Networking – May 2020


Joel Ockey has joined Cornerstone Wealth Strategies Inc., a full-service independent financial planning firm based in Kennewick, as a wealth advisor. Ockey has been in the financial industry since 2002. After graduating from the University of Saint Mary in 2002, he became a financial advisor at Waddell & Reed in Portland, Oregon. In 2005, he moved to Kennewick to become the managing principal of the divisional Waddell & Reed office. In 2014, Ockey became the regional vice president with the company.

• Trios Health has hired Dr. Jennifer Brindle as a family medicine provider. Brindle, who previously practiced at Trios, is seeing patients at the Trios Care Center at deBit, 320 W. 10th Ave. in Kennewick. She can help patients with adult care, pediatric care, well-child exams, preventive care, immunizations, women’s health, annual exams, minor procedures, sports physicals, and more. Brindle attended medical school at University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, and completed her internship and residency at the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus, in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

• Knutzen Engineering of Kennewick has hired two new employees. Dalton Walker will provide project management and civil engineering design support. He has worked in the local A-E industry for the past four years. Gavin Gervais, engineer in training (EIT), graduated from Whitworth University in 2019 magna cum laude with a bachelor’s in applied physics and then graduated this year from Washington State University in Pullman with a bachelor of science in civil engineering, graduating summa cum laude. He previously interned at Knutzen Engineering for the past three years.


• The Bechtel Group Foundation donated $100,000 to the United Way of Benton and Franklin Counties for its COVID-19 Community Response Fund to help local nonprofits address food insecurity and mental and behavioral health impacts of the pandemic. The donation comes as part of the foundation’s new $3 million COVID-19 Relief Fund set up to support urgent human needs in communities across the world where Bechtel employees live and work. As home to one of Bechtel’s larger projects, the Tri-City community is one of four receiving a gift of this size from among 10 locations the foundation is supporting across the United States. Bechtel holds the contract to design, build and commission the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant at the Hanford site for the U.S. Department of Energy.

• STCU donated $25,000 to the WSU Tri-Cities chancellor’s excellence fund to support students experiencing hardship in light of COVID-19 and to coincide with Giving Tuesday Now on May 5. The money will be used to help students and their families who have lost jobs, are experiencing furloughs, those who are having difficulties meeting their daily living experiences and other related hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the pandemic began, 37 percent of WSU Tri-Cities students reported it was difficult for them to meet their daily living expenses and 7 percent indicated they were at-risk of homelessness.

• YMCA of the Greater Tri-Cities has received a $10,000 grant to assist in its efforts to provide child care in the coronavirus lockdown. They will receive $5,000 in May and the other half in July. This grant is provided by the Pasco-Kennewick Rotary Club.

• Tri-City Association of Realtors donated $5,000 to the Tri-Cities Food Bank. The association’s contribution is being made on behalf of its 1,000-plus members and affiliates. The money will go toward providing emergency food to the needy residents of Benton City, Kennewick, Finley, Richland, and West Richland.

• Dutch Bros Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dutch Bros Coffee, donated $9,000 to United Way of Benton and Franklin Counties’ COVID-19 Community Response Fund, local nonprofit organizations can fill critical gaps in services, providing food and mental health services to people in our community who need assistance. The donation is part of a larger $1 million commitment made by the foundation to assist organizations in its seven operating states.

• The Wells Fargo Foundation donated $115,500 to nine nonprofits in Central Washington to support their community response efforts to COVID-19. The funding will help deliver critical relief and support to vulnerable communities. Recipients are: Boys and Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties, Central Washington University Foundation, Community Foundation of North Central Washington, La Casa Hogar, Next Step Housing, Omak Food Bank, Washington Apple Education Foundation, Yakima Valley Community Foundation and YMCA Wenatchee.


• The Kennewick Police Department Foundation announced the following 2019 awards: Jerry Ainsworth and Dave Kraal, reserve officers, 2019 Chief’s Awards of Excellence; Steve Thatsana, Officer of the Year; Kim Hathaway, Employee of the Year; Ryan Kelly, Supervisor of the Year; Josh Riley, Detective of the Year; Becca Henry, Partner of the Year; Rick Wessley, Volunteer of the Year.

• The Washington Department of Corrections announced the winners of its annual agency awards to recognize employees for their continuous, outstanding work to improve public safety by positively changing lives as demonstrated by their accomplishments throughout the previous year. Eight employees from Connell’s Coyote Ridge Corrections Center received awards. They are: Ronald A. Thompson, correctional captain, leadership award; Carlos F. Sabala, corrections/custody officer, Correctional Officer of the Year; Lt. Daniel E. Hollibaugh, Outstanding Performer; Mikiya J. Stowe, classification counselor, prison command C, Classification Counselor of the Year; and Kendra R. Mullins, secretary lead, Excellence in Service. Three staffers received the Team Excellence—Department Incident Management Team award: Benjamin H. Boucher, classification counselor, Jeffrey, A. Kinne, investigator, Jeremy H. Long, correctional captain.

• Two Tri-City-area Banner Bank employees received Banner’s Best award. This award represents the highest level of recognition within the company and the recipients are considered Banner’s best. The winners were Berta Gabbard, senior vice president and commercial banking center manager; and Ruben Garcia, residential loan officer. They were honored for surpassing their individual professional goals in 2019, demonstrating excellence within their respective professions, and exemplifying outstanding service to clients, community and their fellow colleagues.

• The Washington Winegrowers Association recognized four industry leaders in early March for their achievements during the annual Convention and Trade Show in Kennewick. Dave Minick, Willow Crest, was honored as the Erick Hanson Memorial Grower of the Year for demonstrated viticultural skills that provide impact in the vineyard and in the bottle; Kent Waliser, Sagemoor, received the Industry Service award for a lifetime of service impacting the grape and wine industry; Mike Sauer, Red Willow, received the Lifetime Achievement honor to recognize nearly 50 years of extraordinary contributions to Washington wine industry history; and Gordy Hill, Coventry Vale, received the Grand Vin for making a significant impact in the winery, on wine and branding.

• Peoples Company, a provider of land brokerage, land management, land investment and appraisal services in 22 states and which has worked in the Tri-City region, has received national awards. For the third year in a row, Peoples Company won the Auction Marketing Campaign of the Year at the National Auctioneering Association Marketing Competition, presented in partnership with USA Today. Peoples Company President Steve Bruere received the Realtors Land Institute’s APEX Award for Broker of the Year 2019 in the Auction Land Sales category. Bruere and Peoples Company’s Andrew Zellmer also were recognized as APEX 2019 Top 20 National Producers, which recognizes the top 20 highest-producing agents in the country based on qualifying production volume.

• The state’s Public Affairs Television Network, TVW, was named Washington Policy Center’s Summit Award recipient for 2020. The Summit Award is presented annually at WPC’s Solutions Summit statewide policy conference to people or organizations that exemplify a solution to a policy problem. TVW was recognized for bringing every resident of the state easy, unfiltered access to state government and public policy, regardless of geographic distance. 

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