Motor Trucks moves Les Nelson to sales
   Motor Trucks has appointed Les Nelson to the Truck Sales department. Les has worked for the company since 1999, and transferred from the parts department.
   Les found his way from Kansas via the Navy, and has lived in worked in Whatcom County for the past 18 years.
   Les brings 25 years of industry related experience to his new position.

Lakeway Inn hires sales and marketing coordinator Erin Divine
   The Lakeway Inn and Conference Center recently hired Erin Divine as the sales and marketing coordinator. Divine is responsible for assisting the catering manager with a special emphasis on marketing projects for the hotel.
   Divine is a Bellingham resident of four years and graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in art education. Divine spent several months abroad conducting volunteer work in Kathmandu, Nepal and Vienna, Austria. 
   “Erin’s skills and vast experience will be a great asset to our sales department’s success and will further enhance our guest’s experiences,” commented Jeff Gehrman, director of sales for the Lakeway Inn and Conference Center.

Two RE/MAX Whatcom County agents earn designations
   Two RE/MAX Whatcom County real estate agents recently earned designations after completing continuing-education programs.
   Shenandoah Myrick earned the EcoBroker Certified designation after successfully completing a training program on energy and environmental issues that affect real estate transactions. The EcoBroker training, plus Myrick’s membership with Whatcom County Building Industry Association’s Built Green Committee, enables Myrick to speak knowledgeably about energy-efficient, sustainable and healthy features of homes. “From windows to moisture control to energy savings, I now have more resources at my disposal to help my customers make better real estate decisions,” said Myrick, who is based at RE/MAX’s Sudden Valley office.
   Susan Stecher completed requirements for the Accredited Buyer Representative designation. Awarded by a division of the National Association of Realtors, the ABR recognizes agents who have completed continuing education in the field of buyer representation. Stecher, based at RE/MAX’s Lakeway office in Bellingham, also qualified as a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist. Stecher gained tools for promoting expensive properties, as well as new resources for finding buyer prospects.

Kerry Graham, Eric Collins Join RE/MAX Whatcom County
   Two real estate agents have joined the Lakeway (Bellingham) office of RE/MAX Whatcom County, Inc.
   Kerry Graham has been an agent for nearly three years in Whatcom County with clients ranging from first-time buyers to seasoned investors. Focusing on residential buyers and sellers, Graham also offers extensive sales and marketing experience in the county. She is in the process of meeting her Graduate Realtor Institute designation requirements.
   Eric Collins has a year of real estate experience in Bellingham and works with both residential and commercial clients. Prior to becoming a real estate agent, he handled claims against manufacturers of faulty building materials. A Bellingham resident the last six years, Collins said he gained invaluable experience working with people in the residential and commercial real-estate industry while processing claims.
   RE/MAX Whatcom County, founded by Dean and Lori Reece in 1991, has grown to more than 100 agents in five offices, which also include Sudden Valley, Ferndale, Lynden and Point Roberts. For more information call 647-1313 or visit

Mount Baker Theatre hires Kleiber
   The Mount Baker Theatre has hired Thea Kleiber as its new development director. Kleiber is a seasoned fundraising professional with extensive experience in fundraising for the arts. She recently relocated to Whatcom County from Seattle, where she was executive director of The American String Project, a Seattle-based chamber orchestra. She has also held key fundraising positions with Seattle Symphony Orchestra and Cascadia Revolving Fund, a nationally prominent community development organization. 
   Kleiber earned her CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) credential in 2002, and holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree from the University of London in the United Kingdom. She is president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Washington Chapter, and lives with her husband and two sons on a small hobby farm in Ferndale.

Frontier promotes two
   Frontier Bank’s board of directors has recently approved the promotion of Carol L Sanderson to senior vice president. Sanderson has been in the banking industry for 30 years, the last three of those with Frontier Bank. She manages the bank’s Downtown Bellingham Branch.
   Sanderson is active in the community, currently serving as vice president and President-elect of Soroptimist International Bellingham and as a board member for the Meridian Public School Foundation. She is also the past president for Big Brothers Big Sisters and is a former board Member for the Boys and Girls Club of Whatcom County.
   Frontier Bank also announced the promotion of Beth Miller to assistant vice president and loan support officer. Miller, who also works in the downtown Bellingham branch, has been with the bank for 10 years but has 25 years of experience in the banking industry.

