40 Under 40, Vista’s Best and Brightest!
Vista is so blessed to have so many young, engaged leaders. We are pleased to present them to you this issue. I hope you feel as optimistic about the future as I did after reading these profiles. I think Vista is in good hands. Viva Vista!
Head Brewer, Prohibition Brewing Company
Matt Adams has been a Vista native almost his entire life, having graduated from Vista High School in 2006. He started working for Prohibition Brewing Company since its inception and worked as the Head Brewer since opening November, 2011. Matt attended brewing classes at UC Davis, which has helped Prohibition win a Gold Medal from the International Beer Festival. Currently Matt will be representing Vista in the United States Army as a Warrant Officer Aviator. He will miss Vista when he is on his adventure in the Army, but he will always consider this town his home!
General Manager, Booze Brothers Brewing Co.
Kris’s grandparents had already lived in Vista for years when his family joined them in 1989. Kris graduated from RBV in 2003 and started doing freelance video and graphic design work in 2005. When Kris’s friends asked if he would help them as they morphed their brewing business from their garage to the Vista Business Park, Kris jumped at the opportunity. What started as just “helping friends out” has turned into being General Manager of a thriving brewery. Kris loves the small-town friendly atmosphere of Vista but loves the chance to play a part in the future growth as well. Kris is currently the President of the Vista Brewery’s Guild.
Founder, FIT Business Finance
Rafael moved to Vista in 2005 and started his business in 2007 and joined the Vista Chamber Board of Directors in 2013. Rafael founded FIT Business Finance after being in the automobile industry during the recession. During that time he realized that most consumers didn’t understand how their credit reports worked. That experience gave him his “aha” moment, and has driven him to help consumers take control of their credit reports to take control of their lives. The thing he loves most about Vista is the Vista Strawberry Festival!
Brian Warboys Belasco, 38
Owner/Operator, Vista Fit Body Boot Camp
Brian moved to Vista in 1985 and graduated from RBV in 1996. Brian and his wife Michelle (who also grew up in Vista) got into the fitness business due to a passion to help people. Brian is an avid marathon runner and loves running the challenging and breathtaking hills of Vista, especially in the Buena Creek area. Brian knows that we all have aspects of life we are always juggling: school, career, kids, church, hobbies, and health. But he doesn’t want people to forget how important it is to maintain a healthy life style. Without our health we have nothing.
Management Analyst, City of Vista
Rachel moved to Vista in 2003 when she was hired by the City of Vista. She met her husband, Brian (a teacher at Guajome Park Academy), and they married in 2007 at the Rancho Buena Vista Adobe. Rachel started at the Wave Waterpark but quickly transitioned to Economic Development. During her 8 years in Economic Development, she helped launch the Taste of Vista, the Business Walk and other initiatives. Rachel is currently the liaison to the City’s Public Arts Commission. She loves the diversity of arts and culture, food and drink, leisure and recreation activities, as well as opportunities for businesses in Vista.
Office Manager, Vista Chamber of Commerce
Sarah moved to Vista in 2011 from Texas because her husband had joined the Marine Corps. She began working part time for the Chamber in 2012 and took over as Office Manager in October, 2015. Sarah loves working for the Vista Chamber because of the deep community involvement. The Chamber takes an active role in local government, education, business, and in promoting Vista. Sarah appreciates Vista’s diversity and inclusiveness. Moving thousands of miles and settling in a new town is difficult! Vista made that transition easier because the citizens are dedicated to building up both the City and the Citizens.
Founder & Co-Owner, Big Media Prints
Born and raised in North County, Adam graduated from Guajome Park Academy in 2008. Adam traveled throughout Europe and studied in Prague where he earned a TEFL certificate to teach English as a second language abroad. His travels lead him to appreciate entrepreneurial opportunities, which lead him back home to Vista, to start a printing business. Adam joined the Board of Directors at the Vista Chamber recently and loves helping small businesses turn their ideas into reality. Adam is excited about the growth of Vista’s industrial sector, the revitalization of Vista Village and our rich cultural opportunities through Moonlight Amphitheatre. Adam feels Vista a wonderful place to live, work, and play.
City Council Member, City of Vista
Having an interest in politics from a very early age, Cody Campbell became actively involved in the Vista political scene as a 16-year-old student trustee on the Vista School Board, where he served for 2 years. Cody graduated from the now closed Palomar High School in 2004. He started his business in 2008 providing print, direct mail and consulting services to businesses and political campaigns. Cody was elected to Vista City Council in 2012 as the youngest city council member in Vista ever. Cody loves the diversity and opportunity for positive change that Vista has come to symbolize.
