Class Notes – Class Year Unknown

August 2021

Sarah Summerhill and a business partner recently opened a new bookstore called Birdhouse Bookstore in downtown Vancouver. Summerhill majored in English at Washington State University and her love for reading has remained constant throughout her life. After graduating, Summerhill sought an opportunity to continue in the reading industry and her passion for books.

July 2021

Daniel Nehnevaj qualified for the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday, June 26. The Vancouver native and Columbia River High School grad finished second in the 20k racewalk. Daniel competed on the Penguin track team for two years before transferring to West Virginia University Tech. He is currently an assistant cross country and track and field coach at WVU Tech.

When people were stuck at home, many adopted an animal companion to keep them company and vet clinics around the country have seen an increase in business during the pandemic. Owner of Hazel Dell Animal Hospital, Dr. David Slocum, has been working for the same clinic since he was 14 and spoke to The Columbian about how the pandemic has changed his industry and his plans for retirement.

June 2021

Clark County artist Claudia Carter is having her sculpture donated for permanent display at the downtown Vancouver library. Carter, who was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, is known for her artwork and the efforts to educate people about local Black history.

Chief criminal deputy, John Horch, will make his bid for Clark County sheriff in 2022. Horch worked his way through the ranks over his 32-year career with the sheriff’s office, after joining as a deputy sheriff in 1989, and currently oversees all enforcement operations for the sheriff’s office, including patrol deputies, SWAT and the Major Crimes Team.

Gallery owner/artist Anne John has curated the community art show “Ancestral Echoes” at her gallery that explores and tells stories of family histories. The art collection was created by both novice and established local artists and subject matter is emotionally arresting and covers a wide range of styles and mediums.

Hockinson author Dan Strawn published a new memoir centered on his brother’s experience as a solider in Korea. Strawn, a mature learning alumni and former faculty member of Clark, began writing short stories, essays and novels that explore the cultures and contradictions of the American West during his retirement years.

May 2021

Current Vancouver city council member Erik Paulsen filed for reelection for his #2 position. Paulsen was appointed to the post in January 2019. He’s a 20-year employee of US Bancorp, currently serving as senior vice president and field administration strategy manager for US Bank Wealth Management.

February 2021

The Oregon-based code and fire consulting firm Code Unlimited has hired Deyan Aydarski as a code analyst and smoke modeler in its Beaverton office. Aydarski previously worked at MKE & Associates as a mechanical engineering intern.

After a cancer diagnosis in February 2020, artist and Claudia Carter had a goal to hold another local Black history event. Carter’s last major wish was something for the community, not just something for herself. She has realized her hope, curating for a fourth year a Black History Month exhibit at the Vancouver Community Library in downtown Vancouver.

Battle Ground Mayor Adrian Cortes announced that he’s seeking re-election to his city council seat later this year. Cortes was first elected to the Position 4 council seat in November 2017, and in January 2020 was appointed as mayor for a two-year term. He will appear in the Aug. 4 primary election and, if a challenger files for the seat, Nov. 2 general election ballots.

Sheila Clarke Craven took a freelance writing assignment to the Bay Area in 1977 to cover a new startup called Apple Computer. She recalls being picked up by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in a little red pickup and going to the infamous garage to see Wozniak’s first prototype.

January 2021

Tiffaney Forney, a program job coach with the Washougal Adult Transition Program, had to reimagine her holiday Cookies and Cocoa holiday event due to pandemic restrictions. This year the Clark alumna and her students made a mobile cart so they could offer contact-free deliveries of holiday treats to the doors of Washougal High School teachers.


The board of directors Riverview Bancorp Inc., the holding company for Riverview Community Bank, elected Clark alumni Gerald L. Nies as chair of the company and bank. Nies has been a member of the Riverview board since 2009.

Clark Alumnus Mike Westby, CEO of Westby Associates, was interviewed by the The Vancouver Business Journal about the philanthropic life lessons he’s learned from Vancouver community icons, Ed Lynch and Ray Hickey.

Clark alumna and Washington state Sen. Lynda Wilson, received the 2020 Statesperson of the Year Award during the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce’s livestream awards ceremony in September.

Clark alumnus Drew Dordan started his business, Mission Painting, last summer after doing maintenance work and painting projects while in school. He attended Clark College with a plan to transfer to WSU but decided on opening a business rather than finishing out his education plans.

Clark alumnus Ron Dinius resigned from the Washougal School District Board of Directors. Dinius, who joined the board in 2006, spent years volunteering at his children’s Washougal schools and served as president of the parent advisory committee at Cape Horn-Skye Elementary School.

