Young Professionals - September 2020

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Young Professionals

10 Young Professionals honored in 13th annual contest By Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

Ten diverse and passionate leaders have been selected as the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business’ top Young Professionals for 2020 for their professional and civic accomplishments. These business and community leaders – all under the age of 40 – stand out in their career, company or industry. All clearly love our Tri-City community as they have rolled up their sleeves in a variety of ways to make it a better place. We received a record number of outstanding applications this year. Our panel of judges, which included a retired Pacific Northwest National Laboratory executive, two former Young Professionals winners, a nonprofit executive, and the dean of business at Columbia Basin College, said they were impressed with the slate of candidates. “It’s comforting to see that the community will be in good hands with the next generation. Nice diversity across several dimensions, too. That wouldn’t have happened when I was a young professional; the world is starting to come around finally,” one judge observed. Applicants were nominated or selfnominated. Reviewers ranked them in several categories and then the points were tallied. Since 2008, we’ve been evaluating applications from the community’s brightest young leaders. To date, we’ve honored 112, including this year’s group. Contest judges looked for leaders who

went the extra mile outside their workplace in community service, charity work, leadership or community involvement. One of this year’s winners, architect Flavien Sawadogo, received two separate nominations. One of his bosses, Doug Mitchell, said Sawadogo represents MMEC Architects and Interiors in an outstanding, professional way and approaches community involvement with determined dedication. The president of Modern Living Services, Ray Geimer, agreed, writing that Sawadogo took on one of the nonprofit’s projects on a pro bono basis. MLS builds housing for adults with special needs. “Flavien spent many hours working with the city to come to consensus on what the requirements would be. Not only did he design the home, he put together a plan for a full development of five homes on the 1.7-acre property. … We couldn’t have done it without Flavien,” Geimer wrote in his nomination letter. Winner Justin Toner of Basin Pacific Insurance and Benefits received high praise from Brian Ace, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin counties, who wrote in his recommendation letter that Toner was a tireless community advocate: “Justin has a great awareness of the needs of the Tri-Cities community, being a lifelong resident. He listens to the needs present in our community, files them away, and later advocates when he connects with a person that is unaware but interested in that work. People listen

to Justin, and trust his perspective on what is healthy and good. This gives him an important role in our community as a connector of those motivated to do great work!” Several people wrote in to praise Cinthia Alvarez Lucatero, Columbia Basin College’s outreach/academic advisor for the High School Equivalency Program, and her efforts to improve the lives of others. Mike Chavez credited Alvarez Lucatero in a letter of recommendation for encouraging his completion of a master’s degree. “She believed in me enough to plant the seed that these things are obtainable to a Latinx like myself,” Chavez wrote, also saying, that “she helped me become a leader, and to my understanding, this is how you measure success.” Rest assured the applications from each of the winners were just as impressive. It’s never easy to choose which young leaders to celebrate because we always have many highly qualified candidates. We encourage those who weren’t selected this year to apply again next year. There’s an online application form at tcjournal. biz. To those we singled out in this issue and to all those chosen in years past, we’d like to give you a tip of the hat. 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.

Young Professionals



Cinthia Alvarez Lucatero High School Equivalency Program Outreach Specialist Columbia Basin College

Age and current hometown: 29, Pasco Briefly describe your organization: The High School Equivalency Program at Columbia Basin College serves lowincome migrant seasonal farmworkers. We help this vulnerable population obtain their GED diploma, continue with higher education, sign up for English classes and refer them to other needed programs. How long have you worked at CBC? Five years.

Education: Associate degree, Columbia Basin College; bachelor of arts in comparative ethnic studies and bachelor of arts in women’s studies, Washington State University, Pullman campus; currently working on my master’s at WSU Tri-Cities. Family? Pets? I have the most supportive, amazing family, my mother Cilvia Lucatero, my father Hector Rene Alvarez Ramos “El Grande,” my two brothers, Jesus and Hector, my baby niece Avyan, and my wonderful life partner Ricardo and my friends who I consider family.

They are the reason why I am good at my job because they have always backed up my radical ideas and stand by me at all times. I also have three awesome little dogs that keep me on my toes — Luna, Sol and Cielo!

What brought you to the Tri-Cities? We moved to the area when I was 11 years old. My mother was born in the United States but when she was little her family moved to Mexico. I was born in Colima, Mexico. When my father became ill in Mexico, we moved to the States to find him help. I feel like I was able to adapt to the community quickly and the Tri-City area became my forever home. How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? 18 years.

Dream vacation: Anywhere with a beach! I had a trip planned to Greece this summer but because of Covid it didn’t happen so I will say Greece. Favorite book? Movie? Favorite book: “This Bridge Called

My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color,” 2015, by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa. Favorite movie: “Forrest Gump.” What would people be surprised to learn about you? I love snakes.

Describe your job and how you got into it: My job is to reach out to the migrant community in the Tri-Cities area and provide assistance as an education advocate. I also assist with academic advising.

Depending on the need of the people I meet, I will refer them or advise them in the right direction. I also work very closely with all other migrant programs in the area to provide opportunities for the community. One thing I strive to do is to keep our migrant community informed by providing information about what’s going on in the community in Spanish or in a way they will understand.

I also feel like I can be that bridge for them at CBC. People know to call me so I can refer them to other programs. Toughest career decision? Just recently I was offered an amazing job opportunity at Washington State University in Pullman, which I decided to turn down because I know how much my community needs me here in the Tri-Cities. I know I am making a difference here, and I am establishing my leadership with the goal to protect and assist people of color.

