect mix between pride in the product of its work and the success of individual employee needs,” writes an employee. “I am so proud to be part of the process that is embedded that includes many levels of training and review resulting in nearly flawless accounting work.”

Examples of community involvement include support for the YMCA, Sonoma State University Scholarships, Canine Companions, and providing pro bono professional CPA services to community based, not-for-profit organizations.

Poggetto notes the firm has hired a large number of Sonoma State University graduates over the past 27 years.

Fringe benefits include educational assistance, sponsored activities including food and beverages, an ergonomic work environment, flex schedules and a generous maternity/family leave policy.

Says one employee, “My company has a lot of compassion for those who work here. As a working mother of two who just graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree, I am constantly amazed at the gracious flexibility I’m given to make my busy schedule work for me.”

DH WINE COMPLIANCE

SIX TIME WINNER

DH Wine Compliance’s goal is to be a leader in workplace environments, says its president. The company focuses on wine compliance licensing, reporting and consulting.

“A majority of our staff is comprised of working moms who are given opportunities to work from home or adjust their schedules according to their young children’s needs,” says President Drea Helfer-Lagourgue.

“Family always comes first.”

“We value our employees over bottom lines. My team is what got us here today.

I started with an idea nine years ago, but they executed it. They bring 110% every day. It’s my duty to give them back 300%.”

She says DH recognizes that people have lives outside of work and we encourage them to live them, there is a human element that sometimes gets lost when running a business.

One employee states, “Everyone is supportive, flexible to changing needs and does their part to make it happen in teamwork fashion. We care about each other’s wellbeing.”

DH hosts the Sonoma County Backpack Project donating packs and supplies to underprivileged youth. The company also sponsors youth sports teams, contributes to school classrooms through Donorschoose.

org and also donated two dozen native trees and shrubs to the City of Paradise after the Camp Fire.

States an employee, “Our amazing work/ life balance here is not like any other company I’ve ever worked for. I love this place and I’ll stay here forever if they let me.”

DICKENSON, PEATMAN & FOGARTY

THREE TIME WINNER

“We are a top-notch full-service law firm that is approaching its 55th year in business,” say Co-Managing Partners Carol Ritter and Scott Gerien. “Staff members are experts in alcohol beverage and wine law, and our attorneys are routinely recognized in legal rankings and surveys as some of the best in their fields.”

They add the firm is regularly involved with matters of local and national importance and continues to perform at the top of its game while providing its staff with great benefits and a balanced work environment.

It’s a place where people treat each other with respect and dignity.

One employee writes, “The company is a wonderful resource for the community with a group of 46 fair, knowledgeable, competitive, honest and hardworking people ready to serve.”

Another employee notes, “Our sense of helping others and wanting the team as a whole to succeed is what makes this a Best Place to Work. Team members are people with world-class expertise that have worked hard to earn a solid community reputation.”

There is an open-door policy at the firm and attorneys all participate in pro bono work as well as charitable sponsorships and donations. Promotion is from within as long as qualified candidates are available. The average longevity of employees is 9.5 years.

“It’s a friendly, casual, welcoming and fun environment with at least two company parties each year plus staff appreciation celebrations where employees enjoy each other’s company,” an employee writes.

“Did I mention the well-stocked office refrigerator?”

DON SEBASTIANI & SONS

SEVEN TIME WINNER

Rooted in Sonoma County since 1904, Don Sebastiani & Sons is a family-owned company among the nation’s leading producers of wines, 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,” says President and CEO Donny Sebastiani Jr. “We work together to find solutions and employees are empowered to make the right decisions by asking, ‘What would I do if this were my own family’s winery?’” He adds business performance continues to grow in the firm’s wine business and in its food division, Sonoma Kitchen Collective.

“I like that we are a larger company that still operates at a more intimate level where employees are known and acknowledged as individuals,” an employee writes. “We meet once a week on Make It Happen Mondays to touch base and stay informed about company developments, while sharing laughs and playing trivia games — it’s very inclusive.”

There are several seasonal events — such as a December Healthy Holiday Lunch where staff is encouraged to wear “ugly Christmas” attire — to encourage employee activity, discussion and review of the firm’s successes, with a company provided lunch, dessert and themed games, prizes and photo opportunities.

There are Mexican Fiestas, pot lucks and BBQs, organized by the Boost Employee Engagement team of diverse company representatives. Production employees work a 4/10 weekly schedule and office staff can also work 10 hours + one four days and take a half day off on Fridays.

EARTHTONE CONSTRUCTION

TWO TIME WINNER

Earthtone is a builder of residential, commercial and multi-family construction.

“We are firm believers in people and what they can achieve when supported and treated with respect and care,” says CEO Andy Bannister. “Our 56 employees are our greatest strength.”

“The company is acutely focused and detail oriented when it comes to building, but also aware of its relationships with employees, trade partners, clients and the environment in which we work.”

As described in its mission statement, Earthtone is mindful of its actions, invested in its people, sustainable in its vision and passionate about its craft.

Employees say ownership has created a culture that is refreshing in this industry, and they lead by example with character, integrity and a desire to continually improve.

“At Earthtone, we are treated with the utmost respect and support. Our products are ultra-impressive.”

Benefits include medical, dental, vision and life insurance, EAP, and an IRA match.

There is also a company match for charitable contributions, tool purchase and repair programs, youth sports sponsorships, health and wellness initiatives, team workouts and sporting events and bike rides — plus paid parking.

In addition, employee support also includes an annual review of goals, and mentorship to ensure continued growth and development of skills.

“Management has cultivated a work environment of safety, camaraderie and productivity, making all employees driven to do their best. I can see myself retiring from Earthtone,” writes an employee.

ECKHOFF & COMPANY

THREE TIME WINNER

Eckhoff & Company CPAs and Advisors has been consulting and handling tax and accounting services for their customers in the Bay Area for more than 64 years.

The firm offers a portfolio of financial services through EAC and Eckhoff Wealth Management.

“We appreciate and value our combined expertise and the benefits of collaboration,” according to Managing Partner Michele Hassid.

“Our culture is characterized by life-long learning and a firm commitment to longterm relationships.” She says the Eckhoff culture also values and supports teamwork, flexibility and creative problem-solving.

Promotion comes mostly from within.

Professionals advance in the firm as they demonstrate technical competence, good judgment, excellent communications skills and demonstrated leadership ability.

Continuing education is company paid, and employee longevity with the firm averages 10 years.

“It is a positive environment with a family atmosphere where everyone is very understanding,” writes an employee. “Life happens and if personal issues occur, you can take time off to handle them.”

A fun committee plans all employee events. The San Francisco office has a gym, and the company provides breakfast and lunch. Staff has opportunities to work from home.

Employees give back by supporting charitable fundraisers, by volunteering and by serving on nonprofit and Chamber of Commerce boards.

ELEVEN ENGINEERING INC.

FIRST TIME WINNER

This four-year old firm, headquartered in Petaluma, specializes in general construction services, environmental remediation as well as decommissioning and demolition projects.

President Wendy Harding says, “Everyone comes to their jobs every day to deliver safety-driven, quality inspired outcomes.

It’s our promise to engage our partners fairly and to deliver an efficient and professional experience on each project.”

EEI is a licensed contractor and a certified Woman-owned Business Enterprise (WBE).

“We’ve been fortunate to develop a team that is truly vested in the success of the company,” says Vice President Ryan Harding. “Our employees are empowered with the ability to make decisions that significantly impact our success and we welcome their ideas on ways to improve.”

The company has a safety system management plan in place.

“Caring about our work family goes hand in hand with making sure that we go home safe to them every day.”

Adds an employee, “There is a spirit of teamwork and a sense of appreciation for all. Expectations are clearly identified and there is open and honest two-way communication between all levels. There is passion for the work we do, and each person’s role is clearly defined.”

EEI’s social activities include a baseball game and the yearly company Christmas party.

EO PRODUCTS

SIX TIME WINNER

Nearly 24 years ago Co-CEO’s Susan Griffin-Black and Brad Black created the company they always wanted to work for with a purpose to make organic, plantbased, self-care products using nature’s pure essential oils that do no harm to the environment.

Today, with more than 150 employees, 97 in the North Bay, EO still maintains a family-like culture where everyone works toward a common goal and sharing the same values that have remained true for almost a quarter century.

“The camaraderie within the different EO departments is surprisingly strong. I feel well taken care of and well respected,” an employee says. “Everyone genuinely believes in the products we are creating and using every day.”

EO has been a zero-waste manufacturer for three years, diverting over 90 percent of solid waste out of a landfill, and has an onsite composting program. The company solar panels and purchases “deep green” power generated from renewable wind or solar sources when unable to satisfy all of its own energy needs.

Perks include free and discounted products, monthly birthday, anniversary, baby and wedding shower treats, a Byte Pantry fridge stocked with healthy, locally-made snacks and meals, free onsite yoga classes and free electric vehicle charging stations as well as summer picnics and a holiday party. The company also donates thousands of dollars-worth of product to local nonprofits.

Writes an employee, “I love our mission as a B Corp to support sustainable business practices and making body care products according to the highest quality standards.

It’s a mission to my heart.”

EXCHANGE BANK

FOURTEEN TIME WINNER

“Exchange Bank’s mission is to build a strong future for our community and to have a lasting, positive impact in the areas we serve,” says President and CEO Gary Hartwick.

“We do this through leadership, community support, volunteerism, charitable giving and sharing our expertise. I’m proud of our 420 employees who contribute to making this community a better place to live and work.”

He says 50.44% of the bank’s cash dividends go to the Doyle Trust which funds the Doyle scholarship at SRJC. Since 1948, these scholarships have provided $86 million to over 132,000 students.

An employee writes, “the integrity of senior leadership, amazing community giving both in money and time, talented and enthusiastic people that make coming to work a joy, loyal customers who are great to do business with, along with generous time off policies, solid benefits and fun events.”

In 2018, the bank donated over $785,000 to more than 300 nonprofits in Sonoma County and employees raised an additional $140,000 through bake sales, soup and salad bar lunches, raffles and other fundraising activities, and logged over 4,300 volunteer hours.

Commitment to the community ranked as one of the top five scoring items contributing to retention in a recent employee survey, underscoring the rewarding connection between community involvement and personal satisfaction, Hartwick observed. Average employee longevity is over nine years.

“Upper management really cares about all of us,” responds another employee. “They take time to learn our names and get to know who we are. You really feel appreciated, there is a strong sense of stability and support through the programs and benefits that Exchange Bank offers.”

FIRST AMERICAN HOME WARRANTY

FIVE TIME WINNER

For a company focused on warranty coverage for home repairs, “Our employees are why First American Home Warranty continues to be both a successful business and such a great place to work,” says Jeff Powell, SVP and division business director.

“We believe in putting people first and this value is the cornerstone of our culture.

When we invest in and empower our employees, they deliver excellent customer service and we create a workplace where people are proud to work.”

Founded in 1989, today the company has 252 employees and one third of upper management is made up of women and minorities.

First American acknowledges outstanding individuals at its Annual Employee Awards and during Employee Appreciation Week.

The company’s benefits package includes an employee stock purchase plan in addition to 401k, health and wellbeing (medical/dental and vision) as well as life and disability insurance coverage.

Employees volunteer in the community in various ways, by participating in the Redwood Empire Food Bank drive, with Caring for the Community and the Home Aid Diaper Drive.

“I think I can safely say that this is the first company where I have felt truly valued by my manager,” writes an employee. “We have a strong culture with an inclusive environment staffed by kind people in a workplace that fosters professional growth and promotes frequently from within the company. It truly feels like family.”

FRIEDEMANN GOLDBERG WARGO HESS LLP

NINE TIME WINNER

Friedemann Goldberg Wargo Hess LLP prides itself on providing a healthy workplace for its 28 employees.

“There is great team camaraderie among all staff members as they strive to perform at the highest level for our clients, while also maintaining a supportive and fun-loving work atmosphere,” according to Partner Stephanie Hess.

“We try every day to focus on the health and happiness of our employees and their families and look to devote the same level of energy to the community as we do for our clients and cases.”

The firm has recycling and health programs in the workplace, offers internships to the next generation, accepts cases on a pro bono basis, and its employees volunteer in the community.

Employees come together for a summer party and monthly happy hours. A Co-Worker Appreciation Bonus paid by the firm is given to full-time staff members by co-workers. After 10 years, spa days are awarded and after 15 years there are weekend getaway trips.

