Keeping up with People


Larson Gross expands team

The accounting firm Larson Gross announced the additions of Sam Pauley and Cody Bormuth.

Pauley, who joined Larson Gross in December 2007, earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Western Washington University. He is a staff accountant working from the Bellingham office.

Bormuth, who joined Larson Gross in January 2008, is a native of Skagit Valley. He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Northwood University. After working for a Michigan public accounting firm for four years, Bormuth chose to return to the Pacific Northwest to be near family. He accepted a position as a senior staff accountant.


Key joins St. Francis

St. Francis of Bellingham, an Avamere community, announced the appointment of Christopher Key as marketing director. Key, a nine-year Whatcom County resident, is a former editor of Whatcom County Business Pulse and executive director of the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra.

Key received his bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Antioch University – Seattle and an M. Div. from Church Divinity School of the Pacific.


Lynden’s Pioneer Ford adds sales consultants

Howard Hanna, who worked at a Ford dealership in Bellingham for six years, joined Lynden’s Pioneer Ford team as a sales consultant. Hanna, a Ford certified sales consultant, is a Whatcom County native and Western Washington University graduate. Hanna also operated a rental-car franchise at Bellingham International Airport for 20 years.

Harris Nieuwsma, who was born and raised in Lynden, came to Pioneer Ford in Lynden after four years at Bellingham dealerships. Nieuwsma is a Ford master certified sales consultant.


Allstate has new employee

Andrea Frakes joined the Allstate Insurance Company team of the Booth Insurance Agency in Ferndale. Frakes, who has a background in the mortgage industry, was born and raised in Whatcom County and is a graduate of Lynden High School.


Henderson certifies on Microsoft Windows Server 2008

Matt Henderson, of Litzia LLC, recently earned the title of Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist for configuration of Windows 2008 Server Network Infrastructure, Windows 2008 Server Active Directory, and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. Henderson also added the title of Microsoft Certified System Administrator to his professional qualifications.


Whatcom Community Foundation CEO Resigns, Ingram to assume position

Calene LeBeau, Whatcom Community Foundation CEO since June 2006, resigned effective January 31. Mauri Ingram, former board chair, assumed the full responsibilities of president and CEO February 4.

In January the Foundation started the replacement process for LeBeau. After evaluating Ingram’s experience and qualifications the board decided she was a perfect fit for the position.

Ingram’s resume includes an MBA from the University of Washington and service as executive director of the Downtown Renaissance Network and as project manager with Trillium Corporation. She is an owner and principal in thinkwell development and has been active in Bellingham Rotary, Leadership Whatcom, Bellingham City Club and Sustainable Connections.


Caruceriu, Hamilton join Prudential Kelstrup Realtors

Connie Caruceriu and Jan Hamilton recently joined Prudential Kelstrup Realtors as sales associates.

Caruceriu will concentrate on residential and multi-family real estate sales and looks forward to reaching out to her fellow Romanians in Whatcom County and British Columbia.

Hamilton brings more than seven years experience as well as professional credentials including CRS, GRI and ABR. She is also a member of the Commercial Brokers Association.


Brewster adds to credentials

J. Thomas Brewster, senior party chief of Wilson Engineering, LLC in Bellingham, obtained his Washington State Professional Land Surveyor’s license. Brewster is a certified flood plain manager, a GPS specialist, and a land and hydrographic surveyor. He began his surveying career in 1988 and has worked at Wilson since 1994.


Weener trains chefs for new San Francisco restaurant

Bryan Weener, executive chef of Haggen Market Street Catering, recently trained line cooks and sous chefs for the opening of the San Francisco restaurant, Epic Roasthouse. Weener trained them on the restaurant’s entire menu, which features steak, lamb, veal and duck entrees with local and organic ingredients.

A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Weener joined Haggen Market Street Catering in 2003. He is responsible for menu development, quality control, training and supervision.

Market Street Catering was selected as a preferred caterer for Bellingham’s Lairmont Manor, one of the region’s top destination sites for weddings.


Tourism Bureau announces new board members

The Convention and Visitors Bureau has three new members on its board of directors. They will serve two-year terms.

The new members are Trey Campbell, general manager of the Hampton Inn; Guy Occhiogrosso, director of the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce; and Terry Bornemann, Bellingham City Council member.

Campbell joined the Hampton Inn in September 2004 and became the general manager in July 2006.

Occhiogrosso became the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce’s director in 2006 after working for The Bellingham Herald in sales and marketing.