Peoples Bank hires Brian Daniels
   Peoples Bank has announced that it has hired Brian Daniels as branch manager of its Blaine branch, located at 1733 H Street inside the Blaine Cost Cutter Foods.
   Daniels joins Peoples Bank with over seven years of management experience. As branch manager, he is responsible for branch operations and business development out of the Blaine branch. He is active in the local community with several organizations, including Board Member of the Whatcom Dream, a member of the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association, and is on the Steering Committee for the Roosevelt Neighborhood Resource Center.
   “Brian is an energetic and capable Branch Manager, and we are delighted to have him join our Branch Management team,” said Senior Vice President of Retail Banking Anthony Repanich.

Haggen promotes Stockman, Bowhay, hires Meyer
   Haggen, Inc., has announced three personnel moves at its corporate headquarters in Bellingham.
   Brian Stockman has been appointed director of grocery for the company. He now oversees all Grocery Division merchandising — including the grocery, frozen, dairy and deli departments — for Haggen Food & Pharmacy and TOP Food & Drug stores. Stockman has 17 years of experience in the grocery industry and most recently was director of space management for Haggen, Inc.
   Dan Bowhay was named manager of space management. Raised in Bellingham, Bowhay returns after most recently serving as store manager of the TOP Food store in Everett. Bowhay has been with Haggen, Inc., for 35 years and was honored as the TOP Food Store Manager of the Year in 2000 and 2001.
   Jocelyn Meyer was hired as business intelligence and reporting administrator for the company’s information technology department. A Western Washington University graduate, Meyer is responsible for planning, design, programming and implementation of business intelligence and enterprise reporting software.

Bystrom providing in-room massages at Lakeway Inn & Convention Center
   Charisma Bystrom has been selected by Bellingham’s Lakeway Inn & Convention Center as the exclusive practitioner to provide in-room massages for its guests.
   Bystrom has been a licensed massage practitioner since graduating from the Everett branch of Ashmead College in 2004. She offers Swedish, relaxation and deep-tissue massages at the location of her clients. Bystrom also is a doula (midwife assistant) and provides pregnancy massages.
   Bystrom collaborates with husband Scott MacGregor on tandem massages. Bystrom focuses on a client’s muscular system with a full-body massage while MacGregor practices reflexology, concentrating on the body’s nervous system.

Gass, Schoenfeld reappointed to school board
   The Bellingham School Board of Directors re-appointed Dr. Ken Gass as board president and Stephen Schoenfeld as vice president at the Dec. 14 meeting.
   Annually, at a regular December meeting, the board of directors elects a president and vice president from among its members. The board consists of five members elected at large by district voters. Each member is elected for a four-year term.
   Dr. Gass was appointed to the school board in 1998, elected in 1999 and re-elected in 2003. He graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio, and received his doctorate and medical degrees from the University of Chicago. He and his wife have lived in Bellingham since 1977 and have two children, both district graduates. Dr. Gass is a pediatrician with Madrona Medical Group.
   Elected to the school board in November 2001, Schoenfeld received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin. He is self-employed as a mediator/labor arbitrator and teaches at Western Washington University. He moved to Bellingham from Wisconsin after a 30-year law career. He is married and has three children, two of whom attend district schools.

