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Nine elected alumni shaping our region


Our mission We transform lives by partnering with the community to support Olympic College and its students. HERE ARE SOME WAYS OUR DONORS MAKE A DIFFERENCE: • Fund more than $450,000 a year in scholarships • Provide textbooks, supplies and emergency assistance to students in need • Fund specialized equipment, such as high-tech medical mannequins for the nursing program • Support OC signature programs, such as the Yama archaeological dig and Baja engineering and design competition • Provide grants to faculty with innovative ideas When you give to the Olympic College Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, you’re transforming a life.


SUMMIT is published by the Olympic College Foundation for the Alumni Association in the spring and autumn of each year. In these pages, we tell the story of Olympic College and celebrate the impact of its alumni, students, staff and programs. Have a story idea? Contact us at PUBLISHER Olympic College Foundation ART DIRECTOR & DESIGNER Gretchen Ritter-Lopatowski WRITER & EDITOR Terri Gleich COPY EDITOR Herron Miller PHOTOGRAPHER Logan Westom Photography ADDRESS CHANGES Email or call (360) 475-7120. ALUMNI ASSOCIATION OFFICE 1600 Chester Avenue, Bldg 5, 513 Bremerton, WA 98337 (360) 475-7120 OC BOARD OF TRUSTEES Harriette Bryant, Shannon Childs, Tom Eckmann, Candelario Gonzalez, Cheryl Miller, Stephen Warner

OC FOUNDATION BOARD MEMBERS Bill Baxter '81, John Berglind, Monica Blackwood '96, Peter Braun, Harriette Bryant, Dr. Marty Cavalluzzi, Gayle Dilling, Tom Eckmann, Tracy Flood '92, Meredith Green, Mark Hughes '94, Cindy Lucarelli, Rita Mitchell, Leah Olson, Frank Portello Jr. '04, Noel Pyatt, Alyson Rotter, Dr. Nathan Schlicher '99, Enrico Sio, Diana Smeland '82, Jim Sund, Kevin Wiley '93, Kate Wilson '75 © 2019 Olympic College Foundation. Contents may be reprinted with permission of the editor. Please recycle when finished reading. This paper is biodegradable and made from 100% renewable resources.



Community Connection Poulsbo’s Martha & Mary depends on OC alumni to fill key roles in nursing, child care and dining services. “I don’t know where we’d be without Olympic College,” says the nonprofit’s CEO.


OC in Charge Do Olympic College alumni run the world? No, but we’ve found nine elected officials with OC ties, including Suquamish Tribal Treasurer Robin Sigo, Bremerton Mayor Greg Wheeler and State Rep. Michelle Caldier. Find out what makes them run.


Man of Letters A confidante of first ladies and Washington’s elite, Richard Lillybridge '57 made sure things were done “the right way” during 30 years at D.C. printer and engraver Copenhaver Inc.


VOICE OF THE PRESIDENT AROUND CAMPUS OC Promise inaugural class, a student’s NASA



23 27 29


experience & Shelton’s new construction trades program

Maria Warns ’15 is breaking down cultural stereotypes during

a year in Siberia

ON THE COVER: Bremerton designer and digital artist Jessica Randklev brings nine elected OC alums to life in a whimsical illustration that hints at some fun facts about our leaders.






lympic College faculty and staff are literally changing the world one student at a time.

Nowhere is that more true than in our Basic Studies program, which helps adult learners improve their math, reading and writing skills to prepare them for further education or to gain job skills. The program also offers students the opportunity to earn a GED certificate or, for students age 21 or older, a high school diploma.

Last spring, I attended a celebration at our Shelton campus for 19 students who achieved the long-delayed milestone of a high school diploma.


ƒƒ CHRISTINE was raised in foster care. After having a panic attack boarding a school bus, she dropped out of high school. She lied about having a diploma and found jobs, but it gnawed at her. When an injury left her unable to work, she went back to school and at age 54 earned her diploma through OC’s High School 21+ Program. At the ceremony, she thanked her teachers and said, “If you think you can’t do it, you really can.” ƒƒ KAREN quit school in ninth grade. More than 40 years

later, she earned her diploma. It took an arrest to help her get sober. And it took constant encouragement from the

Shelton staff to help her cross the finish line. “They kept on saying, ‘You can do it. You can do it,’” she recounted. “They gave me a lot of confidence in myself.”


became a mother at 14 and went on to have seven more children while struggling with addiction and incarceration. A bus ad for High School 21+ inspired her to earn her diploma in 2018 at age 50. Now, she is working toward an associate’s degree with plans to become a chemical dependency counselor. “OC made me who I am today,” she told the 2019 graduates. “Without the teachers and staff telling me not to give up, I would have given up a thousand times.”

For everyone celebrating that milestone, there are dozens more in our community who could transform their lives by earning a GED or diploma through OC. Basic Studies classes are available at all three of our campuses – Bremerton, Poulsbo and Shelton – and cost only $25 per quarter. For many students, they may be available at no cost. Pamela Greig, a Shelton faculty member, calls the program a gift. “There are so many happy tears at graduation that you can’t hardly stand it and every one of our students has a story and wants to make a better life for themselves.” For our Basic Studies graduates, this is just the beginning. For those in the community who are lacking a high school diploma or GED certificate, it is never too late. Call 360-475-7550 in Kitsap County or 360-432-5435 in Mason County to get started. It will change your world.



