Networking — May 2019


Washington State University Tri-Cities conferred 352 degrees at its commencement ceremony on May 4 at the Toyota Center in Kennewick. Among those degrees, 308 bachelor’s degrees were presented, 32 master’s degrees and 12 doctoral degrees. Washington state Sen. Sharon Brown presented the keynote address.

Carmen Lynn Marquart of Toyota of Tri-Cities graduated in April from the National Automobile Dealers Association Academy as part of Class N338. The program includes six one-week classroom sessions over the course of a year.

Charter College in Pasco held its graduation ceremony April 12 at Chiawana High School. Five students received the President’s Award for achieving a 4.0 cumulative grade point average: Audra Harding, Angelica Lopez, Marta Osorio, Katie Sullivan, and Mayra Verduzco.

  • Earning medical assistant certificates: Griselda Abarca, Maritza Andujo, Alegandra Aparicio, Edgar Armenta, Elsie Arriaga, Ashlie Benefiel, Lucy Bunglick, Michelle Calvillo, Yobane Chairez, Charity Duckworth, Nancy Enriquez Ponce, Claudia Estrada, Rikki Flores, Bethany Garza, Anthony Gonzales, Arlette Gonzalez, Aurora Gonzalez, Elisa Guillen, Michell Hankel-Brockmier, Amanda Hausinger, Sosena Hernandez Erevia, Jamaica Holts, Sudie Isidro, Iolani Leal, Lucina Lopez, Angelica Lopez, Lizbet Madrigal, Shelly McCauley, Daisy Mendez, Areli Nava-Gonzalez, Zendy Nunez, Vanessa Olvera, Marta Osorio, Anabel Pallares, Abby Pendergast, Ana Pineda, Desiree Presnell, Maisi Ranard, Jennifer Richman, Stormie Rios, Jorge Rivera, Juliette Robinson, Cassandra Rodriguez, Hector Ruelas-Camacho, Nakisha Rundhaug, Tomas Saldana, Randy Salgado, Liliana Sanchez, Katie Sullivan, Mayra Verduzco, Shelby Waddell, Rita Waldo and Melissa Williams.
  • Earning dental assisting certificates: Samantha Adams, Idcen Altamirano, Isabella Brooks, Cassandra Buchholz, Lasha Craig, Jasmine Figueroa, Sophia Gutierrez, Ruby Jasso, Evaline Klima, Josie Krieger, Carrie Parker, Leonela Pineda-Barajas, Genesis Rodriguez, Sara Ruvalcaba, Teresa Silva, Katelynn Turnbull and Janida Van Sabben.
  • Earning heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC) certificates: Oscar Acosta, Gabriel Aguilar Roldan, Levi Branham, Casey Crawford, Edwin Garcia, Miguel Garcia, Adam Gray, Antonio Guajardo, Pablo Guido, Eduardo Leal, Martin Martinez, Andrew Mattson, Jarred McCary, Jonathan Mendoza, Cristobal Murillo, Jose Ramos and Jesse Roberts.


Benton Fire District 1 Board of Fire Commissioners appointed new commissioner David M. Jenkins on April 16. He was appointed to fill a vacancy left by the death of Commissioner Jerry Sleater. Jenkins has more than 25 years of experience in business and operations. He started Country Masonry in 1998, which he still owns and operates today. His appointment term expires Dec. 31. He will be up for election for the position later this year. He and his wife Cherie and their four children live in Badger Canyon.

Kennewick Mayor Don Britain has reappointed Patricia Turner to a second, five-year term on the Housing Authority of Kennewick’s Board of Commissioners. Turner has led the board as the chairwoman for three years. Tom Moak was appointed chairman and Veronica “Nikki” Griffith was appointed vice chair. Other commissioners are Leo Perales and Colin Bates. The authority is governed by a six-member board, five of whom are appointed by the mayor. The resident-assisted commissioner position is vacant.

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


Kadlec Foundation received three grants totaling $23,500 in March for equipment in the level III neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, and for the Kadlec Academy program: $20,000 from The Wildhorse Foundation toward the purchase of NICU beds; $2,000 from Northwest Farm Credit Services toward the purchase of NICU beds; $1,500 from Walmart Kennewick toward the Kadlec Academy after-school health program.


Junior Achievement in Southeastern Washington received a $25,000 contribution from Bechtel Group Foundation, marking $190,000 in total giving to the local chapter from the global firm since 2011. This gift enables Junior Achievement to deliver classroom programs focused on work readiness and entrepreneurship as part of Bechtel’s Building Future Leaders program. Junior Achievement is one of four nonprofits in Bechtel’s global stewardship program, which supports science, technology, engineering and math education and humanitarian engineering efforts.

