20 Under 40

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CL ASS OF 2014

The Future of Leadership Looks Bright in Kitsap

2 | NOVEMBER 2014

20 Under 40


onoring the emerging leaders of our community


elcome to 20 Under 40, a program recognizing the talent and achievement of twenty of the peninsula’s most promising new leaders. Formerly conducted as 40 Under 40, the revised name borrows from the same brand of recognition conducted throughout E.W. Scripps, the parent company of the Kitsap Sun and owner of the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal since earlier this year. Special acknowledgement is due Lary Coppola, who founded the KPBJ in 1988. Lary and wife and business partner Dee Coppola launched the formal, annual recognition of young local leaders in 2005, making this the program’s 10th year. In the pages that follow, honoree profiles reflect the best of the Millenial Generation, of which our honorees are members in great standing. Fol-

lowing the Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers and Generation X, the Millenials, in general, and particularly the honorees described herein, have learned well and chosen wisely. According to a study of Millenials, or alternatively Gen Y, they are to be admired for moving from a culture of “me,” to a culture of “we.” They care less for luxury items and more about relationships and life values. They like cool products and experiences; branded stuff and celebrity spokespersons, not so much. Doing the right thing, reconnecting with people and finding reasons to get together are second nature to them. Their global concerns? The economy, the environment and education. Their

“careabouts” are family, inclusion and individuality. Images of Millenials in your life have probably come to mind by now. Just as generations before them, they are not without burdens. The costs of housing, healthcare and education will be concerns likely to persist for much or all of their lives. This generation, however, has the right stuff to work through obstacles, particularly with the energy, smarts and social consciousness evidenced among the Class of 2014 20 Under 40 honorees. You likely know some of them already by their level of business and community activity. Get to know them better through the profiles in this com-

memorative supplement. Congratulate them. Thank them. As honorees in the nine years before them, their names will be seen and heard many times more as their good deeds and work have only just begun. Thank you to our sponsors for enabling 20 Under 40 recognition. Their generous support is matched by their commitment to community. Their names are seen and heard frequently, too, as their support is frequently and caringly extended to so many meaningful local programs. Sincere thanks to Harrison Medical Center, Kitsap Bank and Suquamish Clearwater Casino. Read about former honorees and other details of this recognition program at kitsapsun.com/20under40, and watch for your chance to nominate a member of the 2015 Class of 20 Under 40.

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eet the Judges

DavidEmmons RobertGelder Brent Morris Rex Oliver

John Powers JulieTappero

Known for his passion, commitment, l e a d e rship and his great s e n s e of humor, David has proven to be an asset to Olympic College and the Olympic College Foundation, which he leads. He has extensive leadership experience in multiple roles in both nonprofit and educational organizations. David is a member of the Bremerton Rotary Club, a 2014 Leadership Kitsap graduate and is currently serving on the Board of Directors for Leadership Kitsap. He is also affiliated with fundraising and event organizations. He won seven St. Louis International Special Events awards. Two of those awards cited his work as the “Best Event Produced for a Non-profit Organization.”

John Powers serves as Executive Director of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance. His career spans 30 years of senior leadership roles, and advisor assignments in private enterprise, professional practice, public service, and civic organizations. A graduate of Notre Dame University’s School of Business, and a 25-year member of the Washington State Bar, he has owned and operated businesses in the insurance, finance and real estate sector. He practiced law as a board certified business reorganization specialist. In 2000 he was elected the first full-time mayor of Spokane. Powers has also served as CEO of enterpriseSeattle; Managing Director of Colliers International, State of Washington.

C o m missioner Robert Gelder was born a n d raised in a small upstate New York community where his family still resides. Rob received a degree in Political Science from the University of Rochester in 1988. Prior to joining the County, Rob had 20-plus years working in the not-forprofit sector with over a decade of experience as either the chief executive or as a member of the senior leadership team. Commissioner Gelder has served on the Board of Kitsap County Commissioners since March of 2011 and has called North Kitsap home for over ten years, with the past seven years residing in the Brownsville area.

Brent W. Morris is the Kitsap Sun’s p ublish er and chief revenue officer. His extensive media career has included key leadership roles guiding the development and sales of both print and digital media, and on both sides of the country. Among Brent’s leadership positions have been those with the Olympian (Olympia), Los Angeles Newspaper Group, Media General in northern Virginia and the Greenville News (Greenville). He joined the Kitsap Sun in a return to his native home of Washington state in 2013. Brent has been a United Way board member, a champion of such causes as literacy and animal welfare, and is an avid and accomplished photographer.

