Board of Directors
John and his wife Audrey chose Pullman as their final retirement locale in June 2017, relocating from Lewiston where they had lived for eight years. Prior to Lewiston, the Ayers lived in Alaska for over thirty years. John retired as Chief Operating Officer of a publicly traded telecommunications firm after having spent more than forty years as a senior manager in the telecommunications, information technology, and natural gas transmission industries. He is currently President of the Washington Idaho Symphony Association Board of Directors.
Francis came to this region to attend college, met his wife Heidi, and never left. Pullman provides great work opportunities, has a wonderful climate, and is the perfect place to raise a family. He works at Washington State University ‘06 & ’14 designing psychological research experiments, providing technology solutions, and teaching Real Estate. He owns FAB Consulting a technology solutions consulting company. Francis served on Pullman’s City Council 2003-2015 and is former president of the Association of Washington Cities. He co-leads the 5-day Be The Entrepreneur Bootcamp. He is active on the chamber’s lentil festival and government affairs & economic development committees and in the community: Kiwanis, Boy Scouts, Pullman Community Council on Aging, Palouse Knowledge Corridor, and Pullman 2040.
Jill Bielenberg – President
Jill Bielenberg is a lifelong native of the Palouse with family roots in Genesee, Idaho. She has always had a bi-lateral focus on professional education and high-volume restaurants. After living in the Seattle area, she returned to the Palouse and assumed the role of the general manager of the famed Breakfast Club in Moscow while obtaining multiple degrees in various fields of education from the University of Idaho. While pursuing her career in Early Childhood Development/Special Education, she also held a role on state/national boards and committees for public policy and curriculum development for early childhood and special education initiatives. Most recently she was the president for Idaho’s Association for the Education of Young Children Board of Directors. In 2012 Jill took on the position of the general manager for Birch & Barley. She has taken great pride in being part of the Pullman community and feels honored to be working among such inspiring business men and women Jill looks forward to continuing her efforts to give back and increase our goal of making Pullman a better place to live, work, and do business as a business owner, member of the Pullman Chamber Board of Directors – President (and as the current Legendary Lentil Festival Cook-off Coordinator!).
JoReen currently lives in Pullman with her husband Cameron Brinkman, and their two children. She graduated from Lewiston High School with honors in 1994. She went on to attend Idaho State University and later transferred to the University of Idaho, graduating with a B.S. in Mass Communication and a minor in Art. From 1999-2006 JoReen owned and operated Lasting Impressions Photography in Moscow. In 2005, she and her husband Cam bought Subway restaurants in Pullman and in Colfax. They have since added locations at the WSU Compton Union Building and in Walmart which also houses Auntie Anne’s Pretzel Perfect. JoReen has been the bookkeeper and office manager for all of these businesses. Other involvements include: United Way Executive Board Secretary, 2011-present; YMCA of the Palouse Board of Trustees, 2013-present; Pullman Chamber of Commerce Cabaret Committee, 2005-present; YMCA Annual Fundraising event, 2013-present; and Association of Washington Business Board Member, 2015.
McKenzie Brumet manages corporate giving and philanthropy for Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories. Born and raised in eastern Washington, she has been proud to call Pullman home for the past 10 years. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Communication from Eastern Washington University, McKenzie held a variety of positions before joining SEL in 2008. She has volunteered for numerous local organizations.
Andrew Flabetich is a Commercial Insurance Agent at HUB International in Pullman. Andrew (WSU ’12) and his wife Allison (WSU ’13) have called Pullman home since they arrived on the WSU campus as freshman in 2008. Originally from Vancouver and Walla Walla, Andrew and Allison love the small-town lifestyle in Pullman with the social and cultural relevance that the university brings. They’re also excited for their three children to grow up in a great education system, and where WSU is right across town. They love the Cougs, their church, traveling, spending time with family, working on their house, and meeting new friends. You can find Andrew at every Cougar football home game, and Allison at the warm ones. They are active in their church and Andrew currently services on the board at Palouse Care Net. Andrew also coaches middle school football at LMS in Pullman.
Megan Guido is the Chief Marketing & Community Relations Officer at Pullman Regional Hospital. She received her Bachelor of Science in Journalism from the University of Idaho and her Master’s in Public Administration from Seattle University. Her experience includes more than 20 years in leadership positions in healthcare and at non-profits in marketing, fundraising and community engagement. She currently oversees community relations, marketing, digital and social media at Pullman Regional Hospital, a 5 Star, Women’s Choice®, critical access hospital, located in eastern Washington. In addition, she is a licensed trainer for Color Code® (personality and communications style assessment) and is a certified executive and leadership coach.
Tom Handy is a three-time former President of the Pullman Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He is the owner of Paradise Creek Brewery and Landmark Property Development. Born in rural Wisconsin, Tom has lived in Pullman since 1984. He appreciates the small-town atmosphere with the mix of big city influences that Pullman offers. Tom says that Pullman is not just a great place to raise and educate children; it is also a friendly business community that has a can-do forward thinking city administration. He has been engaged with the chamber and on the board since 2003. The chamber gives him an opportunity to be active in an organization that truly makes a positive impact on the prosperity of Pullman and the surrounding area.
