Come late summer, Alaska’s farmland blooms with romance and colorful ruffles. It’s the season for peonies in the north country—an unlikely floral industry that, thanks to bridal demand, has given rise to a surprising horticultural gold rush.
The lure is especially tempting for those with small parcels of land. Wayne ’76 and Patti ’75 Floyd, for example, joined the stampede in 2011 with only two acres, and have since created a successful business claiming both national and international markets.
“We’d had this farm bug in our hearts from the beginning but we were never in a place that we could do that,” says Patti. … » More …
After 30 years of shepherding environmental and energy efficiency projects around the Northwest, Jennifer Eskil ’81 retired last spring with accolades.
Her employer, the Bonneville Power Administration, certainly recognized her achievements. BPA Administrator Elliot Mainzer presented the Walla Walla resident with the agency’s highest honor, the BPA Meritorious Service Award.
Eskil received the distinction during the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2017 awards program in March. The award recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to BPA’s mission through excellence in their chosen field for 10 years or more. Eskil was the industrial and agriculture sector lead in energy efficiency.
Working for a Portland, Oregon, staffing firm in the late 1990s, Kristin McKinney ’95 helped recruit employees to the city’s burgeoning tech industry. The job unleashed her own geek.
“I found I had a bit of an inner nerd,” says McKinney, who got her degree in business. “I never really knew that.”
Her newfound enthusiasm was tempered by a sobering reality: Women then, like now, accounted for less than 30 percent of the computing and information technology workforce, according to the National Science Foundation.
McKinney, now a recruiter in Nashville, Tennessee, is working to reverse the trend. In 2013, she joined computer application engineer Rachel … » More …
Nearly two weeks before the Seattle Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII, Cindy Kelley was arriving in New York to set up a temporary team headquarters that would become like a cross between a satellite office and a MASH unit.
Kelley ’81 and the rest of the advance crew scrambled to keep up with a schedule measured in hours, not days. Telephones, computers, office space, accommodations, meals, air and ground transportation, special events, family activities—all needing to be arranged immediately.
“The whole goal is to make sure there are no distractions for the players and coaches,” says Kelley, vice president for human resources for the » More …
On a sunny Saturday in Leavenworth, Holly Fiske ’06 and Leah Hemberry set out to work on the mountain.
They dig through the back of Fiske’s SUV and pull out a backpack and yoga trapeze from under a paddleboard, snowboard, and other outdoor accessories. They hike up Icicle Ridge trail and, after a few switchbacks, Hemberry spots a picturesque backdrop.
Fiske drops her bag and sticks a handstand into one of the many yoga poses in her repertoire. Hemberry captures the moment with photos that Fiske will share with her more than 100,000 Instagram followers.
When Fiske née Robertson graduated from Washington State University … » More …
Hundreds of eager WSU seniors prepare to leave Pullman each spring after graduation. Some might be headed to new jobs or internships. Others will go to graduate school, the military, or the Peace Corps. Whatever the destination, almost all those Cougs have a common need: sturdy boxes.
As they pack their crimson sweatshirts, posters, and books, the graduating students will carry away another reminder of their college days: free WSU-themed packing boxes.
And they can thank Dave Wilson ’86 for his volunteer efforts in arranging delivery of about 1,500 of those boxes for the last eight years.
Before she became a bank executive, philanthropist, and civic leader, Phyllis Campbell ’73 felt the powerful impact of a benevolent act.
Former WSU Regent Campbell was trying to raise money to attend Washington State University, when a check for $2,500 arrived from a WSU scholarship fund aimed at low-income students. “The thing that left the impression was this person who gave back, who paid it forward,” she recalls. “I know the power of a check, the power of somebody’s message, somebody paying attention,” she once told a reporter.
Now Campbell is receiving recognition for giving back to others with the Seattle-King County First Citizen … » More …
Cougar-owned landscape architecture and design firm Land Expressions in Spokane won a top national award in December for work on Spokane’s Huntington Park and the Spokane Tribal Gathering Place.
This project won over much larger design build projects from all over the country. The Grand Award from the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) “is the biggest award we can receive in our industry,” says Dave Nelson ’83, president and owner of the company.
The Land Expressions team—which includes senior landscape architect Clayton Varick ’00 and landscape architects Nicholas Hamad ’10 and Fernando Camargo ’10—had a very good year in 2015.
What are trained architects doing making hard cider?
“It’s a great beverage with a great legacy,” says Austin Dickey ’00, who tasted his first cider while visiting Europe after graduating from high school. He and colleague Rick Hastings share a passion for traditional hard cider.
After experimenting with homemade batches for years, the two began comparing notes and decided in 2012 to transform their hobby into a commercial venture.
“For us it’s all about the apples and yeast,” says Dickey.
Liberty Ciderworks, located in downtown Spokane, became the state’s first urban craft cidery and was among the initial wave of artisanal cider producers to … » More …