Anthony Anton is the president and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association. He interacts one-on-one with restaurateurs & hoteliers to determine their challenges, develop solutions and manage the efforts of the 6,500-member organization.
Anthony brings more than a decade of government affairs and association management experience to Washington Hospitality. He guided the association’s government affairs business from 1995 to 2001 when he left to manage The Boeing Company’s state relations in Olympia. Coming back to the association in 2004 as vice president, Anthony successfully marshaled the industry’s efforts to support important legislation and redoubled grassroots lobbying efforts.
Anthony’s family has been in the restaurant business for more than 60 years, lending him a broad understanding of industry issues. A Sumner native, Anthony graduated from Washington State University in 1991, with a degree in political science.
In over ten years as CEO, the association has more than doubled in revenue, had its highest retention rates and member satisfaction rates in its history, expanded and strengthened its programs to support small business and become the primary source of information to Washington hospitality businesses.
Senior Vice President with Alice Financial
Getting Commuter Compliant
With over 25 years of experience in scaling growth companies Brad specializes in strategic planning, talent acquisition and retention, general management, culture building and delivery of services to businesses through financial/marketing technology.
CEO of Q Technologies
Mobile Trends and Time Saving Measures
Brian is the CEO Q Technologies, a Seattle based software company. Brian has degrees in computer science, economics from Seattle University, and an MBA from the University of Washington. Over his 30 year career, he has been founder or partner in 5 start-ups, worked for Alaska Airlines developing operations technology, been part of an elite technology of the future committee developing next generation tech, a consultant for marketing and technology with several global consulting firms, entrepreneur in residence at WeWork, served as a judge on the business plan competition, and won a best new start-up company competition in New York hosted by the top 70 VC firms in the country. Brian current owns of an app development company making software for over 100 companies including Starbucks, Microsoft, Intel, and Boeing.
Restaurateur, Current Chair of the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs
Improve Efficiencies through Checklists
Brian is a restaurateur, current Chair of the Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs, and recent appointee to the Association of Washington Generals, Brian brings a diverse set of experiences and skills to the landscape of Hospitality. His goal is to leverage the unique components of organizational culture into transformative opportunities through story-telling
Litigation Partner with Fisher Phillips
Catharine represents local and national employers in litigation in state and federal courts, on appeal, and also before the EEOC and similar state agencies in all aspects of workplace law, such as the ADA, ADEA, FLSA, FMLA, FCRA, NLRA, Title VII, UTSA, and similar state laws. From the outset, Catharine works with clients to develop a strategy that leads to successful resolutions, whether it is a meticulous plaintiff’s deposition, motion to dismiss, favorable mediation, or trial success.
Catharine believes in working closely with clients to address workplace issues proactively and as a valued partner to develop a successful workforce. She uses her litigation experience to work closely with clients across all industries to provide effective preventive counseling and workforce training. This includes regularly advising and training clients on drug testing, background checks, hiring, diversity, wage-hour compliance, leaves, noncompetition agreements and reasonable accommodations.
Director of the Washington Hospitality Association Education Foundation
Career Connected Learning
Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia
David Faro has extensive international hospitality experience ranging from facilities management to media relations. He has enjoyed key leadership roles in a variety of high-end, bespoke, hotel, culinary, and expeditionary adventures with respected brands worldwide. David holds an acute interest in traditional hospitality along with new tourism strategies and is a passionate media maker and storyteller. David is currently the Director of the Nonprofit Education Foundation for the Washington Hospitality Association. David speaks regularly to audiences about a variety of subjects related to international travel, history, and hospitality.
Dr. Ty Belknap
Founder of Port Bell
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Dr. Ty Belknap is a veteran of creating and managing digital content to build relationships for organizations and individuals. He has written three books (including Timeless SEO Secrets) as well as writing hundreds of articles for over 30 magazines and online blog sites.
A self-professed techy-nerd, he has the ability to translate Geek-Speak into English.
Dr Ty is the founder of Port Bell, an SEO and digital marketing firm that has been providing search engine optimization to Tacoma businesses since 2002.
SOFA (Society of Financial Awareness)
Leveraging No Cost Resources to Optimize Employee Performance
Several decades ago, Drew watched as his Mom lost nearly half of her life’s savings by
following poor investment advice, just as she was entering retirement. Deeply moved by the unnecessary and long-term devastation this caused her, he was inspired to become a professional retirement planner and investment advisor.
He founded an independent, registered investment advisory firm located in Gig Harbor, Washington. His company is committed to helping clients make thoughtful and educated decisions with their life’s savings, with the goal of helping them attain confidence in their financial future. As a fiduciary, his firm offers a wide range of financial planning, investment advising and strategic wealth management services to those who are in or nearing retirement, or “Phase 2” of their financial life. Drew holds the Series 65 Securities License and the Washington State License for Life, Health and Long-Term Care insurance. These licenses allow him to select from a broad and diverse range of investment options and financial tools when customizing portfolios for his clients.
Drew has authored one book and co-written a second. In 2018, he published How to Survive Thrive in Phase 2 of your Financial Life, a collection of essays on retirement planning and investing. In 2016, he co-authored a National Thought Leader Series book titled, You’re In Control: Planning the Most Important Retirement in the World – Yours, contributing the chapter on “Understanding Risk and your True Risk Tolerance”. He has also been featured in numerous articles on money, investing and personal finance in such publications as U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger, Yahoo Finance, MSN, The Street and The Simple Dollar. In 2018, Q13 Fox News in Seattle aired a television interview with Drew, discussing the sensitive topic of how to financially help aging parents who didn’t save enough for their own retirement.