Rex Oliver has been the CEO of the Bainbridge Isl a n d Chamber of Commerce since December of 2011. Before moving to the island he was the President/CEO of the Murrieta Chamber of Commerce. A graduate of the Institute for Organizational Management, a special program for management in Chambers and Organizations, he has been involved in business his entire adult life. Rex entered into business in the auto industry working for a large Ford dealership and took the position of CEO in 2001. Rex is involved in The Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island and spends some of his spare time working in his woodshop, riding his bicycle and learning more about the Pacific Northwest.

Julie Tappero is the founder of West S ound Wo r kforce, a professional staffing and recruiting firm in Kitsap and Pierce Counties. She currently chairs the Olympic Workforce Development Council and is immediate past chair of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance. She’s one of the founders of the non-profit Alliance of Women Owned Businesses and serves in leadership positions for the Staffing Association of Washington and the regional chapter of the Society of Human Resource Managers. Julie writes a monthly article on human resources and workforce management for the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal.


dditional Nominees

Jon Alfatooni, Black Lotus Landscaping Kory Anders, Borrowed Kitchen Bakery Ben Anderson, Art Anderson Associates Beau Bakken, North Mason Regional Fire Authority Eric Behling, Ted Brown Music Company Korum Bischoff, Bloedel Reserve Constance Blackburn, Kitsap County Nick Bowma, North Mason Regional Fire Authority Jason Cheung, Bainbridge and Silverdale Eye Physicians Brittany Cline, Luce Kenney, Assoc Steve Derrig, Windermere West Sound, Inc. Brett Marlo DeSantis, Brett Marlo Design Build Kim Ewing, Kitsap Sun Nick Fitsemons, Pizza Factory, Kingston Derrick Foster, Haselwood Family YMCA Morgan Hanley, Hanley Construction

Evan Hansen, Chief Seattle Council, BSA Adam Herdman, Herdman Plumbing & Express Service Plumbing Christina Jara, Isella Salon Spa Christina Johnson, Purpose Boutique Rebekah Johnson, Jan Angel for State Senate Jessica Kaufman, Hospice of Kitsap County Sean Kirkwood, Kitsap County Sheriff Department Kris Klusman, John L Scott Belfair & The Coffee Spot Jennifer Kluver, Kitsap County Superior Court Lauren Lomax, Kitsap Conference Center Adrienne Mclaughlin, Envy Fitness Calvin Medina, Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort Tiffanie Miner, Paulys Paw Spa Mitchel Morey Jr, Imortgage Emily Murphy, Manette Gracie Events

Robin Perman, Kitsap Sun Julie Poston, Rejuv Massage & Spa Nicholas “Nick” Requa, PSNS & IMF Melissa Reeves, Harrison Medical Center Alexander Rodenko, Luba’s Floorcovering, Inc Rachel Rosas, Re/Max Town and Country Ryan Ross, North West Golf Range/Timber Falls Mini Golf Heidi Scheibner, Trillium Employment Services Ryan Smart, Life Force Chiropractic Mike Starke, Liberty Bay Auto Center Mike Sumsky, Washington Home Solutions Richard Thesenga Jr, Creative Ads Sign Spinners Darcie Warren, Forest Ridge and Kohls Andrew Welch, Windermere-Port Orchard Jennifer Yeaman, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility

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Balances career, family and community service

an Barry Loan officer Timberland Bank Poulsbo


an Barry returned to Washington state last year and has already made a positive impact in the community and at his work. In addition to providing leadership at the Poulsbo branch of Timberland Bank, he has been active in the Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce and Poulsbo Rotary Club. As a residential mortgage and construction loan officer, Barry always keeps his customers’ interests as the primary objective. He says that his best leadership advice is to listen with one’s ears and not experience — he believes leaders should listen to others with an open mind and without “filling in the blanks” with their own preconceived ideas.


achel Bearbower

Who is your personal hero? A husband and a father, Barry balances his career and family life with civic commitments, such as chairing a Rotary Viking Tour event that was expected to raise $35,000. He has been described as an individual committed to becoming a positive leader in the local community. Barry’s personal hero is his wife, who has overcome many levels of adversity and has thrived while staying true to her beliefs. Although he doesn’t have much free time, Barry loves to ride his bicycle to exercise and relieve stress. His favorite day trip with the family is Scenic Beach.


He doesn’t see himself ever retiring and hopes to run his own business part time as a semi-retirement strategy. His dream would be to incorporate his love of cycling into that business while also leaving enough time for family.

CK High grad returns to hometown to create nonprofit

Executive director Girls on the Run of WestSound Tracyton achel Bearbower left a promising banking career in Boston to return to her roots in Kitsap County and establish Girls on the Run of WestSound. The national nonprofit organization’s mission is to inspire girls in grades three through eight to be healthy and confident, through a fun curriculum focused on running.

