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.
Dave Finet, Executive Director, Opportunity Council
Dave Finet has been with the Opportunity Council (OC) since 1986 and after a national search he was chosen to be Executive Director in December of 2006. Opportunity Council is a Community Action Agency with a designated service area that includes Whatcom, Island and San Juan Counties. The agency also has programs in Skagit and Snohomish counties as well as being lead agency for a number of other anti-poverty initiatives throughout the state.
Prior to becoming Executive Director Dave served as Director of Energy and Home Repair and Deputy Director for the agency. As Director of Energy and Home Repair he received the Dept of Energy's 2006 National Recognition Award of Excellence in Weatherization Program Management. In 1997 Dave lead the effort to create the Building Performance Center a fee for service venture of the OC dedicated to training, energy efficiency retrofits and consulting services. Dave was instrumental in developing the Weatherization Plus Health program, a U.S. Dept of Housing and Urban Development initiative to develop protocols and implement a set of procedures for low-income families to reduce asthma triggers in their homes. Dave received the Most Outstanding Person in Energy award from the State of Washington in 1994.
I have been redeveloping historic buildings in Bellingham for twenty years. I believe that these buildings are an important part of our shared sense of place, which connects us to each other and to our city. Downtown Bellingham has just been recognized as a National Register Historic District, a significant and worthy designation we can all celebrate. Recently, I have started Skipping Stone Foundation. SSF is non-profit that creates new grants, programs, and scholarships in Whatcom County, focusing on art, collaboration, and the importance of interdependence.
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.
Siobhan Murphy, Thrive Business GroupIan Rae, Owner, Chuckanut Builders
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.
Karl Unterschuetz, Business Development Director, Itek Energy
Karl has 15 years of environmental and green business development experience. Karl is currently Business Development Director for itek Energy, Washington’s largest solar panel manufacture. Trained as an ecologist and rooted in sustainable entrepreneurship, Karl co-developed growth strategies for one of the first and renowned organic agriculture businesses in Washington State. Karl established science based waste reduction and pollution programs for the US Department of Energy, US Environmental Protection Agency as well as private companies. As Washington State Energy Project Lead for NEBC, Karl launched the Washington Energy Forum and supported the inaugural year of the NW Clean Tech Open as the Sustainability Chair. Passionate about sustainable business and our bio-region, Karl spends his free time building handcrafted skis and exploring the waters and mountains of the Pacific Northwest.
Ex-Officio: Terry Bornemann, 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, Executive Director, Recreation Northwest
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
Andrea Leebron-Clay, Co-owner and operator, Mt. Baker Care Center