2024 June Economic Report

The Alliance is fortunate to have such a wise, caring Board of Directors

By The Economic Alliance of Lewis County

A group such as the Economic Alli- ance of Lewis County is only as strong as its Board of Directors.

They provide strategic focus, engage- ment, passion, clear goals and commit- ment. Your Alliance Board offers all that, plus an abundance of experience in a wide variety of economic areas. They are leaders of the community heavily invest- ed in the prosperity and health of Lewis County.

They set the direction of the Alliance and offer their sage advice to the man- agement team at the Alliance.

“I’m really fortunate to have this board,” said Alliance Executive Director Richard DeBolt. “With their varied busi- ness experiences, they provide me with wisdom and direction that allows the Al- liance to keep on track with our vision to increase the number of jobs in Lewis County which leads to a higher quality of life. They keep me focused on helping existing businesses thrive and also to at- tract new businesses.”

DeBolt said most important, however, is they bring a heartfelt caring to this community.

“Yes, they are leaders of Lewis County, but they bring such a passion and dedica- tion to the Alliance that can’t be replicat- ed,” DeBolt said. “I’m lucky to have such a great group of outstanding people.”

Your Alliance Board:

Luke Moerke — Chair
Exodus Engineering

Luke was born and raised in Lewis County. His grandfather and father both operated successful businesses in Lewis county in logging and well drill- ing respectively. Luke currently operates Exodus Engineering, where they provide engineering support for residential and commercial buildings, residential home design and drafting, commercial plan support and drafting, and site plans.

 

Stuart Cavness — Vice Chair
First Allied Securities

Stuart is a fifth generation Lewis County resident and enjoys giving back to his community through his participa- tion as Vice Chair for the Economic Alli- ance of Lewis County and company advi- sor to Business Week. Professionally, he is a financial planner and in his free time he enjoys cruising and racing sailboats, reading extensively and restoring his vin- tage automobiles.

Cindy Sorenson — Treasurer
Sorenson Transport

Cindy is president of Sorenson Trans- port Co. Inc. and was born and raised in Chehalis. She graduated from W.F. West in 2005 and Portland State University in 2010.

Dr. Bob Mohrbacher
Centralia College

Bob has been the president of Centra- lia College since 2016 and has worked in the Washington Community and Tech- nical College system since 1992. He is a former member of the Adams County Economic Development Council and is currently on the Board of Valley View Health Centers, the Centralia College Foundation and the PacMtn Workforce Development Council.

Bob Spahr
City of Chehalis

Bob is well known for his years of ser- vice as a city councilor and his deep ties to the community.

Brandon Johnson
JSA/Civil

Brandon is principal and cofounder of JSACIVIL, LLC, providing land devel- opment engineering services for clients throughout the West.

Cameron McGee
City of Centralia

Cameron was born and raised in Cen- tralia. He is the owner of Calypso Win- dow Washing and currently sits on the Centralia City Council.

Chad Taylor
The Chronicle

Chad is the CEO of The Silver Agency, a marketing firm in Chehalis, and serves as the publisher within CT Publishing, a news organization with newspaper as- sets in Centralia, The Chronicle; Yelm, The Nisqually Valley News; and in Battle Ground, The Reflector. Along with his wife they owne a sign company, SignPro. Chad served on the Chehalis City Coun- cil for 19 years, serving as Mayor ProTem for two terms retiring in February 2021.

 

Julie Shaffley
Port of Centralia

Julie Shaffley is the owner of Good Health Nutrition Center in Centralia for over 30 years. Julie is also a Port of Cen- tralia Commissioner since 2015.

JT Mundi
Kodenum, Inc.

JT Singh Mundi is founder of Kode- num Inc and Petro America Inc in Che- halis. He earned a bachelor of science degree in computer science from Wash- ington State University. JT dedicates time to philanthropic and leadership roles in support of the local community. This includes service as Board Member of the Economic Alliance of Lewis County and as co-founder of Encompass Engine.

Scott Brummer
Lewis County Commissioner

Scott is committed to representing the people of Lewis County, to listen and to be involved in the county’s communi- ties. He has called Lewis County home for 28 years. For more than 20 years, he served the region as a Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife habitat biologist. He has a bachelor of science in biology. He has experiences as a farmer, as the owner of a small farm and feed business and as senior pastor of God’s Place church in Ethel. He also has exten- sive experience with budgets, accounting, finance, and regulatory requirements.