Nick Caponera, 30
Mechanical Engineer, Datron World Communications
Nick Caponera moved to Vista from New York in 2010. Nick graduated with his degree in Engineering and loves working on next-generation communication equipment at Datron World Communications in Vista. He especially loves that the equipment he helps engineer actually saves people’s lives on the battlefield. Nick recently joined the Board of Directors for the Vista Chamber of Commerce and his wife teaches and coaches at Vista High School. Nick loves Vista’s sunshine, craft beer and its endless activities and event that can keep anyone busy!
Working Artist & Gallery Manager, ArtBeat on Main Street
Maggie Chiaro fell in love with art at a very young age. After attaining her BFA she went on to attain her MFA from the New York Academy of Art. Shortly after relocating to North County, she discovered a thriving art scene in Vista and immediately got involved. She has had two solo exhibitions, teaches a variety of classes, and launched her company, Palate to Palette (a wine and painting experience). Maggie feels very welcome in the area and ArtBeat on Main Street has become her second home. Maggie has exhibited nationally and is currently a working artist, gallery manager, art teacher, curator, and yoga instructor. Vista loves art, and Maggie loves Vista!
Partner & Special Events Coordinator, Aztec Brewing Company
Tristan moved to Vista as a toddler and graduated high school at RBV in 2001. Tristan has always had music in his blood. After high school he taught Percussion at RBV and performed in the orchestra multiple times at the Moonlight Amphitheater. When his family opened Aztec Brewing in 2011, he decided to integrate his musical background into Aztec, turning it into a small music venue. Tristan’s efforts have been so successful that Aztec was nominated as one of San Diego’s Best Small Music Venues this year. Tristan also tours as a drummer for Taken By Canadians, but he always appreciates returning home to Vista!
Executive Director, Bella Mente Montessori Academy
Erin’s connection to Vista began years ago when her grandfather was stationed at Camp Pendleton. In 2013, Erin wrote a charter for Bella Mente that was approved by Vista Unified and she opened the first Montessori Charter School in San Diego County. Erin’s passion for education began as a teacher. But after teaching, she felt she could reach more students by opening a school in a high needs community. Erin is a regular at Lush Coffee and loves all of downtown’s new restaurants and breweries.
John B. Franklin, 37
City Council Member, City of Vista
John Franklin is deeply passionate about the future of our country, our state and our city. That has lead him to be involved in public policy since 2002, which is when he moved to Washington, DC to finish his Bachelor’s Degree. At that time he began working for Congressman Issa who introduced him to Vista. John moved to Vista in 2009 and launched Pacific Political, Inc. in 2012. John was elected to the Vista City Council in 2014. John feels that Vista is a beautiful place with a deep sense of community. He values the opportunity to work on behalf of his fellow citizens to protect and improve our great city.
Managing Partner, Tideline Partners, LLC
Lev Gershman was first exposed to Vista when he worked at the Adobe in the mid-1990’s while attending college. Lev became reintroduced to downtown Vista fairly recently as he was evaluating development opportunities. Enamored with the down-to-earth people, passionate artists, good city staff, walkable downtown and a great vision for the future, Lev moved his firm’s headquarters from La Jolla to downtown Vista. Lev has become very active by joining the VVBA’s Board of Directors and chairing their Economic Vitality Committee. His firm has redeveloped the old Priority One building as well as the old 1-Day Shoe Repair. Hopefully more developments to come!
Aaron and Madeleine Gobiadas moved to Vista in 2015 after Aaron was stationed at Camp Pendleton as an active duty Marine. While still active duty, Aaron and Madeleine started their online marketing for small businesses after noticing many business owners were struggling to keep up with the very technology that could most benefit them. They handle the online presence from website and social media to reviews and paid advertising for extra small, family owned businesses. Aaron loves the thriving business community in Vista and Madeleine loves Vista’s vibrancy; the sculptures, murals and new artwork popping up all over town make this city feel alive.
Principal, Bobier Elementary School
Dr. Jenifer Golden got involved in education due to the many moves she had to make as a child and the teachers that believed in her it all. Jen loved teaching but realized her true passion was educational and instructional leadership. She completed her doctorate in educational leadership with a focus on metacognition and student achievement. Today, after 8 years in Vista Unified, she is motivated by her own two beautiful kids. Every child she looks at she tries to see her own two children’s eyes staring back at her. Jen loves working for Dr. Devin Vodicka, who is a great servant leader. He empowers his leaders to be innovative and embraces changes.
