James W. Bernau
Mr. Bernau has been President and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Company since its inception in May 1988. Willamette Valley Vineyards was originally established as a sole proprietorship by Oregon winegrower Jim Bernau in 1983, and he co-founded the Company in 1988 with Salem grape grower, Donald Voorhies. From 1981 to September 1989, Mr. Bernau was Director of the Oregon Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (“NFIB”), an association of 15,000 independent businesses in Oregon. Mr. Bernau has served as the President of the Oregon Winegrowers Association and the Treasurer of the association’s Political Action Committee (PAC) and Chair of the Promotions Committee of the Oregon Wine Advisory Board, the State of Oregon’s agency dedicated to the development of the industry. In March 2005, Mr. Bernau received the industry’s Founder’s Award for his service. Mr. Bernau’s qualifications to serve on the Company’s Board of Directors include his more than 20 years of leadership of the Company and his industry experience and contacts.
Richard F. Goward Jr., CPA, CMA, MBA
On May 1, 2013, the Company appointed Richard Goward as it’s Chief Financial Officer. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Goward served as the Chief Financial Officer for Oregon’s largest city, the City of Portland, a position he retired from after serving from April 2010 to May 2013. From June 1997 to April 2010, Mr. Goward served as Chief Financial Officer at Salem-Keizer Public Schools, the second largest school district in the state. From November 1986 to June 1997, Mr. Goward worked at Chemeketa Community College as manager of the Business Office and Director of Auxiliary Services. Mr. Goward has also worked as a partner in a CPA practice, has 26 years of experience as an officer in the Navy and Navy Reserve, for 20 years was an Adjunct Professor in Accounting at Willamette University’s Atkinson Graduate School of Management and has served on many community boards and committees. Mr. Goward is licensed as a CPA in the State of Oregon and is a Certified Management Accountant.
James L. Ellis
Mr. Ellis has served as a director since July 1991. Mr. Ellis retired from full time duties with the Company in July of 2009 and currently works part-time on selected projects. Mr. Ellis previously served as the Company’s Director of Human Resources from 1993 to 2009. He also served as the Company’s Secretary from 1997 to 2009, and Vice President /Corporate from 1998 to 2009. From 1990 to 1992, Mr. Ellis was a partner in Kenneth L. Fisher, Ph.D. & Associates, a management-consulting firm. From 1980 to 1990, Mr. Ellis was Vice President and General Manager of R.A. Kevane & Associates, a Pacific Northwest personnel-consulting firm. From 1962 to 1979, Mr. Ellis was a member of and administrator for the Christian Brothers of California, owner of Mont La Salle Vineyards and producer of Christian Brothers wines and brandy. Mr. Ellis’ qualifications to serve on the Company’s Board of Directors include his prior experience as a member of the Company’s senior management, as well as more than 40 years of business experience.
Stan G. Turel
Mr. Turel has served as a director since November 1994. Mr. Turel is President of Turel Enterprises, a real estate management company managing his own properties in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Prior to his current activities, Mr. Turel was the Principal and CEO of Columbia Turel, (formally Columbia Bookkeeping, Inc.) a position which he held from 1974 to 2001. Prior to the sale of the company to Fiducial, one of Europe’s largest accounting firms, Columbia had 26,000 annual tax clients including 4,000 small business clients. Additionally Mr. Turel successfully operated as majority owner two cable TV companies during the 80’s and 90’s which were eventually sold to several public corporations. Mr. Turel is a pilot, was a former delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business and held positions on several state and local Government committees. Mr. Turel’s qualifications to serve on the Company’s Board of Directors include his more than 20 years of accounting and business management experience. Mr. Turel is also an author and is the Director for the United Way of Central Oregon.
