Advisory Council Tri-Cities

The Advisory Council for Washington State University Tri-Cities (ACT) is comprised of business, civic, and education leaders as well as alumni who have a strategic interest in WSU Tri-Cities. The members are appointed by the University President. The Advisory Council’s primary mission is to foster closer ties between WSU Tri-Cities, its alumni, plus the community, region, and state. The Advisory Council meets monthly, coordinated through the Office of the Chancellor.

Advisory Council Tri-Cities Members

Carl Adrian, Chair

CEO, Tri-City Development Council (TRIDEC)


Carl Adrian has been the CEO and President the Tri-City Development Council (TRIDEC) since September 2003. TRIDEC is the leading economic development organization for Benton and Franklin Counties. It offers businesses interested in expanding to the Tri-Cities area the most comprehensive and business-specific assistance available in the region. Adrian comes to TRIDEC from the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area of Iowa, where he served as President of the Cedar Valley Economic Development Corporation since 1994. Prior to accepting the position with Cedar Valley EDC, Adrian served as the President of the Casper Area Economic Development Alliance, Inc. based in Casper, Wyoming and before that was Vice President of the Quad-City Development Group in the Quad-City area of Iowa and Illinois.

Adrian is a native of Omaha, Nebraska. He has a Master’s Degree in Urban and Economic Geography and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Geography from the University of Iowa.


Steven Ashby

Director, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory


Dr. Steven Ashby has served as the Director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) since April 2015. He is responsible for establishing the Laboratory’s vision and setting its strategic direction. Under his leadership, PNNL’s exceptional staff are advancing the frontiers of science and addressing complex challenges in energy, the environment, and national security. In particular, the Laboratory is providing national leadership in climate science, the power grid, nuclear nonproliferation, and environmental remediation.

Dr. Ashby previously served as PNNL’s Deputy Director for Science and Technology, and was responsible for integrating PNNL’s science and technology capabilities to meet national needs.

Before joining PNNL in 2008, Dr. Ashby spent nearly 21 years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), ultimately serving as Deputy Principal Associate Director for Science and Technology. He previously oversaw the activities of the 500-person Computing Applications and Research Department. Dr. Ashby was the founding director of LLNL’s Center for Applied Scientific Computing, which was established in 1996 and has since matured into one of the world’s premier scientific computing research organizations.

In 2013, Dr. Ashby was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in the mathematics section for “exceptional technical contributions and scientific leadership in applied mathematics and computational science, particularly the development of novel numerical methods and robust software for parallel computers, as well as for exemplary service to the field of computational science and engineering.” He also was elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences in 2013.

He holds a B.S. in Mathematics/Computer Science from the Santa Clara University. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Stacy L. Charboneau was named Manager for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Richland Operations Office (RL) in December 2014. In this role, Charboneau is responsible for management and oversight of cleanup of the 586-square-mile Hanford Site, with the exception of liquid tank waste and construction of the Waste Treatment Plant, which are under the purview of DOE’s Office of River Protection.

RL is currently focused on cleaning out and demolishing the high-hazard Plutonium Finishing Plant, excavating and disposing of contaminated soil and solid waste, treating contaminated groundwater, removing radioactive sludge from the K West Basin, and infrastructure to support cleanup into the future. Charboneau previously served as the RL Deputy Manager, responsible for oversight of daily operations, program planning, project execution, budgeting, compliance with the Hanford Federal Facility Agreement and Consent Order (Tri-Party Agreement), and safe, environmentally acceptable and responsible management of the Hanford Site.

Prior to this position, Charboneau served as the RL Assistant Manager for Safety and Environment, and was responsible for oversight of environmental, safety, health, transportation, and quality assurance programs at the Hanford Site, including management of the RL facility representative and safety system oversight programs, site-wide environmental permitting and safety programs, and nuclear safety basis reviews. She also previously served as the Deputy Manager and Chief Operating Officer of the DOE Office of River Protection (ORP), assisting the Manager in his responsibilities for the safe storage, retrieval, treatment, and disposal of 56 million gallons of chemical and radioactive tank waste at the Hanford Site. Prior to her Deputy Manager role, she was the Assistant Manager of and Level IV Project Director for the Hanford Tank Farms Project. Charboneau has more than 15 years of experience managing projects involving nuclear operations, construction, environmental remediation, and deactivation and demolition. In her previous work for RL, Charboneau served as a Facility Representative and as Program Manager for the Facility Representatives. She also held the position of Engineering and Construction Projects Manager for the Spent Nuclear Fuel Project and served as Federal Project Director for River Corridor and Central Plateau projects, including the Plutonium Finishing Plant.

