Redwood Credit Union Opens New Branch in American Canyon

Redwood Credit Union (RCU) today announced the opening of its new, full-service branch in American Canyon at 406 Napa Junction Road, Suite 126 in the Napa Junction Shopping Center.

To better accommodate RCU’s growing membership in Napa and Solano Counties, the new branch offers the community competitive personal and business loans, free checking, high-yield deposit options, home and auto loans, and concierge auto-buying services. Comfortable technology areas for members to bank online and quickly access information is also offered, with staff readily available to assist. There’s also a children’s activity area.

“Our new American Canyon branch is designed to provide an experience that goes beyond everyday banking, though that’s offered too,” said Brett Martinez, RCU president and CEO. “It’s a comfortable environment where individuals and businesses can get help with their overall financial wellness—from money management, to home and auto loans, and long-term financial planning. We’re excited to offer this new location to serve the American Canyon community.”

The American Canyon branch has ample parking and is conveniently located next to Verizon, Dunkin Donuts, Walmart, and other shopping. Its hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

About Redwood Credit Union

Founded in 1950, Redwood Credit Union is a full-service financial institution providing personal and business banking to consumers and businesses in the North Bay and San Francisco. RCU offers complete financial services including checking and savings accounts, auto and home loans, credit cards, online and mobile banking, business services, commercial and SBA lending, and more. The credit union also offers insurance and discount auto sales through its wholly owned subsidiary. RCU has over $4.5 billion in assets and serves more than 335,000 members with full-service branches from San Francisco to Ukiah, more than 30,000 fee-free network ATMs nationwide and convenient, free online and mobile banking. For more information, call 1 (800) 479-7928, visit, or follow RCU on Facebook at, Instagram @redwoodcreditunion, and Twitter @Redwoodcu for news and updates.

Arrow Benefits Group Leaders Named First Ever Dual Advisers of the Year by Employee Benefit Adviser

Employee Benefit Adviser has named its 2019 winners for the annual Adviser of the Year awards, selecting dual honorees by recognizing Andrew McNeil and Rosario Avila, the founders of BenefitsTV.

McNeil and Avila, who both serve as benefits advisers at Arrow Benefits Group, started the video service this year to expand online video content for benefits professionals. Each year, Employee Benefit Adviser grants awards to recognize excellence and innovation in the field. The following five categories reflect the growing role of the employee benefit adviser in having a positive impact on all facets of a client’s business.

This year’s winners include:

· Employee Benefit Advisers of the Year: Andrew McNeil and Rosario Avila, founders, BenefitsTV
· Retirement Plan Adviser of the Year: Jewell Lim Esposito, partner, head of ERISA practice and head of cannabis, hemp and CBD practice, FisherBroyles
· Voluntary Benefits Adviser of the Year: Beverly Beattie, founder and CEO, Selden Beattie
· Wellness Adviser of the Year: Naama O. Pozniak, CEO, Paz Holding
· Technology Adviser of the Year: Jay Koppisety, CIO, American Benefits Consulting

All awards recognize outstanding service by brokers or advisers and seek to honor not just sales performance, but other factors that determine an adviser’s true value.

Each Adviser of the Year honoree is presented to the nominee who has demonstrated a consistent pattern of forward-thinking innovation and achievement in benefit plan sales, consulting and leadership, as well as overall contributions to the profession.

All the winners will be honored at the 2019 Benefits Forum and Expo, which will be held Sept. 25-27 in Las Vegas. Additionally, the honorees will be profiled in the September issue of the magazine and online.

More Than 2,200 People Protected by Securely Shredding Documents at Redwood Credit Union’s Annual Shred-a-Thon

More than 2,200 local residents (an all-time high) took action to protect themselves from fraud and identity theft by shredding old financial records and other paperwork at Redwood Credit Union’s (RCU’s) free annual Shred-a-Thon, held at RCU’s administrative offices in Santa Rosa on Saturday, August 10, 2019. Sixty-two RCU volunteers and several trucks from Shred-IT were on-site at the event to help the community safely dispose of and recycle approximately 71,800 lbs. of documents. Twenty-three people attended a free seminar at the event on ways to prevent fraud and identity theft.

Additionally, Conservation Corps of the North Bay collected 13,200 lbs. of e-waste on site at the event, including old TVs, printers, monitors, computers, and other personal electronics for secure recycling.