Roasters Coffee, a locally owned and operated company, reported it raised $36,832.76 during its 12-month Community Giving Days campaign. Roasters Coffee has been committed to donating the profits from every drink purchased on the last Monday of every month to local charities and nonprofits in the greater Tri-City area. The money will be donated to the following groups: Autism Help group; Columbians Drum and Bugle Corps; Royal Family Kids; Dream Center Tri-Cities; IMPACT! Compassion Center; Little Lives Small Animal Rescue; My Friends Place; Meals on Wheels; Mustangs 4 Mustangs; Rascal Rodeo; Cork’s Place, Chaplaincy Health Care;Strides Therapeutic Horsemanship Center.

Bechtel National Inc. has donated $23,500 to Second Harvest to fund local childhood hunger-relief programs. The donation is added to Bechtel’s charitable contributions totaling almost $50,000 over the past three years to childhood hunger programs in the community. Funding from Bechtel supports ongoing service to Second Harvest’s Bite2Go backpack program, which provides weekend food kits to 750 local students each week. Bechtel also supports five Second Harvest pantries at specific school and district offices to serve students. Second Harvest also received a $5,000 donation from Leidos to fund childhood hunger-relief efforts in the Tri-Cities.

Leidos and Centerra Group, the parent companies of Hanford contractor Mission Support Alliance, donated $50,000 to The Children’s Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia to support the Bridging the Literacy Gap program. The money will be used to buy books and for an outreach campaign to increase awareness among families and caregivers of their important role in raising a reader.


Ryan Beard will be the Richland School District’s new career and technical education director. Beard’s career in education spans more than 20 years and includes experience as the CTE program administrator and dean of students at Redmond High School in Oregon and most recently as CTE instructional specialist for the High Desert Education Service District. He also brings real world CTE experience as a welder, sculptor and fabricator. He replaces Claudia Cooley who is retiring.

Eric Davis, currently athletic director at Hanford High School, will become assistant principal at Chief Joseph Middle School in Richland under new Principal Rhonda Pratt.

Erin Easton, assistant principal at Chief Joseph Middle School in Richland, will become an assistant principal at Richland High School. She replaces Assistant Principal Vicki Bricker, who is retiring.

Jon Lobdell, planning principal for the Academy of Health and Sciences in Richland, will become associate principal at Richland High School. He replaces Assistant Principal Nicole Anderson, who will be the new principal at River’s Edge High School. Lobdell will continue to oversee the academy based at Richland High.

Joseph Estey and Jason Brustad joined Lucas Engineering and Management Services of Richland as performance improvement specialists III. They will be part of the organizational performance team and oversee training in areas of human performance improvement; leadership development; environment; and safety, health and quality and conduct of operations. Both have several years of training experience at the Hanford site combined with multiple certifications and field recognition.

John Kelly, Richland School District’s coordinator for instructional technology, will become assistant principal at Jefferson Elementary in Richland.

Daniel Rehm joined Bank of Eastern Washington, a branch of Bank of Eastern Oregon, as a commercial and agricultural lender working out of the Pasco branch. Rehm worked much of the past 12 years as a loan officer in the Tri-City region. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration, with a finance major from Auburn University. 

Tobey Garrett has joined STCU credit union as a home loan officer at the STCU Southridge Financial and Home Loan Center in Kennewick. He has two decades of experience helping homebuyers secure financing, most recently with Banner Bank in Eugene, Oregon. She serves buyers seeking conventional mortgages; construction loans; land loans; and government-backed loans such as Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Affairs and Department of Agriculture loans.

Kimberly Nevil of Irrigon has been hired as chief executive officer at Greater Hermiston Chamber of Commerce. She began work April 22. Nevil worked as a business and employment specialist with the Oregon Employment Department in Hermiston. Nevil will lead a chamber staff of three in interactions with its 428 members. She will coordinate the activities of chamber committees and manage efforts to develop a new chamber office and workforce development center at South Highway 395 and East Evelyn Avenue. Nevil replaced Debbie Pedro, who resigned for another job opportunity after 18 years with the chamber.

The Tri-Cities Cancer Center Foundation has hired Tara Divers as a donor relations and stewardship specialist. In her role, Divers will support the execution of the foundation’s strategic plan to enhance donor stewardship and create a pipeline for major gifts and annual gifts. Divers brings with her more than 12 years of experience in sales and event management. Most recently she was event director for the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce. She has a bachelor of science in psychology from Washington State University in Pullman.

