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2012 40 Under Forty Winners
Congratulations — 40 Under Forty Class of 2012
Drawn from a pool of more than 100 nominees, the Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal takes great pleasure in introducing the “40 Under Forty” Class of 2012.
Our distinguished panel of judges selected 40 of the Kitsap Peninsula’s best, brightest, and most outstanding individuals under the age of 40. Our honorees were nominated for this very special award by community leaders and local business people, as well as past 40 Under Forty recipients. As we have done for the past seven years, this very special group was selected based on their career success, community involvement, and personal commitment to making a difference in our communities.
These young men and women represent the best of the Kitsap Peninsula’s upcoming generation of future business leaders, elected officials, and community activists. As they take the helm of leadership, they will not only influence, but in many cases, actually be the people charting our course and making the decisions that impact the future of our area and its growth. It is our pleasure to recognize them for the contributions they are already making.
We thank our judges: V.P. and Executive Director of the Home Builders Association of Kitsap County, Teresa Osinski; President and CEO of Professional Options, Doña Keating; and Restaunteur and owner of Amy’s On The Bay in Port Orchard, Amy Igloi.
Thank you to our sponsors:
- Kitsap Bank — Event Sponsor
- Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort — Event Sponsor
- Harrison Medical Center — Event Sponsor
- Betty Skinner Insurance / Allstate — Event Sponsor
- Printing Services — Commemorative Program
- West Sound Workforce — Logistics
- Custom Picture Framing — Framed Awards
Special thanks to our keynote speaker, 26th Legistlative District Senator Derek Kimler — another past 40 Under Forty Honoree — Class of 2006.
How Our Honorees Earned Their First Dollar
Babysitting, lawnmowing, launching lemonade stands and delivering the newspaper were some of the common first jobs that got this year’s honorees started. Many also worked at local food establishments and other service businesses.
One of the most unusual entrepreneurs was Heather Adams, who confesses to looting her family’s refrigerator and selling random ingredients from her mother’s would-be dinners to the neighbors. Fortunately, her mother did not stifle her creativity and drive.
Candace Edwards was equally creative when she wanted to earn $20 for a Simba stuffed animal after watching “The Lion King.” She sold pages out of her coloring books to neighbors for a quarter a piece. One neighbor even made a successful deal when she came for a second sale — he offered to buy the entire batch for a $1 if she left him alone. Candace’s father was so impressed by her tenacity, he negotiated the remaining balance of the toy price by having her pick pine cones out of their yard.
Melody Eisler sold her custom-made bracelets for $1 to school mates during recess in third grade — until her principal found out about the popular business and told her to cease it. She agreed to stop on one condition, if the school would start a recycling program. The tradition still continues at the school.
Ryan Witt learned the importance of keeping track of income and expenses when he was 10 years old. Growing up in rural Alaska, he didn’t have many employment opportunities — so with his father’s help, he outfitted his four-wheeler with a snow plow. He earned money by plowing as many driveways as he could during a short amount of daylight after heavy snow.
Halin Zindell’s first paycheck was at 15, performing as Wendy in Intiman Theatre’s production of Peter Pan. She was eligible to become a professional performer as a member of Actor’s Equity, which gave her the ability to be paid.
Abigail McDowell was a Young Environment Saver — she got a job rebuilding parks, cleaning up traffic circles and painting storm drains. She also did home-toxic audits for senior citizens.
Joe Groh sold his drawings to friends while in high school. The demand was so high, he frequently had to turn requests down.
Jessica Kennedy-Schlicher had several startups as a teen. One was offering gymnastics classes in a rented space; another was a bakery for the farmers market. She also babysat and pulled blackberry bushes for neighbors, and at age 16 got a “real job” as a filing clerk for the U.S. District Court in Seattle.
Caroline Campbell was an official farm girl for her neighbor’s horse stable. Although job opportunities for youth were limited in rural Snohomish County, where she grew up, she was lucky that there was no shortage of horse stalls to clean up.
Gina Buskirk also took advantage of her Washington state upbringing. At age 5, she started selling apples at a roadside in Kent from the apple orchard her great aunt and uncle owned in Winthrop.
Lisa Spencer saw her first opportunity to earn money at age 8, when a carpet cleaner came to work on her grandmother’s carpets. She helped him get it done — and proudly accepted a $5 bill for the job.
Mitchell Smee contributed to his father’s business. He did inventory at the kitchen and home accessories store, tediously counting items in every nook and cranny for days. The pay was low, but he was excited to get a “real paycheck.”
