Networking – December 2021


  • Maria Alleman, convention sales manager of Visit Tri-Cities, earned her certified faith-based meeting professional credentials through the Religious Conference Management Association in October. The association’s certification program is designed to equip meeting professionals in the essentials of faith-based meeting planning. Certification is valid for five years, after which time, those holding the certification will be required to recertify by verifying their continued involvement in the faith-based event industry.


  • In response to the pandemic and its continued impact on local nonprofits, Baker Boyer announced $45,000 in donations to organizations in Tri-Cities, Walla Walla, Milton-Freewater and Yakima. This funding will be directed toward the operational costs of these organizations as that has been a huge challenge for some. The Tri-City recipient was Safe Harbor, a shelter for homeless teens ages 13-17 that provides counseling for substance abuse. It received $5,000.
  • Speck Family Dealerships donated one mammogram for every vehicle sold at all four of its dealerships. It was part of a partnership with the Tri-Cities Cancer Center Foundation in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In total Speck donated 269 mammograms this year totaling $26,900. This is the third year Speck Family Dealerships has partnered with the foundation. 2021 was a record year of mammograms donated. In total, Speck Family Dealerships has provided over 500 free mammograms to community members in need in the Tri-Cities.
  • Corwin Ford Tri-Cities and the Ford Motor Company Fund recently donated $2,200 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties to help fight child hunger in the community. This donation is part of the annual Ford Focus on Child Hunger campaign across the Northwest. In total, 65 Boys & Girls Clubs across five states are receiving a total of about $100,000. Locally, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties received $1,100 from the Ford Fund, and $1,100 in matching funds from Corwin Ford Tri-Cities. This donation is in addition to more than $15,000 in operating support that Corwin Ford Tri-Cities has donated to the clubs this year.


  • Kathy Powell, event director of the Tri-City Water Follies, announced plans to retire in February after 15 years of managing the largest and most profitable signature event in the Tri-Cities. Powell started volunteering in 1994 and was recruited to take over the bankrupted event in 2007. During Powell’s tenure, Water Follies has been recognized as race site of the year by H1 Unlimited for several years and received an award for excellence; received the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau Tourism Champion of the Year; was honored by the International Council of Air Shows for the 2020 Drive in Air Show; and was honored as best event in Southeast Washington 2021 by the Washington State Festival and Events Association.


  • Gesa Credit Union promoted Keven Gray to executive vice president of member fulfillment. Gray brings more than 25 years of experience to his new role. He will oversee and provide strategic direction to Gesa’s retail branch operations and virtual branch division. Prior to joining Gesa earlier this year, Gray, a Washington state native, held executive level roles at Rabobank, Golden 1 Credit Union, World Savings and Wachovia.
  • Dana Storms has been named executive director for performance management and chief risk officer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland. Storms has 25 years of experience in government and commercial sectors, leading teams and programs and managing performance-based contracts with U.S. government agencies, universities, industry and nonprofit organizations. In her new role, Storms will lead a team of 70 staff accountable for a broad scope of enterprise-level activities, including oversight of the Department of Energy prime contract for the management and operation of PNNL. Storms most recently served as PNNL’s prime contract manager.


  • The Kennewick Public Hospital District appointed Dr. Sheila Dunlop, a longtime Kennewick physician, to the vacancy on its seven-member commissioner board on Nov. 18. She fills the unexpired term on the KPHD Board of Commissioner Dr. Leonard Dreisbach, who moved out of state. Dunlop was one of eight people who applied for the vacancy.


  • The Tri-Cities Cancer Center Foundation received a $4,000 grant from the Pink Shamrock Foundation to fund chemotherapy care bags through Warrior Sisterhood, a women’s group operating under the foundation. In addition to this grant, the foundation also ran a campaign in October to help fund these bags, raising more than $13,000 from community donors.


