B & L Glass Joins North Bay Leadership Council

North Bay Leadership Council (NBLC) announced that B & L Glass is its newest member.  With over 60 years in business at the same location in Santa Rosa, B & L Glass provides, installs, and repairs a variety of glass products and services for residential and commercial clients throughout the North Bay, including Sonoma and Napa counties.  They are one of the largest glass companies in the North Bay.

Patty Garbarino, chair of NBLC’s board and President, Marin Sanitary Services, said, “Construction, especially of housing, is a key priority for NBLC members and we welcome B & L Glass who will help strengthen our public policy advocacy to make new construction easier in the North Bay.”

B & L Glass sells and installs everything glass for residential, commercial and complex specialty projects. This includes offerings for luxury residential home projects, low rise commercial projects and storefront windows.  B & L Glass also specializes and has extensive expertise in “design build” complex projects —– their experience includes winery building & cave projects, arts centers, custom built glass balcony & rails, custom glass staircases, massive skylights, heavy glass shower enclosures, etc.  The company is Diamond Certified.

The member representative will be the CEO, Jeff Rowland, who is a seasoned, results-oriented, sales, marketing, and business development executive. Rowland has 30 years of experience in the high-tech world as an executive and senior level contributor to the worldwide sales and growth of global, multi-billion-dollar organizations and technology start-ups in the Americas, EMEA and APAC. He is a graduate of Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. He recently bought land in Santa Rosa to build a new home for his family, which includes his wife and three children.

Rowland said, “B & L Glass is a longstanding member of the North Bay community and we are excited to join other NBLC members in ensuring that the region regains its economic vitality, a large part of which will be from the construction of new housing for the North Bay workforce.  We look forward to contributing our experience to help close the gap in much-needed new housing production and other types of construction.”

As the new owners of B & L Glass since 2019, Rowland and his wife Jennifer are establishing industry partnerships and collaborating with likeminded business organizations. They are members of the Santa Rosa Chamber and Sonoma County Alliance and are both active in children’s charities.

Marin Business Survey Finds Dire Pandemic Outlook

More than a third of Marin County business owners polled in a recent survey said they have dipped into personal savings, racked up credit card debt or borrowed money from family members to keep their enterprises alive during the coronavirus pandemic.

The survey, which polled nearly 1,200 Marin business owners, highlights the dire financial situation for many companies after a year of lockdowns and restrictions, said Cynthia Murray, CEO of the North Bay Leadership Council. The survey was conducted in February by Keep Marin Working, a business advocacy group.

“I was surprised by the number of people putting their debt on credit cards. Those are last-resort situations,” said Murray, a member of Keep Marin Working. “We think about money for keeping doors open, but if there isn’t assistance to help them pay their debt, these businesses won’t be able to stay open.”

More than three quarters of the survey respondents said they had seen revenues fall during the pandemic and were concerned about the economic stability of their businesses.

The online survey, which was circulated by Marin’s cities, towns and chambers of commerce, polled business owners throughout the county in more than two dozen industries. Almost 70% said revenues were down 10% or more and 35% said revenues were down more than 50%.

About a third of the respondents said their businesses were only partially open with reduced staff or hours and 13% said all staff were working remotely. About 9% said they had closed temporarily and 1% had closed permanently.

To weather the next six months, 9% of the respondents said they would close permanently or temporarily until coronavirus restrictions are lifted. About 8% said they plan to downsize and 1% said they would relocate outside of Marin. Just under half said they would stay in business with the same number of staff they had in February.

Many of the business owners secured pandemic relief funding, including 53% who said they got at least one round of funding from the federal Paycheck Protection Program. About 15% said they qualified for PPP money twice.

About 36% of respondents said they had used personal savings toward their businesses over the past year, while 16% built up credit card debt and 6% borrowed money from family members. Some used a combination of the three.

“What I take away is that there’s still a great need out there,” said Joanne Webster, CEO of the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce and a member of Keep Marin Working. “Even though there are a lot of programs out there, people are still incurring personal debt, and that’s scary, because it means they’re not going to be able to invest in their businesses.”

Webster and other members of Keep Marin Working are advocating for a new Marin County program that would provide grants to small businesses. Webster is urging county officials to set aside at least $2 million for the program.

“We want to avoid bankruptcy,” Webster said. “For these smaller businesses, if they declare bankruptcy or go out of businesses, that really creates problems in our downtowns and on our main streets. We want to avoid blight.”

