Tag Archives: Membership

Join us in welcoming the following new members:

Our organization is only as strong as our membership.  We thank these family businesses for joining our efforts as new family business members and look forward to working on their behalf!

Welcome to the FBC family!


We had a great time at the Holiday Social, and it was wonderful to see so many of our members take the time to share in the holiday cheer! And, we are especially grateful that we share this event with the Family Business Association of California. The FBA does exceptional work lobbying statewide and nationally on behalf of California family businesses throughout the state. Take a look at our photos and be sure to save the date for next year’s party on December 13, 2018!

As we turn the page and look forward to 2018, we are excited about the changes in programming and increased family engagement the new year will bring. The Affinity Groups have been launched and we are happy with the turnout. These programs are led and designed by you, our members, so if you have issues that are facing your family business, please let us know. We are here to serve you and provide programming to support the growth and prosperity of your family business.

You may have received a message from Dr. Ryan Fuller from CSUS. We have engaged in a study to look at the readiness of family business to withstand an unforeseen crisis. We believe that with the recent natural disaster our region (and State) has seen in the past few months, it is prudent for us to think about how quickly family businesses can respond. Please take the time to take the survey and be part of the study. All information is confidential, and the information will be compiled and shared with our members. As an added benefit, Sac State will be offering family businesses, for those that don’t already have one, a complimentary crisis readiness plan.

Thank you to all of our volunteers that serve on FBC Committees. The FBC is driven by volunteer efforts and that is what makes our organization so outstanding. We have three committees and each one is active and fully engaged. In fact, the Membership Committee launched an ambassador program, led by Thom Dille and Stephen Bender, and they have met or spoken with each of the new members that joined this year. The Programs Committee launched the Affinity Groups each with outstanding volunteer leads; Curt Rocca is Leading the Presidents/CEO (AG1) Group; Maggie Bender-Johnson is leading the NextGen (AG2) Group; Pat Lewis is leading the Women in the Family Business (AG) Group and with their strong volunteer efforts there is no doubt in my mind that you are going to love spending time with your peers. The Programs Committee also has leads that are in the midst of planning the two half-day events next year; Justin Horner and Meghan Baker are excited to spearhead the spring Family Forum and Pat Lewis and Maggie Bender-Johnson are taking on the fall session. And of course, Tim Schultz, Amber Holwell and the entire Generations Conference Committee should be commended for their herculean efforts with planning the 2018 Conference. You are not going to want to miss this two-day event on January 29 and 30! Please join us and invite other family owned businesses to attend as well.

Have a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous new year!!

See you at Generations!!


Steve Fleming

Dear Members,

This time of year brings a flutter of activity, both in our respective offices and in the planning efforts of FBC staff and volunteers. Holiday events, educational forums and, of course, the upcoming Generations Conference, are keeping us all busy. I am delighted to share a few details of what’s in store for FBC in 2018:

In an effort to make the most efficient use of your time while still bringing you face-to-face with industry experts that can effectively address your specific needs and challenges, we are consolidating our traditional single-topic events into two ½ -day sessions. These sessions will be held once in spring and one in the fall.  We will continue our quarterly meetings for Affinity Groups throughout the year, and of course we will host our annual River Cats Game and Holiday Social. We hope you will join us.  Stay tuned for details in our email updates and newsletters as the schedules finalize.

Also, in response to our dynamic keynote speaker and breakout session line-up, registrations and sponsorships continue to come in for January’s Generations Conference.  We have limited space available and we encourage you to advantage of this local opportunity to hear from industry leaders on the issues that matter to you…succession planning, family conflict, taxes and estates, and more.  Remember, we are now offering “family ticket packages” that will enable you to bring multiple members of your family and team to the event at a discounted rate.  If you are interested in joining the planning effort for next year’s conference, please contact incoming Conference Chair Amber Holwell.

Wishing you and yours a festive and safe holiday season!

Steve Fleming, River City Bank

DCA Partners logo
Capital Cup, sponsored by DCA Partners, is just around the corner and got us to thinking about our core values of collaboration and prosperity. We agree that giving back and doing good in our region is essential for the health of the community as a whole, and for the business to stay connected to those it serves. In our talk with DCA Partners about their upcoming event, we discussed the benefits being philanthropic offers a business. Curt Rocca, Managing Partner, shares below why DCA chooses to give back in the way that they do.

Philanthropy to me, by its very nature, means not looking for anything in return.  So, if the philanthropic endeavors that we are involved with have some underlying benefit to our business, that’s great, but I can tell you that we do not think of it that way, and we don’t make decisions about which organizations to support based upon their ability to provide benefits to DCA.

This community has been very good to us. We recognize that others have not necessarily been as fortunate as we have, typically through no fault of their own, so giving back seems natural, and candidly —  it just feels good!  That said, the Capital Cup has been good for all of the participants’ businesses. I believe we all now have a broader, deeper and more meaningful relationship with over 20 local like minded business leaders, and that’s got to be a good thing for everyone involved. More importantly for me, I feel like I have established several new friendships that I likely would never have had absent the Capital Cup.

