Don Trunkey (’59 Zool.), a professor emeritus of surgery at the Oregon Health Science University, received the WSU Alumni Association’s Alumni Achievement Award in recognition of his influential career and contributions to medical education, surgical methods, and trauma care. During his career, he has served in a multitude of leadership positions regarding surgery and trauma. A few of these include chief resident for the University of California hospitals, chief of surgery for the University of San Francisco, and professor and chairman of surgery at Oregon Health and Science University. His public service has included president of the American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, president of the American Surgical Association, and president of the Society of University Surgeons.

Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Hall of Fame inducted Duke Washington (’59 Int. Des.) to its 2017 class. Duke was the first African-American athlete selected to an all-state team, in 1951 with Pasco. He was elected to WSU’s hall of fame in 2008. Duke died on February 16, 2017, at age 84.


Yakima businessman Rick Pinnell (’68 Comm.) received this year’s Ted Robertson Community Service Award from the Yakima Chamber of Commerce. In addition to several business ventures, Rick served as chair on several local boards, including the Yakima Rotary Club, YMCA of Yakima, the Yakima Rotary Trust, Heritage University, and Yakima YMCA Trust. He has also served on boards for the Yakima Valley Bank, Red Cross, Providence Hospital, and various business associations.


Douglas Burnett (’81 HBM), the resident manager of The Coeur d’Alene Resort, was reappointed to the private-sector advisory Idaho Travel Council by Gov. Butch Otter. He started serving on the council in 2014 and his new term will expire in 2020.

Amy Freeman (’82 Const. Mgmt.), assistant dean of engineering outreach and inclusion at Penn State University, has been elected president of the Women in Engineering ProActive Network. The nonprofit educational organization founded in 1990 aims to be a catalyst for change to enhance the success of women in the engineering professions. Prior to joining Penn State in 2000 as director of the Multicultural Engineering Program, Freeman served as director of human and cultural diversity at Lock Haven University. Amy received two National Society of Black Engineers Golden Torch awards in 2010, for lifetime achievement in academia and as minority engineering program director of the year.

Theresa Libby (’83 Elem. Ed.) retired as the K–8 principal for the Wahkiakum School District after 15 years there. She also worked 17 years in the Kalama School District.

The Airport Consultants Council (ACC) selected Karen Miles (’84 Civ. Eng.), civil engineering project manager in the Federal Aviation Administration Seattle Airport District Office, for the 2017 ACC Agency Best Practices Award in recognition of her outstanding leadership role in the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport runway realignment design and construction project. Karen joined the FAA in 1998 and has enjoyed working with airports across the state of Washington.

Eric Elder (’85 Ag. Econ.), professor of business and economics at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, is retiring after 32 years. An accountant, Elder says he felt a sense of calling to become an economics professor at a Christian college.

Dick Spink (’85 Ed.), a Mount Vernon teacher and boatbuilder, appeared in the History Channel’s documentary, “Amelia Earhart: The Lost Evidence” in July. On the show, Spink explained airplane parts he and companions found in the Marshall Islands that could be from Earhart’s 1937 crash. He’s been assisted in the search by John Bolis Gonzales (’93 Poli. Sci.), chief of staff for the Northern Marianas Islands lieutenant governor.

CBRE has appointed Julie Purnell (’86 HBM) as managing director of CBRE Hotels. She brings more than 25 years experience in the hotel industry. Based in San Francisco, Purnell will bolster the firm’s advisory practice in the northwest and mountain regions.

John Steach (’86 Chem. Eng., ’05 MBA, ’11 EdD) is now the superintendent for Evergreen Public Schools in Vancouver. Evergreen is the sixth largest district in Washington and serves over 26,000 students.

Boeing appointed Jenette Ramos (’88 Phys. Sci.), a 29-year Boeing veteran with executive leadership roles in fabrication, supplier management, and environmental health and safety, as senior vice president for supply chain and operations. She has held numerous roles at Boeing, most recently as leader of fabrication overseeing more than 17,000 employees on manufacturing commercial airplanes.

Yakima Valley College appointed Marcia Somer (’88 MA Hum. Dev.) as dean of their Grandview campus. In her over 25 years in higher education, she was associate dean of Lake Washington Institute of Technology in Kirkland, a dean of English and social sciences at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, California, and worked at several other community and technical colleges.


Kelan Koenig (’90 Phil.), medical director of Overlake Medical Center’s Psychiatric Services since 2001, is the new chief of staff elect for the Eastside Health Alliance and Network in Bellevue, a joint venture and clinically integrated network of Overlake Medical Center and EvergreenHealth.

Mark Johnson (’91 Ag. Eng.) has been named project manager for Bechtel’s Sabine Pass Liquid National Gas project in Louisiana. Johnson has worked at Bechtel since 1998 and held positions of increasing responsibility including project engineer at the Yucca Mountain project in Nevada and others. He was elected a principal vice president of Bechtel National Inc. in 2015.

Joy Fisher (’92 MBA) was promoted to the position of executive director of the University of Idaho Foundation in May. She has worked at UI for 35 years, most recently serving as the director of finance for the foundation.

