CST External Advancement Board Members


Robert Brim (Mathematics and Physics, 1970)

Robert is currently the CEO of Dealer Information Systems Corporation (DIS), a company he founded 30 years ago with the help of several friends.  DIS is based in downtown Bellingham and specializes in enterprise resource program (ERP) software for the agriculture and construction equipment market.

Robert was educated at Western Washington University earning a BA degree in mathematics and physics in 1970.  After graduation he worked for the Naval Undersea Center as a physicist for four years.  During this time he won a scholarship from the Navy to attend UCLA where he received an MS degree in electronic engineering.   Robert also received an MBA degree from the University of Washington in 1989.

One of Robert’s many interests includes travel and he just completed a trip around the world; running, flying, and scuba diving. He has four children and six grandchildren and lives in Bellingham. Robert has also been a long-time supporter of the College at the Presidents Club level.


Bob Cartwright (Manufacturing Engineering Technology, 1980)

Bob graduated from Western in 1980 with a degree in manufacturing engineering technology which is part of the College’s Department of Engineering Technology. While he was a student, Bob was an active member of the men’s Crew Club.

He and his wife Kathy started Dimension Systems as a consulting company, and in 1995 they added the systems division which offers computer hardware, software and service solutions. The company is based in Woodinville where they are also raising their family.

Bob and Kathy recently made a generous gift to the College and to the Western Crew Club at the Presidents Club level. Kathy is a graduate of Purdue University where she has been a very active and supportive alumna over the years.


Charles Clark (Physics/Astronomy, 1974)

Charles has worked for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) since 1981, where he now serves as both Chief of the Electron and Optical Physics Division and Program Manager for the Atomic and Molecular Physics Division. He is a theoretical atomic and molecular physicist, whose main activities are in the areas of ultra cold gases, quantum information and telecommunication. Charles also works with atomic and molecular phenomena on surfaces, in condensed matter and in nuclear reactions.

After finishing his BA in mathematics and physics in 1974 (honors and magna cum laude) at Western Washington University, Charles went on to the University of Chicago for MS (1976) and PhD (1979) degrees in physics. Before joining NIST, he spent over two years as a research associate at Daresbury Laboratory in England. Charles holds two patents, has authored three books and written numerous articles in a wide variety of publications and is a frequent lecturer. He also is the 2009 chair elect, Physics Section, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Charles works and lives in Maryland and is married to Deborah Jabon-Clark. They enjoy spending time during the summer at their cabin on Orcas Island. In the spring of 2009 Charles came to the Western campus as a guest lecturer to meet with physics/astronomy students and faculty to talk about his work for NIST.


Jason Clark (Manufacturing Engineering Technology, 1993)

Jason Clark received his B.S. degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technology at Western in 1993. He subsequently earned three Masters Degrees in Business and Engineering from Washington State University and the University of Michigan.  He is now the director of Boeing 777 Manufacturing in Everett, Washington.

In this role he provides overall leadership, management and strategic direction for the 777 production line. Prior to this, he has held many leadership roles since joining Boeing in 1997, including 777 Freighter Deputy Program Manager, 777 Freighter Build Integration Leader, 777 Design Engineering and Integration, 787 Design Engineering, Supplier Management, and 767 Production/Operations.

In addition to his service on the CST Leadership Board, Jason is actively involved in his community, participating in activities with Boy Scouts of America and the Boeing Employees Community Fund. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, riding his motorcycle, performing community service, playing golf, skiing and making wine. He is married with two children and resides in the Puget Sound area.


Matthew Dunn

Matthew is a curious guy, having bridged business with academia, technology with the arts, non-profits with the Fortune 500. He is currently "Chief Explainer" and co-founder of Say It Visually, helping a worldwide client base explain complicated topics. In addition, he advises clients of Socratech, Inc. on strategy, IP and business issues.
Acting professionally by age 18, Matthew built a successful career over the next decade as an actor, graduate-trained director and teacher.  Sensing a shift in his interests, he drove cross-country and knocked on Microsoft's door, starting all over again in desktop software.  In almost a decade at Microsoft, he held thirteen titles, worked in three different countries, secured eight patents and completed a PhD in digital media in three years flat. 

