Keeping up with people


Liao-Troth set to lead university’s MBA program

Associate Professor of Management Matthew Liao-Troth has been named the director of Western Washington University’s MBA program. Liao-Troth will oversee the program’s recruiting efforts, admissions process, alumni relations, academic advising and the coordination of its curriculum.

Liao-Troth earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz.


Snapper Shuler Kenner hires McMullen

Christina McMullen is the new marketing representative for local insurance company Snapper Shuler Kenner. The company created the position for McMullen to be an ambassador for the Bellingham office and build awareness about the company.


Evergreen Team Concepts hire Ridpath and Hiller

Mike Ridpath and Dave Hiller have joined Evergreen Team Concepts’ management team. Ridpath, who was raised in Ferndale, is senior manager for products and services. A few of the multiple projects Ridpath will develop and implement include the team development group, Lean Leadership Institute and an empowerment group for professional women.

Hiller is the enrollment director for Whatcom County and British Columbia. The Bellingham native’s duties will include informing companies and individuals about ETC’s numerous programs for developing workplace skills. Hiller earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University and a master’s degree in Chicago before returning to Bellingham.


Baron & Company adds new graphic designer

Brandon Allen comes to Baron & Co. after a year and a half with Toolhouse Design Co. Allen earned a Bachelor of Arts from Western Washington University with an emphasis in graphic design. Allen was a co-designer for Huxley College of the Environment’s award winning magazine, The Planet. Allen honed his design skills with companies throughout Bellingham, including MB Design and Toolhouse Design Company. He also served as the creative art director for Bellingham’s annual Broken Spoke Festival.


Gregory promoted to retail branch manager at Whidbey Island Bank

Whidbey Island Bank announced Marcy Gregory’s promotion to retail branch manager at the Bakerview Office of Whidbey Island Bank. A life-long resident of Whatcom County, Gregory has more than 25 years of banking and lending experience.

Gregory joined Whidbey Island Bank in 1998 and received an Outstanding Sales Award from Whidbey Island Bank in 2002 for her achievement in establishing and growing the Whatcom County division of the Dealer Center. She attended Western Washington University and resides in Ferndale.


Johnson joins salon in Fairhaven

HAIR By Wendy has hired Amber Johnson as a color and style artist. The Whatcom County native graduated from the Northwest Hair Academy in Mount Vernon and has worked several years in local salons.

“We’re looking forward to accepting new and walk-in clients for Amber. Having her here offers our clients an opportunity to be more flexible in their appointments,” said owner Wendy Bevan.


Local baker’s pretzels appear in Rachael Ray’s magazine

Ralf Sigl and his Bavarian pretzels appeared in the October 2007 issue of Everyday With Rachael Ray. Sigl has been making traditional Bavarian pretzels since moving to Bellingham from Germany. He started his bakery in 2004.


Bellingham medical practice adds new physician

Andrew C. Verneuil M.D. joins Bellingham Ear, Nose and Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery. Verneuil practices general otolaryngology, but has a specialty interest in voice dysfunction/laryngology, head and neck oncology, pediatric otolaryngology and sleep disorders.

Verneuil grew up in Southern California and attended UCLA, earning his undergraduate degree in kinesiology. He graduated from Mayo Medical School before completing six years of internship and residency training in head and neck surgery at UCLA. While at Mayo Medical School and UCLA’s School of Medicine, Verneuil researched vocal cord physiology, investigated treatments for vocal cord paralysis, and completed UCLA’s laryngology fellowship.

Verneuil joins the practice’s four other partners: Dr. Thomas Stackhouse, Dr. Joost Knops, Dr. Emil Hecht and Dr. David Olson.


New education project manager at Allied Arts of Whatcom County

Chris Brewer joined the staff of Allied Arts of Whatcom County as its education project manager in September.

Brewer received a Bachelor of Science from Huxley College of Environmental Studies and a Master of Arts in music therapeutics from Columbia Pacific University. She has dedicated her career to expanding the use of arts in education and health.  Brewer brings more than 20 years’ experience in managing artists in schools and arts integration programs similar to the award-winning program at the Allied Arts Education Project.


