Young Professionals Specialty Publication - July 2022

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15th Annual

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Please meet our 2022 Young Professionals By Kristina Lord

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The Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business, a publication of TriComp Inc., is published monthly and delivered at no charge to identifiable businesses in Pasco, Richland, West Richland, Kennewick, Prosser and Benton City. Subscriptions are $27.10 per year, including tax, prepayment required, no refunds. Contents of this publication are the sole property of TriComp Inc. and can not be reproduced in any form without expressed written consent. Opinions expressed in guest columns and by advertisers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of staff, other columnists or other advertisers, nor do they imply endorsement by staff, columnists or advertisers. Every effort will be made to assure information published is correct; however, we are not liable for any errors or omissions made despite these efforts.

Welcome to one of our favorite issues of the year – the one where we honor and celebrate our community’s up and coming leaders. This year marks our 15th annual Young Professionals contest and we’re pleased to introduce you to the 10 winners who are excelling in their careers and efforts to better our hometowns. Since 2008, we’ve been reviewing applications from the Tri-Cities’ brightest young leaders. To date, we’ve honored 132, including this year’s group. They are all 40 or under and their resumes are impressive. Each clearly loves our community, as they have rolled up their sleeves in a variety of ways to make it a better place. One holds a patent. One is an artist. One was inspired to study accounting (and discover she excelled in it) after accompanying her parents on a “Take your Kids to Work Day.” Applicants for our contest were nominated or were able to self-nominate. Some included letters of recommendation, though they weren’t required. Those who wrote in gave high praise: “This young professional has truly limitless potential and is dedicated to service.” “In short, the work that she leads significantly impacts the quality of life enjoyed by all Tri-Citians.”

“(He) has a heart to serve and help others whenever the need arises.” “Her energy level is contagious, and she makes everyone around her successful...” “(She) is a big picture thinker who is always working hard to implement new projects, build relationships and expand her knowledge.” “In everything she does, she strives to uplift others, build love and community, and shed light on social and racial injustice, mental health and a range of other social issues.” Our panel of judges scored all the applications in several categories and then the points were tallied. It’s always a joy to read these applications as they show the diversity of our community and how hard these young leaders work, especially outside their jobs. Contest judges looked for leaders who went the extra mile outside their workplace in community service, charity work, leadership and community involvement. Please meet this year’s winners: • Joel Bouchey, regional director & public policy coordinator, Inland Northwest Associated General Contractors. • Jenna Coddington, managing broker, The Paragon Group. • Madison M. Evangelista, senior communications specialist, Mid-Columbia Libraries. • Tara Jaraysi Kenning, asset management requirements subject matter expert, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory/

To see winners from years past, go to Battelle. • Jennifer J. Lee, senior manager, Adaptive Biotechnologies. • Kevin Moran, community development officer, STCU. • Ashley T. Morris, deputy assistant manager for business and financial operations and deputy chief financial officer, U.S. Department of Energy. • Anneke M. Rachinski, director for resource development & planned giving, Columbia Basin College Foundation. • Karisa M. Saywers, director of marketing, Visit Tri-Cities. • Cynethia E. Sims, waste treatment plant controller, Bechtel National Inc. It’s never easy to choose which young leaders to celebrate each year because we always have many outstanding candidates. This year saw a record number of applications. To those we singled out in this issue, to those who tossed their hat in the ring to be considered and to those chosen in years past, we applaud you. We look forward to watching you continue to grow professionally and personally. We hope our readers enjoy reading about this year’s winners. We believe you’ll be as impressed with them as we are.

Keep growing forward, Young Professionals Are you are not 40 years old yet? Are you already experiencing a great deal of success in your career? Are you are wanting to make an even bigger impact in your industry and the Tri-Cities? Then keep reading. There are eight critical traits for displaying influence and three areas in which you can develop a professional growth plan to bolster your career. When I’m on the hunt for a young leader who is on an “up and to the right” trajectory in their career, I look for the following traits. Do they describe you? • Are you quick to find practical solutions to long-standing problems? • Are you an inspirational influencer, who easily persuades others to take action? • Do you have the ability to catch a vision and be an early-adopter? • Are you consistently noticing and affirming when teammates are succeeding? • Do you have people skills that are magnetic, drawing people to you? • Does the rest of the team get better because of your helpful mentoring and servant-leadership? • Do you show courage, emotional strength, stick-to-it-iveness, and a willingness to take responsibility and take action? • Do you receive feedback well, and then do something about it?

Be known for these traits and not only will your current employer consider you “upwardly mobile,” but Tri-City community leaders (chambers, Paul Casey nonprofits) will Growing Forward start asking you Services to participate in GUEST COLUMN their initiatives. When crafting your professional development plan for the next six to 12 months, consider categorizing your actions like a threelegged stool.

On-the-job training Look for opportunities to shadow high performers at your organization. Experience what they experience and ask for a debrief session to ask deep questions and share your perspective. Ask if you can lead a portion of the meetings you attend. Get briefed from your leader on what the agenda item’s outcome is and bring your own special flair to facilitating it. This could also look like you bringing a leadership tip of the week, asking an icebreaker question, or leading a quick team-building activity on a company value. When a team problem arises, ask your leader if you can lead a task force to solve it. Gather the team, establish

the purpose, brainstorm solutions and suggest actions that will benefit the organization. You also could volunteer to champion a section of your company’s strategic plan. When you notice areas on the team that are not working as smoothly as they could be, respectfully bring three solutions to your leader when elevating the issue. Volunteer to be your leader’s delegate at a meeting that they cannot attend. Lead an after-action review after a major milestone is achieved by the team. Ask the team what went well to continue doing, and what could be taken to the next level.

Continuing education Get familiar with the employee handbook. I know this sounds dull, but read it with “leadership eyes” to evaluate if the organization is doing what it says it’s doing. Become versed in the history of your organization, and the vision forward. When you are passionate about what you do, it’s contagious. Spend time understanding the company budget. You might not be a “numbers person” but it’s important to connect company goals with the dollars. Dive deep into professional development resources. Consume a weekly diet of books (audio and paper), podcasts, TED talks and industry magazines.

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Joel Bouchey

Regional Director & Public Policy Coordinator Inland Northwest Associated General Contractors

Age: 36

Current city of residence: Kennewick How long have you worked there? 3 years

Briefly describe your organization:

The Inland Northwest Associated General Contractors is a membership organization dedicated to furthering the agenda of commercial, industrial and government construction contractors.

We are the leading national construction trade association representing all facets of commercial construction for both public and private entities including building, heavy, highway and municipal projects. Founded in 1921, the Inland Northwest chapter is the region’s largest fullservice commercial construction trade association and is one of 89 chapters of the Associated General Contractors of America. Representing over 370 companies throughout our region, the AGC has been the organization of choice for those associated with the construction industry for more than 100 years and serves as the voice of the industry.

AGC members construct commercial and public buildings, airports, shopping centers, factories and industrial plants, schools, dams and flood control facilities, highways, roads and bridges, ports, public transit, underground facilities, water and wastewater treatment facilities, multifamily housing projects, military and defense related facilities, rail and transit facilities, tunnels, housing developments and mining operations. Our services include networking and business promotion, workforce development, political advocacy and safety.

Education: Please list your degrees and professional certifications. Bachelor of Arts, English, Washington State University.

Briefly describe your job and how you got into it: After leaving a career managing college bookstores, I moved to the Tri-Cities in 2015. I sought to serve the community in

nonprofit roles, working for both the local March of Dimes and American Cancer Society as a fund raiser and event coordinator. These were extremely fulfilling roles that allowed me to play a small part in solving medical challenges facing our world. However, both organizations went through restructurings that saw them move out of small and mid-sized communities such as ours.

I was unable to find another nonprofit in search of staff, so I became a licensed insurance agent in the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. My goal was not to sell but to be an avenue to a solution, focusing specifically on underutilized company benefits. I would have continued had the opportunity at the AGC not opened up.