Former Chamber President Glenn Johnson is in his fourth term as Mayor of Pullman and chair of the Pullman Moscow Regional Airport. He continues as the “Voice of the Cougs” at Washington State University for football and men’s basketball games, now in his 39th year. Glenn was appointed by the Governor as a Trustee with the Community Colleges of Spokane that has a branch on the WSU campus in Pullman. He was named Honorary Alumnus of WSU in 2016, the highest honor a non-graduate of WSU can achieve. Glenn serves on the Board of Directors of the Chamber and is an active volunteer with several Chamber committees: Fourth of July (chair); Government Affairs; and volunteers with Lentil Festival and Cabaret. Several years ago, he received the first ever Continuous Service Award from the Chamber. He is on the board of directors of United Way, the Community Action Center, the Palouse Free Clinic, the Washington State Association of Broadcasters, and Municipal Research and Service Center based in Seattle. He is chair of the state’s Transportation Improvement Board and is a trustee and chair of the Employee Benefit Trust that insures city workers in about 245 cities in the state. He is the former president of the Association of Washington Cities, the association that represents all 281 cities in the state and is professor emeritus in the Murrow College at WSU.
John Johnson is in his 15th season as a senior administrator for Washington State Athletics, serving in multiple roles during his time, and currently oversees the department’s facility projects. He played a major role in fundraising and management of multiple projects, including the Phase I renovation of Martin Stadium, the baseball indoor hitting and pitching facility, the Simmelink Indoor Tennis Courts renovation and the Tom and Barbara Wilson Indoor Rowing facility. When Bill Moos arrived as director of athletics in 2010, Johnson turned his focus to strategic planning and increased facility development. He oversaw the development of the Athletic Department’s facilities master plan through a comprehensive analysis of sports, department and university goals, and strategic initiatives. He managed the design and construction of the Martin Stadium Renovation, the $120 million project included the construction of a new press box, club seating and suite areas. The renovation also included the construction of the Cougar Football Complex operations building. Additional facility projects he has oversight on in the past eight years include the renovation of the Lower Soccer Field, the Mooberry Track and Field Complex just prior to the 2013 Pac-12 Championships, the indoor hitting facility for men’s and women’s golf, the video board at Beasley Coliseum, and renovating the men’s and women’s basketball locker rooms. Johnson also provided a broad range of senior administrative leadership, management, oversight and coordination for all activities at athletic events, facility operation and post season competition, as well as oversight and management of postseason competition for WSU’s sports programs. Prior to WSU, Johnson served as director of athletics at both Weber State and Eastern Washington.
Jaci Kajfas leads the sales department at the Marriott Pullman Properties, LLC (Residence Inn and Courtyard). A Washington state native, she was raised in Skagit Valley, then transferred to Seattle University for her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a focus in Economics and Philosophy. She has an extensive background in hospitality, management, events, and wine! As a sommelier (wine educator) and artist, Jaci is passionate about service – for the community, hospitality, arts and business. A mother of two (with one now adult child in San Diego, CA!), Jaci relocated to the Palouse seeking the close-knit community life, rather than the hectic city life. Moving with her son from Ballard, she brings a background in community leadership with over fifteen years collective at Arts Ballard, Salmon Bay Schools auction committee, and small arts associations through the Seattle area. Jaci loves the outdoors, spending time with her dogs, gardening, and continuing to diversify her taste in food, wine, and travel. A firm believer that the strength of a community is driven by the participation of all individuals, Jaci is very excited to join the Chamber of Commerce and share her passion for community.
Bob Maxwell is the superintendent of the Pullman School District (PSD) and has participated in a number of chamber events since moving to Pullman in 2014. He is a current member of Kiwanis, participates on various boards/committees and enjoys volunteering in the community. Bob received his doctor of education (Ed.D.) from WSU in 2011. In his spare time, Bob can be found in the great outdoors fishing, hunting, hiking or rock hounding. Bob and his wife, Adrienne, love Pullman and the array of outdoor activities, arts, entertainment, and PSD/WSU athletic events. Bob and Adrienne; have two girls Madeline and Kate attending Pullman High School. Being a member of the Chamber and the Chamber Board is an opportunity to help enhance the community. Membership in the chamber and on the Board is a way to give back to the community for its generous support, great work and commitment to our schools.
Former president Theresa Myers is the co-owner of Myers Auto Rebuild and Towing. She is from Kent and has lived in Pullman for 40 years. Theresa loves the small-town lifestyle in Pullman, and she adds that it is a great place to raise kids, due to the great schools. There is a variety of cultural and sporting events in the region, and she enjoys being so close to outdoor recreation opportunities and likes to watch the seasons change. As a member of the Board of Directors, she finds it meaningful to help build a vital economic base for the citizens of Pullman, and to promote Pullman and the region as a great place to live and do business. Theresa says that it is important to educate people that Pullman has many great businesses and that they don’t need to go out of town to find what they need, as it is offered right here in town.
