Board of Directors
Michelle was 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.
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 is a Senior Director of Engineering at Bright Machines. After graduating from the University of Washington in Computer Science in 2002, she spent 16 years working in software engineering at Microsoft on products such as System Center, Cortana and Windows Search. She joined Bright Machines in late 2018 and currently leads a team of software engineers and scientists working on building intelligent industrial robots. Her involvement with Summit started through the Microsoft Giving campaign. She raised a puppy in 2011 that went on through the Summit program. 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 Regional Sales Director for PacificSource Health Plans. 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. Previously, he served as Director, Account Management for Regence Blue Shield of Washington. Prior to his role as Regence Blue Shield, he was Director of Sales and Account Management for United Healthcare in the states of Washington, Alaska and Montana. 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.
He enjoys road cycling and spending time with his family exploring the Puget Sound region and all of the great activities available to them.
Tracy has been a volunteer for Summit since 2015, initially through Microsoft’s Giving Campaign events. She joined Summit’s Board of Directors in 2018. Tracy has been employed at Microsoft since 1996, currently as a Senior Paralegal in Microsoft’s Corporate, External, & Legal Affairs group. She worked at Perkins Coie prior to joining Microsoft and has over 30 years’ experience in the legal industry. Tracy has had a lifelong love of dogs, having shared her home with many beloved canine family members throughout her life. She and her partner, Haris, live in Kirkland with their Siberian huskies.
Elected to the Board of Directors in 2015, Michael is a Senior Portfolio Manager with Northern Trust. Prior to joining Northern Trust in 2019, Mr. Hughes was the Chief Investment Officer at Cornerstone Advisors Inc.. In his role of Chief Officer, Michael was directly accountable for managing and directing the investment team in traditional and non-traditional global manager research and selection, asset allocation and risk management. 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.
Preston is retired after more than four decades of business, non-profit and public service leadership. Among other roles, he’s been a Director at Boeing, CEO of Behavioral Tech, President of the Dieringer School Board and Director of Ayni Education International (now known as Sahar). He currently volunteers for Wolf Haven International and Woodland Park Zoo. After ten years of service, Preston recently stepped down from the Advisory Board of the University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy and Governance so as to devote more time to Summit Assistance Dogs. He is an avid outdoors person with a passion for backpacking with his Australian Shepherd “Trouper”. He and his wife, Vicki, and Trouper also adopt old dogs in need of a forever home. They are currently sharing their home with “Lucky”.
A native of San Francisco, Ray is employed at the Marathon Refinery in Anacortes as their site's Inspection Department Manager. Holding both Bachelor and Masters degrees in Engineering from San Jose State University, along with a Bachelors degree in Economics from Oregon State University, Ray has worked over 30 years as an engineering management professional for a number of companies including Rhone-Poulenc, ExxonMobil, Genentech and most recently Saudi Aramco. A resident of Anacortes, Ray joined Summit's Board of Directors in 2018. A self-described "furry" and animal advocate, Ray's passion to actively support a local non-profit whose mission centers on improving the life-quality of its clients drew him to Summit Assistance Dogs.
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.
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.
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. Prior to joining Summit’s staff, Melissa ran a community inclusion and employment program for adults with developmental disabilities.
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.
Puppy Raising Program Coordinator*
Mike joined summit staff in 2019 after being volunteer foster home for three years, helping with prison training classes for two years, teaching the fundamentals class for new fosters, and helping Summit with IT work. Mike has trained at the Bergin University of Canine Studies in Santa Rosa, CA, the Northwest School of Canine Studies in Seattle and locally through the Massachusetts-based Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior.
Director of Philanthropy
Lynne’s love of animals 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 14+ years of non-profit fundraising experience. She has a particular interest in helping organizations secure sustainable funding through annual fund, capital campaign, and planned giving programs.
Donor Relations Associate
Emma joined Summit in 2019 after moving to Seattle from the Washington, DC area. Her love for literature and storytelling led to a career in communications and documentary filmmaking, where she discovered a strong desire to help both humans and animals together. Emma enjoys building relationships and crafting stories with a mission in mind. She’s collaborated to promote numerous animal-human welfare causes, including working with the Humane Society of the United States. Emma has also spent many hours volunteering with animal rescues as an adoptions counselor and community educator.
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.