AGC decided to hire a full-time staff member to serve the Tri-Cities after six years of hosting an office for training and visiting staff. In many ways this was kismet, as the role required my skills developed in sales as well as communityoriented missions and coordination with education organizations in our region.

I started as an architecture major at WSU, and now find myself in a role that appeals to the construction interests I have long held. How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? 7 years and counting

How did you earn your first dollar?

I grew up on a third-generation family farm in the lower Yakima Valley.

While you could argue my first dollar was made doing weekly chores around my parents’ house, I tend to think of my first dollar having been earned by managing the irrigation on one of the potato or asparagus fields or working on the potato sorting and cleaning operation that we ran to harvest and ship potatoes to Tim’s Cascade Snacks.

It was not expected that I would one day help take over the family farm, but those early days working under my dad taught me what hard labor and dirty work really look like. From then on, any job

Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography

I worked, including food service, retail, sales and event planning seemed far easier. What professional lessons, if any, have you learned during the pandemic?

The greatest lesson I learned was an ability to work with, and coach, all ages and skill levels to make technologic opportunities available and advantageous. I learned to recognize when an in-person meeting is really called for, and how to make the most of either situation. I just so happened to be the president of my Kiwanis Club at the beginning of the shutdown, a year earlier than the succession plan was originally slated.

The intended president stepped back for health reasons, so I was only a few months into the job when we were faced with the reality that we could not host our weekly Kiwanis meetings in person. Due to my knowledge and experience with Zoom, GoToMeeting and similar platforms prior to the pandemic, I was able to help club members adapt. We continued our meetings without missing a single week. Of the five local clubs, we were the only one not to miss a week. I am the youngest member of my club by one to two decades. A majority of our members are well into their retirement


Favorite book? Movie? Hard to name just one favorite of either, but book: “The Song of the Lioness Quartet,” by Tamora Pierce, and movie: “Chocolat”

Favorite music? Genre: Symphonic metal Band: Nightwish

What would people be most surprised to learn about you? I built my own couch in the style of a grand piano when I was in college.

Most disliked food? Raw broccoli




Jenna Coddington Managing Broker The Paragon Group

Age: 38 Current city of residence: Richland How long have you worked there? 9 years Briefly describe your company: The Paragon Group is the real estate division of Paragon Hospitality Group. We specialize in commercial and residential investment sales;

What’s your dream vacation? Hiking the fjords of Scandinavia

Favorite sports team, if any. Sounders and Seahawks

Favorite music? 1970s and 1980s

Most disliked food? Parmesan cheese

What would people be most surprised to learn about you? I have never consumed a cup of coffee

and commercial, multifamily and residential property management across Washington state. Our corporate office is in Richland, and we have branches in Kirkland and Tacoma. Education: Please list your degrees and professional certifications:

Master of Business Administration, New York Institute of Technology, 2007. Bachelor of Arts, communications, Washington State University, 2005. Licensed real estate instructor, Washington state. Licensed real estate managing broker, Washington state.

Briefly describe your job and how you got into it:

I manage the day-to-day running and growth of The Paragon Group real estate firm. My role is management of the property management team, both real estate branches, business development and training/advisement of our real estate brokers. After 10 years in communications and marketing for several government contractors and a local media firm, I joined Paragon Corporate Housing in 2013 as the director of marketing.

In that role, I occasionally assisted our then-property manager when needed. When the role opened up in 2015, I stepped in to help temporarily and fell in love with it. Since then, I’ve gotten my real estate license, managing broker’s license, and increased our business from a small, local manager of single-family homes to a statewide agency with 17 (and growing) sales agents.

We manage more than 500 residential units, multiple storage unit facilities and commercial properties. How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? 23 years

Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography

team committed to our purpose. We can do our jobs pretty much anywhere, so long as we all step up to the challenges. What was your dream job as a child? Medical doctor

Tell us about your community involvement/community service: I’m a proud member of the Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors and love using my real estate knowledge to help obtain land for future affordable housing. I volunteer for the Tri-City Association of Realtors’ Education Committee, designing classes that will make our local agents the most competent in the state. I previously served on the MidColumbia Symphony board, the White Bluffs PTO and enjoy fostering dogs for Mikey’s Chance while they wait for permanent homes. How do you achieve work-life balance?

Babysitting neighborhood children.

Thankfully, my role with Paragon allows a fair amount of work-from-home opportunities so I can spend extra time with my family even while I work.

The importance of building an adaptable

Two of my three children are school aged, so I get a lot done while they are in class.

How did you earn your first dollar? What professional lessons, if any, have you learned during the pandemic?

My husband is tremendously supportive and always handles life when work takes me away. We recently moved into a multi-generational home, with my mother-in-law sharing a home with us. It’s been amazing to have the extra help of a dedicated and active grandparent. Do you have family? Pets? I am married to my middle-school sweetheart (and high-school and college), Craig. We’ve been married for 17 years. We have three children: John, 13, Abby, 8, and Oliver, 5. We also have one dog, Pumpkin, who is a chow/shepherd mix and the best girl ever; and one guinea pig, Malia. What brought you to the Tri-Cities? Did you grow up here? My family relocated here when I was in seventh grade from Ohio. I met the love of my life at Carmichael Middle School, and we have built a life together. After we graduated college (me from Washington State University and him from the University of Washington), we lived in the Washington, D.C., area for a few years to start our careers and then moved back here to build a family.




Madison M. Evangelista Senior Communications Specialist Mid-Columbia Libraries

Age: 30

Current city of residence: Kennewick How long have you worked there? 7 years

Briefly describe your organization:

Mid-Columbia Libraries’ 12 branch libraries, rural delivery service and digital branch provide library services to more than 260,000 residents of Benton, Franklin and parts of Adams counties.

Education: Please list your degrees and professional certifications. Bachelor’s degree with majors in psychology and digital technology and culture, Washington State University TriCities, 2015. Go Cougs! Briefly describe your job and how you got into it:

During my senior year at WSU Tri-Cities, I was accepted into one of the graduate programs. I was preparing to stay on campus as a full-time student and employee postgraduation. However, I found out a month before graduation that my master’s program was being phased out. I was scrambling to find a job off campus because my on-campus positions required that I be a student. A friend I knew who worked for MidColumbia Libraries as a communications specialist was leaving the position and encouraged me to apply. I ended up getting the job, thinking it would be a position that would help me gain more experience and I would leave within a couple of years.

Here I am, seven years later, and it has been one of the most thrilling experiences of my career. I cannot imagine myself anywhere else at this time. I am passionate about what I do and the mission of the library. How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? 30 years

How did you earn your first dollar? I have always been a hustler.

My earliest memory of making money involved painting rocks and going door to door to see if anyone would buy one. Luckily, I had nice neighbors. It was a

great blend of my love for the arts, being resourceful and wanting extra money to buy the funky Lip Smackers ChapStick flavors.

What professional lessons, if any, have you learned during the pandemic? The pandemic taught me that empathy and adaptability are key.

We may all be in the same storm, but our “boats” weather the storm differently.

I have always viewed myself as an empathetic person, but the pandemic has reiterated how important it is to listen and lead with empathy in mind. How can I create space for another co-worker (or a customer) to hear out their ideas and where they are coming from, especially when we cannot always be face to face? How can I do better to ensure they are being heard and their ideas are honored and not dismissed? We all have unique experiences that shape and inform our ideas and thoughts, and I am in a unique position in my job that allows me to take those ideas and implement them where I can or at least take them to where they can be heard next. Working in communications also was a test of how adaptable we could be in a time of crisis. We had to quickly shift how we communicated not only internally with staff but externally with our customers.

Like many organizations, a pandemic was not part of our crisis communication plan, so we had to adapt and change in real time. There was no guidebook and now we have a template we can use for future crises to help us adapt more quickly. What was your dream job as a child?

I really wanted to be an astronomer, but then I realized I am terrible at math. Honestly, I think I didn’t know the difference between an astronomer and an astrologer. Either way, the universe is intriguing. Tell us about your community involvement/community service.