Educational Service District 112 named Clark alumna Traicy Brent, of Vancouver Public Schools, its Classified School Employee of the Year. Brent worked as the building secretary at Ogden Elementary School for five years. She joins a list of eight other finalists for the Washington State Classified School Employee of the Year Award, which is determined by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Clark alumnus Kevin Macho was hired as the police chief of the Powers Oregon Police Department. Macho is the third-consecutive generation in his family to become a police officer. He grew up in Reedsport on the Oregon coast. He enrolled at Clark shortly after entering the cadet program in the Clark County Sheriff’s Department.

Clark alumna and state Sen. Lynda Wilson has nearly 100 novel coronavirus antibody test kits in her home from a company with which she has a personal connection. Wilson asked if the state Department of Health would take the tests, but because the test kits have not been approved by federal regulators, the state can’t use them for clinical purposes. She was offered a spot for them in the county’s COVID-19 supply warehouse but turned the offer down thinking the tests would go unused.

Nom Nom restaurant operations manager and Clark College phlebotomy student, Sol Contreras, talked to The Columbian on how Washington state’s stay-at-home order impacted business at the popular downtown Vancouver eatery. Contreras aspires to be a radiologist and discusses her plans for the future and how the community can support the restaurant.

Tami Nesburg, senior vice president and director of commercial banking for Pacific Premier Bank, was interviewed by the Portland Business Journal about her 38 years of banking experience in Clark County.

A new art installation by husband-wife duo Dave Frei and Clark alumna Jennifer Corio was unveiled in February as part of Vancouver’s monthly First Friday Art Walk event at Vancouver Waterfront Park. The piece was commissioned by the Kenneth and Eunice Teter Charitable Trust and donated to the city. Corio and Frei are the artists behind Cobalt Designworks, a Vancouver studio.

The Battle Ground City Council elected Adrian Cortes as mayor during its first meeting of the year on January 6, 2020. Cortes, a special education teacher in the Camas School District, was selected by the seven-member city council during the group’s biennial appointment process. He’ll serve as mayor until 2022. He is the first mayor of color in Battle Ground’s history and the only Latino mayor in Clark County history.

Marissa Madrigal was nominated by the Portland Metro Council’s president to be their next chief operating officer. Madrigal went to high school in Ridgefield and attended Clark College before entering at the University of Washington as a junior at age 18. Madrigal is currently the chief operating officer at Multnomah County. She has served in county government for nearly 14 years.


Mark Tishenko opened the doors of his company, Edge Networks, in November, to a group of tech-minded visitors in downtown Vancouver. Edge Networks was one of 14 businesses that participated an annual Vancouver Tech Tour. The tour, run by the Technology Association of Oregon and supported by Workforce Southwest Washington, Vantechy, WorkSource and the Columbia River Economic Development Council, welcomed about 110 visitors to see the growing tech scene in Vancouver.

Nick Richey, Los Angeles-based independent filmmaker, was interviewed by The Columbian in the lead up to the release of Richey’s film “Low Low.” The film, which is Richey’s writing-directing debut, is set in his hometown of Vancouver.

Renee Amies was profiled in The Columbian after retiring from her job at Weight Watchers after 43 years.

Heather Blackthorn recently revived Vancouver’s Pacific Stageworks theater company by preparing to stage “I Hate Hamlet,” a play about a young actor venturing into Shakespeare.

Michael Charpentier, head chef for the recently renovated Vancouver Hilton’s Grays Restaurant and Bar, was featured in The Columbian about his design of a new mouth-watering menu based on locally sourced ingredients and fresh herbs.

Adrian Cortes, Battle Ground city council member, announced that he’s running for Clark County Council in a special election slated for fall 2019.

Olivia Eagle, program director for the Jack, Will and Rob Center, was quoted in a story in The Columbian about an after-school program operated by the Boys & Girls Club.

Patricia Eby, a former Clark College Foundation board member, was appointed to the Board of Directors for Riverview Bancorp, Inc.

Tom Fitzgerald, of Vigor Industrial, discusses the market and the future of his profession in a story in The Columbian.

Becky Leventis shares her love of watercolors with local seniors through her classes at two retirement communities–The Quarry Senior Living and Glenwood Place.

Catherine Martinez shared her inspiring story of learning to walk again after developing transverse myelitis in a February article in The Columbian.

Erik Paulsen , field administration strategy manager for U.S. Bank and a Vancouver City Council member, announces he will seek to retain his seat for 2019.

Royce Pollard retired from Clark College Board of Trustees May 30.

William Olsen is Clark’s new men’s basketball coach. Olsen graduated from Wahkiakum High School and attended Lower Columbia College and Clark College.

Pianist Mac Potts, classical pianist, vocalist, and husband of alumna, Hailey Potts, is preparing to appear on the 17th season of American Idol. Hailey and Mac performed together at Savoring Excellence in 2016.

Hal Stokes, of Ridgefield, interviewed by The Columbian about the trend of multigenerational living, and the decision to turn his basement into a home for his grandmother, Vivian Church.

