Meet the current Leadership Class
Andrew Mentzer, Valley County Economic Development Council
Andrew is an Idaho native with a diverse personal and professional background.
As the Executive Director for the Valley County Economic Development Council, Andrew works closely with stakeholders across the region to build systems for economic success. Previously, Andrew founded Boise’s first international traveler’s hostel, and managed the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) for the Idaho Department of Commerce. He has also worked as an Account Manager for Stoltz Marketing Group and was most recently the Statewide Operations Manager for the Idaho STAR Motorcycle Safety Program.
Andrew is well-versed in economic development, strategic planning, marketing, operations, journalism and public policy. He holds a BS in Political Science, Masters Certification in Community & Regional Planning, and Master of Public Administration—all from Boise State University.
In his spare time, Andrew mentors K-12 students through Junior Achievement, moonlights for the Boise Weekly, and, explores Idaho’s wild places with his fiancé, Genny.
Barb Dixon, Meadows Valley School Board
I was born and raised in Seattle. Graduated from UW with a degree in Industrial Education. Taught wood-shop, metal shop and science to handicapped students age 12-21. Moved to Beaverton and taught 6th grade, while developing a Coastal Outdoor Education Program that included college training and credits for participating counselors at Werner Pacific College. Moved to Bend and taught 4th-6th grades. Attained Media Specialist Certification and was head Librarian for the Bend School District and finished my last 6 of 30 years of teaching in the middle school with 6-8th graders.
I have been a volunteer ski patroller since 1983 and have held numerous offices including Division director of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. I served on the National Board for 8 years.
I am currently the Board Chair of the Meadows Valley School District, Chair of Region VIII, which includes 13 school districts and sit on the Executive Board of the Idaho School Board Association. I have traveled extensively throughout the US, Europe and Thailand. My husband and I have 7 children, 14 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. Living a varied lifestyle in a coastal and mountain homes, large and small communities, in neighborhoods and on a ranch has given me a broad spectrum of what can be expected or needed in each of our communities.
Chris Bjornberg, Cascade Regional Medical Center
Chris was born and raised in Idaho, and is extremely grateful for the opportunity to come back to Idaho to be the CEO of Cascade Medical Center in October of 2015. Chris and his wife Lisa, along with their four children are loving life back home in the mountains of Idaho closer to family and friends. Chris has two Master degrees, one in Healthcare Management and another in Accounting and Finance. He has over eleven years of executive management experience in Healthcare and his career has taken him and his family from Idaho, to Washington, to Nebraska, to Texas and back home to Idaho where they plan to stay. When he is not at work in the Hospital, Chris loves to help out the Boy Scouts, coach and play basketball (and most other sports), as well as play outdoors; from hiking, fishing and hunting to mountain biking.
Doris Armacost, McCall Lake Cruises
I have enjoyed serving as a McCall Area Chamber Board member for the past 4 years. For many years now I have actively been involved with the tourism industry on many levels having gained experience ﬁrst hand of commerce development and growth. Being a self employed business owner for the last 28 years I have been actively involved with local, state and national commerce which has provided me with information and knowledge to share. Currently I am serving as a Board member on Idaho’s Tourism area Region 3, the South West Idaho Travel Association (SWITA), all total this will be my 10th year in this position, over a course of 22 years. Being part of local and state organizations helps keep me informed of development in our state and region. It offers information in what general direction we are growing and where our marketing efforts are being targeted as a whole. As part owner of McCall Lake Cruises I have ﬁrst hand knowledge on how current marketing efforts effects area businesses. Helping to promote our community locally and afar, of all it has to offer, is exciting to me. Making our region more sustainable for ourselves and the next generations is my passion.
Melanie, Holmes, Tamarack Realty
Growing up in the Seattle area, living and working in the mountains has been my focus for as long as I can remember. I was born in Moscow, Idaho while my father was attending the University of Idaho. So returning to the state was a natural choice for me.
I made my move to Ketchum, Idaho in 1991 for a management position at St. Mary Lodge and Resort. My summers were spent in Glacier National Park, Montana managing staff, inventory, merchandising and other aspects of the resort operation. My winters were spent based out of the Sun Valley/Ketchum area planning, recruiting and purchasing for the following summer season at the resort. Fortunately, this was my season to play and Idaho was the perfect playground. After 8 years of moving back and forth, I made the commitment to full time residence in Idaho. After a short period working for fly fishing outfitters, I got serious and started a new career in Escrow and Title. This move led to my discovery of Valley County in 2004. It took me one visit to the area and then 1 month longer to get myself transferred and fully moved to the area.
The time I’ve spent in the mountainous regions and resort towns of Idaho have really defined who I am today and my love of the outdoors. My activities go with the season and include fly-fishing, hiking, camping, gardening, rafting, boating and paddleboarding in the Spring, Summer and Fall and during the Winter I enjoying downhill skiing, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling!
My varied resume of work experience has been very advantageous in becoming a Realtor and member of the Mountain Central Association of Realtors. I am also a member of the Idaho Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors and ascribe to the NAR Code of Ethics for Realtors.
