Networking – March 2023

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  • Sara Schilling joined the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business as a reporter. The Kennewick native has 15 years of experience as a journalist. The Tri-City Herald hired her in 2004 after she completed a successful internship. She worked there for more than six years before leaving to work for more than two years at the Tacoma News Tribune. She returned to Kennewick and the Herald, where she worked for another six years. She comes to the Journal after spending the past four years working in the communications department at the Kennewick School District. Schilling is an award-winning journalist, earning a national Society of Professional Journalists award for feature writing, among several others. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Seattle Pacific University.
  • Anneke Rachinski joined Washington State University Tri-Cities as senior development director on Feb. 13. In this role she will develop, implement and administer the Tri-Cities campus development efforts to support annual fundraising goals. Rachinski comes to WSU Tri-Cities with a background in higher education fundraising. Most recently she led the development and growth of a major gifts and planned giving program. She also has led alumni relations and cultivation efforts. Prior to her fundraising roles, Rachinski worked for WSU Tri-Cities as a project coordinator for the Hanford History Project and a program assistant in the development department. She has a master of science in management and leadership from Western Governor’s University and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Western Washington University. She is also a graduate of Leadership Tri-Cities, Class XVV and received the Young Professionals Award from the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business in 2022.
  • The Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce hired Miles Thomas as the organization’s government and regional affairs director. In this position, Thomas will lead the Regional Chamber’s advocacy efforts, the myTRI 2030 Regional Vision Project and more. He brings more than a decade of experience in community and economic development to his new position. Within the Tri-Cities, Thomas has extensive policy advocacy and project planning experience through economic development roles in city and port governance. Thomas serves on the board of directors for the Tri-Cities Diversity and Inclusion Council and Sagebrush Montessori School, in addition to committee roles for the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) and Washington State Small Business Development Center Advisory Board. He is an alumnus of the University of Illinois and holds a master’s degree in urban and regional planning.
  • Carya Bair joined the Benton-Franklin Workforce Development Council on Feb. 1 as the business engagement manager. She has been a strong contributor to the local public workforce development system for 10 years. Bair has held many roles at WorkSource Columbia Basin in business services and case management, including her most recent role as an interim employment connections supervisor. In her new role, she will be conducting outreach and work to expand our community organization and business partnerships.
  • Wine industry veteran Edward Holmes joined J. Bookwalter as the national sales director for the 60,000-case winery located in Richland. Holmes has managed wine sales for more than 25 years in the Pacific Northwest. He started his career with Brown-Forman, spending eight years as Northwest regional wine sales manager and three years on the company’s NAOP team. He then spent 10 years with Oregon winery King Estate as vice president of sales for the western United States. Over the past three years, Holmes has worked for DAOU Family Vineyards to build a presence in the Pacific Northwest for the California-based winery.
  • Jay King has been hired as Prosser’s new police chief. The Montgomery, Alabama, native earned his bachelor’s and master’s of science in justice and public safety from Auburn University Montgomery and is currently a candidate for a master of science in public administration. His tenure in law enforcement began when he enlisted in the Alabama Army National Guard in December 1990. He was assigned to the 217th Military Police Company, where he reached the rank of specialist. He earned several medals and ribbons during his service until he received an honorable discharge in December 1997. He has more than 26 years of law enforcement experience in Montgomery, beginning in July 1994, and two years in Unalaska, Alaska. King replaces former chief David Giles who resigned in February.
  • Astria Health hired Elizabeth “Eli” Sreniawski to its Pediatric Therapy Clinic at 1017 Tacoma Ave. in Sunnyside. The occupational therapist specializes in pediatrics with an emphasis on working with children on the autism spectrum, with medical complexities, with sensory processing problems and with profound behavioral needs. She’s practiced in hospital- and school-based settings, treating patients of all ages. Sreniawski is part of the new Astria Health Pediatric Therapy program offering occupational and speech therapy services.
