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Chancellor’s Advisory Council

The Washington State University Spokane Advisory Council consists of members appointed by the chancellor of WSU Spokane and the president of the university. The council’s primary mission is to foster closer ties between WSU Spokane, its alumni, the community, the region, and the state. Council members participate in an advisory role and are not part of the formal governance of WSU. The Council meets quarterly.

Council members


Rich Hadley, Chair
Retired President/CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated

Rich HadleyRich Hadley is President Emeritus of Greater Spokane Incorporated (GSI), the region’s chamber of commerce and economic development council, where he served as President and CEO for 21 years.

Rich previously served 18 years as the chief executive officer of chambers in Minnesota, Montana and Colorado. Awards for his work include: National Chamber Executive of the Year, USAF Distinguished Public Service Award, AWB Bruce A. Briggs Award for Outstanding Commitment to Community Service, Whitworth University Distinguished Community Service Award, and Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame.

His background in the chamber field has led to several part-time projects related to military affairs, public policy and education/workforce development. Clients include the Association of Washington Business, ACCE Education Attainment Division and GSI.


Betsy Cowles
Chairman, Cowles Company

picture of Betsy CowlesBetsy Cowles is the chairman of Cowles Company, a fourth generation family-owned media, forest products, real estate, and insurance company headquartered in Spokane. She directly oversees the broadcasting, insurance, and real estate divisions of the company, which includes television stations in Washington and California; insurance clients in the Pacific Northwest and several mid-west states; and downtown Spokane’s River Park Square retail development and office buildings and other developments in Spokane Valley.

Cowles has served on a number of boards, including those of Greater Spokane Incorporated (past chair) and the Fox Theater (founding board member). She is a past chair of the Washington State University Board of Regents; serves on the William D. Ruckelshaus Center Advisory Board; and is a past trustee of George Washington University.

Other boards she has served on include those of the WSU Research Foundation, Spokane Legal Services, the Spokane Symphony (past chair), and Planned Parenthood of the Inland Northwest, as well as Mt. Spokane 2000.

Cowles currently is a member of the Board of Directors for the Laird Norton Company, Spokane Symphony Orchestra Endowment, and the Independent Colleges of Washington.

She received a bachelor of arts degree from Dartmouth College and a juris doctor degree from George Washington University.


Latisha Hill
Manager of HR Consulting & Analytics, Avista Corp.

Latisha HillOver the past decade, Latisha Hill has served in various roles as a liaison for Avista, managing corporate and community issues, participating in civic affairs and fostering economic development.

Hill has been an engaged leader serving on a diverse collection of community boards and committees such as the Washington State Transportation Commission, the Inland Empire American Planning Association, Spokane Regional Transportation Council, the Northeast Public Development Authority, Greater Spokane Incorporated, City of Spokane Community Development, the Spokane Club, League of Women Voters, the West Plains Chamber, Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce and others.

Hill currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Empire Health Foundation and Excelerate Success.

Hill received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Washington State University and her Master’s degree in Urban and & Regional Planning from Eastern Washington University.


Manuel Hochheimer
Assistant Vice President Corporate and External Relations, Numerica Credit Union

Manny has 15 years of financial Industry experience that includes roles in Branch Administration and Regional Management, Financial Advising, Legislative Relations, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Business and Community Development. He has a diverse background in operations, development, and management. Manny has been with Numerica since 2012.He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management with a Specialization in Business Administration from Colorado State University and is currently pursuing his M.B.A. at Whitworth University.

Manny currently serves on the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Multicultural Affairs and the Rotary 21 Board of Directors, as well as on the Washington State University – Spokane Chancellor’s Advisory Committee, and the Boards of United Way Emerging Leaders Society, West Central Community Center, Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) – Governmental Affairs Committee, Priority Spokane, Big Table, Epicurean Delight Steering Committee, North Wall Children’s Association, North Wall Schools Parent Advisory Board, and the Whitworth University Athletics Fund Board. Manny is married to Whitworth University Economics Professor, Dr. Vange Ocasio, and is a father of two young boys, Noah and Luca, ages 5 and 3.


Jim Kolva
Owner at Jim Kolva Associates

picture of Jim KolvaJim Kolva is the owner of Jim Kolva Associates, a management consulting firm in Spokane. He has been involved with downtown Spokane planning, historic preservation, and the arts for 35 years.