I look forward to sharing my passion for this special area and contributing for many years to come.
Lindsey Harris, McCall Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau
My great-grandfather came to McCall at the turn of the 20th century and for four generations my family’s roots have been in Long Valley. As a wanderlust teenager, I left McCall for college, life, and travel. I graduated with a degree in International Studies and Spanish, none of which I use (isn’t that always the case), but it taught me a passion for people, social issues, the world, and how great the quality of life is in Idaho. I lived in Bozeman, MT for several years in pursuit of ski bum dreams and as beautiful as it was, my heart was missing the mountains of Central Idaho, my family and our incredible community. After a swift phone call and a job offer in October 2014, I found myself back in this beautiful place.
Once offended after I was called a “jack of all trades, master of none,” I now have embraced this categorization as a personal strength. I am grateful for my chamber position that combines all the things I love and am excited to experience the West Central Mountains Leadership Academy to even further expand my engagement. Off the clock you can find me on the slopes, on the trails, in a brewery, with my family or daydreaming about my next trip.
Morgan Bessaw, City of McCall
Morgan Bessaw was born and raised in Boise Idaho and was fortunate enough to spend lots of time in and develop a love for McCall from an early age. Following graduation an urge to experience big city life took her to San Francisco where she received a BS Environmental Science from the University of San Francisco. Following this she went to Cameroon and served as an agro-forestry volunteer with the Peace Corps. This work spurred an interest in community development and she received a MS Bioregional Planning and Community Design from the University of Idaho when she returned.
Having traveled to and lived in several different places, Morgan felt that nothing really compared to living in Idaho, and in particular Valley County. She and her husband were happy to be able to move here last year and settle down as full time residents. Morgan currently works for the City of McCall in the Community Development Department as the Permit Technician where she helps the public with planning and zoning and building regulations. When not at work you can likely find her, her husband Matt, and her dog Maverick camping or playing outdoors.
Nicole Yardley, The Rustic Inn
World traveler, perpetual student, and movie connoisseur, Nicole Yardley is the manager of The Rustic Inn in McCall, Idaho. She has herded cattle and one very large draft horse, and loves smaller animals and country music. Nicole has performed onstage, mostly enjoys technology, and shares an interesting Facebook page with friends she has stayed in contact with since high school and beyond…
I earned my Bachelors of Science in Psychology through Boise State University in May of 2010 and I am currently in my final quarters for earning my Masters in Social Work through Walden University. I see a need for collaboration and cooperation between agencies within our communities and between the communities within Valley County. A potential solution to this challenge is the creation of committees, whose members come from diverse agencies with a shared goal of community development. I hope to gain insight and knowledge into my own strengths as well as learn from the experiences of others with in this community. I also see a benefit in networking with individuals across the valley in order to build cohesion and grow opportunities within our communities.
Sean McCallister, St.Luke’s McCall
Sean is the Site Administrator at St. Luke’s McCall, a critical access facility located in the pristine community of McCall, Idaho. Formerly he served for three years as providence Health & Services Alaska region administrator for four critical access hospitals in south-central Alaska. Prior to that Sean served as administrator for Providence Valdez Medical Center. He earned his Master’s in Health Policy and Administration from Washington State University and a Bachelor of Science in Communications and Public Relation from Weber State University.
Sean thoroughly appreciates the rich opportunities and experiences afforded in rural health care in the great states of Idaho and Alaska. In addition to a happy, 20-year marriage and robust family life (five children) Sean lives by the maxim “Work hard, play hard“.
Juan Bonilla, Donnelly Rural Fire Protection District
Juan Bonilla was appointed the Fire Chief for the Donnelly Rural Fire Protection District (DRFPD) in June, 2007. Chief Bonilla is a Persian Gulf Veteran (Desert Storm) who served four years in the U.S. Navy as a submariner Petty Officer 3rd Class. As a submariner, Chief Bonilla trained in fire suppression, flooding, damage control, communications, and CBRNE (Chemical Biological Radiological, Nuclear high yield Explosives) including explosive ordinance detail teams both conventional and nuclear. Chief Bonilla has served the DRFPD since 1996, both as a volunteer and full time employee. During his career, he managed the implementation of the current fire training program and 24 hour station coverage. He is a state Firefighter Essentials instructor and has been Fire Captain/Training Officer and the Assistant Chief.
Since being appointed, Chief Bonilla has been active in local, state, and national government. He serves on the National Volunteer Fire Council as a committee member of the EMS/R Section and Recruitment and Retention, Idaho Volunteer Fire and Emergency Services Association as a board member and NVFC Director, Idaho Fire Chiefs Association as the District 4 alternate, and the Valley County Wildland Fire Working Group as the Chairman. Chief Bonilla has had an active role in the implementation of the County EMS District. In 2007, Chief Bonilla played a large role in the Gray’s Creek Fire and Hurd as a Unified Incident Commander with the National Incident Management type 1 and type 2 team from the Great Basin. He has since then continued his education of the Incident Command System on all Command and general staff positions. He is also a member of the American Legion Post 60 Cascade, Idaho.