My personal hero is certainly my wife. Her experience has required her to overcome many levels of adversity. Her innate ability to meet challenges head on gives me the resolve to do the same.

done anything like it before. Even before the first season was underway, Bearbower’s success led to a request by the national office to expand her territory into Gig Harbor.

Bearbower, who grew up in Seabeck and now lives in Bremerton, was a coach for Girls on the Run in Boston. While there, she was inspired to bring the program to Kitsap County.

Her goal for the first season was to enroll 25 girls — instead, 95 girls signed up, completing their first group 5K race. After the season ended, parents, teachers, coaches and the girls themselves reported an improvement in the participants’ self-confidence and well being.

In just one year, she raised the funds, recruited and trained coaches and obtained sponsors to establish the local franchise — although she’s never

While building up the Girls on the Run organization, Bearower works as marketing and events manager for Kitsap Humane Society. She says the

Who is your personal hero? My four parents and my five siblings seem to continue to be the foundation of my success. They let me dream big, make mistakes and never let me get too cool for school.

combination of working with girls and puppies is the best career she can have. An avid runner herself, Bearbower likes to split her free time between trail running with her dog or practicing yoga, and spending time with friends on a trivia team.

20 Under 40


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Natural leader with many civic contributions

lint Boxman Financial Adviser & Associate VP Wealth Management Morgan Stanley Kingston


lint Boxman is a financial adviser who puts his clients’ interests first and leads by example through honesty and integrity. He is a natural leader and community advocate who is involved with the Kingston Rotary and the Village Green project.

Boxman has a long list of committee involvements, including the Kingston Citizens Advisory Council, the North Kitsap School levy committee, Kingston Preschool Co-op auction committee and Kingston Rotary golf tournament committee.

Boxman built his financial business from the ground up. With a partner, he established a financial center in Kingston that offers a space for community groups to meet.

He has been involved with the Coffee Oasis, Kingston High School Boosters, the Village Green Foundation, local sporting events and trails, and various other projects. Many of his roles were at leadership level, including as president of the Rotary.

An energetic and successful businessman, Boxman always steps forward when a call goes out for volunteers, especially when there’s a need for leadership. He has been described as a person who is committed to his actions and his words.


risty Dressler

Among Boxman’s professional and personal recognitions are Rotarian of the Year (twice) and Seattle Magazine’s 5-Star Wealth Manager Award (twice). Even





As a teacher, she creates a classroom culture where every student feels valued and successful. She works with other staff to help fifth-graders become positive leaders at their school and to help parents be more involved. Dressler sees her job as more than teaching in the classroom. She has been involved with many projects and committees at the school, including the PTSA annual fundraiser, curriculum adoption committees and the art docent program.

- Nomination showed entrepreneurial spirit: He ran his own landscaping company at age 13. His leadership advice is to “follow your gut” and not worry about what others think. A husband and father, Boxman loves to spend any free time he has with his family, especially in outdoor activities.


Dedicated teacher and educator, passionate about her job

Teacher North Kitsap School District Suquamish risty Dressler is a fifth-grade teacher at Suquamish Elementary, where she has taken various leadership roles.

“He enforces selfesteem without letting you know it and he builds you up with positive praises.”

Among many other things, she served on the school’s leadership team for five years, trained staff on the new Common Core standards, and worked with the regional literacy team to support teachers and provide professional development opportunities. Even as a young child, Dressler loved kids — she earned her first dollar babysitting and as a high school student, worked as a nanny for two families. She considers her parents her personal heroes, whose work ethic and love for family is especially admirable. Her best leadership advice is to love what you do because passion is conta-

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Although I have some interest in curriculum design and development, my heart truly lies in the classroom with the kids. That’s why I went into education.

gious and when you’re confident, excited and optimistic, others will be inspired and motivated. She says she loves her job so much that she sees herself doing the same thing — teaching fifth grade or another level — in 10 years. A wife and a mother, Dressler is an avid reader who loves to hike, kayak and paddleboard.

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Steadfast leader with passion for service

enie Elton What is your best leadership advice?