Jane Elder Wulff, writer of “First Families of Vancouver’s African American Community” in 2012, will moderate a panel discussion NAACP Generations: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. The event occurs at the Clark County Historical Museum on February 7.

Former Phoenix editor and Clark alumna Lily Hart is published in the winter 2018 edition of Oregon Historical Quarterly. Her essay is titled “Voices of the River: The Confluence Story Gathering Interview Collection,” describes the Confluence Project, which conducts interviews with Indigenous people of the Columbia River.


Allison Magyar owner of Event technology firm Hubb, won the Vancouver Business Journal’s 2017 Fastest Growing Company 1-5 Years and Innovator of the Year awards.

Heather Blackthorn, a former actress in Clark ‘s theater productions, has taken the artistic and management reigns of Pacific Stageworks. The theatre group is planning two upcoming productions for the 2018-19 season.

Local real estate developer Terry Wollam was appointed to fill the 2018 Ed Lynch board seat with Identity Clark County.

Michael Gaechter, a former professional football player for the Dallas Cowboys, will be inducted into the Clark College Athletics Hall of Fame on February 17, 2018, for his participation on the 1959 men’s track and cross country teams. He ran the 100 meter and 200 meter races and won the championship under head coach Skeet O’Connell. Gaechter still holds the 200 meter Clark record at 21.34 seconds, and is 6th in record books for the 100 meter.

Kenneth Boydstun will be inducted into the Clark College Athletics Hall of Fame on February 17, 2018, for his participation on the 1954 and 1955 baseball and men’s basketball teams. Boydstun was point guard for the 1955 championship basketball team when Skeet O’Connell was head coach. In baseball, he had a .457 hitting percentage, and as a result was one of the most feared players at the plate. Additionally, he was named Defensive Player of the Year and Athlete of the Year as a sophomore.

Council member Adrian Cortes was named to the board of directors for C-Tran.


Glenn Piekstra recently joined the Sigma Design team. He brings 20 years of experience as a technician in both production and research and development.

Judge James Swanger retired after serving in the U.S. District Court since 2005.

Tracy Malone was appointed to Camas School Board’s District 5 position on February 2, 2017.

Joél Nehm and Joseph Nutting, owners of Foodē and LUXE, are expanding their business to a new location in Riverview Tower.

Clark College announced that Carmen Roman received the Classified Staff Excellence Award for her work in fall 2016.

Sierra Eckman was promoted to senior manager at Opsahl Dawson, a Vancouver-based CPA firm.

Julia Houle and Niko Niko, of Vancouver, welcomed a baby girl, Bunnie Wynne Siatua Houle-Niko, on January 24, 2017. She weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces.

Clark College alumni gathered in the Frost Art Center’s lobby gallery in February for a reception for their collective show, “The Next Step.” The alumni were Elizabeth AlexanderTrisha BottemillerJordan JonesSam Mackenzie and Kelly KeigwinHector MaciasYelena RoslayaLauren RuheAleka TomlinsonAlyssa WillardThe show highlighted the achievements of former students in the college’s ceramics. The show ran through March 25 and was part of Clark’s programming during the National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts conference in Portland in March.

Merry Saari, focus manager at LSW Architects, is a new board member of Vancouver’s Downtown Association.

Leslie Mohlman, community, student, family outreach and resource coordinator for Woodland Public Schools, created the district’s new Our Kids, Our Business task force to address the needs of under-resourced families in the Woodland community.

Michele Rudi joined the board of trustees of the Salmon Creek Hospital Foundation.

Mark Hagen is a new computer aided design and drafting (CADD) instructor at Clark College.

Washington State Rep. Brandon Vick, March 3, 2016.

Washington State Rep. Brandon Vick (18th District, Pos. 1) received the Statesman of the Year award from the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce. He received the accolade at the chamber’s 2017 Business and Leadership Awards event on September 20.

The Columbian won the Business of the Year for large business from the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce at its 2017 Business and Leadership Awards event on September 20. Jody Campbell, an alumna of Clark College, and Scott Campbell are the publishers.

Fay Kahn joined the Board of Southwest Washington Watercolor Society as its newest secretary.

Ronald Dinius was reelected to represent district 5 on the Washougal School District Board of Directors.

Kimberly Abegglen,  7th and 8th grade math and science teacher at Hockinson Middle School, was honored with a 2017 Learn Here Real Hero Award. The awards are presented to business, education and community leaders in Southwest Washington by Identity Clark County as part of their Land Here, Live Here, Learn Here project.


John Svilarich was hired by Clark College Foundation as an administrative assistant.

Aron Nels Steinke won the Graphic Literature Award at the annual Oregon Book Awards for his children’s book, “The Zoo Box.” He co-authored the book with Ariel Cohn.

