Board of Directors
Michelle is the proud recipient of Hayden, a Labradoodle mobility service dog that she received from Summit in 2006. After Hayden transformed her life, she became committed to helping others receive their life-changing service dogs. Michelle joined the Summit Board of Directors in 2007 and has served as president since 2008. Prior to her retirement, Michelle earned an M.S. in Management and worked as the Director of Administration for AIDS Housing of Washington. She was also employed at Seattle Counseling Services from 1995-2000, serving first as Program Director, then Director of Operations, and then Interim Executive Director. From 1990-1995, she was the Program Director for the Eastside Domestic Violence Program. Michelle now devotes her life to being an ambassador for Summit, with Hayden leading the way.
Brandon is Vice President and Account Executive in the Employee Benefits practice at Parker, Smith & Feek, Inc. He joined PS&F in 2008 and works in the Bellevue office. In 2012, Brandon joined and helped launch the Select Benefits unit to provide focused consulting services for small employers. He has also participated on the firm’s internal United Way committee.
Brenda has been a dedicated volunteer with Summit since 2009 when she began fostering dogs, later also developing an Education Enrichment Program for Summit’s training staff and foster home volunteers. She was elected to the Summit Board of Directors in 2016.
Brenda works with the State of Washington as a Child and Adult Forensic Interviewer, serving as senior investigator for Island and Skagit counties. She's been working in this field since 2008. Brenda is recognized as a Statewide subject matter expert in Federal law enforcement and military procedures. She also enjoys public and professional outreach/education speaking engagements.
Stephanie has worked at Microsoft since she graduated from the University of Washington in Computer Science in 2002. She currently works as an Engineering Manager in Bing, specializing in performance. Her involvement with Summit started through the Microsoft Giving campaign. She raised a puppy in 2011 that went on through the Summit program. During the process, she had a wonderful opportunity to see just how amazing the assistance dog program is for both recipients and dogs. She is a proud Summit supporter and hopes that others will join her by giving to empower people with disabilities to greater heights.
Chris Blanchard has been involved with Summit since receiving his first service dog, Ben, from Summit in 2004. Chris now has his successor dog, Griffin, beside him as he continues to be a great ambassador for our agency.
Chris brings his experience as a client, combined with his professional experience as a drafter / designer at Dale Chihuly Studio to contribute to the board, especially as we move forward into our next phase with the creation of our new facility. He is also co-founder of Pinwheel Corporation and the former owner of Blanchard Construction.
Kevin is the Director, Account Management for Regence Blue Shield of Washington. He lives in Bellevue with his wife and two children, a girl and a boy. His wife is a Director of Group Fitness and Wellness at the YMCA. Prior to his current work at Regence Blue Shield, he served as the Director of Sales and Account Management for United Healthcare in the states of Washington, Alaska and Montana. He was responsible for the under-100 employee market and associations and trust clients. Prior to UHC, he was a broker with BCI Group for nearly seven years in the Portland area and the practice leader for the benefits division, focusing on mid-market-sized companies with complex needs and limited resources.
He enjoys road cycling and spending time with his family exploring the Puget Sound region and all of the great activities available to them.
Andrea began raising puppies for Summit in 2008 and has been a valuable leader with our Kitsap area volunteer group. She was elected to the Summit Board of Directors in 2016.
Andrea brings nearly 30 years of upper management experience in the automotive services, supplies and fueling fields. This experience includes serving at NSB Bangor. While at Bangor, she brought sales from $800,000 annually, to well over $6 million dollars annually. During this time, she began volunteering to raise and train dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind and she served in that capacity from 1994-2009 prior to joining Summit.
Matt joined the Summit Assistance Dogs board in 2012 and is a Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he provides consulting services to technology companies. He is a graduate of the University of Arizona, where he was part of an organization that provided consulting services to non-profit organizations. Matt resides in Bellevue, WA with his wife, Paula, and two sons, Andrew and Joshua, along with the family mini-Schnauzer, Molly.
Elected to the Board of Directors in 2015, Mike is the Chief Investment Officer at Cornerstone Advisors Inc. in Bellevue, WA. At Cornerstone, Mike leads the investment effort and is responsible for development of world class investment solutions. Prior to joining Cornerstone, he was the Director of Fixed Income for Perkins Coie Fiduciary Investment Services and a Senior Portfolio Manager for Safeco Insurance. His involvement with Summit stretches back over a dozen years, when he referred a very good friend to Summit to get his first mobility service dog. Mike and his wife Sally live in Mill Creek with their Summit career-change Labrador, Kelly.
