Networking – February 2021


  • Dr. Christopher Ravage has joined Trios Health as a cardiologist. He will see patients at the Trios Care Center in Kennewick. He treats patients for a variety of conditions, including cardiac catheterization, intercoronary stents and angioplasty, cardiac pacemaker implantation and management, heart disease assessment and prevention, valvular heart disease, hypertension, heart rhythm treatment, echocardiography, electrocardiography, and more. Dr. Ravage has worked on a contract-basis with Trios since 2014 through CardioSolution. He also has been in private practice in Richland for more than 20 years. Prior to going into private practice, he worked with Mid-Columbia Heart Institute. Over the last several years, he also has been affiliated with Trios Health, Lourdes Health, Kadlec Regional Medical Center and Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. He is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Cardiovascular Disease and Internal Medicine.
  • Prosser Memorial Health has hired Dr. Richard Unger to Prosser General Surgery Center. He is a board-certified general surgeon providing general surgery services including laparoscopic, gynecological, endoscopy, tissue and breast, colon cancer, gall bladder, and hernia repair, among other surgeries for Prosser Memorial Health. Unger graduated from A.T. Still University in Kirksville, Missouri. He completed his general surgery residency in St. Louis at Deaconess Hospital. More recently, Dr. Unger has traveled all over the United States, providing surgical services in rural, critical access hospitals.
  • Interwest Technology Systems has hired Phil Morton, PMP, as communications division manager and project manager. He joins the team from System Solutions Northwest, where he has worked as general manager and senior project manager since 2017. He brings 18 years of experience in low voltage, communications and pro audio/video system design, install and integration. He will be managing Interwest’s communications structured cabling and fiber optics infrastructure projects and initiatives. He was selected as a Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business Young Professional in 2018. He is an active volunteer with Columbia Basin Dive Rescue where he serves as a duty officer and leads the sonar team.


  • The National Association of Home Builders named Jeff Losey, executive officer of the Home Builders Association of Tri-Cities, as its 2020 Local Executive Officer of the Year during the winter leadership meeting. Losey was cited for his leadership among his peers and with builder members while serving on the national group’s coronavirus task force to find solutions to support member businesses. Losey became the executive officer of the Tri-City HBA in 2005. He has been a member of NAHB’s Executive Officer Council for more than 15 years and served as the council’s president in 2016.
  • Katrina Kutschkau, a math teacher at Kamiakin High School, is the Kennewick School District’s 2021 Crystal Apple award winner. Kutschkau has taught math at Kamiakin since 1997, and she is known there as an instructional leader who is deeply committed to her students. She was instrumental in helping develop Kamiakin’s academic coaching model that’s led to greater student achievement, and she’s also involved in other engagement efforts, including the popular Welcome Wagon initiative.
  • Petersen Hastings in Kennewick and Walla Walla has received its recertification from the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX) for the 13th straight year. This certification is only granted by CEFEX to firms that demonstrate adherence to fiduciary best practices.


  • Ron Branine has been promoted to director of facilities and operations for the Port of Benton. With nearly 30 years of facilities management experience, Branine is skilled in maintaining large commercial buildings, budgeting, contracting, managing the bidding process in compliance with local, state, and federal guidelines and regulations, as well as working with heavy and light equipment.


  • West Richland Chamber of Commerce’s new board of directors are: president, Darrell Toombs, Yoke’s Fresh Market; vice president, AJ Hill, associate member; second vice president, Mike Mahaffey, Green2Go; secretary, Mandy Wallner, city of Richland; treasurer, Westin B “Mick,” Minuteman Press of Kennewick; past president, Troy Berglund; director, Dan O’Neill, Homebridge; director, Joey Edminister, Goodwill; Benton County Fire District 4, Fire Chief Paul Carlyle; City of West Richland, Police Chief Ben Majetich; Benton County commissioner, Jerome Delvin; West Richland Community Development, Director, Eric Mendenhall; and Executive Director, May Hays.
  • Governor Jay Inslee made the following board and commission appointments in January: Heidi Williams of Benton City to the Massage Examining Board, and Evangelina Shreeve of Prosser to the Student Achievement Council, Washington.


  • Ag World Support Systems presented the seventh annual Ag World Golf Classic check for $93,168 in November to the Ronald McDonald House Charities Inland Northwest in Spokane. Though the Kennewick tournament was canceled in 2020 due to Covid-19, the first ever tournament was held in Moses Lake at the Links at Moses Pointe. More than 82 sponsors/donors and 133 golfers supported the fundraiser. The Ag World Golf Classic is the largest independent fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald Charities in the Inland Northwest. More than half a million dollars has been raised over the past seven years for the charity. This year’s eighth annual Ag World Golf Classic is June 8 at Canyon Lakes Golf Course in Kennewick and June 10 at The Links at Moses Pointe, in Moses Lake. Go to


  • United Way of Benton & Franklin Counties announced $162,000 in grant funding to local agencies providing people with food and other basic needs, and mental and behavioral health services. The money was awarded to United Way from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support Covid-19 response and recovery efforts in the bicounty region. The grants run through the end of 2021.


  • Brad Sawatzke, chief executive officer of Energy Northwest, will retire at the end of June.
    He joined Energy Northwest in December 2010 as vice president for nuclear generation and chief nuclear officer. He succeeded former CEO Mark Reddermann in 2018. Sawatzke spent 40 years in the nuclear energy. He arrived at Energy Northwest from Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant in Minnesota. The executive board is forming a committee to select a new CEO.
  • Karen Blasdel has retired from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory after more than 30 years with the lab. She served as community affairs and protocol director, a high-profile position that involved working with community organizations and leaders. She is succeeded by Trish Herron, who joined PNNL in 2015 after previously working for the city of Richland.
  • Chief Bill Whealan retired from Benton County Fire District 4 on Feb. 8, capping a career that covered nearly four decades. He is succeeded by Chief Paul Carlyle, who began transitioning into the job in October 2020. Whealan spent the past nine years as chief for the district serving 20,000 residents in the city of West Richland and unincorporated areas of Benton County. He’d previously served as interim fire chief in Hemet, California, a job he took after formally retiring from a fire post in Las Vegas.


  • The Tri-City Regional Chamber’s Marketing & Communications Director Austin Regimbal was one of five new members appointed to the Western Association of Chamber Executives’ Emerging Leaders Council on Feb. 3.
    The council was formed to identify and recognize future leaders (all under 40) in W.A.C.E., and the chamber of commerce industry.
    Members of the council will be asked to provide program feedback and ideas for the group and will serve as advisors to the association’s board and president.
    Regimbal joined the chamber nearly four years ago.
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