How did you earn your first dollar? I grew up in a little town in Colima, Mexico. We lived in very poor conditions. At the time my mother and father had a taco stand outside our house. I remember always trying to help my mom as much as I could, cooking, cleaning and serving. I was 6 years old at the time. How do you achieve work-life balance? I am actually really good at this. Thankfully a lot of my really close friends work doing the same type of

Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography

work that I do, so I get to spend a lot of time with them at work functions. I think my work is really fun and sometimes I don’t look at it as work. I look at it as just helping people who need me to listen to their needs or concerns and be their voice where they are not heard. To me that’s not work, that’s just being a human being. Now when I really do need to take some “me” time, I love to travel. I have traveled to many amazing places and will continue with my adventures when the quarantine is over.

Community involvement and service: I am involved in a lot of different organizations in the community, as well as different committees within Columbia Basin College. My involvement always has been driven by social justice and to protect and inform vulnerable populations in our area.

I am the co-chair of the Tri-Cities Latino Community Network, a member of the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee at CBC, and just recently became a member of the Tri-Cities Immigrant Coalition. I also have been a member of Tri-Cities LULAC and other organizations that serve the Latinx community.

Planner or procrastinator: Planner!!!

Favorite music? Latin pop

Favorite sports team? El America! (my dad will love this)

Favorite thing to do in Tri-Cities?

Floating down the Columbia River



Young Professionals

Brian Campbell General Manager Campbell & Company

Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography

Age and current hometown: 34, Pasco

Briefly describe your company: Campbell & Company is driven to build lifelong relationships and raving fans with our team and our customers. We maintain, repair and replace HVAC, electrical, plumbing and sewer systems at your home or business.

How long have you worked there? I started pulling weeds and sweeping the dock at age 12. Full time for 6 ½ years. Education: Bachelor’s in business administration with concentrations in marketing and finance, Carroll College; master’s in business administration, Boise State University.

Family? Pets? No pets but lots of family. My wife and I are expecting our third son in November. We have a total of 10 siblings and over 55 cousins between our two families. Did you grow up here? I was born and raised here in the TriCities. I’ve always loved the people, community and weather. The older I get the more my appreciation for those things grow, along with the local economy. We are all very fortunate to live in such wonderful place. Dream vacation? Somewhere warm with a beach, cold drinks and my family.

Planner or procrastinator? Big-picture planner, definitely not details though. What would people be most surprised to learn about you? I attended math competitions in middle school. Also, our high school chess team won districts all four years, and we competed at the state tournament two of those years.

Describe your job and how you got into it: I get the opportunity to work with some of the hardest-working, driven, quality-oriented people I know.

We foster a culture of putting each other first and always taking care of our customers, the RIGHT way. We communicate our successes and learn from our mistakes. It truly is an honor to have the opportunity to work within this team that is committed to be a worldclass organization and provide our customers with 5-star service. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve enjoyed working and building things with my hands.

I always looked forward to returning to Campbell & Company during the summer breaks from school to work with the guys. After studying marketing and finance in college and then finishing my MBA, I wanted to have a career somewhere that was in alignment with my moral compass and in a field that could never be replaced by technology or... MAYBE I was looking for reasons to return to one of the greatest organizations around. I am just thankful my head and heart were in agreement!

Toughest career decision? A few years ago, we decided to define the core values of our organization and then hire, fire, review and reward based on them. It has been one of the toughest transitions in my life.

At the same time, seeing the team that has been developed through leading and managing with purpose and principles has been one of the most rewarding experiences. During the initial surge of Covid, our annual employee engagement survey had 100% participation and had an engagement score of 85% (21 percent points higher than the U.S. average)!

This makes me think of a Theodore Roosevelt quote: “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being

who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” How did you earn your first dollar? Starting around age 12, I spent my summer and winter breaks at the Campbell & Company office pulling weeds, sweeping the dock and washing trucks. I am fortunate to have learned to enjoy working and the value of a dollar at a young age. How do you achieve work-life balance? First of all, having a balanced work life is not possible. Do you know anyone who has life and work thrown at them proportionally every day/week/year? If you have, I’d like to meet that person. Life is a balancing act and it takes constant focus to keep all our responsibilities prioritized and in alignment. Secondly, I believe you are only as successful as the closest 10 people around you.

I am extremely fortunate to be married to an absolutely amazing woman, surrounded by a strong family, and work within a healthy team at work. It’s amazing how much easier this balancing act gets when everyone around you has common values and goals in life. Community involvement and service?

help raise over $16,500 to buy gift cards from local restaurants. We then donated the gift cards to a local nonprofit, Communities in Schools, which distributed them to the underserved in our community. Donations: We’ve donated $60,000 in plumbing and sewer work for an expansion at Tri-Cities Prep. Outside:

I currently sit on Tri-City Prep’s Foundation board.

Favorite movie?

“The Count of Monte Cristo” (2002, starring Jim Caviezel)

Favorite music?

A little of everything but mostly country

Favorite sports team? Seahawks

At Campbell & Company:

Pay it Forward program: We donate $30,000 in HVAC, plumbing, electrical and sewer services annually to local people or organizations in need. This community has been amazing to us over the years and this is one way we say thank you.

Community Strong: At the beginning of Covid, our employees rallied together to

Favorite thing to do in Tri-Cities?