Lieutenant Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office Port Orchard


t. Genie Elton is a law-enforcement officer with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office who has volunteered her time for many community events. An alumnae of the Leadership Kitsap program, she has been recognized for her efforts and dedication to the sheriff’s office. Elton grew up in a family that valued service. Her father served in the Navy for 21 years and her mother was an office manager with NCIS. She began her law-enforcement career as a volunteer for the Poulsbo Police Department as a reserve policy officer. She joined Kitsap County as a correc-

tions officer in 1999, and at age 30 was promoted to sergeant, managing about 20 corrections officers. Elton was promoted to manage jail operations in 2008 and is an integral part in developing her department’s policies, procedures and budget. She has been coordinating the county’s PREA (Prison Rapes Elimination Act) program since 2012. One of her major community service involvements includes organizing and coordinating efforts to raise funds for Special Olympics. She has also organized the Tip-a-Cop Special Olympics charity drive for several years. Other volunteer commitments include the Shop with a Cop pro-

The best advice I got I read after becoming a lieutenant. I often remind myself to “never overlook the opportunity to close my mouth and open my ears.”

gram and the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis. Elton is a wife and a mother who loves to spend time with her family and especially enjoys hosting dinner parties and special events. She loves revisiting places around Kitsap where she lived as a teen and feels this community is a nice place to live in.

20 Under 40


im Hopper

Inspirational leader who makes others feel valued

Executive director BainbridgeCommunityFoundation Bainbridge Island


im Hopper leads the Bainbridge Community Foundation, which supports dozens of local nonprofit organizations. He is dedicated to making the lives of others better and always goes the extra mile to extend a word of encouragement, to support staff and to mentor others. During Hopper’s tenure as the executive director, the foundation’s assets grew by nearly 50 percent and continue to grow. He leads with a clear vision of what the Bainbridge Community Foundation can achieve, and is dedicated to making sure it can respond to the changing needs of the community. Hopper is a thought leader whose input is sought out and valued by other lead-


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ionne Joseph

ers in the industry and in the community. He gives of his time generously, not only through his work but also through other volunteer commitments. He has served on several boards, including the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, the Washington State County Courthouse Grant Program and Leave 10, an organization that encourages Puget Sound residents to leave 10 percent of their estates to charities. Inspired by people who give what they can to help others, Hopper does the same in his personal and professional life. He is Rotarian and a volunteer at the Island School on Bainbridge, as well as a mentor alum for Lewis and Clark College.


Under her leadership, the weight-loss practice, called Ideal Health Center, grew from one room at the chiropractic office to a team of four coaches. The two practices will become part of the Silverdale Wellness Center, a fully integrated wellness facility they are creating with another partner. The center is expected to open in December and employ as many as 15 people.

- Nomination A busy husband and father of three, in his spare time Hopper likes to spend his time with family.

Accomplished wellness professional with many interests Who is your personal hero?

Lead coach Silverdale Wellness Center Silverdale ionne Joseph started her career in Kitsap County four years ago with the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce. With her husband, Sean, she has also worked to grow a chiropractic practice, Integrated Chiropractic, which included a weight-loss center.

“He epitomizes great leadership in that he nurtures and builds community, brings out the best in others and is deeply committed to helping our community residents live better lives.”

Joseph’s community involvements include serving as a leader of Flaming Arrows, Kitsap County’s 4-H archery club; leading a Bible study in her home; and judging three local scholarship pageant programs. With her husband, she has also donated to many local organizations. Joseph says her best leadership advice is to treat everyone like they really matter — and she’s followed that advice in her own practice. Her dream in 10 years is to see the Silverdale Wellness Center thriving with a long list of patients whose lives have been improved. She is an active PTA member and a volunteer at her children’s school, where she likes to help children im-

I’ve benefited from great influences, like my grandmother who can make the Earth shake with just a look, and a mother who holds authority with complete serenity, wielding wisdom gently. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for guidance from business partners who helped me develop vision and workable strategies or a husband who always provides a soft place to land. prove their reading and discover a passion for literature. A budding novelist, Joseph likes to spend her free time with her husband and children or exercising at the Y. She loves the scenery of the Kitsap Peninsula and everything it has to offer.

20 Under 40

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ristina Kruzan

An honest leader who improves lives and workplaces all around her

Doula Taproot Birth Partners Bremerton

What is your best leadership advice?


ristina Kruzan has been described as a caring, generous and loyal person who has impacted many people and organizations. She has helped develop several young organizations, including the Kitsap Community Food Co-op and the Salmonberry Community Birth Center. An honest leader, she is not afraid to ask hard questions — and not afraid to put in the hard work that it takes to improve. Every board that she has served on has become better because of her involvement. Her impact rivals that of more prominent leaders. Kruzan has organized and gathered numerous individuals in activities that bring people together. She irradiates a positive influence


my McDonald

wherever she is, compelling others to ask for her advice and for the latest happenings in the community. Professionally, Kruzan is a leader in the birth professionals industry, committed to eliminating disparities in natal care in Kitsap County. She facilitates a group for birth professionals and organizes large events for families. Kruzan is inspired by the people with whom she works every day — people who give of themselves personally and professionally. She says they are the ones who inspire her to keep stepping forward and be involved. In 10 years, she sees herself continu-

Be brave, dare to try and do hard things. It takes courage to lead, and in order to be brave, you must start out uncertain, scared, overwhelmed. The world doesn’t need you to be perfect, we just need you to do keep trying.

ing to bring awareness to maternal and child health and helping local nonprofits fundraise. She also hopes to obtain a master’s degree in public health. Kruzan likes to spend her free time with her family and enjoys outings to places such as the Newberry Hill Heritage Park.

