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Kris Strickler will lead MacKay Sposito’s Wide Transportation Services |

Categories: 1990s | College of Arts and Sciences | Engineering and Architecture | Featured


Vancouver, WA – MacKay Sposito, a Vancouver, WA based consulting firm specializing in energy, public works and land development, announced today the addition of a new leader in their company.

Kris Strickler ’98, P.E. will lead the firm’s company-wide transportation services as the Director of Transportation. Kris has over 15 years of leadership experience in the transportation sector. A well known advocate in Salem, Oregon and Olympia, Washington, Kris will forward his passion for regional multi-modal, transportation solutions at MacKay Sposito. His diverse resume includes leadership roles at ODOT, Project Director for the Columbia River Crossing, as well as engineering design positions within WSDOT. He is a licensed Civil Engineer with a Bachelor of Science Degree from Washington State University.

“Kris is a valuable addition to our leadership team. With his extensive resume and respect within the industry, we are pleased he chose our firm to help guide the future of transportation and mobility.” said Tim Schauer, President and CEO of the firm.

MacKay Sposito’s expertise spans design, planning and project management, master-planning, civil engineering, landscape architecture, land surveying, construction management and land development for both public and private sector clients. They employ over 165 dedicated professionals in the Northwest and have offices in Vancouver, Kennewick and Federal Way, Washington, in Hillsboro, Oregon, and in Soda Springs, Idaho and Salt Lake City, UT. Clients are serviced as far as Alaska, Montana, Wyoming and California.

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In memoriam: Bob Blane |

Categories: 1970s | Death/In Memoriam | Featured

Robert “Bob” Blane

March 30, 1951 – September 1, 2014

Bob Blane '74

Bob Blane ’74

Robert “Bob” Blane ’74 was called home to be with the Lord on September 1, 2014, with his family at his bedside.  He was born in Wenatchee March 30, 1951, to James and Jean Blane.  Bob was raised in the valley and graduated from Wenatchee High School in 1969. Some of his fondest memories were road trips with the Wenatchee Youth Circus, Three years he served as ring master. Bob forged many friendships that have lasted a lifetime. During his high school years he also enjoyed his time in Demolay, which eventually led him to the love of his life Terri. Bob graduated from the WSU College of Pharmacy in 1974. During his time at WSU he was a member of the marching band, where his love of Cougar football was forever cemented. Two years after he graduated, Bob and Terri were married in Wenatchee on July 24th 1976 at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. The Lord then blessed Bob with three amazing children.

Bob was dedicated to his community. He volunteered with the Apple Blossom parades for 36 years. He was a 40 year member of William H. Jett Lodge #285, where he passionately served his fraternal brothers. In addition, Bob was a faithful member of Saddlerock Evangelical Presbyterian Church where he sang in the choir, and served as an elder. Our loving husband, father, son, and friend will be missed by all. GO COUGS!

Bob was preceded in death by his father James B. Blane.  He is survived by his mother Jean Blane, wife Terri Blane, children Janelle (Grant) Eastland, Tiffany (Heath) Leroue, and Jared “Subway” Blane.

A celebration of his life will be held at Saddlerock Evangelical Presbyterian Church on Friday, September 5, 2014 at 3:00pm. Arrangements are by Telford’s Chapel of the Valley, East Wenatchee. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Saddlerock Evangelical Presbyterian Church Music Ministry.

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Ted King-Smith Achieves 3rd Place Nationally in The American Prize Competition |

Categories: 2010s | Award or honor | College of Arts and Sciences | Featured

Ted King-Smith

Ted King-Smith

Composer TED KING-SMITH of Kansas City, MO has achieved 3rd place nationally in The American Prize competition, 2014, in the student band/wind ensemble division, for his work entitled “Manhattan.” Mr. King-Smith was selected from applications reviewed this summer from all across the United States. The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit competitions unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States based on submitted recordings. The American Prize was founded in 2009 and is awarded annually in many areas of the performing arts. Complete information on the website: www.theamericanprize.org.
The composer provided this autobiographical sketch:

Ted King-Smith’s music is a hybrid of vernacular and contemporary music, exploring the vast sonic space between an energetic drive and a surreal stillness. Hailing from the Hudson Valley of New York, Ted began his studies in music on the saxophone at age 8, and then went on to attend and graduate from the Hartt School of Music in 2010, and Washington State University in 2012. He is currently pursuing his DMA in composition at the University of Missouri – Kansas City where his current teachers include Chen Yi and James Mobberley.

