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2009 40 Under Forty Winners
Congratulations — 40 Under Forty Class of 2009
Drawn from a pool of more than 75 entries the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal would like to introduce you to the “40 Under Forty” Class of 2009. Our discerning panel of judges selected 40 of the Kitsap Peninsula’s most outstanding individuals based on their career success, community involvement and commitment to making a difference.
These young men and women represent our next generation of business and community leaders who will help influence and direct the future of the Kitsap Peninsula and its growth.
The judges were David LaRose, South Kitsap Superintendent of Schools; Kathryn Quade, Mayor of the City of Poulsbo; Scott Alexander, Director of Golf at Gold Moutain Golf Club.
Thank you to our sponsors:
- Harrison Medical Center
- Bank of America Home Loans
- The Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort
- Betty Skinner Insurance: Allstate
- Printing Services, commemorative program
- West Sound Workforce, logistics
- Gordon Sound
Special thanks to our keynote speaker, Cary Bozeman CEO, Port of Bremerton.
How Our Honorees Earned Their First Dollar
From odd jobs as children to first jobs as teenagers, earning that first dollar is one of those lifetime memories that this year’s class enjoyed sharing.
For many, babysitting and mowing the lawn were some of our honorees first jobs. “Like most teenage girls, my first dollars were made babysitting. I handmade flyers and posted them in the neighborhood; knocked on doors and introduced myself. These early ‘interviews’ helped me later in life to be confident and at ease in any situation,” says Leah Wattree.
“Mowing lawns at the age of 9. I had over 15 accounts in the apartment complex I lived in…I found a discarded lawn mower that was a manual push bladed mower, no gas needed for this strong kid,” says John Miller.
Dr. Kimberly Chan made her first dollar off the pure fact that she was three years old and cute. “I pretty much collected rocks in the backyard and brushed each rock with ONE dab of paint and called them “pet rocks” …Our super nice neighbors actually bought them. As a result, my mom said that I am forever in debt to ANY child selling ANYTHING.”
Kristin Pearson also used her age as an advantage, “I would draw pictures and post them around the living room and would charge my parents to buy them from me.”
Some of our honorees learned lessons along the way to earning their first dollar. “I remember cleaning our garage at my home when I was five or six for $2.00. I recall rushing through the job and expecting my Dad to hand over the money. He calmly shook his head and told me that I was capable of doing a better job; I went back did it again properly. That was a valuable lesson to learn for a young boy,” says Patrick Murray.
Aaron Murphy says, “I made my first entrepreneurial dollar by winning a “read-a-thon” in 5th grade. I read 112 books, and had gotten pledges of ten to fifty cents per book…My ‘old school’ grandfather wouldn’t pay up unless I agreed that each book would be a minimum of 40 pages, and I’d write a summary report on a 3x5 card for each one as verification of reading it! He’s one of my idols to this day, and he turns 89 next month.”
David Nelson’s first dollars earned were during the hot summer days, “I picked strawberries and raspberries for a small family farm in Skagit Valley when I was 10 years old. The pay was lousy and the work was hard, but there were free berries at the end of every day, and I suppose that and a paycheck brought me back to the fields each summer through high school.”
Our honorees have had an array of unique and entertaining ways that they made their first dollar. Some washed cars, sold lemonade, flipped burgers and even balanced checkbooks for grandparents. In the end they all learned the value of hard work and have shared that lesson along the way purely by their actions.
Common Threads That Bind
Family. Community service. Faith. Learning the value of a dollar. Literacy. These are among the common threads that ran through many of the 40 Under Forty application forms.
A number of our 40 Under Forty honorees cited organizations that they were involved with during childhood and which they believe contributed to who they are today. One of these organizations is the Boy Scouts, who helped to demonstrate a unique sense of community camaraderie and is the absolute personification of learning, while giving back to the community.
Robert McNamara knows the benefits of community organizations, and participates as a Boy Scouts Adult leader. “I do this because of the tools scouting has given me to succeed and become a contributing member of society. I believe that this is one of the best methods for helping and guiding the future of our country and world.”
Others also share strong passions of giving back to the youth of our community. Melissa McDonald donates her time and skills by teaching disabled children how to ride horses. She volunteers at the Thunderbird Rodeo, a fundraiser that supports Cory’s Day at the Farm and the Northwest Burn Foundation. “Every year I am blessed by the smiles of those kids as they show me how incredibly capable they are when they are on a horse,” says Melissa.