Common Threads That Bind
Some common themes among this year’s honorees include their commitment to their families above everything else, a desire to give back to organizations that helped them grow and that inspire their passions, sustaining their businesses in tough economic times, and making their communities a better place.
Carla Charter’s story of self-sacrifice was the most inspiring. During a three-day vacation in Las Vegas with her fiancée and their children, she almost lost him after he fell off a cliff during a family hike. Carla spent nearly two months with her fiancée (now her husband), in Vegas as he clung for life in the ICU, and then followed him to California for rehabilitation. In the meantime, she lost her job and her home, and had to be apart from her son for six months. It was a transformational time, she says, emphasizing that all that mattered to her was her husband’s needs.
Sandra Butler is also an inspiration — despite a diagnosis with MS in 2009, she was determined to continue a full life. A year later, she completed her first sprint distance triathlon, and several other triathlons and races since! Anything is possible, she says, as she adds more of these challenging events to her list of achievements.
Chalcy Blake is one of many of this year’s honorees who believe in the “power of one,” that everyone’s contribution counts no matter how small. She has lived that belief with conviction, supporting numerous organizations as a volunteer, board member or contributor. Food banks, foster children, cancer, homeless shelter, education — no cause is unimportant in her eyes.
Like several other honorees, Rachael Taylor wanted to give back to an organization that helped her grow. That’s why she’s involved with the West Sound Human Resources Association. Now that she is a seasoned HR professional, she wants to help her profession advance and to provide new opportunities to the HR professionals’ community.
Many honorees spoke of the importance of being good role models for their children. Among them was Jeannie Allen, who feels that being a good role model for her daughter includes leading a positive lifestyle. She has made it a goal to be surrounded by positive people as well as see every experience as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Melissa Reed is one of several entrepreneurs among this year’s class who took a leap to follow their dreams. Starting her own business was a scary move — Melissa had to give up the comfort and security of a steady paycheck — but she plunged into the unknown and is proud to have seen her business grow.
Nate Murphy is among this year’s leaders who wanted to give back to organizations that helped them get started on a successful career path. That’s why he is active with the WSU Alumni Association’s Kitsap Chapter, currently serving as president. He loves his alma mater and wanted a way to give back to his university.
Sean Kelley embodies the devotion to family. Although he co-owns a very successful business, he says he likes his work but he loves his family. Success at work starts with his wife and his two daughters, and his success is for them as well. He loves having a flexible job that gives him the ability to support his family.
Like many others, Dr. Jen Stonequist spoke of her passion. An animal lover, she has worked in animal welfare since she graduated from high school and was attracted to the profession of veterinarian after seeing a need for compassionate animal care. Now, she loves being able to go above and beyond for the animals at Kitsap Humane Society, and be a voice for them.
Our 40 honorees have demonstrated commitment to the community and have set the bar high for themselves in succeeding as leaders. We salute their outstanding qualities and look forward to seeing their continuous growth.
The 2012 40 Under Forty Winners
Heather Len Adams
Community Planner — Kitsap County
Heather Len Adams began her career five years ago as an urban planner with N.L. Olson and Associates. She later saw an opportunity for growth with Kitsap County, and has worked as a community planner with the Community Development Department to coordinate and manage various public-policy projects. During her tenure, she has already been recognized for her work with a prestigious Governor’s Smart Communities Award for Rural Comprehensive Plan Amendments — a statewide award only given once a year. Outside of her job, she likes to give her time to community services. Her main passion is children and she is a past Ignite mentor. For the past five years, Heather has also been volunteering with the Children’s Ministries at Calvary Church in Port Orchard. She is proud of having built her own home with her husband, spending many months together learning how to become contractors, and growing their relationship as a result.
Owner, Jeannie Allen Designs — Marketing Manager, Kitsap Regional Library
Jeannie Allen owns her own market consulting and graphic design company, but the business has taken a backseat recently when she became the new marketing manager for Kitsap Regional Library. The library has always had a special place in her heart and she is excited to work for an organization that shares her values. Jeannie’s career for the past 10 years has been mostly in sales and marketing. As an active member of the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce, she has earned praise for her design work for the chamber, including a new logo. Jeannie is passionate about making Bremerton a great place to live and is involved as an organizer with Bremerton Green Drinks; she also has used her talents to support groups such as Kitsap Pride and Bremerton Foodline. She made a personal goal two years ago to surround herself with positive people and see every experience as an opportunity, and is proud to have friends and colleagues who inspire her to be a better person.