Rounds joins ReUse Works
   Aylen Rounds has joined ReUse Works as a full-time AmeriCorp VISTA volunteer to expand the organization’s capacity to serve low-income households of Whatcom County. Rounds, a 2006 graduate of Western Washington University’s Fairhaven College, will promote the environmental benefits of donating unwanted appliances to ReUse Works and the economic benefits of purchasing used appliances from the nonprofit job training agency. The VISTA program (Volunteers In Service to America) is the “domestic Peace Corps,” a national service organization established by President Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

Fairhaven Realty hires Brisky, Pros
   Born and raised in Whatcom County, Gary Brisky fulfills his 25- year dream of “moving home.” He joins Fairhaven Realty having retired from 25 years in telecommunications, with many of those years spent in the labor-management field. He has owned his own consulting firm-teaching effective communication, negotiation and customer relation skills. Brisky has also worked as an entertainment producer and agent.
   Dave Pros has also joined Fairhaven Realty, with more than 20 years’ experience in real estate. He was a marketing consultant for a major real estate franchisor and taught “How to Market Homes for Sale.” He also writes a column, “Quality Growth by Pros,” in the Whatcom Independent. In 2003 and 2004, Pros was Whatcom County Planning Commissioner Chair and is now the vice chairman. He was Public Skating Manager and Marketing Director for the Whatcom County Sports Arena and Sportsplex. He received degrees in education and political science from Northern Illinois University.

Organization asks Boos to head committee
   The American Immigration Lawyers Association asked immigration attorney Greg Boos to head the Admissions & Interior Enforcement for 2006 and 2007. The American Immigration Lawyers Association is a nonprofit organization that influences national immigration policies and provides members with continuous legal education. Boos is a partner at Chang & Boos immigration law firm, which has locations in Bellingham and Toronto. For more information contact Elizabeth Short at 733-6649.

Lorne Rubis promoted to Ryzex President & CEO
   Ryzex President Lorne Rubis has been promoted to chief executive officer. With the promotion, Rubis will now hold the titles of both president and CEO. Rud Browne, chairman and founder of Ryzex, announced the change to Ryzex team members as part of the company’s strategic planning session in November.
   Concurrent with the promotion, Browne also announced that he has now completed his three-year plan to step away from day-to-day management of the company, relinquishing those responsibilities to Rubis. Browne will now focus on business development and other strategic interests.
   Rubis joined Ryzex in 2004. He is responsible for managing all aspects of worldwide Ryzex operations. Prior to joining Ryzex, he was president and chief executive officer of Stellar One, a software and hardware solutions provider. He also served as chief operating officer for Zones (NASDAQ), a direct marketing and sales company focused on IT products. Prior to Zones, he was an officer reporting directly to the chairman and CEO of US West, Inc.

Coldwell Banker hires sales associates
   Coldwell Banker Miller-Arnason hired Kristin Hunt, Sally Winder Newton and Jolie Winkler as new sales associates. Hunt attended the Art Institute of Seattle and will be responsible for marketing, customer service and problem solving. Newton graduated from the Bellingham Technical College and will be responsible for residential real estate. Winkler attended the College of the Desert, Calif., in Palm Desert and will be responsible for residential business. Coldwell Banker has 4,000 real estate offices in the United States.

SSK hires Fisher, Barrat
   Snapper Shuler Kenner Insurance hired Veonne Fisher and Jennifer Barrat, and employee Becky Waldemar was promoted and Ann Weber passed a state test. Fisher is a commercial producer and customer service representative who specializes in construction accounts. She is a Western Washington University graduate with 15 years of insurance experience. Barrat is a customer service representative for commercial clients. She has seven years in claims experience in the insurance industry. Waldemar was promoted to firm claims manager and Weber passed the state’s property and casualty licensing test. Snapper Shuler Kenner Insurance offers personal insurance, commercial lines for businesses and employee benefits such as life, group medical and long term care insurance. For more information contact Dave Brumbaugh at 318-9275.

Thomas attends conference
   Karen Thomas, RBC Dain Rauscher financial consultant, attended the 14th annual Women’s Association of Financial Consultants Conference Oct. 19-21. The conference had informational sessions and networking and focused on topics such as estate planning, stock selection, portfolio management and financial planning.

Kirschman hired at Neighborhood Mortgage
   Neighborhood Mortgage has added Leena Kirschman to its lending team. Kirschman has 18 years of experience in Whatcom County’s lending industry. She is on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club and an ambassador for the Bellingham Whatcom Chamber of Commerce.