Attorneys volunteer at the Legal Aid Society and Bar Association and staff members are encouraged to volunteer at nonprofits throughout Sonoma County.

Employees have worked on planning commissions, served on boards of directors, assisted organizations for the developmentally disabled, and supports exchange programs, health and education organizations, observatories, community symphonies, youth groups, junior athletics and in nonprofit fundraising efforts.

“Management stresses the importance of culture, and it show,” writes an employee.

“Everyone gets along wonderfully.

Employees work hard and take their jobs seriously, but no one seems overly stressed.

It’s a wonderful professional, congenial and supportive environment.”

GC MICRO

FIVE TIME WINNER

Company President and CEO Belinda Guadarrama says, “I am very proud of our company and recognize that it takes a special group of individuals working together to make us stand out as one of the Best Places to Work. In a customer-focused business like ours, it’s all about our people.

GC Micro is fortunate to have the best.

We value our staff and appreciate their dedication to providing an exceptional customer experience by exceeding client expectations for 33 years.”

The work environment is friendly, stimulating and positive.

The company and its 40 employees actively support a number of nonprofits such as: Christmas Cheer, Canine Companions, the Hispanic and Marin County Chambers of Commerce, the Sonoma-Marin Fair petting zoo, and the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts. Other charitable organizations helped include the Salvation Army, Dog Bowl for Petaluma Police K-9s, Police Officers Association of Petaluma, St. Vincent’s De Paul Church, Latina Breast Cancer Agency and Wildlife Rescue of Sonoma County.

Writes an employee, “I enjoy what I do and the people I work with. It’s a fantastic environment. I have been employed just over 13 years — and it gets better every year. We frequently have potlucks, snack days, ice cream birthdays, frozen yogurt days, catered lunches and many more enjoyable events. There is nowhere else I would rather be.”

GENERAL DYNAMICS ORDNANCE & TACTICAL SYSTEMS

FIRST TIME WINNER

General Dynamics provides advanced, technology-led defense, aerospace and security solutions for the U.S. armed forces and the missile defense industry.

The Healdsburg facility, established in 2013, manufactures electro-mechanical servo-control actuation systems used in a variety of guided projectiles and missiles.

“Our Healdsburg team consists of the best people in our industry,” says Marshall Cousineau, director and general manager.

“Our 125 employees are smart, self-motivated and hardworking. We all care for and support each other.”

Employees say they are part of the bigger picture and help ensure the continued freedom of the United States.

An employee comments, “We achieve great things. The products we make are highly specialized and meet or exceed customer requirements. We have kept an inclusive, team spirit even while experiencing rapid growth.”

The company works hard to promote from within and encourages employees to be involved in the community by supporting Healdsburg High School’s annual Science Fair, the School Success Team, with employees tutoring students weekly to prepare for graduation, while also participating in local job fairs for EDD and veterans.

Staff members have 9/80 work schedules with every other Friday off, and 11 paid holidays including one week off at Christmas.

Everyone is eligible for incentive bonuses, a 50 percent gym subsidy, Costco annual membership reimbursement and EAP.

The list of fun company events includes catered lunches, buses to Giants games and other sporting events, a formal holiday party and free health testing and onsite flu shots.

“What makes our company great is that it cares about workers and its goals,” states an employee. “It’s also about what we do for our country — we make excellent products for the warfighter.”

GEORGE PETERSEN INSURANCE AGENCY

ELEVEN TIME WINNER

“While recognizing that our clients are essential to our company’s stability and growth, our belief is that behind each loyal client are our extraordinary long-term employees,” says Robb Daer, Chief Operating Officer of this 84-year-old firm offering business and personal insurance, employee benefits and risk management services.

“We are dedicated to creating a workplace that respects and values people from diverse backgrounds and enables all employees to do their best work. We always have an eye towards developing mutually rewarding relationships with our employees.”

He says investing in educational opportunities for the team ensures that the firm is providing the highest level of expertise to clients, while giving the agency’s 102 employees a chance to advance their careers.

“The people at George Petersen are personable and create a warm, family-like atmosphere. We are a very community- -aware organization and we care,” says an employee.

Internally, a Community Outreach Committee coordinates the distribution of cash donations based on employee input, and also assembles volunteer teams to work with nonprofits.

Staff members pack boxes at the Redwood Empire Food Bank, support the Challenger Little League, Human Race, Salvation Army Bell Ringers, United Way, YWCA, Toys for Tots, the Council on Aging, Social Advocates for Youth, Children’s Village and the Memorial Hospital foundation.

“We pride ourselves on having a fun, easy-going environment, an open-door policy as part of a workplace atmosphere characterized by respect for employee’s professional and personal lives,” writes an employee. “From bottom to top, this is a great team of people with positive attitudes and determination to get things done. I love my co-workers.”

GHILOTTI BROS. INC.

TEN TIME WINNER

Celebrating 105 years of serving the community, this Marin County-based general contractor’s philosophy includes wanting to see everyone in the company succeed and grow, while being flexible when it comes to employees’ family and personal needs.

President and Treasurer Michael Ghilotti says, “Our 291 employees are very determined and motivated by success to accomplish daily tasks, individually and collaboratively. They are presented with ample opportunities to advance and improve work skills through training — and are encouraged to do so.”

“We have a culture where co-workers become friends and family,” states an employee. “Compensation and benefits are fantastic. GBI has a well-deserved reputation of being flexible when it comes to family and personal needs.”

As a result, the culture is characterized as family-oriented, focused on teamwork and with core values honoring the firm’s belief that you earn respect by doing a job well. Other values stress treating others with courtesy and respect and doing good work for the community where you work and live.

Everyone at GBI is passionate about making a difference by participating in local events, fundraisers for schools and organizations, as well as being a positive presence. They are involved in supporting Boys & Girls Club events, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, Hope Uncorked Sponsorship, in donating to the Bay Area Rescue Mission and Club Italia of Marin, and working with the College of Marin, Guide Dogs for the Blind and the Marin Catholic High School.

“There is a genuine spark of honor and integrity at GBI that I have rarely seen elsewhere,” writes an employee.

GHIRARDO CPA

FOURTEEN TIME WINNER

Ghirardo’s services include accounting, taxes, estate planning, trust administration, business succession, real estate consulting and “concierge” services — such as check-writing, bill paying and financial oversight.

“Our commitment to excellent client service and our caring approach in dealing with others are the hallmarks of our company,” says Managing Principal Greta Hoversten. “We have an outstanding team who work hard and strive for excellence in everything they do. They are dedicated to supporting and helping each other at work and in life.”

An employee writes, “I love our devotion to the concept of helping others achieve their financial and personal objectives by providing thoughtful service. Our goal is to be on top of our game and proactive in working with our clients.”

Ghirardo supports the Pregnancy Resource Center and donates to several women in need during the holidays. It also offers pro bono or discounted fees for those with limited means and through nonprofit organizations.

“I know that no matter what happens, the firm is there for me,” writes an employee.

“I’ve had medical issues and they have been supportive on all fronts.”

GOODWILL REDWOOD EMPIRE

SEVEN TIME WINNER

An employee says it best…. “Goodwill creates positive change every day in our community, change that helps people reach their goal of joining the workforce and getting a second chance in life. Jobs equal dignity.”

Adds President and CEO Brandy Evans, “Our organization is rich in diversity of people — all 299 of them — and services allowing donors, employees, clients and program participants to share the goal of providing jobs with purpose.

“Goodwill’s donated goods program diverts millions of pounds of material goods from landfills to reuse, repurposing and recycling, while other programs deliver education and training to those seeking employment.”

The culture is supportive and people embrace a strong work ethic, Safety First, Train All, and Train Often. There are in-person communications and training meetings at every site each month to present information about the organization and to engage in open dialog addressing questions, concerns and suggestions.

Employees are honored during monthly recognition programs along with birthdays and anniversaries. They receive tuition reimbursement and referral bonuses along with benefits that include a health reimbursement account.

“Because of our mission and motto — We Are One — Goodwill attracts those who want to make a difference in the lives of genuinely talented and kind people. I always come to work knowing that I will be greeted with smiles and encouragement,” writes an employee.

“I pay this forward, as well. The culture allows me to be a part of something very worthwhile and give back.”

HEALDSBURG LUMBER COMPANY

FOUR TIME WINNER

“Healdsburg Lumber Company’s staff and customers form the perfect combination that make HLC a rewarding and best place to work,” says CEO Eric Ziedrich.

“We offer tuition reimbursement, cover the costs of conference fees and travel for professional training, provide company sponsored monthly educational lunches, and pay for all employees’ job certifications.”

Incentives and bonuses are many, including $1,000 for new hire referrals, $100/ account for new business, $100 bonus on an anniversary hire date, $50 for receiving a positive review (on Yelp, Google, Facebook, etc.) plus a chance to win $25 each week for participating and responding to a weekly email called “the Tuesday Tidbit” as well as in-store product discounts.

Most employees have been at the 144-year-old company more than 10 years, with some approaching 40 years.

HLC closes shop for a day for the annual company retreat, has a summer BBQ, and sponsors a softball team. There are monthly breakfasts where vendors come to speak, and the company is currently doing a fundraiser where all donations will benefit an employee diagnosed with cancer.

“The people who work here are awesome! I just love them! Our benefits are the best I have ever had ... I mean really good,” writes an employee. “But the employee discount is UNBELIEVABLE… insanely unbelievable.

No company offers employees discounts like this, and we carry everything. HLC is my favorite place to shop. Did I leave out any of the bonuses?”

HENNESSY ADVISORS, INC.

SIX TIME WINNER

As the publicly traded investment manager of the Hennessy Funds, Hennessy Advisors offers a broad range of domestic equity, sector and specialty as well as multi-asset products, and manages 16 mutual funds.

“I am very proud and honored to work with incredible professionals who are good people, too,” states Teresa Nilsen, president and CEO. “Our team makes the workplace interesting and dynamic, and I believe that helps us draw and maintain talent.”

She says because Hennessy’s employees are engaged and knowledgeable, the firm is able to provide top-tier shareholder service — the cornerstone of the company’s business model.

“Our company advocates that each of us give back to the community and allows us to donate our time during work hours — that is really cool!,” states an employee.

Hennessy not only supports hundreds of local nonprofits, it strongly encourages (and matches) employee donations in both time and money. The largest recipient is Okizu Foundation, and organization that operates a summer camp for children affected by cancer and also offers support for their families. The company hosts an annual event each October to help fund the Okizu Preservation Fund.

Breakfast and lunch are provided in the office on a regular basis. Gym memberships are company sponsored, and employees have the ability to direct funds to nonprofits of their choice.

HILTON GARDEN INN-SONOMA COUNTY AIRPORT

FIRST TIME WINNER

At Hilton Garden Inn, respect and appreciation is never overlooked.

“Our customer service philosophy includes exceptional hotel properties in great locations coupled with outstanding customer service from caring and committed employees to ensure maximum comfort and convenience for our traveling guests,” according to General Manager Andrea Griffin.

An employee says, “Working here has been great. Scheduling is extremely flexible, and managers plan around what you like to do in your personal life. Co-workers are friendly, welcoming and always willing to lend a hand.”

The culture has family-friendly vibes and is diverse, collaborative and unique based on passion and empathy for both customers and staff.

“We work as a team and hold meetings in the morning so everyone will understand what has been happening and what we need to do each day. There’s an employee of the month program to show personal appreciation, “writes an employee.

Birthdays are celebrated monthly. There is an annual holiday bowling party and recognition programs for performance and special life events.

Community involvement takes many forms. There is the recycled soap project with the Clean the World Foundation, an annual Toys for Tots drive, and guestroom donations annually to local schools, veterans, hospitals and local businesses. The hotel is a Sonoma County Tourism sponsor and a Chamber of Commerce member.

Usable linens and terry towels are donated to nonprofits.

“Management allows me to try new products and procedures that best serves our guests,” states an employee. “This is crucial since we are a service-oriented business and our guests’ happiness is of the upmost importance.”

HOGAN LAND SERVICES INC.

SIX TIME WINNER

Hogan Land Services include permit assistance, land surveying, violation resolution and septic system planning.

“We believe our company is great because we are a purpose-filled group moving in unison towards a goal of providing housing and commercial development in our communities,” states CEO Michael R.

Hogan. “When you visit one of our four offices in Santa Rosa, Chico, Soquel and Livermore, you can feel the buzz of an engaged staff working collaboratively.”

We support, challenge and encourage each person to reach his or her full potential.”