A lot of my connection to my community has been through my art and being involved in the art community. As a photographer, I am passionate about

Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography

storytelling and have made that the center of my work for the last eight years. I have interviewed and shared over 101 stories from various individuals in our community, our nation and even abroad through various photo series. These series have focused on a wide range of topics including mental health, immigration, the Covid-19 pandemic and the exploration of the vulnerabilities of humankind and sociopolitical barriers through an artistic lens. I have showcased several of these stories through our local art scene and have even published a book, “Human After All,” through DrewBoy Creative. I have shown my art in around 12 art shows over the last six years and curated my second community art show to benefit the TriCities Cancer Center Foundation in June. For the last couple of years, I have hosted “Head Shot Happy Hour” (except for 2020) and invited folks from our community to get a professional head shot taken by me by donation. If someone can give and support these services, great, but a donation is not required to participate. Head shots can be expensive, so it is one of my favorite things to do and offer to folks to amplify their professional digital presence. uEVANGELISTA. Page C12

Favorite thing to do in Tri-Cities? I love going to art shows through DrewBoy Creative or hiking Badger Mountain.

Favorite music? I love EDM and hip hop. Anything with heavy bass and drop will do just fine.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you? I am a published author and once went to China for a swim meet through the Washington Cultural Exchange. Favorite Tri-City restaurant? Can I pick two? Taqueria El Marino has the best tacos de cabeza and Moniker is my favorite spot to go out to with friends.



Leaders are readers. Attend local seminars on topics that grow you, especially if it’s a skill that you need to strengthen. Find a way to teach what you learn to others on the team. Request permission to attend your industry’s annual conference. At a conference, you learn trends and best practices, make contacts, sample trade show resources and play with new ideas to bring back to your organization. Join a local leadership development program like Leadership Tri-Cities, Leader Launcher, or a mastermind BOUCHEY, From page C3 years. But because of the prevalence of smartphones and even basic home computers that now come with cameras, I was able to coach our members on using virtual platforms. The pandemic also meant that our club’s various fundraisers were largely shut down. As with our meetings, we managed to brainstorm and execute our socially distanced “Raising the Flag” fundraiser, which continues to this day and provides our youth support programs and scholarships with funds even as we bring our traditional programs back online. As for work, we were able to use those same platforms to increase member participation in several of our chapter committees, host virtual candidate interviews and participate in the state’s legislative sessions through remote testimony.

Those programs – which increased participation – we continue to hold virtually, whereas those programs that saw a lack of participation, or simply a loss of a key element to the event, were returned to in-person, but we can all agree that we are able to be more efficient with our time by accepting virtual meetings as part of our workday portfolio now.

What was your dream job as a child?

I dreamed of working in the construction industry, specifically as an architect. Years of building with Legos, art lessons and small construction projects had my family and I convinced that this was the


group to mingle with other emerging leaders. Attend networking events and set up one-to-ones to interview leaders in the community that you admire.

one within your organization or industry, someone with a heart for developing others. Then meet with them regularly, prepared with questions to ask for your development. And show incredible gratitude for their investment in you. Consider hiring (or getting your leader to fund) an external certified coach, someone not emotionally tied to your job, an objective sounding board who is for your success. Set a coaching agreement of the core competencies that you want to work on together. Think about your ongoing career development as a relay-race runner who is ready to receive the baton from the

generation above you. You must train for opportunities, stay in your lane and get up to the speed of the passer. Then grab the baton firmly and run hard so that everyone benefits from your efforts. Celebrate your wins and have fun in the career development race. Paul D. Casey lives in the Tri-Cities and is the owner of Growing Forward Services, which aims to equip and coach leaders and teams to spark breakthrough success. Casey has authored five books and hosts for emerging leaders each month. Online at

direction I would go. Although that didn’t end up being the direction I went, I am so glad to be able to work with talented construction professionals and to be a small part of the growth and development of our community today.

Professional, 2016 to present. Tri-City Chamber LEARN Group, 2019-present, co-chair beginning this year.

kids feel we are present for their biggest moments, that we actively take part in their interests, that we squeeze in a few “date nights” or “date weekends” a year, and that our time at work leaves us feeling successful in our careers without stressing us to the point of detracting from the family part of our life. Ask me again in 10 years.

Mentoring and coaching Ask for regular one-to-ones with your supervisor and take preparation for them seriously. Ask for more specific feedback, positive and negative. Make it “safe” for your leader to offer it to you because it truly is a gift. Share your wins, goal updates and struggles, and comment on what you are observing – to show you are thinking big-picture. Humbly ask to be mentored by some-

Tell us about your community involvement/community service:

Kiwanis of Tri-Cities Industry member since 2016, board member 2017-18, vice president 2018-19, president 2019-20, co-chair for Raising the Flag Fundraiser 2019-present. TCI Kiwanis is one of several local Kiwanis clubs focused on the betterment of young children in our society.

Pasco School District Skilled Tech Advisory Committee, 2020-present. As a community member of the Tech Advisory Committee, I serve as an industry partner voice to the construction trades programs that Pasco is successfully running year after year. It is our duty to review staff goals, student activities and overall outcomes of the program to ensure that students utilizing the CTE classes can meet graduation qualifications and have connection to real world jobs based upon skills and licensing provided during the school year. Tri-Cities Civility Caucus, 2020-present, caucus secretary as of 2022. The caucus is a growing group of diverse individuals who are focused first and foremost on returning civility to the political arena. We continue to seek ways to encourage civil discourse and an ability for all of us to foster an understanding of a differing point of view. Washington Policy Center Young

How do you achieve work-life balance? Anyone who says that they have found a complete work-life balance is probably lying to you.

It is something I struggle with daily. As a father of four, two of whom reside in the Tri-Cities part time, I am always tasked with the challenge of picking which activities and moments I devote to my kids, or which moments I must pass on for work opportunities.

Harder still, as we are a house of two professionals, is the challenge for my wife and me to find time for ourselves. Activities related to my job do not always follow a 9-5 schedule, and nor do hers, so we often have to plan out our calendar for big events months in advance. The age range of our children also has its advantages and disadvantages as they are spaced out, ages 12, 10, 5, and 4 months. Sometimes the older ones are selfsufficient enough to let my wife and I focus on chores, or our own “me” time. Sometimes their events mean that we are spread thin, running not just long hours, but often driving long distances if the elder two are doing something sports or school related in their own school district. But the key is that we always make the effort. In the end we consider ourselves successful in work-life balance if the

List any awards/honors you have received:

TCI Kiwanian of the Year, 2019. George F. Hixson Fellow, 2022. Do you have family? Pets?

We currently have our four kids: Damien, 12, Connor, 10, Kaila, 5, and Wyatt, born March 17, 2022, St. Patrick’s Day. We have 2 cats, Jory and Malory. What brought you to the Tri-Cities? Did you grow up here?

Following the separation from my two sons’ mother, I began dating my best friend since freshman year of college, Michelle.

At the time I was working in Pullman at WSU’s campus bookstore, and she was early in her career as a veterinarian at a practice in Chehalis.

We knew the moment we began dating that it was serious, and that we would have to both relocate to a place where she could continue her career and I could remain close to my sons. This left our options at that time as either Tri-Cities or Spokane, and we are grateful that it was the Tri-Cities opportunity that opened to us.




Tara Jaraysi Kenning

Asset Management Requirements Senior Communications Specialist Subject Matter Expert Mid-Columbia Libraries Pacific Northwest National Laboratory/Battelle

Age: 35

Current city of residence: Kennewick How long have you worked there? 3.5 years Briefly describe your company:

One of 17 Office of Science National Laboratories, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (operated by Battelle since 1965) is a transformative organization with a focus on discovery and innovation by proxy of science and technology that helps to create a world that is prosperous, safe and secure. Education: Please list your degrees and professional certifications.