WWU trustee Sharpe to chair search for new college president

Western Washington University’s board of trustees appointed trustee Phil Sharpe to chair the committee that will lead the search for a new university president. Sharpe will recommend the size and make-up of the committee to the board. The board of trustees will decide Western’s next president based on recommendations from the search advisory committee. The board’s resolution states that the presidential search will be conducted “on a basis that is inclusive and transparent, while maintaining appropriate candidate confidentiality.”

WWU President Karen W. Morse announced at the beginning of her 15th year at Western that she would be retiring as president of the university on Sept. 1, 2008.


Huxley’s dean appointed to EPA advisory council

Bradley Smith, dean of Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University, has been appointed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Advisory Council for Environmental Policy and Technology (NACEPT), which advises the EPA on domestic and international policy issues.

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson appointed Smith to a two-year term on the board this past spring. NACEPT members represent a range of interests, including academia, business and industry, community-based organizations and state and tribal interests. Representing the environmental education community, Smith will attend his first meeting in November.

Smith has written extensively on environmental issues and policy and was the first director of the Office of Environmental Education for the EPA. He has served as a senior environmental advisor to General Motors Corp. and as an external evaluator for the U.S. Department of Energy. Formerly, Smith served as an appointed member of President Clinton’s Council for Sustainable Development.

He earned his doctorate in 1981 from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment. He has been a Fulbright Scholar to England and a NATO Fellow and holds adjunct faculty positions in Russia, China, Holland, England and Japan.


Pearce named consultant of the quarter at Neighborhood Mortgage

Dave Pearce is the Third Quarter Mortgage Consultant of 2007 for Neighborhood Mortgage. He surpassed his prior sales goals to set a personal record by expanding and implementing his knowledge in an ever-changing market.


Petrich joins Waddell & Reed

Jon Petrich is the new financial advisor in Skagit and Whatcom counties for Waddell & Reed. Petrich attended Skagit Valley College before he transferred to Eastern Washington University where he earned two bachelor’s degrees in finance and economics.

As a financial advisor, Petrich will help develop customized financial plans, recommend investment strategies and counsel clients throughout the area.


Toyer joins Waddell & Reed

Sgt. Robert J. Toyer is now a financial advisor for Whatcom County. Toyer served the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves for six years before joining Waddell & Reed. Toyer earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University with a minor in economics.

Expertise in financial counseling and planning will help Toyer develop customized financial plans, recommend investment strategies and counsel clients throughout the area.


Larson completes financial training course

Eric Larson recently completed CCIM 101. This flagship CCIM course offers an array of financial analysis concepts and calculations to help make sound commercial investment real estate decisions. The CCIM education program is the most comprehensive educational resource in commercial investment real estate. It represents the core knowledge expected of commercial investment real estate practitioners.


Tourism bureau hires new intern

Jennifer Leak joins Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism as their winter marketing and public relations intern. Leak will work with local and national media to promote the region as a desirable travel destination, track media publicity and assist with key marketing projects like the award-winning Roadtrip Program.

Leak is a senior at Western Washington University working toward a bachelor’s degree in communication with a journalism minor.


Peoples Bank hires remote banking manager

Tracy Wainwright is the new manager of remote banking for Peoples Bank. Wainwright’s primary responsibility is managing the customer contact center in Lynden, where she will also oversee the bank’s online banking services. Wainwright has 12 years’ experience in customer service and managed the call center for a local utility company.

She earned an Associate of Arts degree from Walla Walla Community College and is working toward a degree in business administration from Washington State University.


Long joins the staff at local accounting firm

David Long has been hired as a new staff accountant for Varner Sytsma & Herndon, CPAs. He graduated from Averett University’s MBA program in 2005. Long began his career in public accounting in 2006 following a 23-year career in the U. S. Coast Guard. He passed the CPA exam and only needs to satisfy the experience requirement before earning his CPA designation in January 2008. 


Taylor passes insurance course

Suzanne Taylor, commercial representative for Bob Wallin Insurance of Bellingham, successfully completed the fifth annual Certified Insurance Service Representatives (CIRS) course for insuring commercial property. To earn CIRS designation, Taylor attended five courses covering insurance management business and passed five comprehensive examinations.

Taylor has two years experience with Bob Wallin Insurance. She worked in the agency’s personal lines department before moving into the commercial lines department. Suzanne grew up in Bellingham and earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Washington State University.


