Keeping up with People


Brunkow joins radio museum board of directors

The American Museum of Radio and Electricity (AMRE) announced Brian Brunkow, Esq., as the newest elected member to its board of directors.

Brunkow, of the Law Office of Brian Brunkow, is a Washington and California attorney whose office assists small and startup businesses with regulatory compliance and transactional matters. Brunkow graduated with honors and a business law focus from Seattle University School of Law in 2000 and recently relocated his law practice to Bellingham from San Diego.

Brunkow volunteers locally with the Law Advocates Street Law pro bono program, serves on the speakers bureau, and consults with local independent artists, aspiring film makers and musicians on contractual matters through the Washington Lawyers for the Arts, a nonprofit service organization based in Seattle.


Sullivan Plumbing promotes Dawson

Don Dawson is the new sales manager for Sullivan Plumbing Inc. He will oversee the staff of service and repair plumbers serving Whatcom County.


Symphony orchestra adds Schlichting to board of directors

The Whatcom Symphony Orchestra announces the addition of Erin Schlichting to its board of directors.

Schlichting is the tax senior manager at Moss Adams and heads Bellingham’s Personal Wealth Service Division. She has more than 22 years experience in public accounting and teaches classes at Western Washington University and Whatcom Community College.


Focus Northwest elects eight new officers 

Focus Northwest, a local nonprofit business network founded in 2004, elected the following officers Dec. 12.

  • Co-presidents are John Sedgwick, Web developer of Vantage 21st, and Terry Lehmann, owner of Lehmann Home Appliances.
  • Directors of the board are Susan Templeton, mortgage planner of Loannetter, and Bob Ross, architect of Ross Architecture, NW.
  • The new vice president is Gary Gallant, Realtor of the Gallant Group/Windermere.
  • Treasurer is Annette Booth, insurance agent of Booth Insurance/Allstate.
  • Secretary is Casey Curtis, marketing/sales of Aiki Homes.
  • Sergeant at arms is Pete DeHaas, appraiser of DeHaas Appraisal Services.

For more information on Focus Northwest membership or seminars, call 647-8822.


Fulton accepts position at college in Hawaii

Richard Fulton, vice president for instruction and dean of faculty at Whatcom Community College, officially announced his acceptance of the vice chancellor for instruction position at Windward Community College on the island of Oahu, part of the University of Hawaii system.

Fulton, who was hired as the dean for instruction in 1998, will complete his service to Whatcom in early March 2008 and begin at Windward March 24, 2008. His accomplishments include working to increase the number of full-time, tenured faculty, initiating the jazz band program, helping to increase library holdings from 18,000 to 33,000, supporting the building of the archives and special collections facility — personally donating many rare volumes in Victorian studies — and creating the textbooks for Ghana program, among others.

Whatcom Community College started its search for a new vice president for instruction on Jan. 2.


NW Theater Group adds board member

Jim Grabicki was appointed to The Northwest Washington Theater Group’s board of directors. The announcement was made Jan. 11.

Grabicki recently retired from a 38- year banking career, which included the presidency of Mt. Baker Bank in Bellingham 1984 to 1989.

The theater group is a nonprofit organization providing the community with family-friendly entertainment.


LaMothe earns associate broker’s license

Grant LaMothe of Keller Williams Western Realty recently earned his associate broker’s license. The license better qualifies LaMothe to assist his clients with buying and selling real estate.


Womencare has new executive director

Womencare Shelter of Whatcom County will introduce its new executive director, Kirsten Hammer, at its Fifth Starry Night Gala benefit auction, March 1.

Hammer started at Womencare as overnight advocate in 1998 and served as shelter manager for seven years. She started as the new executive director Jan. 1.


Whatcom Association of Realtors names new president

Mark Brown of Windermere Real Estate was recently named president of the Whatcom County Association of Realtors.

Brown, a Realtor since 2000, has been active in local and state real-estate organizations and has earned the Certified Residential Specialist and Accredited Buyers Representative designations.

Brown was installed during WCAR’s annual awards banquet, Jan. 18.


WWU hires new safety director, university police chief

Western Washington University hired Randy Stegmeier as its new director of public safety and university police chief. He began overseeing Western’s Public Safety Department, including university police, lock shop and parking services, Jan. 14.

