Networking — February 2019


Sergio A. Garcidueñas-Sease of Tamaki Law was named a new partner. Garcidueñas-Sease joined Tamaki Law in 2013 and is a fellow at the prestigious Washington Leadership Institute.

Jaime Lee Carson was promoted to executive director of Somerset Counseling Center LLC in Richland. Somerset is an alcohol and drug treatment agency serving youths and adults. Carson has been in the treatment field for more than 14 years.


Allison R. Stormo of Richland has joined the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business and Senior Times as creative director. Stormo worked for five years as a communications coordinator for the University of Idaho, College of Education. She also spent 12 years on the Tri-City Herald copy desk, winning several awards while serving as news editor for two years, Sunday editor for five years and copy editor for five years. She also worked at newspapers in Idaho and Oregon. Stormo earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon.

Jay Almaguer was hired by Numerica Credit Union to the home loan team as senior home loan officer in the Tri-City market. He has more than 20 years experience and specializes in helping first-time homebuyers with down payment assistance.

Dora Castaneda joined Community First Bank as the vice president and mortgage consultant. She has more than 18 years experience and has lived in the Tri-Cities for the past 20 years.

Rachel Jobs joined Community First Bank as vice president and commercial lender in January. She has lived and worked in the Tri-Cities community since 1999 and brings more than 20 years of experience in the banking industry.

Patricia Baughman was hired at STCU for the newly created position of vice president of organizational strategy and product development. She has 20 years experience, holds a bachelor’s from Indiana University and is a certified treasury professional. Stormy Mauri was hired as director of product management. Mauri has 39-plus years of operations and product experience. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Whitworth University and also graduated from the Bank Administration Institute.

Ted Ebbelaar was hired as a commercial project manager/estimator for Cliff Thorn Construction. He has more than 30 years experience.

Tracy Iseminger has joined Cougar Digital Marketing & Design in West Richland as social media manager. She is responsible for managing, tracking and testing social media campaigns, including writing compelling ad copy and determining retargeting demographics. Iseminger has six years experience as a digital communications professional.

Maura Valencia was hired by CliftonLarsonAllen of Kennewick.

Kara McMurray joined Trios Health as the marketing and volunteer services coordinator. She received her master’s in communication management from the University of Southern California and bachelor’s degrees in journalism and media production as well as English from Washington State University.


The Auction of Washington Wines is giving a $15,000 grant to Walla Walla Community College’s Institute for Enology and Viticulture. The grant will support WWCC’s “Human Capital” fund, allowing students to earn an income while they gain real world experience that is credited toward obtaining their degrees.


Two Tri-City professionals received Athena Leadership Awards on Jan. 30 during the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business conference at the Three Rivers Convention Center. Immigration lawyer Aliya Alisheva received the Athena Young Professional Leadership Award. Terry Walsh, executive director of employee and community relations for the city of Kennewick, received the Athena Leadership Award. The awards are presented annually to two local women who deserve recognition for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of leadership skills. These women are nominated by their peers, and the winner is selected by the Tri-City Regional Chamber’s Awards and Recognition Committee.

Kim Mayer, a language arts teacher and cheerleading coach at Hanford High School, received the 2019 Crystal Apple Award. The Crystal Apple Award has been awarded to teachers in and around the Tri-Cities for more than 20 years by Educational Service District 123. The award honors educators who have a positive impact on the lives and futures of students. Mayer has worked in education for 30 years and has been with the Richland School District since 1996.

The Port of Kennewick honored the Latino Heritage Mural Committee as its 2018 Friend of the Port. The port’s board of commissioners commended the mural committee for its leadership in helping guide and successfully celebrate the 8-foot-tall, 84-foot-long, hand-painted Mid-Columbia Latino Heritage Mural. The finished mural is the first of several artworks planned for the Columbia Gardens Wine & Artisan Village in downtown Kennewick.

The “Adam & Jen in the Morning” show on 94.9 FM The Wolf (KIOK-FM) has been nominated for “small market radio personalities of the year” by the Academy of Country Music Award. This is the first nomination for the hosts and they are the only ones nominated from Washington state. The awards ceremony is April 7 in Las Vegas. Their weekday show airs from 5:30 to 10 a.m.

George F. Cicotte of the Cicotte Law Firm of Kennewick was one of 14 employee benefit attorneys to be selected as a fellow for the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel for 2018. Induction as fellow of the ACEBC is a distinction for those who have made demonstrably substantive contributions to the field, have focused on employee benefits law for at least 20 years and have a sustained commitment to public awareness and understanding of benefits laws. Nominees also are required to have provided exceptionally high-quality professional services to clients, the bar and the public.