Boating and golfing

Young Professionals



Elizabeth McLaughlin Executive Director Tri-Cities Cancer Center Foundation

Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography

Age and current hometown: 39, Kennewick

Briefly describe your organization: The foundation is the fundraising and community relations arm of our worldclass Tri-Cities Cancer Center. We connect with donors and volunteers to help fund a variety of projects that the community needs to help prevent, detect and fight cancer. We host events, campaigns and connect with individuals to make sure that investments are available to make an impact in cancer care. How long have you worked at the foundation? 12 years

Education: Bachelor of arts in government from Eastern Washington University. I also hold a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential. Family? Pets? I have a wonderful mom and dad, who let me smooch and love on their pets anytime I want. My dad is a retired superior court reporter for Benton and Franklin counties, and my mom is a health care financial whiz who has worked for many local practices and works for NW Spinal Rehab.

The pets I love and adore are an orange cat named Frankenstein and a black lab named Molly, who I call Birdie because I always give nicknames, and the most precious Scottie dog named Archie (Arch-money, Archer, Buddy).

I also have amazing friends, including my very best friend Sarah (Grandma Sarah, GS, G) who I have been friends with since we were 9. She is like a sister to me!! What brought you to the Tri-Cities? My dad got a job as the court reporter for Judge Duane Taber in 1985 and we moved here from Oregon. I went to Badger Mountain Elementary, Carmichael Junior High and Richland High School.

Dream vacation? Christmas Markets Cruise

Favorite book? Movie? Favorite Book: “First Women,” by Kate Andersen Brower. Favorite Movie: “Troop Beverly Hills.”

Favorite thing to do in the Tri-Cities? Floating in the pool with a great cocktail in the most beautiful climate on earth! What would surprise people about you? I am an only child!! (Maybe they wouldn’t be surprised!)

Describe your job and how you got it: After college, I was looking for a position that would allow me to move back to the Tri-Cities and use the event planning skills I had developed while serving in various positions in my sorority and our EWU Panhellenic chapter and found a position with a national nonprofit.

After three years of traveling and what I now realize was my own “fundraising boot camp,” I looked for a local position and found a home at the Tri-Cities Cancer Center Foundation. My childhood best friend died at 17 of leukemia, which marked my whole experience with cancer.

I have been lucky, until about six months ago, no one in my immediate family had any experience with cancer. I now realize I was part of a very small group, and in reality, my time was coming. As I became more comfortable in the fundraising realm, I really found that I grew to love it. There are so many misconceptions about what fundraising is. I’ve heard it all. . . “Watch your wallet, Liz is in the room,” “It would be great if you could double what you raised last year,” and, from some of the less informed, we’ve been called “professional beggars.”

But through investments in my continuing education, my certification and most importantly, my connection with our patients and incredible medical professionals, I have embraced the truth behind fundraising. It is a noble profession, and I am blessed to do it each and every day.

My résumé says, “Experienced Development Professional with a demonstrated history of working in health care philanthropy. Skilled in Event Management, Planned Giving, Nonprofit Organizations, Community Engagement, Relationship Development, and Volunteer Management,” but in reality, I get to connect people with amazing opportunities to make real change in our community. It’s a pretty awesome gig.

Toughest career decision? This is a tough and easy question to answer, which I know sounds odd. Prior to March 2020, I probably would have said something to do with board development or staffing changes. But honestly, this Covid ride has been one for the books.

When you are an organization working in a community that has such a demonstrated history of supporting major events, then you are faced with a pandemic that literally changes almost every way you do business, you have to be responsible for decisions that change sometimes by the minute.

Canceling tried and true events to embark on unknown virtual fundraisers has probably been one of the toughest sells/decisions I have had to make. And on the reverse of that, keeping my team enthused, excited and optimistic about these challenging times was at the forefront of this decision. Uncertainty can kill a workplace or inspire the heck out of innovation. I am blessed. I have a very committed

and creative team. Time will tell if these decisions to keep going forward in a new way will be successful, but we have certainly created some exciting new plans! How did you earn your first dollar? First real paycheck dollar? In ninth grade we had to write résumés and I wrote mine with the idea that I would try and get a job at a summer camp in the Wenatchee National Forest that I had uMCLAUGHLIN, Page B11

Planner or procrastinator? Procrastinator

Favorite music?

’90s Rap and R&B or Yacht Rock

Favorite sports team?

Los Angeles Ramssssssssssssssssssssss

Favorite web site or app? Target app



Young Professionals

Neilan McPartland Assistant Vice President Numerica Credit Union

Age and current hometown: 40, Prosser Briefly describe your company: My company is Numerica Credit Union, a trusted community resource for banking solutions. We serve a diverse membership throughout eastern Washington and northern Idaho. We live our mission of enhancing lives, fulfilling dreams and building communities every day. How long have you worked at Numerica? 7 ½ years

Education: Bachelor’s degree in social sciences, Washington State University; Western CUNA Management School through Pomona College.

Family? Pets? I have a beautiful wife of 11 years, Katie McPartland. Together we have four children ages 2 to 8. Right now I have about 20 animals. They range from the standard cat and dog combo to beef cattle, sheep, pigs, etc. How long have you lived in the Mid-Columbia? 12 years

Did you grow up here? I did not grow up in the Tri-Cities. I came here after I finished school at Washington State University (Go Cougs!). I began my post-university career working for Enterprise Holdings in Kennewick. I left briefly, but we returned to the area to raise our family.