He says the Santa Rosa office is especially proud of how its team has assisted clients in the aftermath of the North Bay firestorms.

“We ring a bell every time we receive an issued permit allowing us to be energized by the thought that we are helping those in wildfire-devastated areas rebuild.”

The HLS culture is team-oriented with professionals working to achieve each client’s vision while also having fun at client appreciation BBQs, team building activities, holiday parties, open houses and career fairs.

Staff members support the community by participating with CPAC, Tomorrow’s Leaders Today, Santa Rosa East Rotary, Social Advocates for Youth, Roseland Lion’s Club and YWCA/YMCA as well as in the 2019 Sonoma County Homeless Count and Boys & Girls Club Fundraisers.

INTELISYS, A SCAN SOURCE COMPANY

THREE TIME WINNER

Intelisys (a ScanSource company) is a technology services distributor and master agent for telecom, cloud and carrier services.

“Our company exists to enable the growth and success of our sales partners, supplier partners and end user customers.

We work together every day toward our goal of providing exceptional support,” states President Jay Bradley. “Intelisys colleagues are hardworking, dedicated and creative. We love to reward and recognize them for their excellence.”

Intelisys promotes from within whenever possible. The average longevity of employees is five years and there are currently 20 who have been with the firm for 10 or more. One has celebrated a 20-year anniversary.

Colleagues and partners say great work is always rewarded and done with a balance of public and private recognition.

Teammates are openly rooting for other teammates to be acknowledged.

The firm’s FISH Crew hosts and organizes many team-building, social and employee events as well as quarterly and annual Colleague Peer Recognition Awards.

The Employee Appreciation Program includes Colleague Appreciation Week, hosted lunches, baking competitions, International Food Day, Wednesdays, summertime BBQ Fridays, plus painting events, movie nights, happy hours, bowling, trivia, spirited Halloween contests and more.

INTERVINE INC.

THREE TIME WINNER

Intervine manages wine programs for several major airlines and cruise ship companies.

“What makes Intervine great is simple — It’s our employees. We doubled our headcount since 2017. They drive our success and make coming to work an enjoyable experience,” states Ed Matovcik, president and CEO. “Employees have a collaborative team spirit that is part of Intervine’s culture and evident in every touchpoint of our business.”

This spirit has led to a low turnover rate with employee longevity averaging six years.

“Everyone’s responsibilities and contributions are valued equally, and the company strives to be innovative and think outside the box. This year we became a 100% employee owned company. All opinions matter from all ranks.”

PTO policies enable employees to accrue 16 working days up to four years; 21 days after four years and 26 days after 10 years of service — plus PTO from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day when Intervine closes for the holidays.

It’s a dog-friendly environment and complimentary bottles of wine are provided to employees throughout the year.

There are daily AM/PM yoga or video-led office workouts, plus mental and physical breaks; Wine Down Fridays, an annual May Owner’s Day offsite party; potlucks; birthday/anniversary celebrations; and bowling and picnics.

INTERWEST INSURANCE SERVICES LLC

SEVEN TIME WINNER

InterWest was founded in 1992 with the merger of three large insurance brokerages in Northern California. Since then the firm has become an integrated organization with 11 offices throughout the state, growing from $10 million in annual revenue to over $70 million.

“Our difference is our people,” according to CEO Keith Schuler. “InterWest is a company that cares. We offer a welcoming, collaborative environment. We also have strong, consistent employment opportunities, and we encourage promotion from within. At the same time, we are dedicated to the communities where our employees and clients live and work through numerous philanthropic efforts.”

A worker says, “Our company’s consistent growth and community commitment makes InterWest a pleasure to work for every day.”

The company provides training programs to promote and develop professional growth.

Employees are encouraged to participate in self-improvement activities that prepare them for broader responsibilities in the future.

“Our firm’s leadership and colleagues giving hearts are at the root of what makes us a great company. When the fire occurred last year, management decided to cancel our holiday party and contribute the funds to help staff members who were impacted,” says an employee.

Staff recognitions include Employee Appreciation Day and by honoring employees participating in Go Red Day for Heart Health.

Support for area events include Human Race Sonoma, Becoming Independent, Chop’s Teen Club, HS Safe and Sober, Canine Companions, Dogwood Animal Rescue Project, Adopt a Family, Food for Thought Food Bank and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

JACKSON FAMILY WINES

FIVE TIME WINNER

Larry Smith, SVP for Human Resources, says of 33-year-old, family-owned Jackson Family Wines, “We focus on making some of the world’s best wines and strives to be the employer of choice so we can attract and retain world class talent. JFW is dedicated to quality — above all else — in the vineyards, in the bottle, in our sustainable production facilities, in the office and in everything we do.”

The family cares for its 1,098 employees demonstrated by JFW becoming the first wine company to offer a living wage of $15 for all hourly workers.

The company also believes in promoting from within. Nineteen percent of employees receive promotions annually.

“This company thrives on creativity and individuality. I love how involved all upper management is. I feel comfortable going to any VP or SVP at any time,” writes an employee.

“Everyone works hard but enjoys a wonderful, relaxed atmosphere. I would recommend JFW to anyone.”

Community involvement is encouraged.

Employees have an opportunity to volunteer two PTO days per year through a program called “Rooted for Good” with 900 workers participating in 2019. The company sponsored 30 volunteer events for nonprofits this year.

Employee recognition is celebrated through individual excellence awards, team and service anniversary awards and peer-to-peer awards.

“Jackson Family Wines is an incredibly community with learning, growth and career improvement opportunities offered to all employees,” states an employee. “Compensation is very good. Lots of events bring coworkers together and management is very supportive of women in leadership.”

JOANNA’S NANNIES

THREE TIME WINNER

Joanna Briese founded the agency in 2011. It has five locations: In wine country (Sonoma, Napa and Marin counties); the San Francisco Bay Area; Lake Tahoe/Reno; Los Angeles Metro and Denver Metro.

“Our nannies are a priority, which is why we promote a team dynamic that enables us to cultivate new ideas and growth.

We’re here to encourage, guide and support them by being transparent, accessible and constructive,” states Victoria Lofton, HR manager.

Adds an employee,” Joanna’s Nannies is an excellent place to work because all of us are well trained, capable and positive about the company and the families we serve.”

Nanny socials, dinners, activities and holiday parties with gift cards are held annually at each location. For families who may not be able to afford childcare while going through a hardship, nanny or newborn care hours are often donated.

Raises are given for outstanding performance, positive client feedback, company loyalty and longevity. Reviews are conducted six and 12 months after the start date.

Nannies receive 24 hours of paid sick time annually along with bonuses for travel, last-minute assignments and for serving as a lead nanny for events. They are eligible for overtime and can choose when they work and when they get time off.

“Managers are understanding and communicate openly,” adds an employee.

“I can make my own schedule — and the pay is wonderful.”

KAISER PERMANENTE SANTA ROSA AND SAN RAFAEL MEDICAL CENTERS

FOURTEEN TIME WINNER

As Best Places to Work for 14 consecutive years, Kaiser Permanente’s Santa Rosa and San Rafael Medical Centers continue to receive high marks from employees for competitive benefits and pay, opportunities for advancement, education and certifications, as well as for a culture of caring and collaboration that creates a sense of worth and acknowledgement for jobs well done, while also providing friendly and welcoming work environments.

“As the North Bay’s largest employer, Kaiser’s 2,014 employees in San Rafael and 3,070 in Santa Rosa are committed to innovation. They are also dedicated to maintaining a workplace where people are engaged, energized and dedicated to our mission to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve by providing high quality and affordable health care,” says Tarek Salaway, Sr. VP and area manager.

The average Kaiser employee has been with this family-oriented nonprofit for 10 years.

“What makes us great is a real sense of teamwork, clinical best practices, social awareness and engagement with the community,” an employee states. “I love working here.”

The Kaiser Wellness Program is free and open to all employees. Collectively, employees participate in a wide variety of Diversity Committee activities as well as Kaiser sponsored events, races, marathons, walks, parades and nonprofit fundraisers.

Commitment to youth is shown through workforce development and training program participation. Many key leaders, physicians and employees volunteer in the community and serve on health and welfare organization boards.

“Individuals here are respected in ways I have never experienced as a professional,” reports an employee. “Wellness and prevention are at the core of everything we do.”

KEYSIGHT TECHNOLOGIES

TEN TIME WINNER

“At Keysight, it all starts with our purpose: Accelerating Innovation to Connect and Secure the World. What we do makes a real difference in people’s lives. We have a great team of 1,500 employees with strong leadership that makes a great company,” writes one employee.

Keysight Technologies is a leading technology company.

“Our employees create incredible products and solutions that enable breakthroughs making our world more connected and secure,” says Ron Nersesian, president and CEO.

“Our people are the best in the industry and bring together their collective speed, courage and uncompromising integrity — combined with high performance, social responsibility and One Keysight values -- to make it all happen. Putting employees first has been in our DNA for 80 years.”

Keysight contributes through company grants and sponsorships, employee volunteerism, workplace giving, and community partnerships in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and health and human services.

The Keysight Giving Program matched employee donations of $350,000 dollar for dollar, enabling $700,000 to be distributed to local charitable organizations. When combined with other company-sponsored events, North Bay organizations benefited by approximately $1 million.

Employees receive discounts and access to clubs and networks, grant opportunities and recreational leagues, along with play, exercise or relax fitness rooms, outdoor sports facilities, on-site massage and yoga classes.

KIOSK

SEVEN TIME WINNER

Marketing agency Kiosk’s Founder and Chief Operating Officer Claire Knoles says, “Our 37 employees are active members of the North Bay community. Corporate, educational and government clients come from all over the world and appreciate the level of skill and talent we provide to help them grow their businesses.”

An employee notes, “Kiosk values employees and is interested in our personal growth.

Excellent co-workers and very supportive environment make Kiosk a highly desirable employer.”

Homeward Bound Marin, providing shelters and work training for homeless individuals, was selected as a key charity to support with fundraising, an ad campaign for its Wagstar (dog) Treats and volunteering in the kitchen and gardens. Kiosk also provided over $250,000 in funding, advertising and pro bono support to a variety of local nonprofits.

There are frequent staff socials and company outings, charity dress-ups and a Halloween potluck and costume day. Staff enjoy streaming live games to cheer their favorite soccer team (Liverpool FC), having an afternoon of team games and BBQ, playing Royal Bingo at a local pub in honor of the British Royal Family, or getting away for an offsite team-building retreat.

With a culture described as bursting with passion, creativity and enthusiasm, it’s a place everyone loves to be, says an employee. “We’re proud of the fun, friendly, creative and supportive environment we’ve built.”

LA TORTILLA FACTORY

THIRTEEN TIME WINNER

In 1977 Jose and Mary Tamayo realized their dream of bringing Mexican flavors to Sonoma County with the founding of La Tortilla Factory. Today the firm has 275 employees, and 40% of upper management is women/minorities.

“We continue to maintain our startup mentality that allows our employees to continually stay engaged, challenged and excited about the products we create now and for the future,” says President and CEO Jeff Ahlers. “We hire great people with outstanding values. We trust and respect our employees and want them to share in La Tortilla Factory’s success.”

The company and workers support Ceres Community Project; Sutter Hospital’s Cat Walk for a Cure; Piner, Elsie Allen and other high schools, and Tamayo Village at Social Advocates for Youth.

“Members of Tamayo family actively support the business and treat employees like their own family members, which is why many stay a long time. The Employee- to-CEO Roundtable and cross-department culture committee are unique and makes our voices feel appreciated,” states an employee.

Benefits include college scholarship grants, tuition reimbursement, daily meditation groups and walking breaks.

There are recognition programs for those with service anniversaries, an on-site mini-market and store, organized potlucks and lots of company parties, lunches and a Six Flags picnic for all.

LEDSON WINERY & VINEYARDS

FIRST TIME WINNER

The hotel and winery is owned by Steve Ledson, who is also its winemaker.

“We take care of our 50 employees by offering a competitive benefit package, company-sponsored events, and reward them for hard work and their accomplishments,” says Ledson.

“We foster a positive, fun and fulfilling work environment and consider our employees to be our primary assets and everyone contributes to create extraordinary wines our customers can enjoy in an exquisite atmosphere with impeccable hospitality.”

There are festive holiday parties for the team along with employee BBQs and oyster and wine get-togethers at local restaurants.

Perks include 50 percent employee discounts on all Ledson products, tickets to event, employee housing opportunities, contests with prizes and company vacation destinations, plus access to a gourmet marketplace and picnic area.

