Meet our Board of Directors
Sustainable Connections Board
Board of Directors:
Andy Anderson, President & CEO, Index Industries
Jim Ashby, General Manager, Community Food Co-op
Jim Ashby has been involved in worker and community-owned natural food businesses in the northwest since 1975. Since 1985 when he became general manager of Bellingham’s Community Food Co-op he’s been active in the promotion and development of sustainable agriculture in Whatcom County and the greater northwest. Under his leadership the Food Co-op has initiated innovative programs to support new and established farmers to expand their reach into the marketplace and grown to be a cornerstone of our vibrant local economy. Jim has also been active since its inception in the development of the National Cooperative Grocers Association, an association of 120 food co-ops whose aim is to leverage the combined financial strength of cooperatives while helping them preserve their unique identities in their individual communities.
Andrea Leebron-Clay, Co-owner and operator, Mt. Baker Care Center, Summit Place Assisted Living Center and Vacationland RV Sales and Service
Andrea "Andy"Clay is a businesswoman, Registered Nurse, licensed Nursing Home Administrator who became interested in sustainable community development while co-founding a secondary school in Kenya. She says "I got a Master's degree in mistakes" before pursuing an actual Master's degree in sustainable business from Goddard College with a focus on non-profit governance. In addition to her activities with Sustainable Connections, her board service includes Harvey Mudd College, Goddard College, Forest Ethics, and Days for Girls. She is past Board President of the Whatcom Humane Society and a member of Bellingham Bay Rotary.
Dave Finet, Executive Director, Opportunity Council
After many years driving online innovation, Shawn stepped away from the corporate world and Seattle in 2006. With the idea of focus on trying to live a slightly more sustainable life and helping sparking social change in the world. Change that will ensure a better future for ourselves, our communities, and the planet. He currently spends much of his time with ONE/Northwest a non-profit started by Paul Brainerd 12 years ago to bring technology to the environmental movement. Where he is helping non-profits around the country to get better at utilizing the engagement potential of the internet. Shawn is also an active angel investor with a focus on making local and triple bottom line businesses a viable investment option and powerful economic lever. That interest guides his involvement as a member of the screening committee for the Bellingham Angel Group. Having chosen Bellingham for many reasons Shawn, his wife Misty, their foster daughter, and fluffy white dog can be seen walking, hiking, and riding bikes through our wonderful town and the surrounding area.
Janet Lightner, Manager, Boundary Bay Brewery
The importance of the farm to table connection has always been vital to me. On both a personal and a professional level, I have been involved with the farm to table movement for over 30 years and have participated in this movement both sides (running a small family farm and as a professional chef). As General Manager of Boundary Bay Brewery, I’ve enjoyed nurturing strong local and regional connections with local suppliers. I think it’s very important to strive toward a strong local economy and have been involved with a number of organizations who are also working toward that goal. I have served on the Board of Directors for the Washington Restaurant Association (2007-2011), the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center (2004-2009) and Sustainable Connections (currently). I am also the founder of Bellingham’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade; an annual event celebrating and thanking our community’s law enforcement and fire fighters.
Neil McCarthy, Project Architect, RMC Architects
Neil McCarthy has been a licensed architect in Bellingham since 1992. He currently serves as a Project Architect at RMC Architects. His interest in Sustainable Design dates back to Huxley classes taken at WWU prior to entering the architecture program at Dalhousie University. At WWU he was introduced to Trombe Walls, earth structures and passive solar design. Since then his expertise in Sustainable Design has broadened and he is currently a LEED Accredited Professional. Neil’s career path led him to the east coast of Canada and to Vancouver BC, prior to returning to the Whatcom County area. He and his wife, Lisa decided that Bellingham would be a great place to settle and raise their son, Jack. After attending the BALLE conference in Bellingham last year, Neil developed an interest in sustainable economics which has now led to a board position with Sustainable Connections.
Amy has been a Certified Financial Planner in Bellingham for the past five years. She specialized in sustainable and responsible investing, and developed a personal passion for community investing. She recently left the financial planning world to concentrate on facilitating the flow of community capital to local organizations. She greatly admires the Sustainable Connections organization for the numerous successful programs they have implemented in Whatcom County and she is honored to serve as a strategic partner on the board. Amy hopes to assist the organization with its continuing efforts to build a just and sustainable local economy.
Ian Rae is one of three co-owners of Chuckanut Builders, a Bellingham based general contractor that operates under the principles of the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit). As a Bellingham native Ian is excited to see the Bellingham business community emerging as a leader in the new business model and recognizes the important role that Sustainable Connections has played in starting this movement. Ian brings to the board a strong background in green building, urban planning and has first hand experience growing a new business in tough economic times.
Cheryl Thornton, Cloud Mountain Farm Center
With nearly 30 years’ experience farming, Cheryl is passionate about sharing her knowledge with beginning farmers and connecting with community members. Already well-known for offering workshops and other educational programs, she now serves as the Program/Finance Director and Board Member for Cloud Mountain Farm Center – a new nonprofit whose mission is to build experience, knowledge and community to expand dynamic local food systems.
Ex-Officio: Michael Lilliquist, Bellingham, City Council Liaison
Special thanks to the years of service we enjoyed from the following former board members:
Fred Berman, Owner, Pastazza; Small Farm & Direct Marketing Coordinator, WSDA
Ken Bothman, Owner, La Fiamma & Fiamma Burger
John D'Onofrio, Owner, D'Onofrio & Editor, NW Business Monthly
Rick Dubrow, Owner, A-1 Builders
Todd Elsworth, Director, Bellingham Traverse
Dean Fearing, Associate Director, Kulshan Community Land Trust
Mauri Ingram, CEO Whatcom Community Foundation
Duane Jager, Executive Director ReUse Works
Cindi Landreth, Co-Owner, A-1 Builders
Scott Mauermann, Owner Laurel Landscaping
Janet Ott, Owner, Ott & Associates
Chuck Robinson, Owner Village Books & Paper Dreams
Steve Roguski, Owner, Fairhaven Runners
Christopher Webb, Owner, Chris Webb & Associates Inc
Kathie Wilson, Owner, Child life Montessori Schools
Rose Lathrop, Project Coordinator, Aiki Homes
Alexandrea Spaulding, Owner, Alexandrea Consults
Allen Matsumoto, Partner, UI Architects, Inc.
Elie Samuel, Owner, Samuel's Furniture
Keith Carpenter, CEO, Wood Stone