James Moll (’72 Comm.) was recognized as a local hero in Butte County, California, by the local newspaper. Moll, who has worked in radio and serves as emcee for community events, is known as “The Voice of Oroville.” He was recognized for his efforts to help restore the historic State Theatre in downtown Oroville. Moll served as president of the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and led a drive to build a new shelter for the surrounding community.

Pierce College Chancellor Michele Johnson (’74 Poli. Sci., ’75 MA Poli. Sci.) won the Chief Executive Officer award for the Pacific region, presented by the Association of Community College Trustees.

Randy Suess (’76 Ed.) received the Alumni Achievement Award from the WSU Alumni Association. A farmer near Colfax for 30 years, he has advocated for WSU and regional agricultural programs for many years. Due in part to Suess’s interest in foreign markets, much of Central America now buys wheat from the Pacific Northwest.

Deborah Holcomb (’79 Ed.) is the new superintendent of North Beach School District in Western Washington. Holcomb has been an educator for 37 years, 19 of which were at Bainbridge Island School District. Most recently Holcomb worked as executive director of inclusive education at the Highline School District.

John Unruh (’79, ’81 MS Ani. Sci.) is the new dean of California State University, Chico’s College of Agriculture. The agriculture college has won many awards and Unruh says he plans to keep the university’s focus on providing practical education for its students.


Eric Dieterle (’80, ’82 History) published a memoir, Where the Wind Dreams of Staying (Oregon State University Press) in October 2016. In November, the book was put on the High Country News recommended reading list. Dieterle is an assistant professor at Northern Arizona University.

Lloyd Galey (’80 Crim. Jus.) is the new fire chief of South Pierce Fire and Rescue. Galey grew up in Spokane, attended WSU, and then joined the Air Force to become a firefighter. Afterwards he worked for fire stations in Illinois before returning to Washington, where he taught in the fire service program at Bates Technical College in Tacoma. South Pierce Fire and Rescue operates seven fire stations and serves an area of approximately 22,000 residents.

Gregory Michael “Deke” Gassett (’80 Crim. Jus.) was given the WSU Alumni Association Alumni Achievement Award for his work as a drug enforcement agent as well as his volunteer work. His career was inspired by a bomb explosion in WSU’s Streit-Perham residence hall in 1979. In the early 2000s, Gassett directed a Drug Enforcement Agency investigation into a major Canadian drug trafficker. He also helped with an investigation into the first known tunnel used for drug trafficking between the United States and Canada. Gassett has also been involved in numerous community programs educating children and parents about drug abuse. Since his retirement in 2008, Gassett has worked as executive mentor to the national police in Afghanistan in their fight against drug trafficking, which is believed to help finance terrorist groups.

Bill Cummins (’81 Ed.) joined Hughes Equipment Company as its new sales manager for food processing equipment for the Northwest, including Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia.

Kerri Marshall (’81 Zool., ’85 DVM) has joined BabelBark, a pet-related software developer located in Newton, Massachusetts. Marshall is part of the founding team as chief veterinary officer and a member of their board of directors.

Craig A. Curtis (’83 Arch., ’84 Const. Mgmt.), an architect from Kitsap County, began a two-year term on the board of directors for the First Federal Community Foundation. The First Federal Community Foundation offers funding for community support and development, affordable housing, and economic development within communities with full-service branches.

Tom Novotney (’84 Elec. Eng.) was named Frontier Communication’s area general manager for central California. Novotney has worked within the telecom industry for over 30 years.

Orthopedic surgeon John D. Osland (’84 MS Nut. & Ex. Phys.), began work at the Jefferson Healthcare Orthopedic Clinic in Port Townsend. Osland will help to transition the clinic from one surgeon to a team of three surgeons and two physician assistants. Osland specializes in knee and shoulder arthroscopy, knee replacements, and sports medicine.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group CEO Phupinder Gill (’85 Fin., ’87 MBA) has retired. Gill was born in Malaysia and moved to the United States to attend WSU. He began working for CME Group in 1988, became president of the company in 2007, and then CEO in 2012.

Dennis Paul LeMaster (’85 Range Mgmt., ’87 Forest Mgmt.) was promoted to Brigadier General in July. He commands Regional Health Command Europe, headquartered in Sembach, Germany, which includes all U.S. Army medical assets in Europe. LeMaster received his commission in 1987 from WSU ROTC.

Brad Rawlins (’87 Comm., Foreign Languages) became a special assistant to the provost of Arkansas State University. Rawlins will oversee the new campus in Queretaro, Mexico. The campus will be an “American-style” university offering degrees in engineering, biosciences, business, and strategic communication.

Sentry Insurance in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, has promoted Stephanie Smith (’87 Comm.) from assistant vice president of marketing and brand management to a vice president position. Smith has worked in public relations and marketing for 25 years and at Sentry Insurance since 2013.

John Brooks (’89 Crim. Jus.) is the new chief of police for the Ridgefield Police Department. Previously Brooks served as a captain of the Portland Police Bureau for 25 years. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.