  • Astria Health hired family nurse practitioner Severiano Manuel to its Astria Health Center in Grandview. He joined Astria Health after working in the Kirkland-Seattle area for several years and he has over 10 years of nursing experience. He received his post-master’s certificate in family nurse practitioner and his master of science in nursing degree from Seattle University. His master’s program focused on community/public health, leadership and program development. He also received his bachelor of science in criminal justice with a forensic science specialization and a minor in chemistry from Seattle University.
  • Community First Bank’s home loans team is growing with the addition of six mortgage consultants and four mortgage processors. The team totals 11 mortgage consultants and seven mortgage processors. The new additions to the team are Tom Coyne, Jowed Hadeed, Luis Campos, Philip Murr, Heather Lee, and Monique Rojo.
  • Lourdes Health hired Pamela Morris as an advanced registered nurse practitioner at Lourdes Occupational Health. She sees patients for pre-placement and post-offer physicals, diagnosis and treatment of work-related injuries, Department of Transportation physicals, respiratory protection programs, hearing conservation programs, medical surveillance, fitness for duty and more. She comes to Lourdes from Prosser Memorial Health Family Medicine where she was the medical director and treated occupational health patients. She previously practiced with Total Care Clinics and 8 AM to 8 PM Family Medicine in Kennewick and cared for patients in the surgical unit and served on the trauma and code teams at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland. She also worked as an associate professor for 15 years in the Department of Nursing at Columbia Basin College in Pasco.
  • Prosser Thrive Coalition hired a new executive director, Brittany Aguilar. Her first day is March 20, replacing previous director Haley Greene, who resigned in June 2022. Aguilar is originally from Mount Vernon, Washington. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in family studies at Central Washington University. While in school she facilitated a parenting group, taught an intro to family studies class, served as president of the Family Studies Club and completed two research projects. She also completed a practicum with Washington State Department of Children, Youth & Families. She has spent the majority of her career as a social worker for the state and in youth drug and alcohol use prevention. Thrive is comprised of community volunteers representing 12 different sectors of the community working together to reduce substance use.
  • STCU has hired Home Loan Officer Teresa Ryan to serve the credit union’s Pasco, Queensgate, and Southridge branches, along with its Ritzville location. She was a social worker for 25 years before entering real estate. She holds degrees from Washington State University and Walla Walla University.
  • Adrian Ochoa is the new athletic director at Richland High School. He is currently a business and marketing teacher and DECA advisor at Richland High. He replaces athletic director Mike Edwards, who will be retiring at the end of the 2022-23 school year. Ochoa holds a bachelor of applied business management degree from Columbia Basin College and a master’s in education leadership with a principal Certificate from Eastern Washington University. He also earned his career and technical education teaching certificate from Eastern Washington University.
  • Distinctive Properties Inc. of Kennewick hired two new real estate brokers: Melissa Reddout and Tiffany Robbins.
  • Lourdes Health and Trios Health hired Dr. Amardeep Mann to provide a range of cardiovascular care to patients throughout the Tri-Cities and surrounding region. He will divide his time seeing patients at the Lourdes Medical Center in Pasco and at the Trios Care Center at Southridge in Kennewick. He is board-certified in cardiovascular medicine, internal medicine and International Board of Heath Rhythm Examiners (IBHRE). Mann specializes in preventative and general diagnostic cardiology, nuclear tests, tilt table test, stress echocardiography, cardiac catheterizations, echocardiograms, loop recorder, pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators. He received his doctor of medicine degree from GURU Gobind Singh Medical School in India, completed his residency at the University of Southern California, LAC and USC Internal Medicine, and his fellowship in cardiology at The University of Southern California, LAC and USC Cardiovascular Diseases.
  • Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the largest winery in the Pacific Northwest and among the largest premium wineries in the U.S., hired Shawn Conway as chief executive officer. He is a seasoned executive with 30 years of experience in leadership roles across several consumer product categories. Most recently he served as the CEO of Peet’s Coffee, and prior to that he spent nearly a decade at SKYY Spirits. Conway has held multiple positions in general management, operations, supply chain, and finance in high-growth, premium-branded specialty food and beverage, and consumer packaged goods companies. He holds a bachelor of science in commerce with a major in finance from Santa Clara University.


