Please return application to: Chamber of Commerce, 205 West Main Street, Washington, Iowa 52353 or, email: [email protected]

by JUNE 1ST, 2024


Class selection is first-come, with priority given to Chamber members.


Tuition is $350 for Chamber Members. We encourage a limit of one class member per business. Non-chamber members will be accepted only if space allows for an additional $50.00. Chamber Bucks will be awarded at the end of the year to those with perfect attendance.

A Leader Is One Who:

Knows the Way, Goes the Way, and Shows the Way

A real ‘eye-opener,’ Leadership Washington gives its participants a full-spectrum vision of the community. A new perspective on its people, its needs, and most importantly, its opportunities.

This program helps to build, strengthen and educate current and future leaders in our hometown. Leadership Washington is a premier community awareness program promoting leadership within Washington. We educate, inform, and inspire participants to develop their inherent qualities to propel Washington into greater prosperity. The ultimate goal is to instill passion in our emerging leaders while fostering a higher level of civic engagement.

Since its inception in 1989, Leadership Washington has graduated hundreds of men and women from both the private and public sectors. This diverse group of alumni represents every industry in the community and virtually all walks of life. Leadership Washington gives its participants a wide range of exposure and insights into the many segments of society that make Washington a great place to live. Through this new awareness, the program equips leaders to better appreciate and understand the depth and breadth of the community. What’s more, those selected for the program build a ‘network’ with fellow participants that reaches across geographic, professional, and economic lines. This network is personally enriching far beyond the program year.

What’s the Commitment?

Leadership Washington hosts an integrated series of nine monthly sessions in different regions of the community. The program begins in September and runs through May. Classes are held on the second Wednesday of the month from approximately 8am – 5pm and are subject to change.

Topics cover the various levels of local government, businesses, agriculture, industries and more in our community. The tentative calendar can be found below. As you consider applying to the program, please review the session dates for the year. Leadership Washington places the highest priority on full participation. It is important that all applicants make the necessary adjustments to accommodate the program schedule in order to attend the entire day. Please review personal and professional calendars.

Leadership Washingon Class of 2023-2024

Get the inside look at a nine-session program designed to educate individuals all there is to know about Washington:

Economic Development & Finance



Business & Industry

City & County Government


County History

Leadership Washington Class of 2023-2024

Michael Bermel
Hi, my name is Michael Bermel. I will be a senior at Washington High School in the fall of 2023. I have spent my life growing up here in Washington in a good-sized family. I spend a lot of my time at my job at CBI Bank & Trust with my great coworkers. Some places you could almost always catch me are the farmer’s market and other community events to be able to see friends and just be outdoors.
Mia Brdecka
HI! My name is Mia Brdecka. I graduated from the University of Iowa in May 2022 with degrees in Criminology, Law, and Justice and Sociology with a focus in Family and Health Services and a minor in Social Work. I worked at the University of Iowa Police Department as a Student Security Manager and was an intern for the Community Outreach Officer for a semester. I was hired by the Washington Police Department in July 2022 and completed the 16-week Iowa Law Enforcement Academy certification in December 2022. I am unfamiliar with Washington County and am excited to learn more about it!
Emma Chenoweth will be a senior at WHS this fall. She is involved in Cheerleading, 4-H, BPA and is heavily involved in Faith Baptist youth ministry. Her newest recognition is becoming a Kirkwood ambassador, she is very proud of this role. Emma is the daughter of Mark II and Stacey Chenoweth and older sister to Mark III and Daniel. In her spare time, she enjoys being with friends and spending time with family. Following HS, Emma plans to attend Kirkwood and DMAAS in mortuary science. She has a deep passion for helping others.
Sydney Clark
My name is Sydney Clark. I work at Advance Employment Services which is part of WCDC, Inc. I have worked in many different departments of the company over the last few years including Supported Community Living, Job Development, Job Coaching, Adult Day Habilitation, and currently I mostly work as an Administrative Assistant. In my free time, I enjoy baking, traveling, and spending time with my family.
Hello! My name is Ellysia Cottrell. I am the Director of Nursing at the United Presbyterian Home here in Washington. I have been a nurse for 12 years and have been in the long-term care field for the last 5 years. I currently live in Keota with my family. I am originally from Grundy Center, IA. I keep busy outside of work attending sports and doing fun activities with my kids. I would love to attend Leadership Washington so I can be more familiar with the wonderful community I serve.
Lenora Dunbar
Lenora Dunbar is a graduate of WHS and is attending Kirkwood College. Following graduation from Kirkwood, she will be attending DMACC Mortuary College. She is the daughter of Greg and Verica Dunbar and siter to Brianna Iske, Russell Dunbar and Elliot Dunbar. She enjoys taking walks in the park with her dogs Tylee and Smoke and spending time with friends.
My name is Katherine Flannery, the daughter of Dr. Ryan and Diana Flannery. I am a junior at Washington High School and some of my activities include swimming for Iowa City West and the Washington Water Sharks, band, drama/speech, and soccer! I am very excited to learn more about the city and county I was born and raised in.
Alison Greiner
My name is Alison Greiner and I am the Youth and Family Services Librarian at the Washington Public Library. I have taught K-6 General Music in the public school system in the 21 years prior. At the library I am able to use my teaching and musical skills along with knowledge of early literacy and young children to effectively connect parents and children with resources at the library. I grew up in Washington and received my Music Ed from U of I. In my free time I enjoy traveling, being outdoors, and music.
Jessica Janecek
My name is Jessica Janecek. I am the Marketing Director for KCTC. I am a Washington grad and have lived in Washington most all of my life. My husband and I live in rural Washington County where we raise our kids and run our trucking business. We like to spend as much time as we can riding four wheelers and attending the endless amount of activities our kids are involved in. We love this county and we are blessed to be a part of such a great community.
Hello! My name is Megan Jorgensen, Naturalist with Washington County Conservation. My passion for the outdoors led me to becoming a naturalist. I have made it my life’s mission to help children in Washington County discover their “wild side,” or niche in nature. It is my belief that there is something for everyone in nature. When I am not working, I enjoy hiking, hunting, fishing, camping (anything outside really) and spending time with my family and friends, and my sweet dog Hazel. I am also one of the head coaches of the Golden Hawk Archery Team, and the Golden Hawk Trapshooting Team.
Hello, my name is Mary Sue Marek and I am the Business Manager for St. James Church & School. I have been with St. James since July of 2014, initially as the Youth Director then transitioning to the role of Business Manager in the spring of 2016. I wear many hats here at St. James from accounts receivables/payables to payroll to human resources to Confirmation Coordinator, as well as, being a part of the school administrative team and occasional substitute teacher! I am originally from Iowa City and moved with my husband to our family farm in 2002. I really thought my life would slow down as an empty nester, but it seems we are busier than ever with travel and spending time with friends and family!
