Networking — June 2019


Richland’s RC Engineering and Construction Management hired Kristin Mensinger as a project manager. Mensinger is a business marketing graduate who has been working in the federal contracting industry since 2009. Mensinger will be responsible for developing new business relationships, promoting services and overseeing internal projects to ensure overall client satisfaction. Founded in 2007, RC is a small, woman-owned firm that provides engineering and construction management, cost engineering, and support services to the federal, public works, and environmental industries nationwide.

The Tri-Cities Cancer Center hired Sonia Aranda as a health information specialist. She will assist in the processing of electronic medical records, diagnosis coding, obtaining insurance authorizations, front desk coverage and coverage for other areas in the cancer center. She has more than 17 years of health care and customer service experience. Most recently she worked as front office assistant at Kadlec General Surgery in Richland. Prior to Kadlec, she was a financial counselor and clerical coordinator with Trios Oncology.

The Academy of Children’s Theatre hired Lisa Howell as production manager. She will oversee all day to day aspects of staging ACT’s six annual mainstage productions, assisting with box office sales and helping with community outreach programs. Howell brings a wealth of experience to her new role, having produced nine ACT shows, coordinated property management on 13 productions and assistant directed two shows.

Chaplaincy Health Care has hired Daniel Lipparelli as the director of development. He manages all aspects of fundraising, development and philanthropic support, as well as developing strategic and annual plans for the development department. Before joining Chaplaincy Health Care, Daniel spent three years as the executive director of the Edith Bishel Center for the Blind in Kennewick. He serves on the board of directors for ReAct Kenya and as a volunteer advisor for Rehema for Kids, a Washington-based nonprofit meeting the needs of children in Kenya.

Robert Sorensen will be the new principal of Lewis & Clark Elementary School in Richland. He is currently an assistant principal at Enterprise Middle School. He has worked in Richland schools for 16 years, starting as a school psychologist. He began moving into administrative roles in 2014 and became an assistant principal at Enterprise in 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from University of Washington, a master’s in education from Central Washington University and administrator certification from Gonzaga University. Sorensen will replace Principal Liz Crider at Lewis & Clark.

Sean Langdon will be the new principal of Tapteal Elementary Schools. He currently is an assistant principal at Orchard Elementary. Langdon joined the district at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. He spent the bulk of his 17-year career in education in the Wahluke School District, starting as a paraeducator and substitute teacher before becoming a dean of students, assistant principal and principal at several schools there. He earned a bachelor’s in elementary education from Central Washington University, a master’s in education from Heritage University and his administrative certificate from Heritage. Langdon replaces Principal Rhonda Pratt at Tapteal as she becomes principal at Chief Joseph Middle School.

Dr. Mary Grace Hipolito has joined Trios Health. She is the provider of outpatient primary care at Trios Care Center at Chavallo at 7211 W. Deschutes Ave., Suite B. in Kennewick. Hipolito practiced at Kadlec Medical Center, Providence Medical Group, Kennewick General Hospital and Miramar Health Center. She also has volunteered at the Grace Clinic in Kennewick. She studied at the University of the Philippines in Manila and completed her residency at Swedish American Hospital in Rockford, Illinois. She is board certified in family medicine.

Randy Jansons has joined STCU credit union, which has offices in Kennewick and Richland, as a commercial banking officer serving businesses throughout the Tri-Cities. He has nearly 25 years of experience in commercial banking, most recently as vice president and business banking officer at Bank of the West in Kennewick.

Kennewick construction group JUB Engineers Inc. has hired Ben Hoppe as Kennewick’s aviation and construction group leader. Hoppe has been with JUB since 2011 and has professional licenses in Washington and Oregon. He came to JUB from the Washington State Department of Transportation and has been working with the Kennewick Transportation Group since 2011. Lee Unterwegner, project engineer for Port of Benton and Tri-Cities Airport projects, will transition to the role of Kennewick construction manager. He has been with JUB since 2014.


The Tri-Cities Cancer Center has been selected by Modern Healthcare as one of the 2019 Best Places to Work in Healthcare. Modern Healthcare will publish a special supplement featuring ranked lists of all the winners along in its Sept. 30 issue. The Tri-Cities Cancer Center will be honored at the 2019 Best Places to Work in Healthcare awards gala Sept. 26 in Dallas, Texas.

Anneliese M. Johnson has qualified for the 2019 Waddell & Reed Circle of Champions conference, which recognizes the top financial advisors affiliated with the company. Selection is based on an analysis of investment, insurance and financial planning sales generated. More than 500 of Waddell & Reed’s national network of financial advisors qualified for this year’s event. This is the eighth time that Johnson has qualified. Johnson has worked in the financial services industry for 12 years, individuals and families throughout the Tri-City community with their personal, long-term investment goals.