Bornemann brings to the board a commitment to diversify the local economy and preserving the environmental quality of Bellingham.


Rahm joins executive board

Loni Rahm, president and CEO of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism, was elected to the executive board of Washington Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus (WACVB). The association, which has a goal to enhance the awareness and influence of the visitor industry as a viable economic generator for Washington, is comprised of destination marketing organizations, and convention and visitor’s bureaus throughout the state. Rahm first joined WACVB in 1994, and served as its president in 1999.


Stringfield joins Bellingham Business Banking team

Wade Stringfield was named Business Banking relationship manager. Stringfield will be based in Bellingham and will serve customers in Whatcom and Island counties. He most recently worked as a Wells Fargo banking store manager in Ferndale.

A Bellingham resident, Stringfield earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and marketing from Oklahoma Baptist University and a master’s in business administration from the University of Oklahoma. He serves on the boards of the Ferndale Boys & Girls Club and the Lummi Community Development Financial Institution.


Whatcom Women in Business announces new officers

Whatcom Women in Business, which is comprised of women business owners and managers who focus on developing and maintaining proactive role models within the group and the community at large, announced their newly appointed officers for 2008.

Evelyn Turner of The Easy Entrée was appointed for a second term as president. Missy Bartel of Connections SLP is secretary. Cindy Grass of Al’s I-5 RV is treasurer.

Barbara Sanford of Launching Success Learning Store is vice president of programs. Jeanette Coffey of Pre-Paid Legal Services is vice president of membership. Annette Booth of Allstate Insurance is vice president of publicity.


Patricia Campbell of Life By Desire is an at-large officer.

Diana Banister of Arbonne International is Web master and Becky Raney of Print & Copy Factory has agreed to continue her work on the group’s newsletter.


American Family Insurance opens doors in Bellingham

American Family Insurance agent Trevor Holman opened his new office in Bakerview Square in January. The business offers a range of products from homeowner and auto insurance to life and business insurance.

Holman, a Lynden native, is based in Bellingham but serves clients throughout Whatcom and Skagit Counties. Holman is also a member of the Northwest Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Melissa Lange joined Holman’s team as a licensed agent assistant. Lange attended Western Washington University after moving to Bellingham nine years ago and has spent the last five years in the home loans field, most recently as a home mortgage associate.


Matz named home-loan consultant

Randy Matz recently was named a home-loan consultant for the Bellingham office of Countrywide Home Loans.

Matz has been a residential loan officer for two years and has more than 15 years of business experience. He is qualified to assist clients with a full range of residential loans, including purchases, refinances, new construction and home equity lines of credit.

Countrywide’s Bellingham office also added an in-house loan processor, reducing the time needed for loan applications to close.


Walstad to lead sales activities

Evergreen Team Concepts, specializing in training, consulting and staff development for companies, appointed John Walstad to lead its sales activities.

Walstad, a Bellingham resident since 1992, has more than 20 years of experience in sales and sales management. He will spearhead efforts to acquaint businesses with services and products of Evergreen Team Concepts. One of Walstad’s priorities is the Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism 2010 Service Initiative that will help companies prepare for opportunities resulting from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C.


KulshanCLT trustees and officers announced for 2008

Two new trustees, Andrew Connor and Bill Sterling, were elected by the KulshanCLT membership at the 2007 annual celebration in November. Former Bellingham Mayor Tim Douglas, was appointed in January to fill a final board seat.

Officers, elected at the board of trustees meeting in January, include Alex Ramel, president; Jessica Wight, vice president; AnnMarie Jordan, secretary; and Eric Plum, treasurer. Ramel is program manager for Local Governments for Sustainability, Wight is case manager for Northwest Regional Council, Jordan is resource specialist with Northwest Workforce Development Council, and Plum, a massage therapist, has a degree and background in accounting. The remaining board members are Bill Findley and Elsie Heinrick.


Varner Sytsma Herndon adds two accountants

Varner Sytsma Herndon, a Bellingham certified public accounting firm serving businesses and individuals, recently added accountants Bob Alberg and Lukas Henne to its staff.

Alberg has more than 20 years of public accounting experience in areas of accounting and taxation. He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in taxation.

Henne joined Varner after graduating late last year with an accounting degree from Western Washington University, where he also played basketball for the Vikings and served as its team captain his senior year.


Badgley, 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.