Vanessa Meras of Columbia Basin College in Pasco has been selected to travel to NASA’s Ames Research Center this spring to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars, or NCAS, on-site experience. She was selected among 403 community college students from across the U.S. for the program that offers students the opportunity to interact with NASA engineers and others as they learn more about careers in science and engineering. The program is funded in part by the Minority University Research and Education Program, or MUREP, which is committed to engaging underrepresented and underserved students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in authentic learning experiences to sustain a diverse work force.

Contractor Mission Support Alliance’s Safeguards and Security organization recently hit more than 1.1 million safe work hours without a lost workday injury. The Safeguards and Security team consists of security operations, Hanford Patrol, security analysis and safeguards for the Hanford site.

Prosser High School students Kelby Steinmetz and Christopher Lane recently won first place in the Prosser Economic Development Association’s Mustang Business Competition. Steinmetz and Land received $500 for their “K & C Recycling” project. A second place award and $200 was given to Wyatt Holmes for “3-D Works” and Gracie Murphy received third place and $200 for “Pasta Angola.


Framatome received a $49 million, 28-month grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to accelerate the development and commercialization of enhanced accident tolerant fuel. The funds build on a $10 million, two-year grant that Framatome received from the DOE in 2016, and will contribute to the advancement of laboratory testing and data collection, as well as irradiation test programs.

Second Harvest received a $92,000 grant from Tyson Foods to increase capacity of the agency’s Pasco distribution center to source and distribute more healthy food for people in need. The grant will provide Second Harvest with a pallet racking system and forklift to maximize existing warehouse space and streamline costs. The expanded storage capacity will make it possible to secure and distribute 445,000 pounds of additional donated fresh produce and other healthy food — the equivalent of 371,000 meals — in the next 12 months.


The following were appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee in January to various boards and commissions: Andrew Klein, of Pasco, to the Building Code Council, with a term ending January 2022. Klein is on the board of the Benton-Franklin Economic Development District; Phillip Lemley, Richland City Council member, to the Building Code Council, with term ending in January 2022; Terry Murphy, of Richland, Medical Quality Insurance Commission, with term ending in June. Murphy is chief of staff and an emergency room physician at Prosser Memorial Health.

Michelle Clary, CEO and Senior Wealth Advisor of Piton Wealth in Kennewick, will join the board of directors of InFaith Com munity Foundation. She is one of 28 active Thrivent Financial professionals to be named to InFaith’s Hall of Honor for her exemplary service serving clients’ charitable interests.

The following people joined the Kadlec Foundation Board of Trustees in January: Alma Feil, vice president of business development for HAPO Community Credit Union; Kristin Sweezea, regional sales director of south Washington for New Home Star, WA LLC; and Roy Wu, who owns Home Instead Senior Care in Kennewick along with his wife Paula.

Ron Johnson was appointed to the Benton REA Board of Trustees to fill the position left vacant by Mark Platt, who retired in June. He moved to West Richland after retiring from the Kent Fire Department, where he served for 31 years and ended his career with the rank of fire captain.

The Tri-City Association of Realtors has named the following board members for 2019: Dave Shinabarger of Smart Realtors, president; John Keltch of Windermere, Group One/Tri-Cities, president elect; Cindy House of Keller Williams Tri-Cities, vice president; Cari McGee of Keller Williams Tri-Cities, secretary/treasurer; Jeff Smart of Smart Realtors, immediate past president.


Cory Briggs of Petersen Hastings in Kennewick has earned the certified financial planner designation. 

BlockChyp, a payment technology startup based in Kennewick’s Southridge area, has completed Level 3 EMV certification with North American Bancard’s EPX processing platform, bridging the gap between conventional credit card networks and blockchain technology. Obtaining this certification enables BlockChyp to start processing live transactions for American Express, Discover, Visa and MasterCard immediately.


Rep. Matt Boehnke, R-Kennewick, was sworn in as a state representative for the 8th Legislative District. Boehnke will serve as the assistant ranking member of the House Innovation, Technology and Economic Development Committee and will service on the House Transportation and Environment Energy committees.

Rep. Skyler Rude, R-Walla Walla, was sworn in as a state representative for the 16th Legislative District. He will service on the House Appropriations Committee as an assistant ranking Republican as well as serving on the House College and Workforce Development and the House Education committees.

Charles (Chuck) Torelli was selected by the Kennewick City Council to serve in the at-large city council position through the December to replace the position left vacant by Matt Boehnke.

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