Shelton Basic Studies celebration 2019


OC PROMISE INAUGURAL CLASS – Twenty-eight Bremerton High School graduates are attending Olympic College tuition-free this year, thanks to the OC Promise. Designed to expand access to higher education for students who didn’t think they could afford college, the Foundation scholarship program also provides support services to help Promise scholars succeed. Before the school year started, the students attended a full-day Summer Bridge program that prompted this reaction from one participant: “I learned how many opportunities there are here.” Learn more at


AROUND CAMPUS Goodbye, Again Janell Whiteley '88 is good at a lot of things – shorthand, accounting, organization. Retirement? Not so much. But after 42 years, the Bremerton native swears that her fourth try at ending her Olympic College career will be her last. Her final day was in August. Now she’s ready to winter in Florida, spend time with her three grandchildren and sit on her front porch. “I’ll get it right this time,” she said. A no-nonsense leader who arrived at OC Bremerton by 5:30 every morning, Whiteley worked her way up from accounting assistant to interim vice president of administrative services. “I was in a position where I could get a lot of things done, and I take pride in that,” she said, numbering among her accomplishments overseeing the recent Shelton campus remodel and hiring the college’s first environmental, health & safety manager. “This job fit me, the logic of it, the organization. I’m someone that if I clean a closet on the weekend, I’m happy.” Whiteley attended OC after graduating from South Kitsap High School. A first-generation college student, she started as a student worker and took over her boss’s job within a year. She credits her hiring to transcribing 120 words a minute on a shorthand test, even though it was a skill she never used on the job. A fierce advocate for Olympic College, she has been a supporter of the Foundation for more than 20 years. “I really believe in what we do here,” she said. Receiving a scholarship for her first year at OC made a big impression. “I was super excited because someone who didn’t even know me believed in me. It made a difference to a little girl in Bremerton that a complete stranger would support me.” In her final stint at the college, which began in March 2018, Whiteley oversaw the behind-the-scenes services that make OC run smoothly, from purchasing and payroll to security and emergency management. “I leave feeling I really made a difference this time. It’s a nice feeling to have.”

D I D YO U K N OW ? Nearly one in three Olympic College students faces food insecurity, according to a 2016 survey. Student government hopes to take a bite out of those numbers this year with an expanded, more accessible OC Bremerton food pantry. “Not a lot of students know we have a food pantry, but when they find out, it’s a real big help for them,” said Anthony Laguren, who ran the program in 2018-19, serving 100 students. The new space is about twice the previous size and conveniently located in Building 4 next to the Students in Need Group office, where students can get free textbooks and school supplies. A student worker is developing plans to publicize the pantry, which is stocked by campus food drives, community donations and a portion of student fees. OC Poulsbo and Shelton also have small food pantries. Another resource? Bremerton Foodline welcomes students from all three campuses with a current college ID.

TO SUPPORT OC’S STUDENT FOOD PANTRIES please send cash donations to Olympic College Foundation, 1600 Chester Ave., 5-513, Bremerton, WA 98337, or donate at and type “food pantry” in the comment section.


Can you guess what this is? Turn the page to find out.

State Senator Emily Randall was an OC alum at age 2! As vice chair of the Washington Senate’s Higher Education Committee, Emily Randall is a powerful advocate for Olympic College. But her relationship with the school predates her 2018 election by three decades. Randall, the eldest of three siblings, was just a toddler when she and her mother attended a parent education class on the Bremerton campus. Taught in a preschool environment, parents observed as teachers interacted with the youngsters. “My mom was really interested in making sure I had the best educational pathways,” said Randall, a first-generation college student who earned her degree at Wellesley College, a private liberal arts school with such famous alumnae as Hillary Clinton and Diane Sawyer. Randall said her mom is now a paraeducator in the South Kitsap School District and still using some of the skills she learned in that long-ago class.

What I love about OC is its accessibility for students at any age or stage of life.”


AROUND CAMPUS Reaching for the Stars Olympic College pre-engineering student Gregory Legister hopes to turn his experience as a driver for Kitsap Airporter and FedEx into a career in transportation safety. After spending four days this summer at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, he has insights into a distinctly different mode of transportation – a Mars rover.

Gregory Legister, left, visited NASA’s Ames Research Center in July as a Community College Aerospace Scholar.

The Jamaican-born Legister was one of 403 students from across the country chosen for the space agency’s Community College Aerospace Scholars onsite experience. To prepare, he completed a five-week online course on topics including the history of the space station and planning a mission to Mars.

“It was very fulfilling,” he said of the program, which is designed to boost participation in science and technology careers for traditionally underrepresented students. “I got more inspiration and insight into the fields available in engineering.” The Marine Corps veteran expects to finish his associate’s degree during the 2019-20 school year and hopes to earn a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering through OC Bremerton’s partnership with Washington State University. In addition to touring the NASA research facility, being briefed by agency experts and learning about internships and career opportunities, Legister also competed to design a rover that could retrieve small items and identify minerals. It was an academic highlight for the Robert B. Stewart Memorial scholarship recipient, and he credits OC supporters with helping him make the cut. “A big part in me getting this far is that I had a lot of help from the tutoring center and mentorship from the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement Program,” he said. “They were very helpful.”

MEET DEWEY – When OC Libraries needs help promoting programs and services, Dewey goes to work. The Sasquatch mascot or “masquatch” was designed with student input and created by former adjunct faculty librarian Laura Richardson in 2017. Appearing on buttons, a brochure and social media, he has become the popular face of the libraries. When he’s not researching cryptozoology or exploring the woods, Dewey (as in the Dewey Decimal System) supervises the Check-out Desk at OC Bremerton’s Haselwood Library.



FOR Maria Warns

Olympic College gave Maria Warns '15 a Running Start, and she hasn’t slowed down since. After earning her associate’s degree at OC as a North Kitsap High School student, she attended Trinity College in Hartford, CT, where she had a double major – math and urban studies – and a double minor – Russian and models and data. Now, she’s spending a year in Siberia teaching English as part of the prestigious Fulbright cultural exchange program.


WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE FULBRIGHT ENGLISH TEACHING ASSISTANTSHIP? I want to help build bridges between different countries and different cultures. I want to show how varied the American experience can be. Through my experiences at OC, I learned a lot about different life trajectories. There were people there for all kinds of reasons. Some were mid-career, some were just getting out of the military, some were high school students or just out of high school.



