Firms of seven Sage leaders listed on INC. 5000

Seven companies whose leaders have honed their management expertise as members of Sage Executive Group, a San Diego-based peer advisory organization, were chosen for the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing, privately held companies in the nation.

“Sage Executive Group fosters creative approaches by company leaders to build and expand their business, and we are pleased that their work has generated significant success – and recognition that they are among the fastest-growing firms in the country,” said Jerry Rollins, Sage Group’s CEO.

Here are the seven companies, their CEOs,  and their ranking:

PrescribeWellness, a cloud-based services company that helps pharmacists provide coordinated care and preventative healthcare services. CEO: Al Babbington. Headquarters: Irvine. Rank: #134

Beer Home Team,  a full-service real estate company and also the Number One real estate team in Southern California for the nation’s largest brokerage, Keller Williams Realty. CEO: Daniel Beer. Headquarters: San Diego. Rank: #831.

Pro Back Office, an accounting services firm that offers operational accounting and strategic consulting expertise in San Diego, Phoenix and across Southern California CEO: Jennifer Barnes. Headquarters: San Diego. Rank: #892

PacWest Painting. A third-generation painting company that provides accountability and dedication from large commercial projects to home cabinetry and interior finishes. CEO: Tony Hady. Headquarters: Escondido. Rank:  #2826

Zeeto Media. Collects data by asking questions across Zeeto’s network of publisher partners to integrate with paywalls, registration forms and subscription pages. CEO: Stephan Goss. Headquarters: Rank: #3273

New Horizons Learning Group, an educational services company that offers technical, application and business skills courses at locations in California, Arizona and Nevada. CEO: Kevin Landry. Headquarters: Orange County. Rank: #3910

Dobi & Associates. Sells cedar grilling planks and wraps to warehouse club stores, groceries and restaurants. It also is an international distributor helping manufacturers manage excess inventories. CEO. Glen Dobi. Headquarters: San Diego. Rank: #4986

In addition, Sage member Tommy Reynolds is owner of three Hardcore Fitness gyms in the San Diego region, part of the fitness and training company that has locations from Santa Clarita, California, to Orlando, Florida. The company is ranked #592.

The Inc. 5000 rankings were compiled by Inc. Magazine and are based on percentage revenue growth from 2013 to 2016.

Sage Executive Group establishes and operates peer advisory groups for CEOs, presidents, partners and founders of privately held businesses in San Diego and Orange counties. The Sage process has been developed by leaders with over 45 years of collective experience with CEO peer advisory groups.

For more information, contact Sage Executive Group at (800) 648-1063 or visit



Sage Member Featured in Forbes

Ray Grainger, founder and CEO of Irvine-based Mavenlink and a member of Sage Executive Group, is featured in a Forbes Magazine profile as one of the thought leaders changing business in, ray

Grainger is a former Accenture partner who founded Mavenlink to bring the skills of world-class consulting to a broad audience of companies competing in the $3 trillion global services economy.

“Ray embodies the drive to grow, improve and succeed that is a hallmark of Sage Executive Group members,” said John Rollins, CEO of Sage. The San Diego-based peer advisory group specializes in working with high-performing, top-level executives.

Grainger explained that in co-founding Mavenlink in 2008, he set out to create a better, less expensive platform that would address the issues facing the modern services company, which require tools to manage shorter duration projects often with people who are working across geographies and who may have never met before or may never meet. His goal was to help those companies optimize their business operations.

For a time after college at Harvey Mudd in Southern California, Grainger was a river guide and also journeyed to the South Pole. Those experiences helped shape his management philosophy.

“Everything I learned there at that young age was foundational to my entire career, this idea of adaptability,” Grainger said in his Forbes interview. “You don’t get to choose the people you work with. You’re all just sleeping in one big bunk house. You’ve got every type of personality you could imagine. You have to learn to get along. Everybody’s got to accomplish the mission.”

Navigating Change for CEO Success

Farnan, JackJack Farnan, Human Resources vice president for HM Electronics in Poway, learned an important lesson about managing change in an unlikely place – the spiritual home of the Dalai Lama high in the Himalayas.

An avid mountain climber, Farnan was on his way to an ascent in Ladakh when he had a chance to spend  time with thousands of Buddhists who had come to hear the Dalai Lama teach at a  monastery in northernmost India, a refuge in exile from his historic home in Tibet now under Chinese control.

The Dalai Lama places a premium on the “importance of personal change in the world,” Farnan said, and that is a message that can – and should resonate – with the chief executive officers charged with bringing change to their organizations.