Keegan Otter is a senior at Washington State University studying Strategic Communication from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication and with a minor in Business Administration from the Carson College of Business. Keegan is from Mountlake Terrace, WA, and moved to Pullman in 2015 upon enrollment at WSU. Since his freshman year, Keegan has been an active member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and is the ASWSU Director of Community Affairs. When it comes to downtown, his favorite place to grab coffee is Thomas Hammer and eat at Porchlight.
Ms. Pearson became the University’s Vice President for Finance and Administration in March 2017. Prior to coming to the University, Ms. Pearson was the Chief Financial Officer at Boise State University (“BSU”) and previously served eight years as that university’s associate vice president for finance and administration. She has been director of internal audit services for the Oregon University System and the Idaho State Board of Education. She is an active participant and presenter for regional and national higher education professional organizations including the National Association of College and University Business Officers (“NACUBO”), and she was recently appointed to NACUBO’s Research Universities Council. Ms. Pearson earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Idaho and a master’s of public administration degree from BSU. She is a certified public accountant and serves on several boards, including College Spark Washington, the Downtown Pullman Association, the Pullman Regional Hospital and the Pullman Moscow Regional Airport.
Tony Poston is the owner of College Hill Custom Threads, a custom apparel design company. Originally from Sandpoint, Idaho, Tony graduated from Washington State University in 2007 after earning a degree in Political Science/Pre-Law. During his time as an undergrad, Tony was active in ASWSU, The Inter-fraternity Council and The Student Entertainment Board and fell in love with WSU and the City of Pullman and hoped to return in the future. The opportunity finally presented itself in 2011, when he and two others founded College Hill Custom Threads near campus. Tony believes that the Chamber of Commerce can help show that Pullman is not only a great college town but the perfect place to raise a family and start a business. By helping coordinate fun and exciting events he wants to help bridge the gap between local businesses and WSU students, showing that both can work together to benefit from each other.
Robert Rembert is a past President of the Board of Directors, as well as a civil litigation attorney and shareholder at Irwin, Myklebust, Savage & Brown, P.S., Pullman’s full-service community law firm. He attended Western Washington University where he obtained his undergraduate degree and met his wife, Jeannine. Rob attended Seattle University School of Law and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1996. He is a member of both the Washington and Idaho Bar Associations, has served as President of the Whitman County Bar Association and is a member of the Lewis & Clark State College Legal Support Programs Advisory Committee. Active in the Pullman community, Rob has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Pullman Education Foundation, a Commissioner on the Whitman County Elected Officials Salary Commission and was a Trustee for Neill Public Library for over ten years. Rob, Jeannine and their four children enjoy making Pullman their home.
PJ Sanchez is a Washington State University graduate and a Relationship Manager at Washington Trust Bank in Pullman. He has worked at Washington Trust Bank since it opened its doors in Pullman and has been the Branch Manager since May of 2014. Since moving to the Palouse in the fall of 2009, PJ has enjoyed volunteering and being involved in the Pullman Community. PJ is involved in several civic groups including the Pullman Regional Hospital Foundation Board of Directors, Kiwanis Club, and Lions Club. PJ lives in Pullman with his wife, Kelli Kamimura, who is the Head Women’s Golf Coach at WSU, and their dog, Gus. In his spare time, PJ enjoys golfing, traveling and attending all Cougar sporting events.
Former Chamber President Susan Weed (1996-97) is co-owner and Office Manager for Pullman radio stations NewsTalk 1150 KQQQ-AM and 104.7 FM – KQQQ, Newcountry 104.3-KHTR, and Hits 100.5-KQZB. She is a long-term member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, serves as a member of the Pullman School District Board of Directors, as well as on the Pullman Civil Service Commission, The Pullman Regional Hospital Auxiliary Annual Holiday Tea, and the Washington/Idaho Symphony Board. Born and raised in Seattle, Susan and her husband Bill have owned and operated Pullman’s radio stations since 1974. Susan says that Pullman has been a wonderful place to raise their 3 kids, and she loves going to businesses where she knows and can trust the person behind the counter. She believes that if you care deeply about something, like she does about our community, then it is important be get involved. Being a Board member gives Susan the satisfaction of knowing that she is helping to make Pullman a better place to live, work and do business!
Former president Pat Wright is another long term member of the Board of Directors. Since her retirement as general manager of The Bookie, Pat has remained active in the Pullman community. She enjoys working part-time at Neill’s Flowers and Gifts and on the Pullman City Council. In addition to being a Chamber of Commerce Board Member, Pat is Past President and Membership Chair of Pullman Regional Hospital Auxiliary and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Pullman Education Foundation. Pat has lived in Pullman since 1975. She is originally from New York, and moved to California before residing in Pullman.