Charboneau has worked at Hanford for 20 years and has 24 years of federal service, including working for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center. Charboneau holds a master’s degree in engineering management from the University of Massachusetts and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from South Dakota State University.


John has more than 30 years of experience leading operations and projects including 27 years in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) nuclear project management. He has managed multibillion-dollar programs, improved safety performance and ensured cost-effective project completion on schedule and within budget. John brings to this project experience from CH2M HILL (Federal Nuclear Group), Kaiser Hill (Rocky Flats), Safe Sites of Colorado (Rocky Flats), British Nuclear Fuels, Inc. (Oak Ridge, TN and Sellafield, UK), Rocky Mountain Remediation Services & EG&G, Inc., and Westinghouse Electric. Most recently, he served as the as Chief Operating Officer of CHPRC. He was previously Director, Environmental Management for the Nevada National Security Site/Nevada Test Site, providing direction and leadership for all of the environmental management and waste operations scope.

John earned his Bachelor of Science and Masters of Science in Chemical Engineering from The Pennsylvania State University.


Brad Fisher

Senior Vice President & Branch Director, RBC Wealth Management


Brad Fisher has served as the branch director and financial advisor for RBC Wealth Management since July 2006. Prior to this position, he was a financial advisor and branch office manager at Piper Jaffray for 21 years.

A native of the Tri-Cities, Fisher has been actively involved in community service in the area and is a former Mayor and councilmember of the City of Kennewick. He presently serves on the board of directors of the Tri-City Development Council (TRIDEC) and as a member of Tri-Cities Evolution, a local governance task force. Past service includes as a board member of the Children’s Reading Foundation of the Mid-Columbia, the Tri-Cities Cancer Center Foundation, the Columbia Basin College Foundation, co-chairman of the Tri-Cities Goodwill Games Organizing Committee and member of Richland Rotary. Fisher attended the University of Washington and earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Washington State University in 1979.

His engagement at WSU includes service as Chair of the Advisory Council at WSU Tri-Cities, as Trustee of the WSU Foundation and as a board member of the Tri-Cities Cougar Club.

He and his wife Jennifer have four children and two grandchildren and reside in Richland.


Fran Forgette

Attorney, Rettig Rorgette Iller Adamson


Francois X. Forgette served on the WSU Board of Regents from May 2005 through March 2014. He is a partner with the Tri-City law firm of Rettig Forgette Iller Adamson which he joined in 1977. His full-time practice includes business, real estate, agriculture, insurance defense and health care and related mediation and civil litigation. He is a Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce Board Member. Fran has also been actively involved in Tri-City education issues. He was named Tri-Citian of the Year in 2001 for his community service. He received the first Proud to be a Lawyer “Hero Award” from the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) in 2000 and the WSBA Board of Governors annual Award for Professionalism in 2001. He was named Kennewick Man of the Year for 2001.

Fran graduated from Seattle Preparatory School in 1970 and the University of Washington in 1974 with a B.A. in English Literature. He then attended Gonzaga Law School in Spokane where he graduated with honors in 1977. He and his wife Debbie live in Kennewick and have two sons, Joseph and Patrick.


John Fulton

President & CEO, CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company, Retired


John Fulton was the President and Chief Executive Officer for CH2M Plateau Remediation Company in Richland. The project is a $5.8 billion, 10-year contract, and the mission includes decommissioning and remediating the Hanford site’s Central Plateau, 100K Area, and site groundwater.

John has 40 years of experience leading operations and projects, including 33 years in U.S. Department of Energy nuclear project management. He has managed multi-billion-dollar programs, improved safety performance, and ensured cost-effective project completion on schedule and within budget. Previous assignments include the Idaho Cleanup Project, Miamisburg Closure Project, Hanford Tank Farms Contract, and Washington Closure Hanford. Most recently, he served as the as Senior Vice President for the CH2M Nuclear Business Group, providing direction and leadership for all of the DOE projects managed by CH2M across the United States, as well as all other CH2M HILL liabilities management projects for North America and Asia.

John earned his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Washington State University. He was born and raised near Benton City.