Before starting his financial services career, Drew served our nation as an Airborne Ranger Infantry Officer in the US Army during Operation Desert Storm. That experience taught him the value of detailed and flexible planning, adding value to the services he provides to his clients.
Drew's wife of 26 years, Sara, and their two, teenage children have lived in the north end of Gig Harbor, WA for 14 years. On weekends, Drew serves his community as a youth soccer referee.
VP of International Tourism at Visit Seattle
International Tourism in Washington State
John Boesche is Vice President, International Tourism at Visit Seattle, the private, nonprofit marketing organization that promotes Seattle as a destination for international and domestic leisure travel, meetings and conventions.
In his role, Boesche oversees Visit Seattle’s International Tourism department, including six employees in the organization’s main Seattle office as well as seven international marketing and public relations agencies around the world.
Boesche has over 10 years of destination marketing experience, previously serving as Operations Manager for the Seattle Sports Commission.
A native of the Seattle area, Boesche graduated from Washington State University and currently resides in Bellevue, a suburb of Seattle, with his wife, Maria.
Visit Seattle, a private, nonprofit marketing organization, has served as Seattle/King County’s official destination marketing organization (DMO) for more than 50 years. The goal of these marketing efforts is to enhance the employment opportunities and economic prosperity of the region. Some 38.1 million visitors spend $6.8 billion in Seattle and King County annually, contributing $692 million in state and local tax revenues. Direct visitor spending benefits hotels, retailers, restaurants, attractions, transportation services and other businesses, and supports jobs for nearly 73,000 people in the Seattle region.
President of JayRay
Place Branding for your Business
As president of JayRay, Kathleen Deakins leads an award-winning team of strategic and creative professionals who provide marketing and communication services for clients across the region from their offices on the Tacoma waterfront. Kathleen’s passion for research, facilitation skill, strategic insight and Northwest roots shaped brands including Experience Olympia and South Sound Proud. She earned her MBA from the University of Washington and accreditation from the Public Relations Society of America.
Director of the Washington Retirement Market at the Department of Commerce
Resources, Retirement and You
Rick Anderson is the Director of the Washington Retirement Market at the Department of Commerce. He also serves as a Policy Advisor to the Director’s Office at Commerce on a wide range of issues.
Rick has extensive experience working with the Washington State Legislature as a non-partisan committee staff, contract lobbyist, and as policy director for two statewide nonprofits. His legislative experience also includes a yearlong engagement working with the Kosovo Parliament to improve its legislative and research capacities. In the private sector, Rick received two innovation awards as a senior consultant at a national firm.
Rick holds a bachelor’s degree in natural sciences from Lewis & Clark College and a master’s degree in public administration from The Evergreen State College.
SOFA (Society of Financial Awareness)
Leveraging No Cost Resources to Optimize
Ryan studied Business Management at Brigham Young University and Western Washington University. In 1997, he began working in the financial industry and developed his skill as a knowledgeable instructor, drawing a large international client base while developing his own product line of training material. Additionally, he became a published author in technical analysis. Ryan was often invited to train members of TICN, the largest private investment club in the world, based in Ireland. In 2002, Ryan was a founding member of a financial education startup where integrity was the core principle. He exemplified this guiding principle as an instructor for twelve years providing the best possible education and training for his clients. Now as a passionate and dedicated Financial Planner, Ryan uses his acquired skills and wisdom to help his clients optimize their retirement and plan for their future without worry.
When he is not at work, Ryan’s first priority is his family, including his wife, five children and fourteen grandchildren. He is active in the community, targeting his efforts to charities that promote self-help and realizing potential through mentoring.
CEO of Experience Olympia and Beyond
Place Branding for your Business
Shauna Stewart has served as CEO of Experience Olympia and Beyond, for three years. She has spent a dozen years in tourism and destination marketing, promoting communities throughout the Pacific Northwest. Shauna earned her Business Administration & Marketing degree from Western Washington University, a Master’s in Public Administration from The EverGreen State College, and was recently recognized as a 40 Under 40 Honoree by the Puget Sound Business Journal. She lives in Olympia, WA with her husband and two children and refers to this season in life as beautiful chaos.
Hospitality Efficiency Program Manager for Puget Sound Energy
Taking Charge of Your Utilities
Tianna Byrtus is the Hospitality Efficiency Program Manager for Puget Sound Energy’s long-standing Commercial Foodservice Program, as well as the more recently launched Lodging Efficiency Program. For over a decade she has led the utilities in the Puget Sound region in a collaborative program delivery model that spans seven participating utilities and nearly 20 kitchen equipment distributors, streamlining how customers and distributors interact with their utilities’ programs. This industry-leading program approach has garnered the attention of many, including Energy Star and the EPA. Tianna also frequently works one-on-one with business owners to help find customized ways to reduce their energy usage and increase their bottom line.
Before embarking on her adventures in energy efficiency, Tianna received her Masters Degree in Violin Performance & Chamber and Orchestral Literature from Northwestern University and can often be found performing with area ensembles and her two local bands, Murphy’s Lawyers and the Stout Pounders.
Program Manager of the Washington Retirement Market at the Department of Commerce
Resources, Retirement and You
Tracy Gunter is the Program Manager of the Washington Retirement Market at the Department of Commerce. She works closely with the plan providers, manages and oversees the website and leads outreach and marketing efforts.
Tracy holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Psychology from Hamline University and has over 20 years’ experience working in the aging and long term care system. Her passion for people is pervasive. Her work as a Case Manager to a Contract Specialist gave her a particularly keen insight into the issues of aging and the importance of planning ahead. When not at work, you’ll find her outside enjoying all of the natural beauty the Pacific Northwest has to offer.