All of our honorees give back to the community in their own ways and to what they think is best for the places that they live and work. Kathleen Wilson believes that reading can help shape an environment. “I have a strong belief in the importance of public libraries and the role they need to play in the community as centers for lifelong learning and also as an evolving community gathering,” says Kathleen.
“Why do I involve myself so heavily with these organizations?” Cassandra Hoffman says. “It is simple, because I love it! The rewarding feeling I get when I see positive changes that I had a direct hand in, is the best feeling in the world. I am creating a better place for my child and others around me. I believe heavily in investing in the community you live and work in… This is what community is all about.”
Jason Parker shares a lesson on the value of success, “Success isn’t measured by how much money you make. It’s about the relationships and impact we have with our families, clients and community.”
After her first day on the job selling lemonade, Zahra Akhgar determined a glitch in her business plan and fixed it right away, “After realizing at the end of day that I did not have a strong enough customer base (nice neighbors) I must branch out. I convinced my mother to let me set up my lemonade stand outside of the PSNS gate by Gregory Way…I made a lot of money for an eight year old and I was hooked on that sales and service feeling of accomplishment.”
These were the type of life lessons and experiences that all of our honorees shared, moments that helped shape them into the successful people they are today. It was that moment when they decided to step out, not knowing where the road would lead or what obstacles they would encounter, that separates them from being a leader or a follower.
The 2009 40 Under Forty Winners
C.O.O., Ultra Custom Cleaners
Zahra Akhgar’s entrepreneurial thirst came at a very young age when her mother allowed her to open up her own lemonade stand. Upset about the turnout, she convinced her mother to relocate and ended up outside the gates of PSNS. “I made a lot of money for an eight year old and I was hooked on that sales and service feeling of accomplishment,” Zahra says. Her thirst continued with a career path starting as a grant writer, a volunteer coordinator and then as a manager for Ultra Custom Cleaning. Under the supervision of the present owners, Zahra learned the ins and outs of the dry cleaning business. “Working for them was more education than grad school,” says Zahra. In 2008, she was given the opportunity to purchase the company and did so with the complete support of her family. Zahra has donated to auctions and many other organizations throughout her first year in business.
President/Customer Account Manager, Life After Graduation, LLC/Avalara
President of Life After Graduation LLC, MPC Realty LLC, Real Estate Investors of Kitsap and Customer Account Manager for Avalara, Terry Arndt has found the hidden formula of time management and pure dedication. With an eclectic career path, Terry helps transitioning college students with the tools for financial, career and academic success. His locally owned real estate business provides affordable housing and his non-profit business, Real Estate Investors of Kitsap, educates, mentors and supports real estate investors. And to top it off he also works for Avalara, a full-service sales tax management company. With all that he does, Terry definitely has the two for one deal going on. “I have been blessed with having a rich, successful and diverse background of entrepreneurial and career experiences. The more unique and personally rewarding the opportunity, the more intriguing it is,” Terry states.
Chief Grants Officer, Anthem Grant and Advocacy
One thing you wouldn’t know about Cynthia Bellas is that she secretly wanted to be an opera singer, but instead started her career path in an industry sometimes taken for granted, the public school system. While working in the education field she became involved in the technology movement for schools, which led her into writing and winning a $5 million grant. Cynthia was then offered a job at Teacher Universe, an educational start up company, as development project manager and then to Thomson Learning in their market development department. Years later, she started her own company, Giant Forms, and also served on an array of non-profit boards, leading her to Development Director. “I maintained a rigorous discipline in the grant writing world and this naturally lead to the present position of Chief Grants Officer for Anthem Grant and Advocacy,” says Cynthia.
Owner, Just For Kicks School of Dance
At the tender age of four-years-old, Tanya discovered her passion and it has continued to grow and develop throughout her life. She started teaching dance at the age of thirteen and at fifteen was encouraged by many parents to open her own studio. In her junior her of high school Tanya opened her first studio in the basement of her parents home. Her first registration brought over 25 students. As her company grew Tanya eventually found a home for Just For Kicks School of Dance and now has 400 students, and teaches the age groups of 15 months to senior citizens. In addition to teaching dance, she also co-directs a competition team that travels nationally and has won many awards. Tanya is most proud of being a part of the Make A Wish foundation where she was able to make a little girl’s wish of becoming a ballerina come true.