CENTURY 21 Bay Properties welcomes Wright

Leah Wright has joined CENTURY 21 Bay Properties as a sales associate in Blaine. She will specialize in residential property sales in the Whatcom County area.


Templeton passes Washington loan exam

Susan Templeton, a local mortgage planner and owner of Loannetter, passed the Washington Loan Originator License Exam. She also completed two continuing education courses, including Ethics for Mortgage Lenders, required by the Department of Financial Institutions. All independent loan originators in Washington must be licensed to continue practicing past 2007.

Templeton is a member of the Ethical Lending Foundation, the Washington Association of Mortgage Brokers and the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. She specializes in loans for first-time homebuyers, clients with credit challenges and custom home construction projects.


Horizon Bank hires new manager for the Ferndale

Eric Nelson is the assistant vice president and retail office manager for Horizon Bank’s Ferndale office. Nelson brings a diverse background including significant experience in the financial services industry, extensive management experience, and more than 20 years of service in the U.S. Navy. He and his family have lived in Whatcom County since 1998 and he looks forward to renewing his ties and serving the banking needs of the Ferndale community.


Local nurse inducted in the Academy of Emergency Nursing

The Emergency Nurses Association recently inducted St. Joseph Hospital’s Diana Meyer as a Fellow in the Academy of Emergency Nursing. Meyer has been an ENA member, along with 33,000 other nurses, for 18 years but now she joins only 60 other “fellows” in the academy.

Meyer was named to the academy based on enduring contributions that have facilitated the advancement of the emergency nursing profession. Her body of work has advanced the profession of emergency nursing and she provides visionary leadership for the Emergency Nurses Association and the Academy of Emergency Nursing.

Her contributions include serving as faculty for classes that train nurses on assessing pediatric and adult trauma patients; authoring multiple contributions to professional journals and textbooks; serving in leadership positions (including state president) in California and Washington; and presenting numerous educational sessions at local, state and national events.


Lindberg receives prestigious Realtor award

Maria Lindberg was awarded the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation by the CCIM Institute on Oct. 18 in San Antonio, Texas. The institute gives the award to real estate professionals after they successfully complete a graduate-level education curriculum and present a portfolio about their industry experience. Lindberg was among 426 commercial real estate professionals who earned the certificate.

Lindberg is a broker at Windermere Real Estate in Fairhaven. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College before receiving her master’s from Western Washington University.


Waltari appointed real estate loan manager at WECU

Whatcom Educational Credit Union appointed Pamela Waltari as its real estate loan manager. She formerly managed WECU’s Birchwood branch and has more than 10 years’ experience in the credit union industry, including six years at WECU.


Wilson joins Bellwether Mortgage

Amy Wilson has joined Bellwether Mortgage in Bellingham. As a home-mortgage consultant with three years of experience in the industry, Wilson is qualified to handle any type of residential mortgage for single-family homes, condominiums and duplexes. She also assists clients seeking home equity lines of credit. She graduated from the University of Montana.


Paton is new director for homeless services

Debbie Paton will now direct community services for the Opportunity Council’s homeless housing and basic needs programs. She’s been with the council for 10 years, working for community services and the energy and home repair service center.

She will continue to direct the agency’s Energy Services programs and currently participates in the state’s Energy Assistance Workgroup and the Energy Project Steering Committee. Paton earned a master’s degree in environment and community from Antioch University Seattle.


Three RE/MAX agents gain pivotal designations

Michelle Foggin of RE/MAX’s Sudden Valley office received the Accredited Buyer Representative designation from the National Association of Realtors. The ABR is given to agents who have completed studies in the field of buyer representation.

Cherie Kukhahn of RE/MAX’s Lynden office achieved the Certified Residential Specialist designation. Only 4 percent of realtors attain this designation. To receive it, Kukhahn had to document a high volume of sales and transactions while completing coursework in real estate investing, marketing and technology.

Mallina Wilson of RE/MAX’s Ferndale office earned both the At Home with Diversity Certificate and Transactional Referral Certification. The NAR gives the diversity certificate to real estate professionals who have increased their sensitivity to issues of diversity, fair housing and cultural differences. The transactional certificate trains agents to assist foreign buyers and sellers, as well as local residents with property interests in foreign countries.