Betty M. O'Brien
Ms. O’Brien has served as a director since July 1991. Ms. O’Brien is co-owner of Elton Vineyards L.L.C., a commercial vineyard located in Eola Hills in Yamhill County, Oregon and established in 1983. Ms. O’Brien was the Executive Director of the Oregon Wine Board from 2001 to 2004. Ms. O’Brien was employed by Willamette University as its Director of News and Publications from 1988 to 2000. She is a member of the Oregon Winegrowers Association, having previously served as its President and Treasurer and as a director. Ms. O’Brien is a member of the Vineyard Management/Winemaking Program Advisory Committee at Chemeketa Community College (CCC). She headed a wine industry task force developing a new wine marketing program and curriculum leading to a two-year degree at CCC. She now teaches Introduction to Wine Marketing. She serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology). Ms. O’Brien’s’ qualifications to serve on the Company’s Board of Directors include her industry experience and contacts.
Chris L. Sarles
Mr. Sarles has served as a director since January of 2015. Mr. Sarles is the President/CEO of Oregon Fruit Products, a position he has held since July of 2014. From May of 1998 until June of 2014 Mr. Sarles worked in various executive capacities in Columbia Distributing/Young’s Market, most recently as Executive Vice President of Sales from 2011 to 2014. From 1987 to 1995 he was President/Chief Operating Officer of Alehouse Distributing Company in Seattle Washington. Mr. Sarles has been actively involved in the wine industry, been a speaker on Wine Industry issues, and served as President of the Oregon Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Marketing from Oregon State University. Mr. Sarles is qualified to serve on the Company’s Board of Directors as a result of his many years of executive experience in the alcohol distribution industry.
Sean M. Cary
Mr. Cary has served as a director since July 2007. Mr. Cary is the Corporate Controller of National Warranty Corporation, a Eugene, Oregon based provider of finance and insurance products sold through automobile dealers located in the Pacific Northwest. Previously, Mr. Cary served as the CFO of Cascade Structural Laminators, a laminated beam manufacturer headquartered in Eugene, Oregon and prior to that as Controller of Willamette Valley Vineyards. Mr. Cary served in the U.S. Air Force as a Financial Officer. Mr. Cary holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Oregon and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management from the U.S. Air Force Academy. Mr. Cary’s qualifications to serve on the Company’s Board of Directors include his financial and accounting expertise.
Craig Smith, CPA, MBA, JD
Mr. Smith has served as a director since October 2007 and as Secretary since 2009. Mr. Smith previously served as the Vice President/Chief Financial Officer of Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon and is currently serving as College Support Officer. He was an Adjunct Professor at the Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University, as well as Managing Partner of a large local CPA firm. He has served on many State of Oregon commissions and he has served as the Board Chairperson for many of the local non-profit and educational institutions including the Salem Keizer School Board, Chemeketa Community College Board of Education, State Fair Dismissal Appeals Board, Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments, Oregon School Boards Association and the United Way. Mr. Smith is an active member of the Oregon State Bar and a Certified Public Accountant. Mr. Smith’s qualifications to serve on the Company’s Board of Directors include his financial and accounting experience.
Heather Westing owns several real estate developments, restaurant and financial companies in Oregon. She is the former owner of The Subway Group - Franchisor Agency for over 350 Subway Restaurants. She served on Subway’s Worldwide Advisory Board. Ms. Westing is an active member in the Oregon Angel Fund, and oversees the Westing Family Foundation. Previously, Ms. Westing owned an Advertising and Marketing Agency, with offices in Eugene, Portland and Bend. She has also owned and operated a 50-acre farm of filberts, grass seed and Christmas trees. She also served on Umpqua Bank’s Regional Board of Advisory, and The Oregon Bach Festival’s Board of Directors. She is a Lifetime Alumni of University of Oregon, where she studied Finance and Real Estate. Heather has two grown sons and lives with her partner, Kyle, in Lake Oswego with their yellow lab, Sydney.
Joth Ricci is currently the President of Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Portland. Prior to joining Stumptown in 2013, Joth was a managing partner in the First Beverage Group for several years. He served as CEO at Jones Beverage, and prior to that, was Director of Customer Marketing at Columbia Distributing for 7 years. Joth was raised in Oregon, graduating with a degree in Education from OSU. Joth was formerly the head of the OSU Alums and also served as a Trustee of the OSU Foundation. He is serving on Portland's 2020 strategic effort to meet that population's challenges. He and his wife Robin have two teenagers and live in Beaverton, Oregon.
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