Rebecca “Becky” Bayness
Insurance Agent — Olympic Northwest Insurance
Becky Bayness made a career change to an insurance agent three years ago after working in the auto-parts service sector for a decade. While starting from scratch, she has built a loyal following of clients in a difficult market, life and health insurance. Becky goes above and beyond for her clients and for anyone else she can help. She is very proud of the life she has built for herself, including becoming a first-time homeowner recently with her boyfriend, whom she credits partly with her success. Becky looks for ways to contribute in the community as well. She spearheaded her office’s involvement in the RW Martin Youth Outreach as a donation location for homeless children in Kitsap County. She feels passionate about helping those who are homeless and hungry in our community and says that no one should have to go hungry.
eServices Manager — Peninsula Credit Union
Chalcy Blake began her career with Peninsula Credit Union as a part-time teller at age 19. She became a full-time supervisor at the call center the following year, and in her 18-year tenure with the credit union has continued to work her way up to more challenging roles. Her promotions included branch manager, call center manager and, most recently, eServices manager in 2011. She had demonstrated many times her leadership and ability to create a strong team. While working full-time and raising two children with the help of a supportive husband, Chalcy went back to school to obtain an associate of technical arts degree in business management from Olympic College; she graduated with a 3.9 GPA. She has also been extensively involved in the community, contributing time to various charity fundraisers as well as to organizations such as Mason County United Way, Relay for Life and the Olympic College Business Management Advisory Committee (currently as president). Chalcy feels it’s important to be a good citizen as an example for her children.
Prosecutor — City of Bremerton
Gina Buskirk became the prosecutor for the City of Bremerton Attorney’s Office in 2009 after a career in a private law office and as assistant prosecutor for Kitsap County. At the city, she has established an in-house prosecuting department that was previously contracted out. She oversees Criminal Division’s cases, jury trials and policy-setting, and also provides legal advice and training to the Bremerton Police Department. She is the first person in her family to graduate from college, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in three years while juggling two jobs. Gina is a talented performer — she has participated in more than 20 musicals since age 6 and was even invited to perform with Quincy Jones and on the radio in support of Nancy Reagan’s D.A.R.E. program. Her community service activities began in grade school and in Kitsap have included the Kitsap County Bar Association, Kitsap County Youth Court and various local schools. Gina credits her parents with teaching her to work hard and her husband with supporting her career and being a wonderful partner in raising their children.
Area Director of Sales — Oxford Hotel Group
Sandra Butler was born and raised in Germany, and began her career in the travel industry for Radisson in her native country. She became involved with the Oxford Group after her husband was stationed with the U.S. Navy at Naval Base Kitsap. Sandra became a member of the team that worked on the 2007 opening of Oxford Suites. She enjoys being part of upper management because it presents her with many challenging situations and complex decisions. Sandra has been a true inspiration by overcoming her struggle with MS to lead a full life. Just a year after the diagnosis in 2009, she participated in her first sprint-distance triathlon. Since then, she has completed several triathlons as well as smaller races including Tour de Kitsap. Sandra’s extensive community involvement includes the Bremerton and Silverdale chambers, the Silverdale Chamber Military Affairs Committee, Kitsap Humane Society’s annual gala steering committee, National MS Society and others.
Attorney — Campbell & Miller, PLLC
Caroline Campbell launched her legal career by opening her own firm with her husband and now law partner, Daniel J. Miller, Jr., in 2011. The couple didn’t want to work in separate firms so they planned their business launch while still in college. Together they have built a firm that counsels people in difficult situations such as divorce, bankruptcy and child custody. Having her own practice allows her more flexibility in spending time with their 1-year-old daughter as well. Caroline especially enjoys working on uniting families and protecting her clients, and has been recognized for her compassionate and professional approach. She grew up in a family of entrepreneurs and inherited their independent, strong and hard-working personalities. She contributes her time to the Washington State Bar Association’s Moderate Means Program, which provides reduced-fee legal assistance to individuals who cannot afford legal help. She is also active with the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce and the Alliance of Women Owned Businesses.
Owner — Boomers Pet Boutique
Erika Cecil grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. By the time she started her own retail business, Boomer’s Pet Boutique, she had more than 20 years of experience in retail and sales. She launched her first product line before she graduated from college and had previously owned an online store. An avid animal lover, Erika fulfilled her dream by opening her pet store, which is an industry leader by offering the newest products and items not found in other pet shops. She supports several animal-welfare organizations, including West Sound Wildlife Shelter, Kitsap Humane Society, PAWS and ASPCA. Erika has been donating to nonprofits through her business and is working toward giving a percentage of her proceeds to them. She also has a passion for children and has been involved with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program. Erika loves adventure — she climbed Mount Fuji, traveled alone around Japan without a phone a translator, and participated in several high-elevation road-biking tours.
