Board of Directors

Think Local First wouldn’t exist without the volunteer service of local business owners. The following people feel passionately that locally-owned businesses are vital to a unique, self-contained community. By contributing their time and energy, they make the organization happen.


Jill Sollitto - Modern Life Home Furnishings
Co-Chair & Steering Committee Member (term expires 2017)

Jill Sollitto

Jill has lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains above Soquel for over 20 years. She worked in technology and non-profit management before purchasing Modern Life. Creating beauty within her home and garden has always been a passion in life.
Inspiration for Modern Life is an integrative design concept of modern, timeless, cultural and spiritual elements that reflect balance and beauty. Santa Cruz is the perfect environment that inspires our community to bring these design elements into their home.

 


 Michael Olson - KSCO Radio
Director & Spokesperson (term expires 2018)

michael olsonA Montana native, veteran of the US Navy, and UCSC graduate in English & Chinese Literature, Michael Olson is an active agriculturalist, journalist, and businessman. As an agriculturalist, he has worked commercial farms in California, Montana, and Oregon; designed, manufactured, and sold a registered organic fertilizer into the national marketplace; and consults for specialty agriculture projects throughout the world. As a journalist, he wrote and photographed feature stories for the San Francisco Chronicle and Examiner newspapers; produced and filmed documentaries for NBC, ABC, Australian Broadcast Commission, and KQED Public Television; authored MetroFarm, a PMA Ben Franklin Book-of-the-Year award winner, and Tales From a Tin Can, a World War II oral history; and produces and hosts Food Chain Radio, a nationally-syndicated talk show. As a business person, he is co-owner of the MO MultiMedia Group and General Manager of locally-owned KSCO & KOMY radio stations, where he proudly helps locally-owned businesses go up against national chains and win!

 


Peter Beckmannm - Beckmann’s Bakery
Director & Co-Founder (term expires 2018)

peter beckmanPeter Beckmann was born and raised in Heidelberg, Germany. After a traditional four-year apprenticeship in the hospitality industry in Austria, Peter lived several years in France and Mexico before settling in California. In November 1985, he founded Beckmann’s Old World Bakery, where he currently serves as President on the Board of Directors. Peter’s academic career includes an AA from Cabrillo College, two BAs in Philosophy and International Economics from UCSC, and two semesters of graduate studies in Economics. Peter is a novice beekeeper, an enthusiastic gardener, and his favorite place to hang out is in the high Sierras. He has also been seen playing carols on his accordion in his neighborhood around the Holidays.

 


Karl Heiman - Caffe Pergolesi & Mr. Toots Coffee House
Marketing Chair & Co-Founder (term expires 2018)

Karl Heiman, together with his wife, owns two businesses in Santa Cruz for the last 8 years. Prior to that Karl was in the Semiconductor business as Director of Marketing and Business Development at several different large companies for almost 20 years.  Karl has been on the Board of the Santa Cruz Downtown Business Association for 3 years and the Downtown Commission for almost 2 years.  In addition, Karl is one of the co-founders of the Independent Coffeehouse Association of Santa Cruz and an amateur Paleontologist supporting the Santa Cruz Natural History Museum.

 


Kimberly Parrish - Coldwell Banker, Parrish Creative
Director & Designer (term expires 2018)

Kimberly Parrish photo
As a REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker, Kimberly believes that everyone should be able to have a place to call home. Her mantra is "bringing REAL into Real Estate."

Kimberly is also our resident artist and designer whose business, Parrish Creative, is a multi-faceted graphic and web design firm based in Santa Cruz, California. With a real zest for life, Kimberly might be found loving life out in the surf, skiing down a mountain slope, taking on a trail in the redwoods or jamming with friends in the music community.


She approaches her work with Think Local First with the same gusto: in addition to wrangling much of the TLF print design, Kimberly serves as a board member as well as on the steering and marketing committees.


Peter Neuwald - ANB Insurance Services
Director & Steering Committee Member (term expires 2017)


For close to 30 years, Peter Neuwald has been a co-owner of ANB Insurance Services, a long-time locally owned business that has been part of the Santa Cruz business world for almost 100 years. After growing up in Central California, Peter has accumulated a solid academic background that includes a B.S. from the Haas School of Business in Berkeley plus an MBA from Pepperdine University. His career started in Washington D.C., where he worked six years for the Federal Government, before he entered into the insurance world.

In Washington, he sang in the bass section of the Washington Cathedral Choral Society. Later on in Santa Cruz, Peter has become a self-confessed hoops gym-rat in “semi-retirement.”


Karen Kefauver - Writer, Photographer, Bike Columnist and Social Media Consultant
Director, Writer & Social Media 

karen kefauver

Karen Kefauver spontaneously moved to Santa Cruz in 1993 from her native Washington, D.C. after a visit to West Cliff Drive, Bookshop Santa Cruz and Wilder Ranch State Park. Her first job as an arts editor at Good Times weekly newspaper led to deep connections in the community, including years with Toastmasters, Bike to Work and the Volunteer Center. In 1996, she launched her 20+-year career as a freelance journalist specializing in stories about adventure travel and endurance sports. Her articles and photos appeared regularly in the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle and other national newspapers and magazines. She also served as a public relations consultant for the City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation Department and Shakespeare Santa Cruz. 
 
In 2009, Karen was one of the first people to teach social media in Santa Cruz and became a social media marketing instructor at the Central Coast Small Business Development Center. Since then, Karen has worked with hundreds of business owners and professionals on their marketing strategies. Currently, Karen is a social media speaker, consultant and trainer. Her monthly bicycling column, Spin City, is published monthly in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.