Alicia Cooper was crowned Miss Washington. Cooper is the fourth Clark County resident in 67 years to earn the title of Miss Washington. She is also the 2013 and 2016 Miss Clark County, as well as Miss Clark County’s Outstanding Teen in 2011.  She earned an associate degree at Clark College and is a senior at Washington State University Vancouver, where she is working toward a bachelor’s degree in social science, specializing in personnel psychology and human resources. A licensed real estate broker, Cooper also is a member of the WSUV HR society and mentor to teens.

Rod Cook  was appointed to the Northwest Association for Blind Athletes’ Board of Directors.

State Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, is a candidate for the U.S. House for Washington’s 3rd district. Moeller is a chemical dependency counselor at Kaiser Permanente. He served eight years on the Vancouver City Council before being elected to a 49th Legislative District House seat in 2002. He also served as speaker pro tempore of the state House. Moeller faces incumbent U.S. Rep. Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, in the general election.

Laura Beckel Thoreson made her debut as a mezzo-soprano in August with the Portland Opera and its production of “The Italian Girl in Algiers.” The madcap comedy, written by Gioachino Rossini, follows Isabella, the titular Italian girl, who shipwrecks off the Algerian coast. Beckel Thoreson credits former Clark College choir director April Duvic with encouraging to be a professional singer.

Gena Bailey joined the board of directors of the Free Clinic of Southwest Washington. Bailey is a senior director for dental care delivery at Kaiser Permanente. She has been with Kaiser since 1988.

Colin Kemppainen and Ashley Kemppainen, of Battle Ground, Wash., welcomed a boy, Thomas Mikael, July 21. He was eight pounds.

Jim Lucey is the new board treasurer for Workforce Southwest Washington. Lucey is the controller at Linear Technology.

Krista Luera is the new budget secretary for HeLa High School, an Evergreen district school.

High Five Media co-founder Jim Mains will serve as vice president of Identity Clark County (ICC). Mains currently holds ICC’s honorary Ed Lynch Board Seat, a one-year courtesy position reserved for an emerging leader. Mains has 10 years of political and community leadership experience, including leading campaigns and serving as an elected Clark County Freeholder. He also has a decade of ministry service and serves as assistant to the Ed Lynch estate.

Alicia Cooper placed fourth in the Miss America competition for 2017. The current Miss Washington received the award during the final competition in Atlantic City, N.J. on September 11, 2016. She performed a tap dance and her platform, from which she based her presentation, was titled Live on Purpose: Defining Your Legacy. Her platform is influenced by her grandmother Rosemary. She received a $17,000 college scholarship.

Ridgefield City Council member Darren Wertz recently received an Advanced Certificate of Municipal Leadership from the Association of Washington Cities.

LeAnne Bremer was elected to serve on the WSBA Environmental and Land Use Executive Committee at Miller Nash Graham & Dunn. She also is a member of the board of directors of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce for 2016-17, and recently joined the Clark County Council for the Homeless Board of Directors.

The Southwest Washington Contractors Association named Andrea Smith as its marketing and communications manager.

Kristine Syverson and Darin Kyle, announce the birth of their son, Kody E.M. Kyle, born on November 17. He was eight pounds, 13 ounces.

Rhett Hendrickson was promoted to manager and vice president of Cascade Title Company. He has been employed with the business since 2008 and has 25 years of experience in title insurance.

Runyan’s Jewelers, of Camas, celebrated their 70th anniversary during a November open house. Paul and Barbara Runyan, the former business owners, were present at the celebration with their daughter and current owner, Debbie Runyan-Parker. Paul Runyan is a Clark alumnus.


Sean Janson, assistant coach of Clark College Men’s soccer team, was hired as executive director of the Washington Timbers Football Club.

Cheri Martin, a Clark alumna and former Clark College Foundation staff member, was named the executive director at the School of Piano Technology for the Blind.

Roy Heikkala was appointed as a commissioner for the Vancouver Housing Authority by Vancouver Mayor Timothy Leavitt.

Don Jacobs of NW Injury Law Center in Vancouver received the Trial Lawyer of the Year award by the Clark County Bar Association. Jacobs is a former Clark adjunct faculty member.

Kristen and Corey Stackhouse, a Clark alumnus, welcomed Preston, at 8 pounds, 7 ounces, on June 25, 2014. Editor’s note: As reported in The Columbian on April 2, 2015.

The Hon. Barbara Johnson was selected to serve on the board of directors for H-RoC, a nonpartisan political action committee promoting women in leadership positions in Clark County. Johnson served the Clark County Superior Court for 28 years until her retirement in March 2015. She served on the Clark County Bar Association, and was the 1983 president of the State Board of Directors of Washington Women Lawyers.

David Clark joined Davidson & Associates Insurance of Vancouver as a personal insurance associate. A native of Clark County, he has an associate in arts with honors from Clark College.

Elson Strahan joined Vesta Hospitality as the company’s vice president of investor relations.