Welcome to the BEST Of the North Bay issue of NorthBay biz magazine. All of us get a thrill presenting this annual celebration of our very best businesses in Napa, Marin and Sonoma counties across dozens of industries. Inside, we reveal the 2018 winners of our annual readers’ poll, and you’ll get a glimpse of why these companies were voted the BEST Of in the North Bay.
This year, our readers’ response broke all our records with more than 3,300 ballots cast, translating to more than 60,000 votes in the 37 categories. There were more than 1,000 companies and individuals who garnered votes, underscoring the depth and quality of the companies doing business in the North Bay. In many categories, the voting was close, and our congratulations go out to all the winners. This year’s Gold Medal winners are listed on page 86 and multiple-year winners (those that have won the BEST Of designation more than once) are listed on page 87.
American scholar and author, Warren G. Bennis (1925-2014), regarded as one of the pioneers of the contemporary field of leadership studies once said: "The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog, and the dog will be there to keep the man from touching equipment."
Some may speculate that the factory of the future is “The Cloud,” and there’s no need for employees because why do you need a team of employees with all the cloud automation being promised? Bennis’ idea of only a man and a dog? Brilliant, though sobering. Since man can’t be trusted not to tinker with the “cloud equipment,” the dog is the perfect steward of the data. While some may think Bennis is right about that, I see it differently. The successful human interaction between companies and customers will continue to drive results for business. No question, high-tech is here to stay; it will not, however, replace high-touch, only supplement it.
So until this implausible "Factory of the Future" sprouts up along Highway 101, we'll keep highlighting the common element shared by each winner of this year's poll—the synergy of everyone working together in each business as a team. Teamwork is a common thread, running through each of our company profiles—imaginative leadership guiding and inspiring their teams towards success. Though we’re living in the information age and it’s easy to be dazzled by technology, the heart and core of each business is its people. That’s why it’s become a tradition to celebrate our businesses in the North Bay through the annual readers’ poll.
Our BEST Of awards celebration will take place Thursday, May 17, at the Santa Rosa Golf & Country Club on Country Club Drive. The evening wouldn’t be possible without the support of all our fine sponsors: Ghilotti Construction, Laco Associates, Moss Adams, Northern California Carpenter’s Union, Redwood Credit Union, Trope Group, Crown Trophy and C.P.A. Valet. A special thanks goes to Brent Stromgren and the entire team at Santa Rosa Golf & Country Club. And thank you, in advance, for your help in making it a night to remember.
Pouring their award-winning wines that night will be an assortment of Wine Country’s finest, including Balletto Vineyards, Korbel Champagne Cellars, La Crema Winery, Longboard Vineyards, Paradise Ridge Winery, Rodney Strong Vineyards, Sbragia Family Vineyards, Seghesio Family Vineyards and St. Francis Winery & Vineyard. And not to be outdone by the wineries, Bear Republic Brewing Company will be serving its finest beer. The food complementing the award-winning wine and beer promises to be a feast in its presentation, quality and variety, thanks to the outstanding staff at SRG&CC.
Congratulations to all the winning companies, thanks to our staff at NorthBay biz and a special thanks to all our readers, who took the time to vote for the BEST Of the North Bay. We’re looking forward to another outstanding and memorable event! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this bonus issue, celebrating the many fine businesses we have in the North Bay.
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