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Sep 16, 2021

Cushman & Wakefield




Adding to its valuation and advisory team, Cushman & Wakefield announced three new hires. Past employee Scott Biethan returns to the C&W fold after a stint with McKee Appraisal. He specializes in the hospitality market. Julian Rondello also makes the move from McKee. Keenan O'Leary, also with past experience at C&W, is rejoining the firm after a few years with EB-5 developer American Life. C&W's Michele Kauffman said in a statement, “We are so excited that this talented trio of Scott, Julian and Keenan are joining us in Seattle. They are each tremendous professionals and their decisions to join our team demonstrates that Cushman & Wakefield is the workplace of choice for exceptional valuation talent.”

RailSpur says first building is done

Once known as the F.X. McRory's building, now dubbed 419 Occidental, the freshly renovated offices and retail/restaurant space on the corner of South King Street is done and ready to lease, says developer Urban Villages, of Denver. That's Phase I of the three-building RailSpur development in Pioneer Square, which is owned by Manchester Capital Management. Urban Villages' Jon Buerge said in a statement, “The delivery of 419 Occidental at RailSpur is a significant milestone toward the revitalization of Seattle's first neighborhood. This is an exciting opportunity for retailers and businesses.” SHED Architecture & Design and Chinn Construction gut-renovated 419 Occidental, which is targeting LEED Platinum certification, and added a new eighth-floor penthouse. CBRE is brokering the office space, with about 77,000 square feet. The ground floor and basement, with about 15,202 square feet, are being marketed directly by Urban Villages, which had once contemplated a food hall there. Chinn is now underway on Phase II, with a 26-unit addition to the Art Deco-style Fisher Building, plus retail space at grade. Completion is expected late this year. Phase III will be the conversion of the former Westland Building, now offices, into a boutique hotel. All three buildings are connected by the improved mid-block alleys.

New Western arrives in town

Based in Irvine, Texas, real estate investor and lender New Western was founded in the wake of the great recession and wave of foreclosures. It now calls itself largest private source of distressed investment properties in the nation, with about 18 offices nationwide. Now it's opening an office in Bellevue, the private firm announced, to be led by Ryan Bernhard, who was previously based in Houston. He said in a statement, “I am excited to move to such a diverse and inspiring city and introduce the market to New Western's offerings, which can help local real estate agents sell difficult properties, and provide investors with an inventory of unique properties to fix-and-flip or fix-and-lease.” In our market, the firm hopes to do $1.2 billion in deals over the next five years. New Western has two main arms: HomeGo, which buys from individual sellers; and Sherman Bridge Lending, which provides capital for value-add investors.

Evergreen announces promotion

Direct lender Evergreen Home Loans announced the recent promotion of its John Endres. After two years with the firm, he's now area manager, with Seattle and Idaho in his portfolio. Evergreen's Don Zender said in a statement, “As an originator and branch manager, John understands what it takes to deliver an exceptional customer experience while helping our loan officers realize their maximum potential.”

Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications Kevin Martinez announced that the Mariners and Bonneville Seattle Media Group have agreed upon a multi-year extension to keep 710 ESPN Seattle as the flagship radio station for Mariners baseball. The 2022 season will be the 32nd year that 710 AM has been the Mariners radio home. The Mariners have been broadcasting on 710 ESPN Seattle since the station's transition to an all-sports format in 2009, and KIRO-AM was the team's home from 1985-2002. In addition to broadcasting all 162 games during the regular season, the Mariners year-round presence on 710 ESPN Seattle includes programming featuring Mariners President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto, manager Scott Servais as well as new weekly shows showcasing Mariners coaches, players, broadcasters and staff. Coverage also includes podcasts, pre- and post-game radio shows, the weekly Mariners Magazine on Sunday's during the season, the Hot Stove League Show in the winter, the Cactus League Report during spring training and spring training game broadcasts.


YouthCare, a Seattle-based nonprofit focused on ending youth homelessness, hired Colleen Echohawk as interim chief executive officer. In the interim CEO role, Echohawk will work in close partnership with the board of directors, lead the staff, and further facilitate YouthCare's strategic direction and programming in support of youth experiencing homelessness. YouthCare offers more than 19 programs focused on housing, education and employment, wellness, and community. Prior to this role, Echohawk served as executive director of Chief Seattle Club. She is the founder of the Coalition to End Urban Indigenous Homelessness, a board trustee for the Seattle Foundation, a co-founder of Headwater People Consulting and a board member for KUOW Public Radio. Echohawk is an enrolled member of Kithehaki Band of the Pawnee Nation and a member of the Upper Athabascan people of Mentasta Lake. YouthCare will continue its search for a permanent CEO and more details about the executive search process will appear on the organization's website as new information becomes available.