Broker/Owner, Green Team Realty
Joe Green is a life-long Vista resident who graduated at RBV in 1996. Joe has owned a real estate mortgage business in Vista for more than 15 years and he served as the PTA President for all Vista schools for 2 years, where he worked to improve Vista’s schools through parent engagement and technology integration. Joe has also mentored Vista’s youth for over 10 years through his local church. Joe is currently running for Vista City Council in the November election as a way to further serve the city he loves. Joe loves Vista’s diverse culture and community, food and breweries, views and weather, and the people.
Brian & Alan Haghighi, 30
Co-Founders/Co-CEO’s, California Fruit Wine Co.
Alan & Brian Haghighi are twin brothers who were raised in Vista and graduated at RBV in 2005. The brothers were inspired by the craft beer movement but wanted to create a trend instead of simply following one. When they discovered that wine could be naturally fermented from all fruits, they took their intrigue and turned it into a passion to! Alan & Brian opened up a California Fruit Wine tasting room in the Vista Business Park in 2011. They recently outgrew it and are now a couple of blocks away in Carlsbad. Their wine is available at Whole Foods Markets or online via their wine club (californiafruitwine.com). Alan & Brian appreciate how loyal and supportive the Vista community is, it’s a feeling that permeates from everybody who calls Vista home!
Brendan Hammes, 35
Fire Captain, Vista Fire Department
Brendan Hammes grew up in and near Vista his whole life, attending St. Francis Church and playing soccer for the Vista Soccer Club. In 2005 he was hired by the Vista Fire Department. Brendan was drawn to becoming a Fire Fighter/Paramedic because he enjoys helping people and he wanted a career that would always be dynamic and challenging. Today he is faced with different crisis situations on a daily basis. Brendan has risen rapidly to the rank of Captain and is very active as a leader with Vista Firefighter’s Association. What Brendan loves most about Vista is the people and the good craft beer.
Owner/General Manager, Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen
Don, who has lived in Vista for over 10 years, opened Little Cakes Cupcake Kitchen in September, 2010 after being laid off from his corporate job. He loved the concept of running his own business and creating new jobs in the town he lives in and opening up a local spot which offers something you cannot get anywhere else. Don has great job with his vision as Little Cakes has won Cupcake Wars on the Food Network twice. Don also currently serves at the President of the VVBA. Don loves the people of Vista and how it has small town charm while being a short drive away from San Diego.
Madeleine Hoang, 38
Owner, Yoga Munkey & Little Munkeys
Madeleine Hoang was born and raised in Vista and graduated RBV in 1996. In 2011, she and her brother Alex started their Yoga Munkey and Little Munkeys business. Madeleine loves being part of the fitness industry because she is committed to helping everyone feel alive in their bodies. Madeleine was a keynote speaker last year at the Chamber’s inaugural Business Women’s event. Madeleine loves witnessing the abundant growth Vista has experienced and she enjoys contributing to the city she grew up in.
Director of Marketing, Tri-City Medical Center
Jamie Johnson graduated from Vista High in 1995 and got her BA and MBA in Business because she loved the field of marketing, especially the strategic/organizational side of marketing. Jamie joined the marketing staff at Tri-City Medical Center in 2010 and joined the Vista Chamber Board of Directors in 2015. Jamie loves the community feel of Vista, which is also why she enjoys working for Tri-City Medical Center. Jamie says that you can tell from the events to the public programs held here that Vista cares about their residents.
Kris Jorgensen, 38
Librarian II, Vista Branch of San Diego County Library
Kris moved to Vista in 2013 after getting hired for the Vista Branch of the San Diego County Library System. Kris became a public librarian because he wanted to work in a field that serves the public good and strengthens the community. He loves that public libraries are open to people of all ages and backgrounds. He refers to libraries as the people’s university. Kris loves the Vista farmer’s market, Brengle Terrace Park, the Vista Village area, and most importantly the people and their do-it-yourself ethos. And watch for Kris as your drive to work each day, you may see him riding his bike to the library.
Retail Store Manager, T-Mobile USA
Jeremy Keene manages a sales team at the T-Mobile store on University Drive in Vista. Jeremy first got active in Vista in 2013 through the Chamber of Commerce and the Vista Strawberry Festival, where T-Mobile is a major sponsor. Jeremy appreciates working with T-Mobile because it is a fast-paced technology company that is people-focused. Since 2013, Jeremy has lead technology workshops at the Chamber and has sponsored other local events. Jeremy loves Vista’s history and character as well as the burgeoning downtown scene….Oh, and THE BEER!