Gordon accepts promotion at nursing agency

Whatcom County resident Lenore Gordon is the new scheduler for Visiting Nurse Home Care, a regional nonprofit agency employing more than 200 people. Gordon was the agency’s home care aide before the promotion.  She has more than 20 years experience as a social worker, a volunteer coordinator, and directing summer camps for The Salvation Army.


Chamber appoints Ski to Sea coordinator

The Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce has hired Mel Monkelis for the newly created Ski to Sea coordinator position. Monkelis will concentrate on the logistics of the festival as it tries to expand services to meet growing attendance rates.


Dykstra appointed vice president of lending at WECU

Jeff Dykstra is the new vice president of lending at Whatcom Educational Credit Union. He is the former manager of WECU’s Lynden branch and brings 11 years of experience at WECU to the lending department.


Insurance company hires nine new employees

Snapper Shuler Kenner has added new personel throughout its Whatcom organization.

Michelle Smith and Megan Van Diest obtained their property and casualty licenses and join the insurance company as new commercial service representatives.

Jennifer Whitford is a new commercial representative who specializes in the support and service of business customers.

Beth Van Diest is the new administrative assistant and receptionist for the Lynden office.

Shannon Van Dalen is the new administrative assistant for the medical and benefits department.

Tena Alton was promoted to be the medical department’s producer.

Char Hornstra is the new controller for Snapper Shuler Kenner Insurance.

Andrea Brooks is a new representative at the new Barkley office in Bellingham. 

Christina McMullen is the new marketing representative. 




McClellan named 2007 Professional Woman of the Year

Whatcom Women in Business named Alta McClellan as Whatcom County’s 2007 Professional Woman of the Year at its annual banquet Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club.

McClellan is a founder of Hardware Sales. As a mother, grandmother and a successful businesswoman for 40 years, she sticks to her beliefs and strict business practices concerning strong family relationships and fantastic customer service. At the age of 91, she’s still at the office by 5:30 a.m. and doesn’t stop until 6 or 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Alta is a member of the Elks, Moose and Eagles lodges. She also donates to the Lighthouse Mission Ministries, Salvation Army, Whatcom Humane Society, and the Jingle Bell Run.

Whatcom Women in Business has provided mentoring, education and networking opportunities for women business owners and managers for more than three decades. They provide education scholarships to women each year, funded by their annual auction.


Barkley Village store honored by Haggen Food & Pharmacy

Haggen Food & Pharmacy named the Barkley Village Haggen its best store for 2007.

The Barkley Village Haggen store was honored for excellence in numerous areas, including customer relations, community involvement and product presentation, said Dale C. Henley, president and CEO of Haggen, Inc.

Four Barkley Village Haggen managers were also named best in their department out of the 15 Haggen stores in Washington and Oregon:

  • Paul Cooley, Store Manager of the Year
  • Tyler Cook, Center Store Manager of the Year
  • Dondena Scott, Garden Manager of the Year
  • Tracy Pleas, Guest Services Manager of the Year


International Absorbents recognized by business magazine

Ferndale based International Absorbents won Pet Business Magazine’s 2007 Industry Recognition Award for favorite product in the small animal accessories category. International Absorbents Inc., which develops and produces environmentally friendly pet care and industrial products, was recognized for its CareFRESH Colors Pet Bedding.


McKinley wins top award for public professionals

Bellingham Public Works Director Dick McKinley received the Roy Morse Award for Washington State Public Works Leader of the Year from the Washington State Chapter of the American Public Works Association at its 2007 fall conference in Spokane.

This award is presented to only one person in the state each year.


Physicians at local nonprofit win prestigious award

Bellingham Anesthesia & Surgical Consultants, a local nonprofit supported and owned by physicians, received the prestigious William O. Robertson Patient Safety Award at the Washington State Medical Association’s annual meeting Oct. 5, 2007. The William O. Robertson Patient Safety Award recognizes ambulatory medical organizations that have established innovative patient safety initiatives. BASC received this award for their efforts implementing a Washington State Certified Medical Quality Improvement Program. The program developed strict criteria and guidelines to reach certification.

BASC has been working behind the scenes in the community for 11 years. Its 64 members’ various specialties include anesthesia, ENT, general surgery, neurosurgery, OB/GYN, plastic surgery, ophthalmology, orthopedics, and urology.


