Making Good: Idaho job changes, recognition and other achievements © 2013 Idaho StatesmanDecember 3, 2013 


    Email, fax Your Business Community at 377-6449, or write to Your Business Community, c/o Newsroom, Idaho Statesman, P.O. Box 40, Boise, ID 83707. Individual portraits are welcomed. All submissions become property of the Statesman.


Lon Tueller, John Rietkerk and John Billetz were recognized by United Dairymen of Idaho with annual awards at their meeting in November.

Tueller was honored as the 2013 Idaho Dairy Hall of Fame inductee. Born and raised on the same dairy he runs today, Tueller has 58 years of dairy job experience. He has won multiple awards for his cows. He has consistently received Dairy Farmers of America quality milk awards and received the Quality Recognition award for more than 20 years of producing high-quality milk from his milk co-op. Tueller serves as a mentor and provides work for troubled teens on his farm.

Rietkerk is winner of the 2013 Idaho Milk Quality Award, which recognizes excellence and superior milk quality. The honor is given to the dairy that produced the highest-quality milk throughout the year. Dairies are nominated by the processors who purchase their milk. Rietkerk Dairy No. 2 supplies milk to Glanbia Foods in Twin Falls.

Billetz received the 2013 Friend of the Industry Award, given annually to a nondairy producer who advocates for and endorses Idaho’s dairy farm families and the dairy industry. Billetz is executive director of the Idaho High School Activities Association. Through his work with the association, Billetz has cultivated a working relationship with United Dairymen of Idaho. For the past 30 years, Idaho’s dairy farm families, through UDI, have contributed nearly $8.3 million to IHSAA and the youth of Idaho.

The United Dairymen of Idaho promotes and advocates for Idaho dairy farm families through nutrition counseling, industry outreach, partnerships and marketing. It is the parent organization to the Idaho Dairy Council and the Idaho Dairymen’s Association.


Esther Ntuli, Idaho State University associate professor, has co-authored a book that will provide educators with a better understanding of blended learning methods and styles.

The book, “Practical Applications and Experiences in K-20 Blended Learning Environments,” is scheduled to be released in December. Ntuli co-wrote the book with Lydia Kyei-Blankson, an associate professor at Illinois State University. The book offers a snapshot of current variation and efficiency regarding the integration of online content into classroom instruction.

Ntuli, a member of the College of Education Department of Educational Foundations, says that about 55 percent of institutions of higher learning and nearly as many K-12 school districts provide blended learning in some capacity. Blended learning encompasses a broad spectrum of teaching concepts but can be summarized as a mixture of face-to-face traditional instruction and online content.

The University of Idaho College of Education received accreditation through Spring 2019 from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

The educator preparation programs were reviewed as meeting or exceeding all accreditation standards and had only one recommendation for improvement — increasing the diversity of K-12 students with which candidates interact. The council accredited the college in six areas: candidate knowledge, skills and professional dispositions; assessment system and unit evaluation; field experiences and clinic practices; diversity; faculty qualifications, performance and development; and unit governance and resources.

The accreditation reflects the work of many faculty members throughout the university who partner with the College of Education to prepare educators and administrators.

Cynthia Mika and Sandy Rumpel, two retired educators, have been recognized for exceptional leadership in career development as part of National Career Development Month in Idaho, sponsored by the Idaho Career Development Association and the Idaho Career Information System, a division of the Idaho Department of Labor.

Mika is a career preparation specialist at the University of Idaho Career Center in Moscow who recently retired after 30 years with the school. She was instrumental in resurrecting, redesigning and overseeing the Career Advising Peer Intern program at the university. She supported and worked with students on all U of I campuses and alumni across the nation as well as faculty, staff and the campus community.

Rumpel, who retired this year as supervisor of counseling and social work for the Boise School District, worked on the team that authored and updated the Idaho Comprehensive Counseling Model, which helped shape counseling programs throughout the state. During her career, Rumpel was honored by the Idaho Counseling Association, the Idaho State Department of Education’s Safe and Drug Free Schools Program, the Boise School District, Idaho School Counselors Association and Boise State University’s Mentor of the Year Program.

The Leadership in Career Development awards recognize organizations and individuals who bring attention to the importance education and career choices play in people's lives.

Mark J. Fredback of Boise, Richard J. Dahl of Kailua, Hawaii, and C. Scott Green of Glen Head, N.Y., have been elected to the University of Idaho Foundation board of directors. Frances T. Ellsworth, of Boise, an emeritus director, is rejoining the foundation board.

