Networking — March 2019


Kennewick’s Focal Point Marketing & Multimedia has promoted Alma Carrillo from account executive to media buyer. She is a Columbia Basin College graduate.

Jodi Henderson of Benton PUD has been promoted to manager of communications and governmental relations. Henderson joined Benton PUD in 2010 and has been a part of the communication and government relations team for seven years. She graduated from Western Washington State University with a degree in political science and participated in Leadership Tri-Cities Class 21. She replaces Karen Miller, who retired after 20 years with the PUD on Feb. 28.

Jenny Sparks of Benton PUD has been promoted to manager of key accounts and Prosser customer service. Sparks was originally hired as a marketing specialist in 2005 and has held several positions, including business analyst of customer programs and manager of customer service at the Prosser branch. She completed the American Public Power Association Key Accounts Certification Program in 2014. She is a graduate of Central Washington University.

Nicole Anderson will be the next principal of River’s Edge High School in Richland. Anderson, who is an assistant principal at Richland High School, was one of several candidates considered for the role. Anderson taught at Richland High for seven years before becoming the assistant principal at Christ the King School in 2007. She eventually became Christ the King’s principal before returning to Richland High as an administrator in 2014. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Eastern Washington University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Washington State University. Her administrative certification is from Seattle Pacific University. She will replace Principal Dan Chubb who will retire at the end of the 2018-19 school year.


The Franklin PUD Board of Commissioners has selected Scott R. Rhees as the next general manager of the utility.  The appointment will be effective April 1. Franklin PUD received 58 applications from candidates across the region. A native of Utah, Rhees has 40 years of experience, with most as vice president of transmission and utility relations with Cyrq Energy in Salt Lake City. Much of his experience has been with investor-owned utilities, including PacifiCorp. Rhees has served on various economic development boards and chamber of commerce boards. He and his wife currently serve on the Heber Valley Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival Board. They have three children and two grandchildren.

Amanda Young has been hired as a graphic designer at United Way of Benton and Franklin Counties in Kennewick. She is responsible for developing print and digital materials as well as other marketing and communication functions. She has a background in graphic design, marketing and small business development, and holds a bachelor’s degree in digital technology from Washington State University Tri-Cities, and a master’s degree in strategic communications from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University.

The Construction Industry Training Council of Washington has hired Cordaro “Cord” Galvan as apprenticeship and facility coordinator at the Pasco training center, which opened in the fall. Galvan is new to the Pasco facility, but not to CITC. He was previously the apprenticeship and craft training program assistant at CITC’s Bellevue location. In his new role, Galvan will assist apprentices with classes and schedules, serve as a contact for employers, attend job fairs and monitor job sites.

Jeff Cummings of West Richland has been hired as a physician assistant at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center in Kennewick. He earned his master’s of physician assistant studies from Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho. Cummings, who is fluent in English and Spanish, had been working in primary care at the Miramar Clinic in Pasco, which is part of the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic.

Focal Point Marketing & Multimedia new digital marketing specialist is Jessica Schumacher. She helps implement comprehensive audience personas, manages, and optimizes digital campaigns to best use client advertising dollars while performing organic and paid SEO strategies to boost clients’ brands. Focal Point is based in Kennewick.


Fred Meyer has donated $63,265 to Second Harvest Food Bank to be used toward hunger relief efforts through its Hunger Round-Up program, which launched mid-2018. The program allows customers to round-up their store purchase to the nearest dollar, with all the money going to the food bank partner. The contribution will provide 316,325 meals for those in need through Second Harvest’s network of 250 food banks and meal programs feeding 55,000 people each week.


Brett Spooner, the founder, chief executive of officer and managing partner of Gravis Law PLLC, a national law firm with headquarters in Richland, received the Sam Volpentest Entrepreneurial Leadership Award from the Richland Rotary Club’s 23rd annual Entrepreneurial Awards program Feb. 26. The Sammy Award was presented by Sam R. Volpentest, son of Sam Volpentest. Spooner dedicates free time to the growth and expansion of small businesses and entrepreneurial ecosystems in the Tri-Cities. Gravis Law is a full-service law office with specialties in business, family law, wills and estates, and criminal law. The event spotlights businesses that are not fully mature, but show promise for the future. Typically, they are at a late stage of product development, about to receive a patent or just launched a business in a niche market. Other award nominees were: Humming Hemp, Digital Images Tri-Cities, Boost Builds, Molecule Works Inc., Red Mountain Kitchen, Magnolia Music Studios and Cougar Marketing and Design.

The Las Vegas Market named Prosser-based Chukar Cherries’ original assortment food gift as best in category for gourmet food gift Jan. 31. It features an array of chocolate-covered dried cherries, nuts and berries including Northwest-grown dried Bing and Rainier cherries in dark and milk chocolate. It was the first gourmet food gift to win since the category was added this year. It was selected based on aesthetics, user benefits, innovation and marketability.

The Government Finance Officers Association awarded Benton County with a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the 15th consecutive year Feb 5. This is the highest honor in the field of governmental and financial reporting and represents a significant accomplishment, according to a news release from the county.

