Karen Burns is an Assurance Partner with Sensiba San Filippo LLP (SSF), a leading regional CPA and business advisory firm. Karen has over twenty years of experience providing financial and business consulting services to companies in a variety of industries, with a particular passion for the manufacturing and distribution sector. She has great depth of experience working with rapidly growing manufacturing companies, from start-ups to multigenerational family businesses, helping them to identify opportunities, challenges, and trends.
Karen identifies and works with clients on financial and tax opportunities that are consistently under-leveraged such as Enterprise Zone credits, research and development credits, derivative use and international accounting solutions. Such information is essential for companies to enhance growth, manage risk and supplement their bottom line.
Karen’s work, commitment and passion led her to establish the East Bay Manufacturing Group (EBMG), which provides a platform for networking and sharing industry specific thought leadership and best practices, to build strategic alliances and affiliations, to create innovative changes in the regional business culture, and to promote economic development among East Bay-based manufacturers – regardless of size and focus.
Karen is sought after nationally for her expertise in Manufacturing, and is frequently leveraged by media for content and perspective on industry trends and best practices. Most recently she was interviewed by such media sources as Marketwatch, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, San Francisco Business Times, San Jose Mercury News and Manufacturing Digital. Karen was also awarded the YWCA TWIN Award in 2003 and 2011, named one of the “Women to Watch” by CalCPA in 2010, has been recognized as one of the “Most Influential Women of the Bay Area” by the San Francisco Business Times in 2013 and as a “Woman Worth Watching” by the Diversity Journal.
Currently a business development executive with Robert Half’s Management Resources Division, bringing over 20 years experience as an innovative financial executive (MBA) with consumer products, high tech, manufacturing, international and financial services tenure with three Fortune 500 companies – Clorox, Apple and Schwab. CFO experience with three middle market companies. Co-led the successful turnaround and sale of two ~$40 million dollar enterprises.
Stephen Tessler is an Executive Vice President and Director of Sales, California Bank of Commerce, a leading regional bank. Stephen has more than twenty-five years of banking experience and ten years of public accounting experience.
Stephen joined the Bank in August 2007 and is a member of the Bank’s Executive Management Committee. Before joining the Bank, he spent three years as Manager of Business Development and Marketing for Diablo Valley Bank. As a member of the management team at Diablo Valley Bank, Stephen spearheaded sales and marketing while helping the bank grow to nearly $250,000,000 in assets in just over three years.
Prior to joining DVB, he had a nine year career as Director of Business Development and Marketing for CivicBank of Commerce, where he helped Civic become the East Bay’s leading independent business bank.
Stephen started his banking career at Wells Fargo where he helped establish and grow the bank’s East Bay Commercial Banking practice. In addition to banking, he has 10 years of public accounting experience with the public accounting firms Laventhol and Horwath and John F. Forbes & Company.
A native of San Francisco, Stephen attended school at both San Jose State and Golden Gate Universities.
William Acevedo is a partner with the Oakland firm Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean. Bill leads the firm’s Business Litigation Practice, as well as the firm’s Green Business Practice Group. He serves the transactional and litigation needs of clients in the manufacturing and food production industries. Bill’s clients cover a wide range of sustainable business sectors such as manufacturing, energy efficiency, natural foods, and organic products. These businesses typically require legal services pertaining to entity formation, general business advice, contract negotiation/drafting, trademark and licensing matters, and employment counseling.
Mark Davidson is an Assistant Vice President of Heffernan Insurance Brokers, one of the nation’s largest independent insurance brokerage firms. Davidson’s specialty is structuring industry-specific insurance programs for niches such as food manufacturing, technology, construction, real estate, law firms and non-profits.
A Bay Area native born and raised in San Carlos, CA (where he still resides with his wife and three children), Davidson attended California State University — Sacramento. He is certified as an Insurance Counselor (CIC), A Certified Authority on Workers Compensation (CAWC), and Insurance Specialist in Construction (CSIC). Outside of the office, Davidson is an avid soccer player and has been involved in martial arts for over 30 years.
Michael Shabaka, Ph.D. – EBMG Board Member
Director, Sales & Innovation Excellence
Michael Shabaka, Ph.D. has over 15 years of business development, sales and marketing experience, spanning several industries including biotech, high tech, publishing, environmental lab services and the non-profit sector.
Dr. Shabaka’s industry experience includes holding several senior roles with Reed Elsevier’s, Reed Business Information Division. He was the senior manager responsible for driving business and managing the multi-million dollar West Coast operations for the firm’s science division, which he developed from a zero revenue book of business. Dr. Shabaka also held a senior business development role with an environmental testing firm, TestAmerica Laboratories, managing a multi-million dollar business operation, spanning 24 western states.
Dr. Shabaka holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior with a concentration in Transformative Learning and Change, from the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco. He also holds an MBA in Marketing and Finance, and a BA in International Affairs from Holy Names College, Oakland.