Founder, President & CEO Affinity Group Meeting Recap

Founders, Presidents and CEOs met on March 28  at Bender Insurance Solutions to learn more about how company leadership came to the decision to transition the 80-year-old family business to an ESOP.

Bender Insurance Solutions CEO, Steve Bender, and President, Maggie Bender Johnson, detailed how the leadership team researched, evaluated and eventually decided to make the move from a family-owned business to an ESOP, along with their heartfelt reasons for doing so.

The presentation focused not only on the specifics of making such an ownership transition, but also the timing of such a move and its impact on company culture. Key to the decision was the dedication and commitment of the company’s many long-time employees and their role in the organization’s continued growth and success.

The family will continue their family-business legacy and influence from their respective leadership roles within the organization, while celebrating the growth of the Bender insurance “family”.

A big thank you to Bender Insurance Solutions and Fat’s Roseville for providing the afternoon refreshments and appetizers.

The next Founder, President & CEO Affinity Group meeting is May 22 and the topic is on leveraging your brand.  Click here to find out more and register!

Family Business Forum | Spring 2019

The 2019 Spring Family Business Forum, The Family Board Roadmap: How to Establish & Maintain a High-Performance Family Board, took place at Del Paso Country Club last Tuesday, April 23. A crowded room of almost 100 family business members gathered around the topic of family governance. The half-day program, coordinated by Tim Schultz of Lundberg Family Farms and Don Yee of NACD illustrated the complexity of building a family business board.

There are many aspects of governance every family business needs to consider, whether they have a board in place, or they are looking to establish one.  Here are a few that were discussed:

  • How to attain a high functioning board?
  • When does a family business need to form a board?
  • Should a board have non-family directors?
  • How do you create a board that will guide your family businesses into the next generation?
  • How often should board meetings be held?
  • How do you keep family members engaged?

    Chris Chediak, Kurt Glassman, Jim Clarke, Mark Mariani

Our family business presenters discussed their successes as well as their struggles and tribulations regarding this process.  It was insightful hearing the real-life stories and situations that our members have experienced, learned from and were able to share with us at the event.

The day started with a general session and then divided into two breakout sessions followed by lunch and closing general session. In the “Getting Started” breakout, the group learned the important role a board can play in facilitating transitions from one generation to the next.  Some of the legal responsibilities of being a board member were discussed, as were attributes of great board members.  Also addressed were the importance of having clear roles and responsibilities for the entire board of directors, the CEO and board chairman, as well as important things for the board to monitor to assure high business performance. Panelists also discussed when to consider bringing in outside board members (gasp!), and the right balance of independent and family directors.

Bill Carriere, Carin Robinson, Don Yee

In the “Revving Up” breakout the group focused on how to identify and select the best family and non-family independent directors for a family business board, learned about approaches to deliver performance feedback to the directors so the board can operate better, and discussed how to compensate board directors for their service.

Nicolaus Nut Company: George Nicolaus, Connie Nicolaus and Cassi Crowley.


A highlight of the  program was the member-to-member openness and sharing. Hearing the first-hand stories from Bill Carriere, Carriere Family Farms, Mark Mariani, Mariani Packing Co., and Steve Fleming, River City Bank really resonated with attendees. Attendees also got to hear from Technical Advisors who offered their expertise and provided insight into best practices.

Learning from family business peers is so impactful. Up next will be the Fall Family Forum coming in October 2019, keep a look out for date and speaker announcements this summer.

Click HERE to see photos from the event.

If you are a member of FBC and would like copies of the PowerPoint slides from this program, please send a request to

Look what attendees had to say about the Spring Family Business Forum:

“Appreciate the honesty of speakers. Lots of great take-a-ways. The ability to interact and ask questions with the speakers is so important”

“Very informative.  Premature for our company, but we are able to pull from these topics and have conversations on how to improve our current course of business meetings and activities.”

“Received a lot of valuable information on starting a board and making it work.”