FASTSIGNS of Kennewick, a sign and visual graphics provider, was recognized Feb. 28 as a top performing center at the 2019 FASTSIGNS Convention in Orlando, Florida. Owned by Jeff and Jared Lembcke, FASTSIGNS of Kennewick received a Mentor Recognition Award, which recognizes a seasoned franchisee who serves as mentor to a new FASTSIGNS franchisee for the first six months of operation. FASTSIGNS of Kennewick has been serving the area since 1991, and the Lembckes bought the center in 1995. 

Jerry Bosley, deputy vice president of Mission Support Alliance’s Site Services and Interface Management organization, received the 2018 Kathryn A. Wheeler Safety Leadership award. He has been committed to safety for the 30 years he worked at the Hanford site. The annual award recognizes a member of the MSA workforce who demonstrates support of safety through worker engagement and activities that are collaborative, cooperative and proactive. 

Superintendent Carl D. Thompson of Columbia Point Golf Course in Richland received a Natural Resource Conservation Award for his work in water conservation and management, pollution prevention, energy conservation and wildlife and habitat management. The 2018 Environmental Leaders in Golf Awards are presented annually by the Golf Course Superintendents of America, or GCSAA, and Golf Digest. The award recognizes superintendents of golf courses around the world for their commitment to environment stewardship since 1993. CourseCo, a golf course management company with properties in the Tri-Cities, received the 2019 President’s Award for Environmental Stewardship by the board of Golf Course Superintendents of America, or GCSAA. The award was presented Feb. 6 during the 2019 Golf Industry Show in San Diego. CourseCo manages Columbia Point Golf Course, Columbia Park Golf Links in Kennewick and Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco.

Hanford High School music teacher Chris Newbury was selected to share his percussion expertise with music educators from across the Northwest. Newbury presented “Drum Set Troubleshooting” at the National Association for Music Education All-Northwest Conference in Portland from Feb. 14-17. The workshop is aimed at giving teachers insight and advice on how to help students of all levels and abilities overcome challenges when playing a drum set.

Financial services firm Edward Jones ranks among the Fortune 500 for the sixth year in a row. Fortune magazine ranks the largest U.S. companies by revenue. Edward Jones moved up 27 spots to No. 376 on the list with nearly $7.6 billion in revenue for 2017. The company has several offices in the Tri-Cities.


Navy Fire Controlman 3rd Class Trevor Michner of Prosser is serving aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance. He participated in a replenishment-at-sea with the dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Matthew Perry in the Pacific Ocean on Feb. 6. The Spruance is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.


The Kadlec Foundation has three new Foundation Board of Trustees members: Alma Feil, vice president of business development with HAPO Community Credit Union, Kristin Sweezea, regional sales director with New Home Star WA LLC, and Roy Wu, owner of Home Instead Senior Care.

Six people have joined the Board of Directors at United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties: Joni Grindstaff is the director of the mission integration office for DOE’s Office of River Protection; Randy Hayden is the executive director at the Port of Pasco where he has worked for the past 19 years; Sandra Haynes became the chancellor of Washington State University Tri-Cities in March 2018; Gail Johnsen is the pastor of staff at Faith Tri-Cities in Pasco and a certified life and leadership coach; Charles Simpson is a manager at Washington River Protection Services; and Rebecca Weber is an international trade specialist for the state Department of Agriculture’s International Marketing Program.


Elisabeth Holt, member development director at the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, was among the 30 chamber executives to graduate from Academy, a professional development program presented by the Western Association of Chamber Executives, the largest state or regional association of chamber of commerce executives in the United States. Academy is an interactive three-year training program on chamber management essentials designed for today’s chamber executives and staff professionals.


The National Association of Conservation Districts elected its 2019 leadership team, including Richland ranch manager Michael Crowder as first vice president. Crowder has an extensive background in conservation, agriculture and service, and has taught westland restoration, wildlife science and ecology at Washington State University Tri-Cities. He manages farm operations in Indiana and Washington, including Barker Ranch in West Richland. He has served on the Benton Conversation District for many years. The association’s board of directors selects conservation policy priorities, which are used to develop and review environmental and natural resources legislation and to secure federal funding for natural resources conservation programs.

Chris Meiers, Washington State University Tri-Cities vice chancellor of student affairs, was recently elected as the regional director for the Northwest region of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, or NASPA. He will lead region 5, which encompasses Alaska, British Columbia, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Alberta, Idaho and Nevada. His duties will consist of representing the region on the national board and leading the regional board of directors in professional activities and services. He has been involved with NASPA for more than 20 years in various regional and national appointments.


Dennis Gisi of John L. Scott Real Estate has been appointed to serve on two committees of the Washington State Association of Realtors: the Finance Committee and Legislative Steering Committee. Both are two-year terms. Gisi is a broker and co-owner of John L. Scott Real Estate in the Columbia Basin region with Washington offices in Pasco and Walla Walla, and Oregon offices in Milton-Freewater and Hermiston. 

Urszula Kobiesa, an independent health insurance agent in the Tri-Cities, has been selected by UnitedHealthcare to serve a two-year term on the AARP Services Inc. Agent Advisory Council, a forum established to gather information to help enhance the products and services that benefit AARP members. Kobiesa is one of 12 health insurance agents nationwide selected to serve on this volunteer council. She was selected for her commitment to serving AARP members and knowledge of Medicare and the Tri-City community.


Benton Fire District 1 passed its independent financial and accountability audits conducted by the Washington State Auditor’s office. The audits, which cover financial and operational practices for 2015-17, came back with no findings.

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