Service Manager, HugesTech NW
Shawnee Brown, Service Manager of HugesTech NW, has a background dedicated to the protection of people. It first started when she went to work for her brother in the inspection division of a fire sprinkler company and then led to a position at a large fire alarm and sprinkler company, then to Branch Manager for Guardian Security Systems Inc. and most recently to Service Manager for HugesTech NW. Not only a leader in her field, but also a large contributor to her community, Shawnee serves on the Board of Directors for the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce, 2009 Associates Network Chair of the Kitsap County Home Builders Association, a member of the Mathis Guild for Harrison Hospital, and is on an array of Home Builder Association committees. She knows perfection doesn’t exist and often references back to the advice of one her customers, “It’s not the mistake that matters, it’s how you respond and fix it.”
Marketing/Community Relations Director, The Willows Retirement Living
At the age of thirteen, Mindy earned her first dollar, which included $350 and two 10-speed bicycles, by getting the most newspaper subscriptions. After selling newspaper subscriptions, later in life she became owner of a Gymboree and I Can’t Believe Its Yogurt Franchise. In 2003 Mindy joined a group of ladies to create a new market called Meal Assembly, where customers could come and assemble their own entrees. “By 2007, I retired with having over 280 successful franchises across the nation,” describes Mindy. She now is a part of The Willows Retirement Living serving as Marketing/Community Relations Director. She contributes to the community by helping homeless single parent mothers get back on their feet and provides them shelter in her home. In addition, Mindy is a part of the East Bremerton Rotary and Little Norway Toastmasters.
Dr. Kimberly Chan
MD, Kitsap General Surgery
Dr. Kimberly Chan moved to Kitsap County three years ago and helped found Kitsap General Surgery with the hopes of becoming the premier surgical group in the area. Since her relocation Dr. Chan has become a great asset to Kitsap. She is currently working on developing and expanding the oncology services at Harrison Hospital, helping to develop a hepatobiliary service and also sits on Harrison’s oncology service line board to help to attain an electronic medical record system. Although deep in the health field and helping people, Dr. Chan’s first dollar earned was selling rocks at the age of three. What Dr. Chan wished she would have known earlier: “That there really is no destination to the journey, life is just the journey itself…There is always some new challenge to face or some new project to start. And once you realize this, you welcome it with open arms,” Dr. Chan says.
Owner, David Connolly Insurance Agency
David Connolly’s career path started as a customer service representative for a local agency and soon he moved his way up to an agent role serving as a producer for other agents. Frustrated with the inbalance of all his hard work and the outcome, he decided to do something about it. At 24 he made the jump and opened his own agency. He is proud to say his greatest achievements were the day he got married and the births of his two children. He’ll never forget when a clients’ house burned down two days before Christmas, David and his business helped provide shelter and money to repurchase gifts, showing the power of what small business does for a community. He volunteers and coaches a boys and girls soccer team and also a baseball team during the spring. In addition, he and his wife are actively involved with the Central Kitsap Montessori program and his agency also helps to raise money for March of Dimes.
Attorney/Partner, Rovang, Fong & Associates
Eric Fong is a partner at Rovang, Fong & Associates and practices in criminal and personal injury. He has over 50 jury trials and over 60 cases argued in the Court of Appeals. In addition, he is licensed to practice law in the United States Supreme Court and Federal Courts and has argued twice in the Washington State Supreme Court. Eric’s community activities include: President of Gerry Spences Trial Lawyers College, member of the Board of Governors for the Washington State Association for Justice, Secretary for the Kitsap County Bar Association and will soon become a member of the Board of Directors for the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce. In an arena where aggression, power moves and conflict traditionally are thought of as key attributes to success, he has excelled by respecting others, listening and using sound judgment.
Dr. Michelle Cho Gip
Doctor, Well Being Health Center
Dr. Michelle Cho Gip has a strong sense of humanitarianism and it shows in her field of wellness and health for people. “We work with our patients as partners in their health and wellness by not only helping them function and feel better but to also learn how to stay that way,” describes Dr. Gip. Her proudest moment is taking care of her mother who helped raise her and her siblings as a single mother. “My mother had always been the solid rock for my siblings and I,” Dr. Gip says. She is heavily involved in the community, serving as a member of the Soroptimist International of Greater North Kitsap, Poulsbo Farmers Market, Poulsbo Rotary and a member to the Poulsbo Chamber of Commerce. “The organizations I have joined all have a common thread; make our community a wonderful place to live and work, and to help those around you also live better,” Dr. Gip says.