Not content to stay in desktop software when momentum had shifted to the Internet, he moved to Bellingham and started the consulting firm Socratech, helping US and international companies kick off their Web strategies.  He was then pulled into Intrawest Corporation in Vancouver, BC to spearhead their digital strategy as senior vice president and CIO. He left Intrawest to become the founding executive director of HTNG, the technology standards organization for the hospitality industry, before a venture capital firm recruited him to run Los Angeles area music technology startup, MusicIP, as president and CEO. 

Matthew reads broadly, speaks extensively, writes frequently, teaches occasionally and serves on company and community boards, including (currently) the Technology Alliance Group, the Northwest Economic Council, and the Whatcom Museum. He is married, with two sons, and an active community participant in Bellingham.


John Francis

John worked as a United Airlines pilot for 33 years, retiring as captain on the Boeing 777, flying domestically and to Europe. He grew up in Grand Rapids, MI, and decided to make Chicago his family’s home base during his career. Since his wife Jan is a native of England, upon retirement they looked for a small university town with a more temperate climate and they moved to Bellingham and WWU.

The university is important to John as he has always been interested in physics and astronomy as well as mathematics - actually all sciences and technology are of interest to him. John has taken advantage of the program which allows seniors to take classes, and he now has almost 100 credits, totally in mathematics, physics and astronomy.  Although he is not working towards a degree, John aspires to reach a personal goal of the status of competent amateur.

The present woeful state of science/technology competence is a great worry of John’s and he applauds the efforts of the university to reach out to the community as well as to train more mathematics and science teachers for primary and secondary schools. In John’s own words, “Western has been important in enabling me to pursue my goals and I hope to be able to help with their efforts to achieve their goals.” John and his wife Jan have been long time Presidents Club members.


Pete Greenberg (Biology, 1970)

Pete received his BA degree in biology from Western in 1970. In addition to his degree from Western, he has an MS in microbiology from the University of Iowa (1972) and a PhD in microbiology from   the University of Massachusetts (1977). After his postdoctoral at Harvard University, Pete was on the faculty at Cornell University and then the University of Iowa, College of Medicine, before moving to the University of Washington in 2005.

The professional honors Pete has received are many and include being elected fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences and the American Academy of Microbiology. He is widely credited for founding the quorum sensing field. His research has changed the way microbiologists think about the breadth of microbial activities.

Over the past couple of years, Pete has become increasingly involved with the College of Sciences and Technology and the Department of Biology. In the spring of 2008 he came to Bellingham as a distinguished guest speaker of the department and spoke with students and members of the faculty about his research in the field of microbiology. He is married to Dr. Carrie Harwood who is also a noted microbiologist at the University of Washington. They have two children and reside in Seattle. Pete and Carrie joined the Presidents Club last year.  They have now been members of the Presidents Club for two years and last year Pete was the College Alumnus of the Year

Peter Hallson (Biology, 1958)

In 1958, Peter graduated from Western Washington University with a BA degree in biology. He also attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Program for Senior Executives.

Peter joined Nalco in 1961 as a district representative in the company’s water treatment chemicals division. He was promoted to area manager in 1967 and to district manager in 1969. He was named regional manager of the pulp and paper chemicals group in 1971. Peter transferred back to the water treatment chemicals division as regional manager in 1974. In 1977, he transferred to WATERGY as regional sales manager and in 1982 he became sales manager for the whole division. Peter then transferred to Nalco’s international division in 1988 when he became the vice president of operations for Nalco Europe and in 1992 he was named division’s vice president, sales training. In 1996, he was promoted to president of Nalco’s Diversey Water Technologies Division.

Upon retiring in 1997, Peter moved on to become an avid bicyclist, crossing Iowa six times, and more recently touring the Pacific Northwest. He and his wife Judith moved from Chicago to Edmonds in 2000 to enjoy their retirement and further explore the region by bike. Peter and Judith have been long time members of the Presidents Club.


Margo Hammond (Chemistry, 1988)

Margo graduated from Western in 1985 with a BS degree in chemistry. Many members of her family have attended Western; her sister and brother-in-law also received BS degrees in chemistry, her father received his Masters in Education and her mother earned her 5th year teaching credentials. Eventually, Margo also received an MBA from Seattle University.

