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 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.
McKenzie Brume, Vice President
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 nearly 14 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.
Ginger Flynn, President
Ginger Flynn is the Business Development Leader at Dave Christy State Farm. She moved to Pullman January of 2012 to join her longtime high school “sweetheart” Scott Hodge. Ginger has been active in the community since her arrival, volunteering at Second Chance Animal Thrift Store, Whitman Senior Living, Bishop Place, and Pullman HS Booster events. She has been a Pullman Kiwanian since arriving in Pullman; she has served on the board the past seven years and is the current President of the Kiwanis Club of Pullman, the largest service club on the Palouse. Her community service through Kiwanis has allowed her to co-chair the “Stuff the Bus” campaign for the past 3 years, co-captain Kiwanis/WSU football parking, and chair the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast and Music Fest. Ginger is an active participant in the Women’s Leadership Guild, Whitman County Association of Realtors, Whitman County Landlord Tenant Association and Real Life Church. She has volunteered at The National Lentil Festival for many years, including coordinating all volunteers for the 2016 event. Ginger is the 2018 recipient of the Pullman Chamber of Commerce member of the year award. She enjoys attending Cougar home sporting and entertainment events, the benefits of living in a small town, and walking her French Bullhuahua, “Nahla” in the snow while talking to her son in Florida. Giving back to and growing the community she calls home brings her great satisfaction. She quotes Mahatma Gandhi – “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service to others.”
Shannon Focht is a Realtor with RE/MAX Home and Land and has resided in Pullman for 19 years… she loves the rolling hills in spring and the incomparable way of life. She has established a multitude of connections within the community and is highly involved in Kiwanis, Whitman County Association of Realtors, and more – she’s proud to call Pullman home! Shannon is raising 3 wonderful sons with her husband, Ryan, and loves attending sporting events (both her sons’ and the Cougs), traveling, and reading.
Trymaine Gaither is currently the Special Assistant to the Provost for Inclusive Excellence and Interim Director of Community and Public Affairs at Washington State University. He, his wife, and two sons have been in Pullman for six years. He loves the work-life balance Pullman offers and the array of walking paths, trails, and outdoor activities they can enjoy. In his role as Interim Director of Community and Public Affairs, he works to build public awareness about WSU’s efforts to make sure everyone in our community feels a sense of belonging. He engages many public and private stakeholders and participates in local advocacy activities. Trymaine is also a Certified MBSR (Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction) Teacher and completed his training through the Center for Mindfulness at Brown University. Trymaine currently serves on the External Board of Advisors for the Center for Mindfulness at Brown University. Trymaine attended North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University with a major in Business Management.
Glenn Johnson is in his fifth term as Mayor of Pullman and continues to serve on the Board of Directors of the Pullman Chamber of Commerce. As Mayor, Glenn is chair of the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport board that recently completed its major runway realignment project and is now working on building a new terminal for the region. He continues his work as “Voice of the Cougs” for Washington State University’s football and men’s basketball programs. He retired as the Lester Smith Distinguished Professor of Media Management in 2016 after teaching at WSU for 35 years. Glenn was presented with the highest honor a non-graduate of WSU can achieve—the Honorary Alumnus award. He has been an active volunteer in the community since his arrival in 1979 and continues to active in the community and in the state. For 25 years he has served as the chair of the chamber’s 4th of July Committee and works on the chamber’s government affairs, Lentil and Cabaret committees. Glenn was appointed by the governor as one of five trustees of the Community Colleges of Spokane that has branch in Pullman; and serves on the boards of the Community Action Center of Whitman County; the state Transportation Improvement Board; the Washington State Association of Broadcasters; the Municipal Research and Service Center; and serves as the chair of the trustees of the Employees Benefit Trust that provides health coverage to city employees throughout the state. He is a member of the Kiwanis club and is the former president of the Association of Washington Cities and served on its board.
Jaci (Kajfas) Alvarez, Past President
Director of Sales and Marketing for the Pullman Marriott properties, Jaci (Kajfas) Alvarez is a firm believer that the strength of a community is driven by the participation of all individuals. A Washington State native, Jaci (Jack-ee) grew up in the fields and forests of Skagit Valley. She transferred to Seattle University for her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a focus in Economics and Philosophy. Hospitality, arts, and management captured her passion as well as her children and the outdoors. An advanced Sommelier (wine educator) and artist, her passion is service – for the community, hospitality, arts, and business. Jaci is excited to continue her support for the Chamber of Commerce and our community. More details are available on Linked In.
Julian Matthews is an enrolled member of the Nez Perce tribe and has lived in Pullman with his wife for 27 years and works in Human Resources at the Nez Perce Tribal Enterprises. Nimiipuu (the people) Protecting the Environment is a Tribal member run environmental that started in 2015 and does a number of activities, one of the main ones is a weekly Arts and Crafts get together on Wednesdays in Lapwai where 30-40 Lapwai Elementary School students come to learn about traditional arts and crafts, canoe and paddle carving and other tribal art work. The adults and youth in 2018 finished carving the first dugout canoe on the Nez Perce reservation and took it on the Clearwater where it floats great. In addition, the group has held regular Tribal Environmental Summits in a variety of venues to bring attention to Environmental issues that impact the Nez Perce tribe within our Treaty of 1855 areas. He grew up in CDA and graduated from Kamiah HS, served six years in the US Navy, graduated after his service from Gonzaga University with a degree in Finance and completed a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Idaho. “The reason I wanted to be on the board is since I have lived here so long I know many people and students at the Universities, local businesses and enjoyed the activities the board puts on over the years.”
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 at the local and regional level. He enjoys volunteering at various events 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. Madeline is a graduate of PHS and is attending Ithaca College, studying broadcast journalism. Kate will be graduating PHS in 2022 and is in the process of applying to various colleges in the PNW. Being a member of the Chamber and the Chamber Board is an opportunity to help enhance and give back to the community. Bob appreciates the Chambers generous support, great work and commitment to our schools.
Theresa Myers – Secretary
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.
Stacey K Overtoom
Stacey is a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty, licensed in Washington and Idaho. Real Estate has been her career and passion since 2016. She and her husband have called Pullman home since 2019, and after moving around the country and experiencing different cultures and cities, they are excited to grow their roots in the Palouse. She loves living in a small college town with all of its charm and local offerings! Stacey is a firm believer in developing and nurturing strong relationships – personally, professionally, and within the community. When she isn’t watching football or cheering on the Cougs, Stacey likes to read, travel with her husband, and spend time with her 2 rescue pups.
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, Treasurer
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.
Tawny Szumlas is a 6th generation Pullman resident. Her ancestors moved to Pullman after the Civil War, finding Pullman a perfect place to raise families, operate businesses and be civically engaged. A graduate of Washington State University, Tawny received her degree in Hospitality Business Management in 2002. After a brief time spent working for the Marriott Corporation in Southern California, Tawny returned to Pullman to work with her father. In 2015 Tawny took charge of the family business and now operates Rico’s Smokehouse Pub in downtown Pullman. Continuing her family’s tradition, Tawny is raising her 3 kids in Pullman with her husband.
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 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.
Luke Deschenes first moved to Pullman in August of 2020 as he entered his freshman year of college. He is currently in his junior year studying Construction Management at Washington State University. Luke is the current Director of Community Affairs for ASWSU and also an active member of his fraternity, Sigma Phi Epsilon. Luke enjoys helping students get connected with the community to increase engagement and help students be able to call this place home. He is looking forward to working with the Chamber of Commerce to improve cooperation between the community and the university.