 

Kirk Vigre
Dry Box, Inc

Kirk is a Lewis County native and Mossyrock High School graduate. He is president and founder of DRY BOX INC. among his many business pursuits. He is an experienced field engineer, and a me- chanical gas turbine technician.

Bob Guenther
Thurston Lewis Mason-Central Labor Council

Bob works to retain and facilitate jobs that pay a healthy wage and offer solid benefits.

Dale Merten
ToledoTel

Dale is the VP/COO of ToledoTel, the leading rural broadband provider in Washington state. Dale’s career in Tele- com spans over four decades.

Mike Alexander
Security State Bank

Mike has been with Security State Bank since 1997. He is currently a Trust Officer since 2013, with the SSB Trust Department. He has a bachelors degree in business administration, business management from Washington State University. Mike was born and raised in Chehalis. Along with serving on the Alli- ance Board, he’s a past president of Lewis County Chapter of Washington Farm Forestry Association and is a school board commission member for Saint Jo- seph School.

Jereme Chapman
KPFF Consulting Engineers & JT Mundi from Kodenum, Inc.

Jereme is a Professional Licensed Land Surveyor and Principal at KPFF Consulting Engineers in Lacey, where he has worked for the past 15 years, he also serves as a Fire Commissioner for Lewis County Fire District #13.

Ben Kostick
Ben M. Kostick C.P.A.

Ben has owned Ben Kostick CPA, Inc. for 25 years and has over 40 years of ex- perience in accounting.

Paul Ericson
Shelton Lam & Deck

Paul Ericson is the president and co- owner of Shelton Structures, Inc. located in Chehalis. Paul serves as Port Com- missioner District 2, is a board member of the Economic Alliance and Industrial Commission as well as a proud member of the Chehalis Activators.

Heidi Pehl
I-5 Auto Group

Heidi is the owner of the I-5 Auto Group which operates Awesome Ford & RV, I-5 Toyota, Awesome Chevrolet Buick and I-5 Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat all in Chehalis, and VW of Olympia in Olympia. Heidi grew up in Chehalis.

Reggie Hamilton
Hamilton Rock & Contracting

Reggie Hamilton is semi-retired. He has a background in land acquisitions, land management, building projects and groundwork consulting.

Shane Wood
TwinStar Credit Union

Shane is the business services manager and commercial lending specialist for TwinStar.

Samantha Magnuson
Lewis County Coffee & Nomad Truck and SUV Outfitters

Samantha is co-owner of her business. Samantha is a W.F. West graduate and longtime supporter of Lewis County. Af- ter a corporate career with LINE-X Pro- tective Coatings, Samantha left to dedi- cate fulltime to her family’s businesses, Lewis County Coffee Company and No- mad Truck and SUV Outfitters.

Tyler McCallum
McCallum Rock Drilling

Tyler is president of his company and a graduate of WF West High School and the University of Washington. He was born and raised in Chehalis.

Darin Goss
Chief Executive Providence Swedish South Puget Sound

Darin serves as the chief executive for Providence Swedish South Puget Sound, accountable for the Centralia hospital. Prior, he served as the chief operating of- ficer with Providence in Burbank, Cali- fornia. Darin started his healthcare ca- reer at Mayo Clinic in Arizona serving in a variety of leadership roles.

Amanda Singleton
Rainier Connect

Amanda is the manager of customer care and support at Rainier Connect. For more than 20 years, she has enjoyed the fast-pace growth and innovation of the internet service provider industry. She connects with community leaders to strategically improve the ways we con- nect and do business from home and the office. Amanda also serves on the Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce Board and the Boys and Girls Club of Lewis County Board.

Jonathan Hubbert
Powersports Northwest

Jonathan is president of Powersports Northwest located in Centralia. He is na- tive to Lewis County and is a 2007 gradu- ate from W.F. West High School. He serves on the Centralia College Founda- tion Board, The Boys and Girls Club of Lewis County and is a third-generation Alliance boardmember.

Kaech awarded $1,500 Gary Stamper scholarship

Award honors former Lewis County Commissioner and Mossyrock coach and educator

By The Economic Alliance of Lewis County

Bobbi Barnes Photo

Lewis County Commissioner Gary Stamper smiles while walking in a parade in Centralia.

The Gary Stamper Scholarship Com- mittee, under the direction of the Eco- nomic Alliance of Lewis County, has chosen Koltin Kaech as its 2024 $1,500 scholarship recipient.

Koltin is a senior at Mossyrock High School and was chosen for this award for his community involvement, excel- lent academics and plans for a future career in education. After graduation Koltin plans to go to Centralia College to become an elementary teacher.

