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The American Riviera Bank Regional Pulse podcast invites prominent members of our community to share their knowledge on important regional issues. Leaders from the commercial, non-profit and public health and safety sectors discuss issues our community is facing now and give their forecast as to how the future will look.

Dustin Reese, Assistant Vice President, Banking Relationship Officer, sits down with Bettina Swigger of Downtown SLO to talk about their innovative efforts to keep downtown San Luis Obispo vibrant and thriving during the pandemic. As the CEO of Downtown SLO, Bettina leads the staff serving the community by working on initiatives like parking and beautification efforts, coordinating special events and the weekly Thursday night Farmers’ Market, supporting economic activities, and examining Downtown issues like creative place making, supporting small business, enhancing tourism and creating a clean and safe environment for all in downtown SLO.

Jason Wilson, Vice President, Commerical Banking Offcier, sits down with Sam Walters of Zodo's Bowling and Beyond to talk about the short- and long-term changes they have made in light of the pandemic. From new cleaning protocols to take-out orders to their brand new Virtual Reality studio, Walters shares the steps Zodo's has taken to ensure safe, high quality family fun and community entertainment can continue, even in uncertain times. Zodo's Bowling and Beyond is a family entertainment center with 24 bowling lanes, a full-service restaurant and sports bar, arcade, Virtual Reality studio, and events room in Goleta, California.

Michelle Martinich, Executive Vice President at American Riviera Bank, sits down with Dr. Joanne Gronquist to talk about the process of reopening her practice during COVID-19, including retaining staff, procuring personal protective equipment, and establishing new protocols for scheduling patients. Dr. Gronquist has served as President, as well as the Chair of Governmental Affairs, for the Tri-County Optometric Society. She has been honored by her patients with Santa Barbara News-Press Readers’ Choice Award for Best Optometrist.

Laurel Sykes (EVP Chief Compliance and Risk Officer), Paul Abramson (EVP Chief Technology Officer, and Eusebio Cordova, Jr. (EVP Chief Credit Officer) continue the discussion on pandemic response. In this episode, they discuss phase 1 and phase 2 of the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) - including setting up a portal to accept applications, reviewing and submitting completed applications to the SBA, rolling out loan documentation, and, ultimately, funding over 500 loans in four weeks.

Executive Vice President, Chief Compliance and Risk Officer, Laurel Sykes and Paul Abramson, Executive Vice President, Chief Technology Officer, discuss pandemic response and how what we are doing now can shape the future.

Joanne  Funari, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of American Riviera Bank, speaks with McArthur Fellow, Amir Abo-Shaeer, and his wife, Emily Shaeer, of the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy, about the challenges and rewards of being innovative in education and business. This two-in-one episode spans their efforts to create mindsets that break through gender stereotypes to the benefits of engaging in authentic, meaningful work, as they describe their journey to creating a transformative experience.

Michelle Martinich, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial & Administrative Officer, of American Riviera Bank speaks with Lynda Tanner, President & CEO of VNA Health (formerly Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care) to discuss navigating in-home healthcare and hospice options, including how to have conversations, self-care, insurance and preventative care. Lynda Tanner is responsible for planning, coordinating, managing and directing all activities and programs of VNA Health. Her experience includes more than 30 years working in home care including working as a consultant and JCAHO surveyor with organizations across the United States.

Lori Murray, Senior Vice President and Residential Lending Manager of American Riviera Bank, chats with Jackie Walters, Realtor with Village Properties about the new real estate landscape in the Santa Barbara area, including how recent local natural disasters have affected the market, the affects of supply and demand, and how to find opportunities for purchasing real estate. Jackie has been a successful agent in the Santa Barbara area for over 30 years. Jackie closely watches the market stats and trends and is a regular writer on the real estate market for the Santa Barbara News-Press.

Michelle Martinich, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial & Administrative Officer, of American Riviera Bank sits down with Daniel Koenig, Head of Information Technology at Invoca in Santa Barbara, discuss how to recognize and combat cyber threats at your business and your home. Daniel is a senior technology leader with over 15 years of experience in the Information Technology and Business Systems space.

Jason Wilson, Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking Officer at American Riviera Bank sits down with Steven Nipper, Owner and President of Sole Wave Water, to talk about the journey of building a new business on the Central Coast. From creating a realistic business plan to finding and hiring the best people to planning for growth and being generous in the community - a compelling story of turning passion into business. Steve Nipper has over 30 years of experience in the water treatment industry designing systems, selecting processes, and helping customers understand how the different systems work and what will solve their problems best. He started Sol Wave Water to help people and businesses with their water problems in 2013.

Joanne Funari, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of American Riviera Bank, chats with Doug Margerum, Owner and Director of Winemaking at Margerum Wine Company, about the Wine Industry in Santa Barbara County. Doug has been intimately involved in the Santa Barbara food and wine scene for over 30 years and is regarded as one of the pioneers promoting the uniqueness and quality of Santa Barbara food and wine. Learn about industry trends, pricing, expansion, and what it takes to make a couture wine.

Financial abuse of seniors is a devastating crime that banks are uniquely positioned to help identify. It can be as simple as taking money or as involved as coercing or manipulating a victim into turning over property to an abuser. Unfortunately, we are seeing an increasing trend in fraud against seniors, and much goes unreported. Baby Boomers, Americans born between 1946 and 1964, represent the largest portion of the population and continue to reach senior status in record numbers due, in part, to increased life expectancy. Laurel Sykes, our Chief Compliance and Risk Officer, sits down with Vicki Johnson, Senior Deputy District Attorney, and Heather Clark, from the Crimes Against Property Unit of the Santa Barbara Police Department, to discuss recent scams witnessed by local banks, and hear about recent cases from local law enforcement, along with tips for stopping the abuse!

Bobby Boyes, Vice President and Client Relationship Manager at American Riviera Bank speaks with John Bennett, Santa Barbara Restaurateur about the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to opening a restaurant on the Central Coast. John D Bennett arrived in SB from NY at age 12. He graduated from SB High and took over management duties at his family owned business, Brophy Brothers. After many years in the restaurant business, he helped open the Ventura Brophy Brothers, and now oversees other family owned places such as Benchmark Eatery and Farmer Boy Restaurant. Bobby and John discuss the ups and downs of running multiple restaurants in Santa Barbara, the ramifications of the minimum wage increase, rent and lease payments in town either from the city of private party, and the major obstacles that prevent success when new restaurants open.

Joanne Funari, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of American Riviera Bank sits down with Steve Golis, Principal and Founder, Radius Commercial Real Estate. Widely considered the market leader in his specialty, Steve is regularly called on to present at local professional events as an expert in the apartment sector. He is also a contributing author for the UCSB Economic Forecast Project, the Greater Central California Coast Forecast Project and the California State Economic Project. Joanne and Steve discuss the local commercial real estate market, economics, demographics, and what the future of commercial real estate might look like in Santa Barbara.