First 100 Days: Days 1-30

Becoming a Knight

Dear students, colleagues, and community:

During my first visit to the campus, I shared with the members of the campus and community that I am a student, teacher, and scholar. The opportunity to serve as the president of this amazing institution and serve the members of Chelan, Douglas, and Okanogan counties is a privilege and one that I do not take lightly. Wenatchee Valley College is here for the public good and our success is a byproduct of the communities we serve.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share with you my notes from my first 30, 60, and 100 days of becoming a Knight and stepping into the role of the presidency at WVC.

What does it mean to be a WVC Knight? Look no further than our students, alumni and employees. The college’s caring and esteemed faculty and talented and student-centered professional staff and administrators are second to none and are preparing students and members of our community to be current and future leaders. Our alumni and community members are supporting and advancing the North Central Washington region and beyond. We work collaboratively with businesses and industries to support and advance innovation, and workforce and economic development. If members of our community are seeking skilled trades, business, STEM, liberal arts, health, and human services programs, WVC should be their first choice.

We are a community-centered learning organization that must be visible and responsive to our community’s needs. From continuing education and transitional studies to professional and technical programs, and associate and applied bachelor's degree programs, we offer lifelong learning to support industries and those that desire to live and do business in the region. WVC is here to support your needs and goals. Your future starts here! Go Knights!


The first 30 days

Dear Students, Colleagues, and Community:

After concluding the first month of my presidency at Wenatchee Valley College, I must say thank you for the warm welcome from so many caring members within the community, but also from former colleagues, educators, elected officials, and individuals that I have met over the last 30+ years in higher education near and far. Starting my presidency in January 2023 during the beginning of a quarter and the start of a legislative session went by in a blink of an eye. Here is a snapshot of what I experienced within my first 30 days.

Week 1

During this time, I had the opportunity to meet with students, faculty, staff, former employees, alumni, and community members. On my second day on the job, I met the architects and committee members for the new Center for Technical Education and Innovation (Sexton Hall replacement). The first week was also an introduction to the college’s shared governance structure which provided me with a firsthand perspective of some of the college’s priorities. I had the opportunity to have lunch with students, visit classes, and walk around campus. As I spoke with students, I was even more impressed with how committed my fellow faculty and staff are to supporting student achievement and success. It was also a pleasant surprise to have Gary Locke, the former governor and interim president of Bellevue College, call to welcome me back to Washington and to discuss the possibility of future collaborations. I ended my first week by having esteemed faculty member Scott Bailey give my wife and me a tour of the MAC Gallery during the First Friday arts walk.

Week 2

The second week, I met with the dedicated members of the WVC Foundation executive committee and Rachel Evey, the foundation executive director. Later, I visited the WVC at Omak Foundation where staff, alumni, and volunteers are doing some amazing work. I had my first opportunity to spend the day at our Omak campus which was wonderful. I received a tour of the campus and confirmed that our Omak campus is a jewel, and having the opportunity to meet our faculty and staff was like being in a diamond factory. It is no secret that I am especially fond of branch campuses and multi-campuses, and the opportunities to support Okanogan County were one of the primary reasons why I was interested in joining the WVC family. Also, a special thanks to Senator Brad Hawkins for stopping by to welcome me to the community and meet with faculty and members of the cabinet to learn about WVC’s priorities for the legislative session.

Week 3

During my third week, I had the opportunity to attend my first board of trustees meeting and to attend a WVC at Omak Foundation meeting. Shortly afterward, it was a pleasant surprise to receive a phone call from Dr. Don Shalvey, former deputy director of K-12 education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to congratulate me and to connect me with some of his colleagues now that I am back in Washington. I attended a NCW Tech Alliance party and learned that they have served as the region's nonprofit tech alliance since 1999. At the end of the week, I attended my first Omak Health Science Building design meeting and participated in my first Washington State Association of College Trustees (ACT) capital budget committee meeting where I now serve with five other college presidents and chancellors. 

Week 4

The following week, board vice chair Steve Zimmerman and I attended the ACT events in Lacey and Olympia. During this time, I briefly separated myself to attend an emergency incident command team meeting for a COVID-19 outbreak that occurred on the Wenatchee campus and was swiftly resolved. A special thanks to faculty, staff, and administrators for their immediate response and for effectively mitigating the outbreak. A special thanks to Dr. Kristen Hosey, who serves as WVC public health coordinator for leading these efforts! Later that day in Olympia, we met with Senator Shelly Short (district 7), Representatives Mike Steele and Keith Goehner (district 12) and Representatives Joel Kretz and Jacquelin Maycumber (district 7). Our number one request was for our representatives to join us in our efforts to advocate for complete funding for faculty and staff salaries, which included the following:

  • 100% state funding for the cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) negotiated by the governor’s office and the salary increases provided through Initiative 732.
  • 100% state funding for our operating budget request. This would provide an additional 13% salary increase, on top of the COLAs, for the biennium.

The following day, Patrick Tracy, WVC faculty senate president, and Sharon Wiest, former faculty senate president, and I met with Representatives Steele and Goehner, Senator Emily Randall, Vice Chair of the Higher Education Committee, and Representative Vandana Slatter, chair of the higher education committee, for Faculty Lobby Day.

I returned to campus and attended a 7 a.m. Associated Students of WVC meeting. Leadership organizations that meet regularly at 7 a.m. are usually committed to their cause and student government, which consists of a Running Start, traditional, and nontraditional students, were no exception.  I met with more groups on campus, attended departmental meetings and participated in the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) accreditation team visit for our BSN programs on both the Wenatchee and Omak campuses. A special kudos and thanks go out to Dr. Jenny Capelo, nursing programs director, for preparing me for the visit, and Meleah Butruille, nursing faculty, for providing me the opportunity to meet and spend time with nursing students during class time. I ended the week with a two-hour meeting with our dedicated and talented math department faculty. With this snapshot, I appreciate, am indebted to, and grateful to Maria Iñiguez, executive assistant to the president. Maria has been a great asset during my transition to WVC, and she has been instrumental in preparing me and ensuring that I am where I am supposed to be on our campuses, in the community, or in my travels to Olympia.