Ivan Rangel
My name is Jaime Roberts and my husband and I live in Wayland. I have lived in the Washington area most of my life, growing up on a farm south of Brighton. I have worked for Hills Bank for seven years, starting my career in Iowa City and then transferring to our Washington branch a few years later. I have a degree in secondary education and I have a passion for teaching and learning. I also have a passion for helping animals and we have two dogs and four cats. All our babies were once rescues that came to us because they were in a bad situation, and they decided they didn’t want to leave. In our spare time, my husband and I enjoy watching movies as well as spending time with our families.
My name is Anastasia. I was born in Russia and immigrated to the US when I was around 13 years old. I’ve been a software developer for 17 years, developing web applications and, recently, mobile apps. After working for other companies, I went into business on my own in 2019 with Terrestrial Origin LLC. My goal is to help small businesses and individuals solve problems and improve their processes using software.
My name is Taylor Starr. I was born in Washington, spent my elementary years in Keota and later moved to West Chester. I am a graduate of Mid-Prairie High School. I have two daughters, Addison and Skylar who keep my husband, Jesse, and I on our toes. During my free time you can find me on the lake kayaking, camping, riding ATV’s and spending time with family and friends. I have been with Washington State Bank for 4 years in Teller Services and loving it. I began my career with WSB at the drive thru location and have since been promoted to the main bank where I have many more responsibilities. I enjoy helping with community events, getting to know more people in our community as well as working with our other branches.
My name is Brady Stouffer. I am the Supply Chain Supervisor at Bazooka Farmstar where I oversee the purchasing and warehouse departments. In Purchasing we are responsible for bringing products in on time and at the best prices. In the Warehouse department we are responsible for receiving and shipping out our goods accurately and on time. We are also responsible for the movement of goods throughout our buildings. I have a Business degree with an emphasis in Supply Chain Management from The University of Northern Iowa.
My name is Jeff Talbot and I am a project advisor with Greiner Buildings. I grew up in Washington and moved back in 2013. I joined Greiner Buildings in 2015. I enjoy golfing and spending time with my family. My wife, MacKenzie and I have two children, Eva and Theo.
Liz Torres-Potter is a resident of Washington. She works as election administrator for the Washington County Auditor’s Office, overseeing and coordinating Washington County's elections and voter registration activities and operations. Ensuring voting is fair, easy, efficient, secure, and accessible for all eligible county voters. She graduated from Kirkwood Community College with a dual degree in Associates of Applied Science Paralegal Studies and Associate of Arts. Liz enjoys time with her family. Her love of family and family traditions is very important. Following in the tradition that her parents instilled, “The importance to give back to your community and to provide help to those who are less fortunate.”, she has helped to raise funds for high school scholarships and local community events.
Vani Tschantz serves as the Executive Director for Halcyon House in Washington IA. She has served in the long-term care profession since 2013 in various communities across the country. Vani has served on the Board for Iowa Health Care Association and participated in the National Emerging Leadership Summit in Washington D.C. She has a passion for long term care and helping seniors live their best lives. A native of Madison, WI she graduated from the University Of Wisconsin Eau-Claire with a bachelor’s in Health Care Administration. Currently, Vani resides in Washington IA with her husband and 3 kids. In her free time Vani also teaches Dance at Stairway to the Stars and enjoys being outdoors with her family.
My name is Matt Wooldrik. I started working for Northwestern Mutual in Aug of 2022. Before joining Sid Manfull’s office in Washington, I worked at US Bank as a Commercial Business Banker for 8 years. I really enjoy the financial industry which gives me the ability to help people achieve their goals. I’m excited to get to know and help people in the community. I love any Hawkeye sports, and love to be outside. I live in North Liberty, IA with my wife Jenny Wooldrik and 2-year-old son Cal Wooldrik. I graduated from the University of Iowa in 2007 with BBS in Finance and Management. I also played baseball at Iowa from 2002-2007.
My name is Jason Hamilton. I currently own Homes by Hamilton, a property investment company. I also own HBH Group, a residential remodeling company. I’ve been in the building trades for 20+ years. My years of experience brings quality in our products and a wide range of professional skills to our clients. I aspire to continue to grow and service our community and surrounding communities. I enjoy giving back to the community however we can. I am originally from Phoenix, AZ and came to be a Washington resident in 2010. I am a committed Dad and Grandpa. My family and I enjoy outdoor activities, vacationing, and spending time together making memories.