Director of Property Management, Details Property Management/Karin Kay Properties
After graduating from the University of Washington in 1992, Heidi started a journey that has lead her into establishing her own business, Detail Property Management. Heidi held various jobs in the real estate industry such as bookkeeper, licensed assistant and property management consultant, before taking a leap of faith to create what is now a prominent property management company serving in the Kitsap County area. “I am proud that I was willing to take the risk and start a management company from nothing,” Heidi says. She has grown a company that is now managing over 125 units from its humble start in the summer of 2005. Outside of work, Heidi is actively involved with her church and church leadership. She helped establish a branch campus for a youth group that was eventually chartered a church. As a proud mother of three, Heidi draws strength from the support of her family.
Financial Advisor, Edward Jones
David Hawley, Financial Advisor for Edward Jones, hasn’t always been in finance. His first dollar earned was working for Spiro’s Pizza in Port Orchard and it wasn’t the first or last time David worked at a pizza joint. He put himself through Washington State University where he earned his degree in finance by managing a pizza restaurant and later opened four franchise stores in Utah. Eventually David wanted to return to financial services and landed a job at a company which allowed him to work anywhere in the country. He is most proud of building a successful business that allowed him to serve his clients locally and to spend time with his family. He is a member of North Mason Kiwanis, where he gives back to the community and supports youth. In addition, David helps coach South Kitsap soccer where he also gets to spend time with his children.
Owner/Agent, C L Hoffman Insurance Agency
Cassandra Hoffman has been a part of the Kitsap community her whole life, contributing to it in many ways. Since opening her business in 2007, Cassandra has dedicated many hours to her community by becoming involved with the North Mason Chamber of Commerce, North Mason Rotary, North Mason Kiwanis, North Mason Relay for Life, Junior Achievement of Kitsap County and March of Dimes. She involves herself so heavily with these organizations because she loves it. At the age of 25, Cassandra dedicates her time to running a business that helps to educate, protect and guide her customers. “Because we are a Farmers Insurance Agency, we bring the strength of a large conservative corporation and combine it with the small town personal loyalty that we offer,” says Cassandra.
Dr. Paul Hutchinson
Owner/Dentist, South Kitsap Family Dentistry
Paul Hutchinson earned his first dollar at the age of 12 delivering newspapers in the South King County district. His work ethic continued to grow as he did and eventually seated Paul as the co-owner and practicing dentist at South Kitsap Family Dentistry. After experiencing a sports injury in high school Paul’s focus took a noticeable shift into his academic development. On top of receiving a degree in kinesiology and dentistry, Paul graduated Magna Cum Laude from Tufts University in Boston. Paul is the current president of the Kiwanis Club educational committee as it gives him the opportunity to be involved with helping children within the local community. “The key to a great business is great customer service,” Paul believes. Paul does all phases of dentistry and assists people of all ages at his shop.
Owner/Esthetician, Isella Day Spa
Christina Jara asked herself the question, “What would I want my business to offer if it were entirely up to me?” The answer to that question ignited Christina to open her own multi-level spa that facilitates retail, manicures, pedicures, wax, massage, facials, body scrubs, and a host of other relaxing services. For the past 3 years Isella Day Spa has exhibited growth even through the spiraling economy. The success is attributed to Christina’s focus on keeping her business gender-neutral and providing excellent customer service. Aside from the work at the spa Christina has worked with Sustainable Bremerton to help with a neighborhood planting project, sponsored the YWCA’s Arts Alive program, and donated services to United Way, Naval Avenue Elementary PTA and other community non-profit organizations.
Marketing Representative, Sound Publishing, Inc.
Katerina has always been in the service of people, starting out in the airlines industry as a Customer Service agent, she knows exactly what it takes. “The importance of continually providing the best customer service to my client has always meant ensuring satisfaction and happiness for every person with whom I work,” says Katerina. Eventually she changed careers and became manager at a grooming shop and later began her position at Sound Publishing. She believes that her prior experiences working with community really prepared her for this position. In addition, Katerina also serves as Yeoman for the Coast Guard and is a Music Educator at Washington Academy of Music. She volunteers her time at Seafair and Tall Ships events. She most recently participated in the Danskin Triathlon, an event that supports the Breast Cancer Foundation.
Editor/Reporter, Sound Publishing, Inc.
