HAPO Community Credit Union has hired Ashley Ward as the credit union’s new SVP/chief information officer. Ward comes to HAPO with more than 18 years of experience in her field and previously held the title of chief information officer for Hanford Mission Integration Solutions, the prime contractor for the Hanford site, where she was responsible for leading and overseeing HMIS’ technology systems, operations, projects, staff and budgets. Aside from her technical experience, she also has years of leadership experience in her field. She now oversees and manages HAPO’s systems and processes that run the credit union’s enterprise operations, which includes keeping HAPO’s systems and member data secure and safe, a top priority at the credit union.
Trios Health has hired Dr. Hala Madi as an obstetrician/gynecologist. She will see patients at the new Trios Obstetrics and Women’s Health Clinic in Kennewick. She treats women for a variety of conditions, including routine and high-risk obstetrics, hormone replacement therapy, general gynecology, menopausal care, contraception and infertility. She attended medical school at the University of Balamand – Faculty of Medicine and Medical Sciences in Lebanon. After earning her doctorate, she completed internship training in obstetrics and gynecology at Saint George Medical Center in Beirut, Lebanon. She then went on to complete a research fellowship in the Department of Gynecology Oncology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, two years of her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at WellSpan York Hospital in York, Pennsylvania, and two years of her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York. Following residency, she joined Tri-Cities Community Health, where she has practiced as an OB/GYN since November 2019.
Trios Health has hired nurse Karen Jenkins at Trios Urgent Care. She was most recently practicing with Kadlec Regional Medical Center as a surgeon’s assistant. Her experience dates back more than 25 years and includes stints with Life Care Center in Kennewick, The Washington State Department of Social and Health Sciences, Evangelical Good Samaritan Society, Cheney Care Center, Lourdes Medical Center and Teddy Bear OB/GYN & Arbor Health Care for Women. She also has practiced as an independent registered nurse first assistant. She is a member of the Association of Perioperative Nurses, American Nurses Association and American Association of Nurse Practitioners. She earned her associate of science in nursing and certificate of practical nursing from Columbia Basin College, her registered nurse first assistant from the National Institute of First Assisting, and her bachelor of science in nursing from Kent State University. She most recently completed her master of science in nursing from Chamberlain University.
A new assistant principal, Rachel Groth, will join Desert Hills Middle School this summer in the Kennewick School District. Groth, who’s currently an assistant principal at Kamiakin High School, will start in her new role at Desert Hills on July 1. She'll replace Assistant Principal Dan Meyer, who is retiring. Groth has been an assistant principal at Kamiakin for four years. Before that, she taught for seven years at Kennewick High School, Kiona-Benton City High School and Grandview Middle School.
A veteran Richland School District educator and administrator will take the reins of the district’s curriculum and instructional efforts at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. Jennifer Klauss, currently principal of Enterprise Middle School in West Richland, will become executive director of Teaching, Learning & Curriculum beginning in July 2022. She replaces Nicki Blake, who will become principal of Elementary #11 when it opens to its own school community in August 2022.
Smart Law has hired attorney Nicholas Jordan as a full shareholder and welcomed him as a partner. His practice areas include workers’ compensation law, Social Security disability and personal injury. He received his bachelor of arts from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and his J.D. from the University of Oregon in Eugene. His associations include: the Washington State Bar Association, Yakima County Bar Association, Benton & Franklin Bar Association and the Washington State Association for Justice. While Jordan works at both Smart Law offices in Kennewick and Yakima, he makes his home in the Yakima Valley with his wife and family.
Tri-Cities Community Health has hired several new employees. Kristy Needham has been named chief operating officer. She comes to the position with experience in operations within a health care setting, from private practice pediatrics, hospital-based clinics, specialty clinics and her work over the past six years with TCCH in a community health center. Carlee Nave has been hired as director of human resources. She earned a bachelor’s from Western Washington University and holds two HR certifications: Professional in Human Resources (PHR) from the HR Certification Institute and Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) from the Society for HR Management. She also has work experience in big box retail, e-commerce, recruiting and local government. Dr. John Robert Kerr has been hired as a dentist. He graduated from Carroll College in Helena, Montana, with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry. He attended dental school at the University of Washington School of Dentistry in Seattle and is welcoming new patients at the TCCH dental clinic in Kennewick.