Owner & Founder — Viva Flow Yoga
Carla Charters is an Olympic High School alumna who worked in the banking industry for a decade before opening her yoga studio in 2012. While she worked her way up in the banking profession, she returned to school for a degree in women’s studies. During that time she fell in love with yoga practice and pursued a teaching path. Carla is passionate about helping people achieve health and wellbeing by uniting their bodies, minds and spirits through yoga. She provides many free educational opportunities such as monthly yoga workshops. A turning moment in her life was when she gave up everything — even lost her job and her home — to be with her fiancé (now her husband) after he fell off a 30-foot-cliff during their hike with their children. She spent several months by his side as he went through intensive care and then rehabilitation. Carla supports Scarlett Road, a nonprofit that raises awareness about human trafficking; and 50 Litres, a project to provide clean drinking water in Rwanda.
HR Generalist — Metagenics, Inc.
Annie Corrington is a human resources support professional at Metagenics, which employs several hundred people. She works with a diverse range of people, from production workers filling one of the three shifts, to researchers and scientists with doctorate degrees. She loves working for a company that cares about both employees and consumers. Annie is pursuing an MBA degree and as she continues to grow personally and professionally, she hopes to focus more on senior strategic HR work. She credits her younger brothers for being her inspiration and motivating her to succeed as they make her proud of their own accomplishments. Annie’s community involvement has included coaching youth soccer, assisting with emergency-preparedness training events, participating in Habitat for Humanity projects and helping with food drives for the local food bank.
Marketing Communications Coordinator — Harrison Medical Center
Candace Edwards coordinates external communications efforts at Harrison Medical Center. Since being hired in that role in April of this year, she has already showed several achievements, including reestablishing Harrison’s social media presence and helping improve its website. She has had the desire since a young age to help people improve their quality of life, and working in health care has given her the ability to combine that desire with her love for hard work. Candace’s marketing career includes a time-intensive project to launch Jane Mitchell’s book “One on One: My Journey with Hall of Famers, Fan Favorites and Rising Stars.” Locally, she was a longtime volunteer for the Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce, which led to being hired there as an administrative assistant. One of her passions is training in Muay Thai, a kickboxing art from Thailand, and she has participated in an exhibition fight during her training in San Diego.
Melody Sky Eisler
Branch Manger — Kitsap Regional Library
Melody Eisler manages the Silverdale branch of Kitsap Regional Library, which is working on building a new library for the community. Her career has included being an art history professor, public arts agent and museum curator. She has a master’s degree in library and information science and while studying abroad in Egypt, had the opportunity to tour the newly built Library of Alexandria. Melody has served on many nonprofit boards for the arts and humanities as well as social justice organizations. She is a natural leader who especially enjoys working to bring the community together. Melody has fulfilled her childhood dream of traveling the world, having explored Africa and Asia and backpacked across Europe. She is a member of Leadership Kitsap Class of 2013 and the Kitsap County Arts Board, as well as an active Bremerton Green Drinks member.
Co-owner & Art Director — SuperStar Media
Joe Groh’s childhood dream was to be a graphic designer, so he started drawing and creating at an early age. He worked for a startup company right after graduating from Bremerton High School but decided to get a formal education and earned a bachelor’s degree in digital imaging. With a business partner, he launched SuperStar Media during the dot-com bust and they have grown it in 11 years from two people to nine as well as to a second office. The multimillion-dollar company has designed and managed digital-content projects for many high-profile clients, including A-list musicians and entertainers. Joe is an active member of the Drupal CMS community, working on ways to improve this open-source content management system. He is a father of two and musician who plays multiple instruments and has a self-released album, and is also part of the worship band at his church.
Senior Financial Services Representative — Kitsap Bank
April Ihde has worked for Kitsap Bank for more than 10 years, starting out as a teller and moving her way up through several promotions to her current position. She has been recognized as a peak performer for three years and has earned other accolades. As a single mother three years ago, April contributed sweat equity to building her own home through Kitsap’s self-help housing program — and she did that while expecting her second child. As an active member of the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce, she has contributed more than 100 hours as a volunteer for various efforts and several committees. April is also a committee chair for Kitsap Medical Society’s annual Fire and Ice gala, a volunteer for fundraisers such as Humane Society’s Animal Krackers and Kitsap Mental Health’s golf tournament, and co-president of the PTSA at her oldest daughter’s school, Central Kitsap Junior High.