Even as health officials roll back coronavirus restrictions and the number of vaccinated Marin residents grows, a looming uncertainty continues for business owners, Webster said. The county has eased up on restrictions in the past only to reinstate them amid growing infection rates.

“The anxiety is still there,” Webster said, “and the uncertainty is still there.”

Businesses that have seen their customer bases grow with looser public health restrictions also face challenges with the sudden boost in demand, said Miriam Hope Karell, director of the Marin Small Business Development Center, who also is a Keep Marin Working member. Some are struggling to hire staff, which is a perennial problem for Marin businesses in need of low-wage labor that has been exacerbated by the pandemic, she said.

Justin Flake has posted ads to online job boards seeking new employees at the Acqua Hotel in Mill Valley, where he is general manager, but he’s seen very few applications come in. Business started increasing around Valentine’s Day and has kept growing since, he said.

“We’re in a spot where we need to be hiring people very quickly to keep up with the demand, but it’s hard,” Flake said.

Flake, who also manages two other hotels with the Marin Hotels Group, said the business laid off more than 90% of its staff in March 2020. He’s resorted to posting the new job openings on social media in recent weeks in hopes of finding candidates, which has netted a few applicants. But keeping the hotel staffed has become “a balancing act” amid the flip-flopping restrictions, he said.

The business has relied on financial assistance program, including PPP money, which it qualified for twice, to keep running, Flake said.

“It’s been a really tough year,” Flake said. “Without those programs, it would be unsustainable to keep moving forward.”

The Financial Impact of COVID-19 on Marin County Businesses

Executive Summary

Marin County’s businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact will have lasting effects on our local economy. Leading Business Associations at Keep Marin Working launched a survey to understand the immediate stability and financial needs of our businesses to better support them moving forward. This survey was created for businesses throughout the County to provide information to be used to inform initiatives and activities that forge opportunities for their survival and success during and after the pandemic.

Keep Marin Working (KMW), a collaboration of business and economic development organizations, drafted and distributed the survey in both English and Spanish. The results painted a picture of major financial struggle for businesses across the County during this time. Of these participating businesses, 78% percent had seen a decline in revenue causing much concern about their financial security and economic stability and not knowing how long they can survive. In fact, 58% of the businesses that participated in the survey said they are using their personal savings, accumulating massive credit card debt or borrowing from family members just to stay in business. Seventeen businesses have said they have permanently closed, and thirty-two additional businesses say they plan on closing for good in the near future. Almost 70% of respondents stated their business decreased by 10% or more with 35% stating revenues were down between 50-100%. When asked what their businesses needed to survive, surprisingly 25% of businesses said they could maintain in operation for six months if they received a grant of $5,000 or less, while twenty one percent felt that $20,000- $50,000 would be necessary to survive.

Of the participants, 70% of the businesses that participated have been in operation for over 10 years. 74% had 5 or less employees and 92% had 20 or less employees. 44% were single owner businesses and over 66% were women owned. 67% percent of the participants were from the city of San Rafael, 8% from Novato, nearly 6% from unincorporated Marin, and 5% from the city of Mill Valley with the remainder from every other local jurisdiction.


In review of the survey data, it was revealed that the businesses in Marin County were affected dramatically by the COVID-19 pandemic and went to great lengths to survive. In fact, without personal financial support and support from a local, state or federal source a significant portion would not survive. This shows us the temporary tenacity that these sole proprietors and brick-and-mortar entities have, yet many of these businesses are hanging on by a thread.

The most alarming fact was that 58% of the Marin businesses have been forced to use personal
savings, credit card debt or family loans for a means to continue operations. The life-blood of
Marin’s economy is in the retention and expansion of our small businesses. As we have witnessed
many of our local businesses adapting and embracing the changes in our environment, they are
taking on more and more debt. Uncertainty is still a factor and it is our concern that many of these
local businesses will simply not be able to take on more debt. If our businesses do not re-invest in
their operations and grow in the coming years, it will slow down or even shut down our local

Given these findings, there is an urgent need to assist Marin’s businesses now to help them stay
afloat, so they can continue to provide us with the jobs and services we need. Based on the
collected information, the KMW group strongly recommends another county-wide business relief
grant program. It is estimated that if the program was funded up to $2,000,000, the county could
provide immediate relief to save our local businesses. This would drive a quicker economic recovery
that would benefit all of Marin. However, we need more than a program that provides immediate
relief; we need a program that provides ongoing support until the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
have dissipated. KMW recommends a longer-term commitment to recover affected industries to
secure an economic base in Marin that is strong, diverse and resilient.


