Board Members

2018 Board of Directors

PresidentGabe Toma, Woodlawn & Forest Funeral Homes, Lacey WA

Working and networking in Tumwater for the past 5 years brought me to serve on the Chamber Board of Directors in 2017 and in 2018, I took up the challenge to help the Tumwater Chamber grow. Starting with new board members and a strong planning committee we will be able to accomplish our growth plan in the next couple of years. The mind power leading the Chamber has a tremendous experience in putting together a realistic strategic plan and a solid road map to get us there.  New website and new marketing plan, a new image, and new goals will attract new members and supporters. We are strengthening our relationship with the Tumwater City and the local business community and we are ready to have a voice for our members.

Vice President – Dr. Valerie Sundby-Thorp, Dean of Social Science and Business, South Puget Sound Community College, Tumwater 

As an instructional administrator at South Puget Sound Community College, I am committed to building and sustaining educational programs that support the creation of a skilled workforce in Thurston County. I am excited to serve as a board member with the Tumwater Chamber so that I can build relationships with local businesses, understand the emerging workforce needs in the area, and create partnerships that support the work of SPSCC and the broader Tumwater Community. 

Valerie Joined the Board of Directors in 2018 and is part of the executive and education committee. Her excellent planning skills helped the Board to put in place a great strategic plan in place.  


Secretary – Gina Kotek, Office Manger & Allstate Insurance Licensed Agent, Tumwater WA.

Serving on the Tumwater Chamber I have the opportunity to learn about Tumwater and surrounding areas in our business community.  It is very exciting and rewarding to meet with business owners throughout our community and share information about the services available to Tumwater Chamber Members.  Not many people understand the importance and the power the chamber provides to our community and local businesses.   I am looking forward to helping local businesses become part of our chamber and unlock the door to the endless opportunities.  

Gina joined the Board of Directors in December of 2019 and is part of the executive and membership committee, her dedication to grow the Chamber’s membership is a tremendous value.  

Treasurer – Aaron Donaldson, Owner at Cornerstone Benefits Consulting Group, 

Over 20 years of experience. We work with small and medium sized companies to improve employee benefits for the same cost, or get the same benefits at a lower cost. Get a complimentary company benefits check up today! My goal with the Tumwater Chamber is to give the members of the Tumwater Chamber sound business advise if they offer, or are considering offering, a benefit plan to their employees, even if they choose not to use Cornerstone as their benefit broker. 

Aaron joined the Board of directors in fall of 2018 and is very active in the executive, membership, education and event committee. His experience and dedication with chamber leadership is a great asset to have.   

Bob Jones, Retired Military and Business Owner, Olympia WA

Being retired from the US Army, I proudly serve on the Chamber Board as the Military and Veteran Liaison.  I am dedicated to our mission, as we continue to grow and to build on our success as a Military and Veteran friendly community.  Many of us joined the Chamber to give service back to our community and to support our Veterans who call Tumwater and the surrounding areas home.  Toward that end, a few good Veterans, Veteran Advocates and I founded Thurston County Veterans Services (TCVS), a state and federally registered 501 (c) (3) Charitable Nonprofit Veteran Service Organization dedicated to supporting Veterans in Thurston County and the South Puget Sound region.  I serve as President of the TCVS Board.  TCVS has a mission to educate Veterans about their benefits, coordinate those Veteran Service Providers and reduce any barriers to those benefits and services.

Casey Jones, Realtor at Caldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Inc, Tumwater WA

The Tumwater Chamber is a wonderful way for me to connect with other businesses and potential customers. I’m learning so much more about the important efforts to support and develop our community, such as: City of Tumwater government; Thurston Economic Development Council and its Center for Business and Innovation; Thurston County government; Port of Olympia; our local schools; real estate development; many businesses, big and small; and many community organizations and events. With the Chamber’s help, our local businesses voice our concerns to local governments about the issues that affect our businesses and we help shape policies enabling us to promote and grow our businesses. The Chamber, I believe, is helping to make Tumwater a great place to live and work.


Brian Hardcastle, Supervisor of curriculum K-12 Math, Science & CTE at Tumwater School District, Tumwater WA.

I currently serve as the CTE Director and Curriculum Supervisor for the Tumwater School District.  The Tumwater School District is committed to educating our students by providing them with the skills they will need to thrive in an ever-changing world.  I am blessed to be a part of the Thurston County Chamber as a board member.  My passion is to be a beacon of light and hope for all students in our community by building a continuum of awareness, exploration, preparation, and work experiences developed through strong school-to-work partnerships.

Brian joined the board of Directors in the spring of 2019 and is the chair of the education committee. Brian and Valerie are the portal between high school and college that the chamber is going to use as a resource for new business talent in our community. 


David Bills, Mortgage Servicing Underwriter at Washington State Employees Credit Union, Olympia WA.

I’ve lived in the Tumwater area for over 23 years.  In that time, I’ve served on several non-profit boards and continue to serve on the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee for the City of Tumwater.  I believe a strong business community is one of the keys to a sustainable and vibrant community.  I also believe a chamber of commerce can be a valuable resource that business can turn to for support on many different levels.  This is one of the several reasons I’m excited to return to the board of the Tumwater Area Chamber of Commerce.  I’m eager to help build the Tumwater Chamber as a go to for area businesses.

David joined the Board of Directors in the spring of 2019 and is contributing to develop our relationship with the City municipality through the Advocacy committee. 

Eric Zabala, STATE FARM® Insurance Agent, Tumwater WA.

Eric Joined the Board of Directors in December of 2019 and is part of the membership committee. His commitment to improve our business community is valuable to us.