Since graduating from Western, Margo has worked at the local BP Cherry Point Refinery in the laboratories, finance and Turn Around Planning Department. In Margo’s own words “I feel fortunate to have received my science education from Western and have been involved in many ways to promote science education here in Whatcom County.” Margo has played a major role as a member of the American Association of University Women in bringing talented young women to Western for recognition and spreading the good message about the College of Sciences and Technology.


J.C. Hickman

J.C. is a retired publisher of The Bellingham Herald.  He and his family moved to Bellingham in 1987 where his children attended schools. During his tenure at the Herald, J.C. was widely regarded as a strong and fair publisher.

J.C. graduated from Fresno State University and began his newspaper career as a reporter-photographer in Visalia, California, with Speidel Newspapers, Inc.  Progressing up the editorial ranks, he later joined the SNI corporate staff in Reno, Nevada, and became publisher of the Iowa City Press-Citizen in 1973.  He retired from the Herald and Gannett Co. in 1996.  

His wife Mary, a former newspaper food editor, is an independent travel consultant. They have two adult children.  The Hickmans are long-time members of the WWU President's Club and support the chemistry department where their son Steven took courses while a student at Sehome High School. Steven also worked for three years with Professor David Patrick in the department as a volunteer on a significant research project.  Steven was named a 2000 U.S. Presidential Scholar in his senior year before attending Harvey Mudd College for his BS and then Cornell University for his PhD in chemistry.


Rick Kaiser

Rick lives with his wife Ann in Bellingham. He received his BS in biological oceanography in 1977 and MSE in mechanical engineering/fluid dynamics from the University of Washington in 1982. He has also taught oceanography at University of Washington and intertidal marine ecology and sub-tidal marine biology for Scuba divers at the Whatcom Community College.

He worked as a test engineer at Rocket Research Company in Redmond, Washington then moved to Bellingham where he worked as a mechanical engineer in the oil and gas industry at the Anvil Corporation. He has worked as an automation engineer/database analyst on contract for ConocoPhillips and BP in the oil fields of northern Alaska. He is currently employed as a project manager/programmer at AIS Software in Bellingham..

Rick is a past board member of the Bellingham Bay Aquarium, past president of the Northwest Washington Engineers Club and was on the board of the Mount Baker Theatre. His passions include Scuba diving, ragtime piano, mountain climbing and writing.


Dave Kennerud (Mathematics, 1995)

Dave is an actuary with the Seattle office of Milliman Group where he is a manager in the firm’s consulting practice. He currently provides consulting services to a wide range of insurance companies and self-insured entities. He joined the firm in 1997.

Dave’s area of expertise is property and casualty insurance, particularly in providing loss reserve and funding analysis. His particular experience includes: analyzed general liability reserves and funding for insurers and self-insured organizations; projected reserves and funding requirements for self-insured automobile liability; projected reserves and evaluated reserving methodology and reinsurance coverage for workers’ compensation insurers, self-insurers, and state insurance fund; analyzed medical professional liability reserve indications, funding requirements, and excess coverage levels for self-insured medical organizations under occurrence and claims-made coverage; and projected reserves and funding requirements for self-insured unemployment compensation.

Dave earned his BA degree from Western Washington University in Mathematics in 1995. He and his wife Darla have two young children and they live in Renton. Dave has been a young alumni member of the Presidents Club for several years and supports mathematics student competitions and travel.


Bill Kindler (Chemistry, 1965)

After graduating from Western in 1965 with a degree in chemistry, Bill attended The Institute of Paper Chemistry at Lawrence University, receiving a PhD in 1970. 

Bill joined Crown Zellerbach's central research division in Camas, WA working on various research and development projects.  In 1980 he transferred to CZ's St. Francisville, LA mill as technical manager and later became production manager. He returned to Camas in 1985 as corporate director of research and engineering.  Bill held various positions with James River Corporation from 1987 to 1997:  vice president of sales, vice president of printing paper business and vice president of manufacturing.  In 1997, he joined Rayonier as senior vice president of specialty pulp before retiring from that position in 2001.