Shelby Moore has been hired as the new executive director of Heartlinks Hospice and Palliative Care in Sunnyside. She served as the agency’s the development director of Heartlinks for almost three years. She has a master’s of public administration degree from the University of Montana with a focus on nonprofit management. She also is a certified fundraising executive by CFRE International. She serves as a member of Prosser Rotary Club, wish grantor for Make-A-Wish Alaska & Washington and board member of Women Helping Women Fund Tri-Cities.

Francis Perrin has joined Ste. Michelle Wine Estates as chief marketing oficer, overseeing the company’s brand management, digital marketing, innovation and direct-to-consumer functions. He brings more than 20 years of experience to his new role, including previous leadership positions with large public and private consumer packaged goods companies, as well as previous wine and spirits industry experience. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from HEC Montréal and a master’s degree from Columbia University.


West Richland middle school teacher Jessica Sadlers involvement and achievements after three years of teaching earned her the 2019 Washington State Outstanding Young Educator from Washington State ASCD, formerly known as the Washington State Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. She is a science teacher at Leona Libby Middle School in West Richland. In her science classroom, she integrates technology into her teaching; she serves as a leader among staff by providing help to fellow teachers while serving on several staff teams; she helped organize the school’s first STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) Night event; and she advises Libby’s Science Bowl/Science Club team, which recently competed at the state competition. Sadler was first hired at Enterprise Middle School before helping open Libby, the district’s first STEAM middle school, for the 2017-18 school year. 

Ryan Ratchford, the chief executive officer Apollo Mechanical executive assistant to CEO, from left, accepted the Four Way Test Award from Theresa Buckendorf and Kat Lawrence, president of the Pasco-Kennewick Rotary. Apollo Mechanical Contractors was selected for the award because of the company’s contributions to the Tri-City community, its ideal of service and its extensive safety record. The Four Way Test was created in 1932 by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor and adopted by Rotary International in 1943, becoming the standard of Rotary conduct.

Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business freelancer Arielle Dreher of Pasco, a Hanford High graduate, has been selected to be a reporter for the Report for America project. She’ll spend a year in the The Spokesman-Review newsroom, covering public health and social issues. The program places 61 journalists in 50 newsrooms spanning 30 states and Puerto Rico.

The Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership held its annual Downtowner Banquet at Clover Island Inn on April 18. The annual dinner serves as one of the largest annual celebrations within downtown Kennewick, with more than 200 attendees, including city of Kennewick and Port of Kennewick officials, commissioners, council representatives, business executives, nonprofits, and prominent community leaders. The annual dinner collected $20,000 for the partnership, with much of the money to be used for revitalization of the downtown and expanding current programming. Business leaders and volunteers who exemplify excellence and dedication to downtown also were honored during the event:

  • John Gravenslund of Washington Hardware was named the Downtowner of the Year. As a fourth-generation, family-owned business, Washington Hardware and the Gravenslund family have been an integral piece of downtown Kennewick for more than 100 years with a legacy of outstanding customer service.
  • The Volunteer of the Year award went to Cory Eastland of Farmer’s Exchange for his leadership of the weekly farmers market, a role he has held for the past four years.
  • The Business of the Year award went to Mel’s InterCity Collision Inc. for its quality work and excellence in customer satisfaction. Mel Eayrs and daughter Heather Boderik, who are owners and operators of Mel’s InterCity Collision, are also involved with HDKP, having served as board members and organizers for the annual Classy Chassy car show.

The City of Pasco won a 2019 Association of Washington Cities Municipal Excellence Award for its Hot Spotters program. Hot Spotters is a collaboration between several groups in the community, including the city’s fire and police departments, Lourdes Health, other first responders, legal providers, city and county judges, mental health treatment providers, healthcare providers, community housing organizations and state health and human services agencies. The award recognizes innovative city projects that significantly improve the quality of life. The competition is open each year to any state city or town. Five projects will be honored this year at the AWC’s annual conference this June in Spokane. The Hot Spotters program is one of three community health programs highlighted in the 2019 All-America City Awards application, which helped garner Pasco’s inclusion as an All-America City Award finalist.

The Kiwanis Club of Kennewick honored four first responders during its third annual First Responders Appreciation Luncheon on April 2 at the Clover Island Inn. Awards went to:

Officer Joe Santoy of the Kennewick Police Department. He has been in law enforcement since 2008, joining the Kennewick department in 2011. He has been active in the Criminal Investigations Division, as well as the Special Investigations Unit.

