2021 Power 50
Every year, we announce our Power 50 list to recognize those in the community who have the resources and influence to make monumental change in our region. The people on the list span a variety of industries—real estate developers, CEOs of a wide range of businesses including education, healthcare, banking, nonprofits, and so much more. Their fingerprint on the Inland Northwest is undeniable. While some major players in this town remain in place, this list shifts every year to recognize powerhouses that are newer to the scene.
1. W. Stacey & Betsy Cowles– President & Chairwoman, Cowles Company
The Cowles Company is a diversified family-owned company. Stacey Cowles, Cowles Company president, has continued his family’s tradition of publishing The Spokesman-Review, and has added to that by restarting The Spokane Daily Chronicle as an afternoon digital edition as well as opening a commercial printer, Northwest Offset Printing, in Spokane Valley. He oversees Cowles Company’s startup investment division. Betsy Cowles oversees the real estate, broadcast, and insurance divisions, including television stations in Washington and Montana and retail development River Park Square. She is past chair of Greater Spokane Incorporated and the WSU Board of Regents.
2.Walt & Karen Worthy– President and CEO, Worthy Enterprises, LLC
Best known as the owners of the five Davenport hotels, the Worthys have been investing in the Spokane business community since the 1970s, their ventures running the gamut of residential housing, storage units, commercial buildings, and more.
3.Jerry Dicker– Owner, GVD Commercial Properties, Inc.
Jerry Dicker founded GVD Commercial Properties, Inc. in 1974. GVD owns more than 100 properties in eighteen states, totaling more than two million square feet of buildings. Dicker began as a neighborhood shopping center developer, but by the late 1980s had pioneered the “power center,” which combined large promotional tenants such as Costco, Home Depot, IKEA, Toys R Us, theatre multiplexes, and other “big-box” users, with restaurants and smaller retail users. Dicker has substantial investments in hospitality and entertainment. His company owns and operates four hotels, including the historic Montvale Hotel, and owns and runs the Bing Crosby Theater.
4.Jim Frank– Principal & CEO, Greenstone Corporation
Jim Frank grew up in Coeur d’Alene and received both an engineering degree and a law degree from Gonzaga University. He practiced environmental and natural resource law for ten years, and then founded Greenstone in 1983. Greenstone’s projects include Kendall Yards, Eagle Ridge, River District, and more. Most recently, he is embarking on a project to create a mixed-use, walkable community north of Mead’s city limits with nearly 1,500 residences.
5.Elaine Couture– Regional Chief Executive, Providence Health Care Eastern Washington
Elaine Couture made the Power 50 list in recognition of an incredible career. She recently retired after serving as regional chief executive of Providence Health Care, Eastern Washington. She oversaw five medical centers including two critical access hospitals and a children’s hospital, plus a full range of health care services. She is an adjunct faculty member at the Washington State University College of Nursing.
6.Peter Stanton–Chairman and CEO, Washington Trust Bank
Peter F. Stanton has served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Washington Trust Bank since March of 2000. Prior to this, Mr. Stanton was President, Chief Executive Officer, & Chairman (January 1997), President and Chief Executive Officer (April 1993) and President of Washington Trust Bank (April 1990). Mr. Stanton also serves as Chairman of the Board for W.T.B. Financial Corporation, and is a board member for Inland Northwest Council, Boy Scouts of America, and serves on The Washington Roundtable.
7.Jack Heath–President & COO, Washington Trust Bank
Jack Heath is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Washington Trust Bank. He was elected to this position in March 2000. Prior to this, Mr. Heath held numerous positions in commercial banking, marketing, investment services, and branch banking. Mr. Heath is active in the community, currently serving as a Director on the boards of the Pacific Coast Banking School and the Community Cancer Fund. Jack is currently serving as the Chairman of the Board for Premera and Premera Blue Cross.