Western Refinery Services welcomes Eigenbrood

Jake Eigenbrood joined Western Refinery Services with extensive experience in the refining industry. He has experience in facilities management, project management and business development. Eigenbrood is recognized for developing and implementing logistics procedures that decreased repetition and reduced costs and improved reliability.

Some of his projects include logistics supervision, strategic procurement task force, materials coordination – engineering and maintenance – facility and real estate manager, business development and major projects liaison.


Litzia announces addition, award

Jason Tobin joined Litzia, LLC as the company’s network engineer, providing remote and onsite computer network consulting, design, and application support to Litzia customers.

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 of network engineer, Tobin will specialize in technology solutions that increase business collaboration, including Microsoft SharePoint Server and other productivity-boosting applications running on Microsoft Windows platforms.

The locally owned and operated company also announced that Michele Henderson, business support specialist, recently earned the Microsoft Certified Professional designation for Microsoft’s licensing delivery specialization for small and medium businesses. To attain the status, Henderson had to complete course work and pass a Microsoft assessment, designed to test her knowledge of the unique licensing needs of the small-to-medium-sized business market. Henderson is certified to design licensing solutions for small and medium-sized business using the Windows Server System.


Skagit State Bank adds Kensok

The newest commercial lender to join Skagit State Bank is Jaron Kensok. Kensok, who earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Eastern Washington University, has worked in the banking industry since 1999. Most recently employed as a small business/senior loan officer, he has also held a variety of positions throughout his banking career, including commercial and consumer real estate lending, loan underwriting, personal banking and loan support. Kensok will be working out of the Sunset Square office in Bellingham.


Frontier Bank announces local promotions

At their monthly board of directors meeting, Frontier Bank announced that two local employees received promotions.

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

Active in the Whatcom County community, he is a member of Bellingham Kiwanis, Bellingham Chamber, Whatcom County Economic Development Council, Northwest Business Club, Bellingham city Club and Cornwall Church.

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

Jeppson has a bachelor of science degree from Utah State University, is a certified commercial appraiser and is a certified commercial investment member of Realtors Marketing Institute.


Pearson Construction adds new partner

Pearson Construction Corp. added Bob Griffiths to its management team. Griffiths graduated from Western Washington University with a business degree in 1988. He started as a carpenter apprentice for Pearson in 1992 and worked his way from apprentice, to journeyman, and then supervisor. He has completed credit unions, churches, banks, hotels, and private residences.

Griffiths has also been involved in several LEED or “Green Buildings” projects, including the WECU Loan Center, which was recently awarded a LEED Gold certification.

Griffiths, a project manager for Pearson, became a partner in March 2007.


Grange Insurance gets new representation

Bob Wallin Insurance was recently appointed to represent Grange Insurance Group, which has provided the area with farm insurance programs since 1894.


Merrick passes appraiser exam

Chantale Merrick of Bennett Appraisals passed the Washington Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser exam.

Before taking the exam, she had to complete more than 2,500 hours of on-site appraisal experience and 200 hours of appraisal education. A state certified residential appraiser can appraise one to four residential unit properties regardless of value and complexity.


Awards and Anniversaries


Murray receives award

Meredith Murray, Realtor with Keller Williams Realty in Bellingham, was awarded membership to Top 10 Club for both written volume and for closed volume — with a closed volume of over $1 million in one month. She was also recognized for her role on the Associate Leadership Council as its events and celebrations chairperson.


Association of Realtors honors 8

The Whatcom County Association of Realtors (WCAR) recently honored eight individuals for their contributions to the organization and the community in 2007.

Bruce Lockhart of Keller Williams, who started his real estate career in 1989, was named Realtor of the year.

Mike Rawls of Coldwell Banker Miller-Arnason in Bellingham, a Realtor since 1977, was presented the lifetime achievement award.

Jefferson Livingston, owner of the Pillar to Post home-inspection franchise in Bellingham, is the 2007 affiliate of the year.


Bill Elfo, Whatcom County sheriff since 2002, was honored as citizen of the year.

Perry Eskridge, government affairs director of WCAR, was named partner of the year. Peter Roberts of John L. Scott Real Estate in Bellingham was presented the political awareness leader award for the second consecutive year.

Dick Ryan of Windermere Real Estate in Bellingham, and WCAR member for 18 years, received the community service award.


AGC Honors Whatcom and Skagit County contractor

The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Washington honored James Hawley, general manager for Matia Contractors Inc. in Bellingham, as affiliate member of the year. 