Using a well-known survey tool, the survey was emailed out through newsletters and posted on
websites and in social media channels by all organizations in collaboration with the cities and the
County. The survey was available for three weeks from February 3rd to February 24th. A total of 1191 surveys (capturing over 10% of the total licenses countywide) were completed, and in these results, there was a fair distribution sample of small, medium and large businesses representing every major business sector. Although we translated the survey in Spanish, distribution of the survey to Spanishspeaking business owners proved to be more complex, due to digital literacy and the digital divide that exists in Marin. We acknowledge that more work needs to be done to reach both Latino and other BIPOC owned businesses and we will continue to work with our community partners to capture and track this data. This survey is a strong start that represents an ample array of businesses across the region.

View Survey Results-English
View Survey Results-Spanish

Keep Marin Working (KMW), is a collaborative of diverse Marin organizations, whose purpose is to
coordinate and strengthen the voice of business throughout the county and take positions to create a more business-friendly climate. This group includes the North Bay Leadership Council, Marin Realtors Association, Marin Economic Forum, Marin Builders Association, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Marin, San Rafael Chamber of Commerce, Latino Council, Novato Chamber of Commerce, Marin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Canal Alliance.

Contact: Josh Townsend
(415) 910-0464

NBLC Statement on Violence, Racism, Misogyny and Anti-Semitism

North Bay Leadership Council mourns the loss of the eight souls murdered in Atlanta, including six Asian/Asian American women.  We are saddened by the continuing acts of violence against people of color throughout the United States.  The fact that hatred, racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism and violence are ever present in our communities shows the need for us to become more united in the efforts to stop hate in all its forms.

There is a cumulative effect of the hatred and violence we are witnessing and far too many are experiencing.  The prevalence of hatred and violence causes fear not only among the people being targeted but for all right-minded people who recognize that hatred and violence are a cancer in our communities.  If one person isn’t safe, none of us are.

It is apparent that there is a much work to do to end racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism and violence in our country. NBLC is committed to that cause and looks to partner with other groups in achieving that goal.  We support efforts like those of Santa Rosa Junior College to stand in Solidarity with the Asian American and Pacific Islander Communities and Denouncing Anti-Asian Racism/Violence. You can read the SRJC Resolution here.

In response to challenges, NBLC seeks to be a problem-solver and part of the solution.  We think that contributing to nonprofits who serve the AAPI community in California would be helpful. Below are some suggestions or consider giving to any group with likeminded objectives:

Let us join together to put all of our resources and hearts into ending racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism and violence.  We call on our colleagues to stand with us in grief and solidarity against systemic racism and gender-based violence. Violence against Asian American communities is part of a larger system of violence and racism against all communities of color, including Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.

In this time of crisis, let’s come together and build just communities, where we are all safe, valued, and treated with dignity and respect.

SPARC Joins North Bay Leadership Council

SPARC, represented by Erich Pearson, its Founder and CEO, has joined the board of North Bay Leadership Council (NBLC).

“NBLC values the cannabis industry as an important economic engine in the North Bay that will continue to contribute much needed jobs and revenue as the region strives to recover from our economic shock,” said NBLC Board Chair Patty Garbarino. A leader in the cannabis industry, we welcome Erich and SPARC’s participation in our advocacy efforts.”

SPARC currently operates five retail locations: three in San Francisco and two in Sonoma County (in Santa Rosa and in Sebastopol), with its Sonoma location coming online later this year. SPARC has 25,000 square feet of manufacturing, processing and distribution space in Santa Rosa, where its corporate offices are located, and 20,000 square feet of centralized processing at its Glen Ellen estate farm anticipated to be up and running this summer.

“I am honored to be appointed to the North Bay Leadership Council. SPARC is committed to serving the North Bay community to ensure that we have a strong economy, skilled workforce and protected environment,” said Pearson.

Born in Indiana, Pearson moved to California to cultivate cannabis and quickly immersed himself in San Francisco’s cannabis reform movement, spearheading efforts to protect the industry from criminal prosecution and implement programs to provide free cannabis to medically ill patients.

Pearson opened SPARC’s first retail store in San Francisco 2012. In 2015, SPARC merged with Peace in Medicine, a highly respected industry peer with two retail facilities in Sonoma County and began cultivating cannabis in Sonoma County’s wine country in 2017. The following year, the SPARC farm became Demeter Certified for Biodynamic cultivation, making it one of the largest Biodynamic cannabis farms in California.