8.Ezra Eckhardt– President & CEO, STCU
Ezra Eckhardt is a fifth-generation Spokane resident who chairs the Spokane Airport Board and has been active on boards for Spokane University District, Gonzaga Prep, and Downtown Spokane Partnership. A distinguished graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Eckhardt also holds a master’s degree in business administration from Gonzaga University, where he has been an adjunct professor at the Jepson School of Business. Under Eckhardt’s leadership, STCU has sought to help sustain key community organizations through the pandemic, so they can continue to focus on future success.
9.Carla Cicero–President and CEO, Numerica
In addition to being President and CEO of Numerica, Carla serves on the Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI) executive committee and Rosauers Supermarkets board of directors. In 2019, she received the YWCA Women of Achievement Award. She also received the Dream Builders award for community service from the West Central Community Center in 2016 and the Inland Northwest Catalyst Business Leadership Award in 2014.
10.Jeff Adams–CEO, Horizon Credit Union
Under Jeff Adams’ leadership at Horizon Credit Union—the credit union originally founded in 1947 to serve Kaiser Aluminum employees and their families—acquired Icon Credit Union in Southern Idaho and Eastern Oregon. Horizon now has a combined total of twenty-eight branches and serves over 100,000 members.
11.Sue Horton–President and CEO, Wheatland Bank
As a thirty-seven-year-old CPA, Sue Horton was approached by Wheatland Bank’s directors to take on the position of president and CEO of the bank. Nearly twenty-three years later, Wheatland Bank has seen exponential growth under Sue’s leadership.
12.Phil Haugen– COO, Kalispel Tribe Economic Authority
As the Chief Operating Officer of the Kalispel Tribal Economic Authority, Phil Haugen oversees all businesses owned and operated by the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, including Northern Quest Resort and Casino and the Kalispel Golf and Country Club. Haugen began working at Northern Quest when it first opened in 2000. Since then, he has held a variety of roles, including executive director of Tribal Gaming, assistant general manager, and general manager. Haugen is a proud member of the Kalispel Tribe and one of the first tribal members to earn a college degree. He has served on several charitable boards, including the American Red Cross, Camas Path, and the Rypien Foundation.
Head Coach, Gonzaga University Men’s Basketball
Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few has established himself as one of the most successful coaches in NCAA Division I basketball annals in his twenty-two seasons at the helm, and in the process has made Bulldog basketball a household name across the country. With thirty-two years on the Gonzaga bench, Few is the longest tenured men’s basketball coach in Bulldog history.
14.Larry Stone–President, Stone Group of Companies
Larry Stone grew up in Spokane and graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla. His involvement in the community includes Spokane Ponderosa, East Spokane Business Association, Spokane Preservation Advocates, Spokane Regional Transportation Council, and the Downtown Spokane Partnership.
15.Bobby Brett– Owner, Spokane Indians & Spokane Chiefs
Born in Brooklyn and raised in El Segundo, California, the real estate investor purchased the Spokane Indians baseball team of the Northwest League in 1985. Brett relocated his family to Spokane shortly after he purchased the Spokane Chiefs Hockey team in 1990. After playing baseball at Cal Poly, he briefly played in the Kansas City Royals minor league system. Brett has invested in several apartment and commercial properties in Spokane with Chris Batten of Rencorp Realty and owns several other minor league baseball franchises. He served two terms on Minor League Baseball’s Board of Trustees and serves as a member of the Executive Committee of Western Hockey League Board of Governors.
16.Linda Underwood– Regional President, U.S. Bank
In 1993, Linda Underwood began her career with U.S. Bank. Starting in 2010, she has led the bank’s operations in North Idaho and Eastern Washington Linda serves as a board member of the Spokane Angel Alliance and the Spokane Club. Within the bank itself, she has chaired the P.A.C. and is a member of the Community Banking and Branch Delivery Women in Leadership group.