Dream vacation? I really want to go to Curaçao. I intended to go last April, but Covid happened. Planner or procrastinator? I’m a little bit of both.

Favorite book? Movie? My favorite book is “The Count of Monte Cristo” and my favorite movie is “The Thomas Crown Affair.” What is your favorite thing to do in the Tri-Cities? My favorite thing to do in the Tri-Cities

is have wine on any of the winery patios on a nice day. What would people be most surprised to learn about you? The thing that most people might be surprised to learn about me is that I played violin in the WSU orchestra and had a violin scholarship to WSU.

Describe your job and how you got into it: In my current role, I lead several teams of banking professionals who specialize in retail services. The retail side of banking is the side the community members really experience in their day-to-day lives. We service the bank account side of things from savings accounts for the kiddos, to our business member checking accounts and everything in between. We also deal in the loans our members rely on to live and have fun: cars, boats, RVs, credit cards, etc.

I got into banking several years ago, mainly by accident. I was applying for a variety of jobs I thought I might be good at. What I discovered is that this industry, and particularly Numerica Credit Union, gave me an avenue to impact people’s lives, serve in the community and grow professionally. Toughest career decision? The toughest decisions in my career have been to leave teams that I built and helped to develop. It is never easy to leave a group that you’ve put so much effort into, but there are always other groups that could use a hand up and I think my skill set lends itself to being that helping hand. I have made this choice several times throughout my career. How did you earn your first dollar? I grew up learning how to work on a family farm in the small community of Warden, Washington. I’m not sure if I was ever paid a whole dollar, but I

Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography

probably earned enough dimes to equal one by pulling weeds, changing water and working a shovel. How do you achieve work-life balance? In my opinion “work-life balance” is this mythical thing nobody ever really achieves.

What we’re really talking about is how do I keep the people who are important in my life happy and satisfied with my level of involvement in their life. I think it starts by being honest with yourself about your priorities, sharing those priorities with people you love, asking about their priorities and then being willing to compromise. I think when these steps are followed, we get something called “work-life understanding.”

Community involvement and service: I really enjoy being active in the community. I have been involved with the Chalk Art Festival in Richland, the Children’s Developmental Center of Tri-Cities, Christ the King School, and Junior Achievement. I am also a graduate of Leadership Tri-Cities.

Favorite music?

I am a big fan of reggae music

Favorite sports team? I cheer for the Cougs, particularly football

Favorite website or app? Dave Ramsey, popular financial advisor

Young Professionals



Francisco Mendoza Civil Engineer-in-Training Meier Architecture Engineering

Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography

Age and current hometown: 25, Richland

Briefly describe your company: Meier Architecture Engineering specializes in providing design and drafting services to clients locally and nationally. Our range of expertise includes architecture, civil, mechanical, structural and electrical projects.

How long have you worked for Meier? 3+ years Education: Bachelor of science, civil engineering, Washington State University, 2017.

Favorite sports team: Seahawks and Cougars (Go Cougs!)

Favorite thing to do in the Tri-Cities? Visit local wineries and breweries and paddleboard on the river.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you? Spanish was my first language. Describe your job and how you got into it: I work primarily within a civil group (managers, engineers, designers and drafters) to produce construction plans.

Family? Pets? I have a large immediate family. I have six brothers and four sisters, and I am the second oldest of my siblings. I love dogs, and I am looking forward to having a dog of my own soon.

Additionally, I frequently engage with clients, contractors and public agencies to complete site development designs. These designs have been incorporated in residential, commercial, educational, medical, and industrial land development and improvement projects.

Favorite music? Hip hop

Toughest career decision? I had a career opportunity to be a field engineer for a large construction firm in Los Angeles. I decided to stay local and join a design office so that I can gain

Did you grow up here? I was born in Kennewick. I lived in the outskirts of Tri-Cities for a few years and then lived in Pasco and Richland up until today. Family is one of the biggest reasons to stay local. I have a large extended family that lives throughout the Tri-Cities and surrounding area.

I decided to get into this profession because I have always been interested in the design and construction of infrastructure.

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experience toward professional licensure. How did you earn your first dollar? I earned my first dollar through hard manual labor during the summertime. I worked for my neighbor who was seeking help picking weeds and digging holes for an irrigation system. How do you achieve work-life balance? I strive to complete my work to the best of my ability and make sure my team has everything they need to meet deadlines. Once I leave work, I try to occupy my life in staying active through weightlifting, gaming and spending time with family and friends. Community involvement and service: Locally I have volunteered at Habitat for Humanity where I helped in the construction of homes (framework, roofing and irrigation system of the property) for families in need. I also volunteered as an assistant head coach for a youth soccer program. This after-school program was for first- and second-grade students in Pullman.

Dream vacation?

To travel throughout Spain, Italy and France

Planner or procrastinator? A perfect balance of both

Favorite TV show and movie? “Game of Thrones” and “Old School”

Favorite website or app? YouTube



Young Professionals

Shelby Moore Executive Director Heartlinks Hospice & Palliative Care

Age and current hometown: 25, Richland

Briefly describe your organization: Heartlinks Hospice & Palliative Care is a nonprofit organization committed to enriching the quality of life of individuals and their families in need of end-of-life care. Heartlinks was founded in 1978 by a group of five courageous volunteers. Their perseverance and commitment to care for those in the community facing a life-threatening illness made Heartlinks one of the first hospices in the United States.