Kevin “K.C.” Alberg (’91 Crim. Jus.) is the new marshal of Mesilla, New Mexico. Alberg has been the Mesilla fire marshal for over a year, and a volunteer at the fire department for three years. He has served as chief special agent for professional standards for the Corrections Department since 2013. Alberg has worked in law enforcement and related fields for more than 21 years in Washington, Alaska, and New Mexico.

Victoria Blachly (’93 Biol.), a partner of the Portland, Oregon, law firm Samuels Yoelin Kantor LLP, has been recognized in the Chambers High Net Worth guide. The guide covers private wealth management work and related specializations. The guide named Blachly a “Leading Individual” for private wealth law in Oregon.

Previous Ellensburg track coaches Rob Moffat (’93 Phys. Ed.) and Robert Price (’91 History) were inducted into the Ellensburg High School Athletics Hall of Fame. From 1992 through 2006, the combined efforts of the two brought 21 event state championships and one overall state title to Ellensburg. They have sent more than a dozen athletes to collegiate programs, including three athletes who qualified for the Olympic trials. Price is a coach at Eisenhower High School. Moffat is principal of Valley View Elementary School but still volunteers as a coach.

Toppenish educator Jose Corona (’95 Ed.) was named the Regional Teacher of the Year. Corona has taught third grade for 20 years. Before graduating from WSU with a degree in elementary education, Corona grew up in a migrant family, a background shared with many of his students.

Tyson Fick (’95 Busi.) became the executive director of Alaska Bering Sea Crabbers (ABSC). Fick will work in Juneau and the main ABSC offices in Seattle. Previously, Fick was communications director for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and legislative liaison at the Department of Commerce’s Community and Economic Development.

Lawyer Michael N. Evangelista (’96 Poli. Sci.) of the law office of Michael Norita Evangelista has been appointed as a regent of the Northern Marianas College. He was later elevated as the new Board of Regents chair.

The University of Texas at Tyler has a new president in Michael Tidwell (’96 MA Comm., ’02 PhD). Tidwell was previously dean of Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business. Tidwell has worked in multiple faculty and administrative positions across the United States as well as a visiting professor in both India and Kenya.

Erika Hartliep (’98 Ag. Econ.) joined the law firm of Stokes Lawrence Velikanje Moore & Shore. Her legal practice focuses on business and agricultural transactions and litigation.

Tim Johnson (’98 Poli. Sci.) was promoted to CEO of Mondo, a digital marketing and IT resourcing firm. Johnson has worked with the company for over 12 years as both director and vice president of sales.

Damien Pattenaude (’99 English, ’05 MED, ’16 EdD) was named the next superintendent of Renton School District. Pattenaude is currently the assistant superintendent of learning and teaching for the district. He has been a teacher at Renton High School, assistant principal at Hazen High School, principal at RHS, and chief academic officer for the district. Pattenaude will step in as superintendent next July.


Misty Lawrence (’00 Biol.) is the new area lead for the main nuclear processing buildings at the Uranium Processing Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, owned by Bechtel. Lawrence joined Bechtel in 2001 and has held multiple positions including deputy procurement and subcontracts manager at the Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant in Richland. She also served as the acquisition services manager at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant in Kentucky. Lawrence most recently held the position of executive assistant to the president of the Nuclear, Security, and Environment Global Business Unit at Bechtel.

Steve Lee (’00 Acc.) has been the president of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation through 2016. In July, he presided over the 48th annual meeting of the foundation in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

David Otis (’00 Busi.) is the new Seattle area director for Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P. His focus is on investment sales of office, land, retail, and industrial properties within the Pacific Northwest.

April Bruns (’01 Human Nutr.) recently joined United Dairymen of Idaho. Bruns has worked as a health and wellness manager for the Idaho Dairy Council based in eastern Idaho. With United Dairyman of Idaho, she will act as a link supporting nutrition science and research to educators, school food service professionals, and health professionals.

The American Institute of Architects of Oregon voted for Seth Anderson (’02 Arch.) as the council’s president-elect for 2017. Anderson, the principal architect at Ascent Architecture & Interiors in Bend, will subsequently step into the role of AIA-Oregon president in 2018.

Raphael X. Moffett (’02 English) was named the new vice president of student affairs at Texas Southern University. He began his career in student affairs in 2002 as a graduate student working in residential life at Clark Atlanta University. Moffett has worked at multiple colleges and was most recently the vice president of student affairs at Langston University.

Aberdeen Superintendent Tom Opstad (’02 Ed., ’10 EdD) plans to retire at the end of this school year. He has worked as an administrator for several school districts throughout Washington.

Texas police officer Matt Pearce (’02 Crim. Jus.) received the Star of Texas award in September after being injured during a car chase. Officer Pearce was shot five times when the occupants of the vehicle and the officers exchanged fire. The Star of Texas award is given to officers, firefighters, and other emergency personnel who are injured or killed in the line of duty.

