Congratulations to Chris Wills for being named Santa Rosa Junior College’s (SRJC) Employee of the Month for April 2014. Hired in 2005, Chris has dedicated over 8 years of service to the College in the Agriculture and Natural Resources department. In the dual role of Dutton Pavilion manager and Shone Farm winemaker, Chris is responsible for a variety of functions that include coordination of events at the venue, pavilion maintenance and Farm tours, in addition to the production and sales of all of Shone Farm’s six wine varietals and olive oils.
Dr. Ganesan Srinivasan, Dean II, Agriculture/Natural Resources and Culinary Arts, explains that he nominated Chris for “being a true example of an exemplary employee who goes above and beyond the call of duty to serve the mission of SRJC. Whether as a pavilion manager and winemaker or as an instructor, he has demonstrated extraordinary commitment, dedication, and excellence in whatever job he does.”
When asked about his greatest accomplishment at SRJC, Chris replied that he enjoyed the process of building a reputation for excellence at Shone Farm by doing his part – producing wines, bottling olive oil, teaching, and event assistance for rental clients. “SRJC is an interesting and fun place to work! I have a strong work ethic and focus on customer service. Whether you are a student or a rental client, I want everyone’s experience at SRJC to be positive,” said Chris Wills.
As a winemaker, Chris is highly regarded in the industry, and in recent years has been rewarded by events such as the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, bringing home gold medals for Shone Farm wines. Chris is described by Dean Srinivasan as being “extremely pleasant, modest, highly talented and creative, and a result-oriented employee with a ‘no excuses’ approach to getting the job done.” A team player and organizer who has coordinated events such as the annual Fall Harvest Festival and several wine events, Dean Srinivasan continues, “With Chris, you can rest assured that once he commits to a task, he will go to any extent to get it done. He is very creative and innovative in accomplishing even difficult tasks. There is no job that is too low or difficult for Chris. He is always ready to get going with a smile.”
Chris Wills grew up in Santa Rosa and attended Montgomery High School. He received his AS degree in Chemistry from SRJC, and later received his BS in Fermentation Science from the University of California, Davis. Prior to his current position, Wills worked for local labels Korbel and Lake Sonoma Winery.
When asked what he liked most about his experience at SRJC so far, Wills responded, “The diversity of the work environment in both people and tasks; it’s never boring here!”
In addition to his job duties, Chris is also involved with the Harvey Hansen Committee, Facilities Revenue Enhancement Taskforce (FRET) Committee, Ag Trust Event Committee, and occasionally hiring committees.
Apart from work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, volunteering for community clean ups, woodworking, home remodeling, camping, history, and much more.
When told of his selection as April’s Employee of the Month, Chris had a characteristically energetic reaction: “This is a great place to work,” Chris said, “The future of this college looks incredible. We are going to be one of the top community colleges in the country, and I want to help make it happen!”