Prosser Memorial Health has hired Catherine Spomer, a family nurse practitioner, to the team of providers in its Benton City Clinic. She provides care for patients of all ages, including children and seniors. Her services include wellness exams, acute illness and injury care, referrals to specialists and more. She graduated from Purdue University with her master’s in nursing degree. She attended Purdue University and Indiana University School of Nursing for her undergraduate studies. She has been working in the medical field for 15 years, starting her career as a registered nurse in Indianapolis. She also worked as a travel nurse, lending her medical expertise in various hospitals throughout Colorado, Idaho and Wisconsin.
Good Shepherd Health Care System has hired Liz Marvin as Good Shepherd Community Health Foundation’s executive director in Hermiston, Oregon. She has served on the foundation board for the past 17 years. She succeeds Bob Green, who retired as executive director of the foundation in December 2021 after eight years.
Astria Health has hired Shaundra Mendez to provide pediatric speech-language services to pediatrics (birth through age 5) at Astria Physical Therapy in Sunnyside. She completed her master’s in communication disorders and sciences from the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon. She joined Astria from IDEA Public Schools in Austin, Texas, where she served as a speech-language pathologist over the last two years. She is fluent in English and Spanish.
AWARDS & HONORS
Sara Nelson, creative director of the Tri-Cities’ Sara Nelson Design Ltd., was listed among graphic designers who were named “People to Watch” in the design industry nationally in Graphic Design USA’s February 2022 issue. Nelson’s team works primarily – though not exclusively – within the wine industry, developing branding, packaging and labeling. Current clients are spread across the United States, Italy, Croatia and China.
Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, a Realogy company, has announced its 2021 award recipients for various Coldwell Banker affiliated company, office, team and agent categories throughout North America. Amy S. Leicht, Coldwell Banker Tomlinson, Kennewick, ranked No. 6 nationally in the individual sales associate honor category for total units sold.
The Port of Benton has received an unmodified audit opinion from the Washington State Auditor’s Office. The SAO performed both accountability and financial statement audits for fiscal years 2019 and 2020. An unmodified or “clean” opinion means that the financial statements present fairly the financial position and the results of the organizations operations in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. A finding is a deficiency, material weakness, or misstatement discovered during the audit.
Arts Center Task Force (ACTF) was honored at a recent Richland City Council meeting by the city of Richland Arts Commission, receiving the STAR (Supporting the Arts in Richland) Award for its outstanding contribution and support of the arts in 2021. In 2020, ACTF raised funds and provided grants for struggling visual artists. In 2021, it redoubled its support, helping performing artists through creating performance videos, live streaming of events and videotaping auditions for the Mid-Columbia Symphony’s Young Artists Competition. In October 2021, ACTF remodeled a former broadcasting studio in Richland to provide much-needed space for rehearsals, meetings, displays, volunteers, and storage.
Staff from the Hanford vitrification plant raised more than $18,000 for the Special Olympics Polar Plunge this year, making the group the top fundraiser in the state of Washington for the second year in a row. Three vit plant employees – Laura Lake, Nick Dahl, and Walt Taylor – took the plunge Feb. 26 in the icy Columbia River to culminate their fundraising efforts, and Heather McMurdo took the plunge in the Yakima River. They joined the vit plant team members who completed the water balloon virtual plunge last week.
During the National Potato Council’s (NPC) 2022 Washington Summit, Jared Balcom of Pasco was elected to serve as NPC’s 2022 president and head the grower-led organization’s Executive Committee. Balcom is the owner of a fourth-generation potato growing and fresh packing company Balcom and Moe based in Pasco. He previously served as NPC’s first vice president and vice president of the Trade Affairs Committee. As president, Balcom will host the 2022 NPC summer meeting in Nashville. The Executive Committee officers hold their position for one calendar year.
Benton County Prosecutor Andy Miller, a Democrat, has announced his plan to retire at the end of his term this year. He served as prosecutor for 36 years. Republicans Ryan Lukson, Benton County deputy prosecutor, Richland city councilman and former Richland mayor, and Richland attorney Eric Eisinger have announced plans to run for the position.