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Justin Potts dives in to Japanese culture. |

Categories: 2000s | Other event

Courtesy Japan Times

Justin Potts, (’04 Psych) is greatly fascinated with Japan’s natural beaut, agriculture, and cuisine. Through his love for the nation’s agriculture, he has found a job at Umari Inc., which operates a Tokyo based restaurant that offers Japanese food cooked with select produce from farmers all over Japan.

This May, Potts will lead a new project involving Japanese and Italian companies and participate in Milano Expo 2015 in Italy to tout Japan’s cuisine. The project is named “Peace Kitchen,” and will allow participants to learn about Japan’s home-style cooking.

“It’s not about sake. It’s more about the concept around fermentation, how we coexist with things and a philosophy related to that, how that ties to building communities, working with one another,” says Potts. “It’s about who you share it with, the time you spend with people around that food — something you can’t buy in Tokyo at any price.”

Potts has now learned Japanese fluently and completely immersed himself in the culture.

“[Not knowing the language is] fine if you’re traveling, it’s fine if you’re studying abroad for a few months and you don’t have a lot of responsibility,” he said. “But when it comes to living and thriving, being able to order a beer or rent a video is one thing, but on a personal level, aside from Japanese or non-Japanese, you want to make connections and communicate.”

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Brad Fisher awarded Volunteer of the Year |

Categories: 1970s | Award or honor

Courtesy The Children’s Reading Foundation

RBC Wealth Management U.S. recently recognized Brad Fisher, director of the firm’s Tri-Cities branch, as the recipient of its Dick McFarland Volunteer of the Year Award.  Each year, RBC Foundation-USA recognizes one employee with the Dick McFarland Volunteer of the Year Award for outstanding volunteer commitment and community service.

“Brad has not only made individual contributions to his community, but also has motivated others in his branch to take service to another level,” said Richard Sorenson, Portland complex director. “He is dedicated to helping the firm continue to grow as a trusted partner of the Tri-Cities communities.”

Last year, Fisher volunteered with six different nonprofit and civic organizations – the Advisory Council of Washington State University Tri-Cities; the board of directors of the Tri-City Development Council; Tri-Cities Evolution, a local governance task force; SIFMA Foundation, where he was an InvestWrite essay competition judge; United Way of Benton and Franklin Counties, where he was branch coordinator; and the Children’s Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia.

The issue of children’s literacy is important to Fisher. He has volunteered with the Children’s Reading Foundation for more than seven years, and in the past has served on the organization’s board. As a part of receiving the Volunteer of the Year award, RBC Wealth Management will make a $1,000 contribution to the Children’s Reading Foundation in honor of Fisher.

In the past, Fisher also served two terms on the Kennewick, Wash., City Council, including one term as mayor. In 2012, he received the RBC Wealth Management PCG Directors Award for Community Service.

In addition to all his volunteering, Fisher also takes advantage of RBC’s annual gift matching opportunities for nonprofits. He credits RBC Wealth Management’s corporate culture for fostering an environment of volunteerism and stewardship.

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Nathan Asplund is the new President and CEO of RRVW. |

Categories: 1980s | College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Courtesy Business Wire

Red River & Western Railroad is a shortline railroad serving North Dakota and Minnesota. The railroad operated 577 miles of track and transports over 60,000 carloads of agricultural products and other commodities annually. Nate asplund will succeed Andy Thompson as President and CEO.

Asplund received his Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Science from WSU.

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Mercer Island’s City Attorney, Katie Knight, retires. |

Categories: 1980s | Edward R. Murrow College of Communication | Other event

Courtesy Mercer Island Reporter

After serving the city of Mercer Island for 10 years, Katie Knight has chosen to retire. After being diagnosed with macular degeneration in 2011, Knight has lost central sight in both of her eyes. Although making her job difficult, she kept working with support from the city and Services for the Blind.

“I’m recognizing my limitations but still doing my job,” she said. “It’s stretched me in ways I didn’t expect, but I think there are two choices in how you handle this stuff, and I chose the more positive one.”

Although her central sight has faded, she has her peripheral vision and continues to pursue her true passion – riding and training horses.

Knight graduated in 1982 with a degree in communications.

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BLM appoints Dr. Julie Weikel to Veterinary Medicine. |

Categories: 1970s | Faculty | Professional or career event

The Bureau of Land Management announced today that the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture have made selections for three open positions on its nine-member National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, one of which is WSU alum and faculty, Dr. Julie Weikel. She has been appointed to the category of veterinary medicine, and will serve a three-year term on the Advisory Board.

Weikel received her Master of Veterinary Science and DVM from WSU in 1972. She has practiced as a large animal veterinarian for 42 years, and is a WSU Professor in the College of Veterinary medicine.

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