  • The Richland Police Department has promoted David Neher to deputy police chief, a newly created position that is part of the overall organizational restructuring of the department. Neher came to the department as a police officer in June 2021. He was promoted to lieutenant in February 2022. He continued to climb the ranks to police commander in April 2022. Prior to Richland, he worked for eight years at the Citrus Heights Police Department in Citrus Heights, California, most recently as a detective sergeant in the special investigations unit. In addition, he served as an acting lieutenant, a patrol sergeant, on the special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team, and as the unmanned aerial systems team leader, among other roles.    


  • Columbia Basin College named Martin Valadez as the winner of the 2023 Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Spirit Award. The award is given annually to those who embody the spirit and vision of King’s work. Valadez is being recognized for his leadership and efforts to address the inequities and injustices affecting disadvantaged groups in the community, especially minority, low income, migrant and Spanish-speaking populations. Valadez was recognized for his leadership efforts to create a more just society. Professionally, his career focused primarily on higher education and health care, two areas critical to addressing the needs of underserved populations. His expertise in these areas extended to the community through work on behalf of countless community organizations, committees and foundations. Valadez is regional director at Heritage University and he serves as a member of the Washington State Board of Community and Technical Colleges, interim executive director of the Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, vice chair of the Washington State ACLU, president and founder of the Pasco Bilingual Toastmasters Club, member of Gesa Credit Union’s board of directors and founder of the Latino Professionals Leadership Development group.
  • The Port of Kennewick honored James Cox as a champion in the revitalization of Kennewick’s historic waterfront and recognized him with their 2022 Friend of the Port award. He has supported the port’s efforts to transform the east Columbia Drive neighborhood into the Columbia Gardens Wine & Artisan Village. Cox notifies port staff when he sees abandoned cars, vagrants, graffiti or offending activity and he patronizes area businesses. Port staff reported that when a food truck’s equipment was inadvertently left unattended, Cox secured that equipment overnight for the vendor. And several times he secured fencing for the contractor during construction of the tasting room building. He often calls port staff about broken sprinklers and lights. Port officials say he has taken it upon himself to serve as volunteer “watchman” for the neighborhood. Cox is an Army veteran and former long-haul truck driver.
  • Central Washington University was named a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Top Producing Institution for the 2022-23 academic year. With three CWU faculty members selected to the prestigious program last year and three others chosen between 2019-21, CWU ranks among the nation’s most decorated institutions for the federal government’s flagship international educational exchange program.
  • Nan Duncan, a special education paraeducator at Richland High School, has been nominated for the state Classified School Employee of the Year by the Richland School District. The program recognizes classified employees from each of Washington’s educational service districts every year. Staff members are chosen for their exceptional work; the respect and admiration they have received from their community; their commitment to professional growth and deepening connections between schools and communities; their collaborative approach to creating positive and successful school cultures; and their dedication to student success. Duncan grew up in Richland schools and her own children graduated from Richland High School. She joined the district in the 1988-89 school year as a paraeducator at Badger Mountain Elementary and also worked at Carmichael Middle School. She has spent the past several years working in Richland High’s structured program, which serves students who are autistic.
  • Austin Regimbal, the marketing and communications director at the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, was among the 19 chamber executives to graduate on Feb.15 from Academy, a professional development program presented by the Western Association of Chamber Executives (W.A.C.E.). Academy is an interactive three-year training program on chamber management essentials designed for chamber executives and staff.


  • UScellular donated $30,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counties through its Community Connections program.
  • Columbia Industries, a mission-based organization committed to supporting and empowering individuals with disabilities and other challenges, received a $5,000 donation from First Interstate Bank. The CI Community Center used the grant to buy musical instruments to use with clients during weekly music lessons, led by Ted Brown Music of Richland.
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