South Kitsap High grad who stays involved in local community What is your best leadership advice?

Director of Consulting Operations AMI International Bremerton


my McDonald is an outstanding leader and manager who is instrumental to the consulting operations of AMI International, a company that serves government and industry clients in 24 countries. She joined the company in 2009 as a market analyst and quickly impressed the staff with her analytical and communication skills and her calm demeanor. In that role, she used complex data sets to track and analyze naval procurements in 150 countries. McDonald was integral in successfully engaging AMI customers, using her keen ability to find new market opportunities for clients around the world.

She was promoted to director of consulting operations this past July as a result of her outstanding leadership skills. Although AMI’s local client base is limited, McDonald has supported several well-known Kitsap companies, including Safe Boats, Paladin Data and Mobilisa. A South Kitsap High School graduate, McDonald has stayed active in the community. She’s been involved with organizations and programs such as Girls on the Run, the Armed Forces Ambassador Scholarship Program and the Kitsap County Youth Court. She has also supported local organizations through

Talent and natural ability will only get you so far, but it’s having a truly strong work ethic that will set you apart from the rest. Always striving to do better will inevitably lead to a pattern of success. AMI, including the Bremerton High School DECA and the Puget Sound Boys & Girls Club. When she earned her first $50 as a teen — helping her father with a summer yard project — McDonald spent the money on a signed Ken Griffey Jr. baseball. She still has passion for the sport, playing on a co-ed softball team in Bremerton for the past three years.

20 Under 40


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Quiet leader with impressive accomplishments

re Mendenhall Operations manager Excel Business Systems Port Orchard


re Mendenhall is a South Kitsap High School grad who’s had an accomplished path with Future Farmers of America. She became involved with FAA as a high school student and was elected state vice president in her senior year. After graduating from high school, Mendenhall traveled around the state for a year to promote FFA — becoming the first officer ever from South Kitsap. She was invited to the organization’s national office in Washington, D.C. and offered a job in public speaking. Because she’s a quiet person, she says it surprises people to learn that she can speak comfortably in front of

What is your best leadership advice? large groups. Mendenhall’s first job was in the gift shop of her grandparents’ Christmas tree farm. After college, she has made family business her career. Starting out at Excel Business Systems as a file clerk, she worked her way up to operations manager. In that role, she’s responsible for all administrative and customer service areas of the company. A wife and a mother of two young children, Mendenhall finds the time to be involved in various community service endeavors. She’s active with the South Kitsap School District’s kinder-

Teamwork is so important. You can have a list of outstanding qualities but if you don’t have the ability to work as a member of a team, you aren’t going to accomplish much. garten program and the MOPS preschool program. She also coaches a boys soccer team. Mendenhall is a former board member of Etta Projects and continues to support that organization, while also serving on the board of the Jingle Bells Run/Walk. She loves spending her free time outside, gardening, camping or playing with her children at a park.

20 Under 40

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ercury Michael

Respected leader who likes to infuse fun into hard work Real estate broker/owner Bainbridge Homes Real Estate Kingston


ercury Michael is one of three owners of Bainbridge Homes Real Estate and a sought-after real estate broker. He has a stellar record of serving clients — and if he knows he can’t serve a client at the highest level, he will make a referral instead. His demonstrated allegiance to clients, along with his hard work, has set an example for his co-workers and team members. Michael has been described as a leader who is not afraid to push the envelope and who inspires others to improve their own skillsets and problem-solving techniques. He is also known for infusing fun — and even silliness — into his hard work. As a member of Friends of the Farms land acquisitions committee, Michael contributes his expertise to assist the nonprofit in evaluating parcels for potential acquisitions. He is also a supporter of P.A.W.S. and donates a portion of his commissions to the Bainbridge Schools Foundation. His passion to seek out, purchase and recondition forgotten, derelict homes has helped improve and beautify many neighborhoods around Kitsap County. He considers repairs of these homes his hobby — and loves it when his daughter comes along to help on a project. Michael has been inspired by many people in his life but considers persistence and positive influence attributes he admires the most. He credits several “amazing leaders” with helping

What is your best leadership advice? To be as consistent and clear as possible, laugh at yourself and purposefully add some fun banter to the workload being asked for. Leading by example is powerful if you are having fun doing it!

him harness the power of teamwork. He feels that Kitsap is a terrific place that will keep growing, and is looking forward to continuing the growth of his brokerage while expanding his investment and property management work.