Jessica Yoder is a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) and longtime member of the Iowa City Area Association of Realtors (ICAAR) and the Cedar Rapids Area Association of Realtors (CRAAR). She specializes in real estate properties in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty and surrounding Eastern Iowa areas. She is a native of the Kalona/Wellman area, a graduate of Mid-Prairie Community School District and a graduate of Kirkwood Community College with an Associate of Arts degree in Business Administration. She has worked in the real estate industry since 1997 and is a licensed Realtor in the State of Iowa. She is very involved in the Wellman and Kalona community and enjoys participating in the various events that are sponsored by the Wellman Chamber of Commerce and the YMCA Parkside Activity Center. Selling real estate and keeping up with her kids and their activities keeps this professional mom very busy.
Hello class of 2023-24! I am Brenda Sterba, & proud to be from Washington, IA. I am excited to be part of this group and look forward to all the amazing experiences to come! I was born in Texas, & I moved to Iowa in 1998 and settled in Washington in 2000. For the last five years, I have primarily been a stay-at-home mom. Previously, I have worked for over 10+ years in the financial industry. I also have experience in real estate, so I was excited for the opportunity to join Elliott Realty group, in January. My passions include spending time with my husband, and our four sons, working out at the YMCA, I love event planning, and interior design work!
My name is Micah and I am currently going through my senior year of high school. I am a part of the Cross-country and Track Varsity teams, I am the Vice President of NHS, and I am the Drumline Leader for Marching Band and Concert Band at WHS. Outside of school I am a part of the Bomb Squad charity, I work in the Dairy Dept. at Fareway, I play Piano and do sound for my church’s worship service, and I am a worship leader for youth group. In the future I plan on running competitively in college and becoming either a Physical Therapist or Mental Therapist.
Julie Johnson
Hello, my name is Julie Johnson. I was born and raised just West of Brighton, went to Brighton Elementary and graduated from Washington High School. I went on to Northwest Missouri State University and graduated with my BA in Business Administration from Iowa Wesleyan College. I worked in the Washington County Clerks office for 37 years before retiring in October 2021. I served on numerous Judicial Branch committees and spent 4+ years as President of the Iowa Clerk’s Association. I’m a graduate of the Iowa Leadership Academy which brings the three branches of government together to gain a better understanding and idea sharing between the three branches. I keep busy during my retirement helping with the grandchildren, taking care of our small cattle herd, gardening, reading, and biking! Looking forward to Leadership Washington to learn more about our great community!
Kalen McCain
My name is Kalen McCain, I’ve been the reporter at the Washington Evening Journal since summer of 2021. I was born and raised in Iowa City and continued to grow up there until graduating from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in May of 2021, double majoring in political science and journalism. When I’m not getting paid to bother people, I’m the head debate coach for Liberty High School, I run a D&D game, and I’m an avid political news junky.
Sheila Vasquez is 24 years old, born at Washington County Hospital & Clinics, August 21st, 1998. Sheila’s parents are Daniel & Dawn Vasquez, she has two older sisters and a younger brother. Many would describe Sheila as stand-offish and shy until you get to know her. A very funny and outgoing person is how I would best describe Sheila. She enjoys being able to brighten someone’s day, making people laugh, and showing appreciation. In her free time Sheila enjoys volunteering for WCHC, spending time with friends and family, reading, DIY projects, and exploring new hobbies. At the age of 16 she started her first job at the Washington County Hospital & Clinics as a part-time dietary aid/call person. After graduating from Washington High School, Sheila became the full-time call person for day shifts and was able to be trained in a few other positions to be a floater, if needed. 8 years later, Sheila is the Cafeteria Coordinator at WCHC. In the last year, Sheila has completed an Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professional (ANFP) approved Certified Dietary Manager Program with the University of North Dakota. This year, Sheila plans to take her credential exam to be Sheila Vasquez CDM, CFPP. At the age of 16 she started her first job at the Washington County Hospital & Clinics as a part-time dietary aid/call person. Graduate of Class 2017 from Washington County Highschool, Sheila finished school, became the full-time call person for day shift and was able to be trained on a few other positions to be a floater if needed. Today Sheila is Cafeteria Coordinator at WCHC 8 years later. In the last year Sheila has completed an Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professional (ANFP) approved Certified Dietary Manager Program with the University of North Dakota. This year Sheila plans to take her credential exam to be Sheila Vasquez CDM, CFPP.

