Movers & Shakers 3/16/2018

Gerry Blaise


Gerry Blaise was recently hired at the Vancouver Business Journal as the Business Development Director.

Blaise and his wife Susan moved to the Vancouver area from Columbia, Mo., in the summer of 2016. He brings 22 years of sales, strategic marketing and branding experience across a variety of industries, including food service/hospitality, real estate, automotive, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations.

Most recently, Blaise worked as an Account Executive for KGW TV- 8/TEGNA Media Group in Portland, and prior to that, worked as an Account Executive for the NBC affiliate, KOMU TV-8, in Columbia, Mo. He graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree in hospitality marketing and Asian studies with Japanese language emphasis; he speaks fluent French and intermediate Japanese.

Blaise was born in St. Louis, Mo., to Haitian immigrant parents, Dr. Gerard and Dr. Yolande Blaise, both who are still with us today. He has one sister, Murielle, who lives with her husband and four sons in Denver, Colo.

Blaise and his wife spend their free time working on their home, taking care of their dog Lucius and their cat Mara, and enjoying the beautiful nature that the Columbia River Gorge and the Northwest has to offer.


James PetersenMargie EddingsDimitry Kopets

Coldwell Banker Bain, a leading provider of real estate brokerage services in Washington and Oregon, has announced three new hires in its Vancouver offices: James Petersen, Vancouver East; Margie Eddings, Vancouver West; and Dimitry Kopets, Vancouver West. All three will provide real estate services to home buyers and sellers.


Otak, Inc. (Otak), an award-winning architecture, urban design, engineering and planning firm, is preparing for significant growth in Southwest Washington in 2018, and has brought on a team of experts to support expanded services to clients throughout the region.

Tim Leavitt, PE, joined Otak in the fall of 2017 and now serves as Otak’s director of Southwest Washington Operations. He brings more than 20 years of experience in client relations, project and construction management, and technical design in civil and environmental engineering. Leavitt is a long-time resident of Vancouver and is deeply involved in the community. He has participated on numerous local nonprofit and philanthropic boards over the years. In addition, he was elected and served as both a City Council member (2003-2009) and Mayor (2010-2018) of the City of Vancouver.

Chuck GreenChuck Green, PE, senior project manager, comes to Otak after successfully delivering the Portland/Vancouver region’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project known as “The Vine.” The Vine’s six-mile corridor between downtown Vancouver and Vancouver Mall is C-TRAN’s first-ever high-capacity transit project and the largest project C-TRAN has ever undertaken. In his previous role as C-TRAN’s Bus Rapid Transit project manager, Green oversaw the entire project evolution, from the early planning stages where 23 different alternatives were assessed, through obtaining funding, project development and design, and finally implementation and grand opening.

Green brings a focus on service to the Vancouver community, combined with transit expertise for Otak’s clients across the West Coast. Green has been involved in many Vancouver civic and charitable organizations, is a member of the Rotary Club of Three Creeks, as well as the League of United Latin American Citizens.

Scott NettletonScott Nettleton, PE, joins Otak as a senior structural engineer with 27 years of experience as both an engineer and bridge designer. Nettleton’s extensive experience as a structural engineer includes having served as a lead engineer on more than 30 bridge structures and numerous minor structures, rehabilitations and temporary works, most notably the “slide in bridge” technology used in support of the Sellwood Bridge Replacement, and the Depot Street Bridge in Rogue River.


Chuy GarciaMarci Faile

Chuy Garcia has joined Davidson & Associates Insurance of Vancouver as a business sales agent. He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and history from the University of Oregon and has professional experience in insurance, banking and education. He is a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and a volunteer with the Vancouver Public Schools. He resides with his family in Vancouver.

Marci Faile has joined Davidson & Associates Insurance of Vancouver where she will coordinate life, disability and long-term care needs of clients. She has more than 20 years of professional experience working in the medical and orthopedic industries. She resides with her family in Vancouver.

Davidson & Associates Insurance has served local businesses and individuals since 1990. The firm is located at 610 Esther St., Suite 101, in Vancouver. For more information call (360) 514-9550 or visit the website .


Wallis Engineering, PLLC, a Vancouver-based engineering firm, has completed a change in ownership. Jane Vail, PE, a project manager and design engineer at Wallis Engineering, purchased the company from founder and principal engineer Bob Wallis. The sale was finalized in August 2017.

Vail, who started as an engineer at Wallis Engineering in 2009, leads professional development at the company and specializes in transportation planning and design projects. She plans to keep to the firm’s 33-year history of assisting local government with a variety of municipal engineering projects.

“My focus at Wallis has been collaboration and teamwork on reconstruction of municipal infrastructure, and I’m excited to share that focus,” Vail said.


Kelsey ElwessRyan Thorstenson

Opsahl Dawson recently announced that Kelsey Elwess been promoted to manager in their Vancouver location after obtaining her CPA license.

Elwess has been with Opsahl Dawson since 2011.

Opsahl Dawson also recently announced that Ryan Thorstenson has been promoted to senior in their Longview location after obtaining his CPA license.

Thorstenson has been with Opsahl Dawson since 2015.

Outside of work Thorstenson volunteers in his church’s band where he plays bass and guitar and spends his time with his friends and his growing family.


Banfield Pet Hospital recently welcomed Erika Escobar Morgan to Banfield as vice president of People & Organization (P&O).

In this role, Escobar Morgan is responsible for providing strategic leadership and partnering with senior operations, regional and functional leaders on effective and ongoing talent development and career mapping to strengthen Banfield’s talent pipeline, and build a deep succession bench in all levels across the practice. She will also serve on the P&O leadership team and senior operations leadership team.

Escobar Morgan is a highly collaborative and inclusive leader who brings more than 10 years of human resources and operations leadership experience at Nike to her new role. Originally from Colombia, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree in international business administration from the University of Washington. She and her family live in Camas with their 6-year-old Boston Terrier mix.


PeaceHealth recently announced that Will Weider will serve as its new senior vice president and chief information officer.

Weider has served as PeaceHealth’s interim CIO since October 2017. He has already had a positive impact on the healthcare organization, overseeing plans for technology upgrades and championing several information technology governance initiatives.

As CIO, Weider is accountable for all of PeaceHealth’s information technology operations system wide and is responsible for developing and implementing a technology strategy that meets short- and long-term objectives.

Prior to joining PeaceHealth, Weider spent more than 20 years in executive chief information officer roles for large healthcare organizations, including Ministry Health Care and Affinity Health System in Wisconsin, and Trinity Regional Health System in Illinois and Iowa. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Eastern Michigan University.

Weider is based at PeaceHealth’s system office in Vancouver. He officially transitioned from interim to permanent CIO on March 12.



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