Financial services firm Edward Jones, which has several offices in the Tri-Cities, ranked No. 7 on the 2019 Fortune “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. This year marks the company’s 20th year on the list.

The U.S. Small Business Administration named Banner Bank Washington, which has offices in the Tri-Cities, regional lender of the year for the Seattle/Spokane District of Washington. The SBA said Banner Bank originated the most loans last year among all banks serving Washington state, approving 174 loans totaling more than $40 million. The district includes all of Washington except for a small area that includes Vancouver, which is included in the Portland District.

Richland’s Water Treatment Facility received a Washington State Department of Health award for performing above and beyond federal water quality requirements four years in a row. Exceeding these standards means Richland is detecting contaminates beyond the Safe Drinking Water Act standards or limits. The Washington State treatment optimization program recognizes surface water treatment facilities which go above and beyond federal requirements for turbidity. Turbidity is the clarity of water.

The Bogert Group, which is an umbrella for businesses that make military equipment, hydraulic pumps, accessories for recreational boating and small aircraft and a line of jacks for safely lifting heavy equipment, earned a gold award for being an innovator in manufacturing. The Bogert Group operates as Bogert Aviation Inc., Bogert Manufacturing Inc., dba Safe Jack & Uncle Norm’s Marine Products, and Bogert International Inc. The company received the award in April from Seattle Business Magazine as the 2019 Innovator of the Year. Pasco Processing LLC, which is part of the Oregon Potato Co. family of vegetable and fruit processors, received a silver award for Food and Beverage Processor of the Year.

Two Baker Boyer advisors have achieved national certification: Rob Blethen, vice president family advisor manager, received the certified financial planner, or CFP, designation by the CFP Board, a nonprofit that fosters professional standards in personal financial planning. Blethen has more than two decades of experience in business and nonprofit leadership, journalism and running a division of his family business. He manages family advisor team members who are the coordinators of Baker Boyer services and planning for businesses and high net worth clients. Olivia Loomis earned the qualified 401(k) administrator, or QKA, credential from The American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries. Loomis has been part of the Baker Boyer trust and investment team for nearly four years, specializing in employee benefit accounts.

Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland has earned the highest grade possible for quality and safety from the Leapfrog Group, which recently announced spring 2019 scores. The biannual grading assigns A, B, C, D and F letter grades to general acute-care hospitals in the U.S. Kadlec is one of 13 hospitals out of nearly 100 in the state of Washington to earn an A grade. 

Trios Health recently announced that Christy Kuhn has been recognized as the hospital’s 2019 Mercy Award winner. The award recognizes one employee from each of LifePoint Health’s hospitals who profoundly touches the lives of others and best represents the spirit and values on which the company was founded. Kuhn is the director of diabetes and nutrition education, nutrition services and environmental services at Trios Health. She received nominations for the Mercy Award from current and former co-workers, as well as a community member. In 2012, Kuhn and the Diabetes Education team spearheaded the effort to provide a camp for children diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Camp Trios is a one-of-a-kind day camp that has grown from about 20 campers to 50 since its inception. Kuhn helps to organize diabetes education into activities that are fun and engaging for the campers, help them to create lasting friendships and teach them to manage their diabetes. In addition to her work with Camp Trios, Kuhn’s nominators also wrote of her willingness to volunteer, her cheerful attitude and her dedication to providing the highest quality care and excellent services to patients, visitors and staff, writing that she “is a tireless patient and staff advocate.” She has worked at Trios Health for 22 years.

Each hospital winner will be considered for LifePoint’s 2019 companywide Mercy Award, which will be announced this summer during a ceremony in Nashville.

U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Washington, received the Spirit of Enterprise Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for his support of pro-jobs legislation. The award was presented at Pasco Chamber of Commerce’s luncheon May 13.

State Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, was given Washington Public Ports Association’s Compass Award for 2019. In its second year, the award was designed to recognize both a Republican and Democrat legislator who have shown special support of port districts. The recipients received an engraved compass – a symbol of heading in the right direction. The Democrat recipient was Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien. Chandler, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, was instrumental in the success of the Port of Sunnyside Ostrom’s Mushroom project, which will bring more than 200 year-round jobs to the Yakima Valley.

Jason Lee, Lewis & Clark and White Bluffs elementary schools in Richland are being recognized by state education officials for student performance on the state’s smarter balanced assessments, or SBAs, for math and language arts from the 2017-18 school year. The schools were recognized at a June 6 ceremony in Spokane.

Andrea Clare of TMC Law in Richland was recognized as among the 10 best personal injury attorneys for client satisfaction in the state by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys.