His favorite high school memory is making it to state in football with his cousins and uncle. He played offensive and defensive line for the Mossyrock High School football team.

The scholarship is given in honor of the late Lewis County Commissioner Gary Stamper, who died from Covid-19 complications in 2021.

“Gary Stamper would be proud of the selection of Koltin for the scholarship in his name,” said Economic Alliance of Lewis County Executive Director Richard DeBolt. “Stamper was heavily involved in sports at Mossyrock where he was a teacher.”

The public is encouraged to donate to the scholarship fund so Stamper’s legacy can be carried out year after year.

About the scholarship

The Economic Alliance of
County created the Gary Stamper Memo- rial Scholarship after the passing of Com- missioner Stamper in September of 2021 at the age of 67.

Gary was known for being a great leader, career educator, great mentor, soft- spoken, big-hearted, family man who had a passion for service. His death sent shockwaves through the community.

He was dedicated to his community and served as principal for White Pass Junior/High School, Lewis County Commissioner for District #3 as well as Fire Commissioner for District #3.

A renowned prep basketball coach, he was on the sidelines as the Mossyrock girls basketball team’s head coach during its successful run in the 2000s. The run, and Gary’s coaching career, culminated in a 2B state championship in 2007 when the Vi- kingsdefeatedLaSallefortheschool’sfirst hoops title.

“A former principal, teacher and coach, Stamper touched many lives throughout Lewis County and beyond even before joining the Board of County Commission- ers in 2015,” the county wrote in a news release following his passing.

He prided himself on “standing up for the little guy,” protecting the area’s timber interests and promoting economic growth while maintaining the area’s rural feel.

In his personal life, Gary enjoyed traveling with his partner Bobbi Barnes, and spending time with family, especially his grandchildren, whom he called his “top priority.”

A self-admitted softie when it came to animals, Gary also reveled in helping oth- ers. Whether it was delivering firewood to a struggling family, buying groceries for a perfect stranger or purchasing shoes for a student in need.

Gary, who grew up first in Riffe and then Mossyrock, graduated from Mossy- rock High School before earning a bach- elor’s degree in Political Science from Cen- tral Washington University and a master’s degree in School Administration from Heritage University.

If you want to donate:

• Call 360-748-0114

• Mail checks to P.O. Box 916, Chehalis, WA 98532; Make checks payable to Economic Alliance of Lewis County

• Venmo@Economicalliance

Koltin Kaech

Discover Lewis County announces photo contest

First place will pay out $1,000, submissions accepted through Aug. 15

By The Economic Alliance of Lewis County

Jeff Sheppard / Discover Lewis County

You can hike up to Silver Falls, a short, sweet little loop in the southeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park.

Jeff Sheppard / Discover Lewis County

Catching air while barreling down the slopes.

Discover Lewis County is thrilled to announce the launch of its first photo contest, inviting photography enthu- siasts to capture the natural beauty of Lewis County through the theme “Na- ture in Lewis County.” This contest celebrates the picturesque landscapes, diverse wildlife and natural beauty that make Lewis County an outdoor enthusi- ast’s paradise. The contest will run June 15 through Aug. 15.
“We’re excited to see how participants

will capture the natural beauty of Lewis County through their lenses,” said Todd

Chaput, project manager for Discover Lewis County. “This contest is a fantas- tic opportunity to highlight the beauty of our scenic area and natural land- scapes, and we look forward to sharing these stunning images with the broader community.”

Submissions for the “Nature in Lewis County” photo contest are now open. Photographers of all skill levels are en- couraged to participate and share their unique perspectives of Lewis County’s natural wonders.

Prizes

1st place winner: $1,000 2nd place winner: $500

Contest details and rules:

Limit three entries: Each participant may submit three photos throughout the duration of the contest.

Maximum file size: Photos must be no larger than 5MB in size to be eligible for submission.

File format: Only photos with the fol- lowing file extensions are accepted: .jpg, .png, .webp, .gif.

Future use: By submitting a photo,  participants will agree to a photo release and terms that their photos may be used by Discover Lewis County in future publications, including online media campaigns or printed materials. Proper credit will be given to the photographer.

Prize money: Prize money will be awarded to winners by check after the announcement of the winners.

Judging process: Entries will be judged by the Discover Lewis County team based on creativity, originality, composition and relevance to the theme of showcasing the beauty of Lewis County.