As the editor of the Central Kitsap Reporter and the Bremerton Patriot, Kassie Korich is proud to serve in a role with so much responsibility. Achieving her title as editor at the age of 22 was challenging but Kassie appreciates how her work has helped her grow professionally and personally. “If you work hard enough and put your all in, the results can be far better than you imagined but it takes dedication,” Kassie says. Off to a quick start in high school Kassie received her diploma and an associate’s degree simultaneously. She also serves in the community as a member of Soroptimist International of Greater Bremerton Area, an organization that advances the lives of women and girls. “I love the feeling it gives me to know I am helping other women and girls,” Kassie states. She currently serves on the board as the corresponding secretary.
Brand Specialist/Designer, Lanski Marketing
Lanette Kuklinski started her career in a print shop after graduating from the Art Institute in Seattle. She was led to work later for a design firm, but has always wanted to work where she grew up, Kitsap County. Lanette soon got her opportunity and was hired at Sungrafix. Not long after working there she was confronted with the opportunity to open her own company. Lanski Marketing was born. What she wishes she knew earlier in life: “That possibilities are all around. I have lived in Kitsap since I was one and to have a company that I can work with local businesses as their marketing partner is a dream come true.” Lanette gives back to the community by donating to the local Humane Society, PAWS and ASPCA. She also donates her time to toy and school drives.
Sous Chef, Port Madison Enterprises
Matt LaMagna has his goals set and is ready for any challenge. He has worked for Clearwater Casino for Port Madison Enterprises for the last six years, but that’s not where he wants to be forever. Matt is currently working his way to become Executive Chef and later would like to make it to Beverage Director for a large corporation. His achievements include winning the first ever Iron Chef competition for Viking Fest and serving as interim Executive Chef for six months. Matt volunteers with events put on by the Suquamish Tribe and also cooks for Vinland Lutheran Preschool’s annual auction and fundraiser dinner. Matt explains, “I’m involved because I’m good at what I do and if I can help out someone with a skill that I have, that I enjoy, why not.”
Executive Assistant, Drury Construction
Melissa McDonald started into the work world full-time at a restaurant only two weeks after graduating from high school, and hasn’t stopped working since. One year later she followed her passion for animals and landed a job on a horse farm. Three years later she was working her way up from floor to quality control and then to night shift lead at Sage Manufacturing. Her career path then led her to work for two different veterinarian clinics and then eventually found her way to Drury Construction. She describes her current job as one of the best places to work in Kitsap County. Melissa’s community contribution includes her involvement with Thunderbird Rodeo, a fundraiser for that supports Corey’s Day on the Farm and Northwest Burn Foundation. She also contributes her time to Habitat for Humanity and is a member of the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Posse.
Architectural Designer, Rice Fergus Miller Architects
Robert McNamera’s personal career path is focused on his ultimate goal of being a project manager and partner in an architectural firm. He has a degree in Architectural Studies from WSU and is now working towards a Master’s in Business Administration at Walden University with an emphasis in project management, and will graduate in 2010. Robert is currently a year into the process of working through the 5-year Intern Development Program, necessary to apply for his architectural license. He also took it upon himself to become a LEED AP, which is an accreditation acknowledging substantial expertise in sustainability. When he came to Rice Fergus Miller, he offered a course in becoming a LEED AP — which has enjoyed a 100 percent success rate. He believes in giving back to the community and is involved with the Boy Scouts, Red Cross, and United Way.
Executive Director, Bainbridge Youth Services
Bainbridge Youth Services (BYS) was established in 1962, as a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the social and emotional well-being of all community adolescents. It’s the only organization in Kitsap County providing free mental health counseling services for teens, and helps hundreds of Kitsap County teens (ages 12-19) struggling with serious issues. Lori has always found herself drawn to working with young people, beginning with her first job as a “Park Supervisor” at age 14, where she spent daily time with pre-school aged children in a summer Park and Recreation program. She believes “lean and mean” non-profits have a profound impact on the lives of people and businesses in our community, and being part of BYS provides an excellent opportunity to engage with the adults, youth, businesses, schools, faith organizations, and government entities in the community.