20 Under 40


oshua Recaido

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Young leader who motivates and inspires others

Marine machinery supervisor Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Bremerton


“What makes Mr. Recaido one of our brightest leaders is that despite his youth (29), he commands the respect and admiration of the people who work for him and the people he works for. Whenever Mr. Recaido is involved in work or an event there is a communal sense of involvement and ownership that he inspires.”

oshua Recaido is a marine machinery supervisor at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard who rose quickly to management due to his leadership skills. He has a talent for motivating and leading people not only at work but also in the community.

of their lives and careers.

In a work environment that many would consider harsh, Recaido has brought an atmosphere of warmth. He is a considerate manager who puts his employees’ interests first and looks for creative ways to increase their moral and welfare.

Recaido is active in the community through his church. He can frequently be seen participating in events or doing things like helping a Navy family relocate. With his wife, Bethany, he hosts dinners that promote community involvement and generate support for a variety of nonprofits and projects.

through their unseen and unheard acts of kindness behind the scenes.

He enjoys helping people grow and succeed, and sees himself doing the same in 10 years. Recaido is personally inspired by people who better their communities

An avid Seahawks fun, Recaido loves playing flag football with his friends as well as riding his dirt bike and spending time with family.

Through activities that he has organized, including touring trips, movie nights and basketball games, he has dramatically improved teamwork in his department. Recaido serves as mentor to his employees, encouraging them to improve all aspects

He has been credited with being responsible for the evolution of the shipyard’s machinery shop into a collaborative and learning organization.

- Nomination

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Passionate about wellness and healthy communities

elissa Reeves Fresh Start program manager Harrison Medical Center Bremerton


elissa Reeves stands out as a leader who is passionate about the wellness and wellbeing of everyone around her. As the program manager for Harrison Medical Center’s Fresh Start program, she helped develop a long-term strategy to inspire and engage employees in making healthy lifestyle choices. She continuously designs new campaigns and initiatives to create companywide awareness and participation. Her vision has helped many employees at Harrison strive for a healthier lifestyle. And Reeves works tirelessly to recognize those employees’ efforts. Reeves’ impact extends far beyond Harrison. She is the co-chair of Kit-


shley Robinson

What is your best leadership advice? sap County Health Priorities’ physical activities and healthy eating workgroup. The group has been working on a countywide launch of Ready, Set, Go! 5210 — a national initiative that promotes healthy choices for children, youth and families. She has also reached out to other organizations, such as the Central Kitsap School District and Kitsap Public Health District, to partner for programs that promote wellness.

ter’s Leadership Program Class of 2014 and was also awarded the CEO Gold Standard Against Cancer.

Throughout her career in exercise management and instruction, Reeves has supported and promoted such organizations as American Cancer Society, March of Dimes and United Way. She is part of Harrison Medical Cen-

Reeves, who considers herself an introvert, is inspired by the courage and strength of the women of World War II. She sees herself continuing her work toward a healthier community and inspiring others to live their best lives.

Visionary leader focused on the next generation of leaders

Head coach & co-owner Kitsap Admirals Pro Basketball Team Bremerton


Find your true and authentic voice. When you are working for a cause you believe in, your purpose becomes deeply rooted in your core values. This helps you keep going even when everything is stacked against you.

shley Robinson loves all things basketball, and he turned that passion into a career by starting the Kitsap Admirals professional basketball team.

Kitsap County and beyond. He launched an Admirals anti-bullying coloring book project for kindergarteners through sixthgraders.

When he founded the team, his vision was not only to give local youth a positive environment with adult role models, but also to have an impact on marginalized youth who have been cast aside despite their talents.

He continues to expand his anti-bullying efforts by looking for partnerships in the community. His upcoming projects include a television show called 350 Stand Up.

The team is a multifaceted organization that touches many people in the community. Robinson demonstrates his love for the community through his work with the team. He feels that sports can play an important role in raising the future generations of leaders.

Robinson considers his 7-year-old son, Isaiah, his hero. Isaiah was born with congenital hydrocephalus and was given a somber prognosis. Robinson and his wife have watched him overcome extreme odds and he says Isaiah has taught them humility, patience, real love and acceptance.