To enter the contest, and for more information, please visit Discover Lew- is County’s website at discoverlewis- county.com/photo-contest/ or contact Discover Lewis County at 360-748- 0114.

About Discover Lewis County

Discover Lewis County serves as Lewis County’s destination marketing organization. Discover Lewis County is charged with representing Lewis County as a tourism destination and supporting the long-term development of Lewis County communities through sustainable tourism marketing and management strategies. They bring together government, related organi- zations and industry stakeholders to secure funding, and protect our natu- ral environment while simultaneously boosting the local economy.

Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation signs agreement establishing government-to-government relations with the state Department of Commerce

Milestone memorandum of understanding formalizes areas of partnership; seeks to remove administrative barriers and ensures data sovereignty.

By Economic Alliance of Lewis County

Department of Commerce photo

Chehalis Tribe Chairman Dustin Klatush, center, signed an MOU with Commerce Director Mike Fong at Talking Cedar in Rochester.

Chehalis Tribe Chairman Dustin Klatush and Washington State De- partment of Commerce Director Mike Fong today signed a historic memo- randum of understanding (MOU) es- tablishing government-to-government relations between the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation and the department in a ceremony at Talk- ing Cedars in Rochester.

The agreement seeks to remove ad- ministrative barriers, improve com- munications, implement culturally appropriate data privacy and security measures, and more, according to a news release.

“As chairman of the Chehalis Tribe, I am inspired by the words of Sitting Bull, ‘Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the

embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!’ These words echo the spirit of our tribal sovereignty — a force that fills us with hope and resilience,” said Chairman Klatush. “Our sovereignty isn’t about just laws; it is about who we are as a people. It’s about our right to govern ourselves, protect our lands and cel- ebrate our culture. It is what makes us Chehalis.”

Klatush said entering into an MOU
with Commerce will have practical benefits like expedited contracting, and also includes areas of partnership integral to the expression of tribal sov- ereignty.

“Having the opportunity to voice our preferences around tribal consulta- tion and data sovereignty is a refresh- ing and greatly appreciated change,” he said. “Let the power of our sovereignty move us forward; may it guide us to a brighter future for our tribal commu- nities and the next seven generations. Together, let’s embrace it, cherish it, and let it lead us to greatness.”

“I am honored to join Chehalis Tribe Chairman Dustin Klatush in forg- ing this groundbreaking relationship,” said Commerce Director Fong. “Strong, vibrant tribal nations and tribal com- munities strengthen all Washington communities in many ways. This agreement marks a pivotal moment in how Commerce works in accord with tribal communities in our state.”

Fong said the MOU is the first of more similar agreements with tribes in Washington state anticipated in coming weeks.

“These agreements reflect our val- ues as an agency. We take a holistic approach to working with all commu- nities to access the continuum of re- sources available through Commerce, from capital funding for affordable housing, community facilities and en- ergy infrastructure to support for com- munity services, public safety, and eco- nomic development and job creation.”

Fong, who recently marked his first year leading Commerce, has traveled the state extensively, meeting with tribal leaders and community mem- bers, listening to understand how Commerce can improve collaboration on top priority issues. In his short ten- ure, Commerce created a standalone Office of Tribal Relations led by Mi- chelle Gladstone-Wade, established tribal liaisons across the department for critical programs, added funding for technical assistance around applying for funding, and streamlined clean energy grant opportunities.

Fong has made it a priority to pur- sue a high-touch, holistic approach that seeks to remove unnecessary bureau- cracy in Commerce processes and pro- cedures, and provide more technical assistance to tribes and all communi- ties the agency works with throughout the state. This is especially important to smaller tribes, small towns and ru- ral communities, all of which may lack the administrative and financial re- sources to navigate complex pathways to access funding available to them through Commerce.

Chair’s Corner

The Alliance is fortunate to have such a wise, caring Board of Directors

By Luke Moerke Chair – Economic Alliance of Lewis County

Richard DeBolt
Richard DeBolt

Director — Economic Alliance of Lewis County

I am so proud to show off the Board of Directors of the Economic Alliance of Lewis County in this edition of The Eco- nomic Report.

They have so much experience com- ing from all sides of the business world. Chair Luke Moerke is the perfect leader. He is serious, to the point, a true professional who truly keeps me on task. He’s also a pleasure to work with.

The board chair only serves for a time, and then the next one steps forward.

I miss the day when he does leave the post. But life does move on. Luke replaced Ben Kostick, for ex- ample. Ben led the Alliance when I first was hired as executive director, and he got me and the staff off on solid footing.

