OLIVIA BURKLAND, President - Barron Smith Law
Olivia is a UW graduate who went on to study law at Quinnipiac University, getting her concentration in tax law. She moved to Bellingham in 2011, and worked at Archer Halliday before opening The Burkland Law Office in 2014. When asked about why she loves downtown so much, Olivia replied "I love downtown Bellingham because it's a miniature version of a much bigger city. You have as equal a chance to bump into an artist or a lawyer in the space of ten feet." Outside of work, Olivia enjoys hanging out with her dog, hiking, and being treasurer for the Whatcom County Bar Association and Whatcom Women Lawyers in addition to DBP.
CASEY DIGGS, Vice President - Boundary Bay Brewery
Casey is the Operations Manager for downtown Bellingham staple, Boundary Bay Brewery, and has been working there for 10 years. Boundary Bay is known for their community outreach and impact, but Casey wanted to get involved more than he already was. So when a Partnership board member who he respects and admires approached him about joining, he immediately jumped at the opportunity. Prior to joining the board, Casey was already involved with the Partnership as a member of our events community, helping to make our major events bigger and better. His favorite part about downtown is its people. Breweries, restaurants, big businesses, mom and pop shops, police and firefighters, nonprofits--he loves people working together to make Bellingham better than it already is.
JENA CURRY, Treasurer - Daylight Properties
Jena moved to Bellingham in 1985, and shortly after began working at Bellingham National Bank, located at the corner of Holly and Cornwall. When she moved here, downtown Bellingham was the place to be, and you could feel the community presence everywhere you went. However, once Bellis Fair mall came, downtown saw a decline in business and people. This desire to return downtown to its title of being the top business, residential, and visitor destination is what caused Jena to join the board. She believes the Partnership, along with downtown merchants and residents, can work together to bring the community back to downtown, and grow downtown to be a top spot in the Pacific Northwest. Jena loves downtown's history, beauty, and diversity in its merchants, and has an insatiable passion to share downtown's greatness with others.
KATE ROBERTSON, Secretary - Opportunity Council
Kate Robertson is the Street Outreach Team Lead for the Homeless Outreach Team at the Opportunity Council's Whatcom Homeless Service Center, has been working with persons experiencing homelessness since 2002. Kate has been an influential leader and advocate in the community working with local politicians and community agencies to create successful and meaningful partnerships between the homeless and community agencies.
ALI ALSOS, Peoples Bank
Ali joined Peoples Bank as an Assistant Vice President and the Branch Manager of the downtown Bellingham office in June 2015. She has 13 years of banking and financial services experience, most recently managing multiple branches in the Bellingham area for Heritage Bank. While working in Fairhaven, Ali served on the Historic Fairhaven Association for two terms and chaired the Budget Committee. She brings with her an appreciation of Bellingham as she was born and raised here, as well as an extensive banking management background and years of community involvement and volunteerism. Outside of work, Ali and her husband Andy enjoy traveling and family time with their nephew Ayden and miniature pinscher Ani.
HEATHER BAKER, Pacific Continental Realty
Heather’s passion for the downtown began with LuLu…wonderful things, a family run business that called the downtown home for 12 years. In 2016, Heather renewed her passion for the downtown and joined Pacific Continental Realty as a property manager and commercial broker. She now manages several downtown buildings and is dedicated to help fill vacancies and to create a vibrant downtown everyone can enjoy. Heather has always been involved with nonprofits that serve the community, and this heart for service and her community is why she loves working with the Partnership since 2012. Her favorite part of downtown is the Depot Market and the vibrancy the farmers market brings to downtown. And her favorite spot to eat? Ciao Thyme!
JIM BJERKE, Pacific Continental Realty
Jim's been involved in the management of downtown properties for 33 years, and currently owns Pacific Continental Realty, a commercial real estate company located downtown in the Crown Plaza, of which he is one of the building owners. Jim loves what he does, and is proud that over the years he has located hundreds of tenants downtown and kept the downtown economy alive. He loves the raw diversity that makes downtown Bellingham so unique in terms of its people, businesses, and buildings. Downtown Bellingham is Bellingham's only urban village (direct quote). On the rare occasion that Jim is not working or volunteering, he enjoys spending time with his wife Nancy and building in his wood shop.
MICHELLE BOUMA, Mi Shoes & Heroine
Michelle grew up on stage…dancing, singing and acting. She has a deep love for the arts and an even deeper love for her community. She lives, works and plays downtown. Michelle opened Mi Shoes in 2005 and has successfully made it Bellingham’s favorite women’s shoe store. In 2015, Michelle opened up her second boutique, Heroine, a women’s clothing store. When she’s not working hard putting beautiful shoes on the feet of the women of Bellingham or gorgeous clothes on their shoulders, she can be found hiking, biking, running or practicing pilates and yoga. She has a daughter that is quickly turning into a beautiful, young woman and a husband that makes her the happiest woman in the world.
ANDREW KRZYSIEK, Zervas Group Architects
Andrew is passionate about good design, and how the Downtown Bellingham Partnership can be a leader in innovation when it comes to design in our downtown. He joined Zervas Group in 1999, and became a partner in 2010. Andrew’s worked on projects for Habitat for Humanity, Whatcom Children’s Museum, Church of the Assumption, and many others throughout the community. Outside of work and the Partnership, Andrew and his wife Angie stay busy running after their two children and enjoying our city.
SHERYL RUSSELL, Downtown Resident
Sheryl is a downtown resident and co-owner of a small business in Bellingham. She moved into the Morse Square Condominiums on Railroad Avenue in 2007. Sheryl reserved the opportunity to purchase her unit when the project was first announced because she wanted to participate in an urban lifestyle and at the same time, have a smaller environmental footprint. Downtown is her favorite “neighborhood” in the city. She enjoys being part of the diverse group who live, work, learn and play in the urban center. Sheryl is excited to be on the Board and who share a vision of a safe, vibrant and connected urban center. She looks forward to working with the Downtown Bellingham Partnership Board to help make downtown Bellingham the best it can be.
SHULTZIE WILLOWS, Lydia Place
Shultzie is the Development and Outreach Director at Lydia Place, Art Curator at Honey Salon and Gallery, Power Yoga Instructor, mom to a 1 and ½ year old little lady named Sloan and a Bellingham community collective advocate. Her background includes small business ownership as the Owner/Manager of The Paperdoll Boutique, a founding member of Project BHAM (a retail and event planning collective) and a career in children’s television where she held roles in research, development and outreach with PBS and RCN Entertainment. She loves all things downtown and is thrilled to be on the Downtown Bellingham Partnership Board.
DARBY COWLES, Ex-Officio | City of Bellingham
Darby is passionate about the importance of downtown Bellingham to the overall health of the community, and loves the authenticity and independent spirit of the neighborhood. She received her degree in Environmental Planning and Policy from Western Washington University, and has worked in a range of capacities for the City of Bellingham since 2003. She was the lead on the City's Downtown Plan, and loves working with other downtown advocates to implement the community's goals.