Advisory Council

Whatcom Young Professionals Advisory Council 2022

Whatcom Young Professionals (Whatcom YP) is a program of the Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce and abides by the Chamber’s policies, code of regulations, articles of incorporation, and all other governing documents, as informed by the Chamber Liaison. The Whatcom YP program is managed by a volunteer Advisory Council composed of Whatcom YP members.

Alexandra (Allie) Damitio

she / her / hers

Operations & Communication

Brad Baron, P.E.

he / him / his

Operations & Communication

Spend a little time at Barron AC Electrical & Plumbing, and you’re bound to run into Brad.  As Chief Operating Officer, he takes part in and oversees the Sales, Operations, and Service divisions at Barron.  And he’s always got a joke to share.  With a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering from the University of Washington (go Dawgs!), he spent a number of years as a Professional Engineer before bringing his experience to the Barron Team.  Born and raised in Bellingham, he enjoys spending time outside with his family (wife and three sons) and friends—hiking, boating, skiing and camping.  Brad is a Volkswagen enthusiast and enjoys time behind the wheel of his 1979 Westfalia Camper.

Isaac Hurst

Education & Professional Development

I am an enthusiast for doing.  I’ve found that my brain likes variety and so I can’t seem to go longer than 5yrs at a company before growing restless. I began in graphic design, then moved to design engineering, and finally to architecture. All that prepared me to start my current business, Modern Ethic.   I design and build Scandinavian modern furniture and I’m having a great time.

I have more than my share of opinions and prefer drinking out of small cups.  I like pets with long hair and choose savory over sweet.

I’ve always enjoyed the community that Whatcom YP brings together and so it’s my pleasure to help on the council this year.  I attend all the events that I can, so hopefully I’ll see you at something very soon.

Jessica Welter-Kolbo

Community Stewardship

Hi, I’m Jessica! I have always had a strong calling to make deep impact and am happy to be able to do that through life coaching. I became a Certified Life Coach to help others overcome and accomplish in many faucets in their lives, but I also enjoy the part where I see my own growth and expansion.
In my personal time, you can find me painting, enjoying nature, indulging in some good tunes, cooking without recipes, and playing volleyball with friends. I also enjoy being a part of my community here in Whatcom County and am excited to become
more of a facilitator for connection within our county through my participation in Whatcom Young Professionals.

Justin Shank

Member Engagement & Events

I work with casinos, resorts, entertainment, and other enterprises to implement digital marketing and social media strategies. My aim is to support the marketing and executive teams through effective managed services and advertising solutions.

Shank Marketing has grown to include a team of experts working remotely from Washington, Nevada, and Montana with clients in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Arizona. We specialize in social media marketing, reputation & review management, online customer service, local SEO, website management, slot marketing strategies, influencer marketing initiatives, digital advertising programs, email marketing, and graphic design.

My career experience comes mostly from working in event management, hospitality, casino marketing, and as a publicist for movie studios. I started Shank Marketing to provide a more accessible suite of marketing services for tribal-owned enterprises, including casinos. At this point, our team can act as an outsourced marketing department for businesses large and small. 

When I’m not working, I enjoy traveling and spending time with my wife, Mackenzie. We have a pretty unique marriage story, so just ask and I’ll be sure to tell. My favorite ways to spend the day include avoiding technology as much as possible while hiking, camping, kayaking, fishing, and/or watching the Seattle Seahawks. I graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from Western Washington University in 2006 (yes, I’m an elder Whatcom Young Professional).

Luke Holtgeerts

he / him / his

Operations & Communication

Luke is the Director of Live Events at Veritas Media Productions and a co-founder of the Bellingham Youth Media Project . Luke’s background in film & media production began 11 years ago and has grown from homemade narrative shorts for just fun – to festival awards on the national & international level. Luke’s skillset may be filmmaking but his passion is in community growth and media education. Outside of serving on the council for the Whatcom Young Professionals, Luke serves on Washington State’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Media Arts Cadre, is on Bellingham School District’s CTE advisory committee, and consults with various high schools in the state to further develop their media programs. In his spare time, Luke finds personal validation in playing board games with friends and doing sudoku when he should probably be working in the yard.

Luke Holtgeerts | WYPs Advisory Council

Marissa Meyrick

she / her / hers

Operations & Communication

After graduating from Western Washington University (Go Vikings!), I was lucky enough to stay in Whatcom County. Even after ten years since I arrived, I’m still finding things the community here has to offer. I’ve been with WYPs for three years, and through the connections I’ve made in this group, I’ve found a job and career I love. 

I like to think of myself as an extroverted introvert. When I’m home, you can find me crocheting, sewing, or completing jigsaw puzzles, as well as having quality snuggle time with my fluffy cat while watching a show. When I’m out of the house I enjoy spending time with people and getting to know them, typically through trivia and game nights. 

I currently work as a Personal Banker with WaFd Bank. This is my first year serving on the Whatcom YP Advisory Council, and I look forward to meeting you at one of our events soon!

Mason Gray

Education & Professional Development

Bio coming soon!

Rhys Hansen

they / them / theirs

Community Stewardship

Rhys is an artist and social change entrepreneur working in food systems, land justice and community equity. Their career path has centered on cooperative enterprise, community organizing and catalyzing the power of business for good. Currently, they work at Sustainable Connections as the Food & Farming Program Manager and own Terra Cognita: a boutique graphic design, illustration, and conference production company, They joined Whatcom Young Professionals after moving to Point Roberts in 2018, and delights in meeting new people at every event. In addition to WYPs, Rhys serves on the boards of the Whatcom Food Network, Puget Sound Agrarian Commons, is an active member of Salmon Nation, Defiance Exchange, and has worked as a food and agricultural systems advocate throughout the Salish Sea since 2010. When not working, Rhys likes to travel, knit and weave, kayak and paddleboard on our beautiful local waterways.

Sam Beardslee

Member Engagement & Events

I am a marketing representative at Whatcom Land Title and joined Whatcom YP two years ago. Since then I has been motivated to involve others in the benefits an organization like this has to offer.

The excitement I have for connecting people is something I hope will inspire others and help them grow as professionals. Growing up in Whatcom county I still marvel at the beauty of it every day. Enjoy spending time with family, spoiling my dog, and trying all the outdoor activities this area has to offer.