Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fire officer degree student makes lieutenant

MyEdmondsNews reports that firefighter Kevin Gustafson has been promoted to lieutenant in the volunteer program at Snohomish County Fire District 1. He's been a volunteer firefighter since 1999.

Kevin is a student in the Fire Officer Degree program at Edmonds Community College. He's a 1995 graduate of Edmonds Woodway High School and now works at Frontier Communications.

Congratulations, Kevin!


Students publish exemplary essays in Yes! Magazine

YES! Magazine noted Edmonds Community College student Royce Baker and alumnus Nathan Christensen for their exemplary essays written in response to Edward Tick's article “Heal the Warrior, Heal the Country." Tick, author of War and the Soul is the director and senior psychotherapist of Soldier’s Heart: Veteran’s Safe Return Initiatives. He has worked with veterans for 30 years. He personally responded to the students' work. 

Royce wrote "Our Patriotic Duties as Citizens During Wartime" responding to the question, "Soldiers have a responsibility to defend their country. What do you think our responsibilities are as civilians, especially as we go about our lives at home?"

Nathan wrote "I've Changed" thinking about the question, "Do you agree that all Americans share responsibility for the war in Iraq? Even if you were against the war from the start, do you think you are responsible for helping returned soldiers heal? If not, who should take responsibility?"

Nathan now attends the University of Washington with plans to become a history teacher.

Royce is studying chemistry at Edmonds Community College.

They read War and the Soul and were encouraged to submit essays to Yes! Magazine as part of English instructor Sarah Zale's English Composition course.

Friday, January 21, 2011

2010 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: Becky Mackenstadt

The 2010 Distinguished Alumni of Edmonds Community College, carpenter John Littel and accountant Becky Mackenstadt, both identified their  career paths in high school, obtained education to advance in their  chosen field, made connections in their professions, found rewarding  lifelong work, and — best of all — they love their jobs. The  Distinguished Alumni will be honored by the Edmonds Community College  Foundation 6-8 p.m., Thurs., Feb. 3 in the Black Box Theatre, Edmonds  Community College, 20000 68th Ave. W, Lynnwood. To attend the ceremony,  call 425.640.1274 or email

2010 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: Becky Mackenstadt 

A counselor at her high school in Twisp suggested Becky Mackenstadt consider a career in accounting. It was a good suggestion.

“Accountants, we love our jobs — I find it fascinating and rewarding when things balance,” Mackenstadt said. “What I appreciate most is that I feel like I am in charge of my future. My schedule is not dictated. I can work the flexible schedule I need to, to raise a family. I value my work.”

However, enrolling in the accounting program at Edmonds Community College was a big step for Mackenstadt, the first in her family to go to college, and it wasn’t easy taking classes while working full-time. It took her more than two years to complete her accounting degree at Edmonds Community College and there were many nights of turning down friends’ invitations to go out.

“I got tired of saying I had to stay in and study,” she said. “But I am stubborn and I wasn’t going to give up. My parents were proud when I finished my degree and I was glad I was able to stick with it and get it done.”

Her instructors encouraged her to keep going in the profession.

“Their love of the field, their knowledge, and their passion made it sound like a great path,” she said.

She went on for a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Business Administration with a concentration in finance at Central Washington University-Lynnwood and graduated magna cum laude. Then she earned her Certified Public Accountant and Certified Management Accountant licenses.

Today Mackenstadt works in public accounting at Vine Dahlen PLLC in Lynnwood as a senior audit and accounting manager. She’s been with the firm for 13 years and expects to make partner soon. She does audits and accounting for nonprofit organizations, including the Edmonds Community College Foundation.

Her firm values and recruits CWU-Lynnwood graduates and Mackenstadt maintains her involvement in the professional associations she joined during her education.

“It was hard to be involved in college life because I was working, but I’m still connected to the people I met at Edmonds CC and CWU.”

She’s a member of the Institute of Management Accountants and the Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants, where she has served on the student relations committee. Mackenstadt volunteers as treasurer on the board of the United Way of Snohomish County and as treasurer for the board of Shoreline Covenant Church.

“Accounting is a great degree, a great profession. You couldn’t do what I am doing without the degree,” she said.


2010 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient: John Littel

The 2010 Distinguished Alumni of Edmonds Community College, carpenter John Littel and accountant Becky Mackenstadt, both identified their career paths in high school, obtained education to advance in their chosen field, made connections in their professions, found rewarding lifelong work, and — best of all — they love their jobs. The Distinguished Alumni will be honored by the Edmonds Community College Foundation 6-8 p.m., Thurs., Feb. 3 in the Black Box Theatre, Edmonds Community College, 20000 68th Ave. W, Lynnwood. To attend the ceremony, call 425.640.1274 or email

2010 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient John Littel

When John Littel drives around Seattle with his daughter they don’t get far before she asks, “Dad, is there anything in this town that you haven’t built?”