Architects Jim Friesz (’93 Arch.) and Kristen Becker, and artist Saul Becker announced the formation of Seattle-based Mutuus Studio. The firm is focused on an interdisciplinary design approach, merging architecture and interior design, as well as artist collaboration projects and material exploration. Among the firm’s current projects are a residence in Southern California, a large-scale art installation at the Snug Harbor Music Hall in Staten Island, New York, and cabin retreats in Big Sky, Montana and Cle Elum, Washington. Friesz spent 23 years with architecture firm Olson Kundig.


PCS Structural Solutions in Tacoma and Seattle promoted Luke Heath (’00, ’01 MS Civ. Eng.) to principal. He has been with the company for 15 years and worked on the WSU Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center, Centralia High School, and Madison Elementary School in Mount Vernon. PCS also promoted Kyle Murdock (’06 Civ. Eng.) from project manager to associate. He first joined the company in 2006 and returned in 2014.

Riverview Bancorp in Vancouver, Washington, announced that Kevin J. Lycklama (’00 Fin.) has been promoted to executive vice president and chief operating officer, responsible for the daily operations and management of the bank. He has been executive vice president and chief financial officer since February 2008. Previously, he served as vice president and controller of the bank.

Priest River, Idaho, Police Chief Andrew McLain (’01 Crim. Jus.) received the POST Executive Certificate, the highest certificate awarded to peace officers in Idaho, in June. He has served as chief there since 2014.

The International Nurses Association welcomed Shelly L. LaFrance (’01, ’05 MN Nursing) to their organization with her upcoming publication in the Worldwide Leaders in Healthcare. LaFrance is a family nurse practitioner currently serving patients within the Moonstone Medical Group in Vancouver, Washington. She specializes in functional medicine, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and also provides a range of aesthetic medicine services.

Licia LeGrant (’01 Arch.), AIA, NCARB, has joined Bernardo|Wills Architects in Spokane. LeGrant is currently working on the Catalyst Project in Spokane’s southern University District, Katerra Inc.’s CLT manufacturing facility in Spokane Valley, and Refrigeration Supplies Distributor’s branch store in Vancouver.  LeGrant has 16 years of architectural experience.

Ridgefield High School in southwest Washington has a new principal: Christen Palmer (’01 For. Lang. and Lit., Ed., ’08 MEd). Palmer has taught in the Vancouver area since 2001, and was previously associate principal at Heritage High School.

Jaymee Sire (’02 Comm.) is headed for Food Network, where she will serve as floor reporter on Iron Chef Showdown. Sire writes the food-related blog “e is for eat.” She previously worked as an anchor for SportsCenter on ESPN.

James Ford (’03 Elec. Eng.) has joined Meier Architecture + Engineering in Kennewick. He brings more than 13 years of experience as an electrical engineer to the firm.

Ruth Mollet (’03 Nursing) has joined the gastroenterology department at St. Peter’s Medical Group North in Helena, Montana. The board-certified family nurse practitioner previously was a same day nurse at St. Peter’s Hospital.

The WSU College of Pharmacy selected Nick Bruck (’04 DPH), pharmacist and district pharmacy manager for Walgreens, as its 2016 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. He is the youngest alum to receive this honor since the college began the award in 1991. In the past year, Spokane experienced an unanticipated mumps outbreak that affected more than 250 residents in the region. Bruck donated his time and skills to help students organize clinical teams that would provide MMR vaccinations at schools, community centers, and other locations. Earlier this spring, Bruck was honored with the Inland Northwest Service-Learning Partnership Impact Award for his contributions to the response surrounding the mumps outbreak.

Harold Heck (’04 MIS) has joined the University of Idaho College of Law as the director of academic success in Boise. He moved from Charlotte, North Carolina’s Charlotte School of Law where he served as an academic success lecturer. In private law practice before teaching, Harold focused on personal injury, bankruptcy, Social Security, and veteran benefits.

Oakland immigration attorney Otis Landerholm (’04 Phil., Spanish) has been recognized by The State Bar of California as a certified specialist in immigration law. Landerholm has been named a Super Lawyers’ Northern California Rising Star from 2012 to 2017, an honor bestowed on only two and a half percent of attorneys in California.

Benjamin Riggs (’04 Phil.) was named executive chef at Salish Lodge & Spa in Snoqualmie. He has 18 years of culinary experience and has been with Salish since 2015.

Winemaker Shane Collins (’05 Comm.) left Tsillan Cellars after ten years to join Rocky Pond Winery. The Lake Chelan native will take on a number of viticultural and winemaking duties for the young Rocky Pond operation.

Chief Umtuch Middle School teacher Beth Doughty (’05 MIT) won the honor of history teacher of the year for Washington state. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, a national organization devoted to K–12 American history education, chose the Battle Ground teacher, who received $1,000 and eligibility to be the national history teacher of the year.

Paul Lunkes (’05 MBA) became a national technical leader with the Siegfried Group, a leadership advisory company for financial executives. Lunkes joined Siegfried in 2015 and has served as director of its Houston office. In his free time, Lunkes likes sport fishing, motorcycling, and traveling.