Master of Business Administration, accounting, finance, general, Eastern Washington University. Bachelor of Arts, visual communication design. Minor, communications, Eastern Washington University. Certified professional property specialist, National Property Management Association. Certification of completion, NNSA and DOE Nonproliferation for High-Risk Property Workshop.

Briefly describe your job and how you got into it:

In my position as asset management requirements subject matter expert, my focus is overseeing that our programs are following U.S. Department of Energy and regulatory requirements. I’ve also been able to utilize my experience as a project controls specialist to support various projects and my graphic design degree to prepare mock-up screens for new programs and posters to display property management’s services. As a member of Leadership Tri-Cities Class 23, I made incredible friendships and connections.

One of my classmates, Iris Anderson, acknowledged how joining PNNL would be a fulfilling shift in my career. Iris opened the door for me at PNNL, which has inspired me to encourage others to create spaces for themselves for which they are challenged and thriving. How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities?

I have lived in Kennewick since 1991, except for four years at EWU.

How did you earn your first dollar?

My first dollar, or should I say nickel, came from my parents as we did chores set up for us to learn the importance of responsibility. We had different buckets to put our chore money in for savings, tithing and reckless childhood spending.

What professional lessons, if any, have you learned during the pandemic? The most important lesson I learned as I was working and completing my master’s degree during the pandemic was the importance of time management and building periods of rest.

This was particularly challenging as I learned to create a balance in a space that was not only my home, but also the library, and now my workspace. Needing to be flexible in my daily schedule was imperative to my success as I had to learn to interchange in all of these roles from employee to student to family member. What was your dream job as a child? As a child I dreamt of being a Food Network star with my own cooking show.

I loved watching the chefs explain their passion to the audience. Though I haven’t taken that path, I still enjoy sharing my hobbies and passions with my friends and family. In 2019, my husband and I taught a successful cake decorating class through the city of Kennewick Community Education program. Tell us about your community involvement/community service:

I have a passion for bringing people together to support local organizations. While at Jacobs (CHPRC), I helped organize multiple group food sorting events at Second Harvest, a Candy Mountain cleanup through the Friends of Badger and a room remodel at My Friends’ Place. For three years I sat on the board of directors for Junior Achievement (JA) and was the chair for the JA Young Professionals Council.

Our mission was to connect young professionals to all that JA encompasses. We did this by building a program within JA that allowed new volunteers

Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography

to observe a veteran volunteer teach a class, creating connections and familiarity with the program and building confidence to step into their own classroom.

Through Leadership Tri-Cities Class 23 we were able to support Rebuilding Mid-Columbia by orchestrating a fundraiser that brought in a high-volume of proceeds to support the organization and community involvement. For example, we built a ramp to create accessibility for a community member’s household. How do you achieve work-life balance?

While this has been a struggle for me in the past, I believe I have learned the ultimate lesson of why a work-life balance is so important. I am able to be a happier and more productive coworker and family member when I take the time to recharge and reset. I now make it a priority to incorporate downtime, whether that is alone or with family and friends, into my schedule. List any awards/honors you have received:

Outstanding Performance Award: For leading the PNNL Asset Management Team through the annual A-123


What’s your dream vacation? Mediterranean cruise where I can experience the finest the countries have to offer.

Favorite sports team, if any. Eastern Eagles Football, Go Eags!

Most disliked food? Any food without spice or flavor.

First thing you check on your phone? I’m trying not to check my work email first thing, so I’ll probably check if I have any Amazon orders coming in that day.




Jennifer J. Lee

Senior Manager Adaptive Biotechnologies

Age: 39

Current city of residence: Richland How long have you worked there? 5 months Briefly describe your company:

Adaptive Biotechnologies is a pioneer in immune-driven medicine that aims to improve people’s lives by learning from the wisdom of their adaptive immune systems. Adaptive’s proprietary immune profiling platform reveals and translates insights from our adaptive immune systems with unprecedented scale and precision.

Working with drug developers, clinicians and academic researchers, we apply these insights to develop products that will transform the way diseases such

Favorite book? “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” by Gabriel García Márquez.

Favorite sports team, if any. Arsenal (English Premier League)

Favorite Tri-City restaurant? I haven’t tried it yet, but I know I’ll love Café Magnolia.

Favorite snack? Mangonada (Editor’s note: Google it. It sounds delicious!)

as cancer, autoimmune conditions and infectious diseases are diagnosed and treated. Education: Please list your degrees and professional certifications.

Bachelor of Science, double major in molecular biophysics and biochemistry and psychology (neuroscience), Yale University, 2004. Ph.D., biochemistry and molecular biophysics, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), 2009. Registered U.S. Patent Agent, 2010.

Briefly describe your job and how you got into it: My role in business development is to create new partnerships and alliances across pharmaceutical, research and clinical applications so that new diagnostics and therapeutics against cancer, infectious disease and autoimmune disorders can be developed and deployed.

As I finished my Ph.D., I realized that I enjoyed enabling scientific research and innovation to a purpose that would allow general public benefit.

This led me to my first job in technology transfer at Caltech, where I protected and spun out technologies from Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to commercialization. I enjoyed being at the intersection of science, law and business.

I moved to the Tri-Cities in 2014 where I was a commercialization manager at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. I handled the research portfolios across all four research directorates and developed new partnerships, companies and licensed technologies that endure today. Since my original background is in biochemistry and I am passionate about eradicating cancer, I recently joined Adaptive Biotechnologies. I am permanently based in Tri-Cities. How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? 8 years

How did you earn your first dollar?

I helped a friend in first grade figure out an addition problem.

Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography

What professional lessons, if any, have you learned during the pandemic? As a mother of two school-age children, I learned the importance of setting clear work-life boundaries.

I am an active parent in my children’s schools and would volunteer regularly. At the same time, I am a driven professional whose role is highly dependent upon developing close relationships with industrial partners. It was difficult to balance online schooling with virtual teleconferences. My family and I communicated our schedules to one another and made sure that we all carved out time for work, school, and having pandemic-safe fun. I communicated the boundaries that I set with my professional partners and they respected me for it, resulting in new professional opportunities that I never would have imagined prior to the pandemic. What was your dream job as a child? I had originally wanted to be a veterinarian, as I am an avid animal lover.

We have a dog, cat and fish. I read every animal nonfiction book that I could find and regularly volunteered to babysit for friends’ pets and would be the first to bring in a permission slip for caring for classroom pets during winter break.

Tell us about your community involvement/community service:

I was on the board of the local synagogue (Temple Beth Sholom in Richland) for many years; most recently through 2021 as the recording secretary. I was a teacher in its religious school since 2015.

I volunteered in my children’s schools (Children’s Garden Montessori, Lewis and Clark Elementary), giving presentations about science, Korean culture and Jewish culture. I served as vice president of the PTA at Lewis and Clark for the 2018-19 school year.

I have been a coach for the Destination Imagination program at Lewis and Clark for the past three years (2019-22). How do you achieve work-life balance?

I have the support of my husband and children.

I don’t have an extended family nearby, but I have developed very close friendships with people who are basically my chosen family. We always prioritize our family, but also communicate with one another when we have important professional or school commitments coming up. Thank goodness for technology. Having

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Kevin Moran

Community Development Officer STCU

Age: 29

Current city of residence: Kennewick How long have you worked there? 3 years and 6 months Briefly describe your company:

STCU is a credit union founded by educators from Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane in 1934. Since then, STCU has grown to more than 850 employees serving more than 249,000 members at 34 locations.

Education: Please list your degrees and professional certifications. Bachelor of Science, business administration with a specialization in marketing management and minor in philosophy, College of Business, Central Washington University.

Briefly describe your job and how you got into it:

My job focuses on engaging within the communities STCU serves by bringing financial education to students and adults and actively representing STCU at community events. I got into this role when I first grew a passion for the credit union world in my first job outside of college.