Projects he has worked on include Qwest Field, the Sea-Tac Airport expansion, Sound Transit Light Rail and a number of buildings downtown.

Out of high school, Littel knew he wanted to follow in the family tradition and become a carpenter. He began work at age 17 and now, at age 55, has plans to continue building into retirement.

“I love the work,” he said.

Littel began taking classes at Edmonds Community College in the mid-80s. He owned a small construction business at the time and was originally interested in a couple of energy management classes. Then he found the construction management program. While running his business, he took classes twice a week at night and completed all of the core construction management classes.

“The majority of small businesses fail not because people don’t know how to do the work, but because they don’t know how to run a business,” Littel said. “At Edmonds Community College, I learned bidding, estimating, scheduling — how to organize my work. It took me to another level. The mentoring I received led me to start bidding work in commercial projects and public works. I used the education to grow my business and evolve it.”

Later, he returned to the college to complete the two-year Associate of Technical Arts in Construction Management.

Today, Littel works as the political and legislative director for the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters representing 25,000 carpenters in five states. He was recognized by Governor Gregoire for his eight years of service on the Correctional Industries Board, which oversees inmate labor and work training programs in Washington state prisons. He served as the board chair from 2007-2010.

He currently serves as the board chair of the Seattle Housing Authority, which provides affordable housing assistance to more than 16,000 families in Seattle, and he is helping to lead plans for a $300 million, 10-year redevelopment of Yesler Terrace, a low-income housing project.

At Edmonds Community College, Littel serves on the advisory committee for the college’s Construction Management program and he helped the college start its pre-apprenticeship Construction Industry Training program.

“We’re recruiting the next generation. This is a great industry that gives you the potential to have a successful career as a craftsperson, a project engineer, a building inspector, or the owner of a construction company,” he said.

Now what about retirement? Littel has plans to keep building. He’ll turn his attention to furniture and guitars.

“Guitar-making — that’s my encore career,” he said. “I have a cabinet shop next to my house, and a nice retirement to look forward to. The college has been a touchstone for me.”

His advice to new students: “Work hard, stay focused, and get the degree. It will open a lot of doors.”

Our EdmondsSphere reaches to the White House

Paralegal instructor Theresa M. Pouley, and Chief Judge of the Tulalip Tribal Court, has been appointed by President Obama to the Indian Law and Order Commission. Pouley teaches Indian Law at Edmonds Community College.

Read the release from the White House, "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts".

We're honored to have Judge Pouley teaching at our college!

County's cakes made by Edmonds CC Baking students

Find more photos like this on Edmonds Community College

Edmonds Community College Baking students made the cakes for Snohomish County's 150th birthday celebration. Read the article, "Let the celebration begin" and "Snohomish County prepares to celebrate its sesquicentennial," in The Herald.

The Baking program provided one stacked showpiece cake made of classic white cake with caramel orange buttercream and enrobed in fondant which displayed a hand-crafted rendering of the event logo in royal icing.

In addition, they prepared three constellation cakes: two chocolate cakes with mascarpone mousse and finished in chocolate buttercream and a sunshine cake, yellow cake with blueberry Bavarian cream filling finished in vanilla buttercream.

"We intend to serve cake to the county!" said chef instructor in baking and pastry arts Betsy Buford as the students worked to bake the cakes for the event.

The students also crafted pastillage pieces, made of sugar-based dough, for decoration. These include hand-painted sugar salmon.

The college's one-year baking certificate started in 2008 as an addition to its long-standing Culinary Arts program. The baking certificate prepares students for entry-level work as bakers for hotels and restaurants as well as catering companies, independent bakeries, and the bake shops in major grocery stores. Students learn the art of baking and presenting breads, cookies, cakes, pies, and pastries. There are about 20 students in the baking program this winter and there are plans in the works to begin a two-year baking degree at Edmonds Community College this fall.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Jazz band jams at Tula's nightclub in Seattle

You can often hear the Edmonds Community College Jazz Band performing at Tula's Restaurant and Nightclub in Seattle. This is Ashley Webster on piano, Paul Stoot, and Kristen Mitre on bass — improv before the Jim Cutler Jazz Orchestra. John Sanders directs.

Gigsplace records and posts a number of the college jazz band's performances. Thank you!