George Garlick

President & CEO, George Garlick Enterprises


George Garlick is the President and CEO of George Garlick Enterprises. He has lived in the Tri-Cities since 1962, when he accepted a position at Hanford Laboratories. He began teaching 30 local students who were working on their Master’s degree. In 1967 and with the approval of Battelle, he became Director of the Center for Graduate Study, where he raised funds to build the first campus of what is now Washington State University Tri-Cities campus. While in the position Garlick established the first faculty recognition, student graduation recognitions and the first ability for local students to meet the residency requirements at WSU. Through his work at George Garlick Enterprises he has developed and formed companies related to real estate development primarily in the Tri-Cities Science and Technology Park for which he was one of the founding members in 1990. The 600,000 sq. ft. Stevens Center Business Park provides facility support to assist the local major companies in meeting their objectives on the Hanford Project. This Park also includes a Montessori School, Corporate Fitness Center, lakes and recreational areas. Garlick is also active in many community boards and committees, including the Tri-City Chaplaincy, CREST and TRIDEC, and he was named Tri-Citian of the Year in 2007. He also founded the Gloria Meek Garlick Foundation in honor of his sister-in-law who passed away from cancer. The Foundation will provide medical imaging systems manufactured in the Tri Cities for use by underserved peoples.

Garlick earned his Ph. D. degree in Electrical Engineering and Solid State Physics from Iowa State University.


Saundra Hill

Superintendent of Schools, Pasco School District


Saundra Hill began her career in education in 1977, starting out as a K-2 classroom teacher and a reading specialist in the Bickleton and then the PeEll school districts. From 1982-1996, Hill held several positions in the Pasco School District, initially as a migrant resource teacher and an instructional coach to improve teaching for migrant and bilingual students. She then accepted administrative positions as the Bilingual Program Administrator (1986-90), Director of Staff Development and Evaluation (1990-93), and Director of Special Programs (1993-96).

Hill left to earn a law degree from the University of Washington and returned to education in 2002 as Superintendent of Pasco School District.

Hill holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Puget Sound, a Master of Arts in Education from Central Washington University, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Washington School of Law. She speaks Spanish, is a certificated teacher, holds a Preschool-12th grade principal credential, is a past-president of the Washington State Association of Administrators, and is a member of the Washington State Bar.


Michael Kluse, Past Chair, 2014

Director, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Retired


Michael Kluse is the former Laboratory Director of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior to this assignment he had responsibility for all of PNNL’s national security business, which includes science and technology for DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration, DOE’s Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and the Intelligence Community. From 1996 through 2002, Kluse was the Vice President and General Manager of Battelle’s Navy Sector. Prior to transferring to PNNL in 1997, he served as Vice President of Operations of Battelle’s Defense Systems and Technology Business Group. Kluse joined Battelle in 1976 as a defense and space systems research scientist. Before joining Battelle, he served as an officer in the United States Air Force, where he was assigned to the Freeman Mathematical Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base. Kluse is a member of the U.S. Army Science Board and currently serves on the National Utility Training and Education Center Board of Directors, and on the Hazardous Materials Management and Emergency Response (HAMMER) Steering Committee in Richland, WA.

He holds a B.S. degree in Systems Analysis from Miami University, and a M.S. degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from The Ohio State University.


Wayne J. Martin

Interim Chief Operating Officer, National Security Directorate, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, retired


Dr. Wayne J. Martin is the Interim Chief Operating Officer for the National Security Directorate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He is responsible for capability and staff development, including staff recruiting, retention, project management and expert delivery processes, and facilities, infrastructure, and operations within the directorate. PNNL’s National Security Directorate provides the science and technologies to support the detection of weapons of mass destruction, help the United States manage its nonproliferation treaties, and secure our nation’s borders.

Dr. Martin has contributed to a variety of basic and applied research areas including environmental remediation, contaminant fate and transport, geologic sequestration, and water treatment. His research interests focus on projects related to hazardous, toxic, and radioactive wastes designed to increase understanding of contaminant migration within the environment.

At PNNL since 1978, Dr. Martin has served as line manager, researcher and principal investigator, product line manager, and project manager for projects related to environmental science and national security. He was recently the Director of the Project Management Office responsible for overseeing risk mitigation, implementation, and the safety and success of more than 100 research projects in the chemical, biological, and nuclear surety and signatures sciences.