“Shredding sensitive documents—such as old financial statements and bills—is one of the best precautions people can take against identity theft,” said Matt Martin, senior vice president of community and government relations at RCU. “We were happy to once again provide this service to our community.”

Redwood Empire Food Bank was also on site at the event and collected $5,581 in monetary contributions and 350 pounds of food donated by attendees. These donations are estimated to help provide over 11,579 meals for those in need (another all-time high).

About Redwood Credit Union

Founded in 1950, Redwood Credit Union is a full-service financial institution providing personal and business banking to consumers and businesses in the North Bay and San Francisco. RCU offers complete financial services including checking and savings accounts, auto and home loans, credit cards, online and mobile banking, business services, commercial and SBA lending, wealth management and investment services, and more. The credit union also offers insurance and discount auto sales through its wholly owned subsidiary. RCU has over $4.5 billion in assets and serves more than 335,000 members with full-service branches from San Francisco to Ukiah, more than 30,000 fee-free network ATMs nationwide and convenient, free online and mobile banking. For more information, call 1 (800) 479-7928, visit, or follow RCU on Facebook at, Instagram @redwoodcreditunion, and Twitter @Redwoodcu for news and updates.

109 Named Best Places to Work in the North Bay for 2019

This year’s winners of the 14th annual Best Paces to Work in the North Bay awards were revealed Thursday.

The 109 organizations selected were analyzed by the editorial staff of the Business Journal on the basis of several criteria, including the employer application, survey ratings by employees, number of responses, size of the company, breakdown of responses from management and non-management, and written comments by employees. Thousands of employees participate in these surveys each year.

The awards are presented by the Business Journal, the Nelson Family of Companies, Exchange Bank, Kaiser Permanente and underwritten by Trope Group. Winning companies will be recognized at a reception Sept. 26 at the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country hotel in Santa Rosa and will be profiled in a September issue of the Business Journal.

Here are this year’s winners:

Adobe Associates, Inc.

Amy’s Kitchen: 3 time winner

Arrow Benefits Group: 5 time winner

AUL Corporation: 6 time winner

Bank of Marin: 13 time winner

Becoming Independent: 10 time winner

Best Collateral Inc.: 5 time winner

Beyers Costin Simon: 4 time winner

BKF Engineers: 9 time winner

Blentech Corporation: 2 time winner

Boisset Collection: 3 time winner

BPM LLP: 14 time winner

Burnham Benefits Insurance Services: 3 time winner

Canine Companions for Independence: 1st time winner

Carlile Macy: 12 time winner

Central Valley Builders Supply (dba Central Valley): 1st time winner

Centric General Contractors: 2 time winner

Child Parent Institute: 2 time winner

Chop’s Teen Club: 5 time winner

Coast Landscape Management: 9 time winner

Coldwell Banker Brokers of the Valley: 8 time winner

Community Child Care Council of Sonoma County: 2 time winner

Community Matters: 7 time winner

Cork Supply USA: 3 time winner

Cornerstone Properties: 2 time winner

Costeaux French Bakery: 9 time winner

Dal Poggetto & Company LLP: 13 time winner

DH Wine Compliance: 6 time winner

Dickenson, Peatman, & Fogarty: 3 time winner

Don Sebastiani & Sons: 7 time winner

Earthtone Construction: 2 time winner

Eckhoff & Company: 3 time winner

Eleven Engineering, Inc.: 1st time winner

EO Products: 6 time winner

Exchange Bank: 14 time winner

First American Home Buyers Protection: 5 time winner

Friedemann Goldberg LLP: 9 time winner

GC Micro: 5 time winner

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems: 1st time winner

George Petersen Insurance Agency: 11 time winner

Ghilotti Bros., Inc.: 10 time winner

Ghirardo CPA: 14 time winner

Goodwill of the Redwood Empire: 7 time winner

Healdsburg Lumber Company: 4 time winner

Hennessy Advisors, Inc.: 6 time winner

Hilton Garden Inn-Sonoma County Airport: 1st time winner

Hogan Land Services: 6 time winner

Intelisys, a ScanSource company: 3 time winner

Intervine, Inc.: 3 time winner

InterWest Insurance Company: 7 time winner

Jackson Family Wines: 5 time winner

Joanna’s Nannies: 3 time winner

Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center: 14 time winner

Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Medical Center: 14 time winner