Owner — Northridge 4x4
David Johnson founded his company at age 20 in his father’s garage, fabricating Jeep bumpers. The business has grown since 2002 to 12 employees and its current 13,000-square-foot facility, which the company designed and built to fit its needs. A second location was also opened in Johannesburg. The company is sought-after for its quality of automotive after-market parts for Jeeps and David has been noted for his vast knowledge of his industry and his dedication to customers. He enjoys having a family business that allows him to work alongside his father and his brother. David is a very giving person and has coached football and baseball for a decade for the Silverdale Pee Wee Adult Association. In addition to mentoring youth during the sports season, he occasionally coaches a recreational soccer league to give his players other opportunities.
Editor & Publisher — Macaroni Kid Kitsap
Diane Kehm started her career in journalism and after working as a reporter for a few years, transitioned into K-12 education and later into nonprofit grant writing. She followed her love for writing and publishing, along with her passion for children’s activities, into becoming a Kitsap affiliate for the nationwide Macaroni Kid. The company publishes a free e-newsletter and website focused on family and kids’ events. Diane frequently participates in community events, sponsoring booths that both offer kids’ activities and promote the resources her business provides. She has grown Macaroni Kid Kitsap from five subscribers to 2,600 and through her publication, has promoted numerous organizations’ fundraisers and events. She feels that the best way for her to give back with her talents is by stirring up interest in the community for the causes she supports. Part of the first generation in her family to graduate from college, Diane is also a proud mom.
Co-owner & Director of Business Development — SuperStar Media
Sean Kelley is a Bremerton High School alum who has built a successful multimillion-dollar company in his own back yard, with the help of a business partner. They founded the business 11 years ago, growing it from two people to nine as well as to a second office. The company has designed and managed digital-content projects for high-profile clients, including A-list musicians and entertainers. As a child, Sean dreamed up various concepts for businesses on a regular basis; he eventually discovered a talent for graphic design and went on to earn a bachelor degree in business administration. He is active with the Washington State University’s Alumni Association and is vice president of Kitsap County Cougar; Sean also recently joined the Downtown Bremerton Association and is looking forward to becoming involved with the development of downtown. He feels blessed to have a business that gives him the flexibility to make his family — including two young daughters — the focus of his life.
Dr. Jessica Kennedy-Schlicher
Physician — Harrison Medical Center Urgent Care
Jessica Kennedy-Schlicher is a Bainbridge High School alumnae whose medical background include certificates in natural medicine and massage. After obtaining her MD degree from the University of Washington, she became board-certified in family medicine. Jessica discovered she enjoyed the pace of acute care and decided on a career path as an urgent care physician. She is proud to be part of a team that cares for patients 24 hours a day and loves being able to balance her work with her family life by working night shifts so she can spend time with her children during the day. Jessica has volunteered her time at free clinics and to gives health talks at schools. She also supports the Strong Kids Campaign, United Way and the Harrison Foundation.
Owner — Rush Security
Augustine Lujan founded his company in 2009 and has grown it from two people to 19 employees, serving the Western Washington region. He also launched Rush Investigations earlier this year and hopes to expand the business by offering both security and investigative services. His background includes four years in the military and a master’s degree in criminal justice. He is also working on a doctorate degree in business administration. Augie’s goal is to continue building the business into a security firm spanning several states; he is currently considering an expansion into California. In addition to running a business and studying for a doctoral degree, Augie is a busy father of three. And he finds time to be involved with his two sons in the Boy Scouts as an assistant scout master. Augie became involved with the Washington C.A.S.H. as a business owner and has continued to be part of the program as a mentor.
Owner — Catie’s Creations
Catie Malcom started her business part-time while in college. She took a leap of faith several years later when she decided to quit a paying job to do it it full-time. She has grown the business from offering gift baskets into full-service apparel printing and promotional products company. The company moved from her home basement to a store front in Old Town Silverdale several months ago but has already outgrown that space; Catie is also busy working on her own clothing brand and adding more equipment. She balances her business with family life, networking and promoting several community organizations. Catie is president of the parent association at her son’s Crosspoint School, secretary of BNI and host of the annual Kitsap Wedding and Events Show. She donates to various events, sports teams and organizations throughout the county.
Brett Marlo DeSantis
President — Brett Marlo Designs & Design Build
Brett Marlo DeSantis founded her first corporation by age 24 and since then launched two others. In the meantime, she obtained a master’s degree in interior architecture and design, along with several professional certifications including LEED AP (accredited professional). A former AmeriCorps volunteer, Brett is very active in her local community as well. She is a member of the City of Gig Harbor Building Advisory Board, the Building Code Advisory Board and the Gig Harbor’s Maritime Playzone Design Committee, and a volunteer with Harbor Wild Watch. She has been involved with the Cascadia Green Building Council’s Tacoma/Olympia Branch Steering Committee and recently became its chair. Brett believes in being a servant leader who puts people first and is a skilled communicator and compassionate collaborator.
