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Private (CEO) Chauffer With ReachNow’s Steve Banfield 2

Private (CEO) Chauffer with ReachNow’s Steve Banfield

When our friends at WTIA asked ReachNow to get involved with the first annual Galaxy Gala, we couldn’t imagine a better way to give back to the Seattle tech community. When the team suggested WTIA auction me off as the guide and designated ReachNow Ride driver for a Woodinville winery tour, I was a little worried. As happy as I was to support WTIA and their great cause, and excited to make new friends in the WTIA community, I really don’t know anything about wine. What kind of tour guide could I be? Well, I shouldn’t have worried too much.

At ReachNow, we’re hard at work building the future of urban transportation, and one of our key values is to help solve transportation challenges in the communities we serve. If our team can scale to hundreds of BMW, MINI and BMW i electric vehicles to thousands of our Seattle members, the team had me covered with setting up a great experience for the Galaxy Gala auction.

The Galaxy Gala and auction were a blast, though I was more than a little nervous when I was “on the block” for the bidding. The winery tour bidding quickly raised $2,500 for WTIA. In fact, after I stepped down from the stage, I found out that in addition to the auction winner, another group of new friends wondered if I wouldn’t agree to host a second tour so long as they met the winning original bid. Of course, I was happy to raise twice as much money for WTIA, so we put the plans in motion for two trips.

This past month, I had the tremendous opportunity to bring both fun and talented winning groups out to Woodinville for a day of wine tasting, sunshine, and stories. With the help of our team at ReachNow, we created a private wine tasting experience with stops at great northwest wineries like Novelty Hill JanuikAmbassador WineryDarby Winery, and Mark Ryan Winery. Winning groups included Chanda Sanders along with some close friends, and a team from POINT B.

Since I was the designated driver, my job was to make sure everyone had a great time. My lack of wine expertise wasn’t a problem as we had a wonderful time talking the future of transportation technology. Seattle has become a hotbed of research and startups focused on changing how we move around our cities, from car and bike sharing, to real time traffic data and sensors for autonomous vehicles. ReachNow is lucky to be part of it.

While I was not surprised to hear that the wines were great (remember I was driving, so no sips for me), my favorite part was getting to know the winners and it seems the feeling was mutual. Mollie Huppert, from POINT B graciously mentioned, “My colleagues and I greatly enjoyed our time touring the wineries in Woodinville with Steve. He was a great host and it was fascinating to hear about the ReachNow strategy and innovative business model. As a company, we are pleased to be able to support WTIA’s apprenticeship program that makes it possible for local workers to gain the skills needed to be part of our thriving local tech-driven economy. Bonus points that we were able to enjoy good food and wine in the process. Thank you Steve and ReachNow!”

Private (CEO) Chauffer with ReachNow’s Steve Banfield 1

Chanda Sanders added, “Sunday afternoon was full of fun – great wine, food, company, conversation, and laughter. What else can you ask for?  Steve was welcoming and personable, which made for a perfect host. We all look forward to repeating this adventure. Thank you for arranging a remarkable day.”

Private (CEO) Chauffer with ReachNow’s Steve Banfield 2

Both groups certainly kept me on my toes with questions about BMW, my experience in the technology industry, and how the digitalization that has taken over music, video, and entertainment is now revolutionizing transportation. We especially had a lot of fun talking about ReachNow and our growth plans for Seattle and beyond.

Thank you especially to Mollie Huppert of POINT B, and Chanda Sanders for bringing together such a fun group of people and for letting me spend some time getting to know you. On behalf of our whole team at ReachNow, we hope to see everyone back at next year’s WTIA Gala and auction. I promise we’ll do our best to top this adventure.

Private (CEO) Chauffer with ReachNow’s Steve Banfield 3

Private (CEO) Chauffer with ReachNow’s Steve Banfield 4


  • Steve Banfield

    Steve Banfield is CEO of ReachNow the mobility services subsidiary of the BMW Group. ReachNow provides car sharing, ride sharing, and multi-day rentals to more than 50,000 members in Seattle, Portland and Brooklyn. A longtime member of Seattle’s tech community, Steve’s built great teams at leading local companies such as Microsoft, RealNetworks, Rightside and INRIX, and now leads ReachNow from their Belltown headquarters.

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