“We have dedicated and knowledgeable owners who truly encourage every employee to contribute and succeed,” writes an employee. “Their focus on growth and family has created a team that always goes extra steps to work together and create a memorable experience for our members and guests.”

LINKENHEIMER LLP CPAS &ADVISORS

NINE TIME WINNER

One employee writes, “The positive way Linkenheimer treats employees is unlike anything I have ever experienced in a company.

We are treated with respect and they give us freedom to set our schedules. They also try to make our workplace as fun and as easy going as possible. I am extremely lucky to be part of this team.”

Co-Owner Carli Ortiz says, “We know that our people are our greatest asset. We have the greatest team on the planet, and we hope to continue making an impact locally for our community and clients.”

The firm’s staff devotes over 1,200 volunteer hours a year for community service and is heavily involved with Rotary, the Elsie Allen High School Foundation, the Volunteer Center and other nonprofits.

Scholarships are provided for SRJC and SSU students who cannot afford college and are interested in the accounting industry.

Every other year employees go to Nicaragua to provide eye testing and glasses to those in regions without adequate medical care, and helped to build a surgery center in the Rio San Juan region.

Annual company events feature a vacation that includes spouses and kids in destinations such as Hawaii, Mexico, Nicaragua and other fun locations. There is a yearly team-building trip, and past outings for fly fishing in Northern California and glacier watching in Alaska.

“Great responsiveness to suggestions,” states an employee. “There is no such thing as a dumb question.”

M.A. SILVA USA

NINE TIME WINNER

As a manufacturer of corks, glass and packaging for North American markets, M.A. Silva USA was the first California cork supplier to join the ClimateSmartTM program and receive Green Business Certification.

It is a producer of ecological and sustainable products operating on solar power making 800,000 corks a day.

“What makes M.A. Silva USA great is the commitment and positive energy of our employees. We are blessed to have 32 wonderful people working in our business,” says President Neil Foster. “A third of our staff are minorities and women.”

M.A. Silva supplies wine producers around the globe with sales agents in six continents and production and finishing facilities in the U.S., Portugal, Australia, Brazil, Chile, France and Spain. M.A. Silva USA serves the North American market from its Santa Rosa headquarters.

Benefits include 100% company-paid health and life insurance and 80 %paid for dental and vision coverage.

Employees engage in donation drives for the Redwood Empire Food Bank and the Redwood Gospel Mission. The company features holiday parties, family BBQs, trips to baseball games, cookoffs, I-Walk challenges as well as playing softball and soccer together.

The company is committed to responsible forest management techniques and to increasing forest area defined by the Forest Stewardship Council and the World Wildlife Fund.

“For me, working for a smaller company is a great opportunity to learn new skill sets,” says an employee. “I feel what I’m doing on a daily basis really matters.”

MENGALI ACCOUNTANCY

FIVE TIME WINNER

With offices in Healdsburg, Mengali Accountancy is a boutique CPA firm with 23 employees. Three fourths of upper management are women and minorities.

COO Debbie Warren observes, “The staff truly cares for one another. Our dependability and caring nature enable us to develop positive client and employee relationships.”

Offices are aesthetically beautiful and inviting with vibrant colors, comfortable chairs, dual desktop monitors and lots of big windows.”

Employees receive above market salaries. CPAs get a $1,000 spending allowance per year for CPE and dues in addition to referral bonuses and data usage reimbursements. Basic benefits include health and dental coverage and a gym. There is a 4 % 401k match, two weeks PTO for two years and three weeks thereafter. Employees participate in Lunch and Learn sessions, annual retreats and education assistance up to $5,250 a year.

The fun side of the accountancy is fueled by Russian River rafting trips, family BBQs, Driven Raceway outings, Mayacama and Safari West Days along with a special dinner.

“Many of us serve on local boards including Healdsburg’s Forever Grants Committee, Sonoma County YWCA, Rainbow Housing Assistance Corp and the Boys & Girls Club.

Financial support is given to the Council on Aging, Meals on Wheels, The Healthcare Foundation of Sonoma County, Humane Society and Becoming Independent.

“We have all of the high-tech equipment we could ever want. Clients continually tell us how pleasantly surprised they are that we care so much about them, resulting in work being returned exceeding their expectations.”

MERITAGE MEDICAL NETWORK

THREE TIME WINNER

Physician-led Meritage Medical Network includes seven hospitals, seven HMO plans and over 730 doctors providing local, community- focused patient care to over half a million residents in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties.

“At Meritage, our success starts with our staff. We understand that an environment where every employee is empowered, engaged and believes in our mission makes us all do our best,” says CEO Wojtek Nowak.

“Our physicians and the communities we serve deserve no less.”

Health insurance coverage is provided at no cost to employees and dependent coverage is heavily subsidized. Staff members receive a total of 29 paid days off per year and PTO increases with years of service.

After the first year, employees receive a $250 stipend when they take five consecutive days off for a vacation.

Employees say, “We are the best in the world at what we do, and the casual atmosphere makes it easy to work here. Perks and benefits are outstanding — the best I’ve ever had.”

Meritage offers free Qi Gong exercise classes, on-site meditation sessions, chair massages, gym membership (YMCA and Body Kinetics) and commuter subsidies. There are discounted healthy snacks, and sponsored breakfasts, lunches, Lunch-N-Learn programs and recognition awards.

Employees receive a $2,000 per year continuing education reimbursement, leadership development/training opportunities, along with an annual merit increase program and performance bonuses. Legal assistance is provided through Rocket Lawyer discounted 40%. Free flu shots are also offered.

“My coworkers are great, and I love what we do as an organization,” states an employee.

“There is a sense of kinship, everyone knows what the company’s goals are, and everyone is incentivized to help obtain them.”

MIKE’S BIKES

FOUR TIME WINNER

Ken Martin, founder and CEO of Mike’s Bikes, says, “We live to create cyclists and accomplish our mission through the awesomeness of our people. Our fun and competitive culture makes each day interesting.

We know bikes and we care…they are our life and make us the best at what we do.”

An employee comments, “We have a flexible work environment with super supportive and knowledgeable bosses that are great leaders and great mentors.”

Benefits include health and dental coverage and a 401k, and there is also an employee bike purchase plan, employee ride pay at 10 cents/mile, plus reimbursement for cycling races.

There is an annual picnic at Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland.

Mike’s Bikes sponsors local rides and teams, bike rodeos, school events and engagements with community groups. It organizes and produces the San Rafael Sunset Criterium race drawing over 500 athletes and 10,000 spectators.

The company also sponsors the Norcal High School Mountain Bike League contributing over $10,000 annually. Local shops sponsor teams in their areas. Mike’s Bikes Foundation’s has also collected and distributed 28,000 used bikes to African communities since 2008.

MKM & ASSOCIATES STRUCTURAL ENGINEERING

FIRST TIME WINNER

MKM & Associates develops a variety of civic, commercial, educational and healthcare projects as well as historic, hospitality, residential and winery/brewing structures with its team of 39 employees.

“MKM strives to offer employees a work environment that develops and rewards excellence and community involvement,” expressed by both Principals John Cook and Eric Kreager. “Continued growth and education are considered to be essential.

One of our top strengths is the training for our junior and senior engineers.”

They say juniors accompany seniors on construction site inspections so they can see actual construction based on design drawings as well as how to professional interact with construction crews.

MKM also encourages participation at educational webinars and lunch meetings with vendors and consultants. These learning sessions update the staff on the latest products and technology – such as Wafflemat foundation systems and Insulated Concrete Forms.

An employee notes, “Beyond training, management plans social events include picnics, baseball games, county fair horse racing, Christmas dinners, bike rides, and charity golf tournaments. There are in-office events too, staff meetings (lunch provided), catered food for holiday lunches such as St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco De Mayo, Mardi Gras, national pie day, anniversary celebrations and sponsored baseball and indoor soccer teams, along with a client appreciation party.”

MKM also supports several community nonprofits, social clubs and fundraising events.

“My fellow employees here are wonderful people, courteous, kind and helpful even under times of work stress and hard deadlines,” adds an employee. “A great team and great minds to be surrounded by.

On an employee’s birthday, there is cash in one of the gift balloons!”

MOSS ADAMS LLP

TWELVE TIME WINNER

Moss Adams has been in business since 1913. This limited liability partnership is more than an accounting and tax firm, its 86 professionals are experts in estate planning, business consulting and private client services.

“While the accounting profession may be changing, we’re changing with it. Our firm provides the resources for team members to develop expertise in industries they are passionate about with the ability to call the shots in their careers,” says Michael Ricioli, tax partner, PIC. “I’m proud to be part of this great team.”

He says the focus on people includes clients, enabling the staff to provide valuable business advice and solutions for their business needs.

“I have a ton of flexibility in terms of when and where I get my work done. This allows me to take care of family issues and still work hard during hours that work for me. Sometimes I can bring my kids to work.

This is priceless, and why I’ve been here for almost 14 years,” writes an employee.

Benefits include backup and emergency care for families, adoption assistance, paid parental leave and legal assistance, along with a car-buying benefit, MAVEN new partner support program, student loan refinancing, pet insurance and smoking cessation.

“The people we work with are amazing, and partners are so appreciative,” states an employee. “It is a culture of learning and opportunity that is collaborative, meaningful, supportive and inclusive.”

MR. ROOTER OF SONOMA COUNTY

TWELVE TIME WINNER

President and CFE Saunda Kitchen says, “We live our code of values by treating others as we would like to be treated and by striving to maximize employee and customer satisfaction and loyalty. Our goal is to enthusiastically exceed our customers, team members and associate’s expectations so the people who come in contact with us can live happier and more prosperous lives.”

“Mr. Rooter is not your ordinary plumbing company, we’re family, literally. We employ fathers and sons, mothers and daughters and other relatives. Our senior team brings in younger family members when it’s time to recruit new employees. I think that speaks volumes about a company’s culture and the staff’s desire to share their success and happiness with the next generation.”

Along with specialized technical training, the company sponsors weekly breakfasts, snacks, coffee and BBQs. It stocks the refrigerator and food closet based on lists created by employees. In addition to staff members, anniversaries and birthdays of spouses and children are celebrated, and families attend all company events.

Staff members are assigned company vehicles to drive to and from work as well as fuel cards. Cell phone stipends are also provided.

Ten of the company’s 26 employees have been with Mr. Rooter for eight to 15 years and 14 from one to eight years.

“We have a slogan that says: ‘One Team, One Dream’, meaning that together as a team we all can accomplish our dreams,” writes an employee.

NORTH COAST TITLE COMPANY

FIRST TIME WINNER

Catherine Cramer, president and CEO, says, “Without question, our single most success factor is our talented staff. Our goal is to create long-lasting relationships and to become a trusted resource within the community.

“Ten years ago, when we first opened, some said we wouldn’t make it – that just made us more determined! I believe that a community benefits by having a local title and escrow company. The strength of our North Coast Title team and their can-do attitude provides a meaningful experience for our clients. We’re all dedicated to making it happen.”

The firm handles residential resale, refinance, commercial, high liability, subdivision and REO title transactions. The company looks to promote from within as its first option.

Several employees gave the company kudos for its culture and environment.

“We all strive to work together to help our community…Everyone is willing to help one another be successful with so much encouragement to succeed…We always make our clients feel welcome…We’re committed to our products and service while maintaining solid appreciation of each employee…I love it here!” North Coast Title offers competitive salaries, 401k, life insurance, health coverage with dental and vision options along with an AFLAC supplement. Company-sponsored lunches are provided as well as coffee, game days and after-hours cocktails.

The firm and its 15 employees support the Boys & Girls Club and the Family Service Center.

NOVA GROUP INC.

ELEVEN TIME WINNER

Nova Group, a Quanta Services company, is a general engineering contractor with home offices and a fabrication facility in Napa. Its project portfolio includes work in 29 states as well as Canada, Guam, Israel, Qatar and Diego Garcia. Since 1976 the company has provided infrastructure services including waterfront, fuel distribution, electrical and fabrication construction for federal government agencies.

“We believe Nova’s greatest asset is its 250 employees who share the company’s mission, values and culture,” reports President Scott Victor. “We’ve been in business for 43 successful years — and counting — thanks to our employees, and several have been with us 25 years or more.”

Nova offers paid training (e-learn and on demand through LMS in person and on/off site). Employees receive tuition reimbursement.

