Celebrating National Volunteer Week: Stories of Giving Back from Our Team Members
This week (April 16-22, 2023) is National Volunteer Week, a time to celebrate and recognize the contributions of volunteers across the country. At Kymeta, we are proud to have a team of individuals who are passionate not only about their work but also about giving back to their communities. This week, we want to highlight some of the ways that our employees have been volunteering their time and making a positive impact on the world around us.
Jason Vice, Manager of the Machine Shop, has been volunteering at Lake Washington Institute of Technology for over a decade. As the chairman of the advisory committee to the machining program, he leads a group of industry leaders who oversee and guide the program’s curriculum. They provide feedback on proposed changes, discuss new technology and equipment purchases, and offer guidance and advice to the college about what industry needs from them.
Willow Blakely Underwood, Senior Manager of Supply Chain and Procurement, volunteers at the Seattle Ladies Choir. Since November of last year, she has served as the choir’s Finance Director while also singing in the group. The Seattle Ladies Choir is a non-profit organization and non-audition choir that gives the opportunity of singing to all who are female identifying with no previous music experience required. They perform on Capitol Hill and at Pride events.
Tory Miller, Director of Materials and Logistics, volunteers with Hire Heroes to mentor veterans transitioning out of the military. His work includes helping with LinkedIn profiles, job interview preparation, resume preparation, and career guidance. It’s all virtual, but Tory feels like he’s making a real difference in the lives of the veterans he mentors.
Lindsey DeLaney, Manufacturing Engineer II, is a Block Ambassador for the Historic Downtown Snohomish Association (HDSA). She helps notify and communicate with local merchants of upcoming events and activities that may affect their business and helps be a voice to support the needs of the merchants. She’s also going to be helping with the upcoming events, such as wine walks, parades, and more.
Pat Gallagher, Supply Quality Engineer II, has been a member of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington’s Board of Directors since 2009. He’s been a member of the Speakers Bureau since 2001 and has been an ACLU member since 1994.
The Sales Operations Team, including Alisa Garcia, Kelly Erickson, Jen Van Dijk, Sapna Kumar, and Kelly Gibbons, volunteers with Backpack Brigade to sort and fill individual bags of food that are distributed to 78 elementary and secondary schools in King County for students in need with food scarcity on the weekends. Every week of the school year, Backpack Brigade provides 3,000 weekend food bags to help students eat from Friday evening until Monday morning.
Brenda Kuhns, Senior Director of Marketing, has volunteered with StandUp For Kids Seattle since 2008. They do street outreach in downtown Seattle, providing essentials and resources to homeless and at-risk youth. Over the years, they have partnered with other youth organizations, such as Youth Care and New Horizons, to provide a hot meal on Saturday evenings at their drop-in centers. Brenda’s role is running the Seattle chapter, wearing many hats of recruiting, training, community relations, fundraising, doing outreach, and serving meals.
Doug Hutcheson, Chairman, and Co-CEO, volunteers at Rady’s Children Hospital in San Diego. He was the board chair for three years through the pandemic.
Tony Hewett, Director of Mechanical Systems, has served as head coach for his daughter’s youth soccer teams in the Snoqualmie Valley Youth Soccer Association for the last few fall seasons. This role is multi-faceted and encompasses accountability not only for ensuring the girls have a safe and fun environment in which to learn soccer but also coordinating practice and game times along with all other aspects related to coordination and management of the team.
Steven Silwa, Strategic Sales Director – Army, is an active volunteer with Scouting USA (formerly known as Boy Scouts of America). He has served previously as Troop Committee Chair and is currently serving as an Assistant Scoutmaster, Merit Badge Counselor (36 MBs), and Eagle Scout Mentor. As an Eagle Scout Mentor, Steven assists Scouts wishing to advance to the rank of Eagle Scout with Service Project selection and execution, as well as advice and assistance with numerous administrative requirements in advance of the Scout’s final Board of Review. Steven’s dedication to Scouting has had a positive impact on the lives of many young Scouts.
Dale Smith, Manager of Lab Operations, is a volunteer first responder with Everett Mountain Rescue, which is under the umbrella of the Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue organization. Everett Mountain Rescue consists of skilled mountaineers and is a key resource that the Snohomish County Sheriff’s department can call upon 24/7 when they receive reports of missing and/or injured people in mountainous terrain in Snohomish County and throughout Washington State. Dale and his team can be out in the field for hours or even more than 24 hours on a more detailed operation, providing essential assistance and support to those in need. Dale’s commitment to volunteering as a first responder has helped save lives and support communities in times of crisis.
As we reflect on these inspiring stories of volunteerism, we are reminded of the two core principles that guide us at our company: STRONGER TOGETHER and DO THE RIGHT THING. Each of these volunteers has demonstrated the power of collaboration and the importance of taking action to make a positive impact in our communities. Whether it’s through mentoring veterans, providing resources for homeless youth, or supporting students in need, each act of service has strengthened our collective commitment to creating a better world. We are proud to have such dedicated and compassionate individuals as part of our team, and we will continue to support and encourage volunteerism as we work towards our mission of enhancing lives by unlocking the potential for global satellite and cellular broadband communications while on the move.