DID YOU PICK YOUR DESTINATION? I applied to teach in Russia. I was assigned to Tomsk State University of Architecture and Construction, which worked out really well because of my interest in urban planning. It’s about a four-hour drive from my mother’s hometown of Novosibirsk. Throughout my childhood, I spoke Russian at home and my mother homeschooled me and my brother in Russian during high school, so that we could read and write, not just converse. I also spent a semester of my junior year at a Math in Moscow program.

HOW DID OC AND RUNNING START HELP YOU ACCOMPLISH YOUR GOALS? On an academic level, the professors I had, especially in math, were really incredible people. They really motivated me to study math. The classes were competitive but collaborative. They really transformed my understanding of what math could be. Now, it’s something I’m going to be doing the rest of my life. Following my Fulbright, I’m going to Northwestern for an applied math PhD.


HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN ROCKET SCIENCE? After my sophomore year at Trinity, I did research at UCLA for The Aerospace Corp. For the last two years, I interned with the company in El Segundo, CA. It’s been a great experience seeing all the ways math can be used. For the past two summers, I’ve been working on analyzing costs and on risk and schedule analysis for NASA missions.


HOW CAN CULTURAL EXCHANGE PROGRAMS PROMOTE BETTER RELATIONS BETWEEN RUSSIA AND THE US? I think I got a taste of it when I did Math in Moscow. I was the only person in my program familiar with the Russian culture and language, and I worked to dismantle stereotypes. It helped me understand how important personal connections are. It’s easy to assume that a country is just its politics, but the people that make up the country, that’s really what the nation and culture are about.


Building a Future OC'S NEW CONSTRUCTION TRADES PROGRAM MEETS GROWING DEMAND Lance Deyette has been in the construction trades for 30 years, and he’s never seen anything like the current demand for skilled workers. “There’s crazy demand in every trade,” he said. “Every apprenticeship program is bursting at the seams, and we’re still bringing people on.” That’s why Deyette, a sheet metal worker and president of the Olympia and Vicinity Building and Construction Trades Council, is excited that Olympic College is launching a new Construction Trades Program. The first classes are slated for spring 2020 in Shelton with the potential to expand to the Bremerton campus in future years. The program’s short-term goal is to offer a one- to threequarter certificate in Construction Trades or Construction Technology. The curriculum will combine class work with hands-on learning and eventually could lead to longer certificates and possibly an associate’s degree program. The first step is hiring a director with industry experience this fall. That person will develop the program with community input and build partnerships with employers, trade associations and apprenticeship programs.

At a time when the state of Washington ranks fifth nationally in construction activity, many baby boomers in the industry are retiring. That’s fueling the shortage of workers to fill high-paying positions in home and commercial construction, including carpenters, drywall installers, plumbers, electricians and heating and cooling technicians. The demand is expected to continue for at least the next decade. A December 2018 labor market analysis projects there will be more than 600 construction jobs in Mason County by 2028 and pegs job growth in the region at 16 percent during that same period.

“Every trade makes a great living wage with health care benefits.”


BY THE NUMBERS Source: Emsi, December 2018


“Every trade makes a great living wage with health care benefits,” Deyette said. “Our (sheet metal) journeymen make $56.09 an hour. The total package is $84.37 with benefits. And apprentices start at 45 percent of that wage.” Russ Shiplet, executive director of the Kitsap Building Association, said construction trades have fully recovered from the Great Recession and builders are scheduling work nine months to a year out. A former high school vocational education teacher, Shiplet said high schools have shifted in recent years toward focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers and away from the trades, contributing to the industry labor shortage. “School counselors push college, but not everybody is cut out for a four-year college. What happens to those kinetic learners? What about a trade?” Shelton Campus Administrator Allison Smith has long been an advocate for the program and said there’s huge interest from a community that’s still recovering from the loss of timber industry jobs. She also expects the program to draw students from Kitsap County, the Olympic Peninsula and Olympia. The only other construction trades training program west of Puget Sound is in Grays Harbor County on the Pacific Coast. “I am a board member of the Economic Development Council of Mason County, and there truly is a huge need for skilled workers in our area,” she said. “Every place I go, they are screaming for some kind of training program.”

Easy Rider Thanks to a partnership among OC, Kitsap Transit and the city of Bremerton, it’s easier than ever to get to Olympic College. Here’s why:

ƒƒ A new bus stop on the Bremerton campus

means students and staff no longer have to dash across Warren Avenue at 16th Street to catch a northbound bus on State Rte. 303 or to a pullout stop on Warren at 15th Street for southbound trips.

ƒƒ At OC Bremerton, there’s service every 30

minutes during expanded weekday hours connecting to Silverdale and the Bremerton Transportation Center.

ƒƒ A new route provides a direct connection

between the Poulsbo and Bremerton campuses with a maximum travel time of 45 minutes. No more transfers!

ƒƒ At OC Poulsbo, there’s service every 30

minutes during expanded weekday hours connecting to North Viking Transit Center, downtown Poulsbo and Central Market.

The new OC Bremerton bus stop is possible because the city of Bremerton relocated a sidewalk and utilities to accommodate Kitsap Transit buses turning off Warren Avenue onto campus.


Projected increase in jobs by 2028

$20.63 Median hourly wage in 2018

96.7% Gender breakdown

“These upgrades provide increased services and safer access to our campuses in Bremerton and Poulsbo, which is a big win for our students,” said OC President Marty Cavalluzzi. To celebrate the transit improvements, OC students got free bus passes for the month of October, a $55 value.

Community Connection Poulsbo's Martha & Mary Depends On OC BY TERRI GLEICH PHOTOS BY LOGAN WESTOM PHOTOGRAPHY

Pure joy

animates Sybil McCormack’s face as she cavorts on the playground with a gaggle of preschoolers at Martha & Mary Kids, running, jumping, sliding, cycling and squeezing herself into child-sized spaces.



he mother of five is in her element as a preschool teacher, and she credits Olympic College with helping her secure the job in 2014 and giving her the confidence to take charge of a classroom.