  • UScellular announced the three winners of its first-ever Hispanic Heritage Month Art Contest with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties during a recent celebration in Kennewick. Public voting for the finalists’ art was available online, and the winning artists received gift cards in the following amounts: Sarah Ling Lang, $250 for first place; AvaLee Cisneros, $150 for second place; and Edgar Pinedo Avalos, $100 for third place.
  • Gesa Credit Union has been named a regional Credit Union National Association (CUNA) award winner for demonstrating outstanding commitment through ongoing support of its community through events and financial services. Gesa received the Alphonse Desjardins Youth Financial Education Award.

During the pandemic, Gesa hosted a variety of webinars, partnered with Junior Achievement and launched a monthlong Financial Literacy Challenge. The credit union also provided real-work experience to students throughout its 12 campus branches.

  • Energy Northwest earned the Military Friendly Employer designation for 2022. This is the seventh year in a row that Energy Northwest earned this designation. More than 30% of its employees are veterans. Institutions earning the Military Friendly Employer designation were evaluated using public data sources and responses from a proprietary survey. Energy Northwest will be showcased, along with other 2022 Military Friendly Employers, in the December issue of G.I. Jobs magazine and on
  • Visit Tri-Cities recognized the Tri-Cities tourism and hospitality workforce, from baristas to front desk agents to servers and beyond, as the 2021 Kris Watkins Tourism Champions of the Year during Visit Tri-Cities Annual Meeting: Champions of Tourism Recovery, held virtually Nov. 4. The award is the organization’s most prestigious honor and recipients are chosen based on their dedication to the tourism industry and supporting the efforts of Visit Tri-Cities to continually elevate the region as a premier tourism destination. Visit Tri-Cities also announced the 2021 Excellence in Service award during the program. Kathy Nutt of Frichette Winery was recognized for providing outstanding customer service. She was one of 37 nominees who were recognized by the community for exceptional hospitality. Nominees were judged on following criteria: the ability to serve as an example to others, provide exemplary customer service and create a memorable visitor experience.


  • Lourdes Health has announced Carly Beesley has joined Lourdes Urgent Care in Pasco as a provider. She recently completed her doctor of nursing practice through Washington State University. She earned a bachelor of science in nursing at Grand Canyon University in 2018.
  • John Huibregtse has joined Alegria + Company, one of the largest local accounting and consulting firms in Central Washington. He was hired to its partner group. Alegria + Company serves clients from its offices in Prosser, Yakima and Ellensburg. He re-joins the firm after having most recently served as the chief financial officer and an owner of vertically integrated tree fruit companies in Central Washington. Huibregtse also has prior experience working with a regional CPA firm and practiced law after obtaining his accounting degree from Gonzaga University and his law degree from Seattle University School of Law. 
  • Christina Lomasney, a veteran entrepreneur with experience in technology innovation and commercialization, has been named director of technology deployment and outreach at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland. In this role, she will create new start-up and entrepreneurship initiatives and capabilities that are designed to boost job creation, create new markets for ideas and products and maximize the impact of federal science investments.
  • Prosser Memorial hired pediatrician Dr. Tamara Cooks for its Prosser Clinic. She earned her bachelor’s in social thought and analysis with minors in anthropology, biology and Spanish from Washington University St. Louis, and her doctorate from Washington University School of Medicine. She then went on to complete a pediatric residency at Wayne State University’s Children’s Hospital of Michigan. Her services include general pediatrics, sports and school physicals, wellness exams and care for newborns through age 18.
  • Three providers have joined Tri-Cities Community Health. They are:

Dr. Nitish Jagpal is a pediatric provider at the 829 Goethals Health Center in Richland. He completed his pediatric residency with Nassau University Medical Center in New York. He attended medical school at Government Medical College, Patiala, India.

Dr. Danielle Ello Cruto is family medicine provider at 515 W. Court St. in Pasco. A Tri-City native, she received her doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from Pacific Northwest University, College of Medicine, Yakima, and completed her residency at RCCH Trios Health in Kennewick.

Dr. Michael Cabasug is a board-certified family medicine provider at 721 S. Auburn St. in Kennewick. He has over 10 years of clinical experience in the Tri-Cities.

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