Bill’s current interests include wooden boat building, fly fishing and backpacking.
He and his wife Trudy (WWU, 1965) now live near Port Angeles. They have two children and six grandchildren who visit them every summer in Port Angeles. Bill and Trudy have also funded the Eddy Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship which honors the professor who turned him on to chemistry and provides funding for a Western chemistry student faculty supervised research experience each summer.


George Kriz

George was born in Santa Cruz, California where he attended both public and private schools.  George earned his BS degree in chemistry from the University of California (Berkeley) in 1961 and a PhD in organic chemistry from Indiana University in 1966. He was Assistant Entrangé, Faculté des Sciences at the Université Montpellier (Montpellier, France) from 1965 to 1966 and visiting research associate at The Ohio State University from 1966 to 1967. 

Since beginning his career as a professor at Western in 1967, George has actively participated in numerous societies devoted to the teaching of chemistry, co-authored a series of highly successful organic chemistry textbooks, and was awarded the Peter J. Elich Excellence in Teaching Award in 2000. During 1985 and 1986, he was on sabbatical leave at Indiana University where he was visiting professor of chemistry.  He has published research papers in a variety of important chemistry research journals.  George has served the Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society in several posts, most notably as general chair of the 17th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education, which was held at Western in the summer of 2002. 

More recently, George has expanded his role at WWU to include academic/career advising for students interested in pre-healthcare programs. He considers himself especially fortunate to be able to devote his life to teaching, research, writing, and advising, a career that continues to be extremely rewarding.


Reid Kuhn (Computer Science, 1995)

Recently promoted to Partner at Microsoft, Reid in charge of the company's mobile divisions, which includeds WindowsPhone. Prior to this new assignment, Reid was product unit manager of Microsoft's Windows Media Digital Rights Management and PlayReady Content Access and Protection technology.

Reid joined Microsoft in June 1997, as a software development engineer in Windows Core Security. He was responsible for development of various security technologies in Windows, including smart card logon, biometric support, and public key infrastructure. Previously, he was software development engineer at Intel Corporation working on video conferencing applications.

Reid graduated with honors from Western Washington University with a degree in computer science in 1995. In his spare time, Reid enjoys snowboarding, cycling, wine collecting, and spending time with his wife and two children. Reid joined the Presidents Club last year and this year he has donated four Elite Xbox units to the Department of Computer Science for the game development course (this gift will be matched by Microsoft with a cash gift for the department).


Nona Larson

Nona Larson received her B.S in Chemical Engineering from Washington State University and went to work for Boeing in the area of hazardous waste minimization in painting and plating operations.   In addition, Nona was the finishes and sealing engineer for multiple military products and the corrosion engineer for the AWACS and other 707 derivative military airplanes.

Nona then moved to PACCAR as the Coatings and Corrosion Engineer at the PACCAR Technical Center. Since then she completed her MBA with an emphasis on Project Management. She is also a licensed Professional Engineer and a PACCAR certified Six Sigma Black Belt

Currently she is the department manager for Materials Engineering and Engineering Services at the PACCAR Technical Center, which includes the Technical Library, IT, Purchasing, Corporate Standards, and the Materials Analysis/Engineering Group.


Carl Ledbetter (Industrial Design, 1987)

Carl earned his BS degree from Western in 1987 after attending Clark College where he studied geology and plastics engineering. His interest in industrial design work brought him to Western because of the opportunities our program provide in working closely with faculty and the direct hands-on experience with technology and industrial equipment.

He joined Microsoft in 1995 after spending seven years with the Fluke Corporation. At Microsoft, Carl has had many opportunities to excel and he currently is the industrial design manager for the PC hardware group. During his career he has earned over 200 patents.

Carl and his wife Tiffany are raising their family on Mercer Island where they recently built their new home.


Marc Ness (Mathematics, 1988)

Marc received his MS degree in mathematics from WWU in 1988.  Given the wonderful opportunity to both study and teach mathematics, he went looking for a teaching job in the other Washington (DC) in 1989, his four-dimensional post-grad coordinates.  This search led to a job as an actuary at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, a federal agency that takes over failed pension plans.