Farnan, who has 25 years of experience in identifying and developing executive talent, laid out seven key characteristics of a successful CEO in a presentation to members and guests of Sage Executive Group, a premier peer advisory group based in San Diego. Farnan is currently VP of Human Resources at HM Electronics, a global company that designs and manufactures wireless communication products.

His conclusions are based on research on the requisite skill sets for CEOs to survive and prosper.

Most important, Farnan said, is that top leaders are decisive. Research shows that CEOs with this one trait “were 12 times more likely to succeed.” The components of success then flow from the ability to understand how “personal change” is translated into the workplace. Critical characteristics of these top leaders are:

  • They are decisive.
  • They engage for impact.
  • They adapt proactively.
  • They deliver reliably.
  • They hold themselves and others accountable.
  • They are Level 5 leaders.
  • They have a growth mindset.

Farnan said that ultimately successful leaders lead by example, and “we can do so much with just changing ourselves.”


Fast-moving Age of Social Media Marketing

galido-tom Tom Galido has a word of warning for the future of television as a marketing medium.

“The television model is going to fall apart as we know it,” said Galido, CEO of Kaptivating Technology in Los Angeles, in a presentation to San Diego business leaders sponsored by Sage Executive Group.

Galido explained that in today’s digitally dominated marketplace, information comes from all directions in increasingly fragmented ways. “You don’t even know where your customers are these days,” he said.

Rather than going to your TV for information – or to reach your audience – that information is available in your hand. “The most important screen is the screen in front of you,” Galido said.

In his talk, “The New Age of Social Media Marketing, he said those are key challenges for businesses. “We cannot have this level of defection” from traditional marketing methods “without reformatting the industry.”

For success today, “it’s all about being fast.” And over the next five years, he said “it’s not about being big, it’s about having the best data.”

He cited Netflix and its success in mining customer data to guide production decision, and Target, in gaining understanding of what kids wanted in back to school shopping (beauty and style) rather than focusing on what parents valued (computers and backpacks.)

The future of marketing, steeped in social media information, will “combine scale with data to drive action,” he said.

The almost universal availability of information levels the playing field. “The big boys are going to have to compete with the little guys because everyone is the same height,” he said.

Galido, 42, was named CEO Officer of Kaptivating Technology, a provider of next-generation real-time marketing technology, in January.

Sage Executive Group, which provides a peer advisory experience for CEOs, presidents, and partners, as well as for C-level executives in finance, operations and sales. sponsored the talk as part of its quarterly learning events. The talk was held at the Mintz Levin law firm offices in San Diego.

The Sage process has been developed by executives who have over 45 years of collective leadership with CEO peer advisory groups to create an effective and value-driven member experience. For more information, contact Sage Executive Group at (800) 648-1063 or visit


Hady Achieves Top Tier at Sage Executive Group

Sage Executive Group announced today that painting company executive Tony Hady has moved to the peer advisory organization’s top-level CEO group after building his company revenues to more than $6 million annually.tony hady

Hady, the principal at Pacific Western Painting in Escondido, joined Sage Executive Group three years ago as a member of the Ascent advisory group for executives running companies with annual revenues under $4 million. He attended the group’s monthly meetings in which executives work together to solve management challenges and develop strategies to expand their companies.

“Sage Executive Group has given our team the network, the wisdom, the education and the accountability needed to grow successfully,” Hady said. “I highly recommend Sage to business owners as our ROI continues to be priceless.”

Hady, 34, is a third generation painter who joined that company about three years after it was founded in Fallbrook by his brother, Kirby Hady, in 2003. Pacific Western Painting now has about 70 employees and increased revenues from $3.3 million in 2015 to more than $6 million last year.

As a result of the rapid rise in revenue, Hady has been elevated to the Sage Executive Group for CEOs facilitated by Jerry Rollins, who founded Sage Executive Group in 2012 in San Diego.

Kirby Hady, now director of client education at Pacific Western Painting, and Randall Know, director of operations, are both current members of Sage Executive Group and are actively involved in its management development program.

Sage Executive Group operates peer advisory groups for CEOs, presidents, and partners, as well as for C-level executives in finance, operations and sales. The Sage process has been developed by leaders who have over 45 years of collective experience with peer advisory groups.

For more information, contact Sage Executive Group at (800) 648-1063 or visit Sage Executive Group.

Speakers Shine at Sage Talks

pic-1You might expect that 10 speakers at a gathering of more than 100 San Diego-area executives would talk about making money, planning strategy and maximizing profits.