17.Chief Master Sgt. Daniel Guzman– Command Chief, 92nd Air Refueling Wing command chief
Chief Master Sergeant Daniel Guzman is the Command Chief Master Sergeant 92d Air Refueling Wing, Fairchild Air Force Base. The Wing provides global reach airpower and deploys expeditionary forces in support of worldwide combat, contingency, and humanitarian requirements. As the command chief, Chief Guzman advises the Wing Commander on all matters affecting the readiness, training, professional development, and effective utilization of all assigned enlisted personnel and coordinates support for eighteen associate units.
18.Shelly O’Quinn– CEO, Innovia Foundation
Shelly became the CEO of Innovia Foundation in 2017. Prior to this, she had been a Spokane County Commissioner. In this role, she established her reputation as a team builder and agent of change. In her current role, she has been a force in uniting the board, staff, volunteers, and community partners to reinvigorate our region with creative solutions. Additionally, she was the Director of Education and Workforce Development for Greater Spokane Incorporated.
19.Dennis Vermillion–President and CEO, Avista
Dennis Vermillion serves as the president and CEO of Avista Corp. He also holds the position of chairman of the board of directors for Avista Corp. subsidiary Alaska Electric Light and Power Company. Dennis joined Avista in 1985 and has held various staff and management positions. Previously, Dennis served as senior vice president of Avista Corp. and president of Avista Utilities, vice president of energy resources and prior to that, as president and chief operating officer for Avista Energy from February 2001, until its sale in June 2007.
20.Dr. David O’Brien– Senior Vice President & Chief Executive, East Region, MultiCare Health System
Dr. O’Brien received his medical doctorate from the University of California School of Medicine in Davis. He began his career as a physician, practicing family medicine in Eureka for fourteen years, and he still identifies with the joys and challenges of being a doctor. “I’m a health care executive now, but I’m a physician at heart,” he says. “It really energizes me to pull together a group of people who work well together with the patient at the center.”
21.Thayne McCulloh– President, Gonzaga University
Thayne McCulloh is in his twelfth year serving Gonzaga University as its President. He holds a B.A. from Gonzaga (1989) and was awarded a Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Oxford University, England (1998). He first began working at Gonzaga in 1990, and from his roots in student affairs has remained fundamentally focused on students. He is deeply committed to a broadly-based liberal arts education that prepares students to be critical thinkers, outstanding professionals, and living exemplars of the Jesuit imperative to be men and women with and for others.
22.Dr. Adam Swinyard– Superintendent, Spokane Public Schools
The board approved Dr. Adam Swinyard as superintendent in summer 2020. He had previously served as associate superintendent for Teaching & Learning Services. In 2009, Dr. Swinyard joined SPS, working as a principal assistant at Garry Middle School. He briefly worked as an assistant principal for the Cheney School District but returned to SPS in 2013, taking on the role of principal of Sacajawea Middle School.
23.Tom Simpson– President, Spokane Angel Alliance; CEO, Ignite Northwest
Tom Simpson has over thirty-five years of experience as an investment banker, venture capitalist, angel investor, and entrepreneur. He is CEO of Ignite Northwest, president of the Spokane Angel Alliance, managing member of Kick-Start angel investment funds and serves on the boards of Arevo, Berg, GenPrime, Medcurity, Spiceology, Stay Alfred, and Vaagen Timbers. Previously, he was co-founder and executive chairman of etailz, an innovative eCommerce company acquired in 2016.
24.Dave Black– CEO, Principal of Black Realty, Inc; Black Commercial, Inc; Black Realty Management, Inc, and Black Management Services, Inc.
Dave Black started his real estate career in 1981 and became CEO of his company in 1984. He now manages more than 100 people and properties. He holds an undergraduate degree from WSU and a Masters of Business Administration degree in Real Estate and Construction Management from the University of Denver. He is a past chair of Downtown Spokane Partnership, sits on many other boards including the Boy Scouts of America.