There is an auto allowance for senior management, safety incentives, and a community and industry program with donation match and volunteer PTO.

Many tenured managers started at entry level support positions, including the president.

Workers say social interactions with different people in the company is great and everyone is easy to talk to. There are healthy breakfasts catered on Wednesday, health fairs, sponsored lunch-and-learns, free beverages, a walking and running trail and the 100 Mile Club, etc. It is a dogfriendly workplace with an electric vehicle charging station and preferred parking.

“Everyone is nice, welcoming and hard-working in an atmosphere of acceptance and belonging,” writes an employee.

OLIVER’S MARKETS

FOUR TIME WINNER

Founded in 1988 by Steve Maass, this enterprise has grown from one to four stores, and from 13 to 1,100 employees, while walking the talk expressed in its motto — Real Food. Real People.

“We work to offer our employees fair wages and the best benefits that we can,” says Maass.

“In 2017 we became employee owned through an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, providing our employee owners with a new layer of compensation in addition to their current package. This year will mark the first time that a significant number of employees will become vested in their ESOP accounts.”

Maass adds the company has flexible scheduling to support family and educational needs and creates many opportunities to grow and gain new experiences by promoting from within whenever possible.

“It is an amazing company to work for because management goes the extra mile to ensure the employees are not bogged down or stressed out, be it due to work related issues or something going on in their personal lives,” writes an employee.

“This then promotes employees to also go the extra mile and work hard.”

Oliver’s also supports local business partners and the GoLocal program in Sonoma County, and by donating more than $360,000 last year through its Community Card and in-kind cash contributions to hundreds of county charities and schools.

Adds an employee, “There is a quest for quality and excellence here. When I tell someone where I work, the first comment is almost always, “You Work at Oliver’s? I LOVE Oliver’s!”

PARKPOINT HEALTH CLUBS

FIVE TIME WINNER

Since 1983 Parkpoint Health Clubs has been improving the health, wellness and fitness of North Bay residents at three locations with the help of its 240 employees.

“Our loyal, longstanding staff is what makes Parkpoint outstanding,” states Owner Bill Buchanan. “I’m proud to say that we currently have 47 employees who have worked at our clubs for 10 years, and 19 who have been with us between 20 and 30 years.”

Parkpoint has been family owned and operated for over 35 years.

In 2019, the company is continuing its focus on the employee experience and expanding employee perks that include complimentary club membership, service discounts on massage, personal training, facials and café food items, and opportunity to have a portion of a Habitat for Humanity trip be company-paid. Staff can also bring guests to enjoy the club for free regularly.

The wellness program enables employees to get free gift cards for taking care of themselves and exercising.

Several sponsored events and races are supported with silent auction items for schools and local nonprofits. There are volunteer days at Annadel Park for trail restoration, and fun outings like Cirque Du Soleil and sunset sailing cruises.

“Each of us feels comfortable and accepted,” states an employee. “There has always been a sense of respect and understanding.”

PEJU PROVINCE WINERY

FIRST TIME WINNER

With a love of farming and a passion for wine, Tony and Herta Peju purchased 30 acres in the Napa Valley in 1982 with the magic ingredient — location! Situated between Highway 29 and the Napa River in Rutherford, the Peju Province Winery features a 1900-era house and rambling vineyards planted with five traditional Bordeaux varietals of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, caberet franc, malbec and petit verdot.

The couple says it’s a given at the winery that people make the company.

Employees know this is true. “I’m blown away by the love and appreciation we receive.

When times are tough, the company lives up to its ‘Family First’ motto. We can contact the family ASAP if needed.”

Peju Province’s benefit package is comprehensive.

Employees can also purchase wine and merchandize at 50% off. There are anniversary awards, a wellness program, Halloween contest awards, hybrid car reimbursement ($2,000), and daily fresh fruit.

An employee garden grows vegetables staff can take home. There are monthly family meals, Summer Solstice and holiday parties, recycling program, flowers delivered to desks on birthdays, when someone is hospitalized or had a loved one pass, free restaurant dining at locales serving Peju wine, and interest free loans when employees need financial help.

“I’ve been with them 24 years,” writes an employee. “The company has always encouraged me to be me.”

PEPPERWOOD FOUNDATION

FIVE TIME WINNER

Pepperwood is a leader in forging solutions to advance the health of Northern California’s land, water and wildlife. It is a nonprofit organization, committed to serving the community through ecological research. Pepperwood is also a Bay Area leader in science-based educational research.

The staff collaborates with the U.S. Geological Survey, University of California Berkeley, the Sonoma County Agricultural Preserve, the Open Space District, the Terrestrial Biodiversity Climate Change Collaborative (TBC3) and Rebuild North Bay.

“Our 17 talented professionals make us great. Pepperwood is a small and nimble organization making a big impact in Northern California conservation,” says President and CEO Lisa Micheli, Ph.D. “Staff members help bring world-class science to life for visitors, students, college interns and visiting scholars through conservation science, eco-literacy and community nature education, climate research, and stewardship of the land.”

Programs for youth and adults include SCENIQ (Students Conducting Environmental Inquiry) with bilingual support; TeenNat, a youth leadership initiative; the SRJC partnership for STEM leaders, Learning Landscapes, and naturalist-led expeditions.

There are lectures, classes, and activities for families, volunteers and members.

Pepperwood offers California Naturalist Certification Courses, artist, craft and gardening workshops, bird watching, a women’s wellness retreat, holiday wreath making, etc.

Management encourages staff development through trainings, conference participation and staff retreats.

Employees say, “Pepperwood has a positive workplace culture that supports staff personally and professionally, making you feel valued for your work.”

PETALUMA HEALTH CENTER

TEN TIME WINNER

“Working at Petaluma Health Center is like watching magic happen every day. We have a seriously dedicated team who lives and breathes our mission to ensure access and provide high-quality, prevention-focused health care for the communities we serve — especially for the uninsured and under-insured,” a staff member writes.

In 2019, PHC celebrates 25 years of providing health care to Sonoma County residents. PHC’s team of professionals handle more than 200,000 health care visits annually to approximately 35,000 community residents.

“We are now one of the largest nonprofit organizations in our county, employing almost 400 individuals who work at seven healthcare delivery sites, including two large clinics in Petaluma and Rohnert Park,” Chief Administrative Officer Pedro Toledo. JD, MA observes.

“Employees are the reason we continue to grow and improve the much-needed health care services we provide.”

PHC’s culture is profession, yet relaxed, culture that allows employees to creatively contribute to its mission while maintaining the strict standards required of a Federally Qualified Health Center.

Staff members are recognized at an Employee Appreciation Gala and enjoy the annual Halloween party. They volunteer with the Redwood Empire Food Bank and provide health care to the homeless at Committee On The Shelterless and at the Mary Issac Center.

PISENTI & BRINKER LLP

EIGHT TIME WINNER

P&B has provided comprehensive CPA services to growing businesses throughout Sonoma County and the North Bay for more than 53 years.

James Perez, managing partner says, “We have been treating our employees like family for over half a century. The P&B team volunteers in each community where they reside and takes great pride in the work they do for their clients in these areas. Our firm hires a good number of graduates from Sonoma State University and gives them opportunities to grow their careers in a nurturing atmosphere.”

Perez adds the average 10+year tenure of employees is matched by the loyalty of the firm’s client base that recognizes quality work from a dedicated staff.

The work is hard and exacting, with long hours around tax time. There is an end-ofseason tax party for staff and significant others. A Family Day is held in summer and there are frequent, casual after work gatherings with wine and cheese, beer tasting and Aloha Fridays to help employees relax, enjoy each other and their families.

The culture is often described as fun, collaborative and innovative in an environment that fosters staff knowledge and development while helping clients achieve their business goals.

A major milestone occurred in January 2019 when Zainer Rinehart Clarke of Santa Rosa merged with Pisenti & Brinker LLP, making P&B the largest, locally-owned CPA and advisory firm in Northern California with 80 staff members.

The firm encourages employees to volunteer with nonprofits and they have assisted over 12 charitable organizations.

“The work environment is great,” writes an employee. “I feel like I can be my natural quirky self!”

POPPY BANK

FOURTEEN TIME WINNER

Khalid Acheckzai, president and CEO, says, “We have a great company. What makes us great is our people. At all levels and starting from the top with the board of directors, we care about our people. That resonates with our employees and drives everyone to work together. It ultimately translates into the success Poppy Bank has as one the best performing banks nationwide.”

Staff members acknowledge this.

“Our executive leadership team is the full package — approachable, knowledgeable, empathetic, results-driven and down to earth. Setting the tone at the top is a winning strategy.”

Employees are honored at bank-hosted five and 10-year anniversary events, at annual Poppy Bank employee parties and at several other in-house lunches, parties and get-togethers for staff only as well as a yearly Holiday Party at the Oakmont Branch. The bank sponsors wellness clinics with flu shots and fitness challenges.

Executives and officers serve on the boards of nonprofits including the Memorial Hospital Foundation, YMCA, Santa Rosa Rotary Clubs, Sonoma County Children’s Museum, Boys & Girls Club, United Cerebral Palsy of North Bay, etc.

“Our CEO holds quarterly communication meetings with all employees. Our bank is nimble and makes decisions quickly. For me, it feels more like a career than just a 9-to-5 job,” says an employee.

PRIVATE OCEAN WEALTH MANAGEMENT

NINE TIME WINNER

The firm has 28 employees, including seasoned advisers, client service personnel, operations professionals and financial planners.

“We’ve grown considerably in the last 15 months, branching out along the West Coast and up to Seattle as well as down through San Francisco and beyond. But our roots and headquarters are still in San Rafael where our management team is located and continues to cultivate a company culture that has scaled upward while consistently serving our clients with incredible care,” says Greg Friedmann, CEO and founder.

The firm’s culture has been called inspiring, empowering and collegial. It is summed up in a series of guiding principles: 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. Life is short, so laugh! There are annual and mid-year company retreats, a family weekend, company fun days, holiday parties, and costume and gingerbread house making contests.

Employees support St. Anthony’s Free Clothing Program in San Francisco and have been involved in a China Camp cleanup project.

“I would almost call it an enlightened workspace,” states an employee. “People here are conscientious and really listen to each other. Combine that with being at the very forefront of using the newest and best practices to provide wealth management services, makes it an exciting place to be.”

PSYCHSTRATEGIES INC.

FOUR TIME WINNER

PsychStrategies, a psychological corporation with 41 workers, includes a group of 30 licensed, private practice psychologists, marriage and family therapists with years of experience who have come together since 1994 at two central locations – Santa Rosa and Petaluma.

“PsychStrategies is great because of the people who work here,” says General Manager Sarah Mitchell. “We rise by lifting others. The support and encouragement that the staff provides to clients and each other makes coming to work every day a joy.”

The organization always tries to promote the administrative staff from within.

The general manager started as an administrative assistant and was promoted twice. The average longevity of employees is 10 years.

Staff and clinicians get together for summer and holiday parties, staff lunches and potlucks on many holidays throughout the year. For the past four years 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.

“Our professionals care for staff who are here to support the clinicians and relieve them of the burden of billing and related financial matters. There is warmth, friendliness, encouragement and support. I’m new and have been welcomed with open arms. I love working here. It’s a very supporting and collaborative environment. Each employee is respected, valued and listened to.”

QUATTROCCHI KWOK ARCHITECTS

TEN TIME WINNER

With a staff of 63, QKA has provided design services for more than $1 billion of projects throughout California, involving master planning, new construction, modernizations and historical restorations.

“It is our talented staff that makes QKA what it is today. Our collaborative office culture and reputation with clients are the result of the work they do,” says Co-owner Mark Quattrocchi. “It is the top priority of management to ensure that our staff feels respected, gets to work on interesting and fulfilling projects, given opportunities for growth and have a little fun, too.”

He says workplace environments of today are vastly different. They are dynamic, interactive and require critical thinking and student creativity so when young people leave school for a complex world they will be prepared to complete in a global marketplace — and the schools we build must reflect this changing world.

In addition to basic benefits, employees get a free parking pass for downtown Santa Rosa. The firm pays for the Architectural Registration exam and study materials.

Staff also receives assistance with AIA membership dues, inhouse leadership opportunities and development, including lectures and CAD training. A company car is available for travel.

“QKA gives employees opportunities to advance. I’m proof of that. We’re given great support from those above us. I particularly like the office culture and sense of community. I also like that employees are allowed to bring their dogs to work.”