Heartlinks Hospice & Palliative Care is licensed to serve Benton County and Yakima County. Heartlinks provides compassionate and comprehensive medical and emotional care for children and adults who are facing life-threatening illnesses. How long have you worked at Heartlinks? 4 years

Education: The University of Montana, bachelor of arts in political science, high honors, minor in nonprofit administration and communication studies; University of Montana, master of public administration, nonprofit administration specialization; Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential. Family? Pets? My husband and I have been married for three years and we have a French bulldog, Oakley, who loves to soak up the sunshine. How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? 5 years

What brought you to the Tri-Cities? My husband and I grew up in Enumclaw, Washington, where we graduated from high school together. After leaving Enumclaw, we moved to Missoula, Montana, where I could pursue my bachelor’s degree in political science and he could pursue his technical training to become an electrician. After I graduated from the University of

Montana, I was given the opportunity to raise money for a large nonprofit organization here in the Tri-Cities. My husband grew up visiting the Tri-Cities, and he had always dreamed about moving here one day.

After I was offered a job here, we had packed up and moved within just a couple of weeks. It was easily the best decision we have ever made. We could not dream about living anywhere else. We love the heat, we love the sunshine and we love the people. Favorite book? Movie? Favorite book: All “Harry Potter” books. Favorite movie: Any romantic comedy. Favorite sports team? Oakland Raiders.

Favorite thing to do in the Tri-Cities? Eat, drink and listen to live music at 3 Eyed Fish.

What would people be most surprised to learn about you? I am a major bookworm, and my favorite books are about U.S. presidents.

Describe your job and how you got into it: I am the executive director for Heartlinks Hospice & Palliative Care, and as the director, I am responsible for establishing and implementing goals and setting the comprehensive strategy for the programs and services we offer. I work with our organization’s board of directors to ensure the highest standard of quality in every aspect of care provided. I am also responsible for the comprehensive strategy and planning of all fundraising efforts.

I started with Heartlinks in October 2016 as the development director and was promoted to executive director in April 2019.

My first job in the nonprofit sector was as a development assistant for a very small nonprofit organization in Missoula, Montana. It was there that I met a mentor that would change the course of my career forever.

Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography

The development director at a small nonprofit organization made it a point to teach me everything that she knew, and she inspired me to earn my master’s degree in public administration and nonprofit administration.

Dream vacation: Bora Bora

She continues to be my support and mentor to this day, and she is the one that helped me discover that my passions revolve around health care philanthropy. Toughest career decision? The toughest career decision I had to make was when I started with Heartlinks as the executive director. Hospice care is about being a team and working together as a team.

When I was the development director, I was that team member that people relied on for emotional support, whether in life, work, and/or relationships.

When I was offered the opportunity to be executive director, I had to be OK with the fact that I was not able to maintain the same relationship with some of the people I worked with anymore. I had to realize that I am responsible for the future and the longevity of an organization that is bigger than myself. I had to do whatever it takes to make sure that Heartlinks can provide care to those in their most desperate time of need.

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Planner or procrastinator: Planner

Favorite kind of music? Any kind of pop

Favorite app? Instagram


Young Professionals


Flavien Sawadogo Architect MMEC Architecture & Interiors

Age and current hometown: 38, Kennewick Briefly describe your company: MMEC Architecture & Interiors is a firm with locations in Spokane and the Tri-Cities. We provide complete architectural design services. We offer skilled construction management and expert interior design. We’re proud to be able to serve virtually any project type from initial concept design and construction documents to space planning and furnishings selection. How long have you worked for MMEC Architecture? 3 ½ years Education: Master’s degree in architecture, University of Idaho, 2007. Family? Pets? I am married and we have three kids, one boy and two girls. No pets. What brought you to the Tri-Cities? My wife’s family lives across the border in Oregon. Moving to the Tri-Cities was a way for us to get closer to her family. I grew up in a small country called Burkina Faso, Africa, and moved to the U.S. after high school. Dream vacation? Bora Bora Planner or procrastinator? Planner Favorite thing to do in the Tri-Cities? Socialize with friends.

Let’s be social

What would people be most surprised to learn about you? I am a pretty good cook.

Describe your job and how you go into it: I am a registered architect in two states. My role varies depending on the project I am involved with. I may be responsible for project management, client management, drawing production, quality control oversight, as well as construction administration on projects under construction.

Toughest career decision? Leaving my former firm and putting behind me 10 years of hard work and advancement.

How did you earn your first dollar? I worked in a student cafeteria as a dishwasher. How do you achieve work-life balance? I don’t know that I have.

I think it’s more like a pendulum. It will swing one way at one time, but it eventually comes back the other way. I think it’s more about making sure that it can swing freely in both directions and not get stuck on one side too long. Community involvement and service: When I moved to the Tri-Cities I got involved with the Pasco-Kennewick Rotary Club. I have now been a board member for the last 2 ½ years.

Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography

This has given me the opportunity to get involved with many different things from hands-on projects locally to projects internationally. I’ve been blessed to be involved in more hands-on projects than I can count, and I assist in scholarship reviews.

These projects have included Habitat for Humanity, Second Harvest, the IDEA project, Master Gardeners and others. I was fortunate to become chair of the Mid-Columbia Rotary MultiClub International Committee a yearand-a-half ago. I’ve also been involved with my local American Institute of Architects Central Washington chapter. I am honored to have been able to serve as president-elect and now as president of the chapter.