Most recently, Stegmeier was the executive director of safety and security, facilities and capital projects at Shoreline Community College in Seattle. Prior to that term, he served as commander of the Washington State Law Enforcement Academy and as assistant chief of the University of Washington Police Department.

Stegmeier has aproximately 35 years of law-enforcement experience. A native of Selah, Stegmeier received a bachelor’s degree in police science and administration from Washington State University in 1972, graduated from the Law Enforcement Executive Institute in Seattle in 1983 and the FBI Command College in 1996.


Kelly joins Coldwell Banker, Miller-Arnason

Coldwell Banker, Miller-Arnason welcomed Steve Kelly as a new associate broker. Kelly is a graduate of the University of California at Irvine. His background includes executive level experience in the retail food business, including responsibility for negotiating a large number of multi-million dollar transactions.

Kelly, who has been a licensed real estate salesperson in Washington state for more than three years, recently completed the requirements for his broker’s license and completed a six-week training program at Coldwell Banker. His real estate experience includes building, buying and selling residential properties and experience with investment, vacation and commercial real estate. Kelly will specialize in residential real estate in Whatcom County.


Greenwood joins RE/MAX

Realestate agent Alicia Greenwood recently joined the Bellingham office of RE/MAX Whatcom County.

Greenwood, a Western Washington University graduate, has more than three years’ experience in serving buyers and sellers of houses and condominiums. She has her Accredited Buyers Representative designation and recently was featured in a Microsoft video due to her use of technology as a realestate agent. Greenwood also is a member of Whatcom Young Professionals and the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce.


Scottrade hires Austin

Ray Austin was hired by Scottrade, a branch-supported online investment firm, to manage its Bellingham branch office.

As branch manager, Austin provides customer service and manages office operations and personnel. He has almost 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry.

Before joining Scottrade, Austin worked for E*Trade Financial Corp. as a customer relationship manager. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Austin currently resides in Birch Bay.


Port Commission selects 2008 officers

The Port of Bellingham’s board of commissioners selected 2008 officers, Jan. 8. Commissioner Doug Smith was elected by the board to serve as president, Commissioner Jim Jorgensen was elected vice president and Commissioner Scott Walker was elected secretary.

At the commission meeting, Whatcom County Auditor Shirley Forslof administered the oath of office to Jorgensen, who was re-elected to serve a second four-year term.

At their first meeting of 2008, the commissioners appointed members to a variety of community boards and councils. The following appointments were made:

  • Bellingham/Whatcom Economic Development Council, Doug Smith.
  • Whatcom Council of Governments, Scott Walker.
  • Washington Public Ports Association, Scott Walker.
  • Public Art Advisory Team, Jim Jorgensen.
  • Whatcom County Economic Development Investment Program, Jim Jorgensen.


Thuney joins Alzheimer Society

Matthew Thuney joined the Alzheimer Society of Washington as their public relations consultant and events coordinator. A freelance journalist, researcher, columnist, consultant and business owner for more that 20 years in Whatcom County, Thuney also assists with fundraising and media relations.

In addition to organizing new events and promoting awareness of the Alzheimer Society, he is helping with the annual “Miles for Memories” walk/run, which kicks off “Dirty Dan Harris Days” April 26 in Fairhaven.


Building Industry Association appoints Stremler

Peoples Bank Real Estate Loan Representative Gena Stremler was appointed by 2008 President Del Jacobson to fill a vacancy on the Building Industry Association of Whatcom County board of directors. Stremler will serve until November, at which time she will be eligible to stand for election to the position.

Stremler has been active in the association for several years, most notably as part of its membership committee. She earned the title of 2007 Associate of the Year at the 2007 BIAWC Awards Banquet.


Farmers insurance agents move to joint offices

Farmers insurance agents Christina Abundis of Abundis Insurance Agency and Andy Jewell of Jewell Insurance Agency have a new joint location in the Fairway Center in Lynden.

As Farmers insurance agents, Abundis and Jewell are based in Lynden but serve clients throughout Whatcom County. They provide a wide array of Farmers products, including homeowners, auto and life insurance, along with insurance products for small businesses.

Abundis and Jewell plan to kick off their move with a customer appreciation day February 22.