As one example, he has promoted an anti-bullying campaign by visiting schools in

His best leadership advice is to “do nothing from selfish ambition or con-

“It’s Ashley’s perspective on ‘love your neighbor’ that makes him a bright leader. He views the entire community as a neighbor, and the community’s children as this generation’s responsibility.” - Nomination

ceit, but in humility count others more significant that yourself.” He leads by example and has been described as an “all-around nice guy with a great smile” and someone anybody would be glad to meet.

20 Under 40


Loves to share cultural traditions and teach new generations

isa Rodriguez

Public relations and media coordinator Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort Suquamish


isa Rodriguez began her career with Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort as a summer intern while in college. She has since worked her way up and has an impressive number of accomplishments. In just the past 18 months, Rodriguez has managed the development and deployment of Clearwater’s website, a new mobile app and a variety of projects such as the hugely successful Mardi Gras event. She did that while overseeing a seven-figure advertising budget for the casino resort and handling all public relations and social media efforts. Rodriguez has been described as a leader who truly epitomizes the future of Port Madison Enterprises (the parent company of Suquamish Clearwa-


olly Rohrbacher

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ter Casino Resort). She brings respect and honor for cultural traditions to everything she does. A former president of the Native American Student Union at Western Washington University, she regularly volunteers to speak about culture and traditions to students in middle and high schools. Rodriguez was the first young person in more than a hundred years to learn her tribe’s traditional weaving. She uses that knowledge to teach other youth. A passionate soccer player, Rodriguez volunteers her time to coach youth soccer. She also volunteers for various events, such as the Silverdale Chamber’s fundraising gala and the Suquamish Tribe’s annual Tribal Canoe Journey.

“Lisa has tackled an incredibly difficult job and has made it look effortless. She soaks up people’s advice and experience like a sponge. … Lisa makes us all look like rock stars and having her here has been a blessing.” - Nomination Her dream when she retires is to have various cultural traditions mastered so she could teach tribal members and inspire the next generation.

An entrepreneur whose nonprofit work benefits the entire community

Executive director One Call for All Bainbridge Island


olly Rohrbacher is a nonprofit leader and entrepreneur who brings tenacity, energy and professionalism to everything she does. As the executive director of One Call for All, she uses her skills and expertise to benefit many other nonprofits on Bainbridge Island. Prior to recently accepting that position, she worked in event planning for several nonprofit organizations, including the Bloedel Reserve and Islandwood. Her current efforts impact the entire Bainbridge community. She has raised the profile of One Call for All, helping bring in financial support that benefits 85 organizations. A busy wife and mother of three, Rohr-

bacher also continues to coordinate events for other nonprofits while managing her own event and wedding planning business. Her accomplishments on a daily basis awe those who know her. Rohrbacher considers her father her hero and she follows his example: He is a business owner who volunteers many hours in his community. She says he has always challenged her to be the best she can — and has led by example. Even as a child, Rohrbacher was a buddying entrepreneur. She earned her first dollar at age 16 by opening a roadside stand called Darn Fresh Corn. She attracted customers by enthusiastically waving corn ears.

“Holly’s efforts literally impact every person on Bainbridge Island… She balances (an) exceptionally busy schedule with raising three children under the age 7. She is an excellent person for future generations to look up to.” - Nomination

A little-known fact about Rohrbacher is that she played volleyball and basketball in college. Her best leadership advice comes from basketball great John Wooden, who said, “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

20 Under 40

14 | NOVEMBER 2014


Successful entrepreneur who leads by example

ustin Stiefel Owner/CEO Heritage Distilling Co. Gig Harbor

Who is your personal hero?


ustin Stiefel is a visionary entrepreneur who launched a successful business with his wife. He is the mastermind and head distiller at Heritage Distilling Co. The business is only in its second year but has already received about two dozen awards. The company is also expanding to a second location, with plans for more in the future. Stiefel leads by example, encouraging his team to strive for more and explore new ways to do things. He inspires others not only at work but also in the community. Even as a young child, Stiefel was a buddying entrepreneur. His first job was to pull weeds for a neighbor at age 7.


ruce Thomas

He is involved with several boards, both in the industry and in the local community, including the Gig Harbor Peninsula Chamber of Commerce and the Artisan Craft Distilling Association. One of Stiefel’s commitments was with the 2014 Gig Harbor Wine and Food Festival. He was personally responsible for bringing renowned Seattle chef Tom Douglas to the event, which attracted more than 750 people. The event netted more than $30,000 for the Gig Harbor Rotary Club and the Gig Harbor Downtown Waterfront Association. Stiefel’s best leadership advice is: treat people with respect, create a vision and don’t be afraid to question conventional wisdom. And don’t ask people to do something you wouldn’t do yourself.