Favorite podcast or app? Podcast player app

Favorite music? R&B

Favorite sports team? Real Madrid

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Young Professionals

Dr. Jessica Schneider Founder and CEO Empowered Health Institute

Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography

Age and current hometown: 36, Richland

Briefly describe your company: Empowered Health Institute is a primary care clinic led by myself, a boardcertified internal medicine doctor, that provides a membership-based approach to care that challenges the standard health care model.

We follow the philosophy that health is more than the absence of disease and use a root cause approach to address active medical concerns. Located in downtown Richland, Empowered Health provides primary care, health coaching, health-focused wellness programs and functional medicine consults to offer patients personalized, focused care.

How long have you worked for Empowered Health? Nearly two years

Education: Bachelor of science in biochemistry (summa cum laude) Washington State University, Honors College; doctor of medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin; internal medicine residency, Medical College of Wisconsin and Affiliated Hospitals; integrative medicine fellowship, University of Arizona Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine. Do you have family? Yes, I have a husband and two children (ages 5 and 7). Did you grow up here? I grew up in the Tri-Cities and am a Hanford High graduate. You can’t beat the limited commute times, low cost of living, quality public schools and economic growth of this community.

How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? I have lived in the Tri-Cities since the age of 1. I took a 15-year hiatus for college (Go Cougs!), medical school and clinical practice in the Midwest. My

family and I moved back 3 ½ years ago. Dream vacation? A trip to the moon; I have always wanted to travel to space.

Favorite thing to do in the Tri-Cities? Visit a winery with an out-of-town guest, hang out in water on a 100-degree day, or hike Badger Mountain followed by brunch at Fiction @ J. Bookwalter. What would people be most surprised to learn about you? I like proving to myself that I can do physically challenging things. For example, I took a course during college to certify in scuba diving. I also obtained my motorcycle endorsement, and, even though I have never driven a motorcycle since, I enjoy knowing I have achieved this. Describe your job and how you got into it: After working as a primary care physician for years both locally and in the Midwest with large hospital groups, I became frustrated with the insurancedriven system. With only 15 minutes per patient, I knew I wasn’t being given enough time to understand patient concerns, explain results or provide education to promote change.

I learned of different models being used, including the membership model where a patient pays a flat fee to be part of the medical practice, thereby removing insurance-driven time restrictions. Since opening 1 ½ years ago, I have had the pleasure of serving my patients in this new, effective and gratifying way. Now, the majority of my patients feel better, get sick less frequently, remove medications under my direction and report improved quality of life. Toughest career decision? The most challenging career decision has been related to the transition from being an

employed physician to starting a private practice. As an employed physician, there is security with income, benefits and the support of a large medical group. Choosing to leave that, in addition to investing a large portion of savings and trying out a new primary care model, was a challenging decision. I am happy to say that it has been everything I could have hoped for, both for myself and the patients I serve.

How did you earn your first dollar? I worked two jobs simultaneously in high school, one at Papa Murphy’s and the other at the Richland Rollarena. I was responsible for paying for part of my college, so this was a way to save for that expense. How do you achieve work-life balance? This is a work in progress; however, I have found boundary setting to be successful. I allow myself to have time that is focused on work and separate time that is focused on family, exercise or relaxation. I also religiously use ToDoist, a task organizer, and have developed routines around setting this list for the day. Community involvement and service? Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, board member, January 2020 – present: A volunteer position where I attend bimonthly board meetings.

Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, speaker, January 2020: presenter at Women in Business Conference where I discussed the foundation of health required to support


Planner or procrastinator? Planner

Favorite book?

“The Power of One,” (series by Bryce Courtenay)

Favorite music?

Anything by Ingrid Michaelson

Favorite sports team?

USA Olympic swim, dive and gymnastics teams

Favorite website or app? Google Docs

Young Professionals MCLAUGHLIN, From page B5 gone to when I was younger. Imagine my surprise when I actually got the job. I had to get a work permit because I was barely 15 and spent an entire summer away from my family to earn exactly $1,000. For eight weeks of work, Sunday-Friday. It was an experience I won’t forget. I was incredibly homesick for like three weeks, to the point where the camp director sent me home for a weekend to decide if I could really finish the summer.

MOORE, From page B8

But I am proud to say that I returned and ended up having one of the most eyeopening experiences of my life. How do you achieve work-life balance? I think I am better at work-life integration. I am lucky that so many of my colleagues and board members also have become wonderful friends.

I love the fact that I have a job where my mom can come and participate in one of our cooking classes and sell T-shirts with me, my lifelong friends can volunteer at Autumn Affair and drive beverage carts at golf tournaments and that I can drop

Also, the best thing I ever did for myself

How did you earn your first dollar? My first dollar came from being the farmhand at an Alpaca farm in Ravensdale, Washington, where my family still lives. I worked long hours cleaning up the farm and would reward myself at the end of the day by cuddling the baby alpacas.

was to hire a personal coach/mentor.

How do you achieve work-life balance? I achieve work-life balance by maintaining good habits and protecting my general lifestyle.


I complete some sort of workout at least four times a week, pump my body full of good nutrients, and make sure to work a set schedule every day.


She has helped me stabilize my life while also growing my career. Community involvement and service:

- Board member for Women Helping Women Fund Tri-Cities (2018 -

- Recruitment advisor for the Beta

Phi chapter of Alpha Phi at Whitman College (Current)

- Member of Prosser Rotary Club (Current)

- Wish Grantor for Make-A-Wish Alaska & Washington (2016-18)


by my board president’s house for a cocktail with him and his wife.