Women’s Affinity Group Meeting Recap | All Weather Architectural Aluminum

The Women’s Affinity Group recently convened at All Weather Architectural Aluminum, a manufacturer of aluminum windows and doors for commercial and high-end residential in Vacaville, for an onsite tour of the facility and a presentation by the third generation family business. Sisters Anne and Sarah, along with their mother Maria, hosted the group. Topics of discussion included transitioning leadership from the second generation to the third, as well as frank talk of the daily trials, challenges and opportunities inherent in running a family business. 

All Weather, like many family businesses, has a long history of success.  Upon graduation from college and graduate school, the four Porter grandchildren – Anne, Sarah and brothers Tom and Seamus – returned to Vacaville to lend their expertise to the family business, started by their grandfather.  Anna, a natural leader and now serves as chairman of the board and the keeper of the most detailed product knowledge.  With an MBA, Sarah is the self-proclaimed communicator of the family, managing various technological projects for the business.  Seamus puts his engineering and law degrees to use by developing new products and assisting with litigation when it arises.  Accountant Tom manages the finances for All Weather’s related businesses.

Inside the AWAA showroom.

Now as third generation and equal co-owners of All Weather, the siblings have a successful story of transition to share. After counsel received through FBC, the family decided to hire a non-family CEO, a move the siblings are quick to tout. The siblings meet weekly to discuss strategic issues and their roles and responsibilities within the organization are fluid, changing to support the business as needed.

A primary take-away from the meeting is the idea that owners do not necessarily need to occupy a position on the org chart – non-traditional roles and functions outside the org chart can be highly productive and effective with regular, transparent communication and mutual respect.

President’s Letter to Leadership – March 2019

Dear Members,

Stephen Fleming, River City Bank, FBC Board President

Well, we did it! I’m beyond pleased to announce that the FBC has acquired its 100th member, plus a few more. There’s no doubt in my mind that our quality programming and dynamic outreach, especially since Executive Director Stella Premo has taken the reins, has allowed us to meet this goal that was set by the Membership Committee. Special thanks to Kevin Fat (Fat Family Restaurants) who chairs the Membership Committee, along with each of the members of the Membership Committee, for playing a key leadership role in this effort.

It shouldn’t go unnoticed that we saw seven family businesses react favorably to the programming at the 2019 Generations Conference by committing to join our membership on the spot. More than once, we heard that a keynote or breakout speaker had touched on an issue that was a current concern in our new members’ businesses – more proof that the information exchanged at Generations is positively affecting the professional and personal lives of our members.

Speaking of Generations, Amber Holwell (River City Bank), her co-chair Justin Horner (DCA Capital Partners), and the rest of the Generations Conference team, must be congratulated for planning and executing another great event. As a firm believer in this organization, and leader of a family business myself, it is always a joy for me to see members from diverse businesses and industries from across the region interacting with each other and receiving the support they need to thrive. Details for Generations 2020, an event you won’t want to miss, will be announced shortly.

Happy Spring,

Steve Fleming | President/CEO | River City Bank
Board President

Welcome New Members – Q1 2019

Please join us in welcoming the following new members to the FBC family:

American Hospitality Services, Inc.


Basic Resources Inc.


Peter P. Bollinger Investment Company


Delyon Wealth Management


The Ezzell-Conklin Group, HighTower 


Medic Ambulance Service, Inc.


Nicolaus Nut Company


Roberti Ranch


Selby’s Soil Erosion Control Co. Inc.


Tower Investments, LLC

Old Members … New Names!

Warren G Bender Co. is now Bender Insurance Solutions

The Lyman Tremont Group is now Grow West

See full list of Family Business Members

Meet our 99th Member – Selby’s Soil

Welcome to the FBC Family Selby’s Soil Erosion Control Co. Inc!