I wanted to learn how to hone my personal finance skills and what better way to do so than a job that provides you an opportunity to learn current personal finance trends and have an opportunity to connect with Spanish-speaking communities that may find it uncomfortable to speak up about their finances. I am a first generation individual and grew up in a Mexican household with parents working out in the fields around our region. They dreamed of my siblings and me having an opportunity to grow and serve others. This drove my passion even more to serve others through personal finances. How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities?

I was born and raised in Kennewick. I left for college and a few years while I worked in Portland. I’ve been living back in TriCities for three and a half years. How did you earn your first dollar?

I earned my first dollar mowing my family’s neighbor’s lawn. It taught me the purpose of saving for a goal. My goal: Buy an Xbox 360 without my parents’ help.

What professional lessons, if any, have you learned during the pandemic?

A couple lessons I learned from the pandemic were patience and working with ambiguity. My comfort zone pre-pandemic was to spend time with friends in local restaurants. This came to a test during the pandemic when we couldn’t dine in, so I began to have patience, hoping I could enjoy that comfort again.

Ambiguity is something we all deal with from time to time and the pandemic taught me that things can change just as quickly as you get comfortable. What was your dream job as a child? My dream job as a child was to be a cartoonist.

I went through several sketchpads and notepads drawing. It was my hobby as soon as I got done with homework. Whether it was drawing with markers or pencils, I love drawing, just please don’t ask me to do something with watercolors. It’s still a struggle of mine. Tell us about your community involvement/community service:

Outside of the office, I serve as a board member for the Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and volunteer with the Hispanic Academic Achievers Program (HAAP) overseeing the scholarship committee. Supporting my community is a strong passion and supporting the Hispanic chamber and volunteering with its local community events is so much fun. With HAAP, I get the wonderful opportunity to read scholarship applications with my team and decide which students will receive scholarship for their higher education.

This program has been going on for 33 years and continues to recognize some incredible Hispanic students in our community. I’m grateful that I have volunteered with the program for over seven years and am in a position to help schedule meetings for the committee, lay out our schedule and coordinate the scholarship selection process.

How do you achieve work-life balance?

Coordination of a work-life balance feels very tough at times, but I give myself time every morning at 5 a.m. to go to the gym or run with my pups and feel prepared to take on the day.

Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography

Scheduling is one thing I’ve come to learn, and it has been so helpful. Whether it’s my Outlook calendar or personal calendar on my phone, it gives me structure and that’s how I try to have a balance with it all. List any awards/honors you have received: Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber, 2022 Volunteer of the Year. North Clackamas, Oregon, Chamber of Commerce, Business Person of the Year 2016-17. Do you have family? Pets? My lovely girlfriend, Natasha, plus our two pets – Rio, an 8-year-old black lab who understands bilingual commands, and Maya, an 8-year-old pug who is trying to learn Spanish commands but is very stubborn. What brought you to the Tri-Cities? Did you grow up here? I was born and raised in Kennewick. I attended four different elementary schools Amistad, Eastgate, Washington and Edison, and graduated from Kamiakin High School. My family migrated from the beautiful state of Puebla, Mexico, and felt that TriCities was the best place to start a family over 35 years ago. I like to think that they were right.

Favorite book? Movie? Movie: “Good Will Hunting” Book: “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” by Lemony Snicket

Favorite sports team, if any. Favorite music? Mostly soccer...Portland Latin pop FC Timbers, Chivas, Barcelona to name a few.

Favorite Tri-City restaurant? Poutine, Eh? (If you haven’t given it a shot, you are missing out.)

Favorite Favorite snack? thing to do in Tri-Cities? Kettle Brand crinkle cut Himalayan Floating downsalt the potato chips Columbia River




Ashley T. Morris

Deputy Assistant Manager for Business and Financial Operations and Deputy Chief Financial Officer U.S. Department of Energy Age: 39

City of residence: Richland

How long have you worked there? 13 years Briefly describe your company:

The U.S. Department of Energy is responsible for one of the largest nuclear cleanup efforts in the world, managing the legacy of five decades of nuclear weapons production. At its peak, this national weapons complex consisted of 16 major facilities, including vast reservations of land in Idaho, Nevada, South Carolina, Tennessee and Washington. Nowhere in the DOE complex is cleanup more challenging than at the Hanford site. Hanford made more than 20 million pieces of uranium metal fuel for nine nuclear reactors along the Columbia River. Five huge plants in the center of the Hanford site processed 110,000 tons of fuel from the reactors, discharging an estimated 450 billion gallons of liquids to soil disposal sites and 56 million gallons of radioactive waste to 177 large underground tanks. Plutonium production

Favorite music? My go-to is country music.

Favorite thing to do in Tri-Cities? Boating. We love wake surfing. But we also love the hikes and incredible trails for cycling.

Most disliked food? Spaghetti

ended in the late 1980s.

The cleanup began in 1989, when a landmark agreement was reached between DOE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Washington state. Known as the Tri-Party Agreement, the accord established milestones for bringing the Hanford site into compliance with federal and state environmental regulations.

After more than two decades of cleanup, progress has been made at Hanford, reducing the risk the site poses to the health and safety of workers, the public and the environment. Education:

Bachelor of Science, business, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Master’s in management and leadership, Webster University. Briefly describe your job and how you got into it: I serve as deputy assistant manager for Business and Financial Operations and deputy chief financial officer.

I am responsible for the development and implementation of policies, programs and procedures supporting DOE Hanford.

The organization includes the budget, finance, contracts, contractor industrial relations team, federal cost estimating team, audit coordination supporting the DOE Office of Inspector General/ Government Accountability Office audits and oversight of the Hanford Site Workers Compensation Third Party Administration, Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation and Hanford Workforce Engagement Center.

I have been fortunate to have opportunities to be a civil servant across multiple functions within DOE. I have been blessed with the opportunity to garner diverse knowledge and opportunities to engage with stakeholders including the local community and our labor partners. These opportunities, coupled with my education, have provided me a foundation of knowledge that has allowed me the opportunity to serve in my current position helping to lead an incredible team that supports the foundation work of what is done at the Hanford site. How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? 13 years

First thing you check on your phone? Favorite web site Every morning the first or app? think I check is Amazon app Target daily photos, the memories … my family.

How did you earn your first dollar? Well, my first job didn’t actually pay.

Yes, I know, not traditional. My first job with assigned hours and full commitment for me to be there and do my job was being a tour guide at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography

I was the only volunteer employee providing tours to hundreds of people a day representing the U.S. Olympic Committee.

I was 14 years old working alongside college students and mid-career professionals. Other than my work today, this was by far my favorite job and not just because of the cool factor but because I was giving back to everyone who came seeking to understand and see our Olympic center and the athletes. I am thankful and proud of the opportunity I had. What professional lessons, if any, have you learned during the pandemic?

The pandemic was an interesting, dynamic, fluid time for all of us. I would say the most significant thing for me was rooted in something that is incredibly important for me and that is the human aspect – the people.

The pandemic emphasized that each and every one of us has a personal situation and they are all unique and special. The human aspect of work and being there for your teammates to help not only lead them but help them manage both professional and personal commitments, though the uniqueness of the pandemic, was very important for me. The pandemic highlighted a need for my family and for me to be there in a way that we could. This included supporting not only the people I work with but our


My husband and I made it a priority to continue to eat out (although this was order, pick up, and eat at home) at our local small businesses. This commitment to support our local businesses remains a priority for us today. Some of our favorites are Rattlesnake Mountain Brewery (aka Kimo’s), Endive Eatery and Sporthaus. What was your dream job as a child? This is a difficult question to answer.

Honestly though, I can say I didn’t have a dream job. I have enjoyed the opportunity to volunteer early as a child, thanks to my parents, and this clouded what I thought I wanted to do in the future.