*This schedule is tentative. Subject to change if necessary.

Sept. 11

Orientation and City History Day | 9am-5pm

This will be your opportunity to learn about the upcoming class sessions and meet your class members. Enjoy lunch with the class, and take off for a tour around the city to learn about the history of Washington.

Oct. 9

Economic Development and Finance Day | 8am-5pm

Tour the Washington Municipal Airport and the community, talk with WEDG/Chamber/Main Street, and learn about the local financial system.

Nov. 13

Education Day

Visit local education & support facilities and discuss today’s education issues with the administration and staff.

Dec. 11

Health & Fitness Day | 8am-5pm

Explore the Washington County Hospital & Clinics and get a first hand look at Washington’s Ambulance Service, new Community YMCA, and Washington’s parks and recreational facilities.

Jan. 8

Business & Industry Day  | 8am-5pm

Learn about Washington’s businesses and industries including a tour of a Washington manufacturing business.

Feb. 12

City and County Government Day | 8am-5pm

Experience the ins and outs of Washington’s City & County Governance. You will get an insider look at the County Jail, the new Communications Center, Police Station, County Courthouse, City Hall and Fire Department.

March 12

Agriculture Day | 8am-5pm

Tour area farming operations and learn about the impact of agriculture on our community.

April 9

County History Day | 8am-5pm

Traditionally, one of the highlights of the year. You will spend the day with Mike Zahs touring Washington County. You will visit old towns, Indian burial mounds and have an Amish meal.

May 14


You will receive your class photo, certificate of completion and hear from a distinguished speaker over celebratory hors d’oeuvres and drinks; time & location TBA.

What is Leadership Washington?
Leadership Washington is an intensive nine-session program designed to educate civic-minded individuals about current issues and concerns which face the Washington area. Each of the nine sessions takes on a different theme to create a diverse area of knowledge about what goes on in Washington County including Economic Development, History, Social Services, Education, Government, Health and Fitness and Agriculture. Meetings are held once a month on the second Wednesday, typically from 8am – 5pm, in various areas in the community.
How long has Leadership Washington been in existence?
Leadership Washington started in 1989 with the 1989-1990 class.
How are the classes selected?
Leadership Washington classes are selected from nominees who submit applications to the program. Nominees can be by referral or self-nomination and must be residents of Washington County or work in Washington County.
How large are the Leadership Washington Classes?
Each year, not more than a total of 25 men and women are selected to participate in Leadership Washington classes. The intimate class size allows for an optimal learning experience and develops lasting friendships and businesses associations.
If I receive a nomination letter, does that mean I have been selected to participate?
Unfortunately, no. Your nominating letter is a great first step and one that you should be proud to receive. The next step is filling out and sending in the application. Only when this is accomplished will a candidate be considered for the next class.
When is the Leadership Washington class selected?
In August of each year, class members are notified of their acceptance into the program and asked to make a commitment to participate.
What if I miss a class?
Attendance is critical to the success of the Leadership Washington experience. Class members who miss any part of a class may be asked to attend a session in the following year in order to complete the necessary requirements for the program. All applicants must understand that attendance is very high priority.