At Generations, Bigelow Tea CEO Cindi Bigelow recounted her personal history with the company and how she found the means to establish a successful professional relationship with her retiring father. Soon after, Jay Selby, CEO of Selby Soil, said, “She just told my life story!” It’s that synergy that fires up our members and encourages guests to join, which Selby and VP Brandon Coppedge did on the spot.

Founded in the 1960s, Selby’s Soil Erosion Control Co. Inc. has become a leader in the erosion control industry. Using various methods, a large fleet of equipment and experienced crews to stabilize slopes and beautify California, the company tackles public and private projects of various types and sizes including airports, highways, dams, levees, housing developments, wildfire revegetation and parks. With the recent wildfires, Selby’s expertise has become even more relevant.

“Post-fire erosion control is never planned work, but it seems to happen every year where we have massive wildfires,” says Selby. “Our customer base is all over the board. It could be the US Forest Service for a huge area of national forest land that’s burned down or the California Department of Water Resources when lakes or reservoirs are surrounded by fire,” he added. 

That was the case in October 2017 when several sources of drinking water were at risk.  Afterwards, when several months of sustained rain make flooding a serious concern, Selby is again poised to respond, working on various levee projects.

We are excited to have the team on board and look forward to welcoming them into the NextGen Affinity Group.

Executive Directors Letter to Membership – March 2019

Pat Lewis, River City Bank, myself and Don Yee, NABD at Generations 2019.

Dear Members,

We are very proud of our growing membership! Reaching 100 members is a major milestone and great accomplishment, but we are not done yet. Our growth isn’t the only thing that matters, it is much more important that our programming is of the highest caliber and we strive as an organization to meet the needs of our members. And, our membership is incredibly diverse, which makes our membership thrive. Our members enjoy learning from each other just as much as they enjoy learning from experts. It’s the mix between the technical expertise and the real-life experiences where our members leave the table with tangible takeaways that can positively impact their own businesses.

And, this work is done because of passionate volunteers who care deeply about the success and succession of family owned businesses in our region. We have three dynamic committees that are focused on creating and elevating our programs and growing and retaining our membership.

Here is where we need help: We are seeking family members to serve as FBC ambassadors to welcome our new members into the fold and encourage them to attend programs and events. We know members that have experienced the value of the FBC can best help newer members engage in everything we have to offer. If you are interested in joining us as an ambassador, please reach out to me and I’ll get you plugged into the network.


Stella Premo – Executive Director
Capital Region Family Business Center

Generations 2019 Recap

A year of brainstorming, committee meetings and diligent hard work came to fruition at last month’s Generations Family Business Conference. We were pleased and proud to welcome record attendance – family business members, technical advisors, potential members and guests – for a fun and impactful two days of networking, education and discovery.


  • Largest attendance in FBC history
  • Assemblage of acclaimed keynote and breakout speakers
  • Emphasis on importance of effective communication among generations
  • Opportunities for multiple generations to engage in exercises aimed at improving understanding of mutual perspectives
  • Signed up 100th family business member on day 1

Click here to view photos from the event.

A big THANK YOU to all the sponsors and presenters who helped to make the third annual Generations Family Business Conference a success. Stay tuned for dates and location of Generations 2020!



Technical Advisor Spotlight – PwC

PwC, L.L.P. logo

As a founding technical advisor of FBC, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a multinational professional services network, offers our members the high touch of a small firm and the resources of an international powerhouse.

Within its highly sought after Private Company Services division, local experts are able to counsel and advise privates businesses on all aspects of tax liability.  With the US recently enacting the most comprehensive tax reform in 30 years, it is important that family business executives work together with experts to understand tax issues, mitigate risk, and achieve short- and long-term goals.

PwC understands that executives are looking for guidance on what the impact of tax reform will be for their company. The uncertainty created by changes to the tax code underscores the importance modeling can have to help private companies.  To that end, PwC employs modeling technology that can help organizations evaluate different scenarios for better tax planning. TRIM (Tax Reform Impact Modeling) provides a flexible and efficient way for companies to identify structural tax issues with significant financial impact, assess opportunities for tax planning and evaluate legislative proposals.

