A message from our sponsor
As a local family owned agency, we are part of the community. We are invested here in every way and we share in the desire to make this community a better place to live and call home. Our team works here, they raise their families here and we enjoy the same farmers market. Our history is here and so is our future. With programs like Accomplished & Under 40 that recognize the future community leaders that make up Vancouver, we feel the benefit of their efforts in every aspect of our lives. We are proud to be the presenting sponsor of this great event, and want to send our warm wishes & congratulations to the class of 2019!
Agency Owner Tony Johnson was among the first class of honorees in 2002. Reflecting on this accomplishment and his continued involvement 17 years later, Tony notes: “For myself and many of my fellow honorees, this recognition is welcomed and an honor. However, it doesn’t stop here; it inspires me to continue to adapt to our changing community, to work even harder and to always say ‘yes’ when asked to be a leader. Through the years, I’ve gotten to marvel at the triumphs that our community has made, as a result of the leaders within it. As a past honoree, community member and local business owner, please know we appreciate what you have done in the past to get you here and look forward to your future accomplishments and contributions that you will make.”
Owned by Tony Johnson & Bryce Davidson, Davidson & Associates Insurance has been protecting what is important to individuals and businesses 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 www.davidsoninsurance.com.
Pink Lemonade Project
Some people can’t stop making the world a better place, and by all accounts, 32-year-old Meghann Ande is one of them. Executive Director of the Pink Lemonade Project since January, she designed and implemented two new programs in her first six months at the nonprofit created in 2010 to provide critical emotional and psychological support to breast cancer survivors.
Ande came to Pink Lemonade after nearly three years at Share as the development and volunteer coordinator before moving into a formal grant writer position. Under her direction, Share funded the purchase of a mobile food pantry through a $50,000 grant from the Firstenburg Foundation and secured a $1.88 million-per-year three-year funding contract from HUD Affordable Housing Fund.
She parlays her experience as a teen mother into volunteer mentorship for the Teen Mothers program through the Evergreen School District.
Lee Rafferty, former executive director of Vancouver’s Downtown Association calls Ande “extremely skilled and innovative. She has a proven record of building skill upon skill and to gobble up new ideas with almost giddy appetite. She is fearless.” In a nutshell, said Kim Hash, Share director of Development and Communications, “Meaghann is a person with vision and heart.”
Workforce Southwest Washington
According to Deborah Blom, Columbia River Mental Health Foundation vice president, Melissa Boles, program manager at Workforce Southwest Washington, is one of the “servant leaders” in the community who desires to make and keep Clark County an amazing place to live.
“Melissa Boles is one of those servant leaders, giving of her time and efforts to ensure that our organizations are working effectively and are accessible to those who need them,” Blom said.
As program manager with Workforce Southwest Washington, Boles manages contracts that serve youth and adults totaling more than $1 million; works with partners to execute career exploration events for 16- to 24-year-olds; assists in the development of programming related to the construction industry, the reentry population and career-related experiences; and conducts research on and writes grants to expand workforce development programming.
Boles is also on a number of boards around the area, including the Southwest Washington Contractors Association Foundation, Columbia River Mental Health Foundation, Queer Youth Resource Center, Young Democrats of Washington and the Young Democrats of Clark County. She was a finalist for the 2019 Historic Trust General George C. Marshall Public Leadership Award and was named the 2016 Young Democrats of Washington Young Democrat of the Year.
Vancouver Public Schools
Tara Cox is one of the strongest voices behind – and for – Vancouver Public Schools. As a communications specialist with the district for the last five years, Cox promotes the district’s brand through the management of more than 40 social media accounts and websites, developing transparent and powerful messaging across channels and fulfilling many more roles. She was instrumental in informing the community about district facility needs, leading to voter approval of a $458 million bond measure.
Cox has steadily built her career in communications. Previously, she was a marketing and communications manager at Clark College Corporate and Continuing Education, a marketing coordinator with the corporate office that oversees Craft Warehouse, a marketing assistant at Lloyd Center Mall Management and more.
Her free time is largely devoted to education. She serves on the Citizens’ Committee for Good Schools, the ESD 112 Early Learning Parent Advisory Group, the Washington PTA, regional and national School Public Relations Associations, and at her children’s school and childcare.