WWU faculty Durham and Wilhelm honored for teaching excellence

Yvonne Durham and Wendy Wilhelm received the 2007 Allette and Cayden Chase Franklin Excellence in Teaching Awards from Western Washington University’s College of Business and Economics. The $1,000 award is sponsored by WWU alum Chase Franklin.

Durham, an associate professor of economics, was recognized for the scholarly development of teaching economics through experiential activities. Durham researched how this approach affects a student’s motivation to embrace the subject material and learn.

Wilhelm, a finance and marketing professor, received the award for developing and implementing an innovative approach to internship programs that enhance student learning and effectively link internship providers, students and faculty.

“This award recognizes faculty contributions to the scholarship of teaching and learning in business and economics,” said Joseph Garcia, associate dean and director of the College of Business and Economics’ Center for Excellence in Management Education. “Our award recipients have truly made a difference in the lives of students and the organizations they serve.”


Airport shuttle mechanic wins competition for second year

Mechanic Jody Hernandez won the Northwest Motorcoach Association Bus Road-eo Mechanics Competition for the second straight year, outscoring mechanics from other top Pacific Northwest transportation companies. The competition is held each year at NWMA’s annual meeting and convention in Yakima, Wash. Hernandez was the only one with a perfect score during two days of testing, including a 25-minute race to find all the problems in a rigged motorcoach.

Hernandez is the first to win back-to-back trophies since Oregon Coachways’ John Mikulich in 1999 and 2000. Hernandez is lead mechanic for Airporter Shuttle/Bellair Charters, and the four mechanics he oversees maintain more than 40 vehicles. Other mechanics and bus companies seek him out for his experience in vehicle maintenance and troubleshooting.


Bell chosen for national speaking competition

Gene Bell was selected by H.D. Vest Financial Services to be a semi-finalist at the 2007 H.D. Vest Advisor Keynote Contest. Bell thanked the special talents of his clients and the creative direction of Suzanne Blais from Black Dog Productions. He will compete with nine other finalists this month in San Antonio, Texas for the 2007 H.D. Vest Advisor Keynote title.

The winner is awarded a one-year speaking contract and an opportunity to be published in a financial planning book. The competition is a search for a financial advisor who can inspire, entertain and motivate other investors.


Eight faculty from WWU receive research awards

Western Washington University’s College of Business and Economics awarded eight faculty members the 2007 Dennis R. Murphy Faculty Research Award. Honoring longtime dean of the college and current provost and vice president for academic affairs at WWU, the awards give $500 or $1,000 to each recipient.

The awards recognize the following faculty contributions to published articles in their disciplines:

  • Earl Benson, finance and marketing professor, acknowledged for his contribution to the paper Structural Deficits and State Borrowing Costs in the Journal of Public Budgeting and Finance.
  • Steven Globerman, Kaiser Professor of International Business, recognized for his contribution to Equity Versus Non-Equity International Strategic Alliances Involving Danish Firms: An Empirical Investigation of the Relative Importance of Partner and Host Country Determinant in the Journal of International Management.
  • Steven E. Henson, economics professor, honored for his contribution to Administrative Costs in Higher Education: How Fast Are They Really Growing? in Education Economics.
  • Ilhyung Kim and Mark Springer, professors from the decision sciences department, recognized for their paper, Measuring Endogenous Supply Chain Volatility: Beyond the Bullwhip Effect in the European Journal of Operational Research.
  • Jongwook Kim, professor in the management department, noted for his contribution to Appropriating Economic Rents from Resources: an Integrative Property Rights Resource-based Approach in the International Journal of Learning and Intellectual Capital.
  • Shawn D. Knabb, economics professor, acknowledged for his coauthored work Fiscal Policy, Expectations Traps, and Child Labor in the Journal of Economic Inquiry.
  • Zhe George Zhang, professor in the decision sciences department, recognized for his work on Qualifying the Performance Effects of Idle Time Utilization in Multiserver Systems in Naval Research Logistics. 


Paper Dreams celebrates 25th anniversary

Paper Dreams had an open house Nov. 10 and Nov. 11 for its 25th anniversary. They offered Colophon cookies, juice and 25 percent discounts on holiday merchandise for the upcoming seasonal shopping.

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