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Moving Along
Methow Valley Transitions

A number of the Methow Valley’s venerable institutions have undergone a change at the top during 2011. Long-time leaders who built, guided and defined the missions of these organizations retired or resigned. Here’s a brief look at successors, who are bringing new energy and vision.

The Okanogan County Electric Cooperative

David Gottula is the co-op’s new general manager, replacing Ray Ellis. Formerly manager of engineering for an Oregon cooperative, Umatilla Electric, Gottula is a licensed engineer and holds a master’s degree in business administration. It’s important to keep open communication with the membership, he says, especially during the ongoing rate-setting process. The utility must fairly apportion the costs among users, Gottula emphasizes.

The Methow Valley Sport Trails Association

James DeSalvo is the new executive director, taking over from Jay Lucas. He’s been the MVSTA trails manager for the last three years. Prior to that, he spent 10 years as the regional director for Outward Bound. MVSTA figures it has 40,000 skier-days per season, DeSalvo says. Because skiing is both healthy and fun, he wants to build on that figure, among locals and visitors alike. “I’d love to get more people out on the trails.”

The Confluence Gallery

Nicole Ringgold took over after the retirement of Sybil Macapia. An artist and former director of Little Star Montessori School in Winthrop, Ringgold was a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa. She holds advanced degrees in clinical psychology and art therapy. Her initial focus has been on reorganizing the gallery’s managerial structure and upgrading its facilities. “We run on volunteers,” she says gratefully

The Cascadia Chorale

Dana Stromberger was handed the baton when Suzanne Johnson moved from the valley after this year’s concert. Stromberger, who has a degree in construction management and worked as project engineer for the Howard S. Wright construction firm in Seattle, says she came by her interest in music thanks to a high school choir director. She credits a former Cascadia Chorale director, Virginia Wagner, for teaching her to conduct. “I just want to create a joyful concert that has everybody walking out with big smiles on their faces.”


Amy Stork took over as executive director of TwispWorks, formerly called the Twisp Public Development Authority, from Maggie Coon. Stork has been consultant and on staff for organizations focused on energy efficiency, local agriculture development, and sustainability. The two-year-old TwispWorks is in the first phase - restoring the 1930s U.S. Forest Service buildings - of a 10-year development plan that’s centered on economic development, agriculture, arts and culture, and innovative technology. “We’re really a unique organization,” says Stork.

Little Star Montessori School

Dani Reynaud, who was a member of the Winthrop pre-school’s first class in 1982, replaced Nicole Ringgold. Reynaud has bachelor’s degrees in comparative literature and cinema studies and a master’s degree in public administration from the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington. She was director of development for the Seattle Girls’ School and worked for BreadforLife in Uganda. She also has worked in the film industry as an assistant director.

The Methow Valley News

Don Nelson became publisher and editor of the valley’s weekly newspaper, assuming the functions of former publisher Paul Butler and editor John Hanron. Nelson has been vice president and editor of the Puget Sound Business Journal, an editor at the Skagit Valley Herald and St. Paul Pioneer Press, managing editor of Crain’s Chicago Business, as well as a reporter at the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Eugene Register-Guard. Among his goals are to “effectively communicate what’s going on in the community,” he says, as well as to “facilitate the civil discussion of important issues.”



David Gottula. Photo by Solveig Torvik.

James DeSalvo. Photo by Solveig Torvik.

Nicole Ringgold. Photo by Solveig Torvik.

Dana Stromberger. Photo by Solveig Torvik.

Amy Stork. Photo by Karen West.

Dani Reynaud.

Don Nelson. Photo by Solveig Torvik.