Firefighter Matthew Martens of the Kennewick Fire Department. He is a 16-year veteran of the department and member of the hazmat team. He was instrumental in procuring the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters to hold their convention in the Tri-Cities last summer.

Trooper Daniel Mosqueda of the Washington State Patrol. He has been in law enforcement since 2008 and has been in the Kennewick offices since 2012. He is a certified drug recognition expert and a lead coordinator for the El Protector program.

Deputy Elias Perez of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office. He began his career in law enforcement in 2013 and joined the sheriff’s office in 2014. He is a member of the Tri-Cities Regional SWAT Team and serves on the crisis negotiator team. He also is an agency liaison to school districts in Benton County, assessing district training and preparation for critical incidence.

Fuerza Elementary School fifth-grader Ailey Evans was selected among 2,600 entries from students across the country to be one of the five Sodexo Future Chefs and compete for the national title with her plantain nachos recipe. A Nebraska student won the national title.

The Pasco Police Department has achieved national advanced law enforcement accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. The application, review, on-site audit and final hearing approval is a process that typically takes two to three years, and recertification is required every four years to maintain the status. This accreditation is in addition to state accreditation in 2016 of the Department by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. The Pasco Police Department is one of eight CALEA-accredited law enforcement agencies in the state. Nationally, about five percent of law enforcement agencies currently hold this standard.

Shelley Kennedy, a financial advisor at Edward Jones in Richland, qualified for Edward Jones’ Financial Advisor Leaders Conference, which is in May in St. Louis. She was among 800 advisors who qualified out of the firm’s more than 17,000 advisors. The conference recognizes financial advisors who are among the leaders in the financial services firm. The conference also will provide additional training to help financial advisors serve more individual investors in their communities.

The League of American Bicyclists recognized Tri-CU Credit Union of Kennewick with a bronze Bicycle Friendly Business award, earning it a place alongside 1,266 bike-forward businesses across the country in a commitment to building a more Bicycle Friendly America. This is the first award to a business in the city of Kennewick, and the fourth in the Tri-City area, after Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, Greenies and Fuse, all in Richland. Tri-CU encourages bicycling by providing an outside bike repair station and outdoor water fountain, as well as bike storage inside the credit union for employees.

Hayden Watson, chairman of Hayden Homes, has been recognized as the recipient of the 2019 Hearthstone Builder Humanitarian Award, presented annually by Builder Magazine and Hearthstone. The award honors those in our industry who demonstrate a lifetime commitment to making their communities a better place to work and live.  Watson has led Hayden Homes for nearly three decades, starting as CEO in 1999, and becoming chairman in 2016. Under his leadership, the company ranks as one of the top 35 private home builders in the country, with an economic impact of more than $3 billion since inception.

Hayden Homes has provided more than 16,000 new homes in underserved markets throughout Washington, including in the Tri-Cities, Oregon and Idaho. Hayden Homes commits 10 percent of profits including one eighth of one percent of every home sale to charitable causes. The trio of home building companies led by Watson have donated more than $18.5 million to a variety of causes including the nonprofit, First Story, which puts a lower-income family in the position to buy a new home with no down payment and an interest-free loan. More than 80 percent of Watson’s employees contribute to this organization through a regular payroll deduction called “Give As You Go,” matched 100 percent by Hayden Homes. The nonprofit has more than $11 million in assets.

Owner and CEO of Simple Box Storage, Ross Black, which has a location in Richland, was named Washington’s 2019 Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration. It demonstrated growth in net worth and business expansion, increase in jobs and sales, innovativeness of products or services, response to adversity and contributions to community-oriented projects, according to the SBA. State winners were considered for a national award, which went to an Arizona company. Founded by Black when he was a high school senior in 1997, Simple Box Storage rents and sells shipping containers for storage, moving or modification.


Deputy City Manager Stan Strebel has announced his retirement from the city of Pasco, effective June 14. Strebel has had a career in government for more than 40 years and has a broad knowledge of Pasco and the Tri-Cities, having served in his current position since July 2009 and, before that, as the city’s administrative and community services director for more than 10 years. Strebel has extensive professional experience in public management — serving 40 years as a senior local government manager with more than 21 years as city manager or deputy city manager in three cities — and 12 years in executive level county government management positions. A decision on his successor is expected later this summer.

Ronald K. Jetter, outgoing executive director of Heartlinks Hospice and Palliative Care of Sunnyside, recently was honored for 11 years of service. He oversaw the executive leadership of the Heartlinks Hospice team of 46 medical and support staff prior to his retirement April 26.

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