REDWOOD CREDIT UNION

FOURTEEN TIME WINNER

For nearly 70 years community-chartered RCU has been committed to serving the best interests of its members, 640 employees and communities in eight North Bay counties. Some 54 percent of upper management are minorities and women.

“Our people are deeply involved when it comes to helping others and making a difference in the lives of our members in the region we serve. Whether it is helping people make strong financial decisions, or volunteering at community events, their engagement and excitement is contagious — they love what they do,” says President and CEO Brett Martinez.

Writes an employee, “I am never pressured to complete tasks beyond my means and always given the tools, coaching, and guidance to succeed in every undertaking.”

Open positions are posted internally for five days before going outside. Forty percent of RCU jobs were filled internally over the past 18 months.

In 2019 RCU held its first Day of Impact when all employees will give back to their various communities. This year a quarterly Impact Award was established in which a person or team is recognized for their accomplishments. Annually various employee award winners are treated to a special day of recognition and celebration as part of the President’s Circle.

This year the RCU contribution toward dependent’s medical coverage was increased for the fourth year in a row. A paid day off for a birthday was also added to PTO benefits.

“We have amazing benefits, compensation, and wellness programs, and appreciated.

“Management makes sure we are taken care of, appreciated and valued. When someone asks where I work, I answer with pride,” writes an RCU employee.

RESIG – REDWOOD EMPIRE SCHOOLS INSURANCE GROUP

FIVE TIME WINNER

“RESIG’s 20th anniversary is approaching, and it’s a good time to reflect on our core business values and the people that made this organization a success,” says Rose Burcina, executive director. “Our talented staff have contributed more than just hours at their desks. The organization evolved and continued to serve our school community because we care about the reason we are here — It’s always about the kids at RESIG.”

RESIG was recently certified “Green” for exceeding compliance to conserve resources and protect the environment in business.

“We care about the school district employees we serve. Every employee has either gone to school in Sonoma County or has had a child attend a Sonoma County school. So we all know how important it is that we help keep school employees safe, so they can do their job of educating our youth.”

RESIG’s 23 employees enjoy flex schedules, continuing education reimbursement and paid participation at industry conferences and workshops as well as paid sick days, vacation days and holidays along with a wellness program. Longevity raise are made at 10, 15 and 20 years of service.

Writes an employee, “Upper management always keeps the focus on making the best possible choices for our ‘clients’.

There are opportunities to work with colleagues in different departments, and to be creative fostering friendships across the organization.”

ROUGH LINEN

FIRST TIME WINNER

The linen marker is 100% woman-owned company.

Co-owners Daiva Finell and Tricia Rose say, “We employ many women who would otherwise have limited opportunities. Onethird of our staff came to us as referrals from existing employees.”

She says in most cases employees volunteer to help or learn new skills outside their job descriptions without asking.

That’s how a cutter learned how to sew when a seamstress left on maternity leave.

Staff members are rewarded with bonuses, salary increases and profit sharing for all.

The culture is seen as a very close knit, relaxed environment where employees become good friends, some even vacationing together. Birthdays are celebrated with cakes and home-cooked meals are shared on holidays. There are baby showers, restaurant outings and bowling competitions, plus flower arranging and embroidery workshops.

Staff is cross-trained for additional skills, there is a private room for rest and extra break time is given for pregnant or new mothers that need to pump. Children are allowed to come to work when employees have a need.

“We make truly beautiful products and are dedicated to keeping our quality high through skilled local production. We have a strong vision and principles, and work hard to make those apparent to our customers but also lived-out in day to day workings of our team and processes.”

RUSSIAN RIVER BREWING COMPANY

FIRST TIME WINNER

On Oct. 11, 2018, Vinnie and Natalie Cilurzo and their 202 employees opened the doors to their new brewpub in Windsor.

The 85,000-square-foot site includes brewery production, administrative offices, restaurant, outdoor beer garden, gift shop, tasting room/growler fills, guided tours and two acres of free parking.

“Our employees are not only the face of the company, but human beings with families and other outside interests,” says Natalie, co-owner and president along with Vinnie, co-owner and brewmaster.

“We treat everyone like family with kindness. The success of Russian River Brewing could not be possible without a happy, healthy RRBC crew.”

The culture features a rich blend of respect, hard-work, high work ethics, and ingredients, like integrity and support.

Employee perks include massages, an onsite gym, yoga classes, employee discounts, the ability to order food from the kitchen and a staff lounge.

RRBC sponsored the 2019 Luther Burbank Rose Parade and the Windsor Town Green concert series. After the wildfires, it helped to raise $1.1 million during the Sonoma Pride campaign involving 60 breweries worldwide benefiting 680 families and seniors who lost homes.

Seventy-eight employees have been with the company over a year and 18 for over 10 years. Many have worked their way up from entry level positions. There is significant cross-training and after six months with good standing, employees are eligible for promotional consideration.

An employee remembers, “I was rewarded for my early efforts with a kitchen management position. Later, I landed a full-time gig behind the bar, serving the best beers on the planet to people from all over world! The excitement is palpable at times, I’m proud to have watched this company grow.”

SCOTT TECHNOLOGY GROUP

NINE TIME WINNER

“We believe strong businesses will create more jobs and a stronger economy, allowing everyone to flourish,” says David Scott, president and CEO. “Our purpose is to help our clients achieve their full potential and build a bright future for the next generation.”

The company’s 20 employees receive three weeks of PTO plus one week of charity time. They have a 401k with 100% STG match and full medical coverage with optional dental, vision and supplemental insurance. They also kick back during STG game days, company BBQs and holiday parties.

Staff members volunteer with the Active 20-30 Club $50, for the Red, White and Boom Santa Rosa Fireworks, the Windsor Kaboom Fireworks and the Battle of the Brews.

“My company is committed to excellence and recognizes that the best way to achieve this is by hiring great people and investing, motivating and inspiring them. This commitment creates a culture of excellence when it comes to serving clients.”

The culture also includes openness, respect and integrity in a positive environment where everyone knows what STG is trying to accomplish and feels empowered to contribute. Management welcomes opinions and feedback from every position and encourages the sharing of ideas and risk taking.

“We all share a positive workplace with professional people who know how to communicate and with a great willingness and desire to help each other achieve goals.”

SEQUOIA SENIOR SOLUTIONS

ELEVEN TIME WINNER

Says CEO Stanton Lawson, “What makes our company great is our 135 employees who exemplify professionalism and dedication on a daily basis while making a positive difference in the lives of our clients.”

Sequoia Senior Solutions is a member of The Senior’s Choice, the largest membership network of senior care providers in the world.

“This Home Care Organization is the best and goes above and beyond for us employees,” says a worker. “From paid hands-on training and paid vacations to open communication and the use of company vehicles, the owners care and we have a great team.”

Several morale-building and recognition events are held annually, including picnics, local parade before and after parties, monthly office potlucks as well as achievement awards, employee discounts, pet insurance, health club discounts and employer- provided cell phones. Wholesome snacks are on hand and fitness programs encourage everyone to live healthier and happy lives.

Ninety percent of Sequoia’s staff were promoted from within.

The company is active in the community and supports the Village Network of Petaluma, American Red Cross and the Alzheimer’s Association.

“We have an exceptional training system where employees come to classes taught by our Care Managers. The classes are real, in person and involve hands on practice. We are also encouraged to suggest best practices which are often implemented.”

SMITH DOLLAR PC

TEN TIME WINNER

Smith Dollar is a certified woman-owned practice representing clients in areas such as real estate, business, finance, construction labor and employment as well as wills, trusts and personal injury.

“Smith Dollar’s success is derived and rooted in the 19 enthusiastic people we employ.

“Each attorney and staff member is committed to our success, and we are committed to them. We could not do it without this exceptional team of amazing people,” says President Rachel M. Dollar.

Team spirit is reinforced during a holiday party, summer BBQ, and a special luncheon in honor of Administrative Professional’s Day, and at other annual impromptu events.

These fun activities are further supported by holiday and birthday bonuses, telecommuting, flex schedules, make-up time and a training incentive program.

In addition, complimentary food and beverages are provided, casual Friday’s, recognition for years of service along with company provided laptops and cell phones.

“What makes us great are good people, with proper skills and training and a good social environment. Stay the course — all is fine,” an employee observes.

The culture is defined as a place that offers a friendly work environment with the latest software, tools and training to get the job done efficiently.

“Working with a qualified team of professionals is very satisfying and rewarding to all of us. We communicate daily to motivate and encourage each other to utilize our collective resources to promote productivity.”

SOCIAL ADVOCATES FOR YOUTH

FIVE TIME WINNER

SAY’s 111 employees have provided career readiness and work exploration programs, counseling and mental health services, and emergency shelter and longterm affordable housing programs for youth for almost five decades.

“It’s a great place to work because our team members are committed and deeply caring people who come to work every day knowing that there are young people who are counting on us to work hard and strive for excellence in everything we do,” says CEO Katrina Thurman.

An employee adds, “Our SAY team is diverse and curious, always seeking to improve and challenge ourselves. We support each other when we celebrate success and when our work gets hard. At the end of the day, everyone knows they are valued and that our combined efforts are changing young people’s lives for the better.”

The majority of the staff are counseling trainees working on their intern hours and leaving after they are attained in about two years. For other employees, the estimated longevity is about four-tofive years.

SAY offers medical/dental insurance, 401K, FSA, EAP, employer-paid life insurance, STL, and LTD at five years of service. Employees offers 13 paid holidays, one to three PTO days based on tenure.

Vacations start at two weeks the first year, three weeks at two years and four weeks thereafter. Appreciation Days are also gifted for certain activities.

There are holiday parties, a Thank You party and an award ceremony for Employee of the Year. SAY is also a pet and childfriendly facility.

“We are all committed to the youth of Sonoma County and driven to create holistic systems to help solve the issues faced by youth experiencing homelessness.”

SOILAND COMPANY INC.

THREE TIME WINNER

Soiland Company manufactures and sells aggregate rock, soil, compost and mulch products for residential and commercial applications.

“Our core values drive our business practices and represent our commitment to the community, our employees and the land which provides for us all. Our people take pride in their work and deliver remarkable customer service. We treat each employee with respect, dignity and concern for their safety because we believe each of our 41 employees is part of our extended work family,” says President and CEO Mark Soiland.

Management works hard to reduce stress to ensure that everyone enjoys Soiland’s successes by sponsoring summer parties for employees and families, a Christmas party with raffle prizes, giveaways, food and fun — the big prize last year was a trip for four to Mexico.

Soiland provides in-kind and monetary donations to various Sonoma County organizations, including SAY, the Ceres Project, local schools and other nonprofits.

The culture centers on creating an inclusive work family and providing flexibility for employees to spend time with their families at home.

Staff members are encouraged to regularly bring opportunities and concerns to the leadership team for review and to take action, supporting the form’s open communication style across all levels.

Says an employee, “The work atmosphere is the best I’ve ever had. Soiland invests in us and equipment to improve safety and efficiency. They want all of us to succeed.”

SONOMA CLEAN POWER

FIRST TIME WINNER

SCP is working to solve climate change, from providing clean energy to pilot programs for energy saving technologies, it offers options that make a difference in our world.

Clean energy is obtained from renewable resources: geothermal, water, wind, solar and biomass. SCP delivers its power throughout Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

“We started with a bare-bones office and staff, and in five short years have built a team of amazing, talented and brilliant people that keep providing service to our communities and battle climate change as top priorities,” says CEO Geof Syphers.

“We value our team and encourage professional and personal growth in keeping with a work/life balance.

“The company puts great emphasis on having all of us employees out the door by 5:00 p.m., gives us work from home opportunities, volunteer hours, and has an inspiring mission that translates into all we do.”

The staff receives tuition and textbook reimbursement, wellness benefits, life-event leave, catastrophic event time-sharing and fresh food in the breakroom. There are special tour days for team building at special places such as the Exploratorium in San Francisco, summer picnics at local parks for all family members, and holiday parties in December.

All employees receive four hours per month to volunteer at a nonprofit of their choice, and the staff has volunteered as a group at the Redwood Empire Food Bank and the Day of Caring.

SONOMA COUNTY FAMILY YMCA

FIRST TIME WINNER

CEO Matthew Henry says, “What makes the Y standout is our commitment to helping our staff feel like they are making a difference in the lives we serve. We offer a unique experience where employees leaving each day can know they helped change the life of a child, family or senior.”