Kolva and his wife Pat Sullivan renovated an historic downtown Spokane warehouse, creating six residential lofts and two gallery spaces. They now live there and operate the Kolva Sullivan Gallery. Kolva and Sullivan are avid collectors and supporters of contemporary art.

Kolva has served on several local boards, including the Spokane Plan Commission, for which he served as president for four years. He is now chairman of the city Landmarks Commission. Besides serving on the WSU Spokane Advisory Committee, he is also a member of a committee for a new art museum on the Pullman campus. Kolva has also served on the boards of the Archie Bray Foundation, Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, and Fox Theater. He is a past board member of the Downtown Spokane Partnership.

Kolva earned his bachelor of arts degree from Washington State University before serving in the Air Force as a navigator. He served a combat tour in Southeast Asia and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal.


Todd Mielke
President and CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated

Todd MielkeTodd Mielke is currently the President and CEO of Greater Spokane Incorporated, the region’s chamber of commerce and economic development organization.

Mielke served for the past 11 years as a Spokane County Commissioner. He has an extensive background in public policy and advocacy, working four years as a staff member in the Washington State Senate and then serving as a legislator where he was the Majority Caucus Chair and named a national Legislator of the Year. While in the House, Todd took the lead on welfare reform, placing limits on the growth of government, sponsoring health care reform, and negotiating the largest tax reduction in Washington’s history.

He is also a former small business owner. Mielke had an excavation business for a number of years in the Spokane area, and more recently has had a government affairs consulting business. In that role, he assisted businesses, trade associations and individuals with state legislative and regulatory issues. He has also been responsible for securing hundreds of millions in state funding for a number of the projects you see in the Spokane area. Prior to opening his government’s affairs business, Todd was the Director of State Government Affairs in the Northwest for Johnson & Johnson.


Tom Reese
Spokane Branch Manager, URS Corporation

picture of Tom ReeseTom Reese is the Spokane branch manager for URS Corporation , which provides engineering, construction, and technical services to public agencies and private sector companies around the world.

Previously, he was director of business development for Lydig Construction, a large general contractor based in Spokane; principal and founder of The Reese Group, LLC, a land development and planning consultancy; associate principal at AHBL, a multi-disciplinary design, planning and engineering firm in Spokane, Seattle, and Tacoma; and project director for Black Rock Development, where he oversaw the 80-acre, $150M Kendall Yards mixed-use development project. He also served as economic development advisor in the Office of the Mayor and as urban designer for the City of Spokane Planning Department.

Reese currently serves on the Greater Spokane Incorporated Public Policy Council, Northeast Area Economic Development Council, Friends of the Falls Board, Downtown Rotary 21, Active4Youth Board, and the EWU Foundation Board Real Estate Committee. He previously served as president of Friends of the Falls and was on the March of Dimes Board, Downtown Business Improvement District Board, and Eastern Washington State Historical Society Board. He was also a member of the executive committee that led various city planning initiatives.

Reese has a bachelor of science in landscape architecture from Cal Poly and a master of arts in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University.


Susan Stacey
Chief Nursing Officer, Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center

susan-stacey-for-webSusan Stacey is the Chief Nursing Officer at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s hospital.  In this role she oversees patient care in all areas of the hospital including the emergency and trauma services, adult critical care, adult acute care, women’s services, psychiatry, and the Children’s Hospital.

Susan has worked for Providence for more than 30 years as a clinical bedside nurse, nurse manager, and most recently prior to her current job as CNO, was the Executive Director of the Children’s Hospital.  She currently sits on the board of directors for the March of Dimes, Partners with Families and Children, and the Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives.

Susan is a 1985 graduate of WSU with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing and has an MBA with a healthcare administration certification from the University of Phoenix.


Amber Waldref
Spokane City Council

Amber WaldrefAmber Waldref represents District 1 for the Spokane City Council. In that role, she has been a member of the Spokane Transit Authority Board, the chairs of the Board of Health, Public Works Committee and the Spokane Regional Transportation Council.

In 2003, Waldref began working for The Lands Council, a local nonprofit striving to protect forests, water, wildlife and people’s health in the Inland Northwest. She specifically focused her efforts on protecting the Spokane River and working to keep Spokane’s children safe from toxics in our environment.

Waldref is a graduate of Gonzaga Prep High School and Georgetown University. She is supported in everything she does by her chemistry teacher husband, Tom Flanagan, and their two daughters, Karolina and Nora.