Movers & Shakers 10/13/2017


ilani, a premier gaming and entertainment destination in Southwest Washington, has hired Melinda Hinkley as the event center’s first sales and marketing executive. ilani, developed by Salishan-Mohegan LLC in collaboration with the Cowlitz Indian Tribe, opened spring 2017 and is poised to grow its event business with a new event space that will open spring 2018.

Hinkley has 25 years of experience in event planning, catering sales, community partnerships, customer service and project management. She will be responsible for developing new and existing accounts and maintaining relationships to meet entertainment, food and beverage, audio visual and meeting room rental goals. Hinkley will also oversee client functions to ensure satisfaction with the new space, which will be capable of seating 2,500 people and easily configured for a wide variety of event sizes and needs.

“ilani is delighted to welcome Melinda to the organization and the planning expertise she brings to our growing event business,” said Kara Fox-LaRose, general manager and president of ilani. “We look forward to opening our event center, which will serve as a regional meeting space for Clark County as well as for conferences, conventions and entertainment.”

Hinkley comes to ilani from Eatery at The Grant House where, as the event coordinator, she managed all client relationships, planning and executing corporate, nonprofit and social events. She has also planned events for clients of her own event company to various hospitality venues to higher education institutions.

Hinkley has also served the Southwest Washington community on the City of Vancouver Green Ribbon Task Force on Sustainability, board of directors of the Vancouver Watersheds Council, the Vancouver Farmer’s Market Food Committee and Wine and Food Society of Clark County.


Clark College Foundation recently welcomed Jim Parish to its board of directors.

Parish is the owner of Parish Partners Inc., an investment and consulting firm for the restaurant industry since 1991. His work in the food and beverage industry includes providing solutions for quick service, fast casual, casual, upscale and fine dining. Moreover, his financial and strategic expertise comprises private equity and venture investment, strategic investment, software solutions, and real estate and commercial projects.

Parish provides guidance on strategy, brand growth and development, executive mentoring, board of directors’ compliance, and governance consulting and transaction evaluations for strategic and financial investors, and other areas of expertise.

Parish divides his time between leading Parish Partners and serving as a professional board member. His board experience includes serving for public and private companies, ranging from start-ups to multi-billion dollar enterprises. He has served on numerous committees and as chair while serving on the boards of McCormick & Schmick’s, Spirit Finance and First Bank.

Nonprofit service includes serving on the boards of the North Dallas Food Bank, LifeWorks, a youth services organization in Austin, Texas, and Blue Heaven Therapeutic Riding Academy, specializing in horseback riding for children with impairments or disabilities in Oregon.


The Fire District 3 Board of Fire Commissioners has selected a new fire chief to replace Fire Chief Steve Wrightson who retires in November. Assistant Chief Scott Sorenson was selected from a number of regional applicants for the position.

Sorenson began his fire service career in 1979 as a volunteer with Fire District 3. Hired full time in 1982, he served as a career firefighter/EMT, lieutenant, captain, division chief, deputy chief and assistant chief.

He also served as an EMT (North Country EMS), firefighter (Clark County Fire District 10) and wildland firefighter (Washington Department of Natural Resources).

Sorenson holds a Master of Science Degree in management and organizational leadership (Warner Pacific College), Bachelor of Science Degree in business administration (Warner Pacific College) and an Associate of Science Degree in fire protection technology (Portland Community College).

He is also a graduate of the National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program. Sorenson is a 1980 graduate of Battle Ground High School.

Sorenson is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Washington State Association of Fire Chiefs and the Clark County Fire Chiefs Association Operations Division.

He has served as an Adjunct Instructor at Portland Community College and Operations Section Chief on Washington Incident Management Teams.

Sorenson is married and has three children. The family resides in Venersborg.


Shane Weisman, a financial adviser with Ameriprise Financial in Vancouver, was for the second year in a row named a national Top 401k Adviser by Financial Times.

Shane was named based on data gathered from financial advisers, regulatory disclosures and the FT’s research.

The award reflects status in seven primary areas, including 401k assets under management, growth, specialization in 401ks, employee participation, years of experience, industry certifications and compliance record.



Joanna Yorke is the managing editor of the Vancouver Business Journal. She has worked in the journalism field since 2010 after graduating from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. Yorke worked at The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground for six years and then worked at and helped start