WWU hires Cox as new dean of libraries

Christopher Cox will become the new dean of libraries at Western Washington University by the end of the academic year.

As Western’s new dean of libraries, Cox will be responsible for the overall leadership, management and direction of the libraries and their programs. The dean of libraries leads a staff of 65 full-time employees and 58 part-time student employees at Western Libraries.

Cox was hired following a nationwide search. He currently serves as assistant director of libraries and was previously interim director of Libraries of McIntyre Library at the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.


Moss Adams announces personnel changes

Moss Adams LLP announced the following changes:

  • The firm’s new human resources partner is Russ Wilson, formerly the office managing partner.
  • The new managing partner for the Bellingham office is Dick Fohn; he is also the firm’s wealth services group director.
  • A new assurance senior manager is Jennifer Gonzales, who is an active member with CFMA and AGC.
  • A new assurance manager is Areti Maularas, who graduated from Western Washington University and focuses on financial institution clients.
  • A new assurance manager is Charlie Cabe, who also works with financial institution clients.
  • A new assurance manager is Ben Hancock, who works in multiple industry groups but primarily in financial institutions and manufacturing industries.
  • A new assurance manager is Jim Sharpe, who works with the firm’s tribal government practice.
  • A new assurance manager is Mark Siadal, who focuses in the hospitality industry, specifically tribal gaming operations.
  • A new assurance senior is Jamey Hill, who focuses in the hospitality industry, specifically tribal gaming operations.
  • A new tax senior is Tiffany Holmgren, who focuses on large corporate tax work.
  • A new tax senior is Zach Nordwell who works on a variety of clients in the tax group.

Moss Adams LLP has also announced that Zack Nordwell and Laura Massey have passed the CPA exam.


Rabatin named Chamber MVP for January

Tally Rabatin, co-owner of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen in Bellingham, was awarded the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce Most Valuable Player for January.

Rabatin was acknowledged for her active role in chamber events, as well as her commitment to the success of the Whatcom Young Professionals as their acting publicity chair. She was also recognized for her personal charitable work with the Girl Scouts of America, and her professional work with Building Industry Association, Habitat for Humanity, and the Opportunity Council.


3D Corporation adds Cisco specialization

Mike McGlothern, 3D Corporation network engineer, passed the required technical exams to achieve Cisco Systems SMB Specialization. The SMB Specialization gives 3D the skills to identify customers’ routing, switching, security and wireless network needs and implement proven solutions.


Hayner joins Core Therapeutics Physical Therapy

Physical therapist Sandy Hayner joined Core Therapeutics Physical Therapy in Fairhaven. In practice since 1987, she specializes in orthopedic manual therapy and has been studying with the North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy since 1996.

She is currently working through the level 3 curriculum for both spine and extremity manual therapy and completed the level 2 examination, earning a pass with distinction. Hayner is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, the section on orthopedics, and the Washington State Physical Therapy Association.


Best receives General Securities Principal license

Waddell & Reed recently announced that Randy Best received the General Securities Principal license. Best has been with the firm for two years, after joining as a district manager and financial advisor in 2006.

Best oversees 10 advisors in the area, monitoring performance, managing sales practices and training, and will work frequently with the corporate headquarters. The General Securities license will allow him to expand his managerial duties and responsibilities.

A professional in the financial services industry for 15 years, Best earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University Northridge and an MBA from National University and is currently studying for the Chartered Leadership Fellow designation, a managerial designation exclusively for financial services professionals.


Snapper Shuler Kenner Insurance makes announcements

Jennifer Anderson recently passed the state exam to become a licensed property and casualty agent for Snapper Shuler Kenner’s Lynden office.

Megan Van Diest moved her office to the Barkley Bellingham office of Snapper Shuler Kenner to become a personal lines producer.

Ann Weber recently passed the second level for her Associates in Insurance Services designation.


Baker appointed chief operating officer

Evergreen Team Concepts, specializing in training, consulting and staff development for companies, appointed Joel Baker as its chief operating officer.

Baker has more than 30 years’ experience in operations management, sales, marketing and financial management. He also has founded three high-tech companies. Baker came to Whatcom County as president and chief operating officer for Ferndale-based PRWeb from 2005 through the end of 2007, playing a key role in the public-relations company’s phenomenal growth.


