Our Board of Directors & Advisers

//Our Board of Directors & Advisers
Our Board of Directors & Advisers 2018-03-28T13:36:26+00:00

Our voting board and community advisory groups are comprised of a diverse range of professionals with numerous ties to the communities we serve.

Homes First is a certified CHDO organization and is actively seeking Board members who represent the low-income community.  This includes members of Boards from Neighborhood Associations who serve the low-income community or those who are members of the low-income community themselves.

Homes First accepts new board member application each September with the goal of having new members join the board in January each year.  For more information call 360-236-0920 or president@homesfirst.org

President, Russ Carstensen, Executive Director, NARTE (ret.)

Russ joined the board in 2013 and March 2017 marks the beginning of his fourth term of service, including his second year as board Chair.  Russ came to Homes First leadership with more than 40 years of Government and private industry experience in naval electronic systems design, acquisition, and integration. He served as Executive Director of an internationally recognized 501 (c)3 nonprofit professional credential certification organization. Russ has served at the Vice- Presidential and Branch Supervisor levels for Applied Engineering, Acquisition Policy, Quality Assurance and Electromagnetic Effects.

He also served as Plans and Resources Division Director for Engineering Directorate wide budget and personnel actions.   Russ is also active in the local Kiwanis Club and recently retired as leader for the local Harbor Days event.

Vice President, Amal Joury, Senior Counsel for USCF Investments

Amal joined the Board in February 2016. Although her community leadership experience is limited due to her recent arrival in Olympia, she has become involved with several committees for Olympia Master Builders.  Amal is working with the Goldstein law firm to increase their activities and leadership within the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce. She has, in her prior East Coast life, been active in organizing opportunities for work colleagues to volunteer their time with Rosie’s Place and Community Servings.  She currently serves on the board of the Capitol Chapter of Washington Women Lawyers.

Amal’s unique skills come from eight years of serving as an attorney for a third party administrator to executive boards in the securities industry. She is comfortable with running meetings, taking minutes and ensuring that all items on an agenda get attention, as well as preparing resolutions and responding to board questions. She has spent the last year as an attorney in private practice in Olympia developing a network of professional connections that she believes will benefit Homes First.

Treasurer, Beth Brown, CPA, Owner, NW Accounting

Beth joined our team in November 2017 after learning about our mission at Lacey Chamber event hosted at our new office here in Lacey.  After four years of tax preparation and auditing the financial statements of nonprofit organizations and for profit organizations, Beth and her husband started their own accounting firm here in Lacey, Washington. In addition to running the business, Beth is an adjunct professor for South Puget Sound Community College and enjoys volunteering in her community. She is on the board of the North Thurston Education Foundation and volunteers her accounting services to other local nonprofits such as the Olympia Film Collective. When not working, Beth and her husband enjoy mountain biking in Capitol Forest and spending time with their family. Beth has a passion to help those in need and is a strong advocate for affordable housing.

Secretary, Kevin Sparks, Community Respresentative

Kevin joined the board in November 2015 after having supporting Homes First as a volunteer for several years.  Kevin is the former owner/operator of a Farmers’ Insurance Agency (Sparks NW Insurance) and is active in the community through the Multiple Listing Services Associates group (past president) and as an Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts of America.

Board Members

  • Rep. Andrew Barkis, Owner, Hometown Properties & State Representative for the 2nd District
  • Beth Brown, CPA, Frost & Co
  • Steffany Brown, Program Coordinator, Girls Without Limits, Olympia YWCA
  • Chris Lester, Busines & Community Relations Manager, Thurston County Title
  • Sarah Reyneirse, Community Member, TESC Student
  • Hallee Starborn, Home Depot

Committee Members

Project Development as of 10.30.17
Chuck Stewart Community Lending, Fairway Mortgage
Rick Pitts Olympia Federal Savings
Mark Kitabayashi Windermere Real Estate
Resource Development as of 10.30.17
DeAnn Conway Umpqua Bank
Chris Lester Thurston County Title
Kevin Hochhalter Attorney
Sarah Koch Umpqua Bank
Kevin Sparks Farmers NW Insurance
Skip Thompson Guild Mortgage
Property Management as of 10.30.17
Scott Hanauer Community Youth Services
Mike Pratt Green Realty
Interested in becoming a board member?
Download our Board Member Application in an MSWord or PDF form.  Please contact our Board President, Russ Carstensen or our Chief Executive, Trudy Soucoup for more information.  info@homesfirst.org

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


(###) ###-####

Email Format