Keysight Technologies: 10 time winner

Kiosk: 7 time winner

La Tortilla Factory: 13 time winner

Ledson Winery & Vineyards: 1st time winner

Linkenheimer LLP CPAs & Advisors: 9 time winner

Mengali Accountancy: 5 time winner

Meritage Medical Network: 3 time winner

Mike’s Bikes: 4 time winner

MKM & Associates Stuctural Engineering: 1st time winner

Moss Adams LLP: 12 time winner

Mr. Rooter of Sonoma County: 12 time winner

North Coast Title Company: 1st time winner

Nova Group, Inc.: 11 time winner

Oliver’s Market: 4 time winner

Parkpoint Health Clubs, Santa Rosa, Sonoma and Healdsburg: 5 time winner

Peju Province Winery: 1st time winner

Pepperwood Foundation: 5 time winner

Petaluma Health Center: 10 time winner

Pisenti & Brinker LLP: 8 time winner

Poppy Bank: 14 time winner

Private Ocean Wealth Management: 9 time winner

PsychStrategies, Inc.: 4 time winner

Quattrocchi Kwok Architects: 10 time winner

Redwood Credit Union: 14 time winner

RESIG: 5 time winner

Rough Linen: 1st time winner

Russian River Brewing Company: 1st time winner

Scott Technology Group: 9 time winner

Sequoia Senior Solutions: 11 time winner

Smith Dollar PC: 10 time winner

Social Advocates for Youth: 5 time winner

Soiland Company: 3 time winner

Sonoma Clean Power: 1st time winner

Sonoma County Family YMCA: 1st time winner

Sonoma Jet Center: 1st time winner

Sonoma Technology, Inc.: 13 time winner

Spaulding McCullough & Tansil LLP: 2 time winner

St. Francis Winery & Vineyards: 9 time winner

Star Staffing: 7 time winner

Summit Engineering, Inc.: 13 time winner

Summit State Bank: 10 time winner

Sutter Instrument Co.: 3 time winner

Terra Firma Global Partners: 5 time winner

The Engine is Red: 2 time winner

The Family Coppola: 3 time winner

The Hess Collection Winery: 1st time winner

Top Speed Data Communications: 4 time winner

Traditional Medicinals: 2 time winner

Valley Tire and Brake: 14 time winner

W. Bradley Electric, Inc.: 12 time winner

Woodruff Sawyer & Co.: 10 time winner

Workrite Ergonomics: 4 time winner

WRA, Inc.: 9 time winner

YWCA Sonoma County: 3 time winner

Side by Side Accelerates Expansion of Irene M. Hunt School in San Anselmo to Accommodate Displaced Students in Foster Care

Side by Side (formerly Sunny Hills Services), a San Anselmo-based nonprofit that serves vulnerable youth and their families in four Bay Area counties, today announced the expansion of its Irene M. Hunt School in San Anselmo by adding spots for up to 20 students, following the closure of Timothy Murphy School in San Rafael. The majority of the students coming from Timothy Murphy School are part of the foster care system as residents of St. Vincent’s School for Boys in San Rafael, and were referred to St. Vincent’s by in-patient psychiatric facilities and county agencies throughout Northern California.

The Irene M. Hunt School is the only non-public school in Marin County that serves students with behavioral and mental health challenges. Several of the in-coming students from Timothy Murphy School may have been removed from St. Vincent’s where they reside, if it were not for the Irene M. Hunt School expansion. “The Irene M. Hunt School is an incredibly vibrant and collaborative school community,” said Jolene Yee, director at Irene M. Hunt School. “We’re excited to welcome the new students and help them meet their educational needs so that they can thrive academically and socially.”

The Irene M. Hunt School, which serves students with a wide range of behavioral and emotional challenges, is adding two classrooms in order to ensure the new students from Timothy Murphy School– who have histories of abuse, neglect and/or trauma – are able to get the therapeutic education
they require. The addition of the new students significantly increases the scope of the school’s curricular, behavioral and mental health services and increases the number of low-income students from 55% to 60-65%.

The planned Irene M. Hunt School expansion was the result of a continued need report from the Marin County Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) office and was accelerated by the closure of Timothy Murphy School. According to Jonathan Lenz, director of the Marin County SELPA, the expansion of the Irene M. Hunt campus will work to enhance the continuum of special education services in Marin County. “At a time of significant need, we are fortunate to have a proven provider step-up to offer services designed to support students with significant social, emotional,
and behavioral needs,” he explained.