Staff can earn a paid shift off or movie tickets quarterly by participating in the Y’s Employee Wellness Program. Full time staff receive health, life, dental, PTO, a retirement contribution, an AFLAC benefit and Y membership.

Part-timers receive sick pay, plus a retirement contribution and Y membership.

There is on-site day care and a staff scholarship fund (up to $500) that helps staff grow their skills, obtain certifications and CEU’s, attend a training or take a class.

The Y partners with more than 60 nonprofits, schools and healthcare entities to provide resources, programs and support, and participates at community festivals, health and job fairs.

Y gift certificates and memberships are donated to schools and nonprofits for fundraising.

Gloves and socks are collected for the Sonoma County Task Force for the Homeless, and canned foods for food banks.

Gift cards are donated to organizations in need, like Roseland Prep, Anova School, and backpacks and school supplies for Piner-Olivet School District.

The genuine, nurturing and diverse culture fosters staff growth and development.

“Our mission is to reach out to our community and help everyone, even those with low incomes. All age groups are accepted.

We are a welcoming place to be.”

SONOMA JET CENTER

FIRST TIME WINNER

Established in 2005, Sonoma Jet Center at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport offers general aviation aircraft ground services, refueling, maintenance and 65,000 square feet of hangar space for overnight or long-term lease. This center is open 365 days a year and is available 24 hours (with a callout fee).

“Our team of Line Service Technicians is initial and recurrent trained through National Air Transportation Association (NATA) Safety First,” says Josh Hochberg, president and CEO. “We are always concerned about the safety of all of our 45 employees and provide them with a complete package of benefits.”

He adds the Sonoma Jet Center has become the first Fixed-Base Operator (FBO) in California, and one of only a handful in the United States, to achieve successful implementation of Stage II of the International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH) Safety Certification.

Benefits include health/dental/vision insurance, 401k, plus tuition reimbursement allowance, AFLAC, optional membership to Flight Club – and access to aircraft available for employee use.

When not busy on the tarmac flight line, employees enjoy BBQs, dinners, holiday parties and take part in company meetings.

The jet center is involved in the community with Young Eagles, DART meetings, STEM, the Collins Foundation and the Pacific Coast Air Museum.

“Our culture of safety, and the ability to enter the aviation field while still having fun while learning, is what makes SJC the best place I have ever worked.”

SONOMA TECHNOLOGY INC.

THIRTEEN TIME WINNER

Sonoma Technology partners with agencies and organizations across the globe to develop environmental solutions that meet their specific needs.

“STI is a terrific place to work with a true spirit of collaboration demonstrated throughout the organization,” according to President Clinton MacDonald. “We work on intellectually challenging environmental projects and provide science-based solutions that make a difference in the lives of our clients and the public. Our most valuable resource is our team. We listen, we act, and we deliver.”

He says STI’s 60-member team of interdisciplinary, highly-trained technical specialists work with clients to solve issues and design custom applications and solutions.

For example, STI has helped the EPA in the development, operation and enhancement of the AirNow system that provides the public and application developers with easy access to national air quality information online. STI developed a smoke modeling system and another solution that estimates air emissions from the wildfires in the U.S. and California. It also helped develop the Marin County Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

When not working hard to save the planet, employees take time out for summer picnic, BBQs, ping pong, volleyball tournaments and trivia games. The firm has an annual community nonprofit grant program matching employee donations and has received Green Business Certification status. Employees also receive tuition and relocation assistance, recruitment referral bonuses and are honored through recognition programs and anniversary awards.

“What we do is fast-paced and innovative,” an employee states. “STI’s work helps governments and businesses and we receive international respect for what we do. We’re small, dynamic and very charged about our mission.”

SPAULDING MCCULLOUGH & TANSIL LLP

TWO TIME WINNER

“We feel we have created an environment where employees feel valued and supported. Our team meets high standards and expectations professionally, but also enjoys a relaxed and friendly atmosphere bolstered by regular company gatherings, a lively lunchroom, our open-door policies for access to upper management, and honest communication at all levels,” says Senior Partner Greg Spaulding.

SMT schedules fun social events for its approximately 35 employees, such as Balcony Gatherings, anniversary celebrations for clients, attorneys and staff, a holiday luncheon for everyone, team-building exercises and employee retreats, and an annual summer celebration for all employees and families. There are sponsored lunches several times a year, and snacks and beverages are provided in the kitchen.

“The partners have done a great job of creating a culture of inclusiveness where everybody on the team feels like they are pulling in the same direction,” writes an employee. “I am happy to be part of such an outstanding company and to work with such wonderful people.”

Personal growth is enhanced with ongoing training programs, and internal promotions occur as employees gain skills, experience and cross-trained for positions they desire.

Writes an employee, “Positive attitudes from all employee’s/coworkers and a very welcoming environment, teamwork among everyone and appreciation from owners makes this a Best Place to Work.”

ST. FRANCIS WINERY & VINEYARDS

NINE TIME WINNER

“We are committed to excellence in every level of the company and in every role, while focused on providing the support to enable our team members to perform at their highest potential. We are very proud of our employees and the significant contributions they make,” states CEO Rick Bonitati.

The St. Francis culture is one of respect and appreciation for its people, the land and natural resources found in Sonoma County. The company is a Certified Sustainable wine business which involves business practices and planning to protect the environment and employees for the future.

“This amazing company really cares about us, our customers and provides wonderful experiences for everyone,” in the words of an employee. “I love how we get to give back to our community through our all-company volunteer day.”

Each year on a Tuesday in June, St. Francis holds a Day of Service at a local nonprofit.

STAR STAFFING

SEVEN TIME WINNER

Star Staffing is a certified women-owned, full-service career and job placement agency.

“Star Staffing truly cares about each employee’s well-being. We take the time to make sure they are heard, valued, and given opportunities to lean and grow within our organization,” stated Co-Owner/President Nicole Smartt Serres , and Co-Owner/CEO Lisa Lichty.

With 46 employees working at locations in Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Napa, Fairfield, Sacramento, Lodi and Hayward, Star Staffing’s contact network covers a six-county area and beyond.

“Having a super supportive and intelligent management team offering transparency and accessibility to all of us is what makes us great. Executives are open to new ideas and encourage employee involvement — and we celebrate with one another,” writes an employee.

The company celebrates Women’s Day, Equal Pay Day, along with work anniversaries, birthdays, Star of the Month and Employee Appreciation Day/Week, as well as National Boss Day and End of Year celebrations.

Personal growth is enhanced through an employee development program and training (stipends, workshops, seminars, etc.), leadership and executive team coaching, a mentoring program, an awards night, Top Producer Luncheons each month and a year-end Tahoe trip.

Company-wide meetings twice a year ensure consistent communication.

“There is a sense of community at Star Staffing. My hard work is noted and rewarded, and our owners are visible to everyone. They make an effort to know all of us personally,” adds a staffer.

SUMMIT ENGINEERING INC.

THIRTEEN TIME WINNER

Founded more than 40 years ago, Summit Engineering has a team of 32 professionals.

“We have a team of great engineers and professionals who are inspired, innovative, fun and support each other. Together, we work with clients on the most challenging and rewarding projects a firm could hope for. They truly appreciated what we do,” says managing principal Yi Yang.

He adds employees are fulfilled by the feeling everyone shares when they win together, by the service Summit offers to others and by the contribution being made for something bigger than the firm itself. The culture is based on caring for each other, clients and pride in the work being done as a team.

“Everyone here is willing to contribute to the success of individuals and projects. The support management offers to further our training and education shows they really care about our professional growth,” states an employee.

Finding ways to play together strengthens team bonds. There is a theme-based catered family picnic at Howarth Park every summer, an elegant December party, and quarterly sponsored events such as kayaking, camping, bowling, division challenges, a ferry ride and Angel Island picnic and Giant’s game outings. The staff participates in a co-ed softball league as well as with its team called “The Slide Rules.”

SUMMIT STATE BANK

TEN TIME WINNER

Says James Brush, president and CEO, “Summit continues to evolve as a high-performing community bank. It is reaping the rewards of being fully staffed with a knowledgeable team, improved processes and a great local economy. Employees truly care about one another and that sentiment transcends to our customers and community.”

Staff dinners celebrate achievements, publicly announce awards and recognize and update everyone on company activities.

The firm’s Employee Activity Committee plans fun evens that coincide with all public holidays and coordinates the annual company picnic or attendance at sporting events for staff and their families.

One hallmark of Summit’s give backto- the-community program is its annual Summit Day of Service, a PTO day for employees to volunteer at a nonprofit of their choice.

The bank also gives back through its Nonprofit Partner Program where local nonprofits earn an above market interest rate on their operating accounts. This program has paid over $1.7 million to nonprofits since 2009.

“The communication from the top down is one of the best I’ve experienced in my career,” states an employee. “There are no road blocks if you want to discuss anything about the bank with higher ups. They welcome questions and have outstanding transparency.

“We have fun dress up and bring your dog to work days. We get our work done and we’re not afraid to have fun.”

SUTTER INSTRUMENT

THREE TIME WINNER

In 2007 Sutter became partially employee owned with the formation of an ESOP.

Employees are given shares at no charge.

“With many of Sutter’s key employees coming from research backgrounds, it was inevitable that our culture would feel like academia,” says President Mark Flaming. “It is a very casual place to work and five or six employees bring dogs to work on any given day. Our employees helped build the company, and we feel it is important for everyone to share in its success.”

Sutter pays 100% of medical coverage for the whole family, company-provided $50,000 life insurance and short/longterm disability insurance beyond what is required by the state in SDI taxes. There are yearly bonuses, AD&D, a retirement plan, profit sharing, dental coverage and company contributions are made to each employee’s 401k plan — plus an onsite gym.

The firm has low turnover. Forty-eight of 69 employees have been with the company 10 years and many are in the 20-year+ category. Average employee longevity is 13 years.

One employee writes, “The products we make help find cures for all types of illnesses from Parkinson’s to depression.

About 20% of our diverse workforce comes from China, Vietnam, Korean, Iran, the UK and the Philippines. We value each other personally and professionally, have great leadership and we’re customer oriented.

Management values ideas from everyone.”

TERRA FIRMA GLOBAL PARTNERS

FIVE TIME WINNER

Terra Firma is a boutique real estate brokerage servicing Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties with a team of 61 agents and support staff with the experience and knowledge to meet and exceed client expectations. Teams work in collaborative “green” office environments with a contemporary vibe.

“People make us great. We created a company with a very specific vision and culture that has been embraced by some of the most successful, community-minded and professional practitioners in the business,” says Vice President and Broker Heidi Rickerd-Rizzo.

“We allow them to thrive, hold each other up, to serve our clients to the highest level — and ride for the brand. Our retention rate is between 95-98%. This makes it worthwhile to get up every day and slay dragons.”

There are frequent all-company planning meetings and presentations from Permit Sonoma experts to discuss policy changes impacting real estate.

Associates donated $50,000 in 2018 distributed to 50 organizations and volunteered for the SAY fundraiser that raised $400,000. They helped raise $6,000 for United Way’s West County Flood Recovery Fund.

An employee states, “We model progressive thinking for a small real estate brokerage. If somebody has an idea it can be acted on quickly.”

The brokerage is parent friendly. Associates bring their kids to the office and meetings where toys and art supplies are stocked. Staff meetings are scheduled around drop off/pick up times. Admin staff is allowed to work from home part-time giving them flexibility to juggle household and work roles.

“Support is there allowing me to thrive, be my best and do what I do best,” writes an employee. “Most staff greetings begin with hugs!”

THE ENGINE IS RED

TWO TIME WINNER

This 15-member marketing team comes up with a flurry of ideas, and unearths great ones, as it designs and develops approaches that “move people” to action by producing meaningful and memorable work.

“We get to work with the most creative, vulnerable and engaging team,” says founder Christopher Denny. “It’s such an honor to watch them love their craft and their clients. We have the best job in the world.”

Being creative while having fun is an unbeatable combination. Employees get early release Fridays, work from home options, a paid family week off during Christmas/New Year’s, a waffle bar, hands-on educational opportunities, tuition reimbursement, company-sponsored meals, offsite team building events plus fresh fruit and a coffee bar.

The agency hosts volunteer days, and community events such as Tomorrow’s Leaders Today and Leadership Santa Rosa.

The Engine is Red often gives effort to its nonprofit clients, such as the Healthcare Foundation, Sonoma County Museum, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Center for Wellbeing, etc.

Several employees are, or have, served on nonprofit boards, and volunteering at food banks is incorporated into team-building events.

