Distinguished Leader Awards Honor State Senator Karen Fraser, Raj Manhas and Brian Vance

Senator Karen Fraser poses with a Senate Page that she sponsored during the legislative session.

 Submitted by Leadership Thurston County

Senator Karen Fraser poses with a Senate Page that she sponsored during the legislative session.
Senator Karen Fraser poses with a Senate Page that she sponsored during the legislative session.

Leadership Thurston County (LTC) and the Thurston County Chamber Foundation are proud to announce the 2014 Distinguished Leader Award honorees. State Senator Karen Fraser, Raj Manhas, Superintendent of North Thurston Schools, and Brian Vance, Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Financial Corporation and Heritage Bank, will be recognized at the awards event to be held Wednesday, February 26, 2014.

Presented by Columbia Bank, the 13th annual leadership celebration will be held at the Red Lion Hotel, Olympia. The evening begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner and the program at 6:30 p.m.

The event honors outstanding leaders who demonstrate initiative, inspire others and make a significant impact in our community and beyond. Honorees will be recognized through live and multi-media presentations.

This year’s honorees lead by example and are committed to developing a thriving community.

Senator Karen Fraser is being honored for her public service as an elected official representing Thurston County communities and her advocacy of issues that matter to our community and beyond, including the environment, Washington’s role in international affairs, and women’s issues. Senator Fraser has served in the State Senate since 1993 and in the Legislature since 1989. Currently Senate Democratic Caucus Chair, she serves on the Senate Ways & Means and Senate Governmental Operations Committees, as well as other special boards, councils and committees.

Prior to her career in state politics, Senator Fraser served as Thurston County Commissioner, Mayor of Lacey and Lacey City Council member. She is a life-long resident of Washington and holds a B.A. and an M.P.A. from the University of Washington.

Raj Manhas, Superintendent, North Thurston Public Schools, is being honored for his commitment to academic success for all students. Community engagement, supporting the whole child and building a trusting work culture are some of the strategic focus areas he has emphasized at North Thurston. He has also increased the district’s fund balance through accountability, staff cooperation and student-centered decision making. Manhas was hired as Superintendent of North Thurston Public Schools in 2009. He came to Seattle from India in 1973 to

north thurston public schools
Raj Manhas

pursue a Master’s in Engineering from the University of Washington. He then built a successful banking career before moving into the public sector as Director of Operations for Seattle Public Utilities and eventually Seattle Public Schools. He is the former Chief Operations Officer and Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools.

Brian Vance is the Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Financial Corporation and Heritage Bank as well as a director of Heritage Financial Corporation. He is being recognized for his leadership in the banking industry and his community stewardship. A proponent of servant leadership, he and his team are committed to engaging in and understanding the communities they serve. His leadership emphasizes a business model that focuses on fundamentals, paving the way for business success and contributing to the wealth of the community. He is an active philanthropist and volunteer, serving on the boards of the South Puget Sound Community College Board of Trustees and the Community Foundation, among others.

Vance joined Heritage Bank in 1996 as its Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer. In 2006, he was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Heritage and Heritage Bank.

For further information and sponsorship opportunities, please call Patti Grant at 360.357.8515 or email LTC@ThurstonChamber.com.


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