WhatcomTalk.com is currently seeking team members who live, work and play in Whatcom County. We are looking for smart, motivated individuals who love to share positive stories about the Whatcom County communities. To apply to be a freelance writer, send your resume along with a 200-word writing sample about why you love your community to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stacee Sledge, Community Manager
Stacee began her career at Better Homes & Gardens magazine in her hometown of Des Moines, Iowa before finishing a master’s degree in journalism at Drake University and relocating to Bellingham in 1996. She knew Bellingham was the place she’d always call home on the day she arrived and spotted stunning Bellingham Bay on one side and the spectacular views of Mount Baker on the other. She’s been an active Bellingham freelance writer since 2000, writing restaurant reviews and other features for the Bellingham Herald, as well as food, home design and lifestyle articles for Whatcom Magazine. Stacee and her husband love raising their two young children where they can enjoy all the spoils of Whatcom County.
Kevin Coleman, Community Relations & Business Development Manager
Kevin is a think outside of the box type of person and a firm believer in building a strong community with positive people. This is the main reason Kevin came aboard WhatcomTalk. With a background in journalism and design, Kevin loves collaborating with clients and creating a plan for success. “WhatcomTalk allows me the ability to really get the positive word out and share the great things that happen in our community. In a world of so much stress and negativity, it’s a nice change to see people succeed by your help,” he says. Kevin and his husband live in Bellingham with their two boys and are actively involved in community events and volunteering.
Amy Rowley, Publisher
Born and raised in western Washington, Amy Rowley earned her bachelors degree from the University of Washington before heading east to earn a Masters in Business Administration. After a career in human resources, she has found a niche in operations of small businesses and a sincere love of non-profit management. She has written numerous articles, newsletters and fundraising brochures and translates these content development skills to WhatcomTalk and NorthAmericaTalk. Beyond volunteering as a board member for three local, non-profit organizations, you will find Amy shuttling her two young daughters, sewing a quick project, or paddle boarding.
Dan Jones, Founder, Research and Development
Dan has been running his own businesses in the technology realm for the last 13 years. He currently has around 50 team members working between his six organizations. After receiving his Bachelor of Science in Engineering degree from Western Washington University and Master of Science degree from City University, he focused on building products that create long-term impacts in the marketplace. When not working long hours as an entrepreneur, Dan enjoys skiing, wind surfing, and spending time with his wife and twins in Olympia.
Martin McElliott, VP of Sales
Martin married his high school sweetheart and is the father to two daughters. Martin credits his experience in the grocery business for developing his people skills. A realtor since 1997, Martin now enjoys being part of a fantastic team creating a positive new business.
Stephen Backholm, VP of Technology
Stephen is passionate about using technology to help businesses succeed. He has 12+ years experience architecting and managing large, enterprise systems, and has held a variety of senior technology leadership positions. He enjoys spending time cooking, drinking well made wines, and traversing the mountains and valleys of North America. Stephen is happily married to a beautiful girl named Paige and together they have four amazing children. He holds a BS in Computer Science from Western Washington University. Stephen has cried three times in his life: at the birth of his first child, when Spain won the World Cup in 2010, and during the final scene of Rudy.
Andrea Culletto, Community Editor
As a freelance journalist, Andrea Culletto’s work has appeared in Mary Jane’s Farm magazine, Mamalode magazine, Black Hills Bride magazine, The La Crosse Tribune, Exceptional Homes, Driftless Notes, Klutch Chronicle, La Crosse Magazine, The Chronicle and Coulee Region Women Magazine. She is currently a Community Editor at WhatcomTalk.com. Along with her husband, Tony, Andrea is raising three children and their giant St. Bernard. In her free time Andrea enjoys traveling, exploring other cultures, hiking, reading, writing, creating art and spending time with her family.
Taylor was born in San Diego, California, and spent her childhood traveling around the world, living in Germany, Japan, and Switzerland before moving to Bellingham in 2013 to be close to the mountains (and the ocean!). She thoroughly enjoys a variety of activities: writing, cooking, baking, gardening, bird watching, mountain biking, snowboarding, hiking, camping, and bouldering. If you want to drink tea and knit, make some bread, or go on a hike, Taylor’s excited to join. Over the last few years, Taylor has built a love of this county and community, and loves to tell people about the wonderful things happening here. She likes to eat local food, learn about local wildlife, explore, adventure, and write about it all.
Marla Bronstein has lived in Bellingham for more than 20 years and has partnered with numerous local performing arts organizations in many capacities. Marla maintains two blogs: If Only I Were In Charge and her video blog GimmeAMinute. Marla is the published author of A Whole New Normal and does occasional event planning and project management. Marla currently sits on the National Board of the Acoustic Neuroma Association, a patient-focused, member organization that supports families of and those diagnosed with an Acoustic Neuroma. She is also Board President of S.O.A.P.Box Players, Inc. an award-winning non-profit organization that uses the arts as an educational tool. In her very little spare time, Marla can be seen writing in her “coffice” (any Woods Coffee shop in and around Bellingham), networking and building community.