25.Fritz H. Wolff– Executive Chairman, The Wolff Company
Fritz H. Wolff is the executive chairman of The Wolff Company, responsible for corporate governance and global strategy. He is an active member of the Wolff’s Executive Committee, and co-heads the firm’s Investment Committee. Fritz has more than two decades of institutional real estate investment experience. He attended Gonzaga University and serves as a member of its Board of Regents and its Investment Committee. He also completed the OPM Program at Harvard University and is a founding member of YPO Scottsdale.
26. Craig Gates–
President and Chief Executive Officer, KeyTronic
27. Ray Sprinkle–
President and CEO, URM Stores
28. Stephanie Curran–
CEO, Spokane Public Facilities District
29. Aaron Wilson–
30. Barry Baker–
President and CEO- Baker Construction & Development, Inc.
31. Christine Johnson–
Chancellor, Community Colleges of Spokane
32. Alisha Benson–
CEO, Greater Spokane Incorporated
33. John Tomkowiak–
Dean, Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine
34. Kevin Curtis–
Principal, Winston & Cashatt, Lawyers
35. John Bole–
President, Yoke’s Fresh Markets
36. Kent Hull–
Managing Partner, Iron Bridge Office Campus
37. Armando Hurtado & Josh Hissong–
Principals, HDG Architecture
38. Brian Newberry–
CEO, Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington & Northern Idaho
39. Harlan Douglass–
President, Harlan D. Douglass, Inc.
40. Lance Beck–
President & Chief Executive Officer, Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce
41. Michael Senske–
President and CEO, Pearson Packaging Systems
42. Toni Lodge–
CEO, Native Project
43. Chris Batten–
Principal, RenCorp Realty
44. Jordan and Joel Tampien–
Owners, 4 Degrees Real Estate
45. Jeanette Hauck–
46. E. Susan Meyer–
CEO, Spokane Transit Authority
47. Adam Hegsted–
Chef & Owner, Eat Good Group
48. John Bryant–
Co-founder and Owner, No-Li Brewhouse
49. Kevin Parker–
Owner, Dutch Bros
50. Rick Clark–
Founder, Spokane Quaranteam
CDA1.Jerry Jaeger– President, Hagadone Hospitality Corporation
Jerry Jaeger is the president of Hagadone Hospitality Corporation and has worked for the Hagadone corporation for more than four decades. The Coeur d’Alene Resort is one of Hagadone Corporation’s signature properties. The resort has served more than five million visitors and twenty-two million meals since its opening in 1986.
CDA2.John Stone– Developer, Riverstone
John Stone is a developer who—among many projects—is responsible for the Riverstone urban village in Coeur d’Alene, which took two decades to complete. He has invested in several local tech startups, including Pacinian and Rohinni. He was raised in Spokane by a single mother and attended Gonzaga University.
CEO, Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort
After serving a variety of leadership positions at Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort—including director of marketing as well as acting director—Laura Penney was named CEO in 2019. Laura has worked for the facility since it opened over twenty-five years ago and was part of the discussion as to whether the tribe should explore gaming.
CDA4.Richard MacLennan– President, North Idaho College
In 2016, Richard MacLennan was named the president of North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, succeeding Joe Dunlap. Prior to his position with North Idaho College, Richard MacLennan had served as president of Garrett College in Maryland.
CDA5.Jon Ness– CEO, Kootenai Health
In 2010, Kootenai Health named Jon Ness as its CEO. Prior to Kootenai Health, Jon Ness was the chief operating officer at Billings Clinic, which is a not-for-profit health organization in Montana.
CDA6. Thomas Tedder– Owner and Founder, Tedder Industries
CDA7. Todd & Zetta Stam– Founders, Aspen Homes
CDA8. Doug Chadderdon– CEO, Great Floors
CDA9. Derrell Hartwick– CEO, Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce
CDA10. Dr. Shon Hocker – Superintendent, Coeur d’Alene School District
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