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Business Leaders

Jennifer Eskil
Fall 2017

Jennifer Eskil ’81

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.

“Eskil is regarded as … » More …

Dinner with girl geeks - Kristin McKinney
Spring 2017

Dinner with girl geeks

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 …

Fred Kamaka (left) with his brother Sam Kamaka Jr. Photo Tommy Shih
Spring 2017

Sweet strumming

Leaning back against a wall mounted with a variety of ukuleles, Fred Kamaka begins the story of his family’s 100-year-old ukulele business for a tour group at the factory in Honolulu.

“To be cool in the ’20s, you needed to have a coonskin cap and a uke in hand,” he says, “So my father started making ukuleles.”

A spry 91-year-old, Fred sprinkles the history with dry jokes, and periodically pulls down one of the ukuleles to musically punctuate a point.

His father, professional musician Samuel Kamaka Sr., traveled to New York and Europe and learned the luthier’s art before he returned to Hawai‘i and began … » More …

Fall 2016

Cougs behind the Seahawks

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 …

Fall 2016

Upside down on the mountain

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 …

Dave Wilson '86 with WSU-themed boxes for graduates, produced by Spokane Packaging. Photo Robert Hubner
Summer 2016

Boxing day for Cougs

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.

“The way the box is designed you don’t … » More …

Phyllis Campbell ’73. Photo Scott A. Harder
Spring 2016

Phyllis Campbell

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 …

Land Expressions - class note thumb
Spring 2016

A grand gathering place

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.

They won the … » More …

Winter 2015

Liberty Ciderworks

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 …

McCarty thumb
Winter 2015

Michael and Virginia Jessemey McCarty

Philanthropists, business leaders, and WSU supporters Michael and Virginia Jessemey McCarty received the WSU Alumni Association Alumni Achievement Award in September. Virginia graduated in 1974 with a broadcasting degree, and Michael earned his degree in recreation in 1975. He recently retired as chief executive officer of the Association of Washington Cities. She is the owner of McCarty & Associates marketing firm, which she founded in 1986.

Michael has been manager of the Thurston Conservation District, administrator for the City of Shelton, past president of the Washington City Management Association, and board member for the National League of Cities. He was appointed by former Gov. Chris … » More …