“I’m happy to be part of an extremely smart and talented group of people constantly trying to do better. We challenge ourselves and celebrate wins in equal measure. The culture and comradery are wonderful compared to any company I’ve worked with. Collectively, we are an unmatched creative force in the community.”

THE FAMILY COPPOLA

THREE TIME WINNER

“The Family Coppola is a diverse business that inspires and connects all generations through innovative experiences and authentic products,” according to Corey Beck, CEO and winemaking chief.

“We represent wine and spirits, restaurants and culinary discovery, resorts and adventurous travel, and an award-winning literary magazine — attributed to Francis Ford Coppola’s passions and commitment to quality and creativity.”

He says equality, diversity and inclusion are import to the organization. The Coppola Family demonstrates women’s achievement in film, fashion, the arts, in the community and in life. Nearly half of the executive staff is female, and women outnumber men on the winemaking team.

Some employees are seasonal workers, others have been with Family Coppola 10 years and several have worked on other properties over 30 years.

The staff gets together monthly for an all employee breakfast meeting. There is a holiday party, harvest celebrations and adopt-a-highway cleanup outings.

Through a volunteer pay policy, full and part-time employees receive 16 hours a year of PTO to volunteer in the community.

The Family Coppola supports 12 local wine industry associations, Chambers of Commerce and charitable organizations.

Employees receive work anniversary, new baby, holiday and monthly gifts (two free bottles of wine per month) along with carpooling incentives, discounts on all company restaurants, wine and merchandize and at Coppola Hideaways resort properties.

“Our company is always striving to make changes for the better. Not all experiments work, but we are always evolving,” states an employee. “I like how all upper level managers are friendly to everyone.”

THE HESS COLLECTION WINERY

FIRST TIME WINNER

With a life-long quest to marry wine and art, Donald Hess established the Hess Collection Winery in 1978 on the site of one of the region’s oldest wineries. He later established an art gallery within the winery to share his private collection. In 2017, Donald retired, handing the reigns to son-in-law Timothy Persson and daughter Sabrina.

Together, they continue to advance the family-owned and family-led company in Napa Valley.

“Our business can be described as having inspired family leadership and a hardworking collaborative team effort involving our 159 employees,” says CEO John Grant. “Our culture can also be defined as friendly, fun and passionate.”

An employee notes, “While we are a midsize company, there is still a family feel, and the people in my department work well together, and cross-functional teams that help solve problems. The benefits are great and much appreciated. I have autonomy in my job to complete tasks with little or no direction.

Everyone is on a first-name basis.”

TOP SPEED DATA COMMUNICATIONS

FOUR TIME WINNER

“We treat customers and employees with integrity, fairness and courtesy,” says General Manager Steve Farmiloe. “One of our 20 technology advisor consultants can determine which option is right for a specific situation, and then negotiate pricing for our clients.”

Employees say TSD is known for having a “strong, entrepreneurial environment supported by collaborative leadership and mentoring with support from management and coworkers.”

The culture is described as an entrepreneurial work environment based on trust and mutual respect.

To build an even more cohesive company, team-building events are planned, including trips to the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts and to a Giant’s baseball suite.

Employee involvement in the community includes support for Junior Giants, Petaluma Peoples Services, the Boys & Girls Clubs and other nonprofits.

Staff points to the excellent training, team-sharing of accounts and the company’s community focus as contributing to make this a Best Place to Work.

“Upper Management is very accessible and TSD provides educational opportunities to further individual career development as a path to increased earnings,” writes an employee, “It feels good to be able to know you work with honest and caring people.”

TRADITIONAL MEDICINALS

TWO TIME WINNER

As a Certified B Corporation and California Certified Green Business, Traditional Medicinals is a leading seller of wellness tea in the U.S. and pioneered the wellness tea category in the U.S. and Canada.

“The only way employees can be truly great is to be themselves, and thus be authentic,” says CEO Blair Kellison.

“TM is a culture of authenticity that brings out the very best in every employee.

Talent wins at every company, in every industry, every time. Our amazing employees and culture are what make TM great.”

The company’s Employee Food Program offers fresh, organic, local fruits and vegetables, a salad bar in summer and a soup bar in winter. There is a peanut butter and jelly bar, dairy and non-dairy yogurts, and a variety of healthy hot and cold beverages and snacks.

Employees are rewarded on every service anniversary with cash prizes (with increases based on seniority), engraved tea kettles for those with five years, and TM logo backpacks for those with 10 years of service or longer.

On Volunteer Day, staff come together to perform community service at COTS, the Humane Society, The Sebastopol Senior Center, Redwood Empire Food Bank and other nonprofits, ending with a fun company picnic. Those carpooling or taking public transit to work receive weekly cash compensation.

A staff member says, “What is important to me is that we help farmers in other countries who grow tea as well as the consumers who drink it, while also keeping material we recycle out of landfills and our oceans.”

VALLEY TIRE AND BRAKE

FOURTEEN TIME WINNER

Valley Tire and Brake’s team of more than 20 technicians perform diagnostics, front-end alignments, suspension, lubrication, muffler and exhaust system work, radiator/cooling system and engine maintenance along with a wide range of general automotive repairs, such as smog inspections and factory scheduled services using state-of-the-art equipment.

“Management leads by empowering others to have the responsibility to be part of a solution and act on it,” says General Manager Buzz Brazis. “We take care of our highly qualified technicians certified by AAA, ASE, ASA and the BBB.”

Customers have access to free courtesy cars while repairs are being made and staff receives paid training, uniforms and shoe reimbursement.

“I have been here less than a year and the manager has seen my hard work and talked to me about moving up in the company,” writes an employee. “I am currently an opening supervisor and will be working toward also becoming a closing supervisor.

I hope I can become a manager at this shop someday.”

The VTB culture promotes personal growth, continuous improvement and innovation as part of its workplace atmosphere, and supports nonprofits, including Montgomery Boosters, Santa Rosa Team Phoenix, Hidden Valley Elementary School, Sonoma County Justice Center, Love Harder Project, Schools Plus, Santa Rosa Police Foundation and the Santa Rosa High Foundation.

“All technicians are cross-trained to do every shop task. This gives us a better understanding of what each person does and is good experience for the future.”

W. BRADLEY ELECTRIC INC.

TWELVE TIME WINNER

Founded by William T. Bradley, Sr., in 1977 as a home-based electrical contracting business, today WBE is the largest electrical contractor in the North Bay with four locations, 255 employees and 2018 sales exceeding $131 million.

Bill’s daughter, Leslie Murphy, has been CEO since 1999, making WBE a certified woman owned business.

“It’s exciting to experience the energy our employees put into building co-worker relationships. The office recently finished annual employee team building events that included ping pong, archery and glass blowing. We encourage strong personal relationships, same as we do for our clients, because this leads to comradery and collaboration between people and departments that don’t always have an opportunity to work with each other,” says Murphy.

WBE has six divisions focusing on electrical, telecom, security, audio/visual, traffic and street lights and IT services, making it a one-source solution for specialty contracting services. The average employee has 10 years of service, and some have 15 or more.

“I chose to work at WBE because of the sense of family I’ve found here. I love the guys I work with. We all take pride in our work and we want to take care of WBE like they take care of us. I feel safe, am treated fairly, and enjoy doing my job,” states an employee.

The company schedules 30 hours of ongoing training per year for inhouse staff, and 16 hours for field personnel in the form of safety, manufacturer, state and industry certifications.

“Our company cares… brings in wellness speakers… gave a family $1,000 for new baby expenses… offers college loan reimbursement…conducts coaching reviews and team building, and surprised us when Jerry Rice came to our holiday party,” adds an employee.

WOODRUFF-SAWYER & CO.

TEN TIME WINNER

“As a 100-year-old firm, we have a deep legacy of caring for our people and our clients, says CEO Andy Barrengos.

“There are less than 10 brokerage firms of our size in the states who remain privately held and independently owned. We are committed to this ownership structure because it allows us the freedom and agility to continue our mission of championing the success of our people and clients by providing deep expertise, thoughtful counsel and fierce advocacy.”

Promotions can occur anytime during the year, when employees display technical skills. Employees enjoy flexible, work from home schedules, free healthy office snacks, summer outings to Giant’s games, bowling, and holiday luncheons at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Cinco de Mayo.

The firm’s CARE program sponsors events focusing on giving back to the community, and the Annual Day of Volunteering has involved helping at the food bank, a backpack drive for families, a yearly bake sale for a chosen nonprofit, and Cable Car Caroling at senior homes.

“There is strong feeling here that management looks out for employees’ best interests. We are a true team that values and respects each other’s strengths, a team that can guide and help you grow.”

WORKRITE ERGONOMICS

FOUR TIME WINNER

“I’m proud to be committed to taking great care of our 91 employees and customers.

Workrite employees take pride in serving our customer’s needs by constantly reinventing themselves and customizing our products and approach, making the company easy to do business with, by staying agile, and always hustling,” says President Charlie Lawrence.

Workrite offers several perks: a casual dress code, ergonomic workstations and equipment for all, tuition reimbursement, EAP, a wellness program, VIP coupons for Petaluma Premium Outlets and Ticket Monster discounts for special access to films and events.

The ergonomic and space equipment company offers an employee purchase program with 75 percent off on company products, savings of 17% on Verizon Wireless access fees, Microsoft Office personal computer software for $9.95, along with Workrite T-shirts and other merchandise.

In 2018, 15 people were promoted, one of every six employees. HR runs an on the- spot employee recognition STAR program, where $5-$25 gift cards are given to employees upholding company values.

A recent employee survey revealed 82% feel Workrite cares about them; 71% trust and are connected with management (an equal percentage agree their work is valued) and 74% report their jobs are stimulating and energizing.

“I feel recognized for what I do,” writes one employee. “Our president leads by example and is always there for us. From there, the love cascades down. Everyone is cherished.”

WRA, INC.

NINE TIME WINNER

With more than 1,600 projects for public agencies, nonprofits and private organizations since its inception, WRA is a professional consulting firm based in San Rafael with offices in Emeryville, San Diego and Denver, Colorado.

CEO Geoff Smick is an example for the firm’s 70 employees of how, as a botanist who started with WRA in 2005, he advanced from project manager to company leadership.

“People here are outdoorsy, active, athletic, warm, intelligent and well-educated.

It’s a challenging environment with bars set high, and with people motivated to do their best. Our team looks out for one another. It’s a great place to work and I believe everyone here is genuinely proud of WRA and what it does.”

Social and fun activities mirror the company’s mission. There are tree planting and restoration projects in the community, beach cleanup outings, along with camping events and bike rides, summer picnics and BBQs, happy hours, game nights and food bank volunteering opportunities.

Beyond the benefits package (including up to seven percent 401k match, a profit sharing program and both spot and performance bonuses), WRA offers outdoor store discounts, free bike parking, private showers (in Emeryville), professional organization dues/membership payments and license/certificate fees, conference and class coverage, and professional achievement cash bonuses and referral bonuses. AAA membership, carpool benefits and cell phone reimbursements are also included.

“I feel like I’m making a difference by working on things to protect our environment,” writes an employee. “There is never a dull day.”

SONOMA COUNTY FAMILY YWCA

THREE TIME WINNER

The Sonoma County Family YWCA, established in 1975, is an inclusive, charitable, cause-driven organization that enriches community by supporting youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Programs range from aquatics, health and fitness to youth, teen specialty and community programs, as well as child abuse awareness and prevention.

“YWCA’s team of 32 caring individuals is unwavering in their commitment to our community’s most vulnerable citizens. Our vision is to ensure that everyone is free from violence in their own homes,” says CEO Madeleine Keegan O’Connell. “Our Y is the only organization in our county providing comprehensive programs and services for adults and children affected by domestic violence.”

The Y offers double digit retirement savings matching, along with full medical benefits for full time employees (pro-rated for part time) and the chance to add family members to the plan. Dental and optical coverage along with life Insurance, cell phone stipends, mileage reimbursement and tuition assistance are also made available.

Professional development dollars are allocated by department each year to continue to advance team learning.

A calendar of holidays, along with vacation and sick leave, rounds out the benefits package. Two employee appreciation events are hosted by the Y each year, a summer retreat and a year-end holiday party.

“What makes our Y great are the incredibly resilient survivors and advocates who provide direct client services for those affected by domestic violence, particularly the Safe House and Domestic Violence Services team. Our goal is to better the lives of Sonoma County families. Comfort pets help, too. We all love visits by our CEO’s dog!”

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