Process Improvement Manager — Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
Abigail McDowell is enjoying her second career at the shipyard after a brief hiatus. With a degree in industrial engineering, she first joined PSNS as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. She left to work for three years at Washington Mutual (which became Chase) and returned to the shipyard in 2009 as a process improvement manager in the production department. Abigail earned her Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt since then and was one of two master black belts assigned to begin the reorganization of the shipyard around a new concept and methodology. She is involved with the University of Washington Industrial Engineering visiting committee. She feels her UW’s industrial engineering experience helped her get her foot in the door and wants to give back through that program.
Daniel Miller, Jr.
Attorney — Campbell & Miller, PLLC
Daniel J. Miller, Jr., planned to open his own firm while still in college, where he met his future wife and now law partner, Caroline Campbell. The couple, who married while in law school, decided together they would launch their own business instead of practicing in another law firm, so they started planning early. As soon as the two passed their bar exams, they opened doors in 2011. He is most proud of having the conviction to start a practice with his wife and continuing to work at becoming the best professional he can be. Daniel is part of the Washington State Bar Association’s Moderate Means Program, which provides reduced-fee legal assistance to individuals who cannot afford legal help. He is also involved with the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional organization, focused on recent college graduates and professionals starting out in their careers.
Insurance Agent — Country Financial
Derek Mills joined Country Financial in 2010 and only a year later was given his own office, thanks to his exemplary performance. He has continued on that excellent path and is currently ranked in the top 1 percent of agents nationwide. A Bremerton High School graduate, Derek is an entrepreneur who owned Bay Street Outfitters in Port Orchard for a decade. He is an avid golfer who previously worked in the golf course industry. Derek and his wife are involved with the Harrison Medical Foundation. He also supports organizations such as Kitsap Mental Health, American Cancer Society and the Semancik Foundation. A father of two, Derek says his priorities are God, family and country and he believes that it’s important to give back because every little bit counts.
Administrator — AMI Advanced Medical Imaging
Tina Moore was recently promoted to administrator at Advanced Medical Imaging, after serving as the chief information officer. Growing up in Kitsap County, she wanted to be an auto mechanic but instead pursued a path in information technology. She had previously worked as an IT consultant for various companies including Harrison Medical Center. Her career with AMI started as an IT manager, and she was promoted to CIO two years later, which entailed oversight of 33 employees, budgets, contracts and other aspects. Tina is a creative, high-energy problem-solver who thrives under the pressures of a fast-paced organization. Her goal as the new administrator is to analyze the company as a whole and optimize all facets of operations so that AMI continues to provide an excellent service to the community. Tina is the mother of two young children and loves watching them develop unique personalities.
Owner & Principal — Kitsap Public Relations
Nate Murphy grew up in Bremerton and became part of his hometown’s business community when he launched his own company in 2009. Prior to founding his business, he built a career in public relations for 10 years. Working at two of the largest PR companies in the world, Nate had represented such clients as Microsoft, Intel, Amazon and Getty Images. But he wanted to have his own business so he could help other entrepreneurs, small businesses and nonprofits to tell their stories and gain recognition. He also wanted to be part of the downtown Bremerton revitalization. Nate is a new member of the Downtown Bremerton Association and the president of the WSU Alumni Association Kitsap Chapter. He was recently invited to represent Kitsap County on the board of directors for Easter Seals Washington and is looking forward to supporting this great organization.
District Director, Sinclair District — Boy Scouts of America, Chief Seattle Council
Sean Neal started his career with the Boy Scouts at the Nevada Area Council in 2006. Since moving to Kitsap County in 2009, he has been instrumental in revitalizing the Scouting movement here. Kitsap County has 144 units that serve more than 3,000 youth and have more than 1,000 adult volunteers. During his tenure, membership has grown by 15 percent and the district has strengthened many community partnerships. One of his proudest achievements was working to help secure a generous gift from the Fat Smitty’s restaurant in Discovery Bay for the scouts’ Camp Parsons summer camp in Brinnon. Sean has received several awards for his work, including from the South Kitsap School District. His long-term professional goal is to become an executive/CEO of a Boy Scout council. Sean is a member of Bremerton Rotary Club, cub master for his son’s Cub Scouts pack and a volunteer through the WATCH D.O.G.S. program at his son’s elementary school. He also works with SKSD’s Whole Child/Whole Community initiative.
