Movers & Shakers 4/24/2018


Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW) has appointed Ralph Clark, owner of Cowlitz Container & Die Cutting, to its board of directors.

Cowlitz Container & Die Cutting is a specialty die cutting, custom packaging manufacturer located in Kelso, Wash. A regional supplier since 1971, the company also provides shrink wrapping, custom boxes, litho lamination, contract slitting, gauge plastic conversion, custom EPS, flexible foam cutting and digital printing. Cowlitz serves the regional printing industry with customer-specific, high-quality, flexible cutting and digital print solutions for use in presentations, marketing and ad agency work.

A life-long resident of the area, Clark grew up in Kelso and graduated from Kelso High School and Lower Columbia College. He studied architectural engineering at the University of Washington and served a four-year apprenticeship with the United Association of Steamfitters.

The workforce board includes representatives of private businesses, education, organized labor, local governments, community-based and nonprofit organizations, state agencies and economic development councils.

For a complete list of WSW Board members, visit

Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW), a nonprofit organization founded in 2002, contributes to regional economic growth by providing investments and resources to improve the skills and education of the workforce in Clark, Cowlitz and Wahkiakum counties. WSW-funded programs help businesses find and hire the employees they need and provide people the skills, education and training to find work or advance in their careers. WSW partners with employers, community colleges and universities, labor groups, government and economic development agencies, high schools and community organizations. For more information, visit


The business leadership organization Identity Clark County recently announced the appointment of Esther Cho Liu and Chad Sessions to its board of directors.

Esther Cho LiuLiu, Ridgefield, is associate principal of LSW Architects, a firm she joined in 2011 to support the firm’s commercial, school and housing project portfolio. She brings experience with Portland-based Ankrom Moisan and Fletcher Farr Ayotte architectural firms, and with Brooks Architectural in Benton Harbor, Mich. Liu has a degree in architecture from Andrew’s University in Berrien Springs, Mich.

Chad SessionsSessions, Camas, is co-owner of Real Living The Real Estate Group, a regional real estate firm serving the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area since 2010. Real Living actively supports the Learn Here project, which celebrates the region’s quality educational system. Sessions has 24 years of real estate and land development experience after beginning his career as a traffic safety instructor for the Vancouver School District. He attended Rancho Santiago College and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and is an alumnus of Columbia River High School.

About Identity Clark County

Identity Clark County is a 24-year-old privately funded business organization comprised of business leaders who seek to build a stronger community. The organization has about 80 investors, with an office in Vancouver and a government relations presence in Olympia.


Two state corrections employees working in Clark County received DOC Annual Agency Awards on April 20. The employees received the awards during a ceremony in Tumwater.

Tanis Smith, who works at the Southwest Vancouver Field Office, received a Community Corrections Officer of the Year award and Richard Burk, an employee of Larch Corrections Center, received a Corrections Officer of the Year award. Each year, staff members are nominated for the awards by their colleagues. The awards recognize employees for their continuous work to improve public safety. A total of 74 DOC employees across the state received agency awards out of a pool of 1,073 nominations. Larch Corrections Center, located in Yacolt, is a minimum custody-level prison that houses 480 male inmates.

Community Supervision field offices deliver services for people under community supervision who are transition back into the community. These locations are used for staff, programming and as a location for people under DOC community supervision to report.

Correctional Officer/Community Corrections Officer of the Year is presented to an officer whose performance goes above and beyond normal requirements, and who demonstrates their commitment to the department’s goals and mission. This officer maintains a positive attitude, provides sound decision making and a strong commitment to teamwork. She/he is an effective communicator, treating others with dignity, fairness and respect. She/he is a positive role model and maintains professionalism at all times.


Jo Ann Johnston, CEO of the Clark County Association of Realtors is being honored by the National Association of Realtors with the Realtor Association Certified Executive (RCE) designation, which recognizes exceptional efforts made by the Realtor association executives.

Johnston is one of more than 500 Realtor association executives who have achieved this mark of excellence. Local and state association executives who hold the RCE designation represent Realtors in 50 states/territories.

“This is truly an honor and I am very proud to be receiving this designation. It is a high point in my career as an association executive,” Johnston said.

Prior to becoming a candidate for the RCE designation, applicants must document their association management and academic experiences. Once they have completed this first step, eligible candidates must successfully complete an exam, which is based on a comprehensive understanding of association operations and management practices. Candidates must demonstrate knowledge of areas critical to Realtor association management, including association law, governance and issues related to member services. To retain the designation, RCEs must be recertified every four years. Johnston will receive an award plaque from representatives of the Washington Association of Realtors during their Spring Business Conference in Seattle.

Jami Johnson
Photo by Kate Singh


Visit Vancouver USA, the primary destination marketing organization for Vancouver and Clark County, recently announced the hiring of Jami Johnson as its new director of business development.

“Jami is an incredible addition to our team,” said Kim Bennett, president and CEO of Visit Vancouver USA. “Her extensive background and varied connections in the hospitality industry will add to our continued efforts to grow Vancouver USA as a meetings and leisure destination.”

Prior to joining the team, Johnson worked in the Bay Area as a regional director of sales for OTO Development. Her 20 years of industry experience includes regional sales leadership roles with Concord Hotels, Haiyi Hotels, Sage Hospitality and Marriott International, among others.

In her new role with Visit Vancouver USA, Johnson will lead the business development and convention services team in its efforts to drive overnight bookings through the solicitation of group business. She will work with hospitality partners in the community to foster relationships with meeting planners and promote Vancouver as a top-of-mind destination for conferences, conventions and events.

The convention and meetings business means big business for Vancouver. In 2017, the business development team at Visit Vancouver USA assisted the hospitality community in booking 112 pieces of business totaling 27,255 guest room nights. The estimated economic impact to the local community from all 2017 bookings is more than $10.1 million.

About Visit Vancouver USA

Visit Vancouver USA is the official destination marketing organization for Vancouver USA and the surrounding areas. The organization also markets the region as a venue for sports events through the Vancouver USA Sports brand. Visit Vancouver USA’s mission is to increase visitor spending in Vancouver and Clark County through competitively marketing the area as a destination for meetings, conventions, and group and leisure travelers. For more information call (360) 750-1553 or visit

Joanna Yorke-Payne
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

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