Fredback is a principal with Pacific Value and has more than 35 years of investment experience in Idaho. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Idaho.

Dahl is CEO of the James Campbell Company LLC, a private, Hawaii-based and nationally diversified real estate company. He serves as chairman of the board of NYSE listed, International Rectifier Corporation. He holds a degree in business and economics, accounting, from the University of Idaho.

Green is CEO of Pepper Hamilton. He has 20 years of management, finance and compliance experience and is an award-winning author. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business and economics, accounting, from the University of Idaho and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Ellsworth owns River Place Design. She is a community leader and volunteer with the Idaho Community Foundation and co-chairs the Idaho Humane Society Capital Campaign. She has been appointed by two U of I presidents to lead ad hoc committees for the university. She earned a degree from the University of Idaho’s College of Education.

The foundation re-elected Laine R. Meyer, of Los Altos, Calif., and Sun Valley, to continue his service as chairman of the board. Meyer is a retired vice president of Hewlett-Packard Co.

Also serving as foundation officers are: Richard W. Allen, of Scottsdale, Ariz., vice chairman; Carl F. Dyess, of Beaverton, Ore., treasurer; Jeffry L. Stoddard, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., past chairman; and Nancy C. McDaniel, of Boise, secretary.

Directors continuing their terms on the foundation board: Thomas A. Alberg, Seattle.; Daniel L. Alsaker, Spokane.; Carl G. Berry, Mill Valley, Calif.; L. Michael Bogert, Oakton, Va.; Andrew P. Emerson, Boise; Michael N. Fery, Boise; Karen E. Gowland, Boise; Valerie A. Heusinkveld, Boise; Michael T. Hunter, Dallas; Peggy Jo Jones, Boise; Peter D. McDonald, Boise; Dayaldas Meshri, Tulsa, Okla.; Douglas Oppenheimer, Boise; David A. Poe, San Francisco.; and Michael W. Sullivan, Boise.


Scot Phillips, a partner in the Boise office of Eide Bailly LLP, has been elected as chair of the Private Company Practice Section Technical Issues Committee. The PCPS is a member section of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. As chair of the technical issues committee, Phillips will also serve on the PCPS’s executive committee.

The TIC committee monitors the activities of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, and other AICPA senior committees and boards. This position will be in effect for two years and will conclude in late 2015. Phillips has been with Eide Bailly since 2002 and is now head of the audit department.


Amanda Niehenke, Gabriel Osterhout, Nathan Neeley, Jarom Robertson, Lance Empey and Benjamin Rhodes have been chosen by U.S. Sen. Jim Risch to serve as fall interns in his offices. The interns have had the opportunity to engage at the national level of government while helping with constituent services and legislative research.

Niehenke, a Moscow native, is a senior at the University of Idaho. She is studying political science, international studies and Spanish. She is the daughter of Dennis and Jill Niehenke. She previously worked as an administrative assistant at Siemens Industries and as a resident assistant at the U of I.

Osterhout, a native of Boise, is a sophomore at the College of Idaho studying political economy and Asian studies with a prelaw focus. He is the son of Darin and Barb Osterhout. He worked on Gov. Butch Otter’s 2010 campaign and served as a page for the Idaho House of Representatives.

Neeley is a junior at Brigham Young University-Idaho and a native of Idaho Falls majoring in political science with a focus on American government. He is the son of Carolyn Sue and Michael Earl Neeley. Neeley previously worked as a wildland firefighter for the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho Falls and is a certified nursing assistant.

Robertson, a native of Rexburg, is a senior at Brigham Young University-Idaho studying political science with a foreign affairs emphasis. He is the son of Blaine and Lori Robertson. He has worked previously as graduation adviser and a potato harvester.

Empey is a senior at Brigham Young University-Idaho and a native of Idaho Falls. He is pursuing a degree in political science with an emphasis on foreign affairs. He is married to Jennifer Empey, and they have a 2-year-old son. After graduating, Empey plans to pursue a master’s degree in political science at Utah State University. He is the son of Craig and Sherri Empey.

Rhodes is a senior at Brigham Young University-Idaho studying communications, business and political science. He is married to Jordyn Rhodes, and they have a 5-month-old son. Rhodes is working with the city of Rexburg and plans to attend law school next fall.

Niehenke, Osterhout, Neeley and Robertson work in Risch’s Washington, D.C., office. Empey and Rhodes work in the senator’s Idaho Falls office.