SPARC currently employs 150 people. Pearson’s business partner Sean Kelley serves as President and Chief Operating Officer, leveraging his experience in retail, consulting and supply chain. Other longstanding members of the team include Vice President of Finance, Kelly Rogoff, and Vice President of Human Resources, Jo Galauski.

Pearson has maintained his commitment to developing compassionate care programs, providing free cannabis to qualified medical patients in the communities they serve. He also continues to promote social equity in the industry, instituting practices that promote the hiring of individuals from disadvantaged communities and communities of color.

When SPARC’s Sonoma location opens later this year, Pearson will donate 5 percent of its profits in support of various local nonprofits, including the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation and La Luz Center.

Like many local businesses, SPARC is facing the challenges associated with the pandemic. “I look forward to working with the NBLC to tackle the challenges affecting our business climate and working with my fellow Board Members to advance policies that foster business expansion and greater economic prosperity in the County,” said Pearson.

ArchiLOGIX Joins North Bay Leadership Council

ArchiLOGIX, a comprehensive design and development consulting firm that focuses on responsible, sustainable compact development and public safety projects, is now a member of North Bay Leadership Council. Patty Garbarino, Chair of NBLC’s Board and President of Marin Sanitary Service, welcomed ArchiLOGIX, saying “ArchiLOGIX is a model architecture and planning firm whose projects in the North Bay show how ArchiLOGIX values the environment and the community.  They are leaders in helping navigate today’s difficult development climate and will contribute greatly to NBLC’s work to have more housing built in the region.”

ArchiLOGIX focuses on three areas of architecture: Health and Wellness; Manufacturing and Infill Development. They provide strategic solutions for revitalizing communities through urban infill. They work with private and public sector clients to revitalize and repurpose existing special re-use districts and projects. Together, they develop and execute a vision that meets their needs and helps bring economic vitality, prosperity and an enhanced quality of life to their community. ArchiLOGIX is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council and has been a donor, managed projects for the Santa Rosa Chapter of Rebuilding Together and is a Platinum member of the local housing advocacy organization, Generation Housing.

The member representative will be Peter Stanley, Principal and LEED BD+ C.  Stanley said, “We share NBLC’s commitment to creating more housing in the North Bay and fostering more innovation and prosperity in the region.  Their mission and values dovetail well with our firm’s sustainable philosophy and goals for the built environment.” In 2004, Stanley founded ArchiLOGIX and in 2006, teamed with award-winning architect Mitch Conner to provide planning, development consulting and architectural services.

Along with his business interests, Stanley is very involved in community work both locally and abroad. He chaired the City of Santa Rosa’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board and was a board member from 2007 until February of 2011 when he was appointed to the Santa Rosa Planning Commission and the Mayor’s Open Government Task Force. He is also the current President and former vice chairman of two international nonprofits respectively, Developing Communities and Clinica Verde, which are dedicated to providing housing, education, economic development and medical services to low-income families, women and children in Nicaragua. He has recently co-founded Verday Health with Susan Lyons, a startup looking to provide healthcare delivery options to underserved rural communities in the US.

North Bay Leadership Council Welcomes American River Bank as a New Member

North Bay Leadership Council (NBLC) welcomes American River Bank as a new member.  American River Bank is a regional bank serving Northern California since 1983. American River Bank is a subsidiary of American River Bankshares, a publicly-traded company.

Patty Garbarino, chair of NBLC and president of Marin Sanitary Services, said, “We are excited to have this regional bank joining our membership because of their commitment to the community and shared values. We look forward to seeing American River Bank grow in the North Bay and become an important contributor to our region’s quality of life.”

American River Bank has been profitable every full year since their founding, which they attribute to their demonstrated history of providing value to clients, shareholders, and employees. American River Bank has 107 total employees across 11 locations and generated $27 million in revenue (USD) in 2019.

As of September 30, 2020, the Company had consolidated assets of $858 million, net loans of $472 million, deposits of $729 million and shareholders’ equity of $92 million. The Bank’s principal office is in Sacramento and the North Bay offices are in Santa Rosa and Healdsburg with plans to increase its presence in the North Bay.

Julianna Graham, SVP Market Manager, is the member representative.  Graham has a background in commercial lending, strategic planning, project and sales management, and business development. She is active in the North Bay community serving on nonprofit boards and is a faculty member of Pacific Coast Banking School.