McCormack began taking early childhood classes a few at a time in 2011, fitting them in around work and family. Eight years later, she’s one class away from her associate’s degree. "I'm here because I've been able to use what I learned and put it into practice," she said. “I’ll be taking a class and think, oh my goodness, I just learned this, now let me get in there and try it.”

McCormack is in good company at Martha & Mary. The 128-year-old Poulsbo nonprofit, which cares for people at the beginning and end of life, and has become a major employer of OC alumni.

“I'm here because I've been able to use what I learned and put it into practice.”

“I don’t know where we’d be without Olympic College,” said CEO Lynette Ladenburg.

Perched atop a hill overlooking Liberty Bay, Martha & Mary’s spacious campus is a solid presence at the entrance to Poulsbo’s


Norwegian-inspired downtown and an important part of the economy with 500 people on staff. Known as M&M, its services include child care, preschool, physical rehabilitation, assisted living and long-term care.

On the childcare side, three of the organization’s four directors graduated from OC and nearly half of the staff are either alumni or current students. Among nurses, an estimated quarter of the staff trained at the college, as did the director of nursing. It’s also a clinical site for OC’s nursing program, a practicum site for its early childhood students and M&M staff serve on the advisory panels that help guide both programs.

“Nurses are extremely hard to find,” said Ladenburg. “Because of the quality of OC’s program, it’s benefiting our patients all the way from the top down.” “Martha & Mary has a superb reputation for elder care in our community,” said Suzy Cook, an OC nursing professor who coordinates simulation training. “I have a background in longterm care and to make quality nurses who are able to serve that population is the best thing. It just makes my heart beam.”

“OC prepares you for a lot of different things,” said Justin Saetrum ’15, who manages a 63-bed long-term care unit. “The bachelor of science in nursing program is more of a communitybased outlook, and M&M has been around the community for a long time. It’s like a hub. A lot of people reach out to us. We have a lot of good partners.”

M&M’S OC CONNECTION – Clockwise from far left – Shelby Williams '17 shares a smile with her preschool class. Longtime OC student Sybil McCormack presides over recess. OC is well-represented by (l-r) Patricia Beckwith '13, Justin Saetrum '15, Amanda Svoboda '13, Leah Meadows '13, Betsy Knauff '08 and Kristin Chapman '15, Saetrum entertains a long-term care resident in the unit he manages.


irector of Nursing Services Leah Meadows ’13, said OC grads frequently move into M&M management positions because the nursing program teaches leadership as well as clinical skills.

The partnership works both ways, said Amanda Svoboda ’13, who started as a nursing assistant and went back to school to become a licensed practical nurse. “I worked full time and went to school at OC full time and my boss was supportive. If I had been anywhere but Martha & Mary, I don’t think it would have worked.” Child Care Center Director Haley Kunka ’14 said M&M Kids child care and early learning centers in Poulsbo and Silverdale also encourage employees to continue their educations. “Many staff are scared to go back to school, but OC makes it so easy,” she said. “(Faculty) actually come into the facility and explain how employees can make it work. Many have gone back to school who wouldn’t have without that relationship.”

“OC has touched all of our programs, everything we do here.”

“Martha & Mary has been a wonderful partner with the early childhood program at OC,” said Program Coordinator Gayle Dilling. She noted that M&M employees were the first to take advantage of the Early Achievers grant at OC, a state-funded program intended to boost childcare quality by allowing workers at participating centers to take free college classes. That benefits everyone, said Tammi Palodichuk, administrator for M&M Kids. “The more educated our staff is, the higher quality program we can provide.”

Even M&M dining services employs an OC graduate. Heather Magneson ’19 said the job is a good fit because she considered studying pharmacology before opting for culinary arts. “I like thinking about food in a way that helps people with compromised immune systems. I like thinking about food as medicine.” The connections between OC and M&M cross and re-cross like an intricate spider’s web. And like a web, the whole is stronger than its parts.

“Every one of these positions is a key position, whether it’s in health care, child care, home health care or culinary,” said Ladenburg, the CEO. "OC has touched all of our programs, everything we do here."


Do Olympic College alumni run the world? Not quite. But they sure do shape our region. Meet nine elected officials with OC connections. BY TERRI GLEICH



Becky Erickson, John Mutchler, Michelle Caldier, Robin Sigo, Dan Griffey, Michael Goodnow, Gary Simpson, Sammy Mabe and Greg Wheeler


The Blue-Collar MBA If you’re a Bremerton resident, chances are you’ve met Mayor Greg Wheeler ’91. In a city of 42,000, he visited nearly 16,000 households in his 2017 bid for office, knocking off a two-term incumbent and getting a street-level education about the issues. “It’s the only way you can actually learn what’s going on,” he said. “You have to get yourself on the level of the folks you’re going to work for. You have to meet the people on their turf.” The Navy veteran and Puget Sound Naval Shipyard retiree grew up in Bremerton and has lived in the same house near downtown for 32 years. He walks to work at City Hall, where his sixth-floor office offers a commanding view of the city he serves. Known for his dapper attire and perfectly groomed wavy hair, the former pipefitter who earned an MBA after retirement is proud of his blue-collar roots. His father and brother also worked at the shipyard, and he’s the first in his family to earn a college degree. Wheeler took classes at Olympic College at three different times in his life, after high school, as part of the shipyard’s apprentice program and later in life.

retirement, but found his way to the mayor’s office after a stint as a planning commissioner and eight years on city council. “This is my way of serving. My wife and I both like getting involved. We’re a team,” he said of Sunny Wheeler, a former Olympic College Foundation board member. “Beating down the bureaucracy” to directly help constituents is the best thing about his job, said Wheeler. He cited helping a 96-year-old constituent get a handicapped parking space in front of her house as a high point.

Fun Fact:

He loves science fiction in the tradition of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits.

“OC was always there for me,” he said. “Some of the instructors turned out to be my greatest mentors. They saw skills in me that I didn’t see in myself.”