Michael Andrew Levine, 39
Owner, Hungry Bear Deli
Mike Levine moved to San Diego from Miami, Florida nine years ago and brought his passion for world-class sub sandwiches with him. Mike opened Hungry Bear Sub Shop in Escondido (a 3x San Diego A-List Winner) back in 2007. But five years ago moved to Vista and decided to expand his sub success here in 2014 with Hungry Bear Deli. Mike loves giving his customers the best meal and making it a family environment. He feels that Vista is a community of wonderful people who support those who are trying to make the world a better place, even if it is one sub at a time.
President, Speedy Cut, Inc.
Nick Ljubic’s family moved to Vista in 1988 and he attended St. Francis School and graduated RBV in 1998. Nick started working (begrudgingly) for his father’s machine shop business at the age of 14. His great work ethic led him to open his own Submarina franchise. Nick got involved with the Chamber of Commerce in 2008, joining the Board and Executive Board. Nick has also served as President of the RBV Longhorn Foundation and on the CSUSM College of Business Alumni Association. Now, running the family business, Nick loves how Vista feels like such a small town with people who take pride in making this community a better place.
CEO & Head Brewer, Bear Roots Brewing Co.
Terry Little moved to Vista in 2012 with his wife, Page, who was born and raised in Vista. They wanted their children to have the same great experience Page had growing up in Vista. In 2015 they opened Bear Roots Brewing with a focus on giving back to the local community and impacting the neighborhood in a positive way. Terry is an active member of the Chamber of Commerce and the American Legion (as a vet himself) and has worked with numerous charitable organizations within the city. Terry loves the small town feel of the city. He does all his shopping locally and appreciates how businesses take the time to get to know one another.
Economic Development Specialist, City of Vista
Michael Luna started working for the City of Vista in July, 2015 after more than 8 years as a Marketing and Public Relations professional. Michael comes from a family of civil servants, and being involved in the development of businesses within cities and counties has always been of interest since graduating with his BA in Business Administration. He loves being involved in new ideas and innovative programs. Last year he brought “Get on the Map” from Google to our city. One of the most enjoyable parts of his job is listening to the business community and working with them on daily basis. Michael’s favorite thing about Vista is the people, the business community and of course #VistaBeer.
Owner & Head Baker, The Copper Box
Heather and her husband moved to Vista in 2014 in order to be closer to Camp Pendleton where he serves as an active duty Marine. Heather started The Copper Box, a cottage food operation, to create delicious desserts from the confines of her home, thus maximizing the time she does get to spend with her Marine infantry husband. Heathers stated that living in Vista and being a part of the Chamber has given her a sense of belonging that she feels is uncommon today. In Vista there are so many unique things to do, places to eat and of course amazing local breweries! Heather is convinced that Vista is the hidden gem of North County!
Kyle Morman, 31
Owner, Pass ‘N Go Smog Center
After 3 tours to Iraq as a Camp Pendleton-based Marine, Kyle Mormon was looking for something to grow and build. He bought a failing smog check test only business in Vista in 2013 and turned it around rapidly. Since then, Kyle has purchased his closest competitor and expanded to a full service auto care facility in 2016. Kyle has been very community oriented, having been involved in Business Leader in Vista, the Chamber, the Rotary Club of Vista and a sponsor of Vista American Little League. Kyle loves Vista’s charm and its unique blend of past and present in terms of its landscaping, design, and businesses.
Principal, Roosevelt Middle School
Elise Ochenduszko came to Vista in 2014 as Principal of Roosevelt Middle School. After a very brief career in business Elise found she loved the energy of school campuses and teaching. However, Elise soon realized that she wanted to have a larger impact than just her classroom. Elise left her previous district because she wanted to be part of Vista Unified’s vision. Elise feels fortunate to work under Dr. Devin Vodicka, who encourages school leaders to take risks as they work towards becoming the model of educational excellence and innovation. Elise loves the family-centered nature of Vista. It takes a village to raise a child and Vista provides a unique, special, small-town village for our children.
Financial Advisor, Edward Jones
Scott Patterson opened an Edward Jones office in Vista in 2009 and quickly got involved in the Chamber of Commerce and joined the Board of Directors soon after. Scott was motivated to become a Financial Advisor after he learned that 80% of Americans between the ages of 30 and 54 believe they will not have enough saved for retirement, and that 45% of Americans have nothing saved for retirement. Thus, in order to provide a solution to this problem, Scott decided to start his career as a financial advisor. In addition to the Chamber, Scott has been active with Relay for Life, Vista. Scott loves the positive attitude of Vista and its friendly and down-to-earth people….and also the breweries!