Graham said, “American River Bank is proud to be a part of the North Bay community and North Bay Leadership Council.  We are committed to joining with other community leaders to help to make this region more innovative, resilient and prosperous.”

An integral part of American River Bank’s community engagement is the American River Bank Foundation which is committed to supporting organizations that create opportunity, enhance self-esteem, increase awareness about culture and community, and provide physical and emotional well-being for the most vulnerable women and children. The Foundation is solely supported by American River Bank, its employees, clients and partners. They have donated over $1.5 million to local nonprofit organizations since the Foundation was established in 2004.

Burbank Housing Joins North Bay Leadership Council

The North Bay Leadership Council (NBLC) announced today that local affordable housing nonprofit Burbank Housing has joined its membership ranks. Burbank Housing currently manages more than 3200 rentals throughout 86 communities and serves more than 10,000 residents. During its 40 years of operation, Burbank has also built 915 single family subsidized homes and has almost 230 homes in development.

Patty Garabino, NBLC Board Chair and President of Marin Sanitary Services, expressed excitement, pointing to Burbank Housing’s knowledge in the field gained over four decades as Sonoma County’s largest nonprofit affordable housing developer.

“The housing crisis is a major concern to North Bay employers,” said Garabino. “Burbank Housing is a leader in affordable housing development and operation with an impressive track record of success. We look forward to having their expertise and wherewithal to help drive our housing advocacy efforts.”

Burbank Housing believes that communities thrive when housing is affordable. The nonprofit has led the region in creating and maintaining quality, sustainable housing and rental opportunities, and inspired education and acceptance of affordable housing initiatives. Their work fosters community development and revitalization, and provides opportunities for residents to lead healthier, more successful lives.

Burbank Housing’s member representative will be the organization’s CEO and President Larry Florin, who brings more than 30 years of experience in real estate, as well as community and economic development expertise in both the public and private sector, to Burbank Housing and the Council.

“Building new homes for North Bay residents requires a lot of advocacy and political will-building,” said Florin. “Joining with housing advocates like the North Bay Leadership Council is vital for success. Burbank looks forward to working with the North Bay Leadership Council and its membership to help get much needed affordable housing built in the region.”

Prior to Burbank, Florin served as the Director of Housing and Intergovernmental Affairs for Napa County. Before Napa County, Florin spent more than 10 years in the private sector co-founding a development company that specialized in adaptive reuse of underutilized industrial property. During his tenure, he oversaw some of the company’s largest development projects in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the redevelopment of the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and Treasure Island.

Florin also possesses more than 15 years of experience working in senior management positions in San Francisco, including executive level positions in Mayor’s Office, the Redevelopment Authority and the City’s Port. He served as the first Executive Director of the Treasure Island Development Authority. Other accomplishments include serving on the Executive Board of the Association of Bay Area Governments, the State Governor’s Task Force on Military Base Conversion, the State of California Housing Element Working Group and California Forward’s One Million Homes Initiative. He also received the San Francisco Business Times Real Estate Transaction of the Year Award and the San Francisco Mayor’s Manager of the Year.

PLEASE RESPOND TO THIS SURVEY: What help are businesses getting? What help do businesses need?

The business councils and chambers in Marin County asks that you complete the short survey linked to below.  We are trying to assess how the businesses in Marin are faring, what kind of help they have received and what additional help do they need.  Armed with this data, we hope to have more fuel to lobby for more relief funds and other assistance to help Marin businesses weather the storm of the pandemic, recession and natural disasters.  Thank you for sharing this information which will be kept anonymous.  In strategizing the best way forward, the more we know of how you are doing the more we hope to advocate on your behalf.  We are eager to gather this data in anticipation of new funding become available from the Federal government shortly.

Please see the links/QR Codes to the survey in both English and Spanish.

English: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/COVID19COUNTYBUSIMPACT

Spanish: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SPCOVID19BUSIMPACT












Thank you!  We appreciate your prompt response.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

‘The Hill We Climb’ By Amanda Gorman

When day comes we ask ourselves,
Where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We’ve braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished
We the successors of a country and a time
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one
And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid
If we’re to live up to our own time
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made
That is the promise to glade
The hill we climb
If only we dare
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated
In this truth
in this faith we trust
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,
we will rise from the windswept northeast
where our forefathers first realized revolution
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,
we will rise from the sunbaked south
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it
– Amanda Gorman, the nation’s first-ever youth poet laureate, read the following poem during the inauguration of President Joe Biden on January 20