This year’s recipients of the John Goldsbury Award are Detective Jesse Romero of Pasco and Officer Jeremy Taylor of Kennewick. They received a stipend and $500 donated in their names to the charity of their choice. The late Goldsbury, a Pasco-Kennewick Rotarian and Tri-Citian of the Year, was active in numerous charities throughout the Tri-Cities but his favorite two were feeding the hungry and supporting law enforcement. Upon his death, the Pasco-Kennewick Rotary wanted to keep his legacy alive by recognizing police officers from Kennewick and Pasco each year. Nominations are made by the respective departments and based upon outstanding career accomplishments.

The Trios Health Southridge Hospital operating room has earned the 2018 OR of the Year Award from LifeNet Health Pacific Northwest. The award was given in recognition of Trios’ work with LifeNet to help with tissue recovery and donations and for the cooperation, willingness, timeliness and flexibility to make accommodations for those recoveries to occur. In 2018, Trios operating rooms were used 19 times by LifeNet Health to recover tissue for donors. Each donor can enhance or save the lives of up to 150 people, and recoveries through Trios last year have already impacted more than 850 people in the Northwest and will continue to be used to enhance and save lives.

Mid-Columbia Libraries’ “Inspiring Latinos/Latinos Inspiradores” videos, a project of the Tri-Cities Latino Community Network, received a bronze award in the social video series’ culture and lifestyle category of the 40th annual Telly Awards, which honors excellence in video and TV across all screens and is judged by leaders from video platforms, TV, streaming networks and production companies. The Latino network is a partnership of Mid-Columbia Libraries and the Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce which has a mission is to leverage the expertise of its members and local leaders to activate positive influence in the community. The video series, produced by Mid-Columbia Libraries’ communications department together with videographer Ryan Scott of Firefly Solutions, showcases the leadership, talents, generosity and resilience of four inspirational Latinos who are making the Tri-Cities community a better place.


Charlie Pearce, who joined Trios Health in January as interim chief financial officer, has been appointed as permanent chief financial officer. Prior to his arrival at Trios, Pearce worked in Kalispell, Montana, as a chief financial information officer at Kalispell Regional Healthcare. He has worked in hospitals in Florida, Arkansas, Texas and Montana. He began his career as an accountant at a hospital in Homestead, Florida, after attending Asbury College in Kentucky, where he earned his bachelor’s in management and accounting. He later completed a master’s in business administration at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Washington State Reps. Matt Boehnke and Skyler Rude have been appointed to serve on the national conference of the state Legislature’s nuclear legislative working group. The group, which meets twice a year, provides state lawmakers from across the nation an opportunity to discuss nuclear energy and waste management policy, as well as meet with federal officials from the Department of Energy. Both legislators noted ongoing cleanup at the Hanford nuclear reservation site will be of particular interest as they meet with the working group.


Stamp Out Hunger, an annual nationwide food drive held by the National Association of Letter Carriers, collected 31,908 pounds of nonperishable food locally, 2,752 more pounds than the previous year. The food will be distributed to people in need through Second Harvest partner food pantries in Benton and Franklin counties. The food will provide 26,590 meals for local kids, families and seniors who otherwise won’t have enough to eat. Tri-City letter carriers collected the food along their postal routes May 11.

The Kadlec Auxiliary has designated a $274,000 end-of-year gift to Kadlec Foundation to be used for the Kadlec Auxiliary Mammogram Assistance Program, mammography equipment, Healthy Ages After Age 50 program, Kadlec Academy, suicide prevention and community health. Auxiliary members help in a variety of areas throughout the Richland hospital, including assisting with sales in the Kadlec gift shops and sewing items for Kadlec patients. Members allocate money they earn through gift shop proceeds to programs, services and capital equipment for the hospital for the benefit of patients and families at Kadlec.


Communities in Schools of Benton Franklin received $20,000 from Numerica Credit Union to provide integrated student supports for students experiencing homelessness and other barriers preventing them from learning in school and achieving in life. The multi-county, independent nonprofit works with school districts to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school.

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust recently awarded $250,000 to the Columbia Basin College Foundation to support relocation and expansion of its new dental hygiene clinic in Richland. The clinic will be able to more than double the number of patients seen each year as well as increase enrollment by 30 percent over the next four years. CBC’s dental hygiene program offers students a bachelor of applied science degree and operates a low-cost clinic where students provide oral health care to an average of 2,100 low-income children, teens and adults each year. Construction of CBC’s new dental hygiene location is in process and will be complete in fall 2019.


Columbia Generating Station stakeholders, representing 92 utilities in six states, elected member utilities and individual officers to the nuclear power plant’s participants review board during a May public meeting in Sacramento, California. The meeting was held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Northwest Public Power Association. The three utility participants elected for a three-year term to the nine-member board are: Inland Power & Light’s Garry Rosman, Kittitas County PUD’s Paul Rogers and Mason PUD 1’s Ron Gold. The PRB also elected Rogers as chairman; Susan Thraen, Missoula Electric Cooperative, as vice chairwoman; and Stu Nelson of Franklin PUD as secretary. Officers serve a one-year term.

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