Money, power, all those things seem alluring when you’re young, but there was always something underneath that didn’t feel right about all of that. It wasn’t until I was a junior in college that I had the opportunity to shadow the human resources director at Peterson Air Force Base that I realized that giving back and being a civil servant was the place I needed to be. After that opportunity, I was offered an internship and the rest is history. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity both professionally and also personally, because it provided the opportunity to meet my husband, who is a career civil servant as

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Anneke M. Rachinski Director for Resource Development & Planned Giving Columbia Basin College Foundation

Age: 35

Current city of residence: Richland How long have you worked there? 7 years Briefly describe your company:

Columbia Basin College is a federallydesignated Hispanic-Serving Institution that offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs from short term certificates to bachelor’s degrees. As a public community college, we focus on meeting students where they are at, serving workforce development needs and providing economic opportunities for those in our community. Columbia Basin College inspires, educates and supports all students in an environment of academic excellence leading to the completion of degrees, certifications and educational transfers, while fostering meaningful employment, engaged citizenship and a lifelong joy of learning. The Columbia Basin College Foundation is a separate 501(c)(3) that supports the college through fundraising, developing community partnerships and providing over $1 million in scholarships each year. Please list your degrees and professional certifications:

Associate of Arts, Columbia Basin College. Bachelor of Arts, cultural anthropology, Western Washington University. Master of Science, management and leadership, Western Governors University. Lily School of Philanthropy, certificate of fundraising management. Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE), CFRE International. Briefly describe your job and how you got into it:

I work with donors in the community to help them realize their philanthropic goals through current giving or estate planning. This can include raising money to support scholarships, college programs or CBC initiatives.

I attended CBC as a Running Start student. My husband graduated from CBC as well, so the college has always

held a special place for me.

After graduating with my bachelor’s degree, I started out working in community nonprofits including Jewish Family Services and Make-A-Wish Foundation. When my oldest son was born and we moved back to the Tri-Cities, I started working in the development office at Washington State University Tri-Cities. I had an amazing mentor who helped me understand and build a passion for higher education fundraising.

When she left to join CBC, she recruited me to come over. As a CBC alum I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to work for an organization that I believe in. I have held several different roles at CBC, transitioning into a major gifts role right before the pandemic. I feel incredibly lucky to have an amazing team of women that I work with here who I learn from and laugh with every day. How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? 20 years

How did you earn your first dollar?

I earned my first dollar probably babysitting as a kid and went on to have an eclectic mix of jobs in my teens and early 20s before finding my interest in nonprofit fundraising. This included working at a movie theater, a ballet studio, a retirement home and a factory. What professional lessons, if any, have you learned during the pandemic?

One of the biggest professional lessons I learned was the impact of using the forced slowdown to connect on a more personal level with our donors and partners.

As fundraisers, not being able to hold events and meet with people in person was hard, but we used it as an opportunity to connect in other ways. It was amazing to see how much a phone call just to see how people were holding up or a plate of cookies at the holidays meant to our supporters. We were scared that we would lose touch with our donors, but the opposite

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happened. We were able to make connections that we probably wouldn’t have without the pandemic. Another lesson that came out of Covid was rethinking how we support our students. With high percentages of low-income and first-generation students at CBC, we saw the pandemic hit those at the college hard.

What used to be a rare occurrence of someone coming to us with an issue outside of school that was preventing them from being successful became a weekly or even daily thing. It really made us shift our perspective from helping students just through scholarships and book support to looking more holistically at what it takes for someone to be successful on their educational path.

It is really hard to be a good student when you have uncertain housing and are struggling with basic needs.

On a personal level, my biggest lesson was that under no circumstances should I be in charge of home schooling my children. (Thank you, teachers!!) What was your dream job as a child? I was never someone who had super clear career goals as a kid or even as a young adult. My biggest goals uRACHINSKI. Page C12

What’s your dream vacation? My dream vacation is road tripping around to weird roadside attractions or events with my kids. That or the ocean. Favorite book? Movie? Book: “All My Puny Sorrows,” by Miriam Toews. Movie: “Good Will Hunting”

What would people be most surprised to learn about you? I play a mean game of badminton. At least against my kids.

Favorite snack? Easter egg shaped Reese’s



JARAYSI KENNING, From page C7 (financial verification) process. Outstanding Performance Award: For my contribution to a Process Improvement Plan for the creation of an Export Control Program for PNNL.

LEE, From page C8 all our calendars linked really helps. We have a paper calendar in our kitchen too. List any awards/honors you have received: During my time at PNNL, I received the following: • The Laboratory Director’s Institutional

RACHINSKI, From page C11 were to be either a private eye or an archaeologist, but neither of those panned out. Tell us about your community involvement/community service:

I have been involved in the Richland Arts Commission, the United Way Young Leaders Society and Sacajawea PTA. I am a graduate of Class 25 of Leadership Tri-Cities. I also was part of the Powerful Connections Mentor Group and am a current member of Powerful Connections as well.

EVANGELISTA, From page C5 I also volunteer for Columbia Center Rotary, assisting with the creation of the annual installation banquet program and helping with various events. In the fall, we pick leftover apples to donate to Second Harvest.

How do you achieve work-life balance? I am a perfectionist and an overachiever by nature.

Achieving a work-life balance is an ongoing venture for me. I am practicing saying “no” to activities that don’t serve me anymore and trying to dedicate my time to things that fill my cup emotionally. I am working to be more mindful about how much I take on

Do you have family? Pets?


My husband and family are at the forefront of who I am and what I do.

three very spoiled cats that keep life interesting and bring daily laughter into our household.

My husband, Nick, and I have been together for 15 years and have been married for almost nine years. We have

What brought you to the Tri-Cities? Did you grow up here? Coming from Palestine and Lebanon,

Achievement in Management and Operations Award. • Three Federal Laboratory Consortium Awards for Excellence in Technology Transfer. • A Department of Energy Best in Class Award for Innovative Lab/Facility Technology Transfer. • Three Outstanding Performance Awards from PNNL.

Do you have family? Pets?

How do you achieve work-life balance?

I am incredibly lucky to work for an organization that gives flexibility and resources that support work-life balance, even if I am not always great at it.

I definitely do not achieve work-life balance. I think the pandemic has given me a different perspective on how to be better at balancing the two, but I feel like in any given week I can be a really good mom or a really good professional but almost never both at the same time. My kids are in elementary school and it’s just so fun and funny to be around so I try to be present with them when I can to laugh and enjoy this time in their lives. because I love helping and will always be the first person to say, “Yes, how can I help?”

I am trying to be better at making time for myself, even if that means taking a nap or time to listen to my audiobook while I go for a walk. For so long, I tried to be everything for everyone and realized that it is a never-ending battle that I can only lose. List any awards/honors you have received:

The Telly Awards: Silver winner, May 2022; bronze winner May 2019. Mid-Columbia Libraries’ “Inspiring Latinos / Latinos Inspiradores” video series won a silver Telly Award in the Social Video: Diversity & Inclusion

I have a husband and two children, ages 10 and 12. We have a rescue dog (from POPP), a rescue cat (from ASAP West Richland) and a betta fish. What brought you to the Tri-Cities? Did you grow up here? Professionally, the opportunity at PNNL.

List any awards/honors you have received:

WGU Capstone Excellence Award, 2017. Presidential Physical Fitness Award, 1995. Do you have family? Pets?

I live with my husband Travis, 40, and our two kids, Emerson, 10, and Nova, category for excellence in filmmaking in 2022 and a bronze in the Social Video: Culture & Lifestyle category in May 2019. The awards showcase the best work created within television and across video, for all screens. Receiving over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and five continents, Telly Award winners represent work from some of the most respected advertising agencies, television stations, production companies and publishers from around the world.

Jones Soda Artist Trust 2020 winner, May 2020. We recently partnered with Artist Trust to help bring relief to local artists in Washington State. In April, we donated for every artwork photo submitted. Now when you buy this 12-pack, a portion also will go toward Artist Trust’s Covid-19

my family was living in Kuwait when the Gulf War began in 1990. We moved to America and my father being a civil engineer started a new position with the Washington Department of Ecology in 1991. We’ve been in the Tri-Cities ever since.