I have worked as the fundraising lead for the Friends of Justin Raffa campaign.

I have been blessed to be able to connect so many of my “work” buddies with my “home” buddies. It helps keep me grounded and makes work so fun!

I am a “Lunch Buddy” for a fourth-grade student at Orchard Elementary, which is my ABSOLUTE favorite volunteer activity ever!!! I get to have lunch with my buddy every week and spend time chatting and building a relationship.

Community involvement and service: I volunteer for several “work” related groups, mainly as a volunteer for the Warrior Sisterhood and a past board member of Ovarian Cancer Together! I am a past board member of Columbia Center Rotary and a member of the Alpha Xi Delta-Epsilon Zeta Corporation Board.

SCHNEIDER, From page B10 achievement of career and life goals. Gesa Credit Union, associate board member, 2019 – present: A volunteer position, where in addition to attending monthly board meetings and an annual strategic retreat, I serve on the policy committee for quarterly review of executive level policies. Synergy MedAesthetics, Medical Supervisor, 2018 – present: A compensated position, where I supervise a medical provider to safely provide skin care services. Recovery and Wellness Center of Eastern Washington, Medical Supervisor, 2017 – present: A compensated position, where I helped

We got to celebrate her birthday, make a gingerbread house, decorate valentines and I got to know a very special little person who could use an extra friend. I would HIGHLY encourage this program to anyone who has an hour to spare each week.

to implement a new partial hospital program level of care for patients with eating disorders. I was the sole medical provider for two years and have recently transitioned to a supervisory role with a new medical hire. Kadlec Health Planet, Clinical Decision Team member, 201719: A volunteer position, where I attended monthly meetings to advise on implementation of new and best practices in the clinic environment. Medical College of Wisconsin and Affiliated Hospitals, Residency Curriculum Committee member, 201214: A volunteer position, where I acted as a resident advisor for the residency program to evaluate curriculum and resident training practices.



Young Professionals

Perseverance Choose a path of goodness — whether it be a good education, healthy friends or healthy lifestyle. But most of all choose with the best of intentions and persevere to find success. We are proud supporters of the Tri-Cities community. As local citizens we strive to make a difference for the future of our children. Together we can make a difference. You matter!

What we do Staffing & Resources Equipment Logistics Site & Facility Services Security Services

Roxie Schescke, President 509-542-1114 2815 Saint Andrews Loop, Suite B, Pasco

Young Professionals



Tracy Spooner Campus Development Facilities Manager Battelle/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography

Age and current hometown: 36, West Richland

Briefly describe your organization: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory advances the frontiers of knowledge, taking on some of the world’s greatest science and technology challenges.

Distinctive strengths in chemistry, earth sciences, and data analytics are the heart of our science mission, laying a foundation for innovations that improve America’s energy resiliency and enhance our national security. How long have you worked at PNNL? Five months

Education: Bachelor of science, civil engineering, Washington State University, 2006; master’s degrees in architecture and construction management, Washington University in St. Louis, 2009. Family? Pets? A husband, Brett Spooner; our two daughters, Sloane, 6, and Iris, 4; two kittens, Hawk and Raven; and two horses, Missy and Vi.

How long have you lived in the Tri-Cities? I was born and raised in the Tri-Cities until 2002, left to attend undergraduate, then graduate school and returned 2009, for a total of 29 years.

Did you grow up here? I was born and raised in the Tri-Cities. I left to attend undergraduate in Pullman, then graduate school in St. Louis, Missouri. After graduate school my husband and I knew we wanted to return to the Pacific Northwest and found our way back to the Tri-Cities. While away from the Tri-Cities for college, I grew to truly appreciate some of the things I took for granted as a kid (like no humidity —

thanks St. Louis for teaching me what real humidity AND heat feels like!). From the geographical benefits (close to mountains, oceans, rivers and lakes), to the housing market, schools and quality of life. Tri-Cities also had a growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. There was a lot of opportunity for my husband and I to invest in the long-term growth of the community.

Favorite book? At the moment, the “Mistborn” series by Brandon Sanderson. Favorite music? My favorite genre is alternative rock. But there are some days I am just in the mood for some ’80s or ’90s rock when you just can’t help dancing around.

Favorite sports team? Red Lava Unicorns, the best 5- to 6-yearold YMCA soccer team ever! I’m pretty sure they didn’t win a single game, but it was the most entertaining. Favorite thing to do in Tri-Cities? Hanging out with friends and/or family during our perfect spring and summer evenings. This could be on the deck of a local restaurant, at someone else’s house overlooking the peaceful Columbia River, or in my own backyard. The Tri-Cities has some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets I have ever seen.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? I am red-green color blind. I have learned over the years to get a second opinion when picking finishes. Describe your job and how you got into it: I lead the Campus Development Group (a diverse group of planners, engineers, architects, designers, project managers and construction managers) through the full life-cycle of a project,

concept to closeout.

My team is responsible for development and implementation of the campus strategy master plan, understanding future scientific mission needs to make data-driven, risk-informed investment decisions that form and optimize the near-term and longterm campus development strategy. I have always had a passion for the built environment. From my early childhood filled with Legos and Lincoln Logs, to my fifth-grade project when I built my first toothpick bridge, I just knew I wanted to build things. I got my undergraduate degree in civil engineering and went on to graduate school for architecture and construction management. During my first summer internship during graduate school, I worked for the university in its capital projects department.

It was that summer I fell in love with construction and the process of using math and creative design on paper to physically create these incredibly complex buildings. I have been involved in projects ever since including planning/conceptual design, architectural design, engineering, construction management and project management.

Toughest career decision? The toughest career decision I have made was leaving a job I loved, leading an amazing team of people working on exciting projects, to pursue a new position I knew would better align with my long-term career goals. I strongly believe in setting both shortterm and long-term goals for myself.

uSPOONER, Page B14

Dream vacation?

A Mediterranean cruise with lots of amazing sights, history, food and wine

Planner or procrastinator? I am very much a planner

Favorite movie?

Favorite movie of all time is the original “Jurassic Park”

Favorite website or app? Personally, Amazon. Professionally, Microsoft Teams



Young Professionals

SPOONER, From page B13

Thank You

This Young Professionals specialty publication is made possible by these sponsors:

It is easy to get comfortable in what you are doing at any one time, but I know to continue my personal and professional growth I need to constantly challenge myself to strive for more. My goals aren’t always realized exactly as planned, as I am constantly reassessing and realigning them, but they provide me direction and drive to be a better person. How did you earn your first dollar? The very first dollar I can remember earning was my allowance. I wasn’t entitled to an allowance, my mom made me earn it! My sisters and I were no strangers to chores and helping around the house/ yard. Thanks Mom! The first real job I had was at a home decór shop in The Parkway called Riverhouse. It taught me no task is too small when you are running a business; everything helps contribute to success. I was fortunate enough to have parents and other role models to instill a strong work ethic.

How do you achieve work-life balance? My husband and I believe in work-life integration. The lines between work, home life, personal care, community and pursuing your interests don’t have to be hard lines. My personal and professional goals align toward what I am passionate about and how I can positively affect my community. I have never felt torn to make a decision to advance my professional career by sacrificing personal time; or making a decision to slow down or sacrifice my professional career due to needing more personal time. My family shares their goals, passions,

desires, frustrations, opinions and ideas openly with each other. We encourage our daughters to observe, process, discuss and formulate their own passions. We talk about the successes and the failures, how each of those shape us and how we can do better next time. We instill a thoughtfulness about self and others, paired with work ethic, to promote a better self and servant leadership. “Work is not absence of family or life, it is just another pursuit of passion for the sake of the improvement of existence, self and community. Therefore, work must be integrated, or life is a lie.” Brett Spooner Community involvement and service: I am a graduate of Leadership Tri-Cities Class 24. I was the project manager for our class project to provide upgrades to the emergency shelter for Domestic Violence Services for Benton and Franklin Counties (DVS). DVS relies on donations and community support to provide services to survivors of domestic violence in our communities. Our class was able to raise over $40,000 to support DVS in its mission. I also volunteer for the High School Friendly Competition, part of Engineers Week. Engineers Week includes activities for elementary, middle and high school students to get students excited about pursuing careers in science and engineering. I am also a co-founder of Fuse, SPC. My husband and I have been very involved in the entrepreneurial community locally, and I have supported and participated in many startup/launch weekend events.

Young Professionals



Justin Toner Vice President and Sales Manager Basin Pacific Insurance and Benefits Courtesy Rich Breshears Professional Photography

Age and current hometown: 38, Kennewick

mix of community, living, weather and opportunities.

Briefly describe your company: Basin Pacific Insurance and Benefits is a fullservice insurance and benefits brokerage. Our agency was formed in late 2010 by my parents, Brad and Debbie Toner, and they still own the company. Today we have 23 employees, are growing rapidly, and have a culture that is second to none.

Planner or procrastinator? I am more of a planner than a procrastinator, but it does happen at times.

How long have you worked at Basin Pacific? Almost 10 years. Education: Kennewick High School, class of 2001; bachelor’s degree in business administration and a minor in marketing, Eastern Washington University; national producer school through Brown & Brown, one of the largest insurance brokerages in the nation. Family? Pets? My wife Nikki, 8-year-old son Vincent, and one young boxer named Odie. Did you grow up here? I was born and raised in the Tri-Cities. I always wanted to settle down in Tri-Cities because I love the

Favorite movie? Too many choices…so a family favorite… “The Great Outdoors” (1988, comedy). Favorite sports team? Seattle Seahawks #GOHawks

Favorite thing to do in Tri-Cities? Enjoy the sun any way I can!

What would people be surprised to learn about you? I once had a pet tarantula, and it was almost as big as my hand.

Describe your job and how you got into it: I grew up with a dad who was and still is a successful commercial insurance agent and I always wanted to follow in his footsteps. I am a commercial insurance agent focusing on construction, property owners and developers, and nonprofit industries. As we grow, I am taking on the role of sales manager so I will be responsible for

recruiting, developing, supporting and managing our agents.

Toughest career decision? The toughest decision of my career was when I chose to move to Seattle to work for a national broker. Looking back, it gave me a strong foundation of knowledge, relationships and sales techniques that have played a big part of my success. How did you earn your first dollar? Chores!

How do you achieve work-life balance? I achieve balance by getting to work early, staying flexible and being home each night for dinner. Weekends are spent with friends and family enjoying all that the Tri-Cities has to offer. Community involvement and service: My community involvement is focused on two boards. I am on the Leadership Tri-Cities board and have been the director of Ag Day for the last three years. I am also on the Goodwill Industries of the Columbia board, as well as two sub-committees.

Dream vacation?

Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas

Favorite music? Country music

Favorite website or app?



Young Professionals