DeHaas FHA Approved Appraiser

Pete DeHaas, president of DeHaas Appraisal Services Inc., recently completed housing and urban Development requirements to become a Federal Housing Administration approved appraiser. DeHaas is a certified residential appraiser serving Whatcom and Skagit counties. His experience includes previous careers in real estate sales in California and mortgage banking in Washington.

DeHaas was recently elected sergeant at arms of Focus Northwest, a local nonprofit business network promoting best practices. DeHaas is a frequent speaker at Focus Northwest public seminars on the art of valuation.


Horizon Bank announces new retail office managers

Horizon Bank announced the hiring of two new retail banking office managers for their offices in Lynden and Bellingham.

Mark Swanson joined as assistant vice president and retail office manager of Horizon Bank’s Lynden office. Swanson is a Washington State University graduate and has spent the last 16 years in the restaurant operations field, most recently as a general manager.

Brian Borghorst was promoted to assistant vice president and office manager of the Alabama Street office in Bellingham. Borghorst has been with Horizon Bank for five years, most recently as the merchant services coordinator and senior personal banker for the Holly Street and Cornwall Avenue offices. Borghorst is a graduate of Western Washington University with a degree in economics. He will specialize in the lending and development needs for area business owners.


Stauffer joins Oltman Insurance

Marty Stauffer joined Oltman Insurance Agency as an insurance agent.

Stauffer is a Whatcom County native and joined Oltman after five years in the advertising department of The Bellingham Herald.

Neighborhood Mortgage announces 4th quarter mortgage advisor

Leena Kirschman of Neighborhood Mortgage was announced as the fourth quarter licensed mortgage advisor at the company’s annual holiday party. She received the award for her leadership qualities, sales consistency, teamwork, community involvement and her dedication to the industry and her clients.

Kirschman is an active member of the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce where she acts as an ambassador and in the Boys and Girls Club. She has also contributed to the food bank, Toys for Tots and other organizations.


Frontier Bank announces local promotions

Frontier Bank has announced that two local employees have received promotions.

Bob MacIsaac is now a senior vice president and regional manager for the bank’s Northwest region, which includes Whatcom County. MacIsaac has been in banking for 23 years, the last five of those with Frontier. He received his bachelor’s degree from California State University and is a 2006 graduate of Pacific Coast Banking School.

Also receiving a promotion is Dwight Jeppson, who is now a senior vice president and commercial loan officer at the bank’s downtown Bellingham office, located at 128 E. Holly St. He has 22 years of banking experience and has been with Frontier for three years.

Jeppson has a BS from Utah State University, is a certified commercial appraiser and is a Certified Commercial Investment Member of Realtors Marketing Institute.


NAMI elects 2008 officers

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Whatcom County recently elected its board of directors for 2008.

They are Benita Bowen, president; Betty Scott, first vice president; Andrew Davis, second vice president; Nina Baker, secretary; and Lyn Lott, treasurer.

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of persons living with serious mental illness and their families. Since 1997, NAMI-Whatcom has provided 32 education classes for more than 550 parents and family members on mental illness.


Western Refinery Services hires Eigenbrood

Western Refinery Services recently hired Jake Eigenbrood to help with facilities management, project management, and business development.

Eigenbrood has extensive experience in the refinery industry and has been recognized for his ability to negotiate and implement logistics procedure. Some of the projects he has been involved in are logistics supervisor, strategic procurement task force, and major projects liaison.


Badgley and Gardner join RE/MAX

The real-estate team of Eric Badgley and Angela Gardner recently moved to the Bellingham office of RE/MAX Whatcom County.

Badgley, a listing specialist, earned multiple awards for sales production during the last three years at another local real estate agency. Born and raised in Bellingham, Badgley offers extensive knowledge in the use of Internet technology for marketing properties.

Gardner has three years of experience in helping buyers find properties that meet their needs. She also is familiar with Skagit County, where she was born and raised.


Griffiths moves up in Pearson Construction Corp.

Bob Griffiths is now a partner with Pearson Construction Corp. He started in the company in 1992 as a carpenter apprentice and has worked his way up to project manager.