Marc still works at PBGC, his focus is on modeling legislative proposals and the economic consequences of policy changes.  He lives in DC with his wife Elizabeth.  The piano lives downstairs; the dog, wherever he chooses from moment-to-moment.  His sailboat Elizabeth Anne lives in Annapolis. 


Jim Osness (Mathematics/Computer, 1975)

Jim grew up in Kent and he is a fourth generation Washingtonian. He moved to Seattle after graduating from Western with a BA in mathematics and computer science in 1975. Jim started his education at the University of Washington. He believes transferring to WWU was the best thing he could have done for both educational and personal reasons.

After graduation, Jim started working for SAFECO where he had a fulfilling career until retiring in 2002. He started as an autocoder programmer and ended his career with SAFECO as a systems analyst, primarily designing payroll, HR and benefits systems. In 2008, Jim partnered with his daughter Sarah to form D & S Legacy Investments, LLC, a real estate development corporation.

Jim is a lifelong student of the game of baseball, American History and politics. He is an avid walker, piano player, gardener and landscaper. Jim has taken on various volunteer roles with the Phinney Neighborhood Association, and in 2003 he was named Volunteer of the Year. He has also been active in the greater Kent Historical Society for many years and is currently the vice president of the organization.

A long time member of the Presidents Club, Jim is also a member of the Old Main Society in honor of his decision to provide for Western through his estate.


Rod Roth

Rod Roth was born with a plastic spoon in his mouth, since his father, Merrill Roth, had started in the plastics business in 1928. In 1946, Merrill Roth started Grant and Roth Plastics, and Rod worked there many summers while he was in school.

Rod graduated from the University of Oregon with a MA degree in Political Science. He spent four years in the Air Force as an intelligence officer, including one year in Thailand. After leaving active duty in the Air Force, Rod and his wife, Lea, moved back to Hillsboro, Oregon, and Rod went to work for Grant and Roth Plastics full time. His interest in politics led him to run for political office. In 1972 he was elected Washington County Commissioner and he served one term.

While at Grant and Roth Plastics, Rod began organizing and teaching seminars on plastic part design and injection molding. Similar seminars are now offered monthly at Rod’s new company R&D Plastics. R&D Plastics was conceived by Rod Roth in the summer of 1995 when he saw a niche for a medium-sized, high-quality molder with low overhead, which would allow more aggressive pricing. 

R&D Plastics sponsors and organizes an annual tour of plastics molders, mold-makers and end users for the plastics engineering students at Western. Up to 30 students and faculty participate each year. The purpose is to support the WWU program by exposing students to actual production situations. The company also conducts a summer intern program for one of the plastics engineering students from WWU. Rod also serves on the WWU’s Plastics’ Program Advisory Committee, which helped get the program accredited in 2003. On occasion, Rod presents the R&D Plastics’ Design Seminar to the plastics engineering and design students at WWU, talking about design for manufacturability. Rod’s dad was an early supporter of Western’s new Plastics Engineering Technology Program in the 1960s and the family has generously supported the Ivy Roth Memorial Scholarship Endowment which provides financial aid to students studying in this program.


David Spanel (Mathematics, 1987)

Dave is currently Director of Engineering for Amgen, Inc. In his role, he is responsible for site engineering at seven North American Research and Development locations as well as the Amgen’s Facilities Center of Excellence.

With a background in project engineering and project management, Dave’s expertise is in the areas of industrial instrumentation, controls and automation including 19 years experience in the biopharmaceutical industry.  He has been involved in the design, construction, start-up, and validation of manufacturing, pilot plant, and research facilities. Dave has worked for both consulting engineering firms and several operating biotechnology companies.  

Dave holds a BS in mathematics from Western (1987) and an MS in electrical engineering from Washington State University.  He lives in Seattle with his wife Maria and two sons and spends his free time with his family, enjoying sports, travel and his kids’ activities.


Truc Thon (Chemistry, 1982 and 1985)

Truc graduated from Western with a BS in Chemistry in 1982.  After a short break, she returned to Western to pursue graduate work with Dr. Gary Lampman in organic synthesis and graduated with an MS in 1985.