Dr. Martin is a strong advocate for nurturing and influencing young people in taking on scientific and technological endeavors. He mentors graduate students at PNNL and strongly encourages staff to support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) activities for students in the local community. He is a past recipient of PNNL’s prestigious Laboratory Director’s Award (Fitzner-Eberhardt Award) for his outstanding contributions to science and engineering education.

Dr. Martin has given numerous technical, social, and educational presentations, and has authored more than 35 publications in science journals, conference proceedings, and government and private documents. He has received numerous awards, but considers one of the most significant to be being named the 2011 Washington State University Tri-Cities Distinguished Alumni of the Year.

He received a Ph.D. in Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences from Washington State University, an M.S. in Radiological Sciences with an emphasis in environmental transport from the University of Washington, and a B.S. in Wildlife Management and a minor in Chemistry from Washington State University


Gregg McConnell, Vice Chair

President & Publisher, Tri-City Herald


Gregg McConnell joined the Tri-City Herald in October 2011 as the eighth president and publisher in its 64-year history as the “Voice of the Mid-Columbia.” The Tri-City Herald has a long history of supporting higher education and the WSU Tri-Cities campus.

Gregg began his newspaper career working after school at the weekly newspaper in Polson, Mont., and as a reporter and photographer for the Glendive Ranger-Review in Glendive, Mont. After a career move to advertising, he joined Scripps League Newspapers in 1979 as Advertising Director for the newspaper in Hamilton, Mont. He spent 13 years with Scripps League Newspapers, during which time he served as publisher at two of the company’s California newspapers.

In 1992, Gregg joined Sound Publishing’s newspaper network in Washington and later spent five years as the general manager for non-daily operations with Skagit Publishing in Mount Vernon, Wash. He served on the board of directors of the Washington Newspaper Publishers’ Association from 2002 to 2005. He joined MediaNews Group in 2005 and returned to northern California to lead the Lake County Record-Bee and its related operations. In 2008, he was promoted to publisher of The Reporter in Vacaville and the Daily Democrat in Woodland. In 2009, he became publisher of that company’s newspapers in Chico, Oroville, and Paradise, Calif.


Rob Mercer

President & CEO, Mercer Canyons


Rob Mercer grew up on the family farm in the Horse Heaven Hills, spending weekends and summers learning the many tasks associated with vineyard operations and vegetable crop production. After graduating from Washington State University with a political science degree in 1991, Rob left his hometown of Prosser, Wash., to become an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps where he served as an intelligence officer and platoon commander. He volunteered and returned to serve on active duty in Iraq for a tour in 2008.

Rob returned to the Mercer Canyons farm operations in 1996. In addition to managing vegetable crop production, Rob was the general manager of the vegetable packing operation in California and Washington until it was sold in 2004; at which time he took over as the President/CEO of Mercer Canyons. A partnership in 2006 with the Hogue Family created two entities: a 250-acre vineyard known as Dead Canyon Vineyard and a winery operation called Mercer Wine Estates, which became wholly owned by the Mercer Family in 2012. Mercer Canyons now has approximately 8,000 acres of diversified row crops and 2,000 acres of wine vineyards.

In 2000, Rob received his MBA from the University of Washington. He graduated from the Washington Ag-Forestry Leadership program in 2006. Rob currently serves on the board for the Columbia Snake River Irrigators Association.


Ray Robinson

CEO & President, RKR, Inc.


Dr. Ray K. Robinson has been the CEO and President of RKR, Inc, a management and technology consulting company, for over 20 years. He has over four decades of hands-on experience stimulating, identifying, incubating, and integrating ideas and resources into successful and sustainable projects and ventures. He was one of Battelle Northwest’s entrepreneurial senior scientists and managers charged with finding, funding and implementing innovative ideas and customers outside of Battelle Northwest’s principal U.S. Department of Energy customer base.

He was a senior executive and director in Exxon’s “start with a clean sheet of paper” creation of a diversified nuclear fuel cycle company and was a senior executive in charge of three of those startups with major operations that spanned three states and two countries. He also managed one of Exxon’s oldest mainstream manufacturing companies. After Exxon sold the nuclear and manufacturing companies, Robinson founded or co-founded four for-profit companies and two national non-profit corporations. He collaborated with community leaders to help conceive, start and/or grow highly successful incubators, a science and technology park, a land grant state university branch campus, a Southeastern Washington “commercialization partnership” and two federal agency centers of excellence (HAMMER and the National Counterdrug Center).