Owner, Boomtown Productions
Boomtown Productions is responsible for some of the most exciting events and spectacular fireworks in Washington State. The firm’s festival productions include Silverdale Thunder Hydroplane Races & Old Mill Days Lumberjack Show, Miller Woodlawn Memorial Day, Viking Fest, Poulsbo 3rd of July, Bainbridge 4th of July, Blue Jackets 4th of July, Whaling Days, Old Mill Days, High School Homecoming shows, and Port Gamble Country Christmas. As a sailor stationed at Sub Base Bangor, being assigned shore duty gave him the opportunity to pursue his passion — fireworks. Beginning with three stands, within a year, he was up to six and running two shows and by year three, he purchased Fireworks Supermarket, a 20-year-old company. Today, the company has 16 retail outlets and runs almost every fireworks display show in Kitsap County.
Owner, Lighthouse Cove Property Management
Chrysztyna Montanez owns Lighthouse Cove Property Management, a local firm managing almost 500 residential rental properties throughout Kitsap and North Mason counties. The firm handles everything from single family residences to 50+ unit apartment complexes. She was approached by the former owner of LIghthouse Cove to come and clean their rentals, and then was invited into the office, working as a property manager in training while studying for her real estate license. In July of 2007, Chrysztyna purchased the company from the owner, increasing the number of managed properties by 30 within the first 18 months. She bought the property management division of Strategy Real Estate Inc. of Bremerton — more than doubling the inventory. In just over two years Lighthouse Cove has become Kitsap County’s second largest privately-owned property management company.
President, Leash4Lease, Inc./Amy Munns Consulting
Amy Munns founded Leash4Lease, Inc. (L4L), a Professional Pet Care service, in 2001. She and her team of independent contractors provide pet care in clients’ homes while they are away, or gone for long periods. L4L services over 250 clients, with much of their business being repeat customers. Amy also founded Munns Consulting in 2008. Drawing upon her personal experience and education (MS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and BA in Business), many of her approaches can be tailored to helping small business people and busy professionals run a much smoother operation. She always knew it was a matter of time before she would own and operate her own company. L4L is also a strong supporter of the Kitsap Humane Society and PAWS of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap. One surprising secret to Amy’s success is taking a power nap every day.
Owner/Architect, ADM Architecture, LLC
Aaron Murphy is the owner of ADM Architecture, a full-service firm founded in May 2009, and bringing 15 years of experience in both commercial and residential architecture to Poulsbo. He has a passion for architecture, as well as for business, and understands how important active listening is for customer satisfaction and client relations. Aaron’s many years of experience in the architectural field has involved all types of clients, projects, building sizes, scopes and budgets. Aaron felt an obvious urg to be in charge of his own destiny, coming to realize his desire to “be his own boss.” Aaron’s community service includes North Kitsap Rotary and its Community Service and Club Service Committees, as well as Rotary’s sub-committee on Domestic Violence. He’s also a passionate believer in “Paying it Forward.”
Executive Director, Boys & Girls Club of Bainbridge Island
Patrick Murray’s entire career has revolved around serving young people. From coaching soccer in high school, working with high risk students in college, teaching American Studies in Romania, as founding director of a Boys & Girls Club in rural Georgia, running teen programs in inner-city Denver, to running the Boys and Girls Club of Bainbridge Island. The energy and personal satisfaction from working with young people is one of the primary driving forces in his life. Patrick earned his first dollar at age 7, washing his dad’s car. Dad made him do it a second time because he missed several spots, teaching him that summer afternoon that if you take on a job, do it right the first time. Patrick is a graduate of Leadership Kitsap, a member of Bainbridge Island Rotary, the Health Housing & Human Services Council Director’s Forum, and he serves on the boards of One Call For All, and Island Time as well.
Editor, Kitsap Sun
David Nelson happened into journalism as a college undergraduate, drifted away for a few years, and drifted back, realizing it was his calling. He went back to school, worked at small newspapers writing about anything he could to build his portfolio, and moved around the country following opportunities to advance his career. He was hired by the Kitsap Sun in 2006 as an assistant local news editor, and has moved up through the parent company (Scripps) as opportunities have allowed. David is proud of never having burned a bridge as he’s moved around the country through several newspaper jobs, leaving every one of them with a good feeling. All his former bosses understood why he was moving on, and were supportive in seeing him move ahead in his career. An avid runner, David’s community service work includes Port Orchard Slugs Running Club and Bremerton Rotary Club.