Please read through the brief bios of the Board of Directors starting on page one of this report. We really do have a board with vast knowledge of all sectors of the economy, from banking to sales to telecommunications to — well, I could go on, but if you read through the story, you’ll be impressed.

They also have deep roots in Lewis County. Jonathan Hubbert, president of Powersports Northwest in Centralia, for example, is a third-generation Economic Alliance of Lewis County board member. He’s a prime example of this board. Not only does he bring a keen acumen for business, like other board members, he also is involved in groups such as the Centralia College Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of Lewis County.

The board brings more than their particular area of expertise, so many of them, such as Hubbert, also represent the preeminent foundations and boards and agencies from across Lewis County.

Some might believe being executive director of the Alliance is a walk in the park, but it is anything but that. Some- times, I need the advice, the guidance, when a tricky development comes before me. Balancing government and econom- ic development interests (and the public at large) can ruffle feathers. Sometimes I just need a sounding board.

These 26 board members give it to me straight, but are also so supportive of what we are trying to do here at the Alliance.

To the board, I salute you and thank you for all your efforts in this volunteer endeavor.

Joining the Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council

I also get to serve on various boards. I’m pleased to have joined the board at Pacific Mountain Workforce Develop- ment Council (PacMtn).

This nonprofit group is a key player in bringing regional workforce develop- ment to the counties it covers. I will be able to help influence the direction of PacMtn as it, like the Alliance, has as a mission to help foster economic growth.

SPONSORED CONTENT

By Thurston-Lewis-Mason Central Labor Council

Opportunities

Many people recognize the value of apprenticeship, and the value the skilled trades bring to people seeking family wage jobs. Not everyone is suited for or wants to attend college and the trades can be an ideal avenue for those who like to build things and work with their hands. IBEW 76 and our training program, the Southwest Washington Electrical J.A.T.C. (swwaejatc.org), have strong ties to Lewis County. Our members who live and work in Lewis County not only provide a strong standard of living for their families, but they also provide top notch electrical services and are very invested in their communities.

Whether volunteering at their church, coaching Little League, Fastpitch and Wrestling programs or helping to build something in the community, there’s a good chance IBEW 76 members can be found. Sometimes it’s a larger project like the construction and electrification of Recreation Park in Chehalis, other times it’s more individualized like fixing something in a concession stand or repairing some lights. Volunteering and donating to the Visiting Nurses Foundation and the Lewis County Forgotten Childrens Fund are other areas where IBEW 76 members can be found.

It’s this same type of commitment to the contractors they work for that makes our Lewis County members some of the

best electricians around. We’re proud to see the Local School Districts recognizing the value apprenticeship brings to our youth and promoting it as an option alongside other pathways to success. To learn more about the contractors who work in partnership with IBEW 76, visit the local Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors website at www.necasww. org.

Economic development is another area that IBEW 76 is heavily invested in. Working at the Local, State and Federal levels, we are always looking for ways to support the creation of new opportunities for family wage jobs. As important as the work at the State and Federal levels is, it’s the local partnerships that can bring the best results. The Economic Alliance of Lewis County is an excellent example of Business and Labor working together for the betterment of our communities. Strong local economies and family wage jobs are what we all want and need to help our communities and families thrive.

Clint Bryson Assistant Business Manager IBEW 76

Property Spotlight

For Sale on the Miracle Mile — $1.5 M. 2614 NE Kresky Ave., Centralia

Economic Alliance of Lewis County

Agent’s notes:
10,500-square-foot commercial/retail/office building in the heart of Centralia/Chehalis Commercial District. On the main floor is a showroom, three offices and two bathrooms. Upstairs has 10 individual offices, a conference room and two separate bathrooms. Two separate
entrances for upstairs offices, could easily be rented out individually or to a single entity. Siding recently replaced. Own your share of the Miracle Mile. Upstairs is leased through August 2026, downstairs currently unoccupied.

Listed by: Century 21 Lund Realtors
For information on this property and others available throughout Lewis County (or to list your industrial/commercial property for sale), contact Economic Alliance of Lewis County External Relations Manager Eric Sonnenberg at [email protected] or 208-206-5407.

Eric Sonnenberg
Eric Sonnenberg

Economic Alliance of Lewis County External Relations Manager

For information on this property and others available throughout Lewis County (or to list your industrial/commercial property for sale), contact Economic Alliance of Lewis County External Relations Manager Eric Sonnenberg at [email protected] or 208-206-5407.