In his time at Pearson, he has completed buildings for credit unions, churches, hotels and private residences. Griffiths has also been involved in several LEED projects, such as the WECU Loan Center. Griffiths graduated from Western Washington University in 1988 with a business degree.


Tobin joins Litzia, Henderson earns certification

Litzia, LLC recently welcomed new employee Jason Tobin, who joins the company as a Network Engineer.

Formerly a business sales supervisor and lead technician at Bellingham’s Best Buy and The Geek Squad, Tobin recently earned the designation of Microsoft Certified Professional.

Tobin’s post-secondary education includes coursework in the Microcomputer Technologies program at Grays Harbor College.

In his new position, Tobin will specialize in technology solutions that increase business collaboration, including Microsoft SharePoint Server and other productivity-boosting applications running on Microsoft Windows platforms.

Michele Henderson, business support specialist also with Litzia, recently earned the Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) designation for Microsoft’s Licensing Delivery Specialization for small and medium businesses.


Awards and Anniversaries


Comfort Inn wins hospitality award

The Bellingham Comfort Inn, owned and operated by Sid Baron and son Alan Baron of Lynden, has received a 2007 Gold Hospitality Award from Choice Hotels International, Inc., one of the world’s largest lodging chains.

Winners of this award exceed Choice Hotels’ quality standards for customer service, housekeeping and product quality. While Choice Hotels International has more than 5,000 properties worldwide, Comfort Inn Bellingham was one of fewer than 400 hotels to earn this prestigious award and is the only hotel in Washington state to win the award this year.


Woods Coffee receives Hottest Brand award

The Woods Coffee House, located in Bellingham and Lynden, received the coveted 2007 Hottest Brand in North America Award in the specialty coffee category from The Brand Coaches, international brand marketing consultants. The Woods, owned by Wes and Diane Herman and family, received the award January 4 in the “10 Locations or Less” category.

The list of 2007 Hottest Brand in North America Award recipients includes: Wes Herman, The Woods Coffee House, Lynden, for the 10 Locations or Less category; Brad Carpenter, Forza Coffee Roasters, Gig Harbor, for the Over 10 Locations category; and Chris Ambrose, Java Room, West Palm Beach, Fla., for the Best Single Location category.


Entrepreneur lists Glass Doctor in “Franchise 500”

Entrepreneur magazine listed Glass Doctor No. 318 in its 2008 “Franchise 500” list.

Glass Doctor of Lynden, locally operated by Richard A. Walter, is part of the nation’s largest full-service glass provider, which serves the residential, automotive and commercial glass repair and replacement markets at more than 365 locations.


Contractors honored for administration of transportation projects

Eight transportation construction projects were selected as winners of 2007 Excellence in Contract Administration Awards by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Associated General Contractors of Washington. For each of these projects, awards were presented to the administrative team, including the construction firm, its project manager and the WSDOT project engineer.

One of the winners of the Honorable Mention, Western Washington Projects Greater than $2 million category was IMCO General Construction, Inc. of Bellingham, with project manager Tim Whiteis and DOT project engineer Chris Damitio for Nooksack Road, Vic to Cherry Street.


A Place To Call Home celebrates 5-year anniversary

A Place To Call Home, a design/build consulting firm owned by Chris Simpson, is celebrating five years in business. Begun in 2003 as a “hand-holder for homeowners,” A Place to Call Home has evolved into a comprehensive design/build service that is part architectural designer, part project coordinator and part interior designer. From concept to completion, Simpson is the homeowner’s advisor and advocate during their home-building or remodeling project.

To commemorate the anniversary, Simpson will donate $50 to Habitat for Humanity for each new client signed in 2008.


WWU ranks among ‘100 Best Values’ and gains Peace Corps recognition

Western Washington University improved by 10 spots to rank 38th among the top 100 public colleges and universities in the nation based on a combination of academic quality and affordability.

In its February issue, Kiplinger’s magazine ranked Western 38th on its list of the 100 Best Values in Public Colleges in the United States. The magazine ranked Western 48th in 2007.

The rankings are based on data that more than 500 public four-year colleges and universities provided to determine the top 100.

Western ranked third among the top medium-sized colleges and universities with alumni serving as Peace Corps volunteers in 2007, moving up from fourth among medium-sized schools in 2006.

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