James N. Paugh, 25
Gym Manager, Tempst Freerunning Academy-North County
James Paugh moved from Tempe, Arizona to Vista in January to manage the new Tempst Freerunning Academy located in the Vista Business Park. James has an extensive gymnastics background and has been doing Parkour Freerunning since 2006. He has already brought these unique skills to the Vista Strawberry Festival as well as other event. As a newcomer to our community, James loves the friendly atmosphere in Vista and the microbreweries!
Director of Community Affairs, Office of San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn
Haley Peterson is proud to say that she has been a public servant in Vista for over 5 years for County Supervisor Bill Horn. Although Haley grew up in Portland, OR, she was born in a house on Christi Drive in Vista and currently works out of Vista County Courthouse. Through her work, she has connected with many businesses and non-profits in Vista. Last year she was in charge of all the research about Vista that went into Supervisor Horn’s Vista Video for his State of North County Address. While Haley loves all the local businesses, she has a special affinity for Little Cakes. As a Vista native, Haley loves watching Vista innovate, evolve and develop into a thriving community.
Campus President, Brightwood College
Laura Pitts started working in Vista at Brightwood College (Formerly Kaplan College) in 2010. Laura loves the field of education, watching people of all ages accomplish goals that they have set for themselves and often achieving things that they did not think were possible. At Brightwood College one of her favorite days is graduation where many of their students are celebrating being the first people in their family to go to college. As a Michigander, Laura loves the quasi Midwest feeling she gets in Vista. Her favorite spots in Vista include Little Cakes, Pepper Tree Frosty, Mother Earth and Mariscos Las Palmas.
Broker/Owner, RE/MAX Regal
Ashley started working in Vista in 2006 for Alta Vista Insurance. At that time she got involved with the Chamber of Commerce, eventually becoming Board Chair in 2014. Ashley had obtained her real estate license as a 21-year-old for investing purposes. However, by 2011 Ashley had transitioned out of insurance and had opened up her own real estate brokerage. In 2013 she opened RE/MAX Regal in San Marcos. Ashley loves the family feel of Vista and the Vista Chamber. Her relationships with the city, the school district, numerous business owners, and residents of the community are friendship based and not just business driven.
Assistant VP & Branch Operations Manager, Pacific Western Bank
April Rosemeyer has been working in Vista for over 10 years. She currently on the Executive Board for the Vista Chamber of Commerce, is a member of the Woman’s Club of Vista, a judge for local pageants, and more. April started as a Bank Teller when she was 17 and fell in love with banking. She has worked her way up through the system to become a Branch Manager. She has worked for large and small financial institutions, but always enjoys working with people and helping them to achieve their financial goals. April loves that Vista has all the amenities that anyone could want but manages to keep a small town feel. Everyone takes pride in their city.
Sarah Susanne Spinks, 34
Tattooer & Artist, American Tattoo
Sarah Spinks grew up in Vista, graduating Vista High in 1999 & CSUSM in 2004. After a series of odd jobs post-college, Sarah had the opportunity to learn the craft of tattooing and she never looked back. Sarah is deeply involved in the art scene in Vista. She is the Director of the Backfence Society, a Public Arts Commissioner for the City of Vista, and a member of the Vista Art Foundation. Sarah has helped launch the Alley Art Festival. She has also had a direct hand in some of the downtown murals. Sarah loves the people who make up this community, their desire to preserve what Vista was while embracing the new inspires her to connect further with her community through art.
Director of Community Relations, Scripps Health
Amber was born and raised in Vista and graduated RBV in 1999. Her dad and step mom are both teachers for Vista Unified. Amber became interested in local politics by serving on the Vista Youth Commission (in the 90’s) and working for a Vista City Councilmember Rocco Valluzzi. Since that time, she has always worked in Public Affairs. Currently Amber is Chair-elect for the Vista Chamber Board of Directors and chairs the Chamber Government Affairs Committee. Amber is an avid Vista beer enthusiast, enjoys the Moonlight Amphitheater and claims to have kept Pepper Tree Frosty in business since the day she was born.
Owner, Twice Upscale Resale
Natalie Trevino moved to Vista in 2001 and immediately fell in love with the community. After working retail management for both large corporations as well as small business, Natalie started her own store on Main Street in 2012. Her immediate motivation came from missing another Thanksgiving with her son due to Black Friday craziness! Natalie loves being part of the revitalized downtown in Vista and currently serves on the VVBA Board of Directors and is active with the Vista Art Foundation. Natalie loves everything about Vista: from the climate, to the art culture, to the garden she can grow.
Vista Chamber of Commerce