But it was people, not profits that took center stage at the annual “Sage Talks” event hosted by the peer advisory organization Sage Executive Group at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar on Dec. 13.

Overcoming personal adversity and bouncing back from professional setbacks were the broad themes presented by many of the presenters, who modeled their 18-minute talks on the popular Ted Talks format.

Jeremy Poincenot, who lost his sight to a rare genetic disorder at age 19 while attending San Diego State University, said he had to learn the “importance of interdependence” when he could no longer pursue the independent lifestyle of a college student. That interaction in the form of coaching from his dad on every shot, helped him win an international blind golf championship.

Aaron Chang, who was a senior photographer for “Surfing” magazine for more than 25 years, received the painful message from a litany of New York agents that his photography was “unmarketable.” He went on to fame and success and now owns galleries in San Diego and Solano Beach that bear his name.

And Stacey McKibbin hit rock bottom on a street corner in Pacific Beach, abandoned by a boyfriend and betrayed by the alcoholics in her family. She pulled herself up to run her own company and speak to hundreds of business leaders about “the key” to achieving leadership.

Videos of the talks will be posted soon on Sage Executive Group’s YouTube Channel.

Other speakers included:

Peter Scott, founder of Fearless Life Academy: “Fear: The Hidden Cause of Stress”

Dan Negroni, founder of launchbox: “Depolarizing Millennial Madness”

Susie Japs, managing director of Wejungo: “Why You Suck at Interviewing”

Sarah Hardwick, president of Zenzi Communications: “Three Ways to Waste Your Marketing Budget”

Gary London, president of The London Group Realty Advisors: “It’s the Top of the Market – Beware”

Patrick Combs, president, Great Thinking Co. “The Greatest Business Story Ever Told.”

Mark Moses, founding partner of CEO Coaching International: “Make Big Happen”

Sage Executive Group is a fast-growing membership network and advisory group for business leaders. What sets SAGE apart in working with the region’s top executives is a philosophy that emphasizes values, guiding business leaders to achieve greater success in business management and performance while also carrying out responsibilities to family, community and personal health.


Upbeat Outlook for M&A in San Diego

img_0553Four experts on mergers and acquisitions addressed the question of what is happening in today’s “frothy” investment marketplace at a panel hosted by peer advisory organization Sage Executive Group.

There is a “crazy supply dynamic for quality assets,” said Craig Dupper, a partner with Solis Capital Partners based in Newport Beach.

He was joined on the panel, held at the San Diego office of Knobbe Martens law firm on Oct. 18, by Rose M. Thiessen, a partner in Knobbe Martens; Troy Romero, president of Romero Park law firm;  and Kerry Morris, partner in Shoreline Partners:

The question was raised by Jerry Rollins, the panel moderator and CEO of Sage Executive Group, a San Diego-based peer advisory and learning organization for CEOs and other top-level executives.

Romero said he has seen a significant rebound in the number of deals his firm has handled, from 17 in 2007 to zero in 2009 when the recession hit across the country to 14 expected this year.

“Some industries are hot,” said Morris, “valuations are at an all-time high.” But he cautioned that investors need to carefully examine financial analytics and that the customer base needs to be “rock solid,” preferring to use the word “choppy” to describe the M&E climate.

Across the board, panelists expressed wariness about the political climate and outcome of the presidential election. Thiessen said that as an intellectual property attorney,  she is especially interested in “the shape of the Supreme Court” after the new president makes a new appointment, especially on a court that has become increasingly involved in patent decisions.

That led to strong advice to business owners who may be interested in selling, or who might be surprised to find that someone is interested in buying their company.

“Make sure you have ownership of intellectual property,” Thiessen said.

And “if your company is based on a technology, it should be beautifully tied up,” Romero said.

Every company that might be attracting investors needs a playbook that provides short-term tactics, long-term strategy and “valid, timely and accurate financials,” Rollins said. “I have seen $100 million companies without a plan.”

And he noted that with the highly publicized, billion-dollar buyout of Ballast Point Brewing Co. last November, company owners still need to be careful not to have “unrealistic expectations.”

The event was hosted by Sage Executive Group and sponsored by Knobbe Martens and City National Bank.

Craft Beer Pioneers Discuss Brewery Buyouts

Four of San Diego’s top craft brewers, including Steve Wagner, co-founder of Stone Sage Beer PanelBrewing, addressed the issue of multi-million-dollar acquisitions at a panel on Thursday, Aug. 25, hosted by Sage Executive Group and moderated by Sage CEO Jerry Rollins (far left).