Vice President Controller — Kitsap Bank
Emily Olson leads Kitsap Bank’s accounting department and is a well-respected and effective leader. She began her career at age 16 as an intern for Washington Mutual and eventually earned a CPA license. She’s an ambitious person who achieves her goals despite obstacles, and feels she has found her niche since she joined Kitsap Bank five years ago. Emily’s passion is mentoring children, both personally and professionally. She’s very involved in the life of her nieces, who also serve as her inspiration. She’s worked with the Girl Scouts of Western Washington and Junior Achievement. Her other passion is animals and Emily was elected last year to serve on the board of the Kitsap Humane Society. She’s even been known to name the baby birds, squirrels and rabbits that hang out on her property. Emily is an avid runner and is currently training for her first marathon.
Owner & Graphic Designer — One Nine Designs
Melissa Reed took the leap of faith to start her own graphic design business while working in the medical field as a graphic designer and marketer. She doesn’t see it as a job since graphic design is her passion. Her business her continued to grow and she is proud to have followed her heart. She is a full-time mom to an infant at the same time and she likes the flexibility of being a mother first and still meeting her clients’ deadlines. Melissa has supported various fundraisers for organizations such as Relay for Life and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She volunteers her talents to local organizations, offering design work to groups such as the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce and the local fire departments. She’s worked pro bono on projects such as the chamber’s Extreme K Mud Run and Bremerton Fire Department’s junior firefighter stair climb event.
Director of Marketing & Sales — Ohana Harbor Coffee Company
Stephanie Sagle was determined to find her passion in 2008 when she graduated with a degree in biology. Coming to the family business to help as she “transitioned” to a future career, she was surprised to discover that the business was her passion. She had to learn various aspects of her job and rely on her entrepreneurial spirit to succeed. Her parents taught her to be open to new experiences and she applies that not only in her work but also her personal life. Stephanie has helped build the company’s brand and has been part of the growth that now includes distribution in six states and 20 retail outlets. She makes business trips to Hawaii every six weeks, and in between balances her work with being a mother to three children under the age of 5. Stephanie also finds the time to be involved with the Gig Harbor Midday Rotary, the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce, the Gig Harbor High School Interact Club and the Grindstone Foundation.
Loan Officer — The Legacy Group
Tim Samuels is the top-producing loan officer in the region for Legacy Group and his customers are consistently happy with his service. He has been noted for his deep knowledge about finance and ability to match customers to the best products for them. A graduate of Central Kitsap High School, he is a former Marine and a member of the Marine League. Tim sold cars at Haselwood Buick for a few years prior to joining Legacy. He enjoys investing in real estate on the side. A proud father to a 5-year-old boy, Tim says being a dad is the best part of his life. He has a special place in his heart for other kids too — he supports Toys for Tots because he likes seeing children get the fun they deserve.
Financial Technician — Puget Sound Naval Shipyard
Melissa Sanders is a former active-duty Navy member who began her career with the shipyard in 2008 and has been progressing to more challenging duties. Her goal is to become a supervisor and assist new employees in learning their jobs and gaining skills. Melissa was selected as the 2011 employee of the year in the administrative category. The recognition was for her unfailing commitment to her fellow employees following the March 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster in Japan. Stationed in Japan at the time, she worked long and difficult hours to get as many employees as possible back to Puget Sound and Norfolk as well as stabilize the situation for those remaining. She was instrumental in moving 765 personnel back to the United States. She volunteers with the Seattle Ronald McDonald House charity auction and has previously volunteered with the Kitsap Humane Society. Travel is both part of her work and her hobby.
Owner — Skelley Works LLC
Shane Skelley left a career in the maritime industry, working on tugs and research vessels, to start his own business. Part of the decision was driven by his desire to spend more time with his family and be a better father instead of being at sea for long periods. At age 22, he purchased a Kubota tractor and through the years grew his business to a multimillion-dollar construction company. Skelley Works specializes in excavation and heavy construction but a big focus for Shane is on being environmentally friendly and finding innovative solutions for the community. He is active with Poulsbo Rotary and a new member of the Port of Poulsbo’s planning commission. He is passionate about conservation and has opened up his farm to the public for an educational workshop.
VP of Sales & Marketing — Smallwood Design & Construction, Inc.
Shad Smallwood became involved with his family’s business as a laborer at age 16 and has worked his way up through all levels of the business. After obtaining a degree in marketing, he returned to the company as a project manager. He was promoted recently to vice president and is now responsible for managing the company brand, technology, business development and marketing. A self-starter, he’s taken the initiative on several occasions to improve the company’s operations and customer service. Shad is passionate about sustainability and is proud to work for a company that focuses on making homes — and the world — a sustainable place for future generations. Shad believes strongly in doing his part for the environment by recycling.