Brandy Stern (’05 Busi.) was promoted to manager of the Spokane Teachers Credit Union U-District branch after three years with STCU. She previously was assistant manager at the STCU Cheney branch.

Trout Unlimited has hired local ecologist Keri York (’05 MS Env. Sci.) as project manager for the Big Wood River area in Idaho. She has worked in several conservation initiatives in central Idaho.

Andrea Logan (’06 Arch.) has joined Steele Associates Architects in Bend, Oregon. She has over 15 years of experience working on mixed-use, multifamily residential, single-family residential, and commercial projects.

Trever Summers (’06 History) is the new principal of Haller Middle School in Arlington. He previously worked in Moses Lake and Wenatchee.

Kiley Smith (’07 Gen. St.) joined state and local advocacy firm Stateside Associates as a senior political consultant. In her new role, Kiley will plan and support state advocacy efforts on behalf of Stateside’s clients. She most recently worked as executive director of the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee. Kiley has also held professional positions with the Republican National Committee, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Republican Governors Association, and on Dino Rossi’s 2008 campaign for governor.

Cougar Crew brought on former standout Cougar rower Peter Brevick (x’08) as head coach. Cougar Crew, now approaching its fiftieth anniversary, includes both the men’s and women’s varsity sport rowing clubs. Brevick replaces Arthur Ericsson, who had been the Cougar Crew coach since fall 2004.

Highlands Veterinary Hospital welcomed Anna Odash (’08 Nurs., ’12 Ani. Sci., ’17 DVM) to its Butte, Montana, practice. Anna was a registered nurse for five years before going to veterinary school. Her interests include surgery and rehabilitation at work, and likes flyfishing, cooking, and hiking with her black lab in her spare time.

Aerospace Industries Association hired former Boeing Commercial Airplanes executive David Silver (’08 ETM) as its vice president of civil aviation. Silver brings almost two decades of experience from Boeing, as director of engineering and regulatory affairs, and deputy fleet chief for the 787 program. He served 22 years in the Washington Army National Guard.

The University of Hawai’i men’s basketball program brought on Marlon Stewart (’08 Sport Mgmt.) as an assistant coach. Stewart has been working in collegiate basketball for more than a decade, including the last three seasons at the University of Montana. During his stints at Montana, Virginia, Cal, and WSU, the teams reached the postseason 10 straight times, including six NCAA tournaments, three conference championships, and two Sweet 16 appearances.

Garet Studer (’08 Sport Mgmt., ’12 MEd) joined Everett Community College as athletic director. He has spent the past two years working as the director of operations for the Northwest Athletic Conference.

Aron Baynes (’09 Kinesio.) was signed to the Boston Celtics of the NBA. The former WSU star center won an NBA title with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014.


William S. Hart Union High School District in Santa Clarita, California, hired Ralph Peschek (’12 Hum.) as chief financial officer. He has worked with and for school districts since 2001, and before that was general manager for Sodexo School Services in Maryland for almost 11 years.

Laryssa Schmidt (’12 Soc. Sci.), a teacher at Charles Wright Academy in Tacoma, received a James Madison Fellowship, which supports further study of American and U.S. Constitutional history for teachers in secondary schools. Schmidt, a Gig Harbor resident and one of 53 recipients in the United States, will get funding to pursue a master’s degree.

The Thurston County Economic Development Council hired Karissa Benjamin (’15 Sport Mgmt.) as its new marketing and events manager. Karissa previously worked as an athletics department assistant at Tacoma Community College, and as events coordinator for the Lacey South Sound Chamber of Commerce.

Euroleague basketball team Anadolu Efes Istanbul signed former Cougar standout forward Brock Motum (’15 Psych.) in June. Brock has spent the past two seasons with Lithuanian champion team Zalgiris Kaunas.

University of Kentucky entomology student Emily Nadeau (’15 Biol.) had a type of parasitoid wasp named for her, after winning Kentucky professor Michael Sharkey’s insect trivia contest. The wasp, Scabagathis emilynadeauae, is officially registered by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature.  Emily received her master’s at the University of Kentucky in August and has begun pursuing her doctorate. She is also joining a research team to Antarctica to study extreme environments.

Eco Building Products, Inc., a subsidiary of Wood Protection Technologies in San Diego, hired Jinxue Jiang (’16 PhD Mat. Sci.) as director of chemistry and technology. He will lead the company’s research and new product development, and has extensive experience in wood physics and chemistry as well as polymer science.

CharLee Linton (’16 Psych.), a record-setting Cougar distance runner in 2015–16, has joined the Washington State University track and field and cross country coaching staff as an assistant coach for the women’s distance runners.

Robert “Will” Mellish (’17 Elec. Eng.) has been commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, after serving as a member of Air Force ROTC Detachment 905 at WSU. He was assigned to the Persistent Infrared Squadron at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in June.

Korsmo Construction added Joe Shoemaker (’17 Civ. Eng.) as a project engineer to their Tacoma-based contracting company. He will manage submittals, communicate with subcontractors, and assist project managers. Joe is currently working on a  project for Telecare Mental Health Services.