Publication asks Short to write column
   Elizabeth Short, owner of The Write Design, has been asked to write the monthly column Copywriters Paycheck for Writers on the Rise, which is an online publication. The Web sites acts as a resource for writers who want to improve their skills. Short’s column will focus on writing copy and building a freelance copywriting business. The Write Design makes brochures, ads, flyers and other promotional materials. For more information contact Short at 733-6649.

Charter promoted to vice president of Haggen
   Andrew Charter was promoted to vice president of Bellingham’s Haggen, Inc. Charter has 18 years of pharmacy experience and graduated from Oregon State University College of Pharmacy. He is on the board of directors of Oregon State Pharmacy Association and Oregon Society of Health-System Pharmacists. For more information contact Becky Skaggs at 650-8374.

Paulson changes name of business
   Certified financial planner Judith Paulson changed the name of her business from Financial Counseling Services to Paulson Financial Services. Paulson Financial Services’ new focus will be to help clients grow and maintain a healthy financial life by utilizing retirement plans, insurance and tax planning and financial education. Paulson has 14 years of experience in financial planning and is licensed to build customized financial plans. For more information contact Paulson at 738-6968.

Mead passes LEED exam
   RMC architect Christopher Mead passed the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design exam. Mead has the knowledge and skills to support integrated design and facilitate the LEED certification process on green building projects.

Richardson joins new practice
   Jane Richardson joined Core Therapeutics Physical Therapy and Pilates Studio in Bellingham. Richardson has six years experience as a physical therapist as well as special training in clinical examination and diagnosis. For more information contact 752-2673.

Turner’s book a best seller
   The book “Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest” is a Timber Press best seller. Photographer Mark Turner and writer Phyllis Gustafson worked together to create the book, which is a guide to 1,220 flowers from British Columbia to Northern California. The book went to second publishing less than six months after its first publication.

Opportunity Council Board selects new director
   After a nationwide search, the Opportunity Council Board of Directors unanimously selected Dave Finet as the agency’s next executive director during their Dec. 7 board meeting.
   Board President Kim Schuster contacted Finet after the board decision and he accepted the position. Following final contract negotiations, Finet begins his new position in January, replacing retiring director Kay Sardo.
   Finet is currently the deputy director at the Opportunity Council and also director of energy and home repair programs. He is a lifetime resident of Whatcom County and has been with the agency for 21 years.
   “I am excited about working with staff and the board of directors to lead the Opportunity Council into the future and serve our communities by being the best Community Action Agency we can be,” said Finet. “The Opportunity Council is well-positioned to meet the challenges in our communities, with an involved board of directors, top-notch staff, and credibility at the community, state and national levels.”
   OC director Kay Sardo announced her retirement last summer after 11 years with the agency.

First Horizon hires Rodriguez
   Hendor Rodriguez, an award-winning loan officer with three years of experience, joined the Bellingham office of First Horizon Home Loans on Dec. 4.
   Rodriguez most recently worked at Horizon Bank, where he was named in March its Lender of the Year. A Birch Bay resident, Rodriguez is a graduate of Montclair State University in New Jersey and is fluent in Spanish. He is qualified to help clients select the most appropriate loan from a wide range of options, including jumbo, interest-only and adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) loans. Rodriguez also can arrange residential loans for purchases, refinances and new construction, as well as home equity lines of credit.
   First Horizon Home Loans is among the country’s top 25 mortgage providers in originations and the top 15 in servicing. It also recently earned a top-10 ranking for customer satisfaction from J.D. Power and Associates.
   The Bellingham office now has six loan officers at 1301 W. Bakerview Road, Suite 101, in the Fred Meyer shopping center. For more information call the office at 715-2059.

Awards & Anniversaries

Local architects win awards in annual contest
   The 17th Annual Design Awards Program, sponsored by the Northwest Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, was held Friday, Dec. 8, in McIntyre Hall on the Skagit Valley College campus.
   Stewart + King’s John Michael Stewart won a Citation Award for his work on Bellingham’s Depot Market Square, and a Merit Award for a Chucknaut-area house.
   Bob Ross of Ross Architecture N.W. won the People’s Choice Award for his work on the Mallard Ice Cream building on Railroad Avenue.



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