Lisa Benjamin, general manager of Hotel 43 in Boise, is included in Hotel Management magazine’s “GMs to Watch,” appearing in the trade publication’s November issue. Hotel 43 is part of Interstate Hotels & Resorts, a U.S.-based global hotel management company that for the second year in a row is the only company with three associates on the list.

Interstate’s management team has 26,000 associates worldwide.

Julie Bryan has been named director of sales at Huntsman Springs, a year-round family vacation community in Driggs.

Bryan is a Teton Valley broker whose real estate experience covers 25 years in residential and commercial sales specializing in project development.

Bryan combines real estate sales and marketing with the experience of designing and developing both commercial and residential projects in Teton Valley.

She was a member of the U. S. Mountain Running Team for five years and is the 2013 Triple Trail Challenge winner in Park City.

Huntsman Springs is a 1,350-acre golf and club community founded in 2010 by Jon Huntsman to establish a natural retreat where families could escape the clamor of urban life.

Natural resources

Elizabeth M. Druffel has been named chief financial officer of RockStar Resources Inc. Roger Kauffmann and James R. Ayers have been appointed to the board of directors.

Druffel brings 13 years of finance and accounting experience to RockStar, having served most recently as the treasurer and chief accountant of Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp. She has experience analyzing financial statements and business transactions and overseeing a team of 50 accounting and finance employees globally. A certified public accountant, she was previously employed as an audit senior manager with KPMG LLP.

Kauffmann is a mining engineer and former president and chief operating Officer of AMAX Gold Inc. He previously served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Hecla Mining Company, responsible for five metal mines and 10 industrial mineral operations. Kauffmann led the construction of three metal mines in Chile, eastern Russia and Alaska. He also has extensive experience in Venezuela.

Ayres is president of Alaska Strategies, a private conservation firm providing management services including strategic planning for local governments, businesses and national nonprofits regarding public policy, legislation and media. He was formerly vice president and senior adviser for Oceana Inc.; chief of staff to the governor of Alaska; executive director of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council; and director of Alaska Marine Highway System and of Legislative Relations for the Alaska governor’s office.

RockStar Resources is a newly formed, privately held company aligning investors with a mining management team to bring value to advanced gold and/or silver exploration projects. The company is incorporated in Idaho and headquartered in Coeur d’Alene.


Idaho Foodbank volunteers and donors Rachel Holtgard, Primeland Cooperatives, Boyd Anderson and Larvar Thornton and Idaho Central Credit Union have been honored by the Idaho chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Boise resident Holtgard, owner of Ceramica, was named Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser for her support of the Foodbank’s Empty Bowls program. In 2010, the first year she worked with Empty Bowls, Ceramica donated 500 bowls. This year Holtgard and her customers are on track to donate 1,200 bowls. She was also cited for her in-kind donations to more than 100 nonprofit organizations and her volunteer work with the Boise Curling Club and Junior League.

Primeland Cooperatives of Lewiston was named Outstanding Large Corporation. In the past two years, this farmers cooperative has raised $58,000 through its Harvest for Hunger campaign to support the Foodbank’s Mobile Pantry and backpack programs. Primeland also has helped farmers during disasters and donated land for a new fire station in Craigmont.

Anderson and Thornton, both of Kuna, were named to the Foodbank’s Honor Roll. Together they have provided volunteer help at the Southern Idaho Correctional Institution’s farm near Boise for two years and have helped inmates grow more than 490,000 pounds of fresh produce for the Foodbank. Last season alone, that donation reached 310,000 pounds.

Idaho Central Credit Union, based in Pocatello, was also an Honor Roll recipient. The credit union has supported employee volunteer efforts at Foodbank backpack builds in Pocatello and Boise, and at Biking for Backpacks in Pocatello. The credit union also was a major supporter of the Hope in Motion event in Boise, where it presented the Foodbank with a $5,000 check. Employees are holding a Hope for the Holidays food drive.


Merchants Moving & Storage Inc., of Boise, was one of 42 agents awarded The Milton M. Hill Quality Award by Atlas Van Lines. Based on warehouse ratings, hauling excellence and commitment, this award was presented to Atlas agents who met or exceeded the industry’s highest standards.

Other businesses

Thomas Old, owner of Alta Vista Consulting, has completed the advanced Project Risk Management Certification from the Project Management Institute. As of April 2013, less than 2,100 of the 490,000 worldwide members have completed this level of professional certification. These skills will help the customers of Alta Vista Consulting improve their planning process. Old teaches at the Idaho Campus of the University of Phoenix and in the Boise State University MBA Program. He is president of the Western Idaho Chapter of the Project Management Institute.

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service