My personal heroes are those people who develop a plan to take a chance on starting small businesses and then execute on those plans for successful growth. People who haven’t started or been involved in the early stage of starting small businesses don’t always fully appreciate the risks, time, energy and dedication it takes to successfully pull it off.

In 10 years, he hopes to see his business continue to grow in multiple locations, and to be personally involved in more community efforts.

Inspiring leader determined to succeed against all odds

Lean Six Sigma Black Belt project coordinator Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Bremerton


ruce Thomas has overcome extreme adversity in his life to become a leader who is determined to make a difference in his home, community and workplace. After a back injury in 2007 left him unable to work and his family homeless, Thomas made it his goal to succeed. When he returned to work in 2012, he immersed himself in his career and community while also focusing on his role as a husband and father of three. In just one year, while working full time, Thomas took online classes through Hope International University (making the dean’s list), complet-

ed the Leadership Kitsap program and the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt program at PSNS, and volunteered at the same time as a youth leader at his church. One of his current community service projects is focused on starting a Royal Rangers group at his Bremerton church so that young boys have a safe and fun place to go. He has taken on a leadership role at his work by helping design and implement a tracking program to streamline the processes at PSNS’ rapid-prototyping facility. The program resulted in higher production rates and lowered costs. Thomas sees himself continuing his

What is your best leadership advice? A leader must lead b example, even when it’s uncomfortable and unpopular. A leader is one who can stand before a mountain with others and get them to see the prize at the top rather than the mountain before them. work in the Lean program at the shipyard and feels that program promotes an atmosphere that encourages growth at many levels. His best leadership advice is to be a servant to all people and be a student of those around you. Thomas believes that a person always has room to grow and learn.

20 Under 40


15 | NOVEMBER 2014

Balances career, family and community service

laine Turso Owner Elaine Turso Photography Bremerton


laine Turso is a talented photographer and owner of a successful business. She especially loves to photograph and empower women. This year, Turso completed the Empowerment Project, which raised more than $5,000 for the YWCA of Kitsap County. The project included a calendar, which she completed in order to help women realize their true beauty despite what society projects as beautiful. She considers all the women photographed for the project as her heroes. She says she learned from them how to be brave, dream, strive for greatness, be more compassionate and stand up for rights.


arni White

“What’s your best leadership advice? Her own kindness and passion for her work, along with her missiondriven personality, made the project a huge success. Even her studio space is inspirational. She remodeled an outdated space and filled the newly painted hot-pink walls with quotes about beauty. Born and raised in Kitsap, Turso strongly believes in giving back to her community and works tirelessly to benefit others. She is currently spearheading a mother-son dance to raise funds for the Kitsap Admirals Academy, and serves on the board for Tracyton Pee Wees. As a regional team member for Business Network International, she goes


Described as a high-spirited individual, she demonstrates a “can-do” attitude on a daily basis. This attitude is reflected both in her professional and volunteer work. As a member of the Rotary Club of Gig Harbor Midday and the Gig Harbor Peninsula Chamber of Commerce, White volunteers at various events. She also gives of her time to teach free fitness classes at West Coast Fitness and is working to bring

above and beyond to help other small business owners build their businesses. The YWCA named Turso a Woman of Achievement in 2013. She has been voted as best in Bremerton in the photography category. A busy mom, Turso plans to continue pursuing her passion for photography and for empowerment — but also hopes to step back some day so she can support her husband’s dream.

Leader with ‘can-do’ attitude and natural ability to motivate

Manager Kitsap Bank Gig Harbor arni White is the manager of Kitsap Bank’s Gig Harbor branch, where she has set a personal example of superior customer service. Customers say it’s a joy to visit the branch because of the culture and atmosphere White has created.

Ask for help. Delegate when you can. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t be afraid to admit you were wrong about a decision.

a fitness program to the Kitsap Juvenile Detention Center. White credits her faith in God for leading her to love and help others. Her best leadership advice is to lead by example and treat and serve others as you would want to be treated. She is natural at encouraging people and seeing greatness in everyone. She’ll be the first to cheer others along — and loves watching them come alive under her encouragement. One of White’s passions is to be physically active as well as motivate others to do the same. She loves to walk with her friends on her lunch break and to be active with her husband and their three children.

“She not only manages a bank, is a mom to three young children, but she is also a passionate and accomplished advocate for fitness and exercise — blasting stereotypes that success in one area hampers success in others.” - Nomination Her retirement dream is focused on that same passion for healthy living. She hopes to open a business with her sister, operating an organic smoothie bar and bakery, teaching nutrition classes and running a wholeness center for women.

16 | NOVEMBER 2014

20 Under 40

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