He serves in a leadership capacity on four boards of directors (two as chairman), and is active in three new start-ups. He has a Doctorate in Materials Science and Engineering from MIT, a Master’s of Business Administration from University of Washington and a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from University of Texas.


Brent Ridge

Vice President, Corporate Services & Chief Financial/Risk Officer, Energy Northwest


Brent Ridge joined Energy Northwest in 2002 and currently holds the position of Vice President, Corporate Services and Chief Financial/Risk Officer. In this capacity, he is responsible for finance, treasury, enterprise risk management, asset management, human resources, supply chain, information services, government affairs and public affairs. He is also the Chairman of the Corporate Nuclear Safety Review Board for Columbia Generating Station.

Prior to assuming his current position, Mr. Ridge was the asset manager, controller and chief risk officer. He was also the manager of Construction and Maintenance Services, responsible for nuclear plant modifications, outage and on-line major maintenance, facilities and commercial engineering.

Before joining Energy Northwest, Mr. Ridge was a manager for a construction company specializing in municipal water treatment plants, and industrial installations at U.S. military facilities.

Mr. Ridge is currently a member of the Advisory Council for Washington State University Tri-Cities and the local March of Dimes and United Way Boards. He is a past member of the Tri-City Development Council Board of Directors and former Chairman of the Board of Columbia Industries.

Mr. Ridge holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Idaho, and a master’s degree in business administration from Regis University. He also completed the Reactor Technology Course for Utility Executives at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Utility Executive Course at the University of Idaho.


Albert Torres

CEO & Publisher, Tú Decides Media


Albert Torres is the publisher of Tú Decides, a statewide weekly newspaper that is published in English and Spanish. He works toward building relationships and bridging the gap between the Hispanic community and the non Hispanic community. He started Tú Decides in January 2007 with a circulation size of 5,000, which has now grown to 26,000. Educational institutions have begun to include Tú Decides as part of their curriculum through a program called Newspapers in Education (NIE), whereby schools receive free copies of the newspaper to be used in classes where students are learning English, Spanish or multi-cultural business. Schools from eastern and western Washington are currently participating in the program. Torres, along with his business partners, also created Expo NW, which organizes the Latino Business, Consumer and Career expos in eastern and western Washington.

Albert and his wife Blanca were honored at the White House under the Bush administration in 2006 during their Hispanic Heritage Month celebration for their community involvement in helping permanent residents prepare for their citizenship tests. Albert graduated from Pasco High and Columbia Basin College. He graduated from Washington State University Tri-Cities with a Bachelor of Arts in Management Information Systems.


Rand Wortman

President & CEO, Kadlec Regional Medical Center


Rand Wortman became the President and CEO of Kadlec Medical Center in November 2000. He is a leader dedicated to patient safety and patient centered care and is committed to providing the highest quality care to the patients in the Tri-Cities and surrounding region. In his time at Kadlec, Wortman has established the hospitalist, pediatric hospitalist and intensivist programs and a physician portal which allows Kadlec physicians to access patient information, including radiology images and reports, from their offices. Kadlec also became the first accredited Chest Pain Center in the Northwest and the first Chest Pain Center to receive Level 2 accreditation and is the only hospital in Eastern Washington affiliated with the prestigious Planetree Organization. He participates in various quality care programs including the 100,000 Lives Campaign, Leapfrog Group and JCAHO Core Measures. He also instigated construction of the Outpatient Imaging Center, a state of the art emergency room, and a critical care unit.

Rand received his BS in Business Economics from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and obtained his Masters in Hospital and Health Administration from University of Iowa in 1975.


Tom Yount

Executive Vice President, EnergySolutions


Tom Yount has served as Executive Vice President of the Engineering and Technology Group for EnergySolutions since August 2008. Prior to this assignment, Tom was the Senior Vice President and Project Manager for the Western Operations of the Engineering and Technology Group.

Tom joined EnergySolutions through the acquisition of British Nuclear Group America in 2006. While with BNGA, he served in various senior management and leadership positions. Prior to working for BNGA, Tom worked 10 years for Westinghouse Hanford Co. in a variety of waste management programs.

Tom is one of the founding Board Members for the Washington State STEM Education Foundation and remains active on the STEM board. He graduated from Washington State University in 1986 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Construction Management and a minor in Economics.