He’s also put his stamp on city government by naming Bremerton’s first poet laureate as part of a broader plan to support the arts community. The issue closest to his heart is affordable housing and Wheeler said seeing constituents, including many veterans, struggle with housing insecurity is his biggest challenge. “It’s why I feel obligated to push as hard as I can.”

If his OC experiences hadn’t been positive, Wheeler said, he probably wouldn’t have gone on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Chapman University and an MBA from Brandman University in 2015. “I found my love of learning.”

His solutions include streamlining permitting and making changes in the building code to increase housing stock, providing emergency assistance to keep residents from being evicted, helping landlords with weatherization costs in exchange for keeping rent affordable and promoting long-term tax incentives for developers.

As the leader of an organization with 365 employees and a $100 million budget, he credits the business degree with helping him analyze the workings of city government to improve the way departments interact with residents. Originally, he’d considered working for a nonprofit after

What role did all that campaign door-knocking play? It’s shaped Wheeler’s entire agenda. “All the moves I make are the best reflection of those 7,100 conversations I had,” he said. “I left my phone number on people’s doorsteps, and I get calls and emails every day.”


Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson didn’t get interested in city government until city government got interested in her family farm. The city annexed the property, or as Erickson puts it: “I was kidnapped by the city of Poulsbo.” That prompted her to run for city council, where she served for two years before moving up to mayor in 2010. “I’m a hands-on mayor. I’ve been a business manager all my life. Now I’m the CEO of the municipal corporation of Poulsbo.”

OC Experience:


Erickson did an online course in SQL programming through Olympic College in the late 1990s while also taking classes at the University of Washington. “It was a great course. It really helped me in my career. I moved from accounting and finance into IT, and I did it for six years at London Fog Industries in Seattle.”

Proudest Accomplishment:

“Liberty Bay is actually cleaner now than it was in 1970. The city of Poulsbo did a whole bunch of work to make sure the bay is clean, and we’re starting to do shellfish harvesting again. That’s a huge achievement.”

Fun Fact:

She and her husband own two goats, Betsy and Wilma, who eat nuisance blackberry brambles on the farm that’s been in her husband’s family for three generations.

The Big-Picture Thinker After 29 years with the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office, Gary Simpson was ready to retire. Then his boss stepped down, giving the patrol chief an opportunity to provide continuity and a new focus for the department he loves. Now serving his second term as sheriff – he ran unopposed in 2014 and 2018 – Simpson is still awed by the scope of the job. “There’s probably not one business or one entity in Kitsap County that the sheriff’s office doesn’t connect to. We know everybody in the community.” A graduate of the National Sheriff’s institute and FBI National Academy, Simpson has implemented a strategic plan intended to reduce what he calls the “squirrel effect,” reacting to events instead of preparing for the future. He's also working to strengthen community partnerships and educate the public about what law enforcement can and can’t accomplish.


“When it comes to mental health issues, homelessness and opioid addiction, we can’t fix something that someone has probably been dealing with for years in a 15-minute interaction. We’re not the first responders. We’re the last responders. How can we be expected to fix it when everyone else has failed?”

OC Experience:

Simpson attended Olympic College in the early 1970s for a couple of quarters after graduating from South Kitsap High School. “It was a point of discovery for me to explore my opportunities and options.”

Fun Fact: He owns a 2001 Harley Road King and rides it in parades dressed in a vintage sheriff’s uniform.


The Community Cheerleader Michael Goodnow ’02 spent 20 years in the US Navy and has worked and volunteered for nonprofits, including Downtown Bremerton Association, Hospice of Kitsap County and Kitsap Pride, for most of his post-military career. Running for Bremerton City Council seemed like the next logical step in a life devoted to service. “I didn’t approach it with a need to change things,” he said of his 2017 election. “Of course, you want to make a positive difference, but I really ran because it seemed like a next-level way to continue to serve the community.”

OC Experience:

Goodnow started taking Olympic College classes while he was still an active-duty sailor stationed at Bangor submarine base. “It’s where my educational journey really started. It’s what got me hooked. I literally started there and at a pretty quick click, got my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in about five years.”

Passion Project: As president of Kitsap Pride Network since

Quote: On the city council passing a resolution that affirms

Bremerton’s commitment to diversity and inclusion regardless of such factors as race, gender, sexual orientation and immigration status – “It’s important that we express our values. It’s something the city had struggled with, the issue of being a ‘sanctuary city’ or a ‘welcoming city.’ What it means is if you’re a resident of the city, it doesn’t matter who you are, the city will treat you as a human being.”

Fun Fact:

As a sonar technician, he helped navigate the Trident submarine, USS Alaska, and tracked Soviet subs during the Cold War.

2012, Goodnow has been instrumental in growing the organization’s annual summer celebration. “This is the year it went from a fun event to a festival. It was really big.”

The Skipper Suquamish Tribal Council Member Sammy Mabe is a reluctant politician, who actively sought other people to run for council in his place and didn’t submit his name for nomination until the day of his first election. Now in his second three-year term, the 37-year-old former geoduck diver and dive skipper is the youngest person on the seven-member governing body and has discovered an interest in Tribal code that’s leading him to consider studying law. “I’m a big video game nerd. All my favorite games are third-person mysteries, like The Legend of Zelda and Assassin’s Creed. They’re not straightforward. You have to go looking for things like a treasure hunt. I look at law in a very similar way.”

OC Experience:

Mabe started at Northwest Indian College and transferred to Olympic College, where he hopes to finish the final 12 credits for his associate’s degree this fall before transferring to Western Washington University. He lauds OC’s diversity and high-quality instruction. “I took Diversity and American Culture from James Estrella. That class is amazing. It touched on some very touchy issues with grace.”

Passion Project:

He’s head skipper of the Sacred Waters Canoe Family, an intertribal nonprofit with more than 100 members from as far away as Canada and Minnesota. “We honor everyone’s differences while still coming together for a common thing and representing our people in the best way we know how.” The group recently finished a four-day, 90-mile voyage to the Lummi Indian Reservation near Bellingham during the annual tribal canoe journey.