Personally, I was excited to move here for the excellent schools and the potential to be a successful working mother due to the balance that being in a small, yet growing community could provide. I moved from Los Angeles, where the thought of sitting in hours of traffic while trying to juggle my work and children’s activities was mind-boggling.

7, as well as our pandemic dog Dipper (age unknown). We also live a couple blocks from my mom who is a huge part of our lives and is always there to help with the kids or make me laugh. What brought you to the Tri-Cities? Did you grow up here? I moved to the Tri-Cities in elementary school, then left for about eight years, living in Las Vegas where I met my husband, and then Denver. After our oldest was born, we decided to move back to raise our family here. relief efforts. Help us help local artists during this time of need. Seattle Refined’s Artist of the Week, April 2020.

Best Creative Marketing, January 2016. Davin Diaz, Elissa Burnley, Annie Warren and I were honored by the West Richland Chamber of Commerce for Best Creative Marketing in 2017. The awards recognize the work of outstanding members who are leaders in their fields. Do you have family? Pets?

I live with my partner and two rescue cats, Purrito and Serrano.

What brought you to the Tri-Cities? Did you grow up here? I am a proud Tri-Cities native.

Congratulations to all the 2022 Young Professional nominees and winners! Thank you to all our sponsors!




Karisa M. Saywers Director of Marketing Visit Tri-Cities

Age: 38


How long have you worked there? 8 years

How did you earn your first dollar?

Current city of residence: Kennewick

Briefly describe your company:

Visit Tri-Cities is the destination marketing organization for the Tri-Cities, defined as Benton and Franklin counties. Our job is to attract visitors to the area, creating economic development within our community and making the Tri-Cities a great place to live, work and play. Vision: Inspire wanderlust for a bold yet casual, geeky but cool, magical experience in wide-open spaces. Mission: We make the Tri-Cities bigger, bolder, brighter, better and cooler through tourism. Education: Please list your degrees and professional certifications. Bachelor of Arts, communications, Washington State University. Go Cougs!

Briefly describe your job and how you got into it:

As the director of marketing for Visit TriCities, I oversee a team of three and am responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating external communications programs and marketing campaigns to promote the Tri-Cities as a destination for meetings and conferences, sports events and leisure travel. I oversee the media outreach program, including the development and implementation of media strategies that target travel and lifestyle writers/ publications, local and regional media outlets.

In short, I have the pleasure of creating and executing compelling marketing campaigns and programs to attract visitors to the area while supporting local tourismrelated businesses through visitor spending. In 2021, visitor spending exceeded $481 million and generated $51 million in state and local taxes. Prior to joining Visit Tri-Cities, I worked as a marketing coordinator for a familyowned and -operated winery in Prosser. The winery was a member of Visit Tri-Cities and participated in programs including the annual meeting. I attended the 2013 meeting and learned Visit Tri-Cities would be hiring a marketing manager the following year.

It was my goal to secure that position and I did. In 2018, I was promoted to the director job and have continued to grow with the

How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? 18 years

My first money-making endeavor was a lemonade stand with my brother when we were 6 or 7. We couldn’t have made more than $10, but I do remember discussing our big plans to spend our money on a new Big Wheels or something along those lines. What professional lessons, if any, have you learned during the pandemic?

People (the workforce) are adaptable and resilient. From adjusting to new working environments and embracing technology to learning new skill sets and working outside of the scope of job descriptions, organizations and their employees found creative ways to adapt, maintain or even thrive. What was your dream job as a child?

There were a variety of careers that I admired but the most prevalent dream was to be a veterinarian.

I love animals and loved the idea of helping animals. However, once I was a little older, I learned that while veterinarians could save lives, there is also a component of being unable to rescue someone’s beloved pet or executing endof-life plans. I knew I didn’t have the fortitude to become a veterinarian, and I admire everyone in that profession for that very reason. Tell us about your community involvement/community service:

The mission of Visit Tri-Cities is to drive tourism to our destination and one of the ways we do that is by supporting community assets and organizations. My role at Visit Tri-Cities provides me the opportunity to support local organizations/ events in a variety of ways, whether it is providing a media list and/or a media introduction for a charity or strategies to increase recognition and attendance.

Throughout my tenure at Visit Tri-Cities, I have also volunteered my time to support amazing tourism-related events like Cool Desert Nights, the Tri-Cities Geocoin Challenge, River of Fire Festival and most recently Tri-Cities Cancer Center’s Dine Out event. How do you achieve work-life balance? I manage work-life balance some days

Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography

better than others.

I am not a morning person, ask anyone, but I could work well into the evening if it wasn’t for other commitments. Luckily, the very nature of my job is to share all the wonderful assets of the Tri-Cities, so it is easy to mix work and leisure time when needed. I try to reserve my lunch hour for a midday recharge, which might include lunch with friends and/or co-workers or walking my dog. Being in the tourism industry, I am a huge advocate of planning getaways or vacations as a way to recharge. List any awards/honors you have received:

Visit Tri-Cities was honored with a Best Idea Program Outstanding Achievement Award by the Destination Marketing Association of the West (DMA West) in 2021. Visit Tri-Cities was recognized for its Pandemic Response Campaign that took place from September 2020 through July 2021. I was responsible for the campaign and developed, created and deployed 38 highquality public service announcements to amplify messaging from local leadership and the Benton-Franklin Health District, as well as created unique messaging to mitigate the adverse economic and public health impacts of Covid-19 as well as

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Favorite book? Anything written by my friend and local author, Alexis Bass.

Favorite thing to do in Tri-Cities? Paddleboarding

Favorite Tri-City restaurant? Soi 705

First thing you check on your phone? Weather




Cynethia E. Sims Waste Treatment Plant Controller Bechtel National Inc.

Age: 39

Current city of residence: Pasco

How long have you worked there? 15 years Briefly describe your company:

Bechtel is an engineering, project management and construction company that helps its customers deliver projects of purpose that create a lasting positive legacy.

These are projects that create jobs and grow economies, improve the resiliency of the world’s infrastructure, connect communities to resources and opportunity, get us closer to net zero, protect U.S. and allied interests, tackle critical environmental challenges to protect people and the planet and accelerate progress to make the world a cleaner, greener and safer place. Since 1898, we have helped customers complete more than 25,000 projects in 160 countries on all seven continents. Education: Please list your degrees and professional certifications. Master of Business Administration, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

Favorite movie? “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” (1971 original version)

Favorite thing to do in Tri-Cities? Walking the trails and parks.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you? I was a contestant on “The Price is Right” and “The Steve Harvey Show,” all in the same week.

Most disliked food? Boiled brussels sprouts

Bachelor of Science, accounting and finance, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

Briefly describe your job and how you got into it: I have been an accounting and finance professional for over 13 years. Most of my experience has been within Bechtel in its government sector, which includes nuclear, security and environmental.

I have progressed from learning and performing the basic accounting functions in the Oak Ridge Controller office to understanding how core financial functions impact the large construction project operations and managing teams to perform various accounting functions.

My current role is at the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant (WTP), where I am the controller operations manager. I lead a team of about 10 project accountants. My father, an accounting manager, and my mother, an administrative assistant, both worked at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for over 30 years. They always made sure I participated in “Take Your Kids to Work Day.” I remember my father sharing that the finance department keeps track of the money to ensure projects can be completed. I remember thinking that was a very interesting way to contribute to major projects that can change the world. In high school, I took accounting as an elective. I excelled, which led me to complete a double major in accounting and finance at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.

Bechtel was my first job after graduate school. I have been able to explore several different roles within accounting, ethics and compliance, and project controls functions. Being the controller at WTP was my first opportunity to be a manager and learn how accounting supports a first-of-its-kind project that will advance DOE’s cleanup mission at Hanford. How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? 3.5 years

How did you earn your first dollar?

