Marck Zuehlsdorff was content with life managing the ’s Ignacio office in Novato. But after going to his first Sonoma Valley Rotary meeting in February of 2011, he set his sites on Sonoma.
“After ten-minutes of introductions, I realized that I needed to live in Sonoma to be a true community banker,” said Zuehlsdorff. “I remember calling my wife while driving back to Marin on Highway 37 and asking her to consider a move to Sonoma. That night we started looking for a new home.”
He opened the Sonoma branch of Bank of Marin in October, 2011.
When he’s not at the bank, Zuehlsdorff spends his time at with his wife Alison and three-year-old son Connor, rooting for the 49’ers, and generally exploring his new neck of the woods.
Sonoma Patch: You have an unusual last name.
Marck: My greatest sales job to date was getting Alison to take “Zuehlsdorff” as her own.
Sonoma Patch: Where did you grow up?
Marck: In the Crocker Highland section of Oakland on the Piedmont/Oakland border. It afforded me the opportunity to see the great economic and educational divide in our country.
SP: How has Sonoma measured up to your expectations?
Marck: Alison and I feel like we’ve won the lottery.
SP: Is this the first bank you’ve ever “opened”?
Marck: Yes, it’s been quite the experience. It taught me patience and has given me a greater appreciation for small business owners looking to set up shop in Sonoma. The delay was actually a blessing in disguise -- it allowed more time to weave myself into the fabric of the community.
SP: What are the biggest challenges of bringing a “new” bank to Sonoma?
Marck: The challenge is a work-life balance. The job is a more of a lifestyle because in banking you never know when you’re going to meet that next “great” client.
SP: How has the bank been received?
Marck: People want to have a relationship with their banker and a mutual understanding of where there business is headed. It’s a partnership. Our Sonoma clients become our best marketing tool.
SP: Much of the banking industry has gotten a “bad rap” in recent years. What kinds of things do you plan to do to be “Sonoma friendly”?
Marck: I currently serve on the board for the (and am in the process of being paired with a mentee) and am a member of the . Our success is measured by the strength of the community.
SP: I understand Alison is a teacher.
Marck: Due to state cut bucks in education there have been few jobs for teachers entering the workforce. Alison currently works in pre-kindergarten in Novato. Our hope is to have our entire family working in Sonoma in 2012.
SP: You mentioned you live in Fryer creek. How many times have you been to Train Town?
Marck: Monthly! Connor feels like Train Town is his backyard. What more could a three-year-old want?
SP: Your favorite part of train town?
Marck: Going through the tunnels while on the train and running into people we know.
SP: Speaking of being a grownup, have you had a chance to explore the local wine scene?
Marck: I have and it’s amazing. It’s not just about great wine, but the stories of the farmers that bring Sonoma’s liquid gold to market.