Board of Directors

The AMBayArea Board of Directors is comprised of executives from a variety of manufacturing industries, sub-regions, and non-manufacturing support organizations who are dedicated to ensure the Bay Area is a leader in the industry.

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Zeydi Gutierrez

Director of Business Operations, AB&I Foundry


Zeydi Gutierrez is the Director of Business Operations at AB&I Foundry, a producer of quality cast iron soil pipes and fittings for waste, drain and vent plumbing systems. In this role, she advises on strategies and executes plans that enable the business to operate more efficiently and effectively. She is also in charge of community outreach and the liaison with the City of Oakland.

Karen Burns

Assurance Partner, Sensiba San Filippo LLP

Vice Chair

Karen Burns, CPA, is an Assurance Partner with Sensiba San Filippo LLP, a leading regional CPA and business advisory firm. She has nearly 30 years of experience providing financial and business consulting services to companies in a variety of industries, with a particular passion for the manufacturing and food and beverage sectors. 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. Burns also founded the East Bay Manufacturing Group in 2011 (which later merged to become AMBayArea).


Gene Russell

President and CEO, The Corporation for Manufacturing Excellence
San Ramon


Gene Russell is President and CEO of Manex and has over 30 years of senior executive strategic planning, operational management, and consulting experience in the manufacturing and technology sector. With his extensive knowledge of manufacturing operations, he has developed and implemented key strategic initiatives for companies, allowing them to improve performance and achieve profitable growth. He has a strong background in sales and business development and a keen understanding of manufacturing strategies in the global environment.

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Stephen Tessler

Executive Vice President and Director of Sales, California Bank of Commerce


Stephen Tessler is an Executive Vice President and Director of Sales, California Bank of Commerce, a leading regional bank. Tessler has more than twenty-five years of banking experience and ten years of public accounting experience.

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Larry Leser

President, Caffe Classico Foods

Board Member

Larry Leser is the President and CFO of Caffe Classico Foods, which manufacturers Gelato Classico, Sorbetto Classico and Belizza frozen dessert products. Caffe Classico Foods sells to both retail and food service channels, as well as co-packs for other frozen dessert businesses. Leser has more than 20 years of manufacturing experience including multi-plant, multi-division and international operations.

Pamela Kan

President, Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation

Board Member

Pamela Kan is the President of the Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation. She has served as the Chair of the Women in Manufacturing Industry Group for the Astra Women's Business Alliance since 2013, as well has served on the board for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) since 2007.

Jose Carrascal

Production Director, Dow Chemical Company

Board Member

Jose Carrascal is Production Director in DowDuPont’s Agriculture Division at their Pittsburg site. Carrascal has over 20 years of experience in plant operations, supply chain, environmental health and safety, and asset management. He serves on Dow's Executive Counsel for the Hispanic Latin Network (HLN) and is a board member of the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County

Mark Davidson

Assistant Vice President, Heffernan Insurance Brokers
Menlo Park

Board Member

Mark Davidson, CIC, CAWC, CISC 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.

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Bijan Chansari

Founder & CEO, Organic
Spices Inc. & Spicely Organics


Board Member

Bijan Chansari is the Founder and CEO of Organic Spices Inc., a direct importer and the leading industrial ingredient supplier of steam-treated and gluten-free organic spices to organic food manufacturers. Chansari is also responsible for their consumer brand, Spicely Organics, which is distributed nationwide.

Robert Wood

Vice President of World Wide Manufacturing, Varian Medical Systems
Palo Alto

Board Member

Robert Wood is the Vice President of World Wide Manufacturing for Varian Medical Systems Oncology Division where he has operational responsibilities over multiple sites. Robert has led Operations, Supply Chain, Quality, and R&D management for large and small companies, including startups and Fortune 500 companies.  


Mark Martin

Regional Director, Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development
Bay Area

Board Member

Mark Martin, Ph.D., is the Bay Area Regional Director for Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Development for the California Community Colleges. Dr. Martin has more than 25 years of experience in manufacturing and engineering, including product development, manufacturing and design research, teaching and workforce development.