Commercial Insurance Broker — Propel Insurance
Mitchell Smee recently stepped up to the plate to fill the shoes of the retired overseeing partner at Propel. He has embraced the challenge and has made himself available for staff in other offices as a resource as well. A top company producer, Mitchell is a member of Propel One, an internal mentoring group for insurance agents. He says he learned from his father about the value of strong relationships and has used that as an example when he entered the insurance industry at age 22. Mitchell is a father to three children under the age of 5 and feels blessed to have been married to his wonderful wife for 10 years. He loves being able to make a difference as a family. Mitchell is a member of Bremerton Rotary and the Holly Ridge Center board of directors; he volunteers at his church and for community projects such as Habitat for Humanity’s home building. He feels responsible to give back because he has been blessed with so much.
Lisa Marie Spencer
Owner — Advanced Bookkeeping & Payroll
Lisa Spencer dreamed of having her own business since she was a little girl. She’s dabbled in retail and in interior design but through the years found a career path in accounting. After she returned to Washington state, one of her jobs was for an accountant who encouraged her to start her own company. Lisa took that plunge more than two years ago, and has been growing her business since. She has been involved extensively in the community, serving on several boards. One major commitment for her is the Alliance of Women Owned Businesses, where she serves as secretary and member of several committees. She is also the treasurer of the Gig Harbor Film Festival and a volunteer with the Global Leadership Summit organized by the Life Center Church. Lisa is proud of having been able to open and maintain her own office in the middle of tough personal and economic times, and is looking forward to volunteering for even more community causes.
Dr. Jen Stonequist
Director of Shelter Medicine — Kitsap Humane Society
Dr. Jen Stonequist came on board at Kitsap Humane Society last year after obtaining her veterinary degree. She has been working in animal welfare since she graduated from high school and was attracted to the veterinary profession after seeing an overwhelming need for compassionate animal care. In addition to her love for animals, she has a passion for spay/neuter programs as a way of reducing unwanted animals as well as improving the animals’ health. She has completed more than 3,000 spay and neuter surgeries in the region to date. The most rewarding part of her job is being able to save the lives of animals who would instead be euthanized at other shelters around the country. She has been credited with having the business savvy KHS needs as the shelter’s animal population continues to increase. Jen is also active with the Feral Cat Project in Lynnwood, providing surgery services every week.
Human Resources Manager — Kitsap Sun
Rachael Taylor became the employee services coordinator for the Kitsap Sun in 2006, while completing her bachelor of science degree in business administration. She became the human resources manager two years later, and in 2009 completed her Professional in Human Resources certification. Rachael’s husband serves as a chief petty officer on the USS Alabama and she is most proud of her family, which includes their two children. She is highly dedicated to her work at the newspaper as well as the West Sound Human Resources Association, where she is currently a member of the board of directors and president-elect. The organization has also been involved with issues close to her heart — readiness and employment for veterans. Her involvement with WSHRA has helped advance her profession as well as has served the HR community in the region.
Partner Attorney — Glisson, Witt & Altman
Ryan Witt has been a successful attorney in the area for about a decade, and a partner in his own firm for seven years. Opening a business has required him to learn various new aspects, such as marketing and community relationship-building. His career has included working in the Kitsap County’s prosecuting attorney’s office, where he moved his way up through the ranks to handle the most serious offenses. His passion is advocacy for children who are caught in the criminal justice system, and he is drawn to juvenile defense. Ryan has been able to juggle his demanding career with being a supportive husband and an involved father. He also plays A league hockey and volunteers his time to make presentations geared to youth. His firm sponsors many sports teams, local concerts, the fair and rodeo, as well as charitable events.
Owner — Pure Health Zindell Acupuncture
Halin Zindell founded her company in 2004 and two years later, grew it to being the largest clinic on Bainbridge Island, serving more than a hundred clients every week. She has been described as a caring, insightful and knowledgeable person whose passion is to nurture the community as well as treat the whole person. Halin holds several certifications, including Maya massage practitioner, yoga instructor and Defeat Autism Now (DAN!) practitioner; she also has a master’s degree in oriental medicine. A mother of three young daughters and a raw-food vegan, Halin believes strongly in wellness through clean and conscious living. Her company has supported many community efforts and organizations, from the Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce and West Sound Wildlife Center, to Helpline House and Bainbridge Golf Club. She is the co-founder of the Bainbridge Island Healthy Living Expo. Halin gives back because she believes it’s the only way to change the world — by being active in it.
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