Awards for Ted’s music include the 2012 Washington-Idaho Symphony Young Artist Competition and 2011 Sinfonian Saxes Composition Competition, as well as selected performances at College Music Society Conferences in Vancouver, British Columbia and Knoxville, Tennessee. Notable performers and ensembles include the Saxophilia Saxophone Quartet, University of Tennessee Symphony Band, and others. For more information visit http://www.tedkingsmith.com

Among judges’ comments: “off-beat, jazzy, humorous and…convincing.”

For runners-up in this category and for additional winners already announced in 2014 in other competitions, please follow this link: http://theamericanprize.blogspot.com/

Finalists for The American Prize receive professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition based on their recorded performances. In addition to written evaluations from judges, winners and runners-up are profiled on The American Prize website, where links will lead to winners’ websites.


The American Prize grew from the belief that a great deal of excellent music being made in this country goes unrecognized and unheralded, not only in our major cities, but all across the country: in schools and churches, in colleges and universities, and by community and professional musicians.

With the performing arts in America marginalized like never before, The American Prize seeks to fill the gap that leaves excellent artists and ensembles struggling for visibility and viability. The American Prize recognizes and rewards the best America produces, without bias against small city versus large, or unknown artist versus well-known.

David Katz is the chief judge of The American Prize. Professional conductor, award-winning composer, playwright, actor and arts advocate, he is author of MUSE of FIRE, the acclaimed one-man play about the art of conducting. Joining Katz in selecting winners of The American Prize is a panel of judges as varied in background and experience as we hope the winners of The American Prize will be. Made up of distinguished musicians representing virtually every region of the country, the group includes professional vocalists, conductors, composers and pianists, tenured professors and orchestra, band and choral musicians.

“Most artists may never win a Grammy award, or a Pulitzer, or a Tony, or perhaps even be nominated,” Katz said, “but that does not mean that they are not worthy of recognition and reward. Quality in the arts is not limited to the coasts, or to the familiar names. It is on view all over the United States, if you take the time to look for it. The American Prize exists to encourage and herald that excellence.”

By shining a light on nationally recognized achievement, winners of The American Prize receive world-class bragging rights to use in promotion right at home. “If The American Prize helps build careers, or contributes to local pride, or assists with increasing the audience for an artist or ensemble, builds the donor base, or stimulates opportunities or recruitment for winning artists and ensembles, then we have fulfilled our mission,” Katz said.

In addition to composition awards, in The American Prize sponsors competitions for conductors, ensembles, vocalists and pianists.

The American Prize
is administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc., a 501(c)3 non-profit performing arts organization based in Danbury, Connecticut.


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Author Yvonne Higgins Leach Published her First Collection of Poems |

Categories: 1980s | Professional or career event

Yvonne Higgins Leach ’83 has published her first collection of poems, Another Autumn.

These poems connect to the world in a big way—through an empathetic heart that seeks to understand the mysteries of the human experience. They fully embrace the seasons of life and do so splendidly through perfectly chosen images, simple language, and a genuine voice. This first collection is full of intimate poem

s about family, love, loss, community, work, separation, and connection, and each poem invites the reader to consider his or her own life more thoughtfully.

Peter Serchuck, author of Waiting for Poppa at the Smithtown Diner and All That Remains, says of Another Autumn: “It is everything its title suggests: at once full of brilliant color and crisp detail while it gathers things past, things loved, things lost. The poems in the fine collection are about seasons and, more specifically, seasons passing. Seasons of childhood, parenthood, friendship and love. Each poem charts the weather of each head on, unflinchingly, yet with great heart.”

Higgins Leach has spent decades balancing a career in communications and public relations, raising a family, and pursuing her love of writing poetry. She splits her time living between Snohomish and Spokane, Washington.

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Dave Cohen begins a “second career” as a Manager with Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. |

Categories: 2010s | College of Business | Featured | Professional or career event

Dave Cohen ’12 MBA spent over 26 years as a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force, rising to the rank of Colonel. As a pilot with over 2,500 worldwide flying hours, including combat and combat support time, he held command and leadership positions at nearly every level, to include the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. Upon retirement, Dave began a “second career” as a Manager with Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. In this role, he leads a team charged with managing the inventory levels and logistics for operational, entertainment, and character costumes, for the Florida and California Parks and Resorts, and the Disney Cruise Line, as well as providing support to the international Disney Parks.

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