Hawley, who was recognized for his efforts with the AGC’s Northern District, serves on the chapter’s government affairs council and has chaired the district’s Government Affairs Committee for three years. Hawley has also been active in the creation of the Whatcom County Construction Academy, a program designed for highly motivated students who are seriously interested in a career in construction or related fields.


Weitzel receives award

Chris Weitzel, a Realtor with Re/Max Whatcom County, was recently named the Re/Max Realtor of the month for December. Weitzel, who received the designation nine times in 2007, is a Certified Residential Specialist and has consecutively been the top Re/Max agent in Whatcom County since 2002.


Neufeld wins Realtor award

Shannon Neufeld of the Muljat Group Realtors was recently given the Rookie of the Year Award from the Whatcom County Association of Realtors at their annual awards banquet. Neufeld, who has a bachelor’s degree from Fresno Pacific University, received the award because of her code of ethics in business transactions and her dedication to her clients.


Neighborhood Mortgage recognizes Pearce

Neighborhood Mortgage announced that Dave Pearce is the mortgage advisor of the year for 2007, the most elite award the company recognizes. By focusing on education, Pearce became the first mortgage advisor in Whatcom County to receive the Certified Residential Mortgage Specialist designation.


David Evans and Associates receive award

The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Washington announced the state’s most prestigious engineering awards for the year, the 2008 Engineering Excellence Awards. Among the winners is the Bellingham office of David Evans and Associates, which won a State Gold award for social, economic and sustainable design considerations at the ACEC’s 40th annual awards ceremony.

The award honored their work on the Lincoln Creek restoration project at Western Washington University. The project was constructed in 2007 to mitigate impacts from the building of the Lincoln Creek Transportation Center. David Evans and Associates worked with Western to design a project that would provide the necessary stream and wetland mitigation, incorporate student participation and exemplify elements of sustainable design.


Ferndale Volvo Rents wins Circle of Excellence award

Sarah, Bruce, Brian and Paula Martin-Zender, owners of a Volvo Rents location in Ferndale, received a Circle of Excellence Award in January. They were among the top 10 performing Volvo Rents franchises for 2007 and received one of the Circle of Excellence awards during Volvo Rents’ annual franchise convention held in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.


Allstate agent recognized by Ferndale Chamber of Commerce

Annette Booth, of Booth Insurance Agency, Inc., received the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce’s up and coming small-business award for 2007. Booth is an Allstate agent in the Ferndale and Whatcom County community. She opened her agency in February 2007 and has been active in local business and community activities since then.


Gateway Building gets Merit Award

The American Institute of Architects Northwest Washington Chapter gave a Merit Award to the Gateway Building at its annual Design Awards Program. Designed by Bellingham’s Zervas Group Architects, the building is at the corner of Holly Street and Railroad Avenue.

In accepting the award, Michael E. Smith, FAIA of Zervas Group Architects recognized the building owner, Lisa Woo, for her perseverance through a six-year design and construction schedule. The Gateway Building is a mix of restaurants, retail and office activity.


Audio Video Excellence celebrates 25th anniversary

Audio Video Excellence of Bellingham, which is celebrating 25 years in business, completed several projects for the new Northwood Casino including all of its video and audio. Also in 2007, Audio Video Excellence installed 50 new televisions and switching equipment for the Nooksack Casino, and installed lighting, motorized shades and projection systems in the boardrooms of Samson Rope and Ryxex.

The business also signed a $200,000 contract to supply a house in Maui with a music system, home theater, lutron lighting control, motorized shades and a camera system, all integrated into Creston touch panel control.

Additionally, Audio Video Excellence completed several camera systems for local businesses, which can be viewed from any computer off site and completed several small home theaters and background music systems.


Black named outstanding member of the year

Todd Black was presented with the Automotive Service Association of Washington’s 2007 Outstanding Member of the Year award.

Black opened his own shop at the age of 25, and today operates two locations with 14 employees. He is an ASE certified technician and holds a Journey Man Certificate. Black has been active on the Automotive Advisory Committee at Bellingham Technical College for more than 11 years, and in 2001 was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from Bellingham Technical College.

Black joined the Automotive Service Association (ASA) in 1996 and played an integral part in revitalizing his local unit, and has held numerous ASA offices. He was also one of the founding fathers of an automotive radio talk show that is still on the air today.

Black, his wife Janel of 12 years, his son Dakota, and daughter, Riley, reside in Bellingham.

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