As a Western Washington University graduate with a degree in Business and Sustainability, Kali is hyped to meet so many gung-ho individuals through writing and is happy to share inspiration throughout such an environmental and socially aware community. Constantly in awe of Whatcom County, she has a hard time balancing her love of travel with her desire to continue to learn from such a wonderful place. Kali enjoys adding to her collection of colored corduroys, a good pun, and can most often be found either grocery shopping or running in the Chuckanuts.
A Maryland native, Kenneth moved to Bellingham in 2012 to pursue music, writing and his passion for the outdoors. In 2016, he graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in news/editorial journalism from Western Washington University. Kenneth enjoys any and all things Vonnegut, Hemingway and Camus.
Originally from California with a degree in English from the University of California, Riverside, Jennifer made Bellingham her home in 2011 when she decided it was time to come to the place she had grown to love as a child. With 20 years experience in marketing and creating, Jennifer recently decided to venture out and become a freelance writer and content marketer for the business community. When she’s not creating articles of authenticity through real life stories for her clients, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her daughters and two dogs hiking and exploring new places to dine. Jennifer is dedicated to “keeping it local” and loves the contacts and friends she’s been fortunate to create during her time in Bellingham and the Pacific Northwest.
As a child, Theresa frequently visited the Pacific Northwest where she developed fond memories of playing in the snow in July at Mount Baker, fishing for trout, and running into Canada at Peach Arch State Park. She moved to Washington shortly after graduating from Humboldt State University as an art major. When it comes to life, she loves making things, going on adventures with her camera and listening to people’s stories.
Novelist, journalist, and astrologer-coach Patricia Herlevi offers a unique perspective to her profile articles. Trained as an arts and lifestyle journalist, she enjoys meeting movers, shakers, and art-makers in the unique community of Bellingham. She is especially interested in green construction and design.
Sara made her way to the Pacific Northwest via California. Shortly after her arrival she co-founded Bellingham’s only historical walking tour company and downtown gift and souvenir shop. Sara spends her “free” time editing books for local authors, helping women fulfill their dreams of business ownership, and devising delicious cocktails through her blog, saragalactica.com. When she isn’t busy being an ambitious entrepreneur, she loves to spend time sipping coffee with her family, laughing with friends, and walking her dogs Dale Cooper and Harry Truman.
Janine Johnson was born and raised in rural upstate NY, near the Quebec border, on a Christmas tree farm. She moved to southern California to finish college and pursue a career in TV production. After 10 years as a cameraperson and producer for television shows and commercials, Janine moved to rural western Washington, the childhood home of her husband. She now lives on a quiet hillside taking in the stunning views with her husband and three daughters.
Daniel was born in Oregon and raised in Whactom County. After living in Tennessee for a bit, he, his wife and two daughters moved back home to Bellingham. He’s a WWU alumni, Seahawks fanatic and a Mariners fan even though it hurts. In his free time he enjoys spending time with family, playing baseball and reading or writing words. He has a bad habit of chewing plastic straws but is working on it.
Rob Rich is a naturalist and writer exploring where people connect with land, water, plants, and wildlife. That’s why he’s a particular fan of beavers, and the diverse watersheds they help us conserve. In addition to over a decade of environmental non-profit experience throughout New England and the Pacific Northwest, Rob has taught field ecology and writing, grown native plants with Fourth Corner Nursery, and banded birds with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. A former contributing editor with Camas and The Bellingham Review, Rob has also published work with High Country News, Northern Woodlands, Earth Island Journal, and others.
The privilege of being born and raised in Bellingham alongside handfuls of relatives and lifelong friends is just the start to Jade’s Whatcom County adventure. After graduating Bellingham High School Jade attended Whatcom Community College where she earned an Associate Transfer Degree while playing for the Women’s soccer team. Now she finds herself at Western Washington University, joyfully pursuing a Visual Journalism Degree and interning here at WhatcomTalk. Most of Jade’s spare time is accompanied with a soccer ball at her feet or plans of world travel in her head.
A few years ago, Dondi Tondro-Smith sold the craftsman home she and her husband built on the West side of the Teton Mountains near Jackson Hole Wyoming. They traded their belongings for backpacks and laptops and moved to Europe to explore a nomadic life and world school their then four-year-old daughter. Originally hailing from California, Dondi’s path has led her abroad for studies in Central America and India. After graduating from a Quaker college in Southampton, New York with an interdisciplinary degree in Anthropology, she studied healing arts, created a school curriculum based on a book she co-authored with her husband, and has freelanced for the last five years for media outlets through Wyoming and Idaho. Relocation to Bellingham was a logical move for a family who loves adventure, picturesque landscapes and all the depth and breadth this coastal community has to offer.
Joy Wiggins, Ph.D., is an activist, educator, writer, TED Talks speaker, researcher, and mother. She received her doctorate from The Ohio State University in multicultural education with a focus on social justice in children’s literature and has been teaching in higher education since 2000. She is the director of Global Peaceful Paths, LLC, a consulting company that focuses on equity, inclusion and social justice. She has presented at numerous international and national conferences and has been published in many higher education journals. She also presented part of her current work, women liberating women in the workplace, at a TEDxWWU Talk.