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Classmate Updates

Posted by cahnrs.webteam | December 10, 2012


Jean and George FriesGeorge Fries (’54, Dairy Sci.) has retired after 40 years as a research animal scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service. A native of Winlock, Washington, George and his wife, Jean, currently live in Silver Spring, Maryland. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year. George currently serves as the volunteer business manager of the townhome condominium where the couple lives.


Mariano Morales Jr. (’81, Forest & Range Mgmt.) was voted “Best Attorney” in the Yakima Valley for the sixth time in nine years by readers of the Yakima Valley Business Times.

Colleen Nolan (’82, Animal Sci.) is dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Shepherd University. She recently was named an ACE Fellow for academic year 2012–13 by the American Council on Education.

Stacy Taylor (’83, Econ.) is the branch manager of the Tri-Counties Bank in Truckee, California.


KayDee Catlin Gilkey (’90, Ag. Sci. with a communication emphasis) recently began a new career as an agriculture radio broadcaster with the Ag Information Network. She currently lives in Fairfield, Washington.

Jeff Niesz (’90, Ag. Econ.) is on the domestic sales team for Columbia Marketing International, one of Washington State’s shippers of apples, pears, and cherries. He has 16 years of experience selling produce in the Northwest.

Mike Thoren (’90, Agribus., ’91 Ag Econ.) received the Colorado Ag Hall of Fame’s first Rising Star in Agriculture Award. He is currently the president and CEO of JBS Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, LLC.

Meiyin Wu (’95, MS Env. Sci., ’99 PhD Env. & Nat. Resc. Sci.) is director of Montclair State University’s Passaic River Institute for Environmental Research and Education in New Jersey. Prior to taking the position, she was an associate professor of biology and microbiology at the school.

Eran Mahrer (’95, MS Env. Sci.) is vice president of utility strategy at the Solar Electric Power Association and will lead SEPA’s efforts in engaging utilities to develop solar strategies and practices.

Faisal Awawdeh (’97, PhD Animal Sci.) is the new coordinator of the Arabian Peninsula Regional Program for the International Center for Agriculture in the Dry Areas.


Heath Barnes (’00, Ag.) is a grain merchandiser for Columbia County Grain Growers. He and his wife Tisha are living in Clarkston with their five children.

Raina Spence (’02, MS Plant Path.) is the new director of industry outreach for the Washington State Potato Commission. She will oversee various WSPC-funded research projects and coordinate efforts with other research institutions to develop key educational information.

Shelly Michalak (’03, Human Dev.) recently earned a Behavior Analyst Certification from the Florida Institute of Technology.

Ryan Kile (’04, Agribus.) is a relationship manager for Northwest Farm Credit Services in Colfax. He recently received a Special Recognition Award from the Spokane Guilds’ School for serving as chairman of its annual benefit auction. He currently serves on the school’s board of directors, as well as the board of directors for the Spokane Ag Expo and the St. John Golf and Country Club. He and his wife are expecting their first baby in April.

Jake Spratt (’05, Econ.) joined Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, a law firm with more than 260 attorneys in the western United States and Washington, DC.

Allyson Beall (’07, PhD Env. & Nat. Res. Sci.) spoke at the World Water Forum in Marseille, France. She is an instructor in WSU’s School of the Environment.

Rachel Lewis (’08, Ag. Econ.) was recently appointed by the Quincy City Council as the new manager for the Quincy animal shelter.

Donna Drader (’09, MS Nat. Res. Sci.) helped start a school in Uganda. On a recent visit, she was honored by the school naming one of the buildings after her.


Kirstin Slater (’10, Animal Sci.) is a relationship manager for Northwest Farm Credit Services in Sunnyside, Washington. She is involved in the Washington State Grange, Washington Cattlemen’s Association, and Washington State 4-H Foundation.