During Truc’s studies at Western, she worked at Cherry Point ARCO Refinery (now BP) as a lab technician for six months then at Georgia Pacific as a chemist for almost three years.  In 1988, she moved to Seattle working for a small private company called NeoRx.  The company worked closely with other biotech companies in the region (e.g., Genetech and Immunex) and the University of Washington, studying cancerous breast, lung and ovarian cells. Melanoma was also closely investigated. As a research chemist, her job was mainly focused on labeling the protein with a tracer which was then administered to the cancer patient.  The goal was to locate the cancer cells, to increase the specificity of the labeled-protein and to study the best clearance time for the tracer.

Due to personal illness, Truc returned to Bellingham and taught part time at Whatcom Community College (WWC) and at Western Washington University.  At WCC, she helped to organize and to develop the general chemistry series for science students using similar curriculum as WWU.  Truc also tutored some high school students who struggled with the mathematics and science courses.

Truc stopped teaching when she started her family with her husband Jerry, but continued to be active in the community. She works as a Vietnamese interpreter in medical, social and legal issues.  In 2002, she became certified as an interpreter for medical and social matters. Truc and Jerry have two children. They have been long time members of the Presidents Club and Jerry is a member of the Western Foundation Board of Directors.    


Laurie Vitt (Biology, 1967 and 1971)

Laurie Vitt graduated from Western with a BA in biology in 1967 and he earned an MS in biology in 1971. He is currently the George Lynn
Cross Research Professor and Curator of Reptiles at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

Career highlights include: authoring more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific publications, being the author or co-author of six research books and one textbook, having a snake and a parasitic worm named after him, and designing the production of the exhibit “The World of George Miksch Sutton.” The positive thread that Western contributed to his life was providing him with the focus necessary to pursue a career in science and the belief that he could actually make a living at it.

When Laurie thinks of Western he recalls the college on the hill, the 1960s, political activism and global perspectives. Laurie contributes financially to stay connected to Western. His favorite class was entomology and his favorite faculty member was Dr. June Ross. Laurie was the winner of the Western Alumni Association’s College of Sciences and Technology Distinguished Alumnus Award in the spring of 2007.


Dwight Walters (Geology, 1967 and Industrial Technology/Education, 1971)

Dwight earned two degrees from Western, a BA in geology in 1967 and an MA in industrial technology/education in 1971. 

Early in his career as a geologist, Dwight worked for several oil, gas and geothermal exploration firms, including Baker Hughes, R.F. Smith Corp and Exlog. His work exploring and tapping geothermal energy resources provided him with the opportunity to travel the world. By the late 1980s Dwight was looking to stay closer to home so he co-founded and co-owned a company called Commercial Steel Fabricators which built large steel framed buildings in the Pacific Northwest. Before retiring in 2000, Dwight was a corporate officer and shareholder of Flow Control Industries, Inc. in Woodenville.

Dwight lives on Lopez Island with his wife Diane who is also a Western graduate (Home Economics, 1971). He is actively involved in a fundraising initiative to raise $80,000 for the Ross Ellis Endowed Field Trip Fund in Geology which will be matched by the Kathleen Digges’ (Geology, 1970) estate. Dwight made a substantial lead gift to this fund drive this summer.


Heidi Young (Computer Science, 2004 and 2005)

Heidi is currently a Senior Test Lead at Microsoft in Redmond.  She is working on the Bing team to master web search and take some of the market share away from Google.  Heidi has been at Microsoft for over five years, leading the charge in relevance for Bing.  She graduated from WWU in 2004 with a BS, double majoring in computer science and mathematics, and again in 2005 with an MS degree in computer science. 

Before coming to Microsoft, Heidi worked at two companies.  First for Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) as a developer working on acoustic submarine software.  Then for a hedgefund in Kirkland, Rotella Captial Management, working as a developer on traderoom applications.  However, the lure of Microsoft was too strong and she decided to take on the search world.

When Heidi is not working she is often at home in Sammamish with her daughter Maya and husband Daniel who also works for Microsoft and is a 2003 Western graduate.  She loves to run, work on web development projects in her free time and travel as much as possible.  In the past few years she's been to London, Paris, Moscow, and Beijing and doesn't plan on slowing down!