Tom Hagley, Vancouver Public Schools chief of staff, said Cox is “an energetic, positive and engaged leader in the Vancouver Community with extraordinary potential for future growth and contributions.”
As a tax manager at Opsahl Dawson, Kelsey Elwess manages more than 250 accounts and specializes in preparation of business (S-Corporations, Partnerships and C-Corporations) and individual tax returns. Elwess specializes in real estate, 1031 exchanges and start-up companies.
Elwess is and has also been involved in several community activities, including the YMCA Clark County Board and Board Advisory Committee, Lower Columbia College Accounting/Business Advisory Board (chair), Lower Columbia General Advisory Committee, Impactful People community events, Women in Leadership and Robert Burns Supper Gala.
Hired at Opsahl Dawson back in 2012, Elwess obtained her CPA license, was promoted from associate to senior, and then to manager, and has had two sons while being at the firm.
“Opsahl Dawson has grown tremendously in the past seven years, and a lot of the growth is a result of the excellent customer service and work ethic exemplified by Kelsey,” said Jen Dawson, CPA with Opsahl Dawson. “Kelsey is a natural leader at our firm and has been a huge part of where our firm is now.”
Jen Dawson also said she admired Elwess’ determination to be a successful CPA and mother, and that Elwess balances her career with her family life successfully, making it look easy.
The beginning of one of Lacey Faught’s nomination letters written by Colton Telford – program director, ARJO, and founder, WeBark – really says it all: “It’s hard to know where to begin when describing why I’m nominating Lacey Faught for this recognition; if you know her or her work, then the only words needed are, ‘duh’ or ‘of course.’”
Faught is the CEO of Spry Digital Marketing where she leads a team of talented digital marketers and web developers; creates high-level marketing strategies for businesses in the Pacific Northwest and beyond; executes digital marketing strategies on websites and social media channels; and leads community service initiative “Guidelines for a Healthy Digital Life.”
Faught also teaches classes through Clark College Economic & Community Development on SEO and social media marketing to small-business owners and marketing employees from Clark County.
“In addition to running a business and being a single mom, Lacey gives back to the community by sharing her knowledge,” said Juanita Grace, owner of Grace Fitness – dba Black Iron Strength. “As a volunteer, she teaches classes to school-aged, known as ‘Guidelines for a Healthy Digital Life.’ In addition, she also volunteers at retirement centers and teaches social media to seniors. This is a tremendous contribution to both population groups as they learn about internet safety.”
GLAM Beauty Bar
If there’s one person who knows beauty isn’t just skin deep, it’s Meghan Hamilton, owner of GLAMbeauty Bar. In just four-and-a-half years, Hamilton expanded from Vancouver to Camas, and made improvements and expansions to the flagship store on Evergreen Boulevard in downtown Vancouver. Uniquely, GLAMbeauty Bar employs stylists directly rather than on a contract basis. Benefits and training are part of the package.
The drive behind Hamilton’s success is rooted in community. The shop has partnered with The Pink Lemonade Project, Larch Correctional Facility (teaching dads how to style their daughters’ hair) and Daybreak Youth Services. The company also consistently supports schools and sports teams, according to Salon Manager Alex James.
Erik Morton, principal of ASKE Insurance Advisors and GLAMbeauty Bar’s downtown business neighbor, directly benefited from Hamilton’s instinctive and powerful networking.
“She instantly connects those in the community that can help each other,” Morton said. “The people I have met as a result of joining her BNI group are … at my core group of business partners and friends.”
Melissa Pedraza started at Northwest Natural Products in Vancouver as a production assistant 16 years ago. Her vision, determination and loyalty led her to the position of brand manager of the company where she performed market analyses, managed new content and product releases, and implemented marketing and brand strategies.
After five years, Pedraza became the senior brand manager of L’il Critters Vitamin division, a well-known and beloved brand in kids’ vitamins, before taking the helm of brand director at MyBite Vitamins.
Kate Jones, president of MyBite Vitamins, has watched her organization grow under Pedraza’s brand direction.
“I have worked with Melissa for 16 years and she has been my go-to employee when it comes to moving my companies forward and providing fresh new ideas.”
Pedraza also donates her time to Share, assisting at the annual winter and summer Essential Packs for the homeless, and dedicates time, money and mentorship to KMR Group Foundation, founded by Jones and MyBite CEO Marty Rifkin.