Founder & Executive Director
Sue’s love of animals started in early childhood. She trained her first dog at nine years of age, a Keeshond puppy she had received as a birthday gift. Simultaneously, she developed a great passion for horses and spent every day she could at a local stable in Toronto, where she was born and raised. Sue spent many years training horses, later moving on to train dogs professionally.
An entrepreneur at heart, she also started and managed a couple of small businesses before founding Summit Assistance Dogs in 2000. Sue graduated from The Assistance Dog Institute in Santa Rosa, where she gained an education in training assistance dogs for people living with disabilities. She has served as the Executive Director of Summit Assistance Dogs since its founding and she remains very enthusiastic and committed to her life’s calling.
Office Manager and Dog Adoption Coordinator
Rita joined Summit in 2008 after relocating to the PNW from the midwest. She brings with her a life long love of dogs and over 20 years of experience as an office manager with GE Commercial Finance and Deloitte and Touche. Rita and her husband share their home with three dogs (two of which are Summit released dogs) and one cat.
Trainer and Prison Program Director
Lisa began her relationship with Summit as a volunteer puppy raiser and has been employed as a trainer/instructor since 2008. She worked for Homeward Pet Adoption Center from 2000-03 supervising dog intakes and adoptions. Lisa then worked for Cascade Kennels in Woodinville, WA from 2003-10 as a staff trainer and group class instructor.
Melissa joined Summit’s training staff in the fall of 2015, which is also when she received Tanner, her second Summit mobility dog. She received Shiloh, her first Summit mobility dog, in 2007. Tanner is now sort of an “adjunct” staff member, since he is always with Melissa and can help other potential service dogs learn by example. Tanner does such things as pick up dropped items, open and close doors, turn lights on and off and other things for which Melissa, who has Cerebral Palsy, would need help from a human caregiver. Prior to joining Summit’s staff, Melissa ran a community inclusion and employment program for adults with developmental disabilities.
Lindy started out in the marine animal training and husbandry field after graduating from college, beginning with clicker training fish, then sea turtles and all the way to dolphins. In 2009 she moved to the Pacific Northwest and decided to stay when she rescued a dog who presented many behavioral challenges but gave her the perfect reason to learn more about canine behavior. She graduated from the Northwest School of Canine Studies in 2010 and has been training and helping people build better bonds with dogs since. Lindy started out as a volunteer teaching the Seattle area Summit foster home classes in 2016 and has now become a staff instructor and trainer at Summit Assistance Dogs.
Client Services Manager
Teresa was born and raised in Washington state. She graduated with a BS in Nursing from the University of Washington and later earned her Master's degree in critical care nursing. She retired from nursing after 36 years of critical care and operating room experience. She shares her home with four Australian Shepherds, which is no surprise since she raised Aussies for 21 years and was active in Aussie rescue for several years.
Philanthropic Giving Officer
Alex first joined the Summit family in 2006 as a client, when Summit paired him with Fraser. After a multi-year stint on Summit's Board of Directors, Alex joined the Summit Staff as Philanthropic Giving Officer in 2014. Alex holds a Bachelor of Public Affairs degree from Seattle University with a minor in Non-profit Leadership. Currently, Alex is enrolled in a Master’s Program (International Education) through the School of International Training (SIT) in Brattleboro, VT.
Director of Philanthropy
Lynne’s love of animals and James Herriot novels inspired an early career goal of becoming a veterinarian. College science courses then inspired a fitting switch to the social sciences, with an aim to help people and communities thrive. Lynne has resided in the Pacific Northwest since 2002 and has more than 13 years of non-profit fundraising experience with organizations in Seattle and northwest Washington. She has a particular interest in helping organizations secure sustainable funding through annual fund, capital campaign, and planned giving programs.
Facilities Project Manager
Mark joined the Summit staff in July 2014 as Facilities Project Manager, after volunteering for many months conducting feasibility studies during Summit’s search for a property. He retired from the Shoreline, WA Fire Department as their Fire Chief in June 2013, after serving the Shoreline community for more than 25 years. Mark’s background also includes 20 years as a general contractor and a degree in marine engineering. He also serves on the Board of Sherwood Community Services in Lake Stevens, WA.
Foster Home Coordinator
Brenda joined Summit in 2009 as a foster home volunteer and then joined the staff in 2014 as Foster Home Coordinator. Her family was heavy into raising service dogs for Guides Dogs for the Blind and for Summit, Brenda’s prior job prevented her doing that, so she went another route and competed in obedience and conformation with her pet dogs, earning many titles. She also was an instructor at Positive Dog Training School in Woodinville for several years.