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- Gesa Credit Union’s held its first ever “Day of Service,” an employee initiative that encouraged employees to give back to local communities on Oct. 10 on Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Gesa closed its 28 branches to allow its team members to spend the day volunteering, giving back, and making a difference in their communities. In total, 53 organizations across the state benefited from Gesa’s volunteer work. Organizations helped included Grace Clinic in Kennewick, where the team assisted with yardwork, deep cleaning and painting the facility. Employees also volunteered at Second Harvest in Pasco; Columbia Basin Veterans Center; Grace Kitchen; Communities in Schools of Benton-Franklin; Boys and Girls Clubs of Benton and Franklin Counites; and Tri-Cities Animal Shelter.
- Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed Frederick Brink of West Richland to the Forensic Investigations Council; and Bethany Martinez of Mattawa to the Big Bend Community College Board of Trustees.
- The Benton-Franklin Council of Governments, as the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for the Tri-City area, has promoted Erin Braich to MPO deputy director. He will lead coordinated planning activities supporting transportation and land use for the region. He joined the council of governments in 2018 as a transportation planner and was promoted to transportation program manager in 2020. Braich has nearly seven years of professional planning experience in Spokane, Honolulu and the Tri-Cities.
- Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse was reelected by the Congressional Western Caucus Executive Committee to serve a second term as chairman for the 118th Congress. The caucus serves as a unified voice for members of Congress representing western, rural and resource-based communities.
- Columbia Basin College received a $473,945 career launch equipment grant. The grant from the state Board for Community and Technical Colleges will enable CBC’s agriculture program to acquire a precision needle seeder, multi-crop berry harvester and a rough terrain forklift.
- Gesa Credit Union awarded $500,000 to 43 organizations across Washington state as par of its Local Heroes grant program. It provides grants to firefighters, law enforcement, teachers, health care workers and veterans. This year’s recipients were selected by the Gesa Community Foundation, which oversees the credit union’s grant and scholarship programs. Tri-City recipients were: Tri-Cities Diversity & Inclusion Council, $5,000; STEM Like Me!, $5,000; Columbia Basin College Foundation, $20,000; William Wiley Elementary, $4,000; Leona Libby Middle School, $5,750; Mid-Columbia Ballet, $5,000; Young Officers on Fire, $8,000; Richland Firefighters Community Outreach program, $5,000; KPD Metro Drug Taskforce, $5,400; Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Chapter 11-6, $5,000; Friends of Disabled Veterans, $50,000; TROT Tri-Cities, $10,000; and Benton Fire District 2, $5,000.
AWARDS & HONORS
- The Association of Washington Business handed out 13 awards at the Nov. 17 Evening of Excellence gala in Tacoma. Two Tri-City businesses were among the winners. Kennewick-based Senske Services received the award of excellence in the family-owned business category. Senske was recognized for giving back to the communities it serves through several charitable activities. The company hosts an annual holiday light show at its headquarters on North Quay Street, near West Deschutes Avenue, that raises thousands of dollars for the local food bank. Through its Decorated Family Program, Senske installs holiday lights for veterans and deployed military personnel.
Richland-based Apogee Group was named the 2022 Employer of the Year. It shifted to remote work during the pandemic. AWB noted that owner Salina Savage went out of her way to take care of employees of the program management and logistics company by paying 100% of the health insurance premiums for employees, among other benefits.
- Lexy Hibbs, the current Miss Rodeo Washington and former queen of Kennewick’s Horse Heaven Round-Up, was named second runner-up during the recent Miss Rodeo America pageant in Las Vegas. She also received awards for her written test, first place in the Zona Vig Scrapbook traditional category and the Wrangler Decorated Dress Award. The Richland woman spent the past year promoting rodeo and agriculture throughout the state as Miss Rodeo Washington. She served as the queen for the Benton Franklin Fair & Horse Heaven Round-Up from 2020-21. Hibbs is a Washington State University graduate and the viticulturist for Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard and Winery in Benton City, the second largest producer of wine grapes in the United States.
- President and CEO Carla Cicero of Numerica Credit Union has been named one of the “Most Powerful Women in Credit Unions.” American Banker honored 25 women from across the industry who work to create inclusive cultures and lead through times of rapid change. Cicero was recognized by the magazine for excellent leadership, implementing innovative strategies, and empowering women. Beyond leading a team of more than 660 people, Cicero is one of three women on the board of directors for the World Council of Credit Unions. She is also a part of the Women’s Leadership Symposium, a group of women CEOs who support each other by sharing best practices and policies. In the past decade, Numerica has become the second-largest credit union in the greater Spokane region. Under Cicero’s leadership, the credit union has more than doubled its number of employees, and team members have volunteered over 140,000 hours in the community.
- Numerica Credit Union was the top-producing credit union in the region for U.S. Small Business Administration loans in 2022, and among the top overall. The recognition comes from 2022 fiscal year reports recently released by the U.S. small business administration. With 30 loans produced in that time span, Numerica ranked fourth among all financial institutions in the Inland Northwest and tied for ninth across the SBA’s Seattle district, which includes Washington state and north Idaho. The loan production totaled $12.5 million in support of local small businesses.
- The American College of Cardiology has recognized Lourdes Health in Pasco for its demonstrated expertise and commitment in treating patients with chest pain. Lourdes received chest pain center accreditation in November based on rigorous on-site evaluation of the staff’s ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.
- The winner of the 2022 Central Washington Congressional App Challenge, an app-designing competition for middle and high school students, was Advaitha Motkuri from Richland High School. She designed the winning concept, “People’s Pupil: A Detection in Intoxication.” Her app concept would use pupil size to detect levels of intoxication. If a person is identified as intoxicated, the app would immediately call an Uber for them.
- The Benton-Franklin Council of Governments has hired Christy Haack as the deputy director of operations. She was hired in July 2022 into this new position for the organization. Her responsibilities include facilitating operational administration, compliance, finance, and human resources activities and providing economic development program management. She brings over a decade of operations experience from her past employment at the College of Eastern Idaho, most recently as the director of operations for the Workforce Training and Continuing Education division.
- Quentin Wright joined Port of Benton on Nov. 7 as airport manager for the port’s Prosser and Richland airports. With experience in hangar lease management and property and aircraft fleet maintenance, Wright brings an expansive array of talents and skills to the port. He previously worked for Wisk Aero on a flight test team developing electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. He also has experience as director of maintenance for a California-based flight school. Wright holds an airframe and powerplant mechanic license with inspection authorization privileges through the Federal Aviation Administration and a bachelor’s degree in aviation technology – maintenance management from Utah State University.
- Prosser Memorial Health hired Karmina Bowen to work at its dermatology center at 701 Dale Ave., Suite B, in Benton City. Bowen is an advanced registered nurse practitioner with previous experience in dermatology. She completed her master of science in nursing degree from Maryville University in May 2021, after which she transitioned into dermatology working in Richland. Prior to her career in dermatology, she worked as a registered nurse at Kadlec Regional Medical Center’s emergency department. The Prosser native has nine years of emergency medicine experience.
- Petersen Hastings has hired Savannah Walker as a client service specialist for the firm, which has offices in Kennewick and Walla Walla. As a client service specialist, she will work with other members of the client services team to facilitate the collaborative monitoring and updating of personal and corporate investment accounts, as well as maintain complex financial reports, while prioritizing the requests and needs of our growing clientele.
- The National Park Service has selected Wendy Berhman as the new superintendent for Manhattan Project National Historical Park. She is responsible for the daily operations and staff at each of the three park sites. The park includes three sites located at Hanford, Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Managed in partnership with the DOE, the park preserves and interprets the nationally significant historic sites, stories and legacies associated with the top-secret race to develop an atomic weapon during World War II. Berhman has worked for the National Park Service for over 30 years, most recently as program planner for the NPS Washington Office.
- Good Shepherd Health Care System of Hermiston hired obstetrician & gynecologist Dr. Alexis Tuck. She joins Drs. Khavkin and Snider, providing OB-GYN care to women of all ages in eastern Oregon. She has been practicing in the Tri-Cities the past five years after completing her residency at the New York School of medicine Brooklyn campus in Brooklyn, New York. She is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology and a fellow of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.