Interior Designer, Rice Fergus Miller Architects
Jennifer Paige is an interior designer with the Bremerton architectural firm of Rice Fergus Miller Architecture & Planning, and has always dreamed of a being a designer that is best known for her creations. In the three years that she’s worked at Rice Fergus Miller, that dream has already come true. Jennifer has designed stunning interior spaces for Harrison Medical Center’s new facilities in Port Orchard, Poulsbo and Bremerton, among others. Jennifer believes the desired outcome of any project should be to captivate people on a purely emotional level, and surround them in an environment that touches them, and creates a lasting memory. She understands that means good design must have lasting impact, and it starts with a focus on the unique individuality of each client. It’s Jennifer’s goal to be able to continue designing spaces for clients that create amazing facilities they are proud of.
President, Parker Financial LLC
Jason Parker owns Parker Financial, a fee-based registered investment advisory firm specializing in wealth management for people preparing for, and transitioning through, retirement. Jason’s father was a business owner from the time he was very young, and he encouraged Jason to start his own lawn mowing business at age 10. After college, he worked for several large financial institutions, but in the late 1990’s, he started his own marketing firm. After seven successful years, he decided to return to financial services, landing a job as a financial advisor in GE Capital’s long-term care division. He realized there was a need for financial advisors who specialized in retirement. He formed Parker Financial to help provide independent investment and insurance advice. Jason believes success isn’t measured by how much money you make, but by the relationships we have with our families, clients and community.
Development Assistant, Kitsap Humane Society
Kirstin Causin Pearson serves as Development Director for the Kitsap Humane Society (KHS), a non-profit providing animal rescue, protection and adoption services. Over 6,000 animals pass through the shelter annually. Kirstin’s job is to help bring in funding to operate the shelter. Non-profit management is her career goal. Having worked with non-profits for over half her life, she has a strong sense of what non-profits bring to a community. Kirstin is most proud of her work in search and rescue — especially working with her search dog Albert. She has volunteered with Washington Explorer Search and Rescue, Kitsap County Unit since she was 14. At age 16, she became certified as a “ground pounder,” Kirstin became the youngest certified canine handler in Washington. She and Albert are now widely recognized in the search dog community in our state.
Owner, Rejuv Massage & Spa
Julie Poston is the owner of Rejuv Massage & Spa, a full-service day spa offering massage, facials, waxing, body wraps, manicures, pedicures and lash and brow tinting. Also offered is medical therapeutic massage, and Rejuv is a preferred provider for many health insurance carriers. Graduating from massage school in 2004, Julie discovered a love for business and knew she wanted to open a spa. She began offering therapeutic massage at the Amy Burnett Art Gallery while still working at the Boat Shed Restaurant. Building her clientele, she needed to expand, and opened a two-room location in Manette. In May 2007 Rejuv expanded again, moving around the corner into larger quarters, and began operating as a full service Day Spa, with five treatment rooms, and a staff of 10. Also in 2007, Rejuv placed third for “Best Massage” in Evening Magazine’s “Best of Western Washington.”
Dr. Satyavardhan Pulukurthy
Cardiologist, Kitsap Cardiology Consultants PLLC
Dr. Satyavardhan Pulukurthy, practices state-of-the-art cardiovascular medicine with Kitsap Cardiology Consultants, a specialty group of cardiologists. The firm delivers comprehensive cardiovascular care encompassing not just the heart, but the entire vascular system, as well as performing research. He attended medical school in India, performed research at the University of California, a residency at the University of Illinois, a fellowship at the University of Iowa, plus completed training at Michigan State University. He implanted the first carotid stent at Harrison Medical Center, and founded the percutaneous heart assist device program, which allows Harrison to perform life-saving high-risk cardiac procedures while unloading the heart with the help of the assist device implanted in the heart chambers. He is the only board certified Interventional cardiologist and Endovascular specialist on the Kitsap Peninsula.
President/Art Director, Jennergy, Inc.
Jenn Putnam is the owner of Jennergy, Inc. an award-winning, Poulsbo design firm. Established in 1998, she is very passionate about meeting clients’ needs by creating a collaborative environment capturing their individual story and unique vision. At age 14, knew she would be involved in something related to advertising. At age 18, she became Advertising Manager of her college newspaper. After college, she moved to the Peninsula, where computer design positions were few and far between — and quite competitive. She found work with a few corporate firms, and ad agencies both here and Seattle, before founding Jennergy. Jenn is dramatically different than the “typical” designer. She’s very much an artist with a strong head for business — and she’s convinced that’s why Jennergy has proven successful in both good and bad economic times.