Blake Arnold – Hertz Farm Management

Paula Brinning – UP Home

Jason Chalupa – City of Washington

Cyndi Christenson – WCDC

Michael Collins – Engineered Building Design

Erika Custer – Washington State Bank

Brendan DeLong – City of Washington/DeLong Construction

Renee Freese –

Drew Hoark – Washington High School Student

Brett Johnson – Washington Co. Conservation

Deanna McCusker – City of Washington

Toni Miller – KCTC

Bryan Overy – Hills Bank & Trust

Nicholas Pacha – City of Washington

Marc Pennington – Northwestern Mutual

Jon Rees – Faith Baptist Church

Stacey Reese – Greiner Buildings

Cary Ann Siegfried – Washington Public Library

Brittany Slaubaugh – Kirkwood Community College

Mikayla Slechta – Washington Chamber of Commerce

Joe Sterba – Bazooka Farmstar

Regan Stouder – Washington High School Student

Sarah Todd – LattaHarris, LLP

Emily Tokheim – Washington Co. Public Health

Janeen Wolf –

John Woodward – Washington County Hospital & Clinics

Margaret Zieglowsky – Chamber Volunteer


Anetia Woodsmall-Advanced Employment Services

Brooke McMurl-Atlas Molded Products

Phil Minino- Bazooka Farmstar

Lindsay Crawford-CBI Bank and Trust

Rebecca Patterson-Chamber of Commerce

Benjamin Altenhofen- Washington Police Department

Abi Flores-Washington State Bank

Andy Miller-ISU Extension

Brandi Hemsley-JET Physical Therapy

Brent Kromrie-KCTC

Ryan Ronan-Kirkwood Regional Center

Alex Mincer-Mincer Ford

Mary Audia-WEDG

Clay Whisler-Whistler Studios

Lucas Kroll-WHS Student

Grace Voss-WHS Student

Dylan Smith-Hills Bank

Blake Cherry-Engineered Building Design

Gary Murphy-Chamber of Commerce

Tim Hill – United Presbyterian Home

Stefanie Haworth-United Presbyterian Home

AnnaMarie Ward-Paneless Window Cleaning

Grant Sobaski-WHS Student

Shannon Hills Copeman-Ainsworth 4 Corners


Adam Richards

Amy Kleese

Brittany Redlinger

Brynn Beenblossom

Caitlin Yamada

Daryl Russ

Dawn Dickey

Diane Rinner

Heather Wiles

Jennifer Wharton

Jeremy Gugel

Jordan Hesseltine

Lance Soboski

Larry Northway

Liz VanDyk

Meg Nagel

Mekenzie Edwards

Melissa Goodman

Noah Postin

Patty Elliott

Shamus Altenhofen

Shauna Orr

Tammy Stewart

Tammy Valentine

Tarah Bean

Tim Anding


Alyx Dietz: Federation Bank
Angela Goodwin: YMCA of Washington
Angela Langstraat: Hills Bank
Anna Nacos: WCHC
Bill Monroe: Washington Chamber of Commerce
Brock Sobaski: WCHS
Brooke Hanson: Washington State Bank
Caleb Miller: Community 1st Credit Union

David Collins: WEDG
Erin Kaye: United Presbyterian Church
Heather Hora: Self-Employed
Jamie Ferski: EBD
Jim Lester: City of Washington Police Department
Jonathon Ward: Paneless Window Cleaning
Jordan Hill: US Bank
Kara Rodgers: Washington State Bank
Lino Villa: EBD

Olivia Pacha: Knee Deep Solutions
Patty Koller: Washington County Riverboat Foundation
Renee Pfeifer: WCDC, Inc.
Rory White: KCTC
Samantha Meyer: WCHC
Tania Villa: State Farm-Scott Lujan
Teresa Long: Wasihngton County Treasurer
Tyler Cain: iTech
Willie Stone: Washington CSD


Bryna Walker

Cheryl Richardson

Chloe Barnes

Deb Wagler

Devon Wendler Alvord

Erin Drahota

Evan Horak

Elaine Moore

Gretchen Teske

Jared Long

Jennifer Moore

Jenny Morgan

Jolene Colthurst

Julie See

Julie Stout

Kelly Grout

Leah Marek

Marissa Reisen

Mary Ann White

Maureen Howard

Megan Hangartner

Nan Bates

Ron See

Rachael Gillam

Woody Harden


Alisha Davis

Alycia Horras

Amber Day

Andy Greiner

Anthony Lauber

Beth Dillon

Brian Roder

Casey Peck

Connor Jarrard

David Hoffman

Hannah Petterson

Isabel Bailey

Jeff Garrett

Justin Gesling

Kara Williams

Karla Friesen

Kayla Nelson

Liz McLaughlin

Melanie Rothe

Nick Behlke

Patricia Christy

Rhonda Reed

Rob Gavin

Rob Redlinger

Sean Cortum

Teri Altenhofen


Dr Monie Hayes

John W. Green

David Klinzman

Jaime Carpenter

Mickey Jones

Whitney Paul

Kim Ecklor

Jake Thomsen

Kurt Sorensen

Erik Murhpy

Jessie Buchholz

Adam McLaughlin

Amy Schneider

Seth Adam

Linda Krotz

Amber Trettin

Angie Wellington

Patrick Gavin

Bob Redlinger

John Redlinger

Debbie Farrow

Genie Davis

Ben Rothe

Ali Jay