My dad began teaching my brother and me about money when I was in the first grade. By the fourth or fifth grade, we had chore charts and academic goals as ways we could earn money. This taught me a lot about goal setting and financial management early in life. My first job was a summer internship for eighth-grade students at the University of

Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography


The program paid students a stipend to learn about various educational departments to support their summer initiatives. I supported the UT Gardens, which was used to teach both the community and college students about horticulture, ecosystems etc. I have my parents and community to thank for ensuring that I was aware of and engaged in many community programs that enriched my educational and personal life experiences. What professional lessons, if any, have you learned during the pandemic?

I became controller in January 2020. As a new manager during the pandemic, a few of the professional lessons I learned are: We are stronger together. During the pandemic, the WTP team pivoted to a new environment, sending a majority of the workforce home and identifying critical workforce and developing plans to be safe as well as maintain a nuclear site. The leadership consistently reminded us that no matter what the circumstance, we are in this together and we are stronger together.

They reinforced that we may have differences of opinion, but we can all agree that we want to be safe, we want to be alive, we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers when it comes to performing WTP work, and we will lead through this crisis together.

What was your dream job as a child? I wanted to be a singer.

I have been singing with my dad in church for several years. We even tried out for a gospel singing contest “Sunday’s Best.” I still sing quite a bit with my dad at church events, weddings etc. So even though it’s not my job, it is still a big part of my life. Tell us about your community involvement/community service:

• Women@Bechtel Employee Resource Group: The Women@Bechtel group has a vision to make Bechtel the employer of choice for women. We help supply, sustain and develop the female pipeline by empowering women to join, stay and thrive at Bechtel. Taking this mission to heart, as chapter president, I led a team that completed the following activities:

 IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Summit hosted by PNNL. The summit included interactive sessions and panels around topics of inclusion, work/life balance, building confidence, mentorship and more.

 Girl Day (introduce a girl to engineering) hosted at Richland Public Library. About 105 students participated in a half-dozen STEM activities held in conjunction with Engineers Week. Volunteers from the WTP NexGen group, the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Women uSIMS, Page C15

YOUNG PROFESSIONALS SAYWERS, From page C13 vaccine information. The public service

announcements were developed in English and Spanish and distributed throughout

the Tri-Cities region. Visit Tri-Cities was MORRIS, From page C10 well (now retired).

Tell us about your community involvement/community service:

I feel very connected to the community through my work as a civil servant supporting DOE and the Hanford mission.

I have been a career civil servant for the last 18 years, first supporting the Air Force in Colorado. Throughout the years, I have had opportunities to engage with the community through my career as a senior advisor supporting HAMMER, working with our labor partners both HAMTC and the building and construction trades, and a graduate of the Fire Ops 101 course where I had the humbling experience of understanding what our incredible firefighters do and what they need to be most effective to do their jobs. The bottom line for me as a professional is giving back to my community and the nation by being a career civil servant has SIMS, From page C14 Engineers and other local companies participated.

 Kennewick Boys & Girls Club Mobile STEM & Lego Robotics Programs. Worked with our WTP leadership and the Boys & Girls Club team to establish a volunteer program to support the launch of two new Bechtel after-school programs (Mobile STEM & First Lego League) at the Kennewick Boys and Girls club during the 2019-20 school year. • Member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. since 2006 and joined the Psi Nu Omega graduate chapter in 2019. This sorority is the first intercollegiate historically African American sorority with a mission to cultivate and encourage high scholastic and ethical standards, promote unity and friendship among college women, to study and help alleviate problems concerning girls and women to improve their social stature, to maintain a progressive interest in college life and to be of “Service to All Mankind.” • The local Junior Achievement organization. I served as WTP’s executive ambassador to the local Junior Achievement organization with a focus on championing and advocating for Bechtel’s involvement in recruiting and retaining employee classroom volunteers and mentoring JA event coordinators for events such as the annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake. How do you achieve work-life balance?

During the pandemic, I took time to think about work-life balance. Prior to that, I really did let work be my life. Now, I focus on my life’s work. By this I mean that it’s all a part of life. What impact do I want to make with the time I have whether that be at work, home, in the community or with family and friends etc.?


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the Tri-Cities. Then I have family spread throughout the West Coast.

I have wonderful parents and siblings, and, fortunately for me, they all live in


Do you have family? Pets?

Diesel is my chow/lab mix who has been my canine sidekick for the last 14 years. What brought you to the Tri-Cities? Did you grow up here?

My family moved to the Tri-Cities when I was in seventh grade. I didn’t think I would make it my home after I graduated from WSU. However, I found my way back and made a career out of living in and enjoying the Tri-Cities.

been a choice and a lifestyle that I wouldn’t change.

have a daughter, five stepchildren and three grandchildren.

and another coming up. It’s a proud mom moment.

These activities are allowing us new opportunities to engage with the community and we as a family are looking forward to what this will bring.

List any awards/honors you have received:

What brought you to the Tri-Cities? Did you grow up here?

On a personal side, as my daughter gets older (she’s now 15) our community engagements are also changing. She has become an avid climber, cyclist and is now doing triathlons.

How do you achieve work-life balance? I really appreciate this question.

If you asked anyone that I work with, what is important to me outside of work, they would say my family.

Being there for your family is No. 1 for me and is intimately tied with the human aspect I mentioned earlier. In every new job that I have taken, I have made it a priority up front to have a discussion with my supervisor about the importance of being there for my family. I It made me shift to a better understanding how I can better be present everywhere I am (work or home) and seek to engage at a level that is impactful in a balanced way that doesn’t create burnout.

Practically, that looks like not taking every single extra work assignment, acknowledging that I am only one person, not keeping my calendar so overbooked, looking for what opportunities to serve align with my goals for the year and being OK with saying “no.”

Yesterday, today and tomorrow will only happen once. I can’t have them back or a do-over. I feel blessed to have realized this early in my career. The early, honest conversations have afforded me the chance to be there for my family every step of the way.

I don’t have a list to include here. But upon reflection on answering this question, I am proud to say this... Choosing to be a civil servant is a choice that I am proud of and being a civil servant is better than any award/honor that I could ask for. Do you have family? Pets?

Yes. I am a proud mother of my daughter and a part of my stepchildren’s and grandchildren’s lives.

During the pandemic, we added a sweet blue merle cockapoo, Bennett, to our family. Earlier this year, we added a second cockapoo, Jake. They are so fun, and we enjoy taking them on hikes to Badger Mountain, Candy, Tapteal, Chamna and the local dog park.

I had a previous boss who I worked with in Colorado working as a civil servant for the Air Force who moved to the Tri-Cities to work for DOE. He was incredible positive and excited about the community and the work we do, and I fortunately had the opportunity to move here and work supporting DOE, our mission and be part of this community.

This year, my daughter completed a century bike ride, and recently a triathlon

I wouldn’t change it. In fact, my parents and my uncle have also relocated to the Tri-Cities.

I remember thinking, “It will be amazing to actually be able to see nuclear waste turned into glass, and then safely stored!”

at many projects or home offices that allowed me to live on the East Coast, but I had never lived in the Pacific Northwest.

I also desired to experience a new place outside of the East Coast. I have been

It was a new experience all the way around.

I’m also a big advocate for utilizing counseling as part of your “village” to help process life changes, situations/problems with yourself/others, trauma, societal impacts etc. We all carry and experience situations that have an impact on our mental health. We should feel comfortable in talking to an educated professional to help us understand purpose, process feelings and emerge in a better mental state. List any awards/honors you have received:

Featured on various panels, employee spotlights, leadership awards within Bechtel.

Members of :

Do you have family? Pets?

I am not married yet (dating) and do not have any kids (also yet). However, my mom and dad who live in Tennessee, a brother and sister-in-law who live in Peoria, Illinois, and have two kids, and a village of people who have supported me wherever I go. I always say, “It takes a village.” This family is at the core of every success I’ve ever had, and every dream I have realized. What brought you to the Tri-Cities? Did you grow up here?

What brought me to the Tri-Cities was the opportunity to be a part of a first-of-akind environmental cleanup project with a significant mission.

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