Ryan Philbrook VoiceOver
Although Ryan Philbrook has his own business, Ryan Philbrook VoiceOver, there’s also Ryan Philbrook the screenwriter, commercial copywriter and actor. He has written feature-length and short-form narrative scripts, and also wrote the screenplay for the international award-winning short film “The Laundromat.”
As owner of Ryan Philbrook VoiceOver, Philbrook is responsible for all administrative duties, marketing, client and business relationship development and management, community outreach and more. He writes, produces and does voice over projects of varying size and complexity, and also writes, produces and does voice over of a weekly web series called “Fauxmercial Friday.”
Philbrook is also very involved in the community, mentoring with Police Activities League and Rocksolid Community Teen Center, doing video work highlighting and promoting numerous nonprofits, working with GiveMore24! and volunteering with A Caring Closet.
“Having worked alongside Ryan for many years with Rocksolid Community Teen Center, I am certain that he is a perfect fit for this important recognition,” said Marcy Sprecher, executive director at Rocksolid. “Ryan is passionate about many nonprofits in Clark County, Rocksolid being one of those. His support of our program is amazing, and he believes in the work we are doing for the betterment of youth in our community.”
BIA of Clark County
Recently joining BIA of Clark County as communications and education program manager, Andrea Smith “has already improved our social media presence, began development of a communications and marketing plan, and has taken an active role managing the Green Building Council of Clark County,” according to BIA Government Affairs Director Ryan Makinster.
Prior to joining BIA, Smith worked with the Southwest Washington Contractors Association as their marketing and government relations director.
In addition to her job duties, Smith has also been involved in the local community. She is a 2019 graduate of Leadership Clark County, and is currently on the Surface Mining Committee, the Functional Oversight Team Advisory Board and is a part of the Washington Utility and Transportation Commission Dig Law Stakeholder Group. Smith is also a volunteer coordinator for the Nutter Foundation’s Dozer Day.
“Andrea is known by members of the Southwest Washington Contractors Association as someone who is a hard worker who cares deeply about the people she works with and for,” said Jerry Sauer, 2019 Southwest Washington Contractors Association Board president. “While she worked at SWCA, Andrea nearly single-handedly transformed the Association’s communication and marketing program, many of our events, created new ones and expanded the way members are served.”
Parker, SMITH & FEEK
As one of 35 principal/owners of Parker, Smith & Feek, Nicholas Warren is a senior account executive responsible for $2 million in revenue for the Portland office and working with clients to make informed risk management decisions and reducing their total cost of risk. Warren’s clients include some of the most prominent manufacturing, construction, food and beverage, technology and real estate companies throughout the West Coast.
Community involvement is also something that Warren takes very seriously, and he is involved with numerous organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters Portland/Vancouver, WA DECA, Portland Trail Blazers Foundation, Oregon Risk & Insurance Management Society and Association of Corporate Growth Portland/Vancouver. He is also a member of the Leadership Clark County Class of 2018.
“As his professional life has led to an increased opportunity to focus on his home community, Nick has fully engaged in making Clark County a better place to live, work and play,” said Mike Bomar, director of economic development for the Port of Vancouver USA. “He has an energetic, positive and inviting personality. He is both friendly and thorough in his interactions with others. I look forward to working with him more on key economic development and Port projects in the area.”
Mike “Z” Zahniser
Mike Zahniser’s life philosophy is finding happiness in the success of others. And he’s made it his life’s work with a successful career in recruitment and human resources management.
Zahniser came to Vancouver-based, publicly owned BBSI as a senior level human resources consultant from Innovative Services NW where he was the director of Human Services. Prior he developed his skills and raised the bar at both Labor Systems Job Centers and as a district manager and senior leader at LaborWorks Industrial Staffing Specialist, where he influenced an increase in profits and organizational sustainability.
His boundless energy for people extends well outside of the workday. He has been elected 2020 president of Southwest Washington Society of Human Resources, and he is a Trustee of the YMCA of Columbia-Willamette. In a volunteer leadership capacity, Zahniser serves Smile Oregon, which he helped found; Workforce Southwest Washington; Little League International; Junior Achievement; his family’s church and more.
“Mike is a servant-leader,” said friend and colleague Heidi Piper-Schultz. “His instinct is to give, to share and to help, and he lives his philosophy both professionally and personally.”