Development and Community Impact

As with most Side by Side programs, the Irene M. Hunt School uses a youth development approach which is individualized to reflect each student’s strengths, challenges, dreams and potential. The overarching goal of the school is to return students to their neighborhood mainstream public school
settings, equipped with the skills to thrive socially and academically.

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) establish student-specific goals that are measured by personalized indicators, such as decrease in aggressive and/or avoidance behaviors; development of problem solving and conflict-resolution skills, anger management and self-control; increase and improvement of verbal communication; identification and development of skills and talents; improvement of interpersonal relationships; increase in self-confidence, self-esteem and self-image; increase in academic  performance. With small class sizes separated for elementary, middle school, and high school, teachers and classroom aides are able to give each student the emotionally, developmentally and academically appropriate attention they require.

About the Irene M. Hunt School

The Irene M. Hunt School is a nonpublic day school that provides students in grades K through 12 with an individualized therapeutic education tailored to their specific needs. The school serves students with social, emotional, and/or behavioral challenges too acute for them to function in traditional school settings. While the majority of students come from Marin, the school’s exemplary reputation also draws students from Sonoma, Contra Costa, and San Francisco counties.

In 2018, the Irene M. Hunt School accommodated 40 students in four multi-grade classrooms, and this past spring, the school increased its enrollment to 48 students in response to a persistent waiting list. With this latest addition, the school now serves 68 students at the San Anselmo campus.
Classes for the new academic year begin on August 19.

MEDIA, PLEASE NOTE: For more information or to request an interview with a Side by Side or Irene M. Hunt School representative, please contact Noelle R. Moss at or (415) 457- 3200 ext. 114.


At Side by Side we walk with young people impacted by adversity on their unique journeys to heal from trauma, restore resilience, and embrace their own potential. We provide critical and comprehensive services that honor the young person’s unique needs and strengths to prevent the escalation of dangerous conditions and behaviors and set them on a positive path. When they feel seen for who they are today, we believe our youth can move with confidence toward a future with meaning and connection. Since our founding in 1895 as an orphanage – and through many years as Sunny Hills Services – Side by Side has been at the forefront of best practices in child welfare. Today, Side by Side operates in four counties – Marin, Alameda, Sonoma, and Napa – across the Bay Area, each year reaching nearly 2,000 youth ages 5-26 and family members with critical services related to behavioral and mental health, early intervention in schools, LGBTQ support, transitional housing, and special education. Learn more at

San Rafael Chamber Names Cynthia Murray ‘Women of Industry’ Honoree

Cynthia Murray, the executive director of the North Bay Leadership Council, has been named this year’s Women of Industry honoree by the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce.

Murray, a former member of the Marin County Board of Supervisors and Novato City Council, has been at the helm of the nonprofit for 13 years. The leadership council is a employer-led public policy advocacy organization dedicated to making the North Bay sustainable and innovative.

Murray, who serves on the boards of many organizations, will be honored at the seventh annual “Women of Industry” luncheon and marketplace Nov. 15 at Embassy Suites in San Rafael. Previous honoress include Joan Capurro, Ann Brebner, Patty Garbarino, Melissa Prandi, Patricia Kendall, Mary Kay Sweeney and Stephanie Plante.

More information is at

Midstate Construction Completes the Fuji Towers Project

General contractor Midstate Construction Corporation and construction manager The John Stewart Company recently completed an occupied rehabilitation of Fuji Towers, a 140 unit affordable housing community for Fuji Towers, Inc. in San Jose, CA.

Designed by SGPA Architecture and Planning, this HUD-financed project features the complete interior rehabilitation of all units including hazardous materials abatement, elevator upgrades, ADA compliance upgrades, new staff offices and updated laundry room. Exterior renovations include new roofing, windows, paint, on-site generator, parking lot, drought-tolerant landscaping, resident vegetable garden, new fencing and gate system.

Comcast Announces Largest Ever Expansion of Internet Essentials Program

Comcast announced the most sweeping eligibility changes ever to the Internet Essentials program, which is the largest, most comprehensive, and most successful broadband adoption program in America. Internet Essentials will now be available to all qualified low-income households in their service area.  To be eligible, low-income applicants simply need to show they are participating in one or more of a dozen different federal assistance programs, including Medicaid, SNAP, and SSI. A full list can be found on the Internet Essentials website.