Amazon announced that it is providing an additional 4,500 local employment opportunities throughout Washington on top of the 40,000 corporate and technology jobs recently announced. The roles in fulfillment and transportation offer an average starting wage of more than $18 per hour, and up to $22.50 per hour in some locations. Jobs are available in several cities across Washington and hiring for the new roles is already underway. Interested candidates can apply at http://www.amazon.com/apply. Amazon is also hiring for positions at Amazon Fresh store locations in Washington state. Interested candidates can apply for those positions online at http://www.amazonstores.jobs. Amazon has 80 fulfillment centers, sortation centers, regional air hubs, and delivery stations in Washington and will open four more buildings this month. Amazon was recently named by LinkedIn as the No. 1 company where Americans want to work and develop their careers.


Seattle-based Vouched, a developer of proprietary, AI-powered, real-time identity verification, announced that Steve McQuade has joined the company as chief technology officer. McQuade will accelerate development of the company's patent-pending identity verification AI, and scale both the engineering team and international capability for the company's global expansion. McQuade previously headed technology at TUNE as the vice president of engineering and operations. Prior to TUNE, he served as vice president of engineering at Yapta and AudienceScience, and held senior technology management roles at the Walt Disney Internet Group.

Sep 15, 2021

Washington State Broadband Office


Dawn Eychaner will serve as acting director of the Washington State Broadband Office effective Sept. 30, when current director Russ Elliott leaves the position to serve as Chief Executive Officer of a California telecommunications carrier. Eychaner has served as deputy director of the office since June this year. Eychaner has a background in local infrastructure financing with the Washington State Public Works and Community Economic Revitalization Boards, as well as significant policy experience in the legislature on issues and programs related to early learning, temporary aid to needy families, food assistance and affordable housing.

Since it was established in 2019 with a minimal budget and two full time staff, the Washington State Broadband Office has built successful public-private partnerships across the state to meet the state's aggressive broadband goals and break down digital equity barriers.

AIA Seattle + Seattle Design Festival


Melissa K. Neher is the new executive director at AIA Seattle and Seattle Design Festival. Neher has decades of experience in nonprofit leadership. She began her career as a social worker for adults with physical disabilities. Later as a social justice lawyer, Melissa advocated for under-served and marginalized communities, including asylum seekers and migrant workers. Most recently, she served as executive director of Architects Without Borders Seattle, an organization formed by a dedicated group of volunteers who came together under the umbrella of AIA to provide access to design to under-served communities.

Neher received her BA in Public Relations with a minor in Art History from James Madison University, and her Juris Doctorate from University of San Diego School of Law where she was a lead articles editor for San Diego Law Review and received the Outstanding Public Interest Advocate award.


Edifecs, a health information technology solutions company, announced that it has acquired Talix, an information technology company that provides risk and quality solutions to healthcare payers and providers. Talix provides health plans with a natural language processing-enabled risk adjustment coding, retrieval, and analytics platform to improve coding accuracy, efficiency, and overall revenue integrity of their programs. Talix also helps providers identify, document, and code risk-adjusted conditions accurately at the Point-of-Care. By integrating Talix's technology with Edifecs' signature Encounter Management solution, Edifecs will provide the opportunity for customers to operate risk adjustment processes more efficiently for Medicare Advantage, Managed Medicaid, and Affordable Care Act products. Edifecs is headquartered in Bellevue, with additional offices in Atlanta, Georgia, and Mohali, India, an engineering center in Moldova, and has more than 750 employees globally.

CU Servnet

CU Servnet, a Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO) dedicated to mortgage loan servicing, announced that BECU senior vice president of mortgage lending, Lorraine Stewart, has been appointed to chair of its board of directors. CU Servnet shapes the design and execution of the mortgage loan servicing experience for credit unions. The CUSO has partnered with Cenlar, a mortgage loan subservicer since 2005. Stewart has more than 35 years of experience in mortgage banking. She joined BECU in January 2014. Prior to BECU, she held leadership positions in production support, fulfillment operations and strategic analysis and business development with depository institutions and independent mortgage bankers. In addition to her mortgage lending role at BECU, Stewart is the executive sponsor of the credit union's Veterans Employee Resource Group and is actively engaged in the credit union's equity and inclusion work. She is a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association D&I Advisory Committee and serves on the board of Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County.

Rural Alaska Internet

Nearly 12,000 rural Alaskans in 23 communities along the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers will receive high-speed internet for the first time, if the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) approves requests for tribal broadband grants. The Alaska FiberOptic Project, a collaboration between Calista Corporation, Doyon, Limited, Gana-A ‘Yoo Limited and Alaska Communications, would connect one of the most underserved regions in the United States with a fiber-optic cable that would be the foundation for expanding broadband to communities in the region. It would offer Gigabit service in communities that today cannot access virtual meetings, online classes, telehealth, or online jobs. The proposed project would create a fiber optic network that starts at Fort Yukon, ends in Napakiak and connects to Alaska Communications core network in Fairbanks. The Alaska FiberOptic Project would also deploy fiber-to-the-home in each of the 23 communities served on the route. Grant applications were submitted to the NTIA Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program Sept. 1. NTIA expects to award grants by the end of 2021. If awarded, the project would be complete in 2024.

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