Networking – April 2020


• The Port of Benton hired Miles S. Thomas as the director of economic development and governmental affairs. The port previously contracted Thomas as a consultant to fulfill the port’s economic development and state/local governmental affairs duties. After serving in this role for the first quarter of 2020, the port offered him the position permanently. Thomas brings more than 10 years of community and economic development experience to the position.

• David Reading joined Lineage Logistics as a sales manager based in Kennewick. He will have responsibility for facilities in Kennewick, Richland, Quincy and Othello, along with warehouses in Salem and Brooks, Oregon. He comes to the Burien-based company with an extensive background in transportation and logistics sales and operations.

• Summers Miya joined the Port of Benton as the port’s administrative technician. Miya previously worked for Visit Tri-Cities and has more than 10 years of community. Her role will be to focus on the port’s commission meetings, accounting, events and administrative duties. Summers has a comprehensive sales, marketing and operations experience along with accounting background. Her experience allowed the port to combine two former positions into one.

• Baker Boyer Bank promoted Cathy Schaeffer to the role of Walla Walla family advising manager. Schaeffer, a certified financial planner, draws on more than two decades of diverse professional experience to provide outstanding client service and leadership. She graduated from Washington State University with a master’s degree in agricultural economics and a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness. As the executive director of the Walla Walla Watershed Alliance and Partnership organizations from 2002-13, she was instrumental in coordinating efforts among stakeholder groups to arrive at a nationally recognized approach to water management. She also has been the business manager for an agricultural association, deputy district director for a member of Congress and senior accountant for a local accounting firm.

• Baker Boyer also welcomed the addition of Eric Denney as a family advisor based in Walla Walla. He spent more than a decade in nonprofit management, most recently as the association membership executive for the YMCA of the Inland Northwest in Spokane. He received his bachelor’s degree from Walla Walla University and completed his master’s degree at Eastern Washington University. He is completing coursework to achieve his financial planning certification.


• Battelle donated $103,000 to Second Harvest in Pasco, Mid-Columbia Meals on Wheels and to food banks serving Prosser and Sequim. The money is earmarked to support residents suffering from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Battelle, which manages the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy, typically contributes about $400,000 annually to community organization. The gift is from unallocated funds.

• Yakima Federal Savings and Loan donated $1,250 to each of the following nonprofits to commemorate the opening of a new bank branch in Richland: Tri-County Partners Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement of Washington Southeastern Region, Edith Bishel Center for the Blind and Second Harvest Hunger Relief Network. The new branch is at 3100 Duportail St.

• Standard Paint and Flooring donated 500 masks for the medical personnel at Virginia Mason Memorial. The respirators – known as N95 masks – don’t look like the surgical masks that are commonly associated with medical procedures. Standard Paint and Flooring usually sells these masks to construction businesses and contractors.

• Bechtel National Inc. delivered 1,000 N95 masks to Tri-City emergency responders and health care providers to help in the global fight to protect communities against the coronavirus pandemic in cooperation with the Tri-City Economic Development Council (TRIDEC). The donation was made in connection with a community drive TRIDEC launched in March to collect personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, being distributed to local hospitals, nursing homes, and police and fire departments.

• Numerica Credit Union has pledged more than $225,000 to 14 regional nonprofits from the Numerica Charitable Fund to help meet the basic needs of the community’s most vulnerable population during the coronavirus pandemic. The grant program is funded by Numerica’s Skip a Pay program where members can skip a month of loan payments in lieu of a $30 donation.

 • Tri-City recipients are: Domestic Violence Services Benton-Franklin, crisis response; Communities in Schools Benton-Franklin, expanded services for local youth; and Second Harvest, emergency response fund.

• The African American Community, Cultural and Education Society (AACCES) donated $10,000 to three local organizations to help people in financial need and boost food support for Tri-Citians. It donated $2,500 apiece to Franklin PUD and Benton PUD to help pay the utility bills of low-income residents, and $5,000 to Second Harvest to help provide meals for families in need.


• Mission Support Alliance presented the Game Changer award to Todd Synoground, vice president of public works; Ashley Ward, director of information systems; and Jeff Flora, creative technologist at the Connected Plant conference in Atlanta.

Nominated for their collaboration to bring Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed-reality platform to the Hanford site, the team was recognized for modernizing and improving maintenance and operations protocols as well as training the next round of operations personnel. This platform will enhance operational efficiency, improve maintenance planning, modernize training, and provide reliability and availability improvements of Hanford’s key infrastructure systems.

The award, chosen by the editors of Chemical Engineering and Power magazines, recognizes fast risers in the field who have contributed to innovation, solved problems or made extraordinary improvements using digitalization solutions in the power generation and chemical process industries.

Mission Support Alliance’s information management team recently received the 2020 Project of the Year award from the Columbia River Basin Chapter of the Project Management Institute. Selected by an independent evaluation team, MSA was recognized for its work on the Hanford data center modernization and closure project, led by project manager Dennis Rains.

As the site services provider, MSA manages Hanford’s computer network, including a primary and a backup data center. This project included the closure of an old data center, which was replaced with a new, more efficient and smaller center, which was moved off site. Partners included both Benton and Franklin public utility districts, Northwest Open Access Network and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Matthew Riesenweber, an independent financial advisor in Kennewick, has been recognized as one of the 2020 top 1,200 financial advisors in America, as ranked by Barron’s. Riesenweber, president and wealth advisor at Cornerstone Wealth Strategies in Kennewick, was recognized as the 20th advisor in Washington. The annual list highlights outstanding financial advisors from all 50 states based on data provided by more than 4,000 financial professionals around the nation, according to Barron’s. Advisors were assessed on varying factors contributing to the quality of their practice, including the amount of client assets they serve and community outreach.

• The American Institute of Family Law recognized Katherine Sierra-Kelly of Gravis Law in Richland as one of the 10 best family law attorney for client satisfaction for three years. The institute is a third-party attorney rating organization that publishes an annual list of the Top 10 Family Law Attorneys in each state.

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