Real Estate Salesman, Karin Kay Properties
Working with a boutique real estate firm fits Patrick “Packy” Rieder perfectly, appreciating the family atmosphere at Karin Kay Properties. He doesn’t believe a national logo on a sign sells a home. Making clients believe they’re more than just a number, and feel like they’re part of the family is his goal. Patrick understands that in business, goals are paramount, believing if there’s nothing to strive for, it’s easy to become complacent. The day he received his real estate license, he set his goal to become the firm’s Top Producer - and he has attained that goal four years running! It’s doing it with integrity that makes him the most proud. Patrick believes pride in your work is mandatory, and from that, your business will prosper. Most people would be surprised to learn he’s a Disabled Veteran, having fought with the Washington Army National Guard in Operation Iraqi Freedom 1 (‘03-‘05).
Store Manager, Verizon Wireless
Jamal grew up in Bremerton, graduating from Olympic High School in 2000. He attended college, but couldn’t afford to stay in school, due to helping his single mother raise foster kids. He worked at several retail jobs before being hired by Verizon in 2003. He started as a sales rep, and quickly rose through the ranks, being promoted a year later to Senior Sales Lead, and Assistant Manager, eight months later. Two years after that, Jamal was promoted to Supervisor, managing 2 locations, and a year later, promoted to Store Manager. He is proudest of giving back to children who don’t have families. His mother has been a foster parent for 20 years, and consistently gets new children who don’t have parents to take care of them. Jamal leads by example — he loves being a role model for success to these kids, and helping his mother provide love and guidance for them.
Director of Community Relations, South Kitsap School District
Aimee Warthen graduated from Central Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in public relations. She worked in non-profit, agency, corporate, as well as government public relations before coming to work for the South Kitsap School District. She’s a current member of the National School Public Relations Association. Besides being the mother to two daughters, her proudest achievements are having served as president of the Washington School Public Relations Association, and graduating from Leadership Kitsap. People are surprised to learn that even though it’s a big part of her job and she does it frequently, Aimee despises public speaking. She is involved in her church, the Soroptimist International of Port Orchard, and the South Kitsap Schools Supporters. She believes in contributing her time, talents, and financial resources to bettering her community.
Business Development Manager, Kitsap Hospitality Executive Apartments
Before moving to Kitsap County, Leah Wattree worked for a national property management company in the Seattle area, starting as a Leasing Consultant, and moving up to management within three years. The following year, she accepted a position in the Corporate Housing division and learned all she could about this new industry. Moving to Port Orchard in 2008, se stayed in Corporate Housing as the Business Development Manager for Kitsap Hospitality Executive Apartments. While serving in the United States Air Force as a Command Post Emergency Actions Controller, Leah participated in Operation Southern Watch. She was active in the buildup of Prince Sultan Air Base in Al Kharj, Saudi Arabia, which became necessary after the terrorist bombing of Khobar Towers in Dhahran. During that time of heightened security, living in tent city, she experienced true pride in her work and her country.
Logistics Specialist/Beauty Consultant, Bremerton Housing Authority/Mary Kay
Balancing two completely different careers, DeAndrea Williams has not only maintained them, but has quickly moved up in the ranks with both. Starting out as receptionist for the Bremerton Housing Authority, she moved up to Logistic Specialist within 3 years. She has been a beauty consultant for Mary Kay for only 6 months and will be submitting Director in Qualifications at the end of September. Facilitating her first Mary Kay training, DeAndrea says, “After teaching and sharing my story, I was honored that so many women were touched by what I had to say. I never knew I had the ability to impact someone’s life.” Focused and determined, DeAndrea also has time for community involvement. She volunteers with her church’s administrative department and also coaches the Debra-Nettes Community Drill Team. “My hope is that young inner-city women will strive to reach their full potential and not make some of the mistakes I have in life,” says DeAndrea.
Branch Manager, Port Orchard, Kitsap Regional Library
Kathleen Wilson began her career in college, working at the Public Library in Missoula, Montana as an assistant in the children’s department. Several years after graduating from the University of Montana, she realized she wanted to make librarianship her career, so she and her family moved to Ohio so Kathleen could attend Kent State where she earned a Master’s in Library Science. The family came to Port Orchard when she accepted a job as the children’s librarian at the Port Orchard Library. She has been with the Kitsap Regional Library for nearly 10 years, moving from children’s librarian, to assistant branch manager, to her current position as branch manager. Kathleen is proud of helping increase the profile of the Port Orchard Library, making it a vital part of the community. She volunteers at her children’s schools, and participates on various community event committees.
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