This expansion is the culmination of an audacious goal set eight years ago, which was to significantly close the digital divide for low-income Americans. With this expansion, Comcast will open the door to the transformative power of the Internet to millions of additional households – including people with disabilities, parents with children either too young for school, or whose children are in college, and adults without children who need a connection to learn digital skills, search and apply for new jobs, or research medical benefits.

In addition, Comcast  announced that since 2011, they have connected more than eight million low-income Americans – from two million households – to the Internet at home, most for the first time in their lives.  Just to put that in perspective, eight million is larger than the populations of every city in America, except for New York City.

You can find more information about the Internet Essentials program on our website.

Dominican University of California, Xavier of Ohio and University of New Haven Are The Latest Colleges to Go Test Optional

Three more colleges — Dominican University of California, Xavier University of Ohio and the University of New Haven — have gone test optional.

Dominican said its policy would not apply to nursing, homeschooled or international students. For the others, “We believe that a student’s overall high school academic record is the best indicator of a student’s future college success,” said Vickie Alleman, vice president for enrollment and marketing.

Xavier made similar arguments. “Every application submitted to Xavier receives a holistic review. This means every piece of your application is reviewed and considered in order to make a decision. One single item does not determine your admissibility, and a test-optional policy allows students to demonstrate their abilities in other ways. Further, our research has shown that high school performance, especially in rigorous course work, is the best indicator of potential to succeed at Xavier,” said a statement.

Athletes, homeschooled, nursing and some honors students may not use the test-optional policy at Xavier.

The University of New Haven, which has similar rules about who can’t apply without an SAT or ACT score, explained its new policy in this statement: “The University of New Haven does not require students interested in most of our academic programs to submit SAT/ACT scores. As a student-first institution that deeply cares for education to be both personal and pragmatic, the University of New Haven strives to empower students to achieve excellence and success. By having a test-optional policy, we want students to determine if their SAT/ACT scores are an accurate representation of their academic ability. If they feel that their SAT/ACT scores are not, they will not be penalized during admission review if they do not submit test scores.”

CSU to Increase Investment in Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative

​​​The California State University (CSU) will further increase the number of mathematics and science teachers in California by committing an additional $10 million over the next four years to its Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI).

“The California State University has made tremendous strides over the past few years to prepare even greater numbers of math and science teachers,” said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. “By dedicating additional funding, we can increase capacity in programs to further alleviate the looming teacher shortage. Additionally, by preparing a larger and more diverse pool of math and science teachers, our efforts will address the racial and ethnic disparities that exist throughout the state, helping to reduce equity gaps.”

With more than 7,400 credentials awarded to teachers prepared by CSU in 2017-18, the CSU educates more teachers than any other university in the state and approximately half the teachers in California every year. CSU’s efforts to increase the preparation of teachers—including a focus on quantitative reasoning, math and science teachers related to California’s implementation of the Common Core Standards in Mathematics and the Next Generation Science Standards—has resulted in much-needed growth over the past few years. Through its Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative, the CSU has increased annual preparation of math and science teachers to nearly 1,000.

However, per a recent study by the Learning Policy Institute, the state will need an additional 33,000 math and science teachers over the next decade. To address the challenge, CSU will dedicate revenue from the university operating fund to roughly double its investment in MSTI over the next four years. The additional investment will advance proven strategies including:

·       Recruitment of new students;

·       Increased production through new credential pathways;

·       Financial support to attract outstanding candidates and facilitate credential completion;

·       Program alignment with California Community Colleges;

·       Online and in-person test preparation;

·       Partnerships with federal labs and industry;

·       Identification of the most successful approaches to share across the campuses.

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About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of four-year higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, 52,000 faculty and staff and 481,000 students. Half of the CSU’s students transfer from California community colleges. Created in 1960, the mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of California. With its commitment to quality, opportunity, and student success, the CSU is renowned for superb teaching, innovative research and for producing job-ready graduates. Each year, the CSU awards more than 125,000 degrees. One in every 20 Americans holding a college degree is a graduate of the CSU and our alumni are 3.7 million strong. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU NewsCenter.​