Movers and shakers leaving Kirkland | Editorial
July 25, 2012 · 4:23 PM
As we reported in our story about the Heathman Hotel’s re-opening next week, there will also be one significant change unrelated to the hotel’s renovation.
General Manager Les Utley will leave his position on Aug. 1 to move to San Antonio, Texas.
Utley is not just your average hotelier. He’s been a constant mover and shaker in Kirkland since he took his post at the Heathman several years ago.
Here are just a few of his accomplishments:
• He helped re-energize the Kirkland Downtown Association in 2009, when board members voted Utley as the KDA’s new president.
• Utley took the lead in 2010 on adopting Heritage Park after city budget cuts eliminated garbage cans and portable restrooms in several neighborhood parks. Looking at ways his management team could participate and support the community, he contacted the city and offered to adopt Heritage Park.
“I had this feeling that all too often companies will write a check to support things,” said Utley in a Jan. 12, 2010 story by the Reporter. “We thought it would be more meaningful to contribute man hours.”
He committed a full day of service with his team every month at Heritage Park, weeding, pruning, picking up trash, and dog litter. As an added incentive, the hotel’s Trellis restaurant also provided brown bag lunches to everyone who participated.
• Last October, Utley and his staff created a pink room, complete with tasteful pink walls, curtains, artwork, furniture, towels and even pink robes and a coffee maker. All room proceeds - which totaled $8,000 - benefited the Puget Sound Susan G. Komen in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Belinda Jensen, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing, said he will be greatly missed by hotel staff and guests. But the community will miss him as well for all his years of dedication.
Speaking of movers and shakers, KITH Executive Director, Jan Dickerman, will retire in September.
KITH – a nonprofit organization that provides housing and services to the homeless – has made significant gains during Dickerman’s tenure, says Ron Olsen, KITH’s Board president.
Here are a few of Dickerman’s accomplishments over the past four years as executive director:
• Utilizing her extensive experience and connections in the housing and human services field, she developed an effective Case Management Program and strengthened KITH’s Housing Programs.
• She piloted KITH’s new Welcome Home family rent subsidy and case management program in 2010. The program continues in 2012.
• She fortified KITH’s volunteer program, working with United Way and 501 Commons on a Volunteer Improvement Program Grant in 2011 and hiring KITH’s first paid volunteer coordinator in 2012.
We thank Dickerman for her work helping Eastside families and individuals move out of homelessness.