Quote: Speaking about his role mentoring young adults in the canoe family – “I just want to mold good young people into good old people. I made a lot of mistakes when I was younger, and I’d love for them not to go through that.”

Fun Fact: A self-proclaimed nerd, his costume collection includes Ironman, Wolverine, Spiderman, Superman and the Joker.


The Survivor State Rep. Michelle Caldier ’95 was a dentist serving nursing home residents in 2011 when state Medicaid cuts turned her into an activist and inspired her to run for office. The Bremerton native couldn’t understand why lawmakers would eliminate dental care for some of the most vulnerable people in the state. When she went to Olympia to lobby against the cuts, she got turned away by her own representatives. “I was an expert in the field and their constituent,” she recalled. Vowing to do things differently, Caldier ran for the 26th District House seat and was elected in 2013. “I have an open-door policy. I’ll talk to anybody.” For the mother and foster mother of three daughters, Olympic College is a family tradition. Her parents met at the college, and one of her daughters is also an alum. Caldier started at OC as a Running Start student and completed her associate’s degree after graduating from Central Kitsap High School. She continued her education at the University of Washington, earning a doctorate in dental surgery by age 25. “I don’t know if I would have succeeded as well as I did at UW without going to OC. I wasn’t prepared to go to a large university and have classes the size of 400 students,” she said. “OC does a great job as kind of a stepping stone for students to find their academic careers. It was a perfect opportunity for me.” A sexual assault survivor, Caldier was in foster care by age 12 and living on her own at 17. It’s shaped her agenda at home and at the statehouse. “I always wanted to make a difference in the foster care system,” she said. “When I was able to financially take in other children, I did.” Caldier has worked to boost high school graduation rates for children who are homeless, in foster care or at risk for other reasons. Because students in those situations may

change high schools multiple times, they frequently fall behind their peers and fail to earn diplomas. According to Caldier, the Washington high school graduation rate for foster youth is 43 percent, well below every other student group. Her solution allows schools to award partial semester credit and requires districts to waive any additional local graduation requirements for affected students as long as they meet state graduation requirements. The three-term lawmaker, whose district runs from West Bremerton to Gig Harbor, is also passionate about helping sexual-assault survivors. She worked to boost funding for processing the state’s backlog of rape kits and authored a law to inform rape victims within two hours if a medical facility doesn’t have rape kits or personnel trained to complete sexual assault examinations. That bill was inspired by a constituent who reported to Caldier that she’d waited more than four and a half hours at Harrison Hospital in Silverdale before learning there was no one available to conduct an exam. “It’s incredibly frustrating and difficult at times,” she said of the lawmaking process. “But when you’re actually able to pass legislation and get something done, it’s incredibly rewarding.”

Fun Fact:

She's a compulsive Scrabble player.

The “Leslie Knope” For Robin Sigo ’96, multiple degrees, a career in social work and a leadership role in Suquamish Tribal government all started with a quest to enroll in a popular Olympic College anthropology class. Sigo grew up helping her curator dad at the Suquamish Museum and when she learned about Professor Caroline Hartse’s Physical Anthropology course as a first-quarter college student, she wanted in. But Hartse was only accepting students who intended to major in the field. Sigo said she was, even though she had no idea at the time what she wanted to study. The class ignited a passion. Sigo took all of Hartse’s classes, did an independent study in anthropology and earned a bachelor’s degree in the subject from Western Washington University. “Wanting to get into that class led me to this career and professional journey that I wouldn’t have guessed I’d have,” she said.

Canoe, a curriculum that uses the teamwork of the canoe journey as a metaphor to impart community values to subsequent generations. In 2013, the mother of four ran for Suquamish tribal treasurer, again following in the footsteps of her father, who served on Tribal Council. “I grew up with lots of tribal political discussions.” Sigo was recently re-elected to a third, three-year term. It’s her signature on the paychecks of more than 400 tribal employees. She also pushed for a $15 minimum wage for Suquamish employees and helped oversee the successful opening of Agate Dreams, the tribe’s cannabis business.

Fun Fact:

Her middle name, "Little Wing," was inspired by the title of a Jimi Hendrix song.

“It opened my eyes that I really loved education. After barely graduating from high school, it was great to go into college and feel like I had a win right out of the gate. The teachers treated me like an adult and helped me feel like an adult and rise to that challenge. I found myself so much more invested in the process.” At the time, anthropology was something of a dirty word in the Native American community, according to Sigo. “Anthropologists were known for coming into a community, taking what they wanted and leaving,” she said, adding that Hartse’s approach was different. “She asked us to think about, ‘How do you meet (the community’s) needs and make the experience mutually beneficial.’ It was so cuttingedge. It was not where the field was.”

After graduating from Western, Sigo got a job as a grant writer for the tribe. It was the start of what she calls her “Leslie Knope career,” referencing a character in the sitcom Parks and Recreation, whose love of serving her community is an inspiration. She went on to get a master’s degree in social work from the University of Washington and developed Healing of the


“It created a new tax base for tribal government,” she said. Revenues from recreational marijuana helped purchase the Northwest College of Art + Design property, now home to Chief Kitsap Academy, the tribe’s school for students in grades 6-12.

Sigo is also executive director of the Suquamish Foundation, the tribe’s philanthropic arm. The Foundation has a dual role, raising money for capital projects such as building the House of Awakened Culture and the Suquamish Museum, and giving money away through the Appendix X grant program, which dedicates a portion of gaming proceeds for community nonprofits. Beneficiaries include many Kitsap public schools, Kingston’s Village Green, IslandWood, the Marvin Williams Center and the Olympic College Foundation. One of the first grants Sigo wrote for the tribe was to the Kitsap Community Foundation to fund snacks for a native horsemanship program. Now her activism has come full circle as the Suquamish Foundation partners with the community foundation and United Way to fund and help lead Kitsap Strong, a community coalition fighting intergenerational poverty by reducing adverse childhood experiences and building resiliency. Leslie Knope would be proud.