Speakers who joined Wagner on the panel were Matt DelVecchio of Duck Foot Brewing; Tomme Arthur of The Lost Abbey and Port Brewing; and Jeff Bagby of Bagby Beer Company.


A story in the San Diego Union Tribune on Sunday, Aug. 28, described the tongue-in-cheek reference to the inevitability of big bucks brewery acquisitions as the “puppy dog syndrome.”






G.A. Bartick on Leading Leaders

To lead a group of leaders, a top executive will achieve greater success by embracing a philosophy of coaching forward, of looking through the front windshield rather than the rear view mirror, advised sales expert G. A. Bartick in a presentation to Sage Executive Group. IMG_0471

His talk was hosted by San Diego-based Sage Executive Group, a peer advisory organization that gives high-level executives a confidential setting to improve their business performance and enhance their personal lives. His talk at a June 16 breakfast meeting at the Corporate Alliance office in San Diego was part of an ongoing series of learning events hosted by Sage.

Bartick, president of R3 Consultants, urged executives to “quite coaching to the past and start affecting the future.” As part of that commitment, he said that even the most well-intentioned leaders become caught up in the problems of the day and need to practice – and then execute – how to  “catch  people doing more things right and fewer things wrong.”

Looking through the front windshield is not only a metaphor for focusing on what is ahead, rather than what is behind, Bartick said. It also puts a premium on setting  “crystal clear expectations”  for what is coming down the road.

In addition to that forward-looking vision and ability to communicate, the role of leading leaders becomes more effective if the executive takes time to “get in the weeds, to pay attention to what is happening on the field of play.

Bartick likened that management mind set  to being a “conscious, competent coach,” a leader who loves helping their associates figure out how to set up the project, pricing and resources.

That often translates to giving people “the what and the why” of what they need to do to excel in the jobs – and meet the company’s management and personnel goals.

For executives in the room, that is a leadership style they described with words like “insightful,” “aware” and “inspired.”

Sage Executive Group’s identity, and resulting rapid growth, has made it a key player in management training and development in the San Diego area. It  has grown from an initial concentration on CEOs from large and mid-size companies with annual revenues of more than $4 million to a wide range of peer groups for C-level executives and sales and marketing experts from companies with sales of $1 million or more.

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Sage Group Hits Membership Milestone

SAN DIEGO – Sage Executive Group, a San Diego-based membership network and advisory group for business leaders, announced record growth in its membership. Sage has grown from startup four years ago to a premier peer advisory organization for CEOs of more than 90 San Diego and Orange County members, with total revenues from their businesses exceeding $1.5 billion and averaging a 15 percent growth from 2014 to 2015.

As part of its expanding role to become a key training and development organization for leading San Diego-area companies, Sage has expanded its reach to include special groups for sales leaders, creative agency executives, marketing professionals and facility managers.

What sets Sage apart in working with the region’s top executives is a philosophy emphasizing values, encouraging business leaders to put people before profits, and learning how to effectively balance business demands and responsibilities to family, community and health. Members, ranging from CEOs of large-scale companies to up-and-coming sales executives at new enterprises, meet monthly to share ideas, solve problems and exchange feedback about their professional and personal challenges.

“Sage offers camaraderie and support of people who are going through some of the same things you are,” said Sage member Steve Wagner, co-founder and brewmaster of Stone Brewing Co. “We share and give each other ideas for how to better balance life, and take good care of your business and your family.”

Sage’s growth has been guided by founder and CEO Jerry Rollins, a successful San Diego businessman and entrepreneur whose management approach is grounded in his early career as a professional hockey player. His sports experience of coaching and being coached, as well as his expertise in business team building, has translated into Sage’s emphasis on values-based leadership.

Sage’s identity, and resulting rapid growth, is founded on groups of 10 to 12 like-minded executives who meet monthly in half-day sessions led by a seasoned business leader. Members work together to address and solve critical issues impacting their business and personal lives. Each group offers a scholarship to a member who leads a nonprofit organization in the local area. Sage also holds quarterly networking events featuring a presentation by marketing and sales experts. Sage members contribute to educational growth by offering aspiring students college scholarships on an annual basis.

Sage Executive Group was launched in 2012 by Rollins, who served as the CEO, president and owner of four companies for more than 21 years, and San Diego entrepreneur Brian Yui, a specialist in building companies from the ground up.

For more information, contact SAGE Executive Group at (800) 648-1063 or visit

Media Contact: Chuck Buxton or (619) 892-8119