Locally, Mukti Patel, managing director in the Private Company Services division and a member of FBC’s Programs Committee, has been advising area family businesses for 28 years. We recently had a chance to chat with Mukti about the family business environment and how he is able to aid FBC members.

What is your favorite memory of a past FBC event? I’ve attended Generations and several family forums, but I’d have to say that our visit a few years ago to Sierra Nevada Brewing was my favorite.  Of course, the tour, lunch and beverages were great, but it was the experience of camaraderie and networking – six hours away from the office! – and getting to know people on a deeper level that I’ll always appreciate.

Mukti pictured second from right with other attendees at Generations 2019.

What is the current business climate in our region?There have been quite a few mergers and acquisitions in public sector; there are similar opportunities with family businesses.

How can PwC help FBC members? Within PwC’s Private Company Services, we have a dedicated group of professionals that deal solely with privately held and family businesses.  That’s our niche – we are a small firm within a large firm.  We understand the dynamics of family businesses and offer advisory services for those looking to expand – either organically or through acquisitions. Especially for our ag clients, we have extensive expertise in audit, tax, advisory.

In your experience, what should family businesses be doing if they aren’t already? I think most family businesses are doing the rights things – establishing effective boards, talking about succession.  More often than not, I encourage our clients to use professionals that are willing to work in concert with each other.  It’s impossible for every family member to understand every part of the business, so trusted advisors that are able to grasp all aspects can be invaluable.

Mukti and and his wife Jyoti Patel at the Annual Holiday Social in 2017.

Why do you recommend FBC? FBC is organized and brings to the forefront issues that  sometimes aren’t talked about. Members have the opportunity to meet with other family owned businesses to discuss topics that are relevant to their future growth and succession.  



Celebrating our 100th Member!

Welcome to the FBC Family, Medic Ambulance Service!

In 1979, Rudy Manfredi purchased a small ambulance company with two vehicles.  Fast forward almost 40 years, and Medic Ambulance is the exclusive Advance Life Support provider for Solano County, operates a transport unit in Sacramento, and manages 70 ambulances and 300 employees.

Still family-owned and operated with Rudy’s sister Helen soon to transition from CFO to CEO, the company is now supported by the next generation of four equal shareholders – Kristi, Jimmy, Cindy and Sandy – who are the VPs of their own divisions.

“All four of us were introduced to the business as teenagers – we would file and wash ambulances – and had full expectations of joining the family business,” said Kristi Kendall, Medic Ambulance’s VP of Finance and Rudy’s stepdaughter.

The Medic Ambulance family at the 2019 Generations Conference.


With Helen’s pending transition and sights on opportunities for expansion, the family realized that advice and expertise from outside sources would only make them stronger as a business.  Last year, colleagues Lon Burford (Genovese Burford & Brothers) an FBC Technical Advisor and Nate Boyce (BFBA), a Family Member invited Helen to Generations, which she attended along with a few networking events. This year, knowing how worthwhile and pivotal the conference was last year, they attended Generations again.

“Wanting to be successful in her new leadership role is what piqued Aunt Helen’s interest in FBC,” commented Kendall.  “And ultimately we want and need to know how we can best support her.”

Last month at Generations, Executive Director Stella Premo issued a challenge for the guests in the audience.  Kendall says, “We had every intention of someday filling out the membership application.  But when we heard we could be FBC’s 100th family business member, we knew the time was right.”

The group was pleased to see plenty of familiar faces at the conference and attended breakouts that addressed the efficacy of establishing a non-family board of directors, a current priority for Medic Ambulance’s leadership.

Added Kendall, “To realize that we are not the only ones dealing with family issues and to be able to interact in this great network of unique family businesses makes us so excited to be FBC members.”

To learn more about our new member, Medic Ambulance, visit their website and when you see them at a future FBC event be sure to say hello!