Collaboration, networking, and shared interests is obviously a big part of my work at DCA, as is the work of other business leaders in the FBC. Because of this I attend many events to connect with various groups of people. The Idea for the Capital Cup came one day when I was asked to play in a golf tournament to support a wonderful cause, but I had neither the time to play in yet-another golf tournament, nor the excess financial resources to support it in a meaningful way. It had always struck me as odd and unfortunate how inefficient the non-profit fundraising world seemed to be, with hundreds of them dedicating the time and resources to plan, organize and execute a golf tournament that typically yielded $20,000 to $30,000 (or less) for the supported organization.

Those people have important work to do in their organizations, and that just simply seemed like an ineffective use of their time. I wondered then if we could pull off one big golf tournament where we could play and have an opportunity to support a cause we each were most passionate about. And, in doing so play a role in supporting these 20-25 different organizations without the charities’ personnel having to be wildly distracted from their more-important functions.

It really was a very selfish concept when you cut right to it—  it allowed me to save a bunch of time, golf and spend time with a great group of local business leaders, and feel good about helping to support dozens more organizations than I would otherwise have had an opportunity to support.

The Ryder Cup format was the perfect platform to build this concept around, and thus the Capital Cup was born. It is truly an example of effective collaboration. It never would have been possible without the great early adopters like Kerry Gordon and Steve Fleming, who quick to jump in and offered me the confidence to move forward with the concept.

The first year out I nervously set a target of $150,000, and we somehow raised nearly $350,000. Last year I was concerned that we were never going to be able to surpass that first year’s success, and we blew past it raising over $750,000. This year we’re feeling more aggressive and shooting for a cool $1million. I’m excited to see what we can do together and all that we can accomplish to support our regional community.

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Summertime in Sacramento means fireworks at the River Cats, celebrations, and of course, a brightly lit Fourth of July. We recently caught up with Nancy Gilfillan, daughter of the late Founder Robert Souza at Pyro Spectaculars , Inc. to learn more about how they make this all happen, and what it takes to remain at the top of the industry in this market.
Q . So tell us, have you always enjoyed playing with fire?

A. To be honest, by nature I’m a really big chicken! I never fantasized about playing with fire and from an early age I was taught to respect it. My father taught us the importance of keeping a safe distance and to always have the water bucket and a hose nearby.

Q. What was your very first job, and how did it go?

A. I wasn’t groomed to be in the business full time, and I have been a Registered Nurse for 41 years. I’m grateful to have my nursing career as to well as share some time in our family business working on special projects, taking on the role of providing support to my husband and family members. My father provided us with early exposure to the business and allowed us to do many tasks. In the late 1960’s early ‘70’s the business included consumer and display fireworks. I have memories of working on an assembly line putting together firework packets, answering phones, cleaning the office, building set pieces and most fun of all, working in firework stands.

Since then my role has shifted. For the past 20 years I’ve been responsible for coordination of crew for the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks show in New York City and I work hand-in-hand with my brother, Gary Souza. We have 50 crew members from all over the country working so I handle the travel accommodations and day to day comfort needs for our crew during the two week set-up.  Even though I hold a license to handle firework materials, I spend most of my talents behind the scenes.

Q. What’s the biggest misconception people have about pyrotechnics?

A. People often say: “oh you only work one day out of the year!” but that’s absolutely not true. It’s a year round business; there is very little downtime. Our busiest seasons are the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve but we do provide fireworks for many celebrations throughout the state year-round. Some of our displays can be seen at events from high school homecoming shows, weddings, major and minor league baseball games and several Olympic Games. We are also active with the American Pyrotechnic Association and attend two major conferences each year.

Q. How long does it take to set up a show?

A. Our smallest show, one that will last for just five minutes like at a Homecoming, takes an afternoon to set up. Our Macy’s show, which goes for 30 minutes, takes 14 days to set up following a year of planning. This year the Macy’s Fourth of July show will be set up on five barges in the East River, and it’s life telecast so it has a little more pressure than usual.

Q.  Your Dad left a real legacy for you and your siblings; what core values did he lead with as a you learned from him?

A.  My father was able to teach us about integrity, community and what it means to have a good work ethic.  He grew his business through quality work, reputation, and by always exceeding expectations. The company grew exponentially over the years as a result, and he remained a true leader who always had his hands and heart on the business and kept his family and employees closely involved.

Q. You’ve been in business here for many years now; what do you think it is about your Family Business that keeps people coming back every year?

A. As owners, my two brothers and our spouses have shared family values that include respect, integrity and honesty. We have 60 employees and many operators and crew that work as independent contractors. We treat our employees like family and that culture that results in low turnover. As far as customers, we have a long history of safety and dedication to providing a good product. When we do this well, our customers return. I am proud to be a part of the team that makes people ooh, ah, and smile.

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