The Rescuer It’s no wonder state Rep. Dan Griffey became a firefighter and advanced EMT. His parents were both volunteer firefighters, and the Central Mason fire department he’s volunteered and worked for since high school was created after his family’s house was destroyed in a blaze. He and a high school friend were the first in the state to earn EMS certification at age 17. To help cover staffing shortages at the Shelton-based fire department, he would rush from class or football practice to respond to emergencies from a medic unit parked at North Mason High School. When Griffey ran for the Legislature, he was looking for more ways to rescue a community devastated by the loss of timber jobs. “I wanted to see a different level of politician, someone who absolutely had the community at heart.” He won election in 2014 and represents the 35th district, which includes Mason County and extends from Bremerton to Olympia.

OC Experience:

Griffey took an English class through Olympic College that allowed him to graduate high school on time. He also furthered his career with firefighting classes that he credits with helping him become a lieutenant. “Every time I needed something to benefit myself or my job, I used OC. I’m really happy the community college system can be that for people.”

Proudest Accomplishment:

After five years of pressing the issue, Griffey saw the governor sign a new law this year that eliminated the statute of limitations for felony sex crimes against children age 15 and younger and extended it to 20 years for victims older than 15. It’s especially meaningful because Griffey’s wife and daughter are both sexual-assault survivors. “The monsters who commit these crimes will have to look over their shoulders forever.”

Fun Fact: He listens to 12 NASA podcasts and is fascinated with the agency’s quest to return to the moon and explore Mars.

The Pastor Olympic College is a family tradition for Ferndale Mayor Jon Mutchler ’79. Two siblings attended and his father, Ralph Daniel Mutchler, taught in the music department for more than two decades. Unsure what he wanted to do after graduating from Bremerton High School, Jon Mutchler chose OC for the small class sizes, affordability and opportunity to take music classes from his dad. He went on to complete a Master of Divinity degree in Vancouver, B.C., and in 1987 became founding pastor of Ferndale Alliance Church outside of Bellingham. He’s kept up his interest in music as well, playing piano professionally and staffing the annual Drayton Harbor Music Festival. The community college tradition continues with his seven children, who were homeschooled before attending the Running Start dual credit program at Whatcom Community College and Bellingham Technical College. The state program allowed them to earn college credit while completing high school.

Why He Ran For Office:

“I feel like my calling and my craft is taking care of families and taking care of people, and the city is the canvas where it happens.” Mutchler served on city council before being elected mayor in 2016 and is running for re-election this fall.


On the lasting impact that studying physics and calculus at OC had on his life – “I marveled at how ordered and elegant the world is. It’s so marvelously balanced. It’s beautiful. It inspires the faith in me.”

Fun Fact:

Since turning 50 in 2009 and challenging himself to get fit, he’s competed in more than 20 triathlons, a Half Ironman and seven marathons.








irst Lady Nancy Reagan invited him to tea to discuss her daughter’s wedding invitations. The National Gallery of Art consulted him when the Prince and Princess of Wales hosted an exhibit. And Nancy Kissinger, wife of Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, got her stationary from him. For more than 30 years, Richard Lillybridge ’57, was the last word in printing and protocol for the political and social elite of the nation’s capital.

USA Today described him as “the man” at venerable D.C. printer and engraver Copenhaver, reporting that Washington hostesses complained if he went on vacation too close to the fall social season.

“Our reputation was for being formal. We did everything the right way.” “Our reputation was for being formal,” he said. “We did everything the right way.” Often Lillybridge’s most important work took place behind the scenes as he deftly saved socially ambitious clients from etiquette missteps. “I remember very well an American who was one of the founders of what turned out to be a very big business,” he said. “I did cards for him when he bought a castle in England. He wanted them to say ‘Lord So-and-So,’ and I told him, ‘No. I can’t do that.’” Lillybridge suggested “Lord of the Castle” instead. “At first he disputed me, but he must have found out I was right.”


He also battled with some diplomatic officers at the British Embassy, insisting that they put “British Royal Navy” on their cards, not just “Royal Navy.” “I said there were other royal navies, you have to point out which one. They would say, ‘No, I don’t want that.’ Then the phone would ring: ‘I checked with the embassy and the embassy said you’re right.’” The 89-year-old never met a president, but he rubbed elbows with many first ladies and printed the invitations for President Bill Clinton’s inauguration. It was heady stuff for somebody born and raised in Bremerton. “I knew a lot of the wealth of Washington (D.C.).” Nancy Lefcoski, Lillybridge’s sister, remembers him gleefully sharing his adventures. “He called one day and said, ‘I just came back from the White House. I had tea and cookies with Nancy.’ Of course Nancy was Nancy Reagan.” The occasion was more somber when Ethel Kennedy went to Lillybridge for black-edged notecards after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

THE LAST WORD – Richard Lillybridge served four years in the Air Force, picking up public relations skills that served him well during his long career at Washington, D.C., printer and engraver Copenhaver. He printed invitations for President Bill Clinton’s 1993 inauguration.

MR. MANNERS – Lillybridge was profiled in USA Today and frequently consulted on etiquette matters for industry and bridal publications. Copenhaver was known for formal invitations like this one that Lillybridge oversaw for the National Gallery of Art. Presidential daughter Alice Roosevelt Longworth was a customer of the high-end stationer.



t’s no surprise that Lillybridge, dubbed a “man of manners” by USA Today, was friends with another soldier on the D.C. etiquette front, Washington Post columnist “Miss Manners,” also known as Judith Martin. He recalled her coming into Copenhaver once with two shopping bags stuffed with letters she’d answered in her column. “Miss Manners let me read her mail,” he said with a twinkle. Perhaps it was a nod to a fellow writer – Lillybridge authored the Protocol column in the trade publication, Pen World. His subject: “social stationery, its forms, its designs and its proper use.” When her son got married, Martin naturally turned to the “man of manners” for invitations. “Some people used to say to me, ‘You’re waiting on all these people we see in the newspapers and on TV. What made you feel right about people consulting you about things in their lives?” Lillybridge, who retired to Pompano Beach, FL, credits his military experience with preparing him for a career serving the rich and famous. He spent four years in the Air Force, including a year in Pusan, Korea, where his duties included public relations, writing for the Air Force Times and managing VIP visits. After serving his country, he earned an associate’s degree at OC while working at Bremerton radio station KBRO as a newswriter. He was fresh out of American University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in public relations when a friend recommended him for an entry-level job at Copenhaver. He made a career of it. “I went from sweeping the floor to general manager.” The fine stationer, printer and engraver, which closed in 2018, was an institution at Connecticut Avenue and Dupont Circle near the White House for more than 100 years. The company’s defunct Twitter feed features a photo of presidential daughter Alice Roosevelt Longworth ordering personal stationery at the shop. And a 2014 Time Out review dubbed the service “personal and exceptional.” In an age of instant communication, it seems quaint to give serious thought to the size, color and heft of writing paper, but Lillybridge argues that there’s still a place for a properly penned note, even if it’s not on an ecru correspondence card with monogram and hand-tinted border. “If you’ve given someone a very nice gift, wouldn’t you like a handwritten note?” he asked. “I think there’s just nothing like it.”



1. Double duty – Foundation Board Member Tracy S. Flood '92 is serving her second term as president of the Bremerton NAACP Unit 1134. 2. First-generation college student Payton Swinford '18 is working to increase educational opportunities for all students as a member of the Washington Student Achievement Council. His one-year term began in July.




7. Trisha Duerr, a 2013 graduate of OC’s nursing program, is director of emergency services at Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles. 8. Bremerton journalist Josh Farley emceed the 2019 loanDepot Kitsap Battle of the Bands at OC’s Harvey Theatre. 9. Management consultant and entrepreneur Tom Eckmann of Bainbridge Island has been appointed to the OC Board of Trustees and is leading a college task force on affordable student housing. 10. Also joining the OC Board of Trustees is Shelton fourth-grade teacher Candelario Gonzalez, who brings 20 years of experience in public education to the role. A graduate of Skagit Valley College, he has a first-hand appreciation for the role of community colleges. 11. OC Visual Arts hosted the Washington Clay Arts Association for a summer social that included demonstrations by OC Professors John Benn and Marie Weichman. 12. Welcome back! Alecia Nye '94 has joined the OC team as Associate Dean for Nursing. 13. Former Olympic College Foundation board members James Johnson, Lynn K. Fleischbein '85 and Cary Bozeman (not pictured) were awarded emeritus status in June for their continuing dedication to OC students. Joan Hanten (second from right) and Shannon Childs (right) presented the awards.





News of note on campus and around the community. Share your honors, milestones and stories at



6 5

MAYNARD’S EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK 3. Guests enjoyed paella on the patio and



other artisanal bites while raising money for a new OC Culinary Arts scholarship. 4. Chef/ Owner J.J. Meland shared his vision with Glynnis Klinefelter Sio and OC President Marty Cavalluzzi. 5. OC Culinary Arts alum Darelle Rancap lent a hand in the kitchen. 6. Windermere’s Julie WurdenJablonski and OC Foundation Board Member Enrico Sio were among the 300 guests



2019-20 Events NOVEMBER




SPEAKER SERIES THURSDAY – Harvey Theatre, Bldg 7 – Join OC Chef Chris Plemmons for new twists on holiday favorites.



THURSDAY – This year and every year, we’re thankful for OC alumni, friends and supporters.

The Photojournalist Exhibit



LAST DAY FOR DECISIVE MOMENT EXHIBIT THURSDAY – OC Art Gallery, Bldg 7 – Celebrate the climactic instant when a great photograph is captured.

SEASON GREETINGS! Warmest winter wishes for an enchanted season.


SPEAKER SERIES THURSDAY – Harvey Theatre, Bldg 7 – Kick off the 2020 Alumni Speaker Series. Presenter to be determined.

ALUMNI VALENTINE DINNER FRIDAY – Fireside Bistro, Bldg 10 –A special night for your special someone - OC Culinary Arts provides a gourmet dinner in the romantic Fireside Bistro.


ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE SATURDAY – Downtown Bremerton – You’ll be sure to have the luck o’ the Irish if you wear your green and join us at the annual Bremerton parade.


Join us for an opening night reception in the OC Bremerton Art Gallery, Bldg 7 Refreshments • Free Parking


Friday, October 18, 2019, 5:00 - 7:30pm

On display Oct. 18 - Dec. 6, 2019 WINTER QUARTER & SCHOLARSHIP SEASON Exhibit curated by OC Visual Arts

MONDAY – Are you or someone you know planning to attend OC in 2020? Don’t miss out on more than $450,000 in scholarships! Details at


LIFT EVERY VOICE EXHIBIT FRIDAY – OC Art Gallery, Bldg 7 – This invitational exhibit spotlights the creativity and power of regional African American artists. On display until March 6.






FRIDAY – OC Art Gallery, Bldg 7 – OC faculty and staff are an accomplished bunch. Come see their creative side. On display through May 15.

TUESDAY – Transform a student’s life! Support OC during Kitsap’s biggest day of giving at

You Rocked it at oc! LET US KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING NOW We love hearing your news and seeing your photos! Please send accomplishments, stories and milestones to for possible inclusion in SUMMIT. To stay in the loop, join our Olympic College Alumni Facebook group. And be sure to sign up for The Lookout, our biweekly alumni and friends E-news, at

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1600 Chester Avenue, Bldg 5 Bremerton, WA 98337 THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION IS FUNDED BY THE OC FOUNDATION.

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SUMMIT Vol.9  

Autumn 2019, Olympic College's Alumni & Friends Magazine.

SUMMIT Vol.9  

Autumn 2019, Olympic College's Alumni & Friends Magazine.

Profile for ocalumni