Annie Sanford (’02 Nursing) was welcomed into the International Nurses Association with a publication in the Worldwide Leaders In Healthcare. Sanford is a stroke program manager at the Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. She also holds a faculty teaching position for new employees and residents.

Ben Brewer (’03 Comm.) is the new vice president of sales for LiquidPlanner. Brewer came to LiquidPlanner from Concur where he served for over ten years and held many senior positions including director of sales, senior director of sales, and vice president of sales.

Adam Droker (’03 Fin., ’04 MBA) and his wife Aly welcomed their third child last March, joining their son Evan and daughter Meredith. Adam is the chief investment officer at WaterRock Global Asset Management LLC, a registered investment advisory firm in Bellevue.

Christi Schultz (’03 Elem. Ed.), a science teacher at Battle Ground High School, loves to integrate forensics-type lessons in her classes, one of which was published in The Forensic Teacher magazine in 2012. In 2015, Schultz fulfilled a dream by publishing her first novel My Epiphany under the pen name Misty Reins. In 2016, her four-book Cabin Series was published, and is available from Amazon. She’s completing her seventh book.

Micah Lauer (’04 MIT) of Meridian, Idaho, has been awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. An educator for 12 years, he has taught the seventh grade life science class at Heritage Middle School for nine years. For the past two years, he has partnered with the biology department at Boise State University to take his students to a local research site. Lauer is also a teacher consultant with the Boise State Writing Project, an affiliate of the National Writing Project. Currently, he is helping lead 20 science teachers through a year-long, graduate-level professional development experience.

Battle Ground teacher Meredith Gannon (’05 MIT) has won the 2016 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the highest national honor for a teacher. Gannon is an instructional coach as well as a teacher. In addition to this award, Gannon is the recipient of many other teaching awards. She is currently pursuing administrative credentials from WSU Vancouver and is a National Board Certified Middle Childhood Generalist.

Nathan Brown (’06 Ed.) opened a Paul Davis Emergency Services franchise in Spokane in November, offering emergency management services during disasters. Brown’s team is trained in flood, fire, smoke, wind, and mold damage, among others. He hopes to use his business to volunteer with local nonprofits to clean up schools and parks. Brown worked as an NBA executive for the Portland Trail Blazers before he and his wife returned to the Spokane area to raise their children.

Emily Gause (’06 Socio.), a criminal defense lawyer and owner of the Law Offices of Emily M. Gause PLLC, has been awarded the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyer’s 2016 Anthony Savage Award for her work in the felony case USA v. Frazier.

Aaron Solaimani (’08 HBM) has been promoted to vice president of HVS, a global consulting company which focuses on hotels, restaurants, and leisure industries. Solaimani has written several articles about hotel markets for California publications, where he lived and worked before relocating to Seattle. While attending WSU, Solaimani was president of the student-run National Society of Minorities in Hospitality.


Rikki King (’10 Poli. Sci.), a reporter at The Daily Herald in Everett, was awarded third place in investigative reporting by the C.B. Blethen Awards for Distinguished Newspaper Reporting. King has been at The Herald since 2010.

Brett Sandwick (’10 Psych.) achieved certified consultant status from the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. The association is an international organization that promotes the development of science and ethical practice in the field of sport psychology. Sandwick is the CEO, founder, and mental conditioning trainer for Elite Mentality. He trains military personnel and athletes in cognitive techniques for performance improvement. He also trains resilience performance psychology and mental toughness to the U.S. Army outside of Tacoma.

Michael Varga (’10 Pharm. D.), director of pharmacy at Northwest Specialty Hospital in Post Falls, Idaho, was awarded the WSU College of Pharmacy’s 2016 Preceptor of the Year. The award is given to mentors of WSU pharmacy students during the student’s experiential training rotation, and to those who demonstrate a high standard of professionalism, ethics, and clinical practice while mentoring.

Trevor Park (’11 Fine Arts) was recently hired to be the new regional marketing director for Pinnacle, a property marketing firm in Seattle. Park has worked most recently with Greystar, a real estate firm, and before that he worked as a marketing strategist in the banking industry.

Sister Jordan Rose (’11 Ed.) professed her first vows as a novice Catholic Sister of Life at a ceremony in Suffern, New York. Rose, 25, is from Cottonwood, Idaho, and was a teacher before entering the sisterhood.

Brian W. Bodah, (’13 PhD Ag. Eng.) has been named the assistant director of the New York State Agricultural Experimental Station in Geneva, New York. Bodah comes to Cornell University from Washington State University, where he was director of Pierce County Extension.

Salem Community College in New Jersey named Destiny Bush (’14 MED) as project director for its Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) grant. SCC has partnered with the Penns Grove-Carneys Point Regional School District to begin preparing middle and high school students for college success. Bush worked as a care manager for the Camden County Partnership for Children before joining SCC.

Megan Abundis (’16 Comm.) is a multimedia journalist with the KSBY news team in California